March 27, 2018

WIPs: Hamble, Stronachlachar, and Old Romance

Every now and then I go through my large Ravelry queue, and try to reduce the number of patterns in it.  I find this quite challenging as there are so many amazing patterns which have stood the test of time.  Of course, I am also tempted by new designs that crop up daily, and so my queue just grows and grows.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Recently I seem to be obsessed with knitting sweaters.  Instead of casting on just one sweater, I have cast on three!  Two are newly published, and the third has been in my queue for a long time.  And the best thing...all are knit from stash yarn.

1.  Hamble:  I am a long time fan of Isabell Kraemer and have found that her patterns fit me well, and tend to get worn quite a bit (see Aibrean, Mailin, and Seashore).  I could not resist Hamble, Isabell Kraemer's newest pattern knit in Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy, a sport weight yarn.  I had the perfect yarn in my stash.  On my trip to Nashville in the fall, I picked up three different coloured skeins of Rosy Green Wool from Haus of Yarn, to knit a shawl.  Only one skein was needed for the top of the Hamble body so I used one of the colourways I had called Edelweiss. In my stash I also had some O-Wool O-Wash Sport yarn.  These two yarns work perfectly together.  Although I love both yarns, I found that Rosy Wool is one of those yarns that I kept squishing as I knit.  Rosy Green Wool definitely lives up to the hype.   (I found out that O-Wool carries Rosy Green Wool if you are interested in trying a skein).  Here's my progress so far: 
Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy in Edelweiss
O-Wash O-Wool Sport in Cuckoo Flower

Pigeonroof Yarns Silky High Twist Sock in Railroad Stake

2.  Another new pattern that I cast on as soon as it was published is Stronachlar,
 part of the West Highland Way collectionby Kate Davies.    If you haven't had the chance to look at this collection of patterns I highly recommend it.  I had the perfect yarn in my stash for this pattern, about 900m of a DK weight wool called West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Faced Leicester DK.  I love the look of the simple cables and, if I can finish Stronachlachar soon, it will be the perfect spring sweater to throw on top of a blouse.  

West Yorkshire Spinners Bue Faced Leicester DK

3.  Since the beginning of the year I have been slowly working on Old Romance, a fingering weight cardigan, by Joji Locatelli that was published four years ago.  The pattern starts with two identical lace strips that become part of the sleeves.  I decided to knit both lace inserts at the same time.  Each day I slowly added a few rows until I knit the 27.5" required and then the fun began. This cardigan has a similar construction to Joji's Japan Sleeves, as the lace panels are knit first, and once done provide the foundation for the sleeves.  The interesting construction keeps me entertained, but as it is a fingering weight sweater it will take me some time to complete.  See my Ravelry notes here.

The pattern begins by knitting two lace panels
knit in Madelinetosh Light in the colourway Cathedral

The next step is to join the pieces and create the two arms and neck
Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino 20 in colourway Verve

If only there were more hours in a day!  The trouble with knitting three sweaters at the same time is that it never looks like I have made much progress.  However I will remain hopeful that I will have three new sweaters to wear this spring.  Wish me luck!

March 23, 2018

Woolercoaster's Wonderful World of Wool: March 17-23

It was another busy week in the knitting world.   Here's a few highlights that caught my attention this week:

Hot Patterns:
Andrea Mowry does it again with this gorgeous cowl called The Shift, knit in Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool, a lovely sport weight yarn.

A stand-out pattern for me this week is Line of Shapes by Suvi Simola, a gorgeous lace sweater knit in 100% merino sport weight.

©Suvi Simola

Free Patterns:
Don't forget to get your free copy of the newly released pattern from Shetland Wool Week called Merrie Dancers Toorie, a pattern by Elizabeth Johnston.  Check out the Instagram feed for this hat at #merriedancerstoorie to see the many colour combinations knit already.
Merrie Dancers Toorie

Knitty Spring + Summer 2018 has just been released with 12 free patterns just in time for your spring knitting.  One beautiful lace shawl from this publication is Arashi by Ema Marinescu.
 ©Ema Marinescu

How about these Thriambus socks by Rich Ensor?

© Rich Ensor

Knit Along:
Helen Stewart has a new mystery knitalong called the  Impressionishts MKAL on sale starting March 23. You will need three colours of fingering weight yarn to create a mystery wrap.

YouTube Videos:
Edinburgh Festival:
I was so envious of all those people that attended the Edinburgh Yarn Festival last weekend.  The next best thing to going is to watch some podcasts of fellow knitters who had the good fortune of going.
Haul videos: Periscoping SistersThe Corner of Craft, Yarngasm, and Fiber Tales.
Inside the FestivalGrace O'Neill has one video for each day of the festival,
and Skeindeer Knits also shares some of the sights and sounds of the festival.
Also check out Kristyglassknits YouTube channel for several videos about the Festival.

Tutorial of the Week:
If you go to 25:57 in the Fruity Knitting Podcast Episode 45 you will see an excellent tutorial on Weaving in Ends as you knit.  I found this video very helpful for knitting projects that have a lot of colour changes (e.g. stripes).  I wish I had watched it much sooner!

Travel Ideas:
I absolutely love travelling and I am always on the look-out for new places to visit, especially when knitting can be involved.   A Knitter's Weekend:  Northampton, Massachusetts by Gale Zucker on the Mason-Dixon blog reveals all the knit and fabric worthy places to visit in Northampton (let's not forget the pie shop that's mentioned).

And finally, have you been keeping up with the voting on Mason-Dixon's March Mayhem?  Round 3 opens today with 16 patterns advancing.  Don't miss out on the fun.

Have a great weekend and happy knitting.

March 8, 2018

Woolercoaster's Wonderful World of Wool March 3-9

As we near the end of winter, here are a few knitting related news items that might help you fight those winter blahs:

1.  The patterns nominated in the Mason Dixon March Mayhem 2108 were announced this week. The categories this year are: Neck and Shoulders, Sweaters, Yokes, and Mini Skeins.  Under each category are 16 patterns with links provided. Everyone is welcome to vote on their favourites starting March 15th.  By the end of the month there is a final Champion pattern.  If you did not join in on the fun last year, you should definitely check it out.  It's a great way to discover  patterns that you might have missed in 2017.  I can guarantee that you will add some of these patterns to your queue.

2.  Stephanie Earp, a consultant at the yarn store Espace Tricot, has published a gorgeous new sweater called Galore. This sweater is knit top down and colours are changed every two rows. Isn't it stunning?  I also love the fact that it is knit in DK weight and is a great stashbuster.  The colours Stephanie chose are gorgeous, but this sweater would look wonderful in many different colour combinations.  You can get 30% off Galore until March 23rd with coupon code MADTOSH.  I am looking forward to seeing what Stephanie designs next.

©Stephanie Earp

3. Another beautiful new pattern that caught my attention is Hamble by Isabell Kraemer knit up in Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy, a sport weight yarn.  I picked up three skeins of this yarn when I visited Haus of Yarn in Nashville. It is incredibly soft, and I regret not buying a few more skeins to make a sweater. This would have been a lovely one to knit with this yarn.  Isabell's patterns are always easy to follow and look great on.

4.  Have you seen the new Party of Five Mini Skein Sets by Sweet Georgia Yarns including Candy ShopSalt Water Taffy and Fairytale.  So pretty.

Candy Shop Party of Five Mini Skein Set©Sweet Georgia 

5.  Newsletter subscribers received the sad news that Knit Purl in Portland is closing.  This yarn store was high on my list of yarn stores I wanted to visit.  The good news for knitters is that they have a sale for 25% off everything.  Don't miss out.

6.  Hannah Fettig's first Mystery KAL  for a worsted weight, set-in sleeve cardigan has just begun.  There's still plenty of time to join the fun, and if mysteries are not your thing, the full pattern will be released to all at the end of the month.

7.  The last thing I wanted to mention was Karen Templer's Log Cabin Log-along has finished.  She announced the winners on her Fringe Association Blog here and if you haven't checked out her Instagram feed for the Logalong, it's definitely worth a look.  #fringeandfriendslogalong 

It's great to be back sharing what has caught my attention in the knitting world.  Please visit my blog at the end of each week to check out what's new.

Happy knitting everyone!

March 6, 2018

F.O. Burr by Véronik Avery

Pattern:  Burr from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2012

Designer:  Véronik Avery

YarnGreen Mountain Spinnery Mewesic (100% wool, DK weight)
Colourway:  Purple Haze

Green Mountain Spinnery Mewesic

Purple Haze

Needles:  4.0mm

Ravelry:  my notes

Added Notes:

1.  It feels so good to finish a project that has been a work in progress for some time.  I started Burr in August 2017.  I knit the back and then got distracted by other knitting projects.  Fast forward to February when I decided to join the Ravellenic Games 2018 Knit Along. 

The Ravellenic Games' purpose was to challenge Ravelry members to finish a project during the 2018 Winter Olympics.  I picked the category of WIPs and challenged myself to finish my Burr cardigan by the end of Closing Ceremonies.  It was not easy to reach my goal, but thankfully I finished it on the last day.  I find that setting goals is super motivating for me in all areas of my life, I really should do it more often.

2.  The Burr Cardigan is seamed.  Once all the pieces are knit, the fronts are seamed to the back, and then the ribbing for the collar and the button band is completed.  Although there are many advantages of a seamed cardigan, the hard part is not being able to try it on as you go.  This pattern was written with an intended ease of 4-5 inches which is what I think I achieved.  However, I think I would have preferred less ease if I had to do it all over.  

3.  Veronik Avery's pattern is well written ad easy to follow.  I appreciate how she added a lot of  pretty details.  For example, look at the detail around the collar:

There was only one direction that confused me, and after searching the forums for an answer with no success, I emailed Brooklyn Tweed my question.  I was so impressed when I received a helpful reply so promptly.  In my experience I have found Brooklyn Tweed patterns to be high quality, from the detailed way the pattern is written to the support available through the Brooklyn Tweed website.

4.  Modifications were few.  Many knitters had warned that the sleeves came out rather tight so I spaced my increases closer together (every six rows).  I probably could have done increases eight rows apart and that would have worked too.  I knit the shortest length of sleeves, but after blocking the sleeves were too long on me.  I could have knit them an inch shorter.  What I like about this pattern is how versatile the cardigan is.  You can dress it up or wear it with jeans and it looks great.

5. I really enjoyed knitting with Green Mountain Spinnery Mewesic Yarn, a gorgeous tweedy yarn.  The flecks of colour found in this yarn added an extra depth to the cardigan.  Mewesic is available in many gorgeous colours and I would highly recommend it to you. This pattern originally called for Brooklyn Tweed Loft held double, but I was able to get gauge with the yarn I used and I am pleased with how it knit up.

What does a knitter do once she gets a cardigan off the needles....cast on for two more of course.  More on that later...xo

February 18, 2018

F.O. Log Cabin Tea Cozy by Woolercoaster!

Karen Templer''s Fringe and Friends Log Cabin Make-along introduced me to the log cabin technique of knitting.  Karen took this technique and created her own design called Log Cabin Mitts.  This inspired me to create something that I have wanted to knit for a long time.

One of the simple pleasures I enjoy is drinking a pot of tea and knitting.  I slowly drink my way through the pot, however, I find my tea gets cold too quickly.  I have been looking for a tea cozy pattern to fit my teapot, and keep my tea warm longer.  When I learned how to knit a log cabin square I thought it would be the perfect technique to create my own tea cozy.

After playing around with different yarn, needle sizes, and combinations I came up with my own version.  Let me introduce you to my Log Cabin Tea Cozy:

I have never created my own pattern before, and I have to admit that I am very happy with the way it turned out.

Here is my first attempt on 5.0mm needles:  

First Attempt
I knew that I wanted to use a 100% wool to keep the heat in.  I chose two colourways of Cestari Traditional Yarn (colourways:  Natural White and Light Gray/Medium Gray Tweed) and Quince & Co. Osprey yarn (colourway:  Shell).  Both yarns are aran weight and create a nice thick fabric.  I used three colours for each square.  However, the tea cozy was too big as it was knit on too loose a gauge.  To keep the heat in a much tighter gauge was essential.

When creating my second version I played around with different needle sizes and colour combinations, until I came up with a much tighter knit fabric.  Here are the details:

Pattern:  Log Cabin Tea Pot Cozy

Designer:  Me! Plus I used Karen Templer's directions on how to make a Log Cabin square found in her Log Cabin Mitts pattern.

Yarn:  Cestari Traditional Collection (100 % wool)
Colourway: Light Gray/Medium Gray Tweed & Natural Medium Gray (for the top)
Cestari Traditional Yarn

Yarn:  Quince & Co. Osprey (100% wool)  
Colourway:  Pomegranate

Quince & Co. Osprey
Needles: 4.0mm

Ravelry: see my notes

Added Notes:

1.  In my second attempt I tried to achieve a more modern look by keeping the center square as the pop of colour.  Then I used the same tweedy colour for the remaining portions of the log cabin square.  The choice of a tweedy yarn was helpful as it hid any imperfections when I seamed the squares together.  I used Very Pink knits tutorial on Learn How to Knit a Log Cabin Blanket to learn how to seam the squares together neatly. Go to 28:07 for the part of the video on seaming. 

Seaming the squares together
2.  After joining the squares I picked up stitches and created a top for the tea cozy by knitting in the round.  I finished off with an i-cord.  The result is a tea cozy that slips on my tea pot easily.

Knitting in the round
Decreasing stitches
Finished with an i-cord

Next Steps:  I would like to reknit this tea cozy again playing with the colours in the squares.  There are so many fun variations that could be created.

So thank you Karen Templer for introducing me to the Log Cabin technique and inspiring me to create my first design.

I am off to make a pot of tea and get out my knitting.  Hope you're having a good weekend.

p.s. I have a large La Creuset teapot 

February 4, 2018

F.O. Log Cabin Mitts by Karen Templer

When Karen Templer of Fringe Association announced that she, together with Mason-Dixon Knitting, were jointly hosting a knitalong based on the Log Cabin method of knitting, it caught my attention.  She challenged the participants to create anything they wanted using this knitting method.  I have never knit a log cabin construction before, and I was intrigued to see what people would create with such an open-ended challenge. Many gorgeous projects have been created since the Logalong began on January 1st.  My absolute favourite project is here (by The Perwinkle Sheep).

However, I was content to stand by and watch my Instagram feed until Karen Templer finished designing her Log Cabin Mitts and generously shared the pattern for free!   As soon as I saw her mitts, I knew I had to join in the fun, and knit my own pair.


Pattern:   Log Cabin Mitts

Designer:  Karen Templer

Left to Right:  Hektos, Shelter, WATERshed
YarnBrooklyn Tweed Shelter 100% Targhee Columbia
Colourway:  Plume

YarnHarrisville Designs WATERshed  (100% wool)
Colourway:  Slate

YarnJulie Asselin Hektos (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk)
Colourway:  Plume

Needles: 4.0mm

Ravelry:  my notes

Added Notes:  
I can't express to you how much I enjoyed knitting these mitts.  From choosing my yarn, to gaining a clear understanding of how a log cabin construction is knit,  I was thoroughly entertained.  Karen's pattern was very easy to follow, and pictures were provided in case of any confusion.  I was also impressed with the unique way in which Karen turned the square into a well fitting mitt.  Here are a few photos to help illustrate the steps.
First Seven Patches

Nine Patches (before blocking)
After blocking all the ends are sewn in

With right sides facing the wrist stitches are joined
The thumb gusset is knit

This is the perfect pattern to use up worsted weight scraps and the colour combinations are endless.  Since this was my first time knitting a Log Cabin pattern I followed the colour order suggested by Karen.  The only difference with my mitts was that my square blocked out to 7.5 inches, instead of the suggested 7 inches.  However, I am very happy with the fit. 

Front view

Rear View 
After completing my mitts I fully confess that I am hooked on knitting log cabins.  The number of possibilities are endless, and these mitts are a good way of showcasing that. 

If you would like to check out what people are creating you can follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #fringeandfriendslogalong  

You still have time to join in, as the Logalong doesn't end until the end of February.  I think I am going to challenge myself to create my own pattern using the log cabin...I will report back soon! 

January 15, 2018

F.O. Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West

Pattern: Boneyard Shawl  (free pattern)

Boneyard Shawl

Designer:  Stephen West

Yarn: The Blue Brick Niagara MCN (70% merino, 15% cashmere, 15%nylon):  discontinued  500yards (457 metres)

Colourway:  Iceberg
Needles: 4.0mm
In progress

Glacier colourway

my notes

Added Notes:

This is such a basic pattern I almost feel silly blogging about it.  However, I am choosing to write this blog to draw your attention to how beautiful the Blue Brick yarn is.  The reason I chose to knit such a simple pattern is because this yarn is so pretty, I only needed a very basic pattern to showcase it.  I love the passion and work of Shireen Nadir and her husband Tito of The Blue Brick, two Canadian hand dyers.  Each yarn they produce is based on a photo that this talented couple has taken, often from nature.  The Blue Brick's specialty is handpainted, ombre and gradient yarn, as well as tonals. Check out all the beautiful colourways available here.  I knit the Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis knit in The Blue Brick Killarney Sock in the gorgeous Labradorite colourway.  Have a look:

Killarney Sock:  Labradorite colourway

Starshower in progress

I had the pleasure of meeting Shireen at the Frogpond Organic Winery Art Show in Niagara-on-the-Lake last summer.  

Wearing my Starshower knit in The Blue Brick Killarney sock
I have been a long time fan of Shireen and have admired her many skills (including knitwear designer, photograper, and jewellery designer to name a few).  If you read The Blue Brick's blog or follow them on Instagram, you would have seen many pictures of their two gorgeous dogs.  I was so touched when I read the adoption story of their dog Sammy last year. I encourage you to check it out.

It's true that owning your own business has its challenges, but Shireen and Tito had an exceptionally hard year last year, as described on their blog.  Hopefully 2018 is better for them. I look forward to seeing The Blue Brick grow their business, and create new colourways and products.  So much talent!