Author Archives: Knit-O-Matic

Stash Game 2: Electric Boogaloo

Back-Story

StashGame is a virtual game where you send me a photo and description of your stashed, long neglected yarn and I’ll come up with at least one project idea for it and publish it here. There’s one hitch – you can’t request a type of project.

To enter, please send the following:

  • A clear photo of your yarn. It helps if I can get an idea about the colour as well as the texture (natural sunlight is best for taking pictures).
  • The name of your yarn (brand name and product name: for example Berroco Vintage)
  • The yarn’s weight (ex. 100g) and yardage (ex. 200m/220yds)
  • The yarn’s tension (ex. 18 sts & 24 rows = 4″)
  • The yarn’s suggested needle size
  • If available, the yarn’s Ravelry page: (ex. https://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/berroco-vintage)
  • How much yarn you have
  • How long the yarn has been in your stash (I’m just curious)
  • Any interesting or pertinent back-story (if it has an interesting one). Was it a gift from someone special? Did you inherit it from your grandmother? Do you love it? Are you afraid of it? Do you hate it? (please note: if you hate it you should probably just break up with it and send it on to a better place)

Send your info through any of the following channels with the subject/hashtag #YarnStashGame:

Please Note:

When choosing yarns to StashGame I go with the flow and pick what feels right at the time. If I haven’t chosen yours please be patient, it’s time will come. It looks like our collective break with regularly scheduled life isn’t going to be ending any time soon, so we have lots of stash-gaming ahead. My life hasn’t really slowed down so much as shifted (facing new challenges and rising to them), so my goal is to post a new StashGame once a week.

Drops Melody

Our second stash yarn comes from Lori Ann … it’s a super soft and fluffy blend of alpaca and wool that looks a lot like a vintage style mohair but feels like what we all wish mohair felt like (but doesn’t) – ie. like alpaca. I love the fuzzy texture (I was already thinking about bringing this yarn into the store next fall) and I like the funky combination of colours – there’s a hint of a reference to the industrial design of kitchen appliances circa 1970.

  • 71% Alpaca, 25% wool, 4% nylon
  • 50g/140m (153 yds)
  • Bulky weight
  • Suggested needle size: 7mm/US10.75
  • Notes: leftovers, probably totals about 460 yds total

I’d like to say that I did an exhaustive search and thought long and hard about this one, but I didn’t. It was bashert, I knew right away what this yarn needs to be ….

Colorful Clockwork Cozy

Like, seriously Lori Ann, if you don’t do it PLEASE let me! Your yarn NEEDS to be a clock cozy. As soon as Ikea reopens you need to haul you butt out there and get yourself a cheap ‘n cheerful Tjalla and knit it a sweater! A cozy, fuzzy, funky coloured, randomly striped mohairy sweater. You can either reduce the needle size to get a tighter tension or hold the yarn double – you’ll need to play around a bit. I’ve knit one of these once, I suggest you should get the clock first so you can ‘try it on’ as you go and gauge whether your band is wide enough. And when you’re finished please send a beauty shot.

I’m Knitting To ….

Since this one was short ‘n succinct (seriously, it is a moral imperative that that yarn become a clock cozy), I’ll include some extra ‘content’ … this is what I’ve been consuming while I knit ‘n stuff:

I’m Currently Listening to: Tara Brach (available on all podcast apps, Youtube, her website). The episode “Sheltering in Love pt.1” was so necessary, so important. I’ve been following all her pandemic related podcasts, they’re all been immensely helpful for getting through this challenging period.

I’m Currently Reading (on e-book): Letting Go by David Hawkins. I started this shortly before toilet-paper became a *thing*. I’m not sure if Hawkins is still alive, but the man is KILLIN’ IT! His interview with Oprah was also good.

I’m Currently Watching: Start Trek: The Next Generation (Netflix) with my Beau. The early shows aren’t great, but I think the interior design of the Enterprise really stands up, it’s still my favourite Enterprise. I also started watching Hilary (Netflix), which is interesting, and The Pizza Show (Crave), which isn’t great but I keep torturing myself and watching it because pizza is the only thing I miss about gluten.

I’m Connecting With: Myself … and meditating with the free Insight Timer app and occasionally Tara Brach’s short guided meditations. If you’re stuck at home this is an unprecedented opportunity to connect with yourself. Plus, meditation is REALLY helpful for negotiating fear, anxiety, vulnerability, depression, and all feelings both comfortable and uncomfortable. The book that helped me get past my fear of meditation was 10% Happier by Dan Harris … don’t worry, it isn’t new-age self-helpy stuff, it’s in the literary non-fiction or memoir genre. Plus, it starts with a cocaine addicted NBC news host who has a drug fuelled breakdown on live TV – any mistake you’ve ever made will feel demure compared to this guy’s, and he’s cool with it.

I’m Crafting: DIY Face Masks … well, I’m seriously thinking about it. I bought a mask on Amazon and have been wearing it out and about for a few days. It’s good, it fits beautifully and comes with extra filters (fancy!) but it doesn’t match my winter clothes (first world pandemic problems). Then, I came across this article in Science a few days ago, and I decided it is very important to me to make an effort not to accidentally give someone the virus if I’m asymptomatic and don’t know I have it (I see myself coughing for the very first time and accidentally taking out a whole retirement home … I don’t care to live with that). I discussed this with my Beau (who lived for many years in Hong Kong and has had both SARS and Swine Flu, so I figure he’s got some street cred in this department) and he agreed with my assessment and asked me to buy him a mask too (he insisted on black). Anyway, now I don’t feel right going out without a mask, but my mismatched mask in a spring floral print isn’t cutting it, it’s more of a cheerful May/June pandemic aesthetic, rather than a drizzly April mode.

I met a lady on the street yesterday morning wearing a snazzy mask and when I stopped her she said she’d sewn hers out of scrap fabric from around the house. The lovely woman even offered to make me one, but I was all “No thank you, I am super crafter, I am ON THIS!”, and then I flew away with my cape fluttering in the drizzly, miserable breeze. The first thing I found when I googled DIY masks was this Tutorial in the New York Times, so you know it’s going to be a bona-fide cultural phenomenon. There are already a bunch of video tutorials on Youtube, and crafters are selling their wares on Etsy too (not a bad activity for laid-off sewers to do).

Please note, if you are in a high risk category and need to prevent yourself from contracting the virus it is advisable you wear a proper medical mask. Fabric masks are suitable for those who want to prevent themselves from unknowingly shedding the virus and giving it to other people. Also, keep washing your hands (soap is kryptonite to COVID) and don’t touch your face.

See you soon!

xox Haley

Blanket Projects For Extended Stays Inside

I’m sorry it’s been a week, I’ve been acclimatizing myself to the changes that have sort of swept into our lives. I know life has slowed down and gotten a little smaller for a lot of you and you’ve finally got time to MAKE things! I think this is an excellent time to take on a large project. Many people have been buying yarn to make throws and afghans. Plus spring is in the air and it’s time for colour! All of the patterns below are FREE and available online.

The store is open for shipping and curbside pick-up, and you can shop online, by email, facebook messenger, and phone. Pick-up is available Monday to Saturday 12 to 5 pm.

Colourful Crochet for Spring

I’ve always liked the free crochet blanket patterns by Attic24, she’s having a love affair with colour! The patterns. are usually straightforward and make use of lots of different colours. They are designed with a DK weight yarn like Berroco Vintage DK, but if you want to move into a broader colour selection you can easily upsize to Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Superwash. If you choose to use the latter two yarn options I recommend going up to a 4.5mm/7 hook. One note: Attic24 is British and therefore written in British crochet terms – here’s a glossary to convert them to the North American vernacular.

Blankets for Beginner Knitters

Purl Soho always comes up with stylish beginner friendly throws.

Log Cabin & Basic Garter, Top row:

Bias Blankets: Bottom Row:

These two blankets are worked on the bias (the diagonal) so you can use any thickness of yarn you like, just be sure to adjust your needle size to suit the yarn. For basic machine washable yarns go for Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Superwash, if you want something thicker that goes faster try Berroco Vintage Chunky, or hold two strands of Drops Air (use 7mm/US10.75 to 8mm/US11 needles). The Drops Air is also stunning held single and would be a joy to work with and snuggle under! If you’re interested in a thinner fabric and a summer weight yarn I’d go for BC Garn Bio Balance, Cascade Ultra Pima, or the super luxe Fibre Company Road to China Light.

Cable Blanket

I’ve seen this blanket knitted up several times and I promise you, it’s STUNNING, you won’t regret it. Make it with Berroco Vintage Chunky (15 skeins) – I especially like the neutrals and heathered colours. (Because this pattern uses so much yarn in a single colour we may need to place a special order with our distributor to make sure you get the same dye-lot)

Greenway

I love this simple crochet blanket in muted tones. Use Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Superwash, both are great options!

Cedar River Blanket

I love the contrast between crisp white and bold, graphic colours in this blanket. I also love that this pattern comes in different sizes:

  • Small Throw (Large Throw, Single Bed, Double Bed)
  • 110 x 110cm (110 x 165cm, 165 x 215cm, 215 x 260cm)

Use Berroco Vintage DK in colours:

  • 2100 Snow Day or 2101 Mochi (white/off white): 3(5, 9, 15)
  • 2143 Dark Denim (navy): 1(1, 2, 4)
  • 2123 Blush (pink): 1(1, 2, 3)
  • 2192 Chana Dal (yellow): 1(1, 2, 4)
  • 2132 Sky Blue: 1(1, 2, 3)

If you want to change up the colours or go a bit thicker and try Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Superwash (their yellows are closer) and a 4.5mm crochet hook.

Stash Game

Yay!!! Inaugural Stash Game! I hope this is a fun diversion!

Back-Story

StashGame is a virtual game where you send me a photo and description of your stashed, long neglected yarn and I’ll come up with at least one project idea for it and publish it here. There’s one hitch – you can’t request a type of project.

To enter, please send the following:

  • A clear photo of your yarn. It helps if I can get an idea about the colour as well as the texture (natural sunlight is best for taking pictures).
  • The name of your yarn (brand name and product name: for example Berroco Vintage)
  • The yarn’s weight (ex. 100g) and yardage (ex. 200m/220yds)
  • The yarn’s tension (ex. 18 sts & 24 rows = 4″)
  • The yarn’s suggested needle size
  • If available, the yarn’s Ravelry page: (ex. https://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/berroco-vintage)
  • How much yarn you have
  • How long the yarn has been in your stash (I’m just curious)
  • Any interesting or pertinent back-story (if it has an interesting one). Was it a gift from someone special? Did you inherit it from your grandmother? Do you love it? Are you afraid of it? Do you hate it? (please note: if you hate it you should probably just break up with it and send it on to a better place)

Send your info through any of the following channels with the subject/hashtag #StashGame:

Please Welcome Our First Guest!

The first yarn looks to be a gorgeous 100% silk, fingering weight, single ply hand-dye:

  • Woollisa Silk Singles (we think, the ball-band is kinda spartan)
  • 100% silk, hand dyed in Italy
  • 100g/400m
  • Fingering weight
  • Suggested needles 3.5mm/US4 to4mm/US8
  • Notes: received as a gift by a beloved friend 7 years ago

Why This Yarn?

This yarn spoke to me for a few reasons:

  1. The owner has been afraid to use it, which means it’s time for them to use it.
  2. The type of fibre – it has a lot of limitations.

Category: Too Precious

This is a great example of the ‘Too Precious to Use’ stashed yarn. These yarns linger in our stashes for years, sometimes decades, waiting for the perfect project and the perfect pattern at the perfect time. We know we will receive a sign revealing what we are supposed to make with it, we just need to wait until all the planets and all their moons align ….

The entry point for this type of yarn problem is the descriptor PERFECT. In situations like this we’ve put this skein on a pedestal so high nobody could ever reach it, and unless you’re prepared to bring it down and live in the real, messy world, you might as well put it under glass. Don’t worry, I’ve been here, I’ve done it, I survived to tell the tale (it isn’t especially interesting).

Spoiler, if you are of the mind that perfectionism is a good thing, you’ll probably prefer to skip to the next section where I talk about the fibre.

So here’s the hitch – it doesn’t actually matter what you make with this yarn, because as long as it is on the perfection pedestal it will NEVER feel like it’s good enough or doing the yarn justice. So, you’ve got a choice, keep the yarn in it’s a safe little bubble of too-goodness, or use it and put yourself face to face with the uncomfortable feeling of not-good-enoughness. If you choose to move forward and use the yarn you’ll be putting yourself in a position of growth … but hey, it’s only string, it isn’t alive, so the experience shouldn’t be painful, just slightly uncomfortable and take you outside of your comfort zone.

One thing I suggest for getting this project off the ground is to reframe it, take the focus off of the self. Don’t use this yarn for making something for yourself, use it to make something for someone else. Since it was a gift from a beloved friend, I would make something for the person who gave it to me.

Project Limitations: Silk is Gonna Silk

This yarn is made from 100% Silk, which comes with its own set of issues. Silk has absolutely no memory, and it actually tends to grow with use. The more silk content in your yarn, the less shape it will likely hold. This means that it isn’t going to be useful for making anything that needs to have a shape or keep its shape. Hats, socks, fingerless gloves are all out and sweaters are tricky because of the growth factor. This sort of limits the types of projects that will work out successfully. The yarn is also thin, so wraps, scarves, wrappy-scarves, scarfy-wraps and shawls are the best options for a yarn like this. Types of lace where the yarn is wrapped around itself will bulk it up a little.

The silk will look good with lace, it won’t hold cables so if a design includes that it would have to be very deconstructed. This yarn is lovely and should probably be used on it’s own so it can shine. I would use pointy needles for this yarn, it will help scooping it up when you make your stitches. I would also advise using wood or less slippery needles, it will probably reduce accidents. Definitely be diligent and use a lifeline.

Herald

My suggestion for this yarn is the Herald wrap. I like the modernity of this openwork lace. It’s simple, timeless, and elegant. Plus, the yarn is a bright pink, so it’s going to dominate. Herald is worked on the bias as a scalene triangle, so it can be worn as a scarf or as a wrap, and has a cool asymmetrical sensibility (this translates to “easy to make, interesting to wear”). This lace also makes the most of the yardage available and doesn’t suck any up in a dense stitch like garter-stitch.

Materials

  • 400m of fingering weight yarn (my current favorite choice would be Fibre Company Meadow)
  • 4mm/US6 needles
  • tapestry needle
  • scrap yarn for lifeline (optional but advised)
  • Pattern

Stash Conclusions

1. I think I need to do a reassessment of my stash and see how much of it is in the “Too Precious to Use” category. I’m sure I’m DEEP down this rabbit hole!

2. Currently, we’re are all already well outside of our comfort zones, and I know it sounds strange, but now is actually the perfect time to push yourself further. Our fears are running rampant right now, and we want to avoid those feelings because they are extremely uncomfortable, but it’s actually ok to accept them. Fear is part of being a human being. If we hold on to the fear we get stuck in it (which I think is really just being mean to ourselves), when we accept it then it passes through us. This video by Tara Brach on dealing with pandemic fears is excellent.

3. The best way to get out of your head FAST is to think about how you can help others – it clears out an immense amount of space! Now is a great time to make gifts for others …. the holidays will come, I promise you, and next fall you’ll be thrilled to have already finished your gifts. You can also make gifts for right now for the people you care about, and help them get through this tough time.

It's Business VERY Unusual

It’s business VERY unusual around here (more like business surreal), but but things are also busy – you need to keep yourself occupied, I understand this well. Starting WEDNESDAY March 25th the store will be closed to walk-in traffic. This means no in-person peoples, sorry. I’ll still be here from 12 – 5pm Monday to Saturday doing the things I do (answering the phone, filling and shipping your orders, answering emails, writing blog posts, etc). Your last shot at in-person shopping is TUESDAY March 24 from 12 to 5pm.

You Can Still Buy Stuff!

You can still shop online: 24/7, by email: 24/7 (we will get back to you as soon as we can), by facebook messenger: 24/7 (we will get back to you as soon as we can), and by phone: 12 – 5pm Monday to Saturday 416-653-7849. You can have your yarn shipped or you can schedule a drive-by pick-up. If you live in a building with lots of knitters (like a retirement home) and want to organize a group shipment please get in touch and we arrange that too.

Since things are fluid I’m taking it one day at a time – any updates will be posted on our Blog.

Store Hours

  • online: 24/7
  • email: 24/7 (we will get back to you as soon as we can)
  • facebook messenger: 24/7 (we will get back to you as soon as we can)
  • phone: Monday to Saturday 12 – 5pm, 416-653-7849
  • in-person: closed

How to Get Your Yarn

  • shipped by Canada Post
  • drive-by pick-up
  • arrange a group shipment

Stock

As for inventory, I’ll do my best to keep the store stocked, but I have no idea what the future will hold, which of our suppliers will be open and which will close, and what will happen to supply chains of non-essential products. I’m not going to bank on being able to perform my normal special-order magic, so if there is something you really want or need I suggest not putting it off. If what you want isn’t gettable, I can always put my problem solving skills to work and find an alternate solution.

In-Store Support

We also won’t be available to give you hands-on advice or private classes. There’s not much I can do about this, the rules are in place to protect us all. What I’m going to suggest is that during this very weird period consider choosing projects that are going to be easy for you and don’t require jumping through hoops. If you’re currently working on something that requires an outside consultation I suggest you put it down and work on something else. I think it’s also a good idea to put down any projects that make you feel anxious or worried – that’s the opposite of what you need right now. Now is a great time to practice being gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to have an extra project on the go.

We’re In This Together

You may be at home alone, but we are in this TOGETHER. I’ve lived through some challenges, but I’ve never done it at the same time as the rest of the planet. That’s kind of cool, this might be a very interesting bonding experience for us all. I just read this facebook post by Cilla Murphy who lives in China and is coming out the other end of their quarantine, her advice is really very insightful.

Normally I do a lot of connecting with people in person, but that is going to shift for the immediate future, and I expect the nature of that connection will change a bit too. If there is some way that I can help, please let me know.

xox Haley

STASH GAME & Business as Unusual

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to drop you a line and give you an update … things at Knit-O-Matic are still running smoothly and we are open. Things are fluid, so I’m taking things one day at a time – any updates will be posted on our Blog. The bricks and mortar store is open – people have been incredibly conscientious and socially distant, and I have been disinfecting aplenty. The online store is open too, and we are shipping.

For the time being our late night store hours are cancelled, as is the Sit ‘n Knit, group classes, and the upcoming Yarn Swap will be postponed. If you find yourself at home, cleaning out your stash, and want to get rid of the overflow you can still drop it off in sealed plastic bags and we will store it until things return to normal.

Current Store Hours

Monday to Sunday: 12 to 5pm

Cancelled

  • Late nights
  • Sit ‘n Knit
  • Group Classes
  • Yarn Swap

The Stash Game!

And now for something new and fun … a digital diversion of sorts! Do you have yarn in your stash that you have no idea what to do with? Send me a photo and description of your yarn and I’ll come up with at least one project idea for it and publish it here. There’s one hitch – you can’t request a type of project. This game is about creativity and stretching yourself, and I’m going to pretend I don’t see any of those pesky lines or limitations and colour wherever inspiration takes me.

To enter, please send the following:

  • A clear photo of your yarn. It helps if I can get an idea about the colour as well as the texture (natural sunlight is best for taking pictures).
  • The name of your yarn (brand name and product name: for example Berroco Vintage)
  • The yarn’s weight (ex. 100g) and yardage (ex. 200m/220yds)
  • The yarn’s tension (ex. 18 sts & 24 rows = 4″)
  • The yarn’s suggested needle size
  • If available, the yarn’s Ravelry page: (ex. https://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/berroco-vintage)

Send your info through any of the following channels with the subject/hashtag #StashGame:

I can’t wait to see what you come up with … I can’t wait to see what I come up with!

xox Haley

Fibre Co Road to China Light

On The C Train

Finally a moment to myself … this project is LONG overdue for blogging, I apologize to you and to it! It’s an On the C Train that I made for my new beau … his first knitted gift. It didn’t really fit him, he turned out to have a surprisingly large head and required more slouch … this is why people date, you need to learn about each other (hat size being crucial for a knitter).

Fit notwithstanding, it came out beautifully! I used Fibre Company Road to China Light and held two strands together, so it is nice and dense and warm. The yarn is OMG WTF DROOL!!! It’s a blend of cashmere, silk, camel and baby alpaca, and it’s totally to die for. I made the hat, but I still hadn’t had enough of it for I made a cowl (below) and after that I cast on for a sweater (still in the works). I was also thinking about making a wrap with it, maybe a Night Shift.

Materials

Pashmina Cowl

My second project with Fibre Company Road to China Light … a Pashmina Cowl. I found the pattern in one of my favourite older books Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which can be accessed digitally though the public library. The pattern is so dead easy anybody can do it, it’s very beginner friendly. Check out my project notes on Ravelry for direction. I like it because it’s all about the yarn, which kind of deserves a party thrown in it’s honour.

Size

  • 17″ long x 11″ wide (after blocking)
  • fit is loose & casual

Materials

Fibre Company Road to China Light

Fibre Company Road to China Light is the sexiest yarn I’ve ever come across. Seriously, it’s ambrosia! Some clever person thought to combine cashmere, silk, camel and baby alpaca and it feels like … joy and gratitude and unconditional love. This yarn is seriously stashable, but even more knittable! Two skeins makes a Cowl (see above).

  • 10% cashmere, 15% silk, 10% camel, 65% baby alpaca
  • 50g/145m (159yds)
  • 3.25mm/US3 to 3.5mm/US4 needles
  • 24 to 26 sts = 4″/10cm
  • ​Sport weight
  • Hand wash, lay flat to dry
  • Made in the UK
  • See other peoples Projects
  • See pattern ideas

Business as Usual

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that everything here at Knit-O-Matic is business as usual. Things seem to be a bit fluid these days, I’m going to take things as they go, so if there are any changes I will let you all know immediately.

Coincidentally, we just received a restock of Lily Sugar & Cream crafting cotton (great for cloths and trivets, kids crafting, weaving, etc) and a bunch of other great yarns for spring, plus some Punch Needle materials – so things are still happening around here. Hopefully the Macrame yarn and kits will arrive soon (the books are in). Plus, we ship, so if you get stuck in your house, we’ve got you covered. And if we all get stuck in our houses … well, I guess I’ll take some yarn and my camera home and you’ll get to watch a project grow.

Wall Hanging

I don’t know if any of you will ever make this wall hanging, I just chose it because I like it’s graphic quality. Anyway, its made from crocheted squares, so you can can use it as inspiration for a blanket, table runner, place mats, floor mat, etc … it can become more than one thing.

Materials