Friday, February 27, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Britt Schmiesing
Website: Sneezerville
Rav ID: brittsneezer
Some Great Designs: brittsneezer's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: June 3, 2011

This month's designer revisit brings us to a champion independent designer!

Britt, please correct me if I'm wrong, but as of the publication date on this blog post, all 65 of her patterns have been self-published. A fantastic portfolio!

And in that portfolio, you'll find a consistent aesthetic of cozy, textured wearables. Here, I'll point out three of my favourites.

Her malachai cowl is part of a five pattern ebook featuring cowls of various sorts and shapes, but all including that delicious texture that this designer is so great at. Just look at that cable perched on the edge of that garter stitch!

You all know I can't say no to a super bulky knit. In her Meg hat, Britt has combined the simplicity of rib and speed of heavy weighted yarn with a fun pop of colour and the sizing flexibility for one hat to fit both a child's and adult's head.

Finally, I'll point you to her phaedrus hat that uses a simple background stitch for a decorative twining of raised diamonds, circling this flipped-brim hat, and culminating in a group at the crown.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Knitting Book Read Along: Our Third Book Begins!

Hooray! Thanks to everyone who voted, we have a new book selected for our third read along.
All discussion will happen in the Canary Knits Ravelry Group.

The Book
The Knitter's Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes

Where to Get It
Amazon (Kindle edition)
Random House
Knit Picks
Your local library
Your LYS

Knitter's Review

Get the book between now and March 16.
Read the book between now and June 1.
As this book is over 250 pages long I’ve given us about 3 months to get this book read and discussed.
That said, the discussion thread will never be closed!

No pressure!
Read at your own pace.
Set your own goals.
Participate as much or as little as you wish.
All discussion will happen in the Canary Knits Ravelry Group.

Can't wait to get started! I'll see you there!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Knit 2

Pattern Description:
Pippi is a cabled scarf that is knit in one piece with a super bulky yarn. Simple cables create a braid, while increases and decreases shape the work into a scarf/stole that can be worn several ways. Throw it around your neck for a scarf, tie the ends together for a collar, or loop it around twice and tie it up for a cozy cowl.

Fibre Used:
Noro Silk Garden, colour 272
45% mohair, 45% silk, 10% wool

lengths of necklace chain, ribbon

No size.

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
I made the necklace modification.

Alterations Done:
None on main version. On smaller version below, I omitted all the length that included the 10 st cables.
I also used lengths of necklace chain for two of the necklaces, and two lengths of ribbon on the "scrap" version.

Would I Knit This Again?:
Yes! In fact, I did! I made a practice one using all the wee ends and bits of Noro SG I had lying around. I also made a mini version with the remaining ball of Noro 272. The first, full Pippi used 30g, which left me with approximately 20g to complete the second one.

My Favourite Things About it:
It's so fast and fun and cute! I love manipulating the large cables, and I really like how well it works with all my retro Noro. I used to think that Noro was for entrelac. I now know Noro is for Pippi!

Mini version of Pippi, omitting all 10 st cables.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
I really can't think of a single thing I don't like. This pattern is fantastic!

Noro Remnants Pippi.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Knitting Tool Profiles: The Cable Needle

This is the second post in a year-long series.1 I'll post a new one on the last Tuesday of every month, with facts, photos, and further resources about twelve knitting tools.

Those who enjoy working cable designs know quite well how easy it is to lose these little tools; I have heard rumors that they can be found in the same place as lost socks.

-June Hemmons Hiatt, The Principles of Knitting

The Cable Needle

A selection of cable needles
From top to bottom, left to right: Knit Picks, LeslieWind silver ring needle, KnitPro Symphonie wood needles, 
a variety from Craftsy, RebbeltjesTouch's cable needle necklace, and Boye curved and ridged plastic needles.

What is it?
A cable needle is generally a short needle that can have a curve, bend, or notch, that is used to temporarily hold live stitches when completing a knitted cable.

Fun Facts
  • searching out the history of cable needles is a bit of a challenge; the closest I could get was to do a bit of reading on the history of cable knitting in general
  • the very famous Aran style sweater was "invented" in the 20th century
  • in her excellent knitting tome The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt notes that cable needles come in "three different sizes, for fine, medium, and heavy-weight yarns..." (pg 574)
  • her book was originally published in the late 1980s, and described there being only four different designs for cable needles on the market: a short and straight needle, a short straight needle with a dip in the centre, a fish hook shaped needle (which she notes stays put much better than the first two!), and a cable tool that looks like a "lethal weapon" and consists of a very short needle mounted on a ring that is worn on one finger
  • Maggie Righetti notes that there are various special "gadgets" made solely for the purpose of cableing, but personally prefers using a dpn one size larger than her working needle as this doesn't tend to slow her work down
  • do YOU use cable needles? what's your preferred shape or substitute device for cables? Please comment on this post and share!
Read More
Ethnic Knitting Adventures: Aran Sweaters in America by Donna Druchunas, Knitty Winter 2012
The Principles of Knitting, June Hemmons Hiatt
Knitting in Plain English, Maggie Righetti
Tips for Knitting Cables
Crazy for Cables (but not the cable needle)

Knit Kit (the curved crochet hook on this kit is my personal favourite cable needle)
Lantern Moon straight needles with grooves
Boye curved plastic needles with ridges
Knit Picks' variety of cable needles
LeslieWind's Ring cable needle and experimental needle
RebbeltjesTouch's cable needle necklace

1 Read the first profile on needle gauges.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 3

The third finished garment in my capsule wardrobe challenge for this spring/summer!

Pattern Description:
See & Sew Butterick 3197
Circa 1970s; Misses' Dress; Belt: Semi-fitted dress in below mid-knee length, has pointed collar, front inset with neckline slit, armhole bands and pockets in side seams, With self tie belt and topstitch trim.

Fabric Used:
100% cotton

side zipper

Size Sewn:

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
While this is a fanTASTIC dress, I could only find one other person on the interwebs who's made this up. So, no mod advice or errors suggested. 

Alterations Done:
As per my first version of this dress, I made the collar curved rather than pointed.
I also added a side zipper, because I think it would've been impossible to get on otherwise.
I made the belt a bit longer than the pattern calls for.
I didn't add interfacing to the collar/front panel.
Realized halfway through sewing up the front that the fabric was fairly transparent, and so had to hastily cut out some lining (used the same fabric as from my second Capsule Wardrobe garment).
Used French seams everywhere I could.

Would I Sew Again?:
Yes! I had already sewn this once before, and it's one of my favourite dresses.
My Favourite Things About it:
Pockets, fits well, love the wide belt.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
Can't think of a thing!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Heike Campbell
Rav ID: Scottishgirl
Some Great Designs: Scottishgirl's Rav Designer Page

Depending on what part of the earth you're standing, it's still super winter out there.
This week's designer has an array of texturally interesting patterns to suit these last few bitter days of cold, and even beyond!

Birkenbush (pictured) has great interplay of large and small texture motifs. Put all together, it makes this sweater looks cozy and timeless. It's spring-themed, too, so it'll keep your hopes up for this last official month of winter!
(Don't miss the Birkenbush Hat, designed to match!)

A fair number of her designs are shawls, and Port Logan might be my favourite of the bunch. I really like the width and shape of the edging, and love the thoughtfulness of her design for this piece:

This top down, triangular lace shawl with its exotic lace flowers edge is inspired by this temperate part of Scotland. These are matched with an out of the ordinary lace pattern for the body of the shawl, depicting leaves on short stems made with wrap stitches, and a decorative centre spine.
Finally I'll point you to the pretty Tulip Mitts. A bold, graphic design on traditional Norwegian Selbu mittens. These will keep your hands warm while reminding you that those tulips are coming soon. Oh so soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Geo Delight: With Sleeves!

© Josiphine
Last autumn Geo Delight was published in Holla Knits.
It's a vest with all sorts of fun texture and some fantastic colourwork triangles and chevrons. This is a garment with creative options for modifications!

I want to share with you a wonderfully modified Geo Delight.

© Josiphine

Here you see Josiphine's finished knit. I LOVE everything she's modified here.

  • chose warm colours and created a beautiful gradient on the cuffs and triangle colourwork
  • added sleeves with the fun detail of thumbholes
  • added pockets - so smart
  • made the front corners square rather than curved

Are you inspired by Josiphine's Geo Delight? Join the Holla Knits KAL and knit your own Geo Delight. You'll be able to win some fantastic prizes! The KAL is on from now until May 1.
© Josiphine

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Knit 1

Pattern Description:
Worked in a soft and creamy worsted weight wool, this seamless cardigan combines a variety of twisted rib stitch work that emanates radially along the cone-shaped sleeves. With a plain stockinette back and ribbed sleeves and band, this cardigan is a surprisingly quick and easy knit.

Fibre Used:
100% wool



Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
I couldn't find any mods or errata.

Alterations Done:
This is something of a Fraken-shrug. I used about four different yarns, all (almost) exactly the same colour and weight.

Would I Knit This Again?:
Absolutely! But next time, I'll make sure I have enough yarn. There wasn't really any simple way I could see to cut corners and save yardage.

My Favourite Things About it:
It's really simple to knit. Once you get to those sleeves, it's sets of rows that are the same thing, so it's great mindless knitting.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
I mean, this isn't the fault of the pattern, but wow, is it ever a yarn-eater!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 2

The second in my capsule wardrobe for this spring/summer! This one features mid-century kimono sleeves, a construction I've never sewn before!

Pattern Description:
Simplicity 1782
©1956; Junior Misses' and Teen Age Blouse and Overblouse: 4 versions of this pert short sleeve blouse with round neckline, tab trim or small collar. Blouse is "Simple-To-Make" with Simplicity's "Learning to Sew" primer - a special Unit Construction sewing guide.

Fabric Used:
100% cotton


Size Sewn:
36" bust, view 1

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
It was difficult to find any info on this pattern online, so I just had to wing it.

Alterations Done:
Since this pattern is one size too large, I threw caution to the wind and just worked all the seams I could as French seams. View 1 has a pocket on the sleeve, but I omitted this.

Would I Sew Again?:

My Favourite Things About it:
It's only two pieces (plus 2 facings), so is really quick and simple.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
IF I ever made it again, I'd definitely alter the neckline, and make it fully lined instead of using neck facings. I really don't know why I did them, because I know I don't like them!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Clare Devine
Blog: YarnAndPointySticks
Rav ID: knitsforklipskaap
Some Great Designs: knitsforklipskaap's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has a wonderfully bright, cute aesthetic. She designs for adults, but also has lots of selection for little kids, too!

Earl Grey (pictured) is representative of her style. It's got a great basic, classic shape; something fun and wearable for many years and many members of the family.

I LOVE the simplicity of Kunye. Especially those punctuating beads and the graceful way it wraps around the wearer's shoulders.

Her Crumpet Mitts are so cozy and sweet. I could use a pair of them right now! (endless winter!)

And just to give you a taste of her patterns for wee ones, I really dig Flexor, a colourful pair of socks. It's part of her sock knitting series Sock Anatomy: Dissecting Heels and Toes. It is available as a single pattern or part of the e-book.

There's so much more to see! Just hop on over to her Ravelry Designer page to check it out.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 1

I thought I'd kick off my capsule wardrobe for this spring/summer with a pattern I'm familiar with.
I've made this skirt in the past, so I was aware of the techniques used, the fit, and the level of difficulty.

Pattern Description:
Cynthia Rowley Skirt Simplicity 2512

Fabric Used:
100% cotton

zipper, interfacing

10, view B

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
I didn't bother to look up any advice/mods because I've sewn this skirt twice before.

Alterations Done:
I'm lazy: I didn't make proper bias binding tape. I'm sure it makes a difference, but my priority was using fabric I already owned, and so didn't really have extra to spare for proper tape.
Also, didn't use interfacing for tie ends.

Would I Sew Again?:
Absolutely! But next time, I'd cut out the size 12 waist band, to give more room to play and possibly finish with French seams.

My Favourite Things About it:
It's pretty fast, got pockets, gives a nice fit.

My Least Favourite Things About it:
It can be fiddly: placing the ruffles around the skirt evenly is tricky, and if you get it wrong then it looks like you have lumpy parts around your waist/bum.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Knitting Book Read Along: Selecting our Third Book

Hooray! It's time for us to vote on our third read along book!
So far, we've read Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann and Little Red in the City by Ysolda Teague. I've enjoyed them so much that I want to keep this momentum going!

Vote for our next book!

If you have a suggestion that's not listed here, please comment on this post and we can add it to the poll.

Voting will remain open until Wednesday February 18.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Chevvy is a near-instant gratification project for your favourite bulky yarn. The openwork and pointed edges are very easy to work, adding dynamism and a fun look to this accessory.

Worked sideways Chevvy is knit up in a flash. Perfect mid-winter knitting!

SUGGESTED Lamb’s Pride Bulky, 85% wool, 15% mohair, 125 y / 114 m per 113 g hank, (3 hanks) SUGGESTED Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, 100% wool, 137 y / 125 m per 100 g hank, (3 hanks)
SUGGESTED Knit Picks Cadena, 70% wool, 30% alpaca, 110 y / 101 m per 100 g hank, (3 hanks)

6.5 mm (US 10.5) circulars (at least 16” / 40 cm length) or size to obtain gauge
12 sts and 24 rows = 4” / 10 cm in garter stitch
To ensure your scarf matches stated size, please check your gauge
simple lace, increasing, decreasing
One size
60" (152.5 cm) long x 10" (25.5 cm) wide

Friday, February 06, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Carolyn Macpherson
Blog: The Next Beautiful Thing
Rav ID: CarolynMac
Some Great Designs: CarolynMac's Rav Designer Page

This week I'm featuring another fellow Ontarion! Carolyn's work is attractive, classic knitting.

The Holly (pictured) is a lovely, traditional beret with a fun twist; it has bobbles/holly berries at the crown!

Rainbows! In Space! is another of my favourites. It just might be the most bright, squishy fun wrap ever!

When I contacted Carolyn about this profile, she shared a bit with me about her inspiration.
Inspiration can literally come from anywhere. Memories, pop culture, the kids. My biggest problem is such a magpie that when something shiny comes my way and I start thinking and dreaming up designs, other ones get put aside. LOL though, I have begun dreaming designs… I guess that must mean I’m on the right track. ;-)

She has a beautiful blog where you can hop on over and see more of her work.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Horse Skirt Ahoy!

Which zipper should I use?
Cynthia Rowley 2512

I've made this skirt twice before. I wanted to make it again because I enjoy the process (easy to follow instructions, simple techniques), I like the way it fits (I don't have to alter the pattern at all) and it's something I love to wear (I feel comfortable, it has pockets!)

But I wonder: which zipper should I use? The skirt is almost done! Can't wait to wear it, and have my first capsule wardrobe piece done!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: The Schedule

I've begun creating my capsule wardrobe!
To keep me honest, I thought I better post my schedule here, for all the world to see.

I'm busily working away on my first garment, a skirt I've sewn once before.

And in a wonderful bought of serendipity, Kristen from Coletterie is working on a 2015 Wardrobe Architect challenge! My plans for my capsule wardrobe for this spring/summer falls mostly into line with this create-along, so I'll be keeping an eye on how things are coming along over at the Coletterie.

So readers: keep me honest! I should have my first capsule wardrobe FO to show within a week!

Feb 1 - 7: Cynthia Rowley 2512 skirt
Feb 7 - 14: Simplicity 1782 blouse
Feb 14 - 21: See & Sew 3197 dress
Feb 22 - 28: Kasia skirt
Feb 28 - Mar 7: Simplicity 1158 dress
Mar 7 - Mar 14: Simplicity 9548 dress
Mar 15 - Mar 21: Burda 8347 dress
Mar 22 - Mar 29: Cynthia Rowley 2250 dress
Mar 30 - Apr 5: Style 3035 dress

Pippi Necklace
Radial Shrug
Lacy Shrug
Crochet Ruffled Bib Necklace

Monday, February 02, 2015

Knitting Book Read Along: Our Second Book Wraps Up

Our second knitting book read along began almost three months ago!
Over that time, I've been able to read (most of!) our chosen book, Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City.

I've found it to be a great read to understand the foundations of sweater design. Ysolda makes this otherwise cumbersome and frighteningly math-riddled topic easily digestable (and fun!).

I'm pleased it's finally off my shelf and in my brain.

If you want to join the read along, the thread will never close! Hop over, I'd love to chat with you about your thoughts on the book.

And if you're interested in joining the read along for our next book, stay tuned! Details to come next week.