Knitting Feeds

And lo, such a thing exists

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 20:52

As much as I thought it might not, time is starting to assume its normal course.  The days are starting to be the length that I expect them to be, not stretching out in front of me like a desert I didn’t bring enough water to get across.  For a while there I had to be so busy just to fill those days up. Walking, riding, swimming, cleaning, organizing… if I stopped too long and tried to do something like write or knit then I had too many of those pesky feelings all at once and had to clean out another damn closet. Now I’m mostly okay as long as I don’t think about how Thanksgiving is in two and a half weeks and I really don’t know how to manage that holiday if I can’t have it with my mother and where do we have dinner now for all the holidays and really I’m going to have to move because my dining room can’t hold everyone and… see. There it goes.  I’ll worry about that next week when it might not result in having to clean all the grout in the house with an old toothbrush after jogging 3km.

The point, before I started worrying again, was that things are okay enough now (oh man who is going to make the pies) that as long as I stay sorted, I can knit, and it feels like it helps a lot, and what’s really interesting is that this idea, that once the shock passes, that knitting is going to be a really useful way through grief… It’s not just me who thinks it. My inbox (thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful notes and letters and thoughts, I am reading them all, even if I can’t answer) is chock full (okay there are five) people who have written to me not just to suggest that knitting would be helpful (because there are a lot more than five of you who think that) but to call the kind of knitting they think would be helpful “Grief Knitting.”  These charming knitters have even gone so far as to cite the specific projects that they think would be the most helpful, and you know what’s interesting? They have a lot in common.

All the projects are challenging – challenging from the perspective of that particular knitter, for sure, but challenging none the less. They were kinda tricky for the knitter to complete, and they took up some of that scary mental energy that comes with grief. (Oh no mum always makes the turnips too.) All the projects are things that sparked a tremendous amount of joy and pride – the knitters think what they made was beautiful, and feel that they did a good job… and finally (here’s where it gets weird.) All of the projects but for one, were for babies.

Think about that. It’s a pretty compelling bit of information, and it makes me feel better that the two things I’ve knit since my mum died are both tiny things.  First the little hat, and now Elliot is bedecked in a matching sweater.

It’s beautiful to be sure – the yarn is Northampton, but with a bit of a twist. It was the natural colour, but I gave it to Judith to dye at the last Strung Along retreat, and it went for a swim in her indigo pot.  It’s a beautiful blue now, and reminds me of her when I look at it, which is really quite nice, and it suits Elliot pretty well.

The pattern is Gus, and here’s where it didn’t quite fit the bill to be Grief Knitting, it was pretty easy.  The pattern’s well written – so I didn’t struggle with anything at all.  I’ll have to try something from a less competent designer next.

I tell you this, even unfinished (which it technically is, I’m waiting for the buttons) it does spark a tremendous amount of Joy.  Part of it is that little face, and the other part?  It is the pockets. I can’t tell you how much I love pockets on a baby sweater. It gives me an unreasonable amount of happiness to think of two perfect, tiny pockets, in a proper, handy spot… all for someone who has absolutely nothing to put in them.

Delightful.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

New Pattern: Alicorn Cowl

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:00

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The latest edition of Knitty just dropped – and I have a new cowl pattern in it! Alicorn Cowl The yarn I used for the pattern is June Cashmere laceweight (100% Kyrgyz cashmere) in ‘Silver Bell’. If you haven’t knit with cashmere before, I really recommend- especially for a knit like a cowl. Considering how

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: The Robin Meets Dotted Rays

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/18/2017 - 11:00

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Original Patterns: Robin and Dotted Rays Knitter Extraordinaire: Carmen (Ravelry ID) Mods: Using the Robin Shawl pattern to start, Carmen changed the garter wedges to stockinette,  and added yarn overs where the short row turns occurred, which gives the shawl the ‘Dotted Rays’ influence. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Crossover Combos

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/17/2017 - 22:17
My core wardrobe is compact and built on basics, so I rely heavily on accessories to change up the look, especially when the weather turns cool. Some time ago, I began slowly but steadily making mitts to complement my favorite scarves and shawls. It's a three-way win. I stay warm, indulge my love of knits, and still appear somewhat pulled together.

It's time to take this thinking to the next level. 

Two-shawl weather is on its way and I'm determined to be prepared, so I've decided to create a cozy collection of coordinating wraps, cowls and scarves that aren't matchy-matchy but work well together. Because yes, indeed, I've been known to wear two scarves or cowls twisted together, or a cowl and scarf combo, or a small shawl topped with a larger wrap.

In other words, I'm on a mission only a fellow knitter can understand: I want to leverage the knits I have by making more knits. With this in mind, there are two color combos on my radar screen.



One involves various shades of teal. According to some interior designers, it's the most versatile hue for home decor, because it blends well with virtually any color scheme. I'm beginning to believe the same is true for clothing and accessories, since it seems to complement any skin tone and plays beautifully with black, grays, earth tones, reds, roses, purples, blues, golds and oranges, especially deep pumpkin shades. (Hmmm, I see another color post on the horizon.)



In practical terms, that helps explain why many recent posts feature shades of teal, either on its own, paired with neutrals, or blended with closely related tones of turquoise, lake and sea.


The other combination involves a mix of reds, wines, plums and purples. For me, the scarf below hits all the marks. It's soft. It's light, It's warm. It's reversible. It features some of my favorite colors worked in a simple three-stage gradient, and it's long enough to wrap multiple times without becoming overwhelming. 

There's enough of this exquisite cashmere-silk blend (Richesse et Soie) in the stash to make a coordinating cowl or scarf, but if I blend it with another yarn, I could make a shawl or wrap. I was playing with various combinations, when I discovered this.

I'm still in the concept stage, but this interesting mix may be just the crossover combo I need to tie this whole whacky plan together.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Let talk about knitting and sports...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 09/17/2017 - 14:38
Happy Sunday! Yarn~ The Woolen Homestead Sturdy sock in the color Nymphadora Tonks. Tea~ David's Tea Forever Nuts. Well hello there. For those of you who hate pink, I am sorry for the bombardment but since it is still my birthday month...I continue to celebrate with the color that makes... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/15/2017 - 16:25

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Ask yourself, ‘Can this person do the job 70% as well as I could?’ Then you should delegate. You never feel fully ready. Leap when you’re almost ready. Give it 5 minutes before sharing your feedback.  Why being near the water actually makes us happier. During the Great Depression,

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Well that’s just unfair

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 21:38

Yesterday I finally shook my head clear of the fog it’s been in, and decided that it was time to get myself in gear.  I went to the grocery store. I planned a good dinner. I cooked that dinner, and I fed it to people I love.  I managed to say something vaguely supportive to a friend, and when the lady in the queue ahead of me in the shop was annoyed about how many bruises were on the apples she’d chosen, I somehow magnificently managed not to say anything that even remotely suggested that her problems were totally ridiculous to me (and should be to her) unless they involved a dead mother.

I even sat down to work for a little bit – to start getting caught up on the chaos that is my work life.  That’s right, my mum’s been dead two weeks, almost to the hour, and I just yesterday managed to acknowledge that I have to earn a living, and contribute meaningfully to the charity I’ve promised my time to, and I did that.  I sat down, thought something like “C’mon Steph, get it together” and moments later, my laptop had a complete seizure and suffered a fatal stroke. I’ve had that beast since 2011, I planned the first Sock Summit on it, that’s how old it is, and now is when it leaves me.  It’s a joke, I tell you. I can only assume that it was depressed by the goings-on around here and decided there was nothing left to hang on for.  (It was wrong. I swear I was pulling my scene together.)  I took it as a sign, a sign that I was supposed to be knitting, and set about making our wee Elliot a hat. (This is Canada. Winter is coming. Winter is always coming.) I’d had my eye on this Garter Ear Flap hat from Purl Soho for ages, and I had some MadelineTosh DK (so aptly called “Happiness”, which is just what I’m looking for) and a little math and whammo – that pattern works just fine.

It’s sweet as pie, actually, and Meg put it on him after dinner (that’s a lie. I rammed it on his wee head so fast it made his head spin around) and we both agreed it made him look properly like a gnome, and cackled about that for some time.  (There is a very, very great deal to be said about how much a tiny person can lift spirits.)

Suits him, doesn’t it? He’s so happy and unaffected by all that’s going on around him, and making him little things is such a balm for my heart, and Meg’s too, I think. He’s been nothing but light and sunshine over the last little bit, and for a minute or two I didn’t even mind so much that my mother and my laptop were dead while he smiled at me.

Today was all about starting him another sweater, because I see now that he’s the secret to sanity over the next bit – and somehow trying to whip my iPad into shape to do at least part of the job of my laptop for a few days before I can figure out how to replace it.  If this entry looks weird, it’s because I’ve worked out a really odd system for getting a post up. I suspect it will be the pictures that are really strange, but screw it. Look at me! I got something done two days in a row.

I honestly never thought I’d be proud of that. See you tomorrow, if nothing else dies.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Review: Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2017

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 09/14/2017 - 14:30

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You know it’s fall when the Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2017 Collection launches! It’s officially knitting season, everyone.  The Fall 2017 Collection contains 12 new patterns, focusing on cables with a side order of colourwork.  There are four pullovers, three cardigans,  two hats, one shawl, one scarf, and one vest. If you are looking for cozy knits

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Outtakes: Golden Hour

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:00

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It’s been such a long time since I’ve done an outtakes post! These are the outtakes from my previous finished knit post on Golden Hour, a which is my new favourite sweater. While in England, Guy and I were able to slip away for a bit and get some photos, and all the photography starts

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Through

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 17:40

Three weeks ago today, I went over to my mother’s house after physiotherapy, with the intention of running her over to the doctor because she had a virus. She’d been feeling crappy for about a week. We ended up at the ER instead, and mum never went home. She was admitted that day, and she died ten days later.  It was shocking, it was fast, and I know that I am supposed to be grateful for her sake that it was so swift, but I am having trouble finding gratitude for any part of it. I’ve been asked several times if I’m angry, and I don’t think I am – I just feel sad and shocked and tired. I’ve been trying to ease back into a real life, trying to do proper things, and this morning I went back to physio, and I bought vegetables on the way home, and I managed to do a little work.  This afternoon I’m going to ride my bike.  My current operating theory is that if I do lots of sane, sensible and healthy things, that soon I’ll start to feel sane, sensible and healthy, which I don’t just yet. I feel breakable and sad and I keep thinking that people are being insensitive, but I’m realizing I’m just sensitive right now.

I’m knitting again too – and yes, that implies I stopped and I mostly did.  The day after mum landed in hospital we were all to leave for week long family vacation to Nova Scotia. Me, Joe, the girls, Alex, the baby, Joe’s parents and siblings and Frankie and Luis, and my little niece Myrie and brand new baby Emmett. All off us heading off to Cape Breton for my niece Savannah‘s wedding. That’s who I was making that shawl for, the last time I wrote to you.  I had big plans to finish it and block it in Cape Breton, and give it to Savannah to wear on her wedding day.  That first day mum was sick, I told Joe and the girls to go ahead, and I’d stay home, get mum sorted (I was sure she just needed an antibiotic or something) and when I got her home I’d follow on a later flight and still make it for the wedding.

That’s not what happened.  I didn’t make it on a later flight, I did miss the vacation and the wedding, and it was a pretty lonely week. Usually when things are bad my knitting is a good friend to me.  I know you’re probably some of the only people in the world that I could say that to who won’t think I need to be committed immediately, but my knitting makes me less lonely, and keeps me company when things are rough.  You would think that ten rough days in the hospital culminating in the worst day of my life would add up to a lot of knitting, but it didn’t. What was happening was so destructive and so terrible that I couldn’t knit. I couldn’t do something productive in the face of all that, it felt trivial to even try.  Erin and I were at the hospital pretty much all the time, and we slept there for most nights of it, and there I was, holding my knitting all the time like it was some little comfort lovie, but didn’t really knit on it.  I managed a few stitches here and there, but didn’t finish the shawl in time for Sav to have it for her day.

It’s taken three whole weeks to manage what should have been two days worth of knitting, if that.

It’s coming back now – the urge to knit is creeping in around the edges, as I start trying to feel better, or think that it’s even possible to feel better, as I start thinking about what comes next, or what a world without my mum in it looks like, since I guess that’s the one I have to live in now.  I keep telling my friends that I’m trying to have faith, some of them have lost their mothers, and my mum lost hers, and they all went on to have what looked like happy lives, so it must be that this feeling goes away, or is transformed, or you get used to it. I’m waiting for that to happen, and trying to be confident that it will – and that makes me less frightened.  As I wait and try to make that feeling of the new normal happen, I’m looking forward, and those ideas of building something or something being transformed… those feelings feel like knitting…

and suddenly Sav’s shawl is finished.

It’s too late for her wedding, but I’m giving it to her anyway.

It’s a good time for beautiful things.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Llama Llama Red Pajama

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Alpaca with Bikini Knitter Extraordinaire: Joanna (Ravelry ID) Mods: Inspired by the beloved children’s book character of Llama Llama, Joanna modified the original alpaca pattern to be more visually in keeping with the children’s book character. More info can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: What a wonderful

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knitterly chat and Birthday happenings...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:53
Hello loves! Yarn~ Miss Click Clack Merri Creek Sock in the color Pretty When I Cry. What a wonderful week. September is my favorite month because I have claimed it as my Birthday month. I have much to be grateful for with each passing year, mainly all the wonderful people... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

WIP | Herlacyn Heatwave

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/10/2017 - 12:30
Slowly but surely, Herlacyn Heatwave is making headway. The last time we talked about this afghan, the first strip had just been completed.


As soon as that strip was done, I cast on strip two. It looks an awful lot like the first one, doesn't it? It's true, all three strips are quite similar, but each one features a slightly different mix of colors worked against a black background, which creates an interesting ombre or gradient effect once all the elements are assembled.

Speaking of finishing, let's cut to the chase. After a bit more knitting, all three strips were ready for seaming. Normally, I wait until the end and weave ends once the entire blanket is finished. Knitting time is so scarce these days, I decided to try something different, and weave ends as I seamed.

If you look closely below, you can see that as I picked up stitches along the strip edge, I wrapped (trapped) the contrasting color with the black working yarn during the pick up process. This created a tidy braided effect, and it will definitely save time during the finishing process.

Now the seams are completed, and it's waiting patiently for the next stage. So far, I like how things are coming together. 

Mornings and evenings have been slightly cool, a reminder that fall is right around the corner, so I'm eager to get this finished. All it needs is a simple border, so I'd better get busy. I confess, I'm already fantasizing about greeting each fall day with this happy harlequin afghan draped over my legs, while I sip a steaming cup of coffee and watch the sun rise.
Looking for the pattern? It's in development and will soon be heading to the tech editor for review.
Meanwhile, I'm connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 13:45

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week What are the hallmarks of your best self? I’m in love with this incredible art installation. A Cup of Jo is one of my favourite ‘lifestyle’ blogs, and they recently shared a best of the reader comments that I adored. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing. Hardly

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

In Progress: We Are Knitters Gesture Sweater

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 11:00

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This wonderfully cabled knit-in-progress is the Gesture Sweater kit, from We Are Knitters. I took a few skeins with me on a recent trip to England, and started chipping away at it at the beginning of August. I have been smitten with this kit ever since I first saw Alina’s stunning beige version last year,

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Oracle Dress

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 09/04/2017 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Oracle Knitter Extraordinaire: Tanya (Ravelry ID) Mods: Transformed the circular shawl pattern into a lace dress. Excellent detailed information and photos can be found on her project page, which can be found here. What Makes This Awesome: Turning a shawl into a dress is no small feat, but it is a brilliant way

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Starting Over

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 17:37
As knitters, we often talk about how knitting is both a survival tool and metaphor for life. We use it to unwind after a difficult day at work. We use it to productively pass time while we wait in lines or watch a kid's soccer game. We use it to project an image of calm serenity as we sit in a doctor's office waiting to learn the potentially fearsome results of recent medical tests.

I've spent the past two weeks working on what is literally the simplest project in the world, a skinny cowl/scarf. Craving a low-key knit that let the subtle sheen of this yarn (Grignasco Champagne) do much of the work, I cast on with the hopes of creating something soft, light and cozy to wrap around my neck on a cool fall day.



Two weeks into this project, it should be done, or nearly so. Instead, I've cast on, knit, ripped and restarted so many times I've lost count. First, I had an idea that would make the finished piece more versatile. Naturally, that enhancement needed to occur in the first inch, so everything had to be frogged. Then, I thought maybe a larger needle size would produce a slightly lighter fabric. It did, but I didn't care for the look.

So today, I'll be starting over once again, but it's no big deal.


Elsewhere, of course, the story is different. Throughout the US, hundreds of thousands of families and businesses are starting over again in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and the challenges they face are daunting. 

To help those dealing with the loss and destruction this storm has wrought, every single dollar you spend on patterns between now and midnight tomorrow (Sep 4, EDT) will be donated to Harvey relief efforts. In exchange for your kindness and generosity, all patterns are available at a 30% discount, which will automatically show up in your cart at checkout.

Whether you buy a pattern you've been eyeing for some time or simply making a purchase to contribute to the recovery efforts, your actions are appreciated. To browse the catalog and buy a pattern now, just click here. Thank you!

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

August Loves...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 14:06
Hello there! Whoa...September is here. Plans for knitting down all the WIPs is still happening, but that doesn't mean that new projects cannot be started, right? There is something magical about a freshly caked yarn and beginning a new knit. Pattern~ Ingwer Yarn~ Neighborhood Fiber Co. in Charles Centre. This... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Mum

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 20:14

It is with the most profound sadness that I tell you that my darling mother Bonnie died last night.

I would like nothing more right now than to tell you all everything. To tell you every detail of her, and every amazing thing about her and how her hands were and the incredible things she did with her one wild and precious life, and all that has happened during the brief time she was ill, but it is all too raw. I feel like her death has left me somehow ripped or broken open, and I want to be so careful about what spills out, lest I can never put it back.

A little time. A little space. I’ll be back.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I love these photoshopped images of renaissance painting subjects into modern surroundings. “I dressed like my skinny best friend for a week to prove that style has no size.” Why the dishwasher in the restaurant is the most important job in the whole place.  “Why I love my

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

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