Favourite Holiday Gifts (for fibrely people)

Under $25

Firefly Project Bags

Firefly Drawstring Project Bags are adorable and practical! Made from 100% cotton, each bag measures is large enough to hold a small to medium size project. Plus it’s made right here in Canada! They make great for knitters & crocheters. 100% Cotton, 8″(20cm) wide, 10″(25cm) high, digitally printed, Made in Canada. $9.97

Firefly Stitch Markers

Firefly Stitch Markers are the most beautiful and useful no-snag stitch markers we’ve ever seen, and we fell in love immediately! They come in different sizes and colours (details listed below), and some come with an extra marker that looks different, to mark your place in your work (like the beginning of your round). Nickel free, Made in Canada. $10.97

Rubber Wrist Rulers

Rubber Wrist Ruler is a silicone wristband with engraved inch and centimetre measurements. It’s a vegan alternative to the classic Wrist Ruler, and now you can wear your ruler everywhere and never take it off. It’s one-size-fits-most (the full length is 18″/48cm), it’s waterproof, and it’s available in black, white, and a classic ruler yellow.  Wrist Ruler is made in the US. $13.97

Gleener ‘Swet’ Project Bags

We think Gleener Swet Bags make perfect project bags, but they’re so much more. They’re designed to keep odours, wetness and messed contained. The zipper and lining are both waterproof, so they also make a great travel companion to the gym, swimming or beyond. Keep your projects safe, clean and dry anywhere you go! $14.97 to$19.97

Squiggle Shawl Pins

Nature’s Wonders Sweater & Shawl pins are beautiful & functional artisanal accessories for your knits. They are hand made from reclaimed wood by a lifetime artisan, located in central Ontario, Canada. Each piece is unique, no two are exactly alike. $17.97

Yarn Spindles

Made of Beech Wood, these Yarn Spindles are the perfect way to keep yarn freely flowing while you crochet or knit. Each spindle consists of a base with non-slip pads, and a removable top that spins on the base. Natural wax finish.
6″ tall x 3.5″ diameter. $19.97

Crafty Kit Company Needle Felting Kits

New from the Crafty Kit Company, these needle felting kits contain everything you need to create a beautiful and realistic animal head. You’ll learn how to make a wire armature, then build it up with felting wool, and finally add the details that will really bring your creation to life. Each kit comes with all the felting wool you need, a tube with 3 felting needles, glass eyes, wire, pipe cleaners, nylon, a mat to work on, wood slice for mounting, faux leather strap and clear step by step instructions. Finished object will measure approximately 15cm tall. $23.97 to $32.97

Gleener Fuzz Remover

Restore your wardrobe and other treasured textiles with the Gleener® Ultimate Fuzz Remover™. This award winning fabric de-piller and lint brush combo safely removes fuzz balls, lint and pet hair from even the finest of fabrics. Colour is Slate Blue. $23.97

Under $50

Rico Weaving Loom

Rico Looms are a great, inexpensive tool to get into weaving! These small, hand-held looms are uncomplicated and can be used by adults and children. Kit contains all you need to start weaving: weaving loom, shuttle, comb, heddle rod, and step by step instructions. Just add the yarns, roving and fabric pieces you would like to use. Sizes: Small (19cm x 29cm) and Large (30cm x 39.5cm). $29.97 to $49.97

Mango Wood Yarn Bowl

Yarn bowls are a great way to hold your yarn while you’re working on a project. These yarn bowls are made of mango wood, so they’re sturdier and lighter than their ceramic cousins. They won’t snag or imprison your yarn in the carved swirl, so you can access your project at any time. They’re heavy enough to stay in place while you’re working but light enough that you can bring it with you to knit night. $39.97

Leather Wrist Rulers

Wrist Ruler is a leather wristband with engraved inch and centimetre measurements. If you find yourself always needing to measure things when you’re on the go, this is the perfect product for you. Wrist Ruler is made in the US. $27.97 to $34.97

Twig & Horn Argyle Sock Blockers

Keep handknit socks in tip-top shape with Twig & Horn’s Argyle Sock blockers. Diamond cutouts keep airflow flowing as socks are drying after wet blocking. Each set comes with two blockers. Twig & Horn’s crafted their argyle sock blockers using high-quality MDF board made with 100% recycled/recovered, FSC certified wood content. This eco-friendly option stands the test of time and holds up to plenty of use without warping or cupping. Measurements below are given for blocker foot length. Made in Maine, USA. $45.97

Under $75

Prym All-in-One Needlework Bag

The Prym All-in-One Needlework bag is a great option for organizing your needles and notions. $66.97

  • Universal needlework bag for transporting accessories
  • 8 transparent inner pockets (no exterior pockets)
  • 12 interior loops for tidy needle storage (or other accessories)
  • Sturdy handles
  • 13″/33cm wide x 11.5″/30cm high x 4″/10cm deep
  • Cotton exterior, nylon interior with clear vinyl zippered pockets 
  • Made in Germany

Under $100

Knitting Comfortably by Carson Demers

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: “What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?” “Will I get hurt again?” “Will I have to stop knitting forever to make this pain go away?” Maybe you’d like to be a faster, more efficient knitter, or a knitter who produces more projects, but you’re not sure what’s getting in the way.

This book will help you understand the ergonomics of knitting so you can improve your safety, efficiency, and productivity in knitting. You’ll learn to identify ergonomic risks that contribute to injury and reduce knitting efficiency. Throughout the book, you’ll be provided with activities and guidance to improve your knitting ergonomics so you can knit more confidently and comfortably. Through instruction in stretches, exercise, and self-care, you’ll also learn how to manage the discomfort common to knitters before it becomes an injury, and how to recognize when it’s time to seek help from a health-care professional. $79.97

The Principles of Knitting

The Principles of Knitting is basically the Bible, the Encyclopedia, and the OED of knitting, COMBINED. Reading The Principles of Knitting is like having a knitting mentor by your side who can answer any knitting question you have in an honest, intelligent, informed manner.

A treasured guide beloved by knitters everywhere, the classic book The Principles of Knitting is finally available again in a fully revised and updated edition. This is the definitive book on knitting techniques, with valuable information for everyone from beginners to experienced knitters. June Hiatt presents not only a thorough, thoughtful approach to the craft, but also a passion for carrying on the art of knitting to future generations. She has repeatedly tested the various techniques and presents them with clear, easy-to-follow instructions—as well as an explanation of what each one can contribute to your knitting. Informed by decades of experience and thousands of hours of practice, this comprehensive resource offers a variety of ways to approach every skill and technique and offers solutions that can help solve the most challenging aspects of any knitting project.

The Principles of Knitting has been totally rewritten—new instructions, new illustrations, and new information. While the basics of knitting have not changed much, June’s understanding of the material has deepened over the last twenty-five years, and she’s eager to share what she has learned with the knitting world. In addition, the book has been reorganized to make it easier to use and has a gorgeous new design. $77.97

Just Over $100

Prym Store & Travel Bags

The Prym Store & Travel Bag is a great option for organizing your yarn and project in progress. It’s beautiful, elegant, and is big enough to hold a sizeable afghan project. Plus it’s portable, with bamboo handles and a detachable cotton canvas shoulder strap. The exterior is cotton and the interior has a water repellent lining. $115.97

  • Storage and transport of needlework accessories
  • Sturdy and stable with a reinforced bag bottom
  • Water-repellent inner fabric
  • Carries up to 10 kg/22 lbs
  • 16″/40cm wide, 17″/43cm high,  8″/20cm deep

NEW Fleece Artist Wonder Woolen Thrum Mitten Kits

Fleece Artist Wonder Woolen Thrum Mitten Kits

Thrumming is a very old technique that is seriously fun and functional. Small tufts of roving (wool that hasn’t been spun into yarn yet) are knit into the garment creating a fuzzy warm layer on the inside and irresistible dots of colour the outside. As you wear them, the thrummed roving felts down, keeping your hands warm and cozy (take note dog owners, these are ideal winter dog walking mitts). The mittens will be the colour of the yarn and the thrums (roving) will peek through. Each kit is individually hand dyed, no two will be exactly alike. Kit does not include needles:  5.5mm/US4 double-pointed needles

Note: I think the pattern provided has a mistake (that’s why our sample looks a bit weirdly) so we have included a correction in the kit (so your mitts don’t look weirdly)

Wonder Woolen Yarn

Wonder Woolen is a new yarn from Fleece Artist. It is 100% regionally sourced wool (25 Micron, Woolen Spun). It is heartier and sturdier than the yarns they have used in the past for their thrum kits, and will wear harder, last longer, and keep you warmer. They are so happy with this new yarn at Fleece Artist that they have discontinued all of their other thrum kits. Wonder Woolen is also thicker than the previous yarns used, and knits up faster on larger 5.5mm/US9 needles.

Kit Includes

  • Pattern & instructions 
  • Yarn: Fleece Artist Wonder Woolen, 113g (100% wool)
  • Merino Roving: 60g (100% merino wool) 
  • Size: Adult Medium

SALE Black Friday (& Grey Saturday)

TWO DAYS ONLY

Friday Nov 29 & Saturday Nov 30 take 20% off a bunch of yarn, accessories, needle sets, needle sets, kits, bags, and more!

FESTIVUS PARTY Sunday Dec 8

UGLY SWEATER FESTIVUS PARTY

You are cordially invited to an ‘Ugly Holiday Sweater’ themed Festivus Party on Sunday December 8, 2019, from 1 to 4pm!

Please wear your ugliest ‘Ugly Holiday Sweater’… this may require a quick trip to your local thrift store or some crafting (both Ready-to-wear and DIY ugly sweaters are good, find inspiration for your DIY here). We’ll have a couple of contests and prizes, some food to nosh (probably not the traditional Festivus meal of meatloaf on a bed of lettuce, but I’ll figure out something else …definitely some Junior Mints). And of course there will be crafting.

Traditional and Non-Traditional Activities

  • Feats of Strength (thumb wrestling, staring contest, zipping and unzipping coats, eating a chocolate bar with cutlery, etc)
  • Airing of Hilarious Grievances Contest (the funniest grievance wins a prize)
  • Ugly Holiday Sweater Competition (qualifying garments include sweaters, sweatshirts, dresses, suits, jackets …. check out Pinterest for DIY Ugly Holiday Sweater crafting ideas)
  • Bring your knitting/crochet/embroidery/rug hooking/etc craft project

Details

  • When: Sunday December 8, 2019, from 1 to 4pm
  • Where: Knit-O-Matic, 1382 Bathurst St, Toronto ON Candada
  • What: Wear your ugliest “Ugly Sweater”
  • Admission: $5 for the Red Door Women’s Shelter
  • No RSVP Necessary: Drop-in and party with us!

Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 Seinfeld episode “The Strike”. For more information about the celebration of Festivus, you can see the Festivus in Wikipedia or watch the Festivus Episode from Seinfeld.

FINISHED Two Hats (Beloved & Antler)

With the holidays coming up I’m going to try to focus on smaller projects that make great gifts (hats, cowls, scarves, slippers, sockies, mitts, leg-warmers, etc). What are you making for the holidays this year? I received a reprieve this year, only one hand knit required, so I’m developing my self-love and making myself some new leg-warmers and a new sweater made with the new Fibre Co. Cumbria. I’m looking forward to sharing that project with you, the results so far are great – I’ve gone off-book and am trying a new experiential experiment with it, fingers crossed!

Beloved

I was originally thinking of using a sightly heavier yarn for this, some Cascade Eco+ Merino that was leftover from our Felix Pullover, but I kind of wanted to experiment and see what the hat would be like with Drops Air, a lighter, airier yarn. I think it made for a really nice fall hat or something for people who have a lot of hair. Now that I’m sitting down and giving it another thought, I’m having a “what were you thinking?!” moment and realize that it would look sensational made with the Malabrigo Mecha (smack forehead). Thankfully, there’s always another hat on the horizon! It would be interesting to make the same hat over & over in different yarns and see how they turn out …. maybe that will happen some day, when I’m no longer a person with a DaVinci-esque attention span (he was notorious for not finishing his work, once DaVinci solved a puzzle he lost interest and moved on).

Notes

If you mke a pompom for this hat, don’t kill yourself making it dense. I did, I got all perfectionisty and packed it tightly, which made it look smooth and dense. Unfortuantely, this made it smooth and dense. This hat looks great with a “hand-made” looking pompom, and light and airy is definitely better. If you like a tight pompom, go for a smaller size pompom maker, like the yellow one from clover.

Design Hack: Want a quick pick-me-up for a dull hat? Add a fur pom-pom or a hand made pompom in a contrasting colour!

Materials

Antler

Another experiment with Drops Air, Antler turned out super light and cozy. Like, super-duper light and cozy. I just tried it on, and it’s so cozy that I’d kinda like to crawl into a matching onesie made with the same yarn … that would be quite a sight, quite possibly the ultimate in ‘cocooning’ (something to think about for halloween next year). I’ve completely lost my train of thought … that’s how cozy it feels!!! Oh yeah, wear it with your Infinitude cowl, you’ll never want to take your outerwear off.

Notes

We made the brim of our hat short so it can be worn like a slouch, but it was designed with more ribbing and you can take it either way, depending on what looks nice on you.

Materials

  • 1 skein Drops Air
  • 4mm/US6 – 16″ circular needles
  • 5mm/US8 – 16″ circular needles
  • 5mm/US8 double pointed needles
  • cable needle/hook
  • tapestry/darning needle
  • FREE Pattern

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”?