It seems like you guys have been very busy bees, knitting up squares for the COVID Memorial Blanket … I made one too, and I plan on getting my niece, brother and sister-in-law to make one each. It’s a very easy pattern, suitable for beginners – you only need to know how to knit and purl.
If you aren’t already familiar with it, the COVID Memorial Blanket is a country wide project to honour and remember Canadians lost to COVID. Knitters from all over the country are knitting squares (with Berroco Vintage), which will be joined together to make a MASSIVE blanket … you can read more about it HERE.
This week CBC news did a story on it, it was also on TV. Since then we’ve sold out of colour 5125 Aquae (the colour designated to represent healthcare workers), the distributor is also out of stock, and we don’t expect to have it again until mid-September. That said, there are lots and lots of other colours available in Berroco Vintage, and the only limitation is what makes you happy! There aren’t really any front-runners for popularity, but I can tell you that when given the opportunity, people are going for COLOUR!
Yarn Availability & COVID
As an aside, I’ve been told by a few sales reps that availability is going to be a little spotty this fall on any products coming out of Peru – they’ve been hit pretty hard by COVID and the mills are only working at 30% capacity. Going forward, if you were thinking of making a large project and you want specific colours in Berroco Vintage, Berroco Vintage DK or Berroco Vintage Chunky, you should order your yarn now because I may not be able to get the inventory later. I think this especially applies to the neutral colours like white, off-white, ecru, all of the heathered greys, black, oatmeal, etc.
MINI-HACK! The Baggy Bind-Off Stitch
Yesterday Erica and I were looking at swatches and the subject of that last bind-off stitch came up. Somehow it’s always stretched out … and while I never really cared about it, it got me thinking that someone, somewhere on the interweb, must have found a solution. It turns out lots of someones have resolved the issue, the video below is the first one that popped up in my Google search, and I liked it a lot.
Safe at Homeis my “it grew on me” pattern this week. When I first looked at it my negativity bias kicked in immediately, I came up with a bunch of reasons why it was a terrible project to recommend. I thought; “It’s too hard, it’s too much work, there’s too much seaming, the yarn is something objectionable …” etc, etc. But it’s really pretty so I looked closer and told my dumb mammalian brain to take a break and let my frontal lobe carry some of the load … as I slowed down and took it all in I realized it’s a project with a lot of potential!
First off, its knit with worsted weight yarn, which everybody has in their stash. To supplement (’cause lets not kid ourselves, you’re going to need more yarn, a project like this always requires more yarn) there are really affordable options with great colour choices, like Berroco Vintageand Cascade 220 Superwash. Because the design is already so patchworky, I love the idea of mixing different yarns of the same tension and creating slight textural variances. I think it would be so cool for different parts of the houses to have different textures. The pattern calls for 12 colours, but you can use as many as you like.
The skill level is advanced beginner to intermediate, but I think that’s ok, it’s good to push ourselves to grow and try new things (or revisit old things we haven’t done in. a while). Plus, if not now, then when? There also isn’t as much seaming as I expected, the little houses are knit in rows, and it’s all worked in garter stitch which is easy to seam.
Finally, the theme has grown on me. It’s a lovely metaphor that EVERYTHING is connected. When my mammalian brain does what it was designed to do and wanders off into selfness, I think it would be nice to have a happy reminder to help bring me back into balance.
Does anything say Canada to Canadians more than the iconic Hudson Bay Blanket? It’s simple design is timeless and a hand-knit version would make for a super-special baby gift. The pattern is beginner friendly (it’s just straight knitting), and makes a great low-brain activity, summer project. And it’s FREE, so that’s a bonus too!
The Hudson Bay Inspired Baby Blanket is made with worsted weight yarn, so you’ve got several great options to choose from! I’ve colour combined and art-directed the colours, so you don’t have to worry about which shades match and balance together – I’ve got you covered! Working with the palates available from each yarn line, I tired to create as many combinations that looked good as possible. I also tried to go for different aesthetics, the classics are closest to the iconic blankets sold by the Hudson Bay Company, and feature clearer, brighter colours. The subdued combos are a more modern, grown-up take on the hues, and are darker.
Cascade 220 Superwash is an affordably priced, machine washable Peruvian wool yarn. It’s soft enough for baby garments and blankets, knits easily, and has been a staple around here for a LONG time. If you aren’t into synthetics this is a great choice!
classic colours: six skeins of 817 Aran, and one skein each of 251 Evergreen, 809 Really Red, 877 Golden, 1924 Midnight Heather
slightly darker colours: six skeins of 817 Aran, and one skein each of 1950 Hunter Green, 893 Ruby, 877 Golden, 854 Navy.
Berroco Vintage is a super soft, machine washable blend of wool, acrylic and nylon. It’s easy on the hands and the pocketbook, and is another very popular choice for babies and kids. This yarn is also a longstanding resident around here.
classic colours: six skeins of 5101 Mochi, and one skein each of 5152 Mistletoe, 5151 Cardinal, 5121 Sunny, 51182 Indigo Heather.
somewhat subdued colours: six skeins of 5101 Mochi, and one skein each of 5193 Yukon Green, 51181 Ruby Heather, 5127 Butternut, 51182 Indigo Heather.
grown-up heathered colours: six skeins of 5101 Mochi, and one skein each of 5177 Douglas Fir Heather, 5181 Black Currant Heather, 5192 Chana Dal Heather, 51182 Indigo Heather.
FYI, we were supposed to do the 25km ride, but we just kept going and scored ourselves an extra 25km … I’m a little tender in the posterior, but I totally earned my donations this year! If you wanted to donate but didn’t get around to it it isn’t too late – my brother is only $12 ahead of me, I think that needs to be rectified …
Me & my father at the half-way point on a particularly wet & cold Ride for Heart.
Ride for Heart
Some of you already know that every year I do a charity bike ride with my father. This year I managed to drag my BROTHER along, so all three of us are riding 25km up, and then back down the Don Valley Parkway (a local highway).
Anyway, the purpose of the even, besides getting out of the house and getting some exercise, is to rise funds for the Canadian Heart and Stroke association, who does A LOT of important work helping EVERYONE improve their cardiac health (after all, scientific research has no borders). According to an article in the news yesterday women are TWICE as likely to die from a heart attack than men. This is NOT GOOD, because I know from computery data stuff that 95% of the people reading this are WOMEN! Sure, I’ve got a vested interested in keeping you alive, many of you reading this are my clients, but I also feel strongly that the world needs women, as many as it can get. And as women, we deserve to be strong, healthy, and happy.
P.S. They symptoms of heart attack in women are often different than those seen in men. Women can have chest symptoms (the ‘Hollywood’ clutching of the chest & sweating), or any of the following:
profound nausea and vomiting with palpitations
discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulder, arms or back
Since I’ve been talking about women’s health, who better to invoke than the head amazon herself, Wonder Woman. I’ve actually seen this hat in the wild, on some dude in the subway, and it was AWESOME. Sure, you can still wear your Pussy Hat to protests, but sometimes you want something a bit dressier for your day-to-day lady needs. The pattern isn’t free, but it’s only $3, which I don’t begrudge to have someone else do the work of charting the symbol.
To make things easier, I’ve pulled all the suitable colours off the shelf and come up with colour combinations that work well together (you can never really tell online which shades are actually going to look good). I personally like a darker, more sombre colour combo with a dark red, gold and blue, but I know that everyone has different Wonder Woman Toque needs, so I chose colours that were both thematically on cue and look great together. By the way, if this project appeals to you, you might want to bookmark or Pinterest this post for future reference – you’ll want to revisit the colour numbers!
Since this is such a cool project, and it is in honour of a charitable fundraising endeavour, we’re offering a one time discount of 10% Off Online orders of the yarns we think will work best (discount is applicable to all colours, you can have your order shipped or choose to order online and pick-up your order in store): Use code WONDERHAT at checkout.
Cascade 220 Superwash is a soft, machine washable, 100% Peruvian wool, it comes in a bunch of colours, and the price is very reasonable. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour plus optional 1 ball for pom-pom in colour 817 Aran:
Berrocco Vintage is a super soft, machine washable blend of wool and synthetic, and the price is right at $9.97/skein. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour, plus optional 1 skein for pom-pom in colour 5101 Mochi:
Clear Colours Combo: 5150 Berries, 5121 Sunny, 5143 Dark Denim
Medium Combo: 5181 Black Cherry Heather, 5127 Butternut, 5143 Dark Denim
Dark Combo: 5181 Black Cherry Heather, 5192 Chana Dal Heather, 51182 Indigo Heather
Malabrigo Rios is a hand dyed, SUPER soft, machine washable merino wool, and while the price point is higher at $23.97/skein, comparable hand dyed merino yarns tend to run north of $30/skein. You’ll need 1 skein in each colour, plus optional 1 skein of off-white for pom-pom in Manos Alegria Grande in AG2800:
Brighter Combo: 611 Ravelry Red, 96 Sunset, 415 Matisse Blue
Medium Combo: 611 Ravelry Red, 96 Sunset, 150 Azul Profundo
Dark Combo: 33 Cereza, 96 Sunset, 150 Azul Profundo (the dye lot of 33 is darker than the picture)
We’re clearing out discontinued colours of two of our most popular yarns, Berroco Vintage and Berroco Vintage Chunky. It’s super soft, machine washable, easy to work with, and great for all kinds of projects (unless you want to felt them). Get it while it’s still available!
20% OFF Berroco Vintage (clearance colours)
Berroco Vintage is an extremely versatile yarn, and we consider it a staple. It’s soft, comfortable, machine washable, and easy to work with. Its a worsted weight, and can be used for any pattern that calls for worsted weight yarn. Vintage is great for all kinds of projects, including babies, kids, men, women, boot socks, slippers, blankets and afghans, pillows, etc, but it will not felt. It also comes in a broad spectrum of colours which is always expanding. This yarn is also available in a Chunky/Bulky version, Berroco Vintage Chunky.
20% OFF Berroco Vintage Chunky (clearance colours)
Berroco Vintage Chunky is a bulky weight yarn that’s great for just about everything: babies, kids, men, blankets, afghans, etc. It is machine washable, soft, easy to work with and come in a spectrum of great colours, both solid and heathered. It’s a blend of wool and high-end synthetic fibres, but it isn’t shiny (or squeaky), and doesn’t feelacrylicy. This yarn is also available in a Worsted weight, Berroco Vintage.
40% Wool, 52% Acrylic, 8% Nylon
6mm/US10 needles, 6mm/J hook
Knitting Gauge: 14 sts & 21 rows = 4″ (10cm)
Crochet Gauge: 12sc & 14 rows = 4″ (10cm)
Machine wash inside out in cold water on gentle cycle, lay flat to dry.
Ok, this is jumping ahead by a month, but I came across this FREEBIE and it seemed like a great option for a casual cardigan, especially for beginner knitters (the only shaping is in the arms, the back and fronts are perfect rectangles). It’s designed with a basic worsted weight yarn, so you’ve got lots of options, depending on your budget and the aesthetic you want. I think it would look STUNNING knit up in a long ombre colourway like Cascade 220 Superwash Wave, it would create a very Missoni aesthetic. It would also be gorgeous made with hand dyed Malabrigo Rios, you can’t go wrong with hand dyed, super soft merino. And of course, I think everything looks better worked up with a standard heathered colour yarn, like Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Superwash. Either way, I think this oversized sweater will fit like a BIG HUG!
Cozy sockies make great gifts, especially when they are knitted with worsted weight yarn. This FREE pattern from Tincan Knits has great instructions and ranges in size from Baby to Adult Large. The other great thing is that you have a lot of yarn options when you work with a worsted, ranging from pretty hand paints like Manos Alegria Grande or Malabrigo Rios, to budget friendly options like Cascade 220 Superwash and Berroco Vintage, or Berroco Comfort Print. The most important thing about your yarn choice is make sure it’s machine washable!