October 22, 2014

Sweet Fiber Accessories e-book

I had so much fun test knitting some patterns for Melissa Thomson's e-book just released last week called Sweet Fiber Accessories.  The patterns are gorgeous as is the photography for this e-book.   I am also a huge fan of her beautifully dyed yarn.  Although I would have loved to knit these pieces in Sweet Fiber Yarn I decided to do some stashbusting with yarn I had on hand.

First up was Dockside, a hat with some cabling and double seed stitch making a very warm slouchy hat.  My daughter loved it.  I knit this in some Madelinetosh 80/10/10 MCN, a merino, cashmere, nylon blend, a favourite of mine.

Dockside in Madelinetosh 80/10/10 in Sand Dune

The second pattern was a pattern called York a lovely cabled hat that I knit with some Malabrigo Merino Worsted, a 100% merino yarn.  This was the first time I knit with this yarn and I have to say I was impressed.  This is a beautiful yarn, incredibly soft and warm and available in so many beautiful colours. I will definitely be knitting with it again in the future.  I really think it is the perfect hat yarn.  

York in Malabrigo Worsted in Jade

The third pattern I knit was the Bedford Cowl, a beautiful cabled cowl using 600 yards (550 m) of yarn which created a substantial cowl for those very cold days. For this project I used Manos del Uruguay Maxima, a 100% Merino yarn in a beautiful shade of turquoise.  This was also the first time I have used this yarn and I have to say I was disappointed.  As I knit my hands were constantly turning blue and when I went to block it the dye that came out in the water was incredible.  The final colour once the cowl was dry was considerably less vibrant.

Bedford Cowl in Manos del Uruguay Maxima

Besides the shawl, Endsleigh, which I featured in my last blog, there are also two more hats and another cowl.  If you are looking for a fun project for the upcoming winter months you should really check out this e-book.

October 14, 2014

Sweet Fiber Accessories: Endsleigh

Over the summer I had the delightful opportunity to test knit a few patterns from a collection called Sweet Fiber Accessories, which was released today by Melissa Thomson, owner of Sweet Fiber Yarns in Vancouver.  This collection consists of a beautiful shawl named Endsleigh, four hats and two cowls.  


The first pattern I knit from this collection was Endsleigh.  Although the pattern called for Sweet Fiber Yarn Merino Twist Worsted I used Coastal, a DK weight yarn, in Vintage Lace, using up about 2.5 skeins. The yarn blocked out beautifully creating a perfectly sized shawl.

Sweet Fiber Coastal

The pattern was well written and easy to follow. Any errors I made were easy to fix, making this a perfect pattern for those that are learning how to knit lace. This 50% merino and 50% silk combination feels heavenly and I will definitely be getting a lot of wear out of this beautiful shawl.

The perfect sized shawl

The colours in Sweet Fiber Yarn are so stunning.  Check out Melissa Thomson's online shop .  I may just be headed over there now ;o)

Stay tuned for my next blog entry about the other patterns I knit from this beautiful collection.

October 5, 2014

Part Three Scotland: Stirling Castle


I just realized that I never published the last of my Scotland photos.  As I have mentioned before Scotland had the most stunning views and I loved every moment of the trip...even the weather!  Near the end of our Scotland tour we visited Stirling Castle.  What a beautiful building as you can see from these photos.  The view from the castle was stunning and I really loved learning about the history of this castle.  If you ever go to Scotland this castle is definitely worth the visit.














A lovely house we saw on the way back to our hotel

September 29, 2014

In My Queue: Knitting Goals

New patterns are popping up on Ravelry everyday lately.  It's crazy!  There are so many beautiful patterns that I have added to my queue recently.  The choice is a bit overwhelming to be honest.  Apparently cabled sweaters are really in this fall my sources tell me.  A few of the patterns mentioned below include some cables.

Here's my list in no particular order:

1.  Endearment by Hanna Maciejewska, a beautiful cardigan with a cable and lace pattern in the front knit in fingering weight yarn.  I have wanted to try a pattern by this designer for some time.  I think some of my Sweet Fiber Yarn Super Sweet Sock in Sapphire would work well.



Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock in Sapphire

2. Capall Dubh by Carol Feller knit in a sportweight yarn.  This lovely cardigan has a lace shoulder and back.  I have been working on improving my lace knitting skills and I want to challenge myself in this area. This looks like the perfect pattern to do just that.  The designer is hosting a KAL (knit-along) starting in November and I find them very helpful and motivating. For this pattern I have some Madelinetosh Pashmina which Carol Feller has said would be a good substitute for the suggested yarn.  I am going to knit up a gauge swatch to see if it will work.

Madelinetosh Pashmina:  Baroque Violet

3.  Japan Sleeves by Joji Locatelli is a fingering weight striped sweater with a lace panel going up the sleeves.  I have some leftover Tosh Merino Light in Teddy Bear and I am thinking of pairing it up with Tosh Merino Light in Robin's Egg.

4.  Vector,  found in Wool People 7, by Tanis Lavalee.  This scarf pattern looks like a great project to do on the side, when I need a break from all that sweater knitting.  It is knit mainly in garter stitch using a finger weight yarn.  I have bought another Pebble Sock  Black Trillium Gradient Kit in shades of grey.  I think it will make a lovely scarf for a friend of mine.
Black Trillium Gradient Kit in Pebble Sock:   Crater

5. One last sweater that I think is stunning is Caroline by Amy Miller.  Guess what?  It's in fingering weight yarn again.  I must be a sucker for punishment.  I love the lines of this sweater and the cabling up the sides.  It is simply beautiful. I also like that it is a seamed sweater because I think seamed sweaters hold up the best.

Of course there are lots of beautiful shawls and cowls that I would love to do as well.  Too bad I work for a living!

As you can see I have hours of knitting ahead in the above mentioned patterns. It will really help me fly through the winter.  If only these patterns were knit in a sensible weight like DK or aran, not in fingering weight yarn!  Slow knitters like me would be crazy to attempt the above.

Call me crazy!


What's on your list?

September 21, 2014

Autumn Knitting: Julie Asselin

I love this time of year.  The air is getting crisper and suddenly everyone is need of a knitted item to stay warm.  Yarn shops are full of yarn just waiting to be bought to help knitters survive the fall and winter ahead.  And as for the patterns....everyday new patterns pop up on Ravelry...there are so many that I am adding to my knitting queue daily. 

In the spirit of autumn, I had to do my knitterly part, and so this weekend I visited a yarn shop called Lettuce Knit located in Kensington Market in Toronto. 

Fun spider web outside Lettuce Knit

 If you are a tourist travelling in Toronto and want to get your hands on yarn by Canadian dyers this is the place to go.  This yarn store really focuses on promoting Canadian yarn and carries such brands as Ancient Art Yarns, Biscotte and Cie, Yarns of Rhichard Davrieze, Handmaiden, Indigo Moon, NBK and my current favourite, Julie Asselin, to name a few.  Have a look at Julie Asselin's Colorways page to get a sense of her extraordinary sense of colour. Lately patterns using her yarn are popping up on Ravelry.  One of my favourites is the Campside shawl by Alicia Plummer, a free pattern using three skeins of Julie Asselin Leizu DK, a 90% merino and 10% silk blend.  Another popular pattern using this yarn is a gorgeous sweater called Poivre & Sel.  Also a new pattern that can be downloaded for free (for a short time only) is First Crush, a cabled cowl by Kalurah also knit in Leizu DK.   The very popular shawl pattern, Spinel, by Paulina Popoliek has the most gorgeous lace panel knit in a fingering weight yarn called Fino (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10%silk).

As you can imagine I had a hard time deciding, as seeing the colours in person made it even more difficult.  Here's what I purchased: 

Merlotto (lace weight) in Coraline

Nanos (fingering) in Blood Orange



Piccolo (fingering) in Plume




The colours are so vibrant


Lettuce Knit has samples of all the yarn colours Julie Asselin creates and will order any colour you require.  The yarn, at this time, is not available online from Julie Asselin's website but can only be purchased through stores that carry the line (there are a few online stores as well).

If you are in the market for some yarn to carry you through the months ahead and are in the Toronto area, or just passing through, go to Lettuce Knit.  You won't be disappointed.

September 14, 2014

Hitofude + Madelinetosh Merino Light

There are so many fingering weight yarns to choose from in the yarn world these days. If you looked at my stash you would see that this weight of yarn is one that I have the most of.  You can knit anything in this weight from socks, to shawls, to cardigans. And the colourways available are spectacular.  For example look at this beauty that I just received in the mail:
Pigeonroof Silky High Twist Sock in Railroad Stake
I have it sitting on my desk and it makes me happy everytime I look at it.

But, one of my favourite reliable fingering weight yarns, that I go back to again and again, is Madelinetosh Merino Light, a single ply yarn.  Not only does Madelinetosh produce some amazing colourways but the way the yarn reacts to blocking is so impressive.  It truly is magic.

Take a look at my latest knitted cardigan (Ravelry notes here) that I just recently finished:  Hitofude. I am always attracted to patterns that will teach me something new and help me improve my knitting skills.  I had read a lot about this pattern and it's unique design.  Many people used Madelinetosh Merino Light.  I am always happy when I can stashbust and I happen to have had a number of skeins in a colourway named Teddybear, which is now discontinued, sitting in my stash. This pattern was so cleverly unique in its construction.  First I knitted a large rectangle:


Then I folded it and seamed the sleeves




Then I worked on the body.

Unblocked Hifotude


And then I blocked it and the finished cardigan looked like this:

The blocking just opens the lace up beautifully.




The whole time I was knitting Hitofude I was worried that it looked too small but this yarn blocked to the perfect size.  I could have made the sweater even bigger if I wanted to reblock it more aggressively but I was satisfied with the result.  This is a very verstaile cardigan that can be worn with a dress or skirt, but also more casually, with pants.  So if you are ready for a little challenge and can follow some basic lace directions I think this cardigan is one to try.  You won't be bored and you will end up with something very wearable.  And if you have never tried Madelinetosh Merino Light you really should. (That's my tip of the day!)

Now what shall I do with my Pigeonroof High Twist Sock?

September 6, 2014

Ginger Twist Studio


If you have been reading my blog for some time you know that when I travel anywhere I always visit the local yarn store if I can.  I can happily say that I was able to visit Ginger Twist Studio when I was in Edinburgh. 



This yarn store was a small, inviting place with a good variety of yarn.  The friendly owner, Jessica James, was there and happily answered answered any questions I had.  On display were the actual knitted pattern samples by the infamous Scottish native Ysolda Teague.  It is quite a thrill to be able to see the pattern knitted up in person when you have only ever been able to admire it on Ravelry.  Here are a few of her lovely samples:




Chickadee





Wee CarsonWee Leisel and Wee Chickadee

Ginger Twist yarn was the owner's own line of locally hand dyed yarn.  The colours were just beautiful.

Ginger Twist Yarn

After much debate I came away with this beauty:  Splendor, a fingering yarn that is 50% merino and 50% silk.  A beautiful combination of blues and purples.

Ginger Twist Splendor


The other kind of yarn I had heard a lot about was Bluefaced Leicester, a drapey and lustrous yarn. (See this article which explains the difference between merino and BFL)  Ginger Twist Studio carried West Yorkshire Spinners yarn and I ended up buying three beautiful DK skeins that are 100% Bluefaced Leicester.  I regret not buying a couple more skeins because this yarn is absolutely gorgeous and I would have loved to knit it into a cardigan.

West Yorkshire Spinners yarn:  100% Bluefaced Leicester

While travelling throughout the Highlands of Scotland sheep of all kinds were always out in the fields.  It was a thrilling sight for me, I have to admit.  I even visited a sheep farm and got to help shear a sheep.  I was going to add a photo of this momentous occasion but the photos my husband took of me were far from complimentary, as I was bent over the sheep.  You will just have to take my word for it : )

These collies were directing traffic

Everywhere we went in the Highlands sheep were in the distance










I wish I had more time to find stores that sold other yarn but the locations and shops we visited were sadly lacking in this area.  

Now to find some patterns for my yarn from Scotland....