Friday, May 29, 2015

Indie Designer Revisit

Designer: Kristina Vilimaite
Rav ID: AnimaKnits
Some Great Designs: AnimaKnits' Rav Designer Page
Original Indie Designer Post: January 6, 2012

This month's indie designer revisit is still going strong with her intricate shawl designs.
I'll point out two to you!

Seeds to Flowers (pictured) has one of the greatest pattern descriptions I've ever read. Check it out:
You will be knitting a flower garden. In the beginning you work a bit of stockinette adorned with a decorative border. And then the magic starts. You plant some beads for seeds, and as you knit they sprout into stems, then leaves of Japanese lace start growing. Then Estonian lace buds appear to open into fully blossoming flowers sprinkled with beads like dew drops.
Cool eh?

There's also Luck Lilac, which I had to include because lilacs are one of my favourites. Perfect, as they're blooming right now and smell so damn good. I like her inspiration for this shawl, which draws on the fading colours of the flowers and the ombre effect that she's worked in to this design.

Both of these patterns are part of her Inner Gardens ebook, which includes seven shawl patterns and is available for download on Ravelry for $19.99 USD.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Holla Knits Warm Weather Accessories Blog Tour

I'm going to take you back for a minute. Take you back in my magical DeLorean, zooming away with your kick ass 90s threads on. We're travelling back to those days where your pants had stirrups, your Walkman always had charged batteries, and your heart went a-pitter-patter at the sight of the newest issue of Seventeen (or 16, or Teen Beat, etc...)

You'd flip through the mag, going from those confessional-like advice letters through the ads and the ads and the ads. You'd be dog-earring some of the coolest stuff, and when you hit that QUIZ the world stopped, you grabbed a pencil and paper, and went on a fantastical, fun journey of meaningful self discovery.

Incidentally, if you're not jivving with this description, fear not. I may be speaking to my fellow GenY/Millenials and you younger GenXers, but I'm sure all of you can get down with the super fun idea of a knitting quiz.

Yes! I had the immense pleasure of writing up a quiz for the newest issue of Holla Knits. And the title? Oooo, you're gonna love this one:

What's Your Knitting Spirit Animal?

YES! Oh man, the funs I had writing this one.
This quiz is jam packed with thoughtful, delving questions such as
You’re knitting in public; a stranger asks you “why are you knitting? Knitting is for grandmas”. You...
Your knitting is frustrating you. How do you handle this situation?
There are nine questions, each designed to get at the heart of your knitting personality and bestow upon you the great knowledge of your knitting spirit animal.

I'm a RAVEN. What are you?

Want to take the quiz? Just grab the latest issue of Holla Knits!

Incidentally, it's full of fanTAStic patterns to fill out your warm weather accessories wardrobe. So get it. It rules.

Follow the rest of the blog tour!

May 26: Doog Knits
May 28: Canary Knits
May 29: Laura Reinbach

June 2: Ruby Submarine
June 4: Rock and Purl

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Knitting Tool Profiles: Straight Needles

This is the fifth post in a year-long series1. I'll post a new one on the last Tuesday of every month, with facts, photos, and further resources about twelve knitting tools.

If you are using a yarn that easily splits and shreds, you will want to use needles with blunt shaped tips to prevent injury to the yarn. If you are making a lace with lots of knit-two-togethers and slip-knit-passovers, you will want to use needles with sharpley pointed tips to prevent injury to your disposition.

-Maggie Righetti, Knitting in Plain English

A selection of straight needles.
Clockwise from the top left: Needlelite light up needles,Giant needles by Loopy Mango giant knitting needles size 50 (25mm) in 24'' and 32'' length, made in U.S.A., Brittany birch needles (photo by Danni Carlsen Photography), and Swirled glass needles photo and knitting needles by Jesse Wiesner of Bending Flow Designs

What is it?
Straight needles come either single or double pointed. Single pointed have a point at one end and a cap of some sort at the other. Double pointed have points at both ends.

Fun Facts
  • Looking to linguistic evidence, knitting is a fairly new invention. According to the OED, the verb to knit was added to English in the 1400s.
  • "Further poking around will reveal that any term meaning 'to knit', specifically make loops with two long, straight needles, wasn't in any European language before the Renaissance." -from Julia Theaker on Knitty
  • The craft of nålebinding predates both knitting and crochet. In English, nålebinding is sometimes referred to as one-needle knitting.
  • According to Wikipedia, the oldest type of knitting needle is the dpn.
  • Antique needles were often made with materials that are now banned for the protection of animals: tortoiseshell, ivory, and walrus tusk.
  • Today, you can get needles in a vast array of materials that suit any different number of needs and preferences: bamboo, plastic, steel, wood, even glass, casein, and carbon fibres.
  • "There is no 'all-purpose' or 'one-size-fits-all' kind of tip shape. The tip shape you choose for a particular project will depend upon what yarn you are using ans what you are doing wit it. There is no 'good' and 'bad' kind of tip." Maggie Righetti, Knitting in Plain English, p 27.
  • June Hemmons Hiatt touches on one of the flaws of straight, single pointed needles: "While the formation of each stitch requires relatively slight movements at the point, the result is a rather large motion at the opposite end, and the longer the needle, the larger the motion." The Principles of Knitting
  • She also discusses double pointed needles as the oldest form of knitting needle. "The knitters of Shetland are known to use just three needles, two for the stitches and one to work with, but that seems to be a unique approach; they also preferred 14- to 18-inch needles when using a knitting belt or sheath."

Further Reading
History of Knitting 101 from Knitty
Knitting Needle from Wikipedia
History of Knitting from Wikipedia

Bending Flow Designs
Loopy Mango
Brittany Needles
1Read the others here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Kollabora Featured Designer; and a Lucania Sale!

If you hop on over to Kollabora today, you'll find that I'm their featured designer! Yay!
To celebrate, all this week, Canary Knits newsletter subscribers will be able to purchase my fun, en-bobbled vest Lucania for 20% off.

This profile is rather serendipitous, as I've recently finished a new Lucania for myself.
I knew I had to make me one when I picked up two hanks of madelinetosh Vintage in Cosmic Wonder Dust from the Toronto Knitter's Frolic in April.

Those two hanks weren't quite enough though, so I drew out their length by creating stripes with a natural colourway of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted.

Workin on my Lucania. Wrist support action in effect.
Check out Kollabora for my goofball answers to their fun questions!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Janina Kallio
Blog: Studio Kallio
Rav ID: JaninaKallio
Some Great Designs: JaninaKallio's Rav Designer Page

On her designer page, Janina's bio says,
I design patterns for knitters who love simple knitting with gorgeous results.

And that says it best! Here's a run down of three of my favourite pieces from this talented designer.

Gravitate (pictured) is a slightly asymmetrical shawl that uses dropped stitches instead of lace for a sense of airiness. I think what I love best about this piece is her creative styling. Now that's a shawl I can totally see myself wearing!

Possibly because I currently have a bit of a fringe fixation, I've included Flirty on this list. A shawl with a basic triangular shape and bottom point up constructions, this piece is worked with alternating stripes of fishnet lace and garter stitch. A great one-skein project for that fingering weight you might have kicking around.

And Asterism shows another thing I think this designer is great at: texture. This is just garter and eyelets, by holy cow, this is pretty garter and eyelets!

These are just a few of the fantastic designs she has available. Check out her designer page on rav for more!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yarn Weight Extremes

Summertime drinking and beauty yarn.

I'm a woman of yarn weight extremes.
In the photo above you'll see two different project I've had on the needles in recent weeks. One super bulky, the other fingering.

There's something about these two extremes that attracts me. With the bulky, I get to satisfy that desire for speed, for something done right now. The magic of just two stitches giving you an inch of width, that luscious single ply fatness giving a texture that's so graphic and eye catching.

With the fingering, the texture is the very opposite: it's unassuming. It blends in. When I wear garments I've knit in fingering, they feel "right". Comfortable, like a second skin. Knitting with that weight is graceful, and the length of time to create with it is meditative and soothing.

It's these two weights that really do it for me.

How about you? Do you agree? What's YOUR yarn weight?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hacking into Good

Remember when I shared that neon franken-dress? It's the one I made for my Spring/Summer capsule wardrobe. (Which I'm absolutely still working on. There's more to come with it!)

Well, I was so dissatisfied with it that I decided to literally and figuratively hack it into something good.

My main issue with the dress was the way I poorly executed the bodice-to-skirt attachment. The skirt, based on By Hand London's Flora dress, was still solid, and I wanted to make it into something I'd actually get some use out of.

So I unpicked the zipper and chopped off the bodice, thinking I might be able to simply fold a few inches of it down to create a waistband.
That wasn't a great solution; there was too much fabric, and it didn't lay properly.

I then unstitched that remaining bodice and refashioned the belt into a flat waistband.

I'm pretty pleased with this semi-new skirt! It's inspired me to make more Flora skirts, despite my fears of looking umpaloompa-like.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What I'm Working On

Just a quick one with minimal info today, because this is secret gift knitting! My sister is having a baby, and this will be my first wee niece/nephew.

The yarn is some lovely 100% BFL wool from Fleece Artist in the Jade colourway. I picked it up (for free!) last month at the Toronto Knitter's Frolic.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Ela Torrente
Blog: Modish People
Rav ID: KnittingEla
Some Great Designs: KnittingEla's Rav Designer Page

This week's designer has a great array of pattern types, but for this post I'm going to focus on her most recent three sweaters.

First is the pictured Burton Vestigan. Comfy, with inviting texture, a great cowl neck, and voluminous fabric, this garment is knit with bulky yarn which makes it a fast project and adds to the textural wonderland.

Second is Soft Stones.  This pullover is in fingering weight, and has some fun asymmetrical colourwork happening on the sleeves.

And finally, have a look at Black Forest. A cardi in DK with some lace! I like the i-cord closure (I'm always a fan of non-button closures). She has a lot more to see, so pop by her designer page for more!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rolling Around in Yarn

A couple weeks ago I attended the Toronto Knitter's Frolic.

I went with a couple great friends from the greatest LYS in the world Handknit Yarn Studio.
We arrived around 10:00, and each year I seem to forget that THAT IS THE BUSIEST TIME OMG.
There were loads of people doing loads of shopping and the day was bright and sunny. One of those ones that make you realize (hope?) that winter's finally gone.

We perused the floor for a couple hours, and I walked away with a few more skeins than I had been planning to, but I'm excited about each one of them. I'm in that stage where you've got electric little pings of joy whenever you think about that yarn sitting there at home, waiting to be knit.

Despite the yarn-laden mosaic above, I didn't come away with ALL that. I did buy me some Rain City Knits, Hedgehog Fibres, madelinetosh, Fleece Artist, and indigodragonfly (the name of the colourway is Planned Parrot Hood. I couldn't say no).

Do you have any yarn you're excited about?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Me Made May

Remember the other week, when I shared with you all how much I love instagram? Well, here is another reason why it's great: Me Made May.

I've semi-participated in this month-long make-along before. Essentially, you make at your own pace (many of the makers are sewing their clothing, but knitters and other makers join too!).

This year I've noticed that some people (me included) have altered that focus from just making to making and sharing what you're already made.
Posting a photo a day on instagram, I've been more aware of how much handmade I really do wear daily, and appreciative for this collection of carefully crafted clothing and accessories I've complied over the years.

Want to see what I'm sharing? This photo gives you a preview of my first six days, but hop on to instagram to see more! Some of the tags you can look up to see even more people's handmades for Me Made May are: #MeMadeMay #mmm15 #mmmay2015.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Terri Kruse
Blog: Through the Back Loops
Rav ID: ninja8tofu
Some Great Designs: ninja8tofu's Rav Designer Page

Fun knits from this week's designer! Terri has a catalogue of over 70 patterns ranging from items for wee kids to garments and accessories for the grown ups.
Since she has such a great portfolio, I'm going to limit myself to talking about a trend I see in her work: stripes.

As you know, I very rarely feature patterns for kids (especially as the main photo) but I think you'll agree that the Teddy Sweater is a fantastic exception. The bear face is actually the front pocket!?! What!? So cute and clever. And yet again, something that's meant for kids but has me thinking I need one for my grown ass self.

Here's the stripey Color-Block Scarf. Ah scarves. Poor scarves. Get such little love. I wanna do my part and raise the profile. This one looks like it's fun to knit, lets you play with colour a bit, and has the added bonus of being unisex.

Iker is a fun, dramatic-looking shawl/scarf with short row wedges. The pattern makes for an accessory with generous length, and like many shawl/scarves, it'd be pretty easy to make it wider or narrower. It looks like a great wrap-around piece.

Finally I'll mention A Little Fluo. Mostly because of the stripe theme, but also because NEON. It features stripes in opposing directions, and shows you a fantastic way to incorporate some powerful colours into your wardrobe.

Like I said, she's got a lot of patterns for sale so head on over to her designer page on Ravelry to see more!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Why I Love Twitter

Ah Twitter. Are you on Twitter? If not, I'm hoping I can convince you here to give it a wee try.

Find me there as @canarysanctuary

It's awesome because
  • you can use it like the best news digest ever; think of tweets like headlines (you don't have to interact with anyone if you don't want to!)
  • but, if you want to interact with people, it's simple! Retweet, reply, hashtag, favourite
  • there are opportunities to be had on Twitter, sometimes people will tweet destash, giveaways, contests, or other useful and interesting info
  • it's a real-time look into your favourite yarnny people. You can see what they're into, what they're thinking, and what they're planning
  • you can follow accounts that are for laughs, for cuteness, for news, for fun, and for friends!
  • have a question? You can always throw it out to your own followers for advice and input

How to find people to follow 
  • check out your favourite people/yarn company/etc website; they might have a handy link to their Twitter account right there on the front page
  • search through those people's following feed
Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 04, 2015

What I'm Working On

Oooo! Yarn sneak peeks like bonkers around here lately!

This one is a three sweater collaboration I'm working on with the talented Kirsten Singer and Holly Priestley.
The yarn is the very pretty Sport weight from Blue Sky Alpaca. Watch this blog for further details. This puppy is due out in the autumn. I can't wait to wear this sample!!

Friday, May 01, 2015

Indie Designer Day

© Pam Allen
Designer: Laura Reinbach
Blog: Laura Reinbach
Rav ID: Lulubach
Some Great Designs: Lulubach's Rav Designer Page

The knits from this week's designer are cozy and classic.

Laura's Twist of Fate scarf was recently published in Quince and Co.'s Scarves, etc 4. It features some stitch-popping texture and the sample is knit up in Chickadee.

She also has a free hat with great texture (and a pom pom!) called Old Man and the Sea Hat. She makes several strong elements work together instead of complete. I love that in a designer. There's colour, texture, and the easily-overwhelming pom pom, but all done very well and balanced.

There's a few cowls in her design portfolio, but I think my favourite is Check This Out, a long loop with checkered colourwork that I think would showcase your most precious hanks of handdyed wonderfully.

Go to her designer page to see more!