Friday, April 26, 2013

Handspun/spinning goodies in the mail

Superwash BFL; DK weight handspun. About 600yds total

superwash merino, DK weight; about 600yds total

falkland combed top, 8oz of possibilities

4oz of merino delight
Shepherd sport; not handspun but still fun
I love when mail arrives. Especially when everyone else in my household is sick and I'm surrounded by crying people. That was the situation earlier this week. Now folks are fine. I avoided the virus.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Releases

Just in time for the knitter's Frolic in Toronto, I have released two new patterns featuring yarns by Waterloo Wools.

The first was originally designed for my SIL Corey as a bridal gift.  Hence its name is Corey's Stole.  The sample here, for Waterloo Wools, was knit and photographed by my dear friend heath3r (on Rav). I adore the blues.  Her bead choices were also more subtle than what I used for Corey's.

beautiful bride

The second was an expansion and reworking of fingerless mitts I originally made for my husband. His bike-riding fingerless gloves actually - complete with short finger holes as per his request; never again thank you.
The new design is called Winter Meets Spring. It comes with the mitts and the hats patterns (beanies and slouches).  Try as I might, I just could not wait for anything vaguely reminiscent of spring to appear outside this "spring", so I had to quickly photograph these in front of a painting (by my sister) before sending the samples to Waterloo Wools.

Fingerless Mitts - nice and stretchy but also snug.

small beanie is snug on my adult head. best sized for a youth.
medium beanie is my new/current favourite hat

Thursday, April 11, 2013

You can never have too many...

... ways to cast on and bind off.
I though I knew quite a lot of way to cast on and bind off; more than the average knitter.  I probably knew more than a dozen cast ons and at least 10 ways to bind off - maybe more - but my new book has shown me so many more options.

Cast On, Bind Off - 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting by Cap Sease is my new knitter-book-BBF. I've already been playing with my options while swatching for gauge, which made having to make a few swatches much more enjoyable as each was a great excuse to try a new CO and BO technique.

So far my favourite new simple BOs are the Icelandic and the Russian, which are similar to a suspended BO - but better.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Princess and the Pea

I love a good mystery knit-along.  I have yet to be disappointed.
I've knit a few mystery shawls and socks. [Rav link]
When I caught that Lily Go was having another MKAL in February I jumped on board and even bought her signature yarn for the project.  It was exciting to receive a package from Malaysia, where she lives.

I chose not to go with the featured purple colourway and opted for some intense Precious blue that I knew I could pair with some pink-lined, blue-glass beads in my stash. I discovered mid-way through that I probably would have had enough for the large (I knit the medium size), but by then it was too late as this is knit from the bottom up.


Silly me neglected to wear it today to Hans Christian Anderson Day at the local Scandinavian Cultural Center.  I hadn't even thought of it until someone mentioned that Princess and the Pea is a H.C. Anderson story. Granted, I hadn't planned to stay and attend the event after my eldest's dance class.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Variegated Play

I have a weak spot for variegated yarns.
We have a love-hate relationship because those yarns can be very difficult to work with.
They can pool in funny ways. They easily obscure patterns.
And yet I love them still.
rainbow goodness

So what is one to do?
Learn how to work with them.
Play with variegated yarns.
Know the limits of the yarn.
And be ready to frog and use a different yarn for a project.

Slipped stitches and twisted stitches usually work well for breaking up the potential pooling and for standing out.

Twisted stitches
Simple slipped stitches
Variegated goodness

Perhaps you wonder what possibilities exist for variegated yarn. Perhaps you have experienced how easily a stitch pattern (especially lace) can be obscured by variegated yarns. I've outlined some of my ideas recently for Annie Bee's Colour Riot series when discussing rainbow yarns.  Using a second, solid colour and striping or holding it double helps to subdue some crazy variegation.  Keeping things simple with "plain" stitches is good too.  But other times you want to play with stitches.
Perhaps it's time to play with a sampler.
That's what I did a while ago.  I didn't see much use for the leftover orange-blue-brown yarn I had after knitting socks, so I decided to test out some different stitch patterns with variegated yarn.
                                1                                      2                                   3
NOTE: These stitches primarily come from my stitchionary, which is an old Mon Tricot book half fallen apart that I inherited.

 L-R: 1) Stranding with yarn held in front over 2 slipped stitches and alternating where one starts the stranding.  The stranding makes those colour sections pop. You could do random stranding in this way on an otherwise stockinette body.
2) Right side worked as [sl,k,yo,psso]. You could space the repeat with some plain K columns for a ribbed effect too.
3) Alternating columns of slipped stitches with 2sts K, 1 slipped. This would be the same pattern used in the socks above in this yarn.
  2                                    3                                          4                                 5
L-R: patterns 2 and 3 visible.
4) Granite stitch (K2tog across R2; Kfb across R3)
5) Wheat germ (spaced out rows of K1, K1b) - nice subtle way to break up pooling

            5                                         6                           7                        8
L-R: 5)Wheat germ
6) Brioche (knit on a smaller needle because it creates a much looser fabric)
7) "fake" brioche, which is actually a K1Below ribbing (K1, K1b) that my stitchionary calls brioche. Since I know it's not true brioche, I call it "fake". Certainly it has a similar look.
8)  Grain of powder

   7                   8                  9                   10             11              12                  13
L-R: 7) K1Below ribbing
8) Grain of powder
9) Woven rib
10) Linen
11) Eye of Partridge
12) Tweed

     12                   13                                 14                         15                  16
 L-R: 12) Tweed
13) Diagonal tweed
14) Diagonal crossed stitch
15) Bamboo
16) Knotted

As you can see, I worked with a lot of stitches that weave the yarn, pass slipped or YO stitches over, knit below, and occasional purls.   There are so many more open styled stitches I could have tried as well (and have tried while trying to figure out what is in this sampler). Another sampler is clearly in order.