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!

January 11, 2018

F.O. Clarke #2 by Jane Richmond

Pattern:  Clarke Pullover
Designer:  Jane Richmond
Yarn: Julie Asselin Hektos (75% merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk)
Colourway:   Brume:  7skeins (two colours in one skein)
Romance:  1 skein (for ribbing on cuffs, hem and neckline)
Julie Asselin Hektos

Colourway:  Brume

Colourway:  Romance
Needles: 4.0mm & 4.5mm

Ravelry: my notes

Clarke Pullover
Added Notes:  
When I visited the Julie Asselin both at Knit City, my eyes were instantly drawn to the Brume colourway.  Somehow I missed the fact that I was purchasing two separate colourways, that were joined together, to look like one skein.  When I got home and opened the skeins, I saw to my surprise, two colourways.  Luckily, I didn't mind at all, as these two colourways were gorgeous.  However, I had to rethink my choice of pattern for this yarn.

Surprise!  Two colourways!

I immediately thought of the Clarke Pullover.  Of the many sweaters I have knit, the Clarke Pullover is one of my most frequently worn.  I knew that it would work well with two colourways, producing a much more subtle stripe than the original one I knit.  Also, the cashmere and silk content would produce a very different fabric.  (You can read about that sweater here). 

Clarke Pullover #1
I cast on Clarke for a second time.  The original pattern calls for ten rows of the main colour and four of the contrasting colour.  Having only bought seven skeins I knew I would not have enough of the main colour.  Instead, I knit ten rows of the main colour, followed by six rows of the contrast colour. That turned out to be a good decision, as I only had a tiny amount left of the main colour when it was finished.  I used a third colour (Romance) for the hem, neckband, and ribbing on the sleeves.  I am very happy with the result, and I can see myself wearing this sweater quite a bit. The yarn was a dream to knit with and creates a luxurious fabric, one that I can't wait to wear.

This is my first F.O. of 2018. Have I convinced you to knit the Clarke Pullover yet?  It is an easy knit and it produces a sweater that you will wear again and again.  It works well with any worsted weight yarn in stripes or a solid colour. What are you waiting for?

Happy Knitting!

December 30, 2017

A Look Back: 2017

Like so many of you, I have continued my obsession with knitting and yarn.  I think there has to be some kind of Ravelry record set this year for the number of patterns published.  It seemed like everyday new patterns were popping up on the Ravelry Pattern page.  It was hard to keep up.  I have enjoyed checking out all the new patterns and yarn throughout the year and the size of my queue is ridiculous.  There are just so many patterns I want to knit.  I think we can all agree that 2017 will be remembered as the Year of the Fade thanks to Andrea Mowry.

I present to you my annual round up of favourites for 2017.

Best Yarn Shop:  Haus of Yarn, Nashville, Tennessee
The variety of yarn, the size and warmth of the store, and quantity of knitted samples was impressive.  I would highly recommend this store to anyone visiting the Nashville area.  You can read about my visit here
Just a sample of what Haus of Yarn carries (Wool & Boon and Old Rusted Chair)
Feyre Shawl by Shannon Cook:  one of the many samples at the store

Best Sweater/Cardigan:  Camira by Carol Feller
I love this cardigan's unique construction and how well it fits.  It is a sweater I wear on a weekly basis, and I think it would look great knit in many different yarns.  
Camira by Carol Feller

Best Yarn BrandWoolfolk
I have knit a number of accessories in this yarn and love everything about it.  It is incredible to wear, and my dream would be to knit a cardigan in this yarn.  I would never take it off.
On the C Train knit in Woolfolk Fär

Best Yarn Colour:  Maize by Tanis Fiber Arts (Purple Label)
One of my favourite things to do is to photograph yarn.  When you have a colourway that looks like this, it is an absolute joy.  Tanis outdid herself when she created this colourway specifically for Knit City 2017.  
Tanis Fiber Arts Purple Label:  Maize colourway

Best Knitted Accessory:   Deep Woods Toque by Kiyomi Burgin
My favourite accessory was a hat I knit for my daughter, using Tanis Fiber Arts' Purple Label Yarn, combined with Sweet Fiber Yarns Super Sweet Sock.  I love everything about this hat.  The colour combination and finished product makes me so happy.
Deep Woods Toque

Yarn That Impressed Me:
 Gauge Dyeworks Merino Twist Classic (colourway All Together Now) 
I knit Martina Behm's very popular Hitchhiker using this beautiful colourway.  I love how the yarn colour switches back and forth.  I think the dyer behind this yarn is super talented.  Just have a look at the shawl below to see what I mean.
Gauge Dyework Merino Twist Classic

Hitchhiker Shawl

Best Knitting Instagram Feed:  1. Clara Parkes (Instagram stories)
If you haven't checked out Clara Parkes Instagram stories you definitely should.  She is so witty and her stories always make me laugh.
2. Instagram Photos:   As for Instagram pictures this is an impossible choice.  The amount of talent on Instagram is incredible and inspiring (and a bit overwhelming trying to keep up to be completely honest).  Some of my favourites are:  espacetricot, quinceandco, boylandknitworks, happycactusdesigns, soveryshannon and mysocalledhandmadelife.

Best Knitting MagazineLaine Magazine
This Nordic knitwear magazine showcases impressive patterns by talented designers, as well as interesting articles.  It is an enjoyable read and totally worth every cent.  If you haven't had a chance to look at a copy yet, you can check out the patterns from the magazine on Ravelry.  

A few of my favourite publications

Best Knitting Vlog/Podcast:  Melissa and Lisa of Espace Tricot wins hands down for me this year. 
This definitely was the year of the podcast. There are so many talented vloggers out there, but the owners of Espace Tricot (a Montreal yarn store) are consistently enjoyable to watch.  Each time I watch their podcast I always learn something new, and end up adding patterns to my queue.  I find them so entertaining and talented.  

Favourite Designer:  Andrea Mowry  
I have yet to fade anything, but I admire Andrea's talent and prolific designing.  I have many of her patterns in my queue and will definitely knit a few of her designs in 2018.  Here is one of Andrea's patterns called Goldfinch that I knit this year.
Goldfinch by Andrea Mowry
knit in O-Wash O-Wool Sport
I am also super impressed with Caitlin Hunter and her unique designs.  I am excited to see her new designs in 2018.

Best Yarn Show:  Knit City in Vancouver
I have to be honest and admit that I only went to one show this year, but wow, it was a great one!  Everyone involved in Knit City was super friendly.  There was so many talented designers and dyers, as well as amazing classes by talented teachers. Vancouver is my favourite Canadian city to visit too. If you can only go to one show next year this is the show you need to get to.
Designs by Sylvia McFadden

I think it was a great year in the knitting world.  I am excited to see what new designers emerge in 2018 and what's hot.  What were some of your favourites?