Category Archives: design

Always in progress

I’ve reached that nice sweet spot of knitting where I have put a couple of finished projects behind me and have the freedom to cast on for something new, and am enjoying this prospect muchly. Granted, the approximately seven thousand new things I am likely to cast on in the next month will probably not seem so exciting a month from now when I am wishing I didn’t have seven thousand things all in progress, but still – for the moment I have some new projects to ponder.

May23-Royale

My new Royale is finished and blocking (updated pattern will be made available soon – options ahoy for two sleeve lengths AND two neckline depths), and I did make the bargain with myself that lace could happen next, so.

May23-Lace

I had been planning to put something together with these two things – my Tanis Fiber Arts laceweight purchased at the Knitter’s Frolic was going to be a Miralda’s Triangle from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia, but when I finally sat down to actually start it I realized that this is a pattern that actually calls for fingering weight, not laceweight. And while I could modify that sucker for laceweight by changing the number of pattern repeats on it (many Ravelry knitters have done so simply to get a larger shawl than what is written), I decided that I will save this hot pink awesomeness for something else.

I’ve got a few fingering weight options in the stash that would be great for the Miralda’s triangle shawl, but I am pretty sure they are mostly in the purple colour scheme, and (since taking out my shawls for show and tell at Lace 101+ up in Collingwood in March and realizing I own a big pile of handknitted purple shawls) I promised myself the next shawl project I started would be something not-purple, I reached for something else instead. I’ve got this beautiful skein of Willow St. silk from Shall We Knit up on deck (it is one of their in-house yarns), and have started playing around with it for a scarf-sized shawl (I do like the look of wearing them bandit-style during the spring and summer), so this will become something fun. Also relatively quick, I think, since it’s one 475 yd skein. (Or so I say now. Further bulletins as events occur).

May23-WillowSt

Since it’s just about summer, though, I feel like more lace on the needles is a good thing, so don’t be surprised if I get back to my lace stash and start something else. I’ll try to keep it on the modest side, though – two more shawls in progress at most.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

PS – if you’re in the Toronto/southern Ontario area and want to come to the TTC Knitalong, signups are now open for this July event! Spots are going quickly and some teams are full or almost full, so definitely keep many options in mind for your signup. All the teams visit four awesome stores in Toronto and everyone gets a fab tote bag to stuff with yarn for the day. Visit this page for more information.

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Filed under design, lace

Urban Collection: Lakeshore Shawl

Knitting friends, I’m so pleased to announce that the final piece of the Urban Collection is here and ready! (Available now on Ravelry, as well as on Patternfish along with all other collection pieces). This last pattern took me a little longer to finalize than originally planned, but I have to admit I’m pretty happy with it. And now that spring has firmly established itself around these parts in Southern Ontario, the timing could not be better for shawls.

Lakeshore1

When I was started planning this collection a while back, my goal was that if a knitter were to knit and/or own all of the items in this set, she would be ready for any occasion with a piece of knitwear. That includes sweaters and accessories to be sure, but I knew I wanted to finish with a nice shawl. Shawls are pretty welcome from spring through fall, either as the main attraction atop a dressy outfit, or wrapped over your shoulders while going about your day through the city. There are so many ways to wear them, and so many fabulous colours of yarn available to show off your lace handiwork!

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This pattern is worked in the classic top-down triangle shape, beginning from the top of the centre of the triangle at the back of neck, increasing outwards with yarnovers at edge and either side of the centre stitch. There are two main charts in the triangle portion, and the shawl is finished with a knitted-on picot lace border. It’s a shawl that will expect you to have a little bit of lace practice going into it (or at the very least be comfortable with the basics), but won’t tax you so much as to grow weary of complicated charts. I wanted this to be a piece in the lighter end of the intermediate range, that would ask a bit of attention of you but not so much that you can’t still get on with the rest of your day. I quite like the way it turned out, and I know I’m going to enjoy wearing this sample during the coming spring and summer!

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I think every knitter deserves a silk shawl in their life. This is worked with Tanis Fiber Arts Silver Label 100% mulberry silk, in Garnet. (Garnet continues to be one of my favourite colours, though I have to say I do not think there is a bad colour when it comes to the silk.) It uses 2 skeins of the TFA silk, or approx. 850 yds of your preferred laceweight or light fingering weight yarn, on 3.5mm needles. Finished size is a comfortable 72 inches across the top “wingspan”, and size is best altered by altering needle size and gauge.

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I’d like to once again thank Tanis Fiber Arts for yarn support for this and the other pieces in the Urban Collection, Bridget at Needles in the Hay for obliging me with a few photos of the modelled piece, and Kate Atherley for technical editing.

Happy knitting on this fine Tuesday! May there be delicious lace shawls in your future.

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Filed under design, finished object: shawl, lace

Urban Collection: Queen St. Mitts

I think I’ve officially lost track of the weather around here. Afternoons are starting to get warm and sunny, but overnight the temperature still plunges towards freezing, which makes getting dressed in the morning a bit of a challenge. It occurred to me that, you know what? This is exactly the time of year that fingerless mitts are meant for. Some days you need that extra bit of insulation around your hands, only to tuck them away in your purse or pocket later on on the day.

On that note, I’m pleased to present the seventh pattern of eight in the Urban Collection (Ravelry link), the Queen St. Mitts.

Mitts1a

Since I wanted the pattern collection to be versatile both in garments and in yarn selection, I decided to use sock-weight yarn for something that wasn’t socks. After all, many of us are frequently tempted by that single skein of sock yarn purchase in a shop or at a knitter’s fair, and some times you want something to do with it that isn’t socks. At the same time, I was having a hard time putting away the aran-style cables that appear in several other pieces in the collection and thought, you know? Let’s just do that on a pair of mitts. Aran sweater styling in miniature, but with the chance to let loose with some crazy colour, too.

Mitts6a

These mitts are worked in Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label fingering weight (superwash merino/nylon), in the bold ‘Lemongrass’ colour. I’ve been wanting to do something with this colour for so long, and decided to break it out for this project. You can get away with bright colours like this more easily with small accessories, since it’s less of a risk than something that might cover your whole upper body like a sweater. (But man, if any of you knit up a full sweater in Lemongrass, call me. I want to know what that looks like.)

The main pattern along the back of the hand is a spring-like combination of cables, bobbles, and texture, while the palms are more modest with a cable and rib combination. I’m quite pleased with how these turned out, and might have to go back for a second pair in another colour.

Mitts4a

I enjoy the way fingerless mitts offer a small and relatively quick canvas to explore various techniques – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how fast these will knit up – and am going to keep it in mind for future projects. More fingerless mitts, fewer cold hands!

Also, it’s fitting that I post about these today, since it’s Tanis‘ birthday, from whom the yarn comes. Have a great day, Tanis!

Happy knitting this weekend, everyone!

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23 Comments

Filed under accessories, cables, design

The Urban Collection: Armour Road Socks and Hunter Street Cowl

As March continues to, well, march on, it’s time to update you on the full complement of March patterns in the Urban Collection! (Ravelry link) the Water Street Cardigan got things off to a good start earlier in the month, and I’m pleased to add a couple of spring accessories to the mix as well. As always, these patterns take their names from cities I’ve spent time in as a knitter, and Peterborough, Ontario streets are up this month.

First, allow me to introduce the Armour Road socks (Ravelry link):

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I have a confession to make. When I first started planning this collection, I gave myself a rule: no socks. I figured, heck, I’ve done a lot of sock designs in the past, so why not push myself towards other ideas? But then I got to thinking and couldn’t resist a pair of quick ones. I’ve lately been enjoying reaching for the DK or sport-weight yarns for socks every so often, since they make for relatively quick and very comfortable socks indeed.

This pair uses 1-2 skeins of Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label DK (the line between 1 and 2 skeins is around a Size 10 Ladies’ foot, with ankle circumference of 9″ or less. Those knitting for a longer foot or wider foot/ankle circumference should grab a second skein for safety), and also shows off a lovely and simple twisted stitch pattern running down the instep and the back of the leg. They are shown here in the ‘Dove’ colourway, but would be beautiful in just about any colour you like, I think.

Socks3

These are worked in the round from the cuff down, on 3.25mm needles or your preferred needle size for 6 sts/inch. I quite like the way these show off the twisted stitch motifs, because they look sleek and elegant enough that you’d hardly know they are a slightly bulkier sock than normal. I could see these becoming an easy pair to reach for instead of slippers, on a chilly morning, or worn inside clogs or boots when out and about.

Socks2

One of my goals in for the Urban Collection was a set of garments that would give the knitter a diverse enough wardrobe of knitwear to dress for any occasion. I also wanted to use a variety of yarn weights, since Tanis has several beautiful yarn lines to choose from. (There are one or two yarns that haven’t popped up yet – you might take a guess from there as to what you’ll see in the April patterns! ;) ) So, this meant taking a crack at something using laceweight yarn.

Laceweight wool yarn is, no doubt about it, one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ yarns you can get. A skein of TFA Pink Label laceweight costs less than a skein of sock yarn and has yardage for days. On the other hand, I wanted to avoid using this for a shawl pattern, since I know laceweight shawls can often be intimidating, and since I’ve pulled out several cabled patterns already in this collection, I wanted to make sure I left one or two towards the simple end of the spectrum. And last year I remembered seeing all these girls on campus wearing these loose lacy cowl/scarf things, and thought heck, that’s what I want to do with this yarn.

HunterStCowl9b

Worn ‘single’, the Hunter Street Cowl (Ravelry link) has the appearance of a loose scarf, and worn ‘double’ wrapped around the neck it collapses and scrunches a bit into a comfier and easy accessory. Once again, this piece is shown in the ‘Dove’ colourway, but I could see it being pretty fantastic in a lot of colours. In fact, I might just snap up another skein of Pink Label for just this purpose when I cruise Tanis’ booth at the Knitter’s Frolic next month.

HunterStCowl4b

In thinking this pattern though, I played around for a bit with some all-over lace patterns, but in the end I decided to simplify it even further than that. What resulted was the light and lofty accessory you see here. Worked in the round with a few vertical lace panels placed on a field of stockinette, this is believe it or not a pretty speedy pattern. Completing this one (to a height of 8 inches) took me about a week, and before I’d cast it off I knew I was going to start a second one. It turned out about how I wanted, but I definitely had some leftover yarn. I thought to myself, “dude, why didn’t you just use the whole skein? So I’ve started another one (what with a fit of start-itis this past weekend), and man, this time I’m not stopping until that whole 1000-yd skein is used up. (And I include notes in the pattern about how you can do this to, and still make sure you’ve got enough to use in the final edge and bind-off.)

HunterStCowl5b

Thanks to Bridget for obliging me with cowl photos this past Saturday “on location” in Peterborough, and to Austen (model) and Jane (photographer) for photography help once more with the socks. Thanks also to Kate Atherley for technical editing and to Tanis once more for the collection yarn support.

And thank you, knitting friends, for your interest in these patterns! Working on this collection has been a great project and I will almost be sad to unveil the final 2 patterns in April. (Well, except I will also be happy to show them off, heh).

Happy knitting this fine Tuesday! I hope spring is treating you well so far.

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Filed under accessories, design

Urban Collection: Water Street Cardigan

Since mid-March is upon us, it’s time for the March releases in the Urban Collection to begin, and the first of these is now available! The Water St. Cardigan can be found here on Ravelry, (once the collection is complete, all patterns will also be available individually or as a set on Patternfish.) and well as part of the collection. (If you’ve already purchased the collection – or do so at any time – you’ll receive all the new patterns as they are uploaded). I’m so pleased to show this one off to you, as it is the very first one of the collection that I started on! In fact, it’s been finished for a year, and I’ve been sitting on it waiting for the rest of the collection to catch up. I think it was worth it, though, because this is a light and comfortable cardigan just perfect for that point when Spring is just peeking around the corner.

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In keeping with the Urban Collection theme, the patterns are all named for streets in towns I have lived in as a knitter. March’s patterns are all named for Peterborough, Ontario, which is where I not only spent my years as an undergraduate student, but came back to teach for a short stint last year. When I did so I was very pleased to discover Needles in the Hay, a local yarn shop which had opened not long before I arrived there for my year of teaching. I made some great friends through the knitters in town, and dearly miss being able to stop in one or two afternoons a week for a knit and chat. It was really really great being in walking distance to a yarn shop, nevermind such a friendly one, and I miss it.

Needles in the Hay is situated on Water St, one of the main streets running north-south through the downtown, so it was a pretty easy decision for me to figure out what to name this one! It is a light and comfortable cardigan that is relatively simple to knit and easy to wear. I recommend this to be worn with some positive ease, 2-4 ins, depending on preference (I.e. the garment when closed, measures larger than your bust), but the open nature of the cardigan means that fit is quite flexible.

WaterSt4-Nov19

WaterSt-Front

I enjoy how current knitting trends are becoming more inclusive of light knitted fabrics, and fingering weight yarns (or even laceweight!) are not an uncommon selection for sweater patterns. This cardigan uses Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label fingering weight – a blend of superwash wool/cashmere/nylon – worked at a looser gauge of 5 sts/inch to allow for a very lofty and drapey fabric.

The hint of cashmere content in the yarn also doesn’t hurt, let me tell you! When we did the original photos (the lovely detailed shots) for these back in the fall, at one point we were paused while Jane (photographer) changed camera lenses, and (model) Emily turned to me and said, “this is really warm,” in pleased surprise. Now, I wouldn’t recommend it as a cold-weather outer layer (as secondary model Austen can attest, when I stuck it on her quickly during our January photoshoot to grab a couple more full shots as backup), but really, it does quite well as a transitional piece, and it’s pretty comfortable. I actually have a couple of large skeins of Verb For Keeping Warm wool/silk blend fingering weight that I’ve been wanting to pull out to make myself another one, but I’m betting the wool/cashmere sock yarns out there now will offer quite a few other yarn options as well. I certainly enjoyed working with the TFA Purple Label on this one!

WaterSt7-Nov19

Water Street Cardi

This piece uses only knit and purl stitches (well, and some increases and decreases, hee.) At first glance, this might look like just a regular stockinette cardigan, but actually there are one or two detailed elements that add a bit of interest and personalization, while still keeping it simple. I’ve made use of garter ridges placed around the lower portion of the sleeve, and the upper portion of the torso, inside the raglan decreases for the yoke. I really enjoy the way these add a simple amount of detail, and you can personalize for yourself how frequently you place the garter ridges – every 3-10 rows how you choose. I did them in a slightly random sequence.

The collar extends from the edges of the cardigan fronts, and is then grafted in the centre and then sewn down to the back of neck, at the top of the cardigan back. This allows for a small amount of seaming and stability in an otherwise seamless piece, and also means that there are no picked up stitches – none whatsoever! Work the sleeves in the round, work the cardigan body back and forth, then join for the raglan yoke and away you go.

WaterSt2-Nov19

Thank you again to Emily and Austen for modelling, Jane for photography, Tanis for the yarn, and Stephannie for the technical editing. I hope you’ll enjoy, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as more March patterns are added to the collection!

Happy knitting this Thursday!
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Filed under design, finished object: sweater

Urban Collection: Aberdeen Ave. Mittens and Hat

One of my goals as I began putting together ideas for my Urban Collection was to offer a set of patterns with balance; In theory, I wanted a person who might knit all of these items to have a knitted object for any occasion. In other words, if you had all these knitted items, you could get dressed in something knitted no matter what the weather or wardrobe requires. I also wanted a balance of items in terms of required execution time and effort, and as I stagger the releases over a few months, each month’s release will have one larger, more time consuming item, and one or more smaller or less time consuming items. Some times you just need the instant gratification! (Well, or at least, instant-er.)

AberdeenAveMitts2

Some times, like right now around these parts, you also need a few quick and warm things, and that is where the Aberdeen Ave. mittens and hat patterns come in. I knew the Locke St. cardigan would be first up in February, and these likewise take their name from a Hamilton street name – Aberdeen Ave. and Locke St. intersect with each other, and with such Scottish place names to work with as inspiration, how could I resist working with cables? I loved the knotty twists and turns on these so much I couldn’t keep them to just one item, and just had to spread the cabled awesomeness to both a hat and a pair of mittens.

In a collection of knitted items, it would be a crying, crying shame to overlook the winter accessories, don’t you think? And it’s especially pleasing to have a matching pair. There is something very satisfying about feeling put together like that when you leave your front door, even if it’s a blustery chilly day that makes you need to bundle up. I reached for the heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn for both of these, to help with both warmth and speed.  A single skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran is all that’s needed for either the hat or the mittens, and either one would be great for that single skein of worsted or Aran yarn you’ve got hanging around waiting for a project!

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If you have more than a passing familiarity with a cable needle, you’ll have this hat finished in a snap. There’s just enough interest for you on the central cable panel running along one side to keep you from getting bored, and before you know it you’ll be decreasing and finishing up the top and reaching for another skein of yarn to make the mittens to match. If you’re still new to cables, these will be small canvases to practice on while you prep yourself for larger cabled projects.

As with all items in the Urban Collection (currently available on Ravelry – will be made available on Patternfish as an e-book and individual patterns once the collection is complete), both the Mitts and the Hat are available to be purchased individually in my Ravelry store, or as part of the collection. Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive all patterns that are added to it with each update, until it is complete.

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I am grateful once again to my friends Austen (for modelling) and Jane (for photography), and to Jaya Purswani for the technical editing on these two projects. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Now that I’ve introduced you to all three February releases in the collection, I”ll be happy to report back on some other ongoing knits next time. I hate to jinx things, but I might just be getting close to finishing my Gwendolyn cardigan after all – and possibly even a pair of socks. Dare I say it, I may get some more warm knits finished in time to wear them in the chilly season after all.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!

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9 Comments

Filed under cables, design, finished object: accessories

Urban Collection: Locke St.

What can I say, folks, but that it’s a great relief to finally get to show off a few designs to you after keeping them under wraps for so long. February marks the first wave of releases of my Urban Collection, which will be a collection of eight knitting patterns in total. Between February and April I’ll add 2-3 more patterns to the collection each month until it is complete. (My previous post gives a good visual snapshot of the first five designs – the rest are in the works!) My goal for this collection was a set of patterns that would sit well in the “urban classic” realm – designs that will be comfortable and wearable now as well as a few years from now.

Locke Street Cardi

Rather than overwhelm you all at once with the whole sha-bang, I’ll be staggering the releases so that they are a bit more seasonally appropriate – as a result, the warmest patterns are the first ones out of the gate in February. Closer to April, you can predict a few lighter accessories and lace pieces to make an appearance. The complete collection will contain two sweaters, two lace items, and four smaller accessories. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do! All of the patterns feature Tanis Fiber Arts yarn, in a variety of yarn weights from Aran to laceweight.

As the patterns are released, you’ll be able to purchase them individually at any time in my Ravelry store, but if you’d like to take the plunge for the whole set, the collection may be purchased now for a few dollars cheaper than the final collection price, and I’ll keep that ‘preview price’ available until the March patterns are posted (around March 12th, a month later than today.) Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive updates as patterns are added.
(I’m working on making these available on Patternfish as well, as an e-book, for non-Ravelry users – stay tuned for updates there!)

LockeSt2

Since I was working with the aesthetic of “urban classic” in mind, when thinking about pattern names I decided to draw on the cities in which I have lived as a knitter. The patterns are all named after streets that I am familiar with in these cities. The first pattern I’d like to introduce you to is the Locke St. Cardigan. This is named for a favourite street of mine in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (if I’m hanging at a cafe or heading off in search of poutine or organic chocolate bars, or even a run to the bank – chances are, this is where I’m doing that.) This is a buttoned cardigan in the style of a classic cabled knit, including modern details like waist shaping and v-neck collar. Using DK-weight Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label yarn at 5.5 sts/inch, it is also a little lighter than a traditional Aran cardi might be, which means you’ll be able to get good wear out of this as a layer underneath your jacket in the cold seasons, or wear it as a layer itself when it’s a bit warmer.

LockeSt1

Friends Austen (above) and Emily (in the detailed shots) helped me out with modelling this, and both were pretty comfortable in it. In fact, I think it fit Austen so nicely that I am a little surprised she didn’t try the “hey! look over there!” trick, only to have me turn around and discover she was missing.

How about the cables? Let’s talk about the cables. You want cables, hoo boy, this sweater has cables!

LockeSt-Detail1

I like using symmetry and structure in my designs when I can, and the big show piece of this sweater is the way the cables lend vertical focus and visual appeal, especially down the back of the piece. Two diamond cables twist down the centre and are flanked by a few smaller twists and claw cables, for accent and delicate appeal. There is a blend here of cables and twisted stitches (mostly sneaking in in the ribbing and in between the cable placements – I just can’t give up my precious twisted stitches entirely, it seems!).

LockeSt-Detail2

Sizing for this pattern runs between 35-55 ins around at bust (when closed), and is intended for slight positive ease between 2-4 ins or so, according to preference. As usual, I provide some suggestions in the pattern notes about how to work cables without a cable needle, if you’re interested in that method as a potential way of building speed and efficiency. (Having said that, though, I know there are knitters who are speed demons with cable needles, so choose whatever method floats your boat!)
And also as usual, feel free to consult the pattern schematic and gauge if you prefer to modify your patterns for a more customized fit for yourself.

Thank you again to Jane D. for the photography on this project, and Stephannie Tallent for the technical editing, and to friends Tammy and Kelly for providing test-knitting feedback during the knitting process!

Now that I’ve said a mouthful, I’m looking forward to taking a break for a couple of days to knit and let these February projects be out in the world a little bit. When next we meet I’ll formally introduce you to the Locke St. cardi’s companions – the Aberdeen Ave. hat and mittens. They are just as warm and toasty, and the weather seems to agree – we finally have snow around these parts!

Happy knitting this fine Sunday!
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Filed under cables, design, sweaters

Worth the wait

Knitting friends, over the course of the last several months (well, almost the last year, actually), I’ve been working away on a big project for myself. It’s finally ready to start getting revealed, a few pieces at a time, and I’m so eager to be able to share it with you.

In my next post I’ll reveal more details about the first patterns out of the gate in this, my first true collection, but for now I want to leave you with a few delicious preview shots of the first five (out of a final eight) patterns in The Urban Collection (winter-to-spring 2012).

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Water Street Cardi

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Because you can’t say thank you too many times, and because I want to make sure I do, thank you to Tanis Fiber Arts for the beautiful and generous yarn support, Stephannie Tallent and Jaya Purswani for technical editing,

Jane for the lovely photographs, friends Diana, Kelly, Tammy, Abbie, and Rebecca who have done test-knitting, Austen and Emily for modelling…and probably several more folks who will be recruited before the entire project is complete ;) Thank you, ladies!

More next time! Happy knitting this fine Wednesday.
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48 Comments

Filed under design

What ever did I do before

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been knitting for a little less than a third of my life – which in the grand scheme of things isn’t very much, but in the scheme of hobbies is relatively huge. Sure, I was gangbusters for cross-stitch needlepoint before I took up knitting, but that didn’t last nearly as long as my love of knitting has. How many hobbies have we all taken up that didn’t quite stick? I mean, the universe seeks balance, and so forth, which means there’s got to be scads of crafters out there who took up knitting for like, a month or two, or long enough to churn out a baby blanket or a few scarves as gifts, and then discovered quilting or sketching or glass-blowing or something and decided to ditch knitting forever – and that’s totally groovy. Do as pleases you, crafters, because goodness knows knitters hate too much competition at the yarn sales. (I kid. Sort of. ::cough::) But man, I cannot even remember what I did to fill my time before knitting came along. Like, are there people who go through the world without a portable knitting project stuffed in their handbag/backpack/briefcase? How do they manage?

Jan19-MalabrigoSocks

I take a great deal of pleasure in having knitting around at home, but also in those little gaps of time when I’m out and about. I rediscovered this in full force the other night, when I sat in the first session of a photography course that I’m taking this term through the local college continuing education program. (Up until about a month and a half ago, every single photo I have taken for this blog was with a $200 point-and-shoot camera. I recently finally collected enough cash for a proper DSLR, and I love it. Now the trick is just to learn how to use it.) Turns out the class is going to yield plenty of sitting-and-listening time along with practical instructional time, and combined with the waiting around at the beginning of class, I got a decent amount of my Malabrigo sock knitted. The instructor doesn’t mind me knitting, I can listen and focus better if my hands are busy, and I have knitting and knowledge to show for my time. This is a win on all counts.

Although I fully expect I have now been mentally labelled as ‘that weird knitting girl’, I also don’t care, because dude, nobody else in that class is going to get a pair or two of socks after sitting there for 10 weeks. (I bet they’re all jealous.) I hadn’t thought of officially going for a “12 in 2012″ project this year, but unofficially I was thinking that 12 pairs of socks would be nice, and now I think it would be absolutely do-able. Hurray for portable knitting projects in the handbag!

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In other sock news, I’m pleased to announce that the sock pattern I contributed for the Tanis Fiber Arts 2011 ‘Year in Colour’ yarn club is now available in wide release. These were the offering for March of last year, and the colourway Tanis produced for it (Clover) is just gorgeous. I don’t know if she’ll be including it in her roster of regular yarn colours, but I may or may not have already tried to peer pressure her to do so. It’s a wonderful leafy green, and even on a snowy day like today is a nice glimpse of spring ahead.

Jan19-MarchingOn

You can find the Marching On sock pattern here in my Ravelry store, and on Patternfish as well. It’s worked up with a single skein of Purple Label Cashmere Sock, and would be lovely for a variety of sock yarns that are comfortable at 8 sts/inch. There are a few twisting cables in there, and I sort of fell in love with the little knotty bobble pattern running down the front of the leg and instep. My mother knitted a pair of these as well, and said “you know, it looks hard but it really isn’t, once you get into it!” So there you go. ;)

Happy knitting, this Thursday! I’ll have more adventures to report on next time.

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29 Comments

Filed under design, socks

For Winter

Hat knitting season tends to come upon me a bit later on, after winter has already gotten started. I think my first impulse is always towards sweaters, once fall gets going, and then by late December and early January it eventually occurs to me that, hang on a second, there are three more months of cold weather still ahead. I might need some hats.

Happily enough for these purposes, earlier in the fall the folks at Lorna’s Laces sent me some single skeins to work with, and after a bit of brainstorming and stitch perusal and playing around, I came up with the two hat designs you see here. Both yarns were a joy to work with.

Dec18-Beret6

A bright cranberry red skein of Shepherd Worsted – a wonderfully soft yet wooly 100% wool worsted yarn – became the Union Station beret. (Available here in my Ravelry store, and here on Patternfish.) I confess this might be my favourite recent design, and I may have trouble holding myself back from making another one in a different colour. A cabled beret is one of my favourite winter accessories.

Dec18-Beret2

The Union Station beret is written in one size, to comfortably fit a head circumference of 20-22 ins. It uses a single skein of worsted wool yarn, worked in the round on 4.5mm needles for the main portion of the hat, changing to double-points as the crown becomes smaller. The magical part, of course, comes when you wash and block the final product over a dinner plate (usually the nearest circular, flat object), and then once dried the little thing transforms into a stylish cabled thing that makes you feel suddenly extremely elegant even if you’re just waiting in an interminable Starbucks queue. I love it, and hope you will too.

Dec18-Beret3

As a companion, I wanted to work up a relatively simple, slouchy hat pattern to accompany the lovely, drapey skein of Lorna’s Laces Honor (an alpaca/silk blend that is soft like kittens), which lends itself very easily to less structured knits. The Steeltown Slouch here, is the result – it uses a simple knit-and-purl pattern and works up relatively quickly in the round. (Also available here on Ravelry, and here on Patternfish.)

Dec18-Slouch5

The colour here is ‘Blackberry’, which often appears quite a bit darker in the woolier lines of Lorna’s Laces. The colours in the alpaca/silk have a paler, shinier quality to it, leading me to the Steeltown moniker. It’s also a small homage to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

Dec18-Slouch2

It is seen here in the larger of two sizes, which may also be easily modified by adding or subtracting pattern repeats from the main portion of the hat. Peggy, who models both hats here wonderfully, is quite a petite gal, so you may use that as a basis for comparison and size estimates.

HatPhotosBTS

I am grateful to Peggy for the impromptu modelling near the Purple Purl earlier this month, and to Dan Petre (a knitter himself, as well as a knitter’s husband) for the beautiful photographs. (I learned after the fact that Dan spent 2 hours browsing hat patterns on Ravelry to get a good sense of good hat photography. That is dedication, man.)

I think I could get into hats – i’m so sorry, hats, for the neglect I’ve shown you in the past. You were right all along, the socks and sweaters don’t need all the attention!. It impresses me not just how relatively quick hats are to work up, but also how fully a person can transform their look just by changing the style of hat they toss on when heading out the door. That is darned cool.

Happy knitting! And stay warm and cozy, where ever you are as the year winds down.
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Filed under design, finished object: accessories, hats