February 28, 2016

Gray Rose: by Thea Colman

I just made the sweetest little hat called Gray Rose by Thea Colman.  Although I had intended to knit this pattern for myself, it didn't quite go as planned. For some reason I chose to knit the hat in the smallest size.  I have to admit that I didn't bother knitting a swatch with the yarn and I ignored my inner voice telling me that the pattern was turning out too small for an adult sized head.  But I was enjoying knitting this adorable pattern so much that I decided to just finish it and put it away in my bottom drawer, as a future gift for someone special.  I definitely want to knit it again in an adult size at some future date.  Ravelled here.

Gray Rose

I loved knitting with the West Yorkshire Spinners DK yarn that I had bought in Scotland a couple summers ago.  It is a Bluefaced Leicester yarn and I find myself gravitating more often toward knitting more with sheepy yarns and less with superwash yarns.  When I was buying this yarn I thought that one could only find this yarn in Scotland or England but I soon discovered it in a Canadian yarn shop on a trip to Vancouver. 88 Stitches in Langley, British Columbia has a great selection of it both in DK and Aran weight.

WYS Bluefaced Leicester Yarn

I used my leftover Woolfolk yarn for the flowers and it worked perfectly with the WYS yarn.  I added some Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Yarn in Tidal for that punch of colour.

woolfolk far

After knitting Gray Rose I knew that I wanted to use the rest of my West Yorkshire Spinners BFL to knit a cozy sweater.  I decided on Georgetown by Hannah Fettig in her published book Home & Away.  Each pattern in this book provides you with the option to knit a seamed or seamless sweater.  Although I haven't had much luck with seaming sweaters recently I am determined to master my skills, so I have jumped right in and chose the seamed option.

I can hardly wait until it's done.  

Gotta go...must get back to knitting. Have a great week!

February 21, 2016

Swatching: The Art of Picking a Pattern

A couple of weeks ago I was able to quickly decide what I wanted to knit with my Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn.  Everything just clicked together without any effort at all on my part - it took under five minutes to make a decision.  I chose to make the Farmhouse Shawl by cabinfour and I ended up with a shawl that I love and will be worn frequently.
Swatching for a sweater
Now I am looking for my next project.  I know I want to knit a cardigan or sweater but it is taking me so long to decide.  There are just so many options on Ravelry that it can be overwhelming. Plus, knitting a sweater is a huge investment of my time and I don't want to put all that effort in and not be happy with the result. It seems that the more I know about knitting, the more particular I am about which pattern I will knit. 

Madelinetosh Pashmina:  Baroque Violet

 I knew I needed a strategic plan to figure it out. I decided to focus on four different yarns that I was interested in knitting with.  I then went through my Ravelry queue and Favourites list.  I wrote down the names, kind of yarn, gauge, and needle size that would work with those yarns.  I then knit some swatches, and from there I am going to see if any of the swatches will work with any of the patterns.  This way, I will have figured out not only the next sweater I will knit but hopefully the next two or three.

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label:  Painted Jeans

West Yorkshire Spinners DK

Madelinetosh 80/10/10 Sport:  Tannenbaum

So what's a girl to do while figuring this all out?  Knit socks is what I highly recommend!  I've had this beauty waiting it's turn for some time.  Julie Asselin's Piccolo, a 80% merino, 20% nylon yarn.  It is incredibly squishy yarn, so I can imagine how lovely the socks will be to wear.  A recent convert to sock knitting, I have to admit that I choose handknit socks to wear everyday over all my commercially made ones.  They are so comfortable and breathable. I never used to see what the big deal was about sock knitting, but now I totally do.

Julie Asselin Piccolo: Plume

The pattern I chose was Business Casual by Tanis Fiber Arts.  It is a cuff down construction with a simple cable running through.  As I knit through these socks, I will continue to swatch and look through my sweater pattern options.   I find sock patterns so much easier to choose than sweater patterns despite there being so many to chose from.  

Hopefully no more new and amazing patterns will be published that will divert my attention from my final decision.  That won't happen, will it?

February 15, 2016

Farmhouse in Plume

I had wanted to knit a big woolen shawl that I could wear during the chilly winter months around the house.  In my stash I had Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, a worsted weight 100% wool yarn in the colourway Plume. It was the perfect amount for a shawl.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter:  Plume

Here is Shelter with The Fibre Company's Road to China Light:

When looking for a big, rustic shawl pattern that would work well with this yarn, I remembered my Pure Worsted shawl by cabinfour that I knit in the summer. I looked at her pattern page and as soon as I saw the Farmhouse shawl I knew I had found the pattern I was looking for.  I love how picking a pattern to knit can be so simple sometimes. This was one of those instances.

Within eight days I had this beauty:

Farmhouse by cabinfour

Preblocking this shawl measured 54" x 23" and after blocking it measure 70" x 28", which was exactly the size I was looking for.  Perfect for cozying up under. 

I had never used Brooklyn Tweed Shelter before.  I enjoyed knitting with it and only had one instance where the yarn broke, when I accidentally tugged it too hard.  I love the Plume colourway with flecks of pink, blue and red and I was impressed with how the yarn softened up after blocking.  I definitely see what the hype about this yarn is all about.

Bring on those chilly mornings.  I'm ready. 

7 inch fringe

Ravelled here.

February 7, 2016

F.O. Seashore by Isabell Kraemer

Seashore, by Isabell Kramer had been in my queue for a long time and was the perfect sweater to have as my first project of 2016.  It is knit top down, and like all her patterns, so easy to follow.

Turquoise is one of my favourite colours and knitting with the Undine colourway in Black Trillium Fibre Studio Pebble Sock Yarn (100% merino) made me so happy. 

Black Trillium Pebble Sock Yarn:  Undine
I paired this kit with Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino 20 (70% merino, 20% cashmere and 10% nylon) and it was a match made in heaven. The two yarns worked so well together and the cashmere in Sweet Fiber Yarns added such a luxurious feel to the sweater. 

Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino 20:  Smoke
I was so worried that I would not have enough yarn with just one gradient yarn kit of Black Trillium Yarns.  But it was the perfect amount of yarn for this sweater. One kit was enough for the body of the sweater as well as six stripes on each sleeve. There is even enough yarn leftover from four of the colours to use in some future colourwork project, such as mittens or a hat.

Knit top down
I certainly have become a big fan of Isabell Kraemer since I knit Mailin, a sweater which has got a lot of wear.  She seems to know how to design the most wearable sweaters that are fun to knit and therefore hugely popular with knitters.

My Ravelry notes are here.  I highly recommend that you try knitting a pattern by Isabell Kraemer, if you haven't had the chance yet.  The original was knit in two colours but I think it's the perfect sweater to play with your leftover fingering yarn that you may have laying around.  If you love knitting with colour you should definitely check out the Black Trillium Fibre Studio website.  You will be amazed at all the colour choices. And if you purchase any yarn by Sweet Fiber yarns you will not be disappointed.

Have you knit any sweaters by Isabell Kraemer?   Which ones do you recommend?