THANK YOU For Your Donations to Streetknit

I just wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who knits or crochets for Streetknit. Streetknit is a group of volunteers who make and collect hand knits and distribute them to local shelters. The mostly collect outerwear, like hand made hats, mitts and scarves, but they also make blankets that go to women who are getting ready to leave the shelter system and move into a home of their own. When you bring your leftover yarn to our store a good portion of it goes to Streetknit (the rest goes to Sistering, school groups, and other small volunteer groups looking for yarn to knit donations).

This beautiful pile of hats was made by a client and friend, Jayme. Jayme took a year off to go back to school and change careers, and while in school she knitted hats – lots and lots of hats! I’d like to express my gratitude to Jayme and all the other people who knit and crochet for those less fortunate and donate their time and energy to organize and distribute the donations. Objects that are made by a caring person are special, our love and compassion goes into them. Sending them to someone suffering helps remind them that they are special, important and lovable, and it comes at a time in their life when they need it the most. Please pat yourself on the back (or the belly if you are currently lying down), your contribution is meaningful and appreciated.

If you’d like to donate your hand knits you can drop them off at our store, or check out Streetknit to find other drop-off points. If you have time to donate and wheels (a car) they could probably use some help distributing donations to different parts of the city.

FINISHED Felix Cardigan

Felix Cardigan

After we finished the Felix Pullover I wanted to try the cardigan version of the sweater for myself, as a store sweater (as opposed to my home sweaters, or commuting sweaters – those are completely different categories of sweater). I was kind of dawdling, so it took me a while to complete, but it’s actually a very quick knit and I don’t think others would have a hard time getting through it. I also learned a few news things along the way! I love learning new things!!!

Fit & Style

So the style is a bit oversized and is supposed to fit with positive ease, and I’d describe the style as demure. I made the smallest size and it’s plenty roomy – after blocking it is 42″ in circumference in the bust (buttoned). The neckline is designed wide, and if you do a sewn/tubular bind-off it will be even wider (I’ll talk more the bind-off below) – which might be good if you have narrow shoulders like me. The fit feels cozy, comfy, and casual, and I don’t feel like you can see much body underneath, partly because of the design and the yarn I used (Cascade Eco+ Merino). There isn’t any shaping through the body, but if some A-line shaping suited you it would be very easy to include.

Things I like: 1. It makes my shoulders look bigger. 2. It looks good over a t-shirt, with skinny jeans . 3. It isn’t too warm. 4. It’s roomy for puffy days.

Things I don’t like: 1. It’s oversized so my shape gets lost (I always feel a bit lost in oversized garments).

The Yarn

After seeing clients make a few gorgeous Carbeths we made the Felix Pullover with Cascade Eco+ Merino, and since I wanted some new colours in my wardrobe this winter so I gave this pretty periwinkle blue/purple a go. Cascade Eco+ Merino is a soft, springy 100% South American merino wool, made in Bolivia. Its spongy, springy and has a ton of body and memory. I think it would hold texrure beautifully and make a dynamite cabled scarf or cowl.

The yarn was soft and easy to work with, and a nice quality at a good price. It wet blocked well, but it really looked fantastic after a good steaming. It’s a neutral feeling yarn, and I think it’s great for the price (by ‘neutral’ I mean it doesn’t feel like it was made from sacred sheep and spun in a mill run by Disney princesses, employing a unionized workforce of well paid small animals and home accents with a background in musical theatre). If you want an “OMG, did vestal virgins knit this sweater?!” experience treat yourself to some Malabrigo Mecha or Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport, you won’t regret it.

Yarn Alternatives

MALABRIGO MECHA: This hand dyed, incredibly soft singly ply merino wool would hands-down make the MOST Stunning cardigan EVER! 6(7, 7, 8, 9) skeins would make a cardigan you’ll never want to take off. I’d opt for one of the semi-solid colourways, otherwise you’ll lose the pretty lace detail in the shoulders.

DIAMOND LUXURY BABY ALPACA SPORT: For an extra soft and drapey version, try Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport: 6(7, 8, 9, 9) skeins. NOTE: alpaca is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down a size from what you would normally wear.

DROPS AIR: The pattern was originally written to be a looser knit on an aran weight yarn that blooms. If you want to try a lighter or airier version, try super soft Drops Air: 4(5, 6, 6, 7) balls. This would would make a sensational spring pullover which would look great over a tank top, or be a great sweater for warm climates and for people who run warm. This is also a super affordable option, running from $40 to $70 (depending on size).

BERROCO VINTAGE CHUNKY: For a machine washable sweater or something for someone who is extra itchy or allergic, I’d go with Berroco Vintage Chunky: 5(6, 7, 7, 8) skeins. Vintage Chunky is also a pocket-book friendly choice, running from $50 to $80 for the project (depending on size).

QUNICE & CO KESTREL: Do you winter down south or live in a warm climate? I don’t, but if I did I’d go for an aran/chunky weight, machine washable linen like Quince & Co Kestrel: 9(10, 12, 13, 14) skeins. NOTE: Linen is VERY stretchy and you can probably go down one or two sizes from what you would normally wear.

Size

Felix is supposed to fit a little bit oversized and casual. I made the first size, which is a small but fits oversized and loose.

  • S(M, L, XL, XL2)
  • Circumference at bust at underarm: 39 (43 ½, 48, 52 ½, 57)”
  • Length from right front cast on to right neck edge: 22 (24, 25, 27, 28)”

Materials

  • Cascade Eco+ Merino: 2(2, 2, 3, 3) skeins, colour 24
  • 5mm/US8-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 6mm/US10-16″ and 24″ circular needles
  • 5mm/US double pointed needles
  • 6mm/US10 double pointed needles
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle
  • Pattern: Felix Cardigan
  • My Ravelry Notes (for modifications for button-bands and neck ribbing)

Learnings

At the very start of this wall-o-text I mentioned that I learned things, so here are my learnings!

1. Sewn/Tubular Bind Off is STRETCHY

The pattern suggests using a tubular bind-off, but you can use any kind of bind off you like. I figured I would give the Tubular-Bind off a go to see how it worked out, what it’s benefits and deficits were. Just to make sure we are on the same page, I used THIS TUTORIAL for a Long Tail Tubular Bind-Off.

At first the sewn bind-off looked like it would pull-in a lot and I’d have problems maintaining the shape of the garment. I think if you did the bind-off too tight this could end up being a problem, but at a normal or loose tension it is definitely not a concern. I did not really understand how stretchy this bind off can be until I wet blocked the sweater, at which point it really went to town! The bind-off edge was most sensitive on the front button bands and the neck-line, the edge on the cuffs was the most resilient. To get them back into shape I gave them a good steam, but the neck-line might need reinforcing down the line.

Benefits of a Tubular Bind-Off: 1. It makes a nice edge. 2. It’s very stretchy.

Deficits of a Tubular Bind-Off: 1. It takes time and patience, since it’s basically grafting/Kitchener stitch. 2. It’s very stretchy.

Conclusions: Pick your poison. I would probably do it again for the sleeve cuffs and the bottom of the sweater, possibly for the button bands, but definitely not for the neck.

2. Steam is Good!

I bought a little hand-held garment steamer on Amazon and I really like it! The stitches all fell into place beautifully, the places where the fabric had stretched bounced back, and the fibre looks great. I am now pro-steamer garment blocking. (BTW, did you know that Amazon has a discount section called Warehouse Deals? I think it’s stuff people have returned, so mostly opened boxes and superficially blemished products.)

3. The Perfect Sweater

I’ve been mulling around ideas about my understanding of perfectionism, which seems to be something that comes into play when people are learning. I don’t know if I’ve nailed anything down yet, but I definitely see that I’ve been carrying around some perfectionist ideals, and they really hold me back and keep me from feeling satisfied. When I make a sweater for myself I usually have a subconscious fantasy desire, I want it to be perfect, which for me means it’s my favourite thing EVER. I made this sweater to explore a bit (and have a new sweater), and part of that exploration was how I feel about pursuing things that aren’t absolutely phantasmagorical. At no point was this sweater a “This is going to be my favourite sweater EVER” type of project, and that’s really forced me to put myself outside of the safe and familiar. Don’t get me wrong, its a good sweater, and a nice sweater, I’m wearing it right now and you’ll see me wearing it around the store on a regular basis, but it isn’t my fantasy sweater. But who knows, maybe I’ll come to love wearing it around the store, and it’ll be my favourite store sweater? Maybe I’ll make another? Or maybe it will help me to try something new, and then another thing that’s new, and then a whole bunch of new new things until “favourite” takes on a whole new meaning to me? Maybe this wasn’t so much a “Learning” as a “Growing”?

PREORDER PomPom Quarterly 31 Winter 2019

PomPom Quarterly 31 Winter 2019

The new issue of PomPom is now available for preorder, it will be available in store and will ship on November 27, 2019. You can see more details about the patterns here on Ravelry, or you can check out the Official Preview HERE.

PROJECT Decemberist

Decemberist

Please meet our latest success, Decemberist! I’ve been eyeballing this pattern for a while and figured “What have I got to loose?!” It knits fast with super thick yarn on 9mm/US13 needles (or larger if your yarn is accommodating). We used 3 balls of Drops Andes in colour 8112, an icy blue, so it was a pretty affordable project too ($33). The pattern was straight-forward, and the lace is given in both written instructions and as a chart – it probably fits into an advanced-beginner/intermediate skill level, and would probably make a decent introduction to lace knitting for anyone wanting to expand and explore.

Overall, I think it is a very successful project, and it would make a great holiday gift knit (I kind of like that it looks like a substantial sized gift, even though it’s light on cost and labour). If you know someone with a cottage it would make an amazing wrap to snuggle up in at night or at the end of the season. Women who work in cold offices will also appreciate one of these. I also think that this wrap is so pretty that when your friends/family/colleagues see you wearing this they are going to ask you to make them one, so you might as well get ahead of the curve and start early. Will it look a little strange seeing the women in your office walking around wearing the same wrap in different colours? Maybe, but the Pointer Sisters rocked the look, so I say own it and be your best, favourite you!

Yarn

Drops Andes is a comfortable, lofty 2ply blend of Alpaca and Peruvian Wool. It’s soft to the touch, and kind of feels like what I always wish wool actually felt like – that stage that is just short of the buttery soft texture you normally find with a fine merino or baby alpaca. All of the colours are lovely, but I think the pattern would look especially good in the following:

  • Greys: 519 Dark Grey Mix, 9020 Light Grey Mix, 9015 Grey Mix, 8465 Medium Grey (solid)
  • Neutrals: 100 Off White (naturalish), 1101 White (cream), 206 Light Beige Mix, 619 Beige Mix (oatmeal)
  • Pale/Soft Colours: 8112 Ice Blue, 7120 Light Grey Green, 4276 Misty Rose Mix, 41010 Grey Lilac

Decemberist would also be exquisite knit in a single ply merino like Malabrigo Rasta (5 skeins) and Cascade Spuntaneous (3 skeins). Both yarns can be pushed up to a 12mm/US17 needle.

How to Grow Yours Decemberist

If you want to make yours larger the easiest way is to use a slightly thicker yarn with a larger needle. Malabrigo Rasta (5 skeins) and Cascade Spuntaneous (3 skeins) would both be great yarns to sub, and you can go up to a 12mm/US17 needle with both of them. Unless you are a tight knitter, I would NOT increase the needle size for the Drops Andes; after blocking the fabric flows and drapes, its a beautiful tension (around 9 sts over 4″/10cm).

If you feel confident with your mathimagical abilities, you can also upsize the pattern by increasing the amount of stocking stitch you work before starting the lace. You’ll need to add an extra 36 sts to the stocking stitch section (so you’ll need to do an extra 6 repeats for “Section 1”, which would add an extra 12 rows). Depending on your tension, this should give you about an extra 3.75″/9.5cm of depth and about 16″/40cm in width.

Materials

If you don’t already own 9mm/US13 needles (or larger) this might be a great opportunity to buy some Knitters Pride Interchangeable needles. You’ll need a long cable for this project, which is something you may not get a lot of use out of in the future (unless you’re going to get into making Bulky Blankets, which are awesome things in their own right). With interchangeable needles one pair of tips can become any length of circular needle from 24″ to 60″, and extra cords are a very reasonable $3.97 each (instead of $20 to $35 for a new pair of needles with a different length cord).

Conclusions

This project is a two thumbs up! It’s pretty, fast, not too complicated, affordable, and giftable. I’m thinking about trying it again in Malabrigo Rasta in 429 Cape Cod Grey, but I’ll wait a month or so in case you guys need the yarn.

NEW Free Pattern Slouchy Angora Hat

Slouchy Angora Hat

This is a pattern I came up with YEARS ago, but I don’t seem to have ever published it to Ravelry. I came across this utterly DIVINE yarn, Phildar Pur Angora, and I had to buy it, and then of course had to make something with it … so the old Slouchy Angora Hat pattern came out. I’ve re-edited and made some updates to the pattern.

The hat is a basic, slouchy toque. You can wear it with the brim turned up and wear it as a watch-cap, down and slouchy, or turn the brim under and wear it as a beanie. It’s pure angora, it does all the work! It is knit with 2 strands held together, in our sample we used one strand of black and one of the lighter grey, Perle, to create a marled effect. If that feels a little busy for you try using two strands of the same colour and make it a dense and delicious colour.

The yarn is just so gorgeous and precious! I hold it and I’m like “Oh hello you beautiful thing!”, and then I start talking to it like it’s a baby with the fattest thighs I’ve ever seen. I like using different kinds of yarns, and once in a while using something and precious special REMINDS me that I’m special and precious (it seems like the further we get from that yummy baby fat the less we receive that kind of honour, so I undertake it myself).

Please note … I am currently wearing the hat (brim turned under) and I’m not sure if it is influencing my writing, but I think that if it *is* inspiring me to love myself and treat myself well then it qualifies as an EXTRA-successful project, regardless of any of it’s other properties. Thanks to Erika for making the sample, it’s my new thinking cap!

Brim turned under

Size

  • S(M, L)
  • Finished Circumference: 17(19, 20.5)”
  • To approximately fit head circumference: 21(22, 23)”

Materials

  • (2, 2) Phildar Pur Angora (25g,109m/123yds, 100% Angora)
  • 4.5mm/US7 (5mm/US8, 5mm/US8)-16” circular needles
  • 4.5mm/US7 (5mm/US8, 5mm/US8) double pointed needles
  • Darning/Tapestry Needle
  • 1 stitch marker
  • FREE Pattern

Conclusions & A Question

I’m definitely going to have to make a little beret and maybe a matching neck thing with this yarn!

I also have an open ended mindfullness question for those of you who practice such things …. if you work on a project, and the entire time you are making it you intentionally think of about how precious you are (or whatever you choose), will you feel those emotions every time you wear the finished garment? Has anyone ever tried this? What would you call the practice? How did it turn out? …. It’s pretty clear to me at this point that I’m going to have to try it and share. 🙂

10% OFF Making Mittens Class!

10% Off Mitten & Glove Class

We’ve got a few spaces left in our Mitten Class this Saturday, and we’re offering 10% Off!

REGISTER ONLINE

Making Mittens: A KnitHow Class with Lynne Sosnowski

Keeping your hands warm is one of the best reasons to know how to knit! Mittens and fingerless mitts are one of those great projects that knit up quickly enough to make great gifts out of a small amount of yarn.

Using the same tools and yarn we will use for our adult mittens, this class begins with working a mini-mitten to cover all the steps including casting on for a small diameter in-the-round, working ribbing, placing and shaping a thumb gusset, using stitch holders or waste yarn, shaping with decreases, closed bind-offs, picking up stitches and darning ends. Students will work through a cuff and thumb gusset of a mini-mitten in the first class and will have an opportunity to work the same stages on an adult mitten as homework. The mini-mitten will be completed in the second class, and students will have all the information to complete their adult mitten on their own time. Students will have the option of making fingerless adult mitts or full mittens. Students are provided with a multi-size pattern for worsted-weight mittens and may choose to use either double-pointed needles or two circulars in class.

Prerequisites: Students must be able to knit and purl independently, to distinguish knit and purl stitches in their fabric, and should have some familiarity with basic knitting terms.

Skill Level: Advanced-Beginner/Intermediate

Total Hours of Instruction: 5 (Saturday Oct 26 2-5pm & Nov 9 2-4pm)

Materials: see website for details

Homework: see website for details

REGISTER ONLINE

NEXT SWAP Saturday October 26, 1-3 pm

NEXT SWAP: Saturday October 26, 1-3 pm

$5 – Proceeds go to the Red Door Women’s Shelter

It’s swap time again! Time to tidy up your yarn stash and purge the stuff you’re never going to use. That’s right, you can bring us your shame and leave your guilt in our yarn swap bins with the assurance that the yarn that didn’t work out for you will have a second (or third, or fourth) life in a new home. What do you do at a swap? Bring in the yarn and needles you don’t want and take home whatever you like from our swap bins.

NEW! Knit Swap

Got projects that didn’t quite work out, that you never wear or use, and are sitting in the back of the cupboard? I DO – LOTS! I just finished the first wave of spring cleaning in the store and am sending a bunch of old store samples out into the universe. Please bring in your projects & knits that didn’t make the cut, we’ll swap them and the leftovers will go to charity.

Bring

  • Yarn (please secure bits & bobs in a ziplock bag)
  • Knitting Needles & Crochet Hooks
  • Knitting & Crochet Notions & Accessories
  • Knits (see above)

The leftovers are donated to charities, and don’t be embarrassed by the quality of the yarn you bring, whatever is left over is donated to charities like Street KnitWest Toronto Support Services, and Gilda’s Club, most of whom prefer acrylic! If you want to donate but can’t make the date please feel free to drop it by when we are open, sealed up in a plastic bag. The only yarn we can’t accept is anything that is strongly scented (cigarette smoke or perfume). We are also a drop-off point for Street Knit and Knitted Knockers of Canada

Details

  • $5 to participate in the swap (proceeds go to the Red Door Women’s Shelter)
  • Drop-in, no need to sign up
  • Everyone is welcome, all skill levels
  • Location: 1382 Bathurst St, Toronto ON
  • In-Store only, NOT ONLINE