Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Knitting Tool Profiles: The Circular Needle

This is the third 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.

A further benefit is that it is impossible to lose on e of the pair, as often happens with straight needles. Even better, you can fit into even the narrowest chair (airplane seat) and still manage to knit without risk of poking your neighbor.
-June Hemmons Hiatt, The Principles of Knitting

Intreccio, 50 mm circs
Photo: artstringboutique

What is it?
Circular needles are knitting needles that are connected to each other by a flexible wire or cord.

Fun Facts
  • The first US patent for a circular needle was issued in 1918, although in Europe they may have been used a little earlier.
  • The 1900’s saw the invention of the circular knitting needle, which is in fact a pair of straight needles connected by a flexible material. Early circular needles were made of steel wire cable with the rigid ends crimped on. These joints would often snag the knitted yarn, which was a major reason why the circular needle was so slow in gaining acceptance.
  • In The History of Handknitting by Richard Rutt this is what is said about the circular needle; "The circular needle was probably developed in Norway. It was advertised as "Flexknit, patent applied for", in 'Ladies'Field' Jumpers(Book 1) in 1924. The flexible part was then made of steel wire cable, and the rigid ends were crimped on. The join would,with use and wear, tend to snag the knitted yarn, and this feature contributed to the slow sucess of the circular needle."
  • Circular shawls do not have the long history that square shawls do because of the relative newness of circs (from Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman Nichols).
  • According to June Hemmons Hiatt, circular needles are called "twin pins" in Britain.
Further Reading
Asking people about their experience is very valuable: read some feedback on the lived history of circular needles on the Knitter’s Review forum here.

Hiya Hiya
Knit Picks
1 First on needle gauges, second on cable needles.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What I'm Working On

Quick peek today at some of the knitting I've got on the go.

I'm really excited about this one. It's got me thinking of the warm weather, cause it's for Holla Knits Summer issue.
I just mailed the sample off... and I already can't wait to get it back!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Linda Skuya
Blog: Inmost Knitwear

Rav ID: ElevenHandmade
Some Great Designs: ElevenHandmade's Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: April 1, 2011

This designer has been all over the crochet world since I first profiled her in 2011!

To name a few:

Crochetscene 2014 with her fun, openwork top Coldwave Sweater. I always love it when designers make crochet fun and wearable. I can absolutely imagine adding this to my warm-weather wardrobe.

Crochet! magazine featured her Florette Scarf, a delicate, fringed accessory.

The Polka Hat, from Interweave Crochet in 2012. This beanie is worked without seams, and has eye-catching contrast colour bobbles.

Inside Crochet had her Torquay Jumper, Vogue Knitting Crochet had her Ballet-Neck Tee, and (one of my favs) It Girl Crochet had her adorable Edie Clutch.

And this isn't even to mention the many patterns she's independantly published.
I'll show you two of my favourites.

First, is the pictured Slide Tank Top. I don't think I need to tell you all how awesome this is. Crochet short rows and great colours combine to create a really fun and attractive warm-weather top. Can't you see yourself in this one?!

And the colourwork wonderland that is the geometric Drop Down Top. Please take a look at these (and the rest of her work). You'll never think about crochet in the same way again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Knit 3

Pattern Description:
Ruffled Crochet Bib Necklace
This is a triple layered statement necklace just oozing with ruffles and frills. Almost any yarn/hook combination could be used, to get your desired size.

Fibre Used:
Zauberzeug Wilma (held double)

lengths of necklace chain

No size.

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:

Alterations Done:
Just held the yarn double!

Would I Knit This Again?:
Possibly. I think it's a cute little stash buster.

My Favourite Things About it:
The possibilities: I have dreams of an ombre one!

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Garment 4

The fourth garment is complete for my spring/summer capsule wardrobe! It might be late, and not perfect, but I love it anyhow.

Pattern Description:
Kasia Skirt
Great for summer fun, this skirt features gathering of the pocket backing and bold bib-front buttons. Try using a contrast for the pocket backing for some extra punch.

Fabric Used:
Two different 100% cotton fabrics.

zipper, interfacing

Size Sewn:
38, but the waist was far too large. The rest of the skirt fit well. I just took the waist in by about 3".

Modification Advice/Errors in Pattern:
Checked out reviews on Sewing Reviews and a number on Burda Style itself. Posted the most pertinent info below.

  • Peacock Chic says: stay stitch front curve to help in fiddly gathers, front pockets tend to pop away from body, add snaps, Make sure to use a thinner lining fabric for the pocket pouch. Thicker fabric will cause the pocket seam to press on the front and it may show.
  • punk_rose says: I would suggest making a size larger than the measurements indicate on the pattern, but not two. This made it a little too loose, and I had MORE fitting problems as a result. Also, choose a fabric with some structure, like cotton, but you don't want to use anything thicker than a canvas-weight, since in some places the layer are quite thick.
  • nicegirl says: My one complaint with the pattern is that the front bib lining goes only about halfway down the skirt. When I was planning this skirt I intended to make the inner front panel go the full length but then forgot while cutting and didn't have enough fabric to recut it. If you know it's there, you can see the ridge of the bottom of the inner panel at thigh level and it just looks a little tacky.
  • SewSara says: I should note that in step 9, they reference piece 9 along with 6&7, but piece 9 is the back hip yoke, not part of the waistband. I should also add that in step 4 & #8 when attaching the hip yoke to the skirt panel, it says to pin. I basted the yokes to the skirt before sewing and it helped immensely.
  • evildaemonlady says: modification of zipper on back and no buttons! Her blog here. First and foremost, the skirt has a back zipper. I split the rear waist piece and added 1.5 cm to each side at the center, so as to allow for a seam there. In the original pattern, the skirt's kangaroo pocket pouch hides a center front zipper and closes with buttons. In my version, I omitted the second front waist piece that used to top the kangaroo pouch and did not sew seams designed to keep the pockets separate from the zipper. Instead of leaving the flap free, I first basted it and then machine sewed it into the actual waistband when I applied it to the skirt. The waistband was applied last and in finishing, I hand sewed the waist facing to the top inside of the skirt.
  • andread says: There are a couple of minor errors in the instructions. In Step 8: When you go to assemble the waistband, the instructions will tell you to "position the interfaced center and side yokes 9 pieces 6 and 7)." I deciphered that the "9" there is actually supposed to be the open parenthesis, and it does not refer to piece #9. Secondly, in Step 9: After you sew the interfaced front yoke piece onto the skirt front panel, you will be instructed to "fold inside and press the seam allowance of the bottom edge along the interfaced front yoke," then sew it onto the yoke you already sewed, right sides facing. In order for that to make sense, the instructions to fold under and press the bottom edge MUST refer to the UNinterfaced yoke section (i.e., the one you haven't yet sewn onto the garment). Hope these clarifications are helpful!

Alterations Done:
Moved zipper to the back (which mean piece 7 is unnecessary and button holes didn't have to be done).
Had to take in the waist about 3".

Would I Sew Again?:
Maybe. I really like the look of it, and feel like I've learned a lot about it in the process of making.

My Favourite Things About it:
Pockets! And I think it looks flattering. To be honest, I was ready for it to look garbage on me (due to my lack of skills and my own materials, not the pattern itself).

My Least Favourite Things About it:
SO fiddly! I'm sure a more experienced sewist would have no problem, but I'm not yet able to envision the right way to 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Whole Earth Education
Rav ID: wholeearthed
Some Great Designs: wholeearthed's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer is particularly talented at pairing the right yarn with her designs.

Sinkhole (pictured) uses a sturdy, wooly yarn held double to create a dense and warm fabric, perfect for protecting your neck and shoulders from the cold.

Stone Bridge is an exercise in luxury. Lopi paired with madelinetosh communicate a level of smooth, textural sensation that complement each other wonderfully.

And lastly I'll point you to Nith River, a pair of mitts that developed from the designer's infatuation with Icelandic Lopi. A fantastic point to note about these simple mitts: they come in seven sizes, so you can knit some for the whole family.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Knitting Book Read Along: Join In!

Today is the official start to our third read along.

Our book this time is Clara Parkes' Knitter's Book of Yarn.
Knowing your yarn is important in creating projects that are successful! (Just ask me about 8 years ago, when I knit a slouchy beret in bulky, 100% alpaca!!)

Please join the read along! All discussion will be happening in the Canary Knits Ravelry Group.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Magdalena Roslaniec
Blog: Drobiazgi Maknety
Rav ID: makneta
Some Great Designs: makneta's Rav Designer Page

Airy shawls and little whimsies are Magdalena Roslaniec's forte.

Pictured is her colourful Umbrellas Shawl. I always get excited when I see a fun way to use self striping yarn, and I think this is a great example of that.

I'm also really keen on the colourplay happening in her Morning Mist Half Circular Shawl . This piece has a repeating, simple-yet-complex colour structure that gives interesting movement and allows for a great range of creative colour substitutions.

She also has a selection of little ornaments. Never too early to knit for the holidays (?)! My favourites are this tree and these adorable acorns.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fibre Festivals

I'm pretty excited to say that I just found out I'll be able to attend the Toronto Knitter's Frolic this year!
It's April 25-26 this year, and I'll be there on the 25th to get me some yarn fumes in the marketplace!

Will you be going this year? I'd love to meet you, so come up and say hi!

It occurred to me that it'd be helpful for more than just myself to have a Guide to Tackling the Fibre Festival.

Guide to Tackling the Fibre Festival: Knitter's Frolic Edition

Fibre Festivals: In General
  • Have a purchasing plan. Unless you're comfortable going in unprepped. It totally depends if you're someone who needs specifics or can make impulse purchases right there on the floor.
  • Cruise the floor. I function best at fibre festivals when I've had at least a good once over all my purchasing options. I'll then go back later and invest my cash in the stuff I'm most excited about.
  • Go with people who match your shopping style. It can/will get CROWDED in there. Some people lolly about and take their time. Some people speed through like hummingbirds. It's best not to mix these two shopping types. Unless you're both up front about it and establish your preferences beforehand.
  • At least consider what you're going to do about eating. Every fibre event I've ever been to has on-site food options, but those can have issues: not the food you want/can have, very long lines, takes up a large amount of time, crowded dining space, relatively expensive. Personally, I like to bring some "emergency" food and water.
  • See your other options. The Knitter's Review website has a thorough (and I mean thorough!) list of fibre events. See what's coming to a place near you!
  • Diversify your payment options. Not everyone always takes credit. Or debit. Or cash. What if that one booth has that one must-have yarn and they don't take the payment you have?
  • I've also done a Rhinebeck tips video. It applies to more than just Rhinebeck, though.

Knitter's Frolic: In Specifics
  • Parking? Go early! The lots fill up pretty fast. The marketplace opens on Saturday at 9:00, and there's usually a significant line to get in.
  • Driving? AVOID THE DVP. Quite helpfully, the guild has given us all a heads up that the Don Valley Parkway will be closed on Saturday. So plan those alternate routes.
  • The charge to get in this year is $6.00. Have cash at the ready!
  • Don't forget there's two floors of vendors! Pop upstairs for plenty more to touch and see and ogle.
  • Check out the list of vendors beforehand. It's up online! It'll help you in creating that plan of attack.
  • Dress in layers. I've been there on years where I was alternately freezing and sweltering. It's never a sure thing.
  • Come say hi to me! I'd love to meet you!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe: Timeline off the Rails

Yah, stuff happens. I've gone off kilter with my schedule.
It's mostly because I've been choosing to focus on a few other projects over the last couple of weeks, but it's also because the Kasia skirt is one that requires a bit more of my brain power and focus, and it's a bit intimidating.

I've never sewn this skirt before, and have made the (foolish?) decision to change the closure placement. So, I'm following and altering a pattern I've never worked with. Tricky.

Kasia has multiple pieces just for the waistband, and it's a pretty fitted skirt, so I don't want to screw it up. I'm lazy, and will most likely not go back and pick out any mistakes I make in production.
It's good to know yourself, people.

Anyway, I've withheld the pleasure of cutting out the next pattern on the schedule for my capsule wardrobe; my own little trick to keep myself motivated.

I'm hoping to pop back on here soon with well-fitted proof that I can catch up to a schedule gone haywire!  

Friday, March 06, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Andrea Mowry
Blog: I'll Knit if I Want To
Rav ID: dreareneeknits
Some Great Designs: dreareneeknits' Rav Designer Page

Read below for giveaway info! 
I just want to wrap myself up in all Andrea Mowry's patterns.

Kingsley (pictured) uses a great, simple texture (just look at the light play off it in the photo!), is unisex, and has the option for a more close-fitting or slouchy hat.
This is something, according to the forecast around my place, that I can wear for at least the next three weeks.

I'm really in love with her cozy slippers Wanderers: Modern Mukluks and California Comfortable. I need to make both: the former has such attractive and fun-looking colourwork, and the latter uses stockinette and simple shaping to create what I figure is the coziest looking slippers ever.

And just one more: Levi. It's a staghorn cable-covered cowl or scarf. I love the option. It fits in perfectly with her aesthetic which is cozy, warm, and walks a great line between modern and classic.

I'm really looking forward to her next designs!

ETA: Andrea has kindly offered Canary Knits readers a giveaway!
Just comment on this thread for your chance to win a single pattern of your choice from her Ravelry shop. Let me know which is your favourite!
Winner will be announced March 12th.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

What I'm Working On

Just a few glimpses.

This one is a dreamy cabled confection. SO many twists and turns. Should be out in a few months!

This one is a colour play. Might be quite a while until this puppy is out, but man, am I ever having fun with this knit!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

By Hand London: Be Still My Heart!

I've quite recently fallen in love with By Hand London.
See all their available patterns here.

I love their style. These ladies know how to design sewing patterns!
Over the last two months, I've sewn two of their dress patterns. And one of them I've sewn twice!
I wanted to share with you all how much I dig their stuff.

My favourite things about it:
  • that back! Those pleats!
  • I love the snug fit through the bodice and extreme tulip of the skirt.
  • This was my first time working with a much heavier cotton fabric; I think it worked well with the dress.
 My mods:
  • had to cut off over 10" of skirt length
  • this required me to nip in a bit at the bottom edge to keep the original spirit of the skirt shape, instead of getting a more flared A-line

For next time:
  • I need to learn FBA! I think that's what I need. You can't see it in the pic above, but it gapes something awful at the sleeve edge.
  • of course, cut about 10" less for the skirt length!
  • and add pockets! By Hand London has a tutorial for adding pockets here.

My favourite things about it:
  • I love the hi-lo skirt. Very flowy and fun.
  • There's something about this dress that provokes my creative brain. It seems to have endless, attractive ways to modify it.
 My mods:
  • I think I accidentally cut the front for the longer option. That's fine! It hits perfectly at my knee.
  • Still struggling with adjusting for my bust, but the faux wrap front allowed me a bit more wiggle room in my adjustments. I totally cheated and hand stitched down the extra gaping fabric towards the waist. Which is one of the reasons why I added the belt!
  • I added a length of ribbon to the inside neckline. I got this little sheepy ribbon a few years ago in Paris; I thought this would be a great way to use it!

For next time:
  • I've already sewn up a second Flora, all white. This one, I cut to the shorter length, and to be honest, would really prefer it longer.
  • I'll share the second Flora once it's complete: I have some plans for embroidering on the neckline.
  • Don't do the faux wrap front. I just don't like the way they look on me.
  • There's also ideas brewing to work some gradient colour into the lining of the dress. I think that'd be fun, as you can see the lining well with the hi-lo cut to the skirt.