Friday, May 30, 2014

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Leah Coccari-Swift
Blog: Ruby Submarine
Rav ID: RubySubmarine
Some Great Designs: RubySubmarine's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: November 18, 2011

I really, really like RubySubmarine's style. It's exciting, colourful, fun, and wearable. And always with an edge of interesting shape and style.

I'm so glad that I'm profiling her now, because she's got a bunch of great stuff for this increasingly-warm part of the year that you can (and should!) knit for yourself.

Her ebook, Married to the Sea, is a fantastic companion to this season. Filled with great summery designs, this collection has you covered from accessories to garments and even housewares! The pictured Octo shawl is an eight-pointed, three-coloured piece of lovely, elegant knitting. Her photography makes you see yourself with these knits, happy on the beach, happy in the sunshine.
And because I like them so, and want to make it extra easy for you to see the other patterns in this collection:
Dolman Tunic Pullover
Urchin Shell Hat
Tidal Cowl
Arms Pillow

Feast your eyes on the Double Deco shawl. This is a great colour-blocking bit of fun. And of course, you can alter this to reflect your own colour preferences, but I think the pattern sample has colours that just make me think of the seaside and relaxed, warm summer days.

Speaking of the seaside... Baby Octopus and Squid! Enough said.

I'm sure by now I've convinced you of the solid awesomeness that is RubySubmarine's work. Go check out the rest of her stuff! And here comes the summer!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gardening DONE (well, sorta...)

I've made it somewhat of a tradition to talk on here about my gardening (mis)haps.
And indeed, 2014 shall be no different!

Well, yeah, it's different.
It's different insofar as I'm not really planning on going into much veggie gardening this year. As it is, I have quite a small garden, but also, I've got ideas that I'll be growing all the flowers for my wedding in October. I figure devoting as much soil to that end as possible is a wise move.

There are the errant garlic bulb and tomato seed that were left from last year, but aside from them, it's MARIGOLDS ALL THE WAY, BABY!

And so when I saw that this past Monday's weather was going to be ridic warm, I seized the opportunity to grab a few perennials, clean up the remnants of 2013, put out all remaining garden furniture, and enjoy the day.

Photo above, from top left: crazy warm!, one of my favourite perennials in the yard, the first flowers of 2014, my nails match my swatching yarn!, kicking back with a beer, and a rogue tulip amongst the strawberry patch.

What are you gardening this year?

Knits that Breathe Winner!

This is just a quick post to announce the winner of the Knits that Breathe giveaway.
The random number generator has spoken, and selected lucky number 6: ferventknitter!

I'll be in touch with Julie and she'll be able to send you your ebook copy of Knits that Breathe.

Thanks to everyone for participating!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Renee Hahnel
Blog: Spun Right Round
Rav ID: SpunRightRound
Some Great Designs: SpunRightRound's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has two cute little cowls. And I love me my cowls!

Pictured is Lil' Peaks. I really dig it's texture and colour combination. Makes me feel like my stash of variegated yarn has finally met it's ultimate knitterly end. Good end. For me. And I guess for the yarn. Does yarn want to be knit or stay in it's hanked form? Oh, yarnny existentialism.

And here's the super bulky Wicker cowl. Want some instant gratification knitting? This is it! Super bulky used in the best of ways.

Can't wait to see what this designer publishes next!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dress Success!

I wondered a while back if I could get this dress sewn in time for early May and TNNA.
And I did it! But for some fool reason, just didn't feel like bringing it along with me that weekend.

As you can see from the pics of the pattern (which is New Look 6699) this dress comes with options a-plenty.

What I like about it:
  • Comfortable! I did that thing I've learned to do and cut fabric for a size 10 when, according to the measurement chart, I should really be a size 12. And it fits! It's a wee, wee bit loose around the waist, but my middle is appreciating that fact as I've been enjoying the wonderful delights from the plethora of irresistible restaurants in my city.
  • I really, really like the little gathers for the bust, rather than darts. I've had some issues with bust sizing, and I've finally invested in an inexpensive french curve set, so that I can experiment with full bust adjustments.
Dress form - yay!

What I'll change next time I sew it:
  • Now that I know how extensively looooong they've designed the skirt, I'll make it about 5" shorter than the pattern.
  • I'll likely try the narrow skirt option next time, instead of the full one you see here.
  • Make the (likely very quick) adjustment of nipping in the waist a bit.
  • And, most importantly, add pockets! I feel so lost without pockets!
I've also realized that there's another basic adjustment I may have to learn to make: the straps sit sort of funny on my shoulders. They don't lie flat, and tend to feel like they're always slipping off.
Now, I'm no expert, but I'm wondering if this means that I have a slightly more sloped/angled shoulder than the standard the dress is designed to? 

Now, don't laugh at me, this is how I learn: I just jump in and try to fix stuff in (what might be) totally incorrect and goofy ways. So, upping my bravery, I'm posting this photo of my attempts to pin that strap flat.
I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that it didn't work, no matter how many combinations I tried or times those damn pins poked me. I fear pins. Evil little things.

So yes, it is sewing season! I have plans. Ridiculous amounts of fabric and plans. Watch this space for more novice sewing adventures!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: Knits that Breathe

©  Zoë Lonergan
I've had the great pleasure of working with Julie Turjoman in the past. She's the author of Brave New Knits, in which she brought together designers both new and established from around the internet.

This time, she's published a book full of her own beautiful designs! Happily, I was able to cross paths with Julie at TNNA a few weeks ago, and she agreed to send me an e-copy of Knits that Breathe so that I could review it here for you all. AND host a giveaway! But more on that shortly.

Knits that Breathe: 12 Breezy Projects to keep you cool is a book that you want to get. Inspired by knitter's desires to keep on knitting even in the hot hot heat, this book is filled with sweaters/tops for women that are graceful and pretty.

“[L]ife in a warm and humid climate, an unpredictable internal thermostat, or sensitivity to animal fibers – KNITS THAT BREATHE has you covered.”

I like this book because:
  • It has a fibers resource guide: I LOVE charts, and this one gives nine different fibres, and info like drape, hand, elasticity, source, antibacterial, strength, and more. VERY interesting.
  • Large size range: “More than half of the projects are sized up to a 54" bust or larger, with special instructions where necessary to achieve optimal fit.”
  • Gives you sweaters you can knit for the HOT weather for those of us who love to knit sweaters, and don’t like the idea of working solely on accessories in the summer.
  • Each pattern has a nice intro, clear diagrams/schematics and the  ebook has links from each pattern to its accompanying page on Ravelry
  • The book is styled in such a way that I want to just have it on my shelf; it’s aspirational and achievable beauty, making THIS summer-hater think more kindly on the season
  • ©  Zoë Lonergan
  • These patterns are the sort of designs that can suit a very wide age range of women.
If I had to pick a favourite pattern: hard to choose, but I think the Flutterbye Silk Tunic is a good example of what this book has to offer.
This design shows you what a silk lace yarn can do. It's for more than just shawls; it has the drape and beautiful sheen to make a top that can in turns be a relaxed casual piece and a more formal, feminine piece depending on how you style it.

Knits that Breathe group on Rav

Buy the book in hard copy or ebook form

But wait! You could win a copy of the ebook.
I highly recommend you enter yourself into this giveaway. It's a great book.
To enter the giveaway, just comment on this post with your favourite warm-weather fiber (eg: cotton, silk, bamboo, linen, etc…)
Please remember to leave me a way to contact you, preferably your Ravelry ID should you have one.

The winner will be drawn and announced Wednesday May 28.
Good luck everyone!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Got Dressed Up, So Here's Some Pics!

Last weekend was a very fun one! My little brother, who I imagine is little no longer, was married.
I had so much fun, in fact, I'd like to share a few pics with you all.
There are, admittedly, ZERO links to knitting here. Just some images of fun.

My brother and new sister-in-law.

From top left: pretty centrepieces! / Me and MY dude. Our date is rapidly approaching! /THIS, right here, is possibly the greatest party idea ever. Shots of creamy, delicious liqueur in CHOCOLATE CUPS! Wowza! My only regret is getting my greedy mitts on but two of them. / and finally, guess who's clutch THAT is :)

Family pics, via photographer Delicate Impressions

Friday, May 16, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Jana Huck
Blog: Janukke Strickdesign
Rav ID: janukke
Some Great Designs: janukke's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has so much for me to share! I'm going to try to keep it brief, and give you some of my favourites from her design portfolio:

The Muk Collection has three fantastic knitterly exercises in shape, simplicity, and stitch: the Muk Hat, Scarf, and Cuffs. It was a tricky decision, but I chose the hat as the feature image for this post because I think it best shows her great understanding of the great effect of a subtle shape.

I love a simple, top-down shawl, and Melange is a great pattern for just this. Described as having a drapey, wing-like shape, this piece also features short rows - which I always love!

Don't miss Wellenschlag. I'll let janukke's description tell you about it: "On the first side you will work patterned sections and plain stocking stitch short row wedges alternately. They are complemented by a garter stitch triangle on the second side. The curly fringes are worked as you go. No extra loose ends to weave in!"
It's cool; check out the pics.

She has lots of great patterns, but I'll just end off with this bit of fun: On the Shore. Possibly one of the most complex blankets I've ever seen, I'm sure you'd love creating a knit with ribbed sting rays and a finished object that is more quilt-like than not.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Calamus: Cover Girl Yeaaaaah!

© Knitscene/Harper Point
Exciting news!

I've made my first cover. Woo!

As you may know, I was at TNNA a couple weeks ago. One of the first things I did (after stuffing my face with delicious, delicious Chipotle) was head on over to the fashion show and say hello to friends and colleagues I see so rarely.

Don't ya know, almost immediately I run into Amy Palmer, the editor of Knitscene, and she's toting images of the upcoming mags.

Sweet! I get a preview of that Calamus hat I mailed off lo those many months ago. It's cool to see how the magazine presents your work, with styling and wonderful photography and models and the like.
So Amy holds up the binder and what do I see looking back at me but Calamus! Wowza! Cover pic!
In reality, it took me a few ticks to actually get it. I think the longer it is to take it in the bigger the awesomeness factor.
Or the dopier the designer, you takes your pick.

Anyhow, see Calamus on my non-model head below. It's amazing (though not surprising) how the yarn colour is so misrepresented in my shitty pics!

The theme this design was made for was "Flock", that is, birds. So you know I had to submit to THAT theme.
Calamus is a light and airy hat, with lacy yarn overs tracing down along the length and culminating in mock feathers that sit decoratively, framing your face.
Pick up a copy of Knitscene Accessories 2014 top get your hands on Calamus!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Michael Dworjan
Rav ID: Aptenoknits
Some Great Designs: Aptenoknits' Rav Designer Page

I have to say I'm a bit inspired by the knitting ethos of this week's designer: " I like to pioneer new techniques, especially if they’re thought to be impossible."
Brave! And I can certainly understand the drive, myself.

And you can see that interest in both of his pieces I'll feature here:

The pictured Six Braid Wedding Ring Scarf includes the advanced techniques of double-knitting colourwork (making this a reversible scarf) and cables. Inspired by his wedding ring, this scarf's tracery-like cables intertwine physically through colour and texture. It's beautiful on its own, and fascinating to imagine knitting. But fear not; if you've never attempted these techniques, but need one of these scarves for yourself, he's included a photo tutorial.

Flipping For Pine Cones: This is a double-knitting and lace scarf. Yep, double-knitting AND lace. It creates a really cool effect that I'm quite a fan of.
Exciting ETA!

Latest news from the designer:

Beetles and Combs is his latest piece, and it's a bulky weight reversible and versatile wrap. I love that texture! And can you believe this: it's designed so that there's lace on one side and cables on the other. How cool is that?!

Look for a new pattern from Aptenoknits in the coming months in Love of Knitting magazine, and one with Cephalopod Yarns! Ooo, I love their stuff. Looking forward to seeing them!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Preview Peek

This is just a super quick pop on post to let you know there's a sneak preview of my upcoming design in the Holla Knits Home Collection. Exciting!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

TNNA Recap

I don't know how I made the words come out of my mouth, considering the significant lack of sleep I'm still feeling, but I published a podcast yesterday evening about my TNNA weekend. Have a wee listen here.

And, if you're in to photos, here's some for ya!

In the Polika booth with Jean Chung, Krista of Rain City Knits, Emma Welford and Claire Sandow.
Me and the super talented Allyson!

Holla Knits crew! Mari Chiba, me, Emma, Jean, and Claire.
Some of the goodies and sights from this weekend! From top left:
bright yarn in the Rowan booth, beautiful decor in The Yarniad's booth, sweet sweet chocolates from Imperial Yarn, Ahh! It's a dino!, delicious shake from Steak n Shake, Anzula's dreamy display, some freaking adorable kits from Red Gate Stitchery, and some soothingly-scented lotion bars from Milk and Honey.

I'll have more to say about products and fun stuffs from TNNA in future podcast episodes. Care to listen in? Just subscribe through iTunes to Canary Knits, or grab the RSS feed.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Diana Rozenshteyn
Blog: Sunny with a Chance of Knitting
Rav ID: deenulya
Some Great Designs: deenulya's Rav Designer Page

It's getting warm out! This designer's work is a one-stop-shop for your light, lovely, lacy knits.

The pictured piece is Sweet Nothing.
Isn't that a great photo? I think it really captures the underlying essence of her design style.
It has a delicate, picot and beaded edging, something great as, well, a sweet nothing! I can see a piece like this being of great use in the spring/summer wedding season! Those nights can get chilly, people!

I'd also like to point you to her Once Upon a Leaf wrap and Afterglow. These are, again, great pieces that I think transcend age and will always be a great, reliable, beautiful piece of knitting in your wardrobe. You can equally knit these pieces for your classy, teenaged niece or your dear grandma.

She has very many more wonderful designs on Ravelry!