Category Archives: freebies

FINISHED Chevron Baby Blanket

Chevron Baby Blanket

Mallory finished our Chevron Baby Blanket made with Urth Uneek Worsted and it’s just a beautiful as I thought it would be. Our turned out a bit smaller than expected, but we only used 2 skeins of yarn. I’ve done the math and adjusted the number for larger sizes for you, including suggestions for the yarn required. Urth Uneek Worsted is a really special yarn – it’s a gorgeous, hand-painted, self-striping, machine washable super-soft merino wool, and their colourways absolutely GLOW with life.

Notes

  • The pattern is straightforward (and free), and the yarn is soft and stunning, so I don’t think you can go wrong with this project.
  • If you are looking for a similar look but can’t handle the price-tag, try using Berroco Comfort Print. It’s soft, machine washable, self-striping, costs a third of the price, and the yardage is the same as the Urth Uneek Worsted. If you go with this option be sure to choose the colours that are labelled ‘stripes’ – it also comes in variegated colours.
  • I highly suggest you use stitch markers to demark the pattern repeats, it will make so much easier and hep you keep track of where you are in the row.
  • I also suggest putting in a life-line every now and again, just in case you make a mistake and have to rip a few rows back.
  • We blocked out blanket using the Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers and I AM IN LOVE with them! They made blocking a million times easier and faster!
  • As noted above, our project came out small, so I’ve laid-out the numbers for larger sizes. I also thought it would make a gorgeous and easy wrap, so I included the numbers for that, as well as for a larger throw blanket.

Size

Our blanket came out 24”(61cm) wide by 28.5″(72cm) long after blocking. The pattern is written for one size, but based on our tension I’ve drafted some suggestions for larger sizes, a wrap and a throw blanket.

  • Baby Blanket – 24”(61cm) wide by 28.5″(72cm) long: cast on 121 sts
  • Baby Blanket – 28.5”(72cm) wide x 34”(86cm) long: cast on 145 sts
  • Baby Blanket – 33”(84cm) wide x 39”(99cm) long: cast on 169 sts
  • Baby Blanket – 37.5”(95cm) wide x 45”(114cm) long: cast on 193 sts
  • Wrap/Shawl – 19.5”(49.5cm) wide x 60”(152cm) long (or longer): cast on 97 sts
  • Throw Blanket – 51″(129cm) wide x 60″(152cm) long: cast on 265 sts

Materials

PROJECTS Urth Baby Blankets

Some yarns have so much potential, but people have a hard time visualizing what they can be … that’s ok, I’ve got the vision, it’s my job to show you which caterpillars will become the prettiest butterflies! When I first came across Urth’s line of self-striping yarns my brain said SO MUCH YES, and a year down the line and my virtue is still easy when it comes to them. The only problem is that you can’t see the stripes in the skeins, so the magic is kind of hidden until they’re knitted. Enter store samples ….. the Urth Uneek Worsted is especially suitable for babies and kids – it’s machine washable, crazy soft, colourful, and just the right thickness. That said, we’ve been experimenting with baby blankets ….

Chevron Baby Blanket

I knew the marvellous striping in the Urth Uneek Worsted would be perfect for a chevron pattern – it’s so evocative of Missoni chevron stripe patterns, but without all the work of constantly changing colours or weaving in yucky ends. This pattern is worked in stocking stitch, so the yarn is actually going pretty far and I think it will only need 3 skeins (less knitting, less money, it’s all good).

The pattern is free (rarely a bad thing), and I think the chevrons are suitable for an intermediate-beginner to advanced-beginner skill level. Definitely, use stitch markers to mark out to your pattern repeats, it will make your life SO MUCH EASIER!

Materials

Meadow Lane

This isn’t actually our project, it belongs to my good friend Jo, but I wanted to show you how pretty it is (plus I played cupid pairing up the pattern and yarn, so I figure I get some credit). The stitch pattern is dead easy, but it creates a super impressive prismatic effect. I know Jo’s niece will love anything Jo makes for her, but I doubt she has any idea of the gorgeous baby shower-gift that’s coming her way! In fact, I liked it so much that we’re making one for the store in colour 4010 (that’s the same colourway Rosie was using the make her Adrift Cardigan and we used for our Stripe It Cowl).

The free pattern is worked in garter stitch, which uses up more yarn than stocking stitch, and Jo’s tension tends to run tight, so I think her blanket will require 4 skeins. Liane is making our sample, and her tension tends to be loose so we might be able to get away with 3 skeins. It’s a very simple knit, and definitely beginner friendly (you only need to know how to knit and purl in the same row). If you have a hard time ‘reading’ your stitches you’ll want to use Stitch Markers to separate your knits from your purls.

Materials

P.S.

I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH! to the many people who send me compliments and thank me. Sometimes I don’t get a chance to reply because the note comes in when I’m babysitting my niece & nephew or re-ordering needles or helping someone with dropped stitches, and then a week has gone by and the nice feeling is still there but my sieve of a mind has lost the memory. Anyway, It’s nice to sell things and pay my bills ‘n stuff, but it means a lot to know that I help people. The validation that my unique view is valued doesn’t hurt, but my own ego and insecurities aside, it’s helping you that makes what I do really, really satisfying and keeps me in this industry. When I grow, you grow … and when you grow, I grow. All relationships run both ways – we’re in it together.

With much love,

Haley

OPEN Family Day!

We are OPEN all day on Family Day Monday, February 18th, from 11 am to 6pm!

Photo: Tin Can Knits

Rye

I’ve always loved these simple socks, and they knit up lickety-split with worsted weight yarn and 3.75mm needles. Rye makes a great first sock for beginners or something quick & easy for more experienced knitters (the designers even have an online sock tutorial for sock newbies). So in honour of Family Day, I say let there be socks!

Women’s socks should require about 1 skein/100g of and of the yarns listed below, for men’s socks I’d get a second skein (or make them shorter). Socks tend to be stretchy, so an Adult small isn’t really all that small and fits my size 8.5 feet.

If you don’t like double pointed needles never fear, you can try using some super short circular needles from Chiaogoo. The 9″ length is good for children’s sizes and average women’s size socks. The 12″ circulars will work with men’s socks, and women’s shoe sizes 10 & up (or if your feet are 12″ in circumference or larger).

Size

  • Baby (Toddler, Child, Adult S, M, L) 
  • Foot (adjustable): 4 (6, 7.5, 9, 10, 11.25) inches
  • Leg (adjustable): 4 (6.5, 8, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5) inches 
  • Cuff: 5 (5.75, 6.5, 7.25, 8.25, 9) inches around 

Yarn Suggestions

All of these yarns are 100% machine washable. The Manos Alegria Grande is made with merino wool and a bit of nylon, so they will hold up better than a yarn made with 100% wool. If you want to really wear these sock hard, like in winter boots, I suggest you go with a yarn that has a good amount of nylon in it, like Berroco Vintage or Berroco Comfort Print. If they are intended as house socks any of the following suggestions will work.

Materials


Intro to Socks Class

Details

Skill level: intermediate beginner (after hats & mitts), Instructor: Liane, 2  session class (4 hours)Whether you’re just up for something different or you would like to learn to make socks for the first time, this class is a great place to begin. Here you will learn how to use double pointed needles, how to make short-row toes and heels, a mitred alternative to the heel-flap of the traditional cuff-down sock, and how to bind off with elasticity. Materials not included, but we sell everything you need and you receive 10% off all materials during your class.

Materials Required

Yarn: 1 of any of the following:

Needles: 3.75mm/US5 – 7.5″ double pointed needles

Next Class: Monday March 25 & April 1: 6:30 – 8:30

Yarnsperiments & A Hack

On our Last Date I promised to update you on my yarnsperiments, and I have lots to share! I originally played around with holding 2 strands of Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk together, and since then I moved on to see how it acted when I held it with a heavier yarn. The concept is to hold a light, airy yarn like a brushed alpaca or mohair with a heavier, more conventional yarn. The heavier yarn stabilizes the fabric, giving it body, and density. The airy yarn gives it a soft, all-over halo (please note: the fabric can only be as soft as the fibre. A downy alpaca will continue to be soft, and itchy mohair will still be scratchy).

And so, I offer up my experiments …. I’ve used the same 2 yarns throughout: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport and Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk. The Cascade is a sport-weight machine washable merino wool, it is super soft and comes in 50g/125m skeins (perfect for experimenting). The Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk is a worsted weight brushed alpaca that looks kind of like mohair but feels like happiness. It comes in 25g/140m skeins. Both yarns are 100% natural fibres.

On the C Train

My first foray into this combo was On the C Train, a pattern that was designed to be made with 2 strands of yarn held together. It’s made in a K1P1 rib (which I like to call ‘stupid stitch’, which while tedious to knit, makes for an elastic fabric that fits well. I ran short on my base yarn, the Cascade, so the size is a bit on the small side (slouchy on a 21″ head) – all of my modifications are in Our Ravelry Notes. 

The finished fabric almost looks felted, I think because of the colours:

  • The yarns were a dead-on colour match, there’s just about no distinction between the two when they were knitted up. Of course, dye lots can shift colours around, but this combo on this day for this project were twins.
  • Both yarns are solid colours. They are not heathered, so there isn’t any differentiation in the colour, it’s flat.
  • The colour is dark and doesn’t reflect much light. (Yes, yarn can reflect light, and it affects how you perceive the colour. The darker the colour is, the less depth and the flatter it’ll look). The halo of the alpaca also prevents light from being reflected off the merino.

Anyway, it looks really cool! It doesn’t feel remotely felted, it’s soft, extremely comfortable, and has an all-over lightly fuzzy texture. This hat could look really cool in a black on black combo.

Materials

Chunkeanie

Chunkeanie is a pattern we’ve made before, and I’ve always really liked the aesthetic. When I’m knitting it I feel really meh about it, but once it’s done it just looks amazing! It especially looks good on, which is important, since it’s a hat, not a tea cozy. One caveat, I feel like the pattern runs small, their size medium fits my 21″ head. The texture is still soft, and very comfortable. I like this particular yarn combo knitted on the 5mm/US8 needles, it blooms nicely, although I think the brim could be knitted on 4.5mm/US7 needles.

This colour combo with the light greys looks amazeballs! The light grey of the Cascade merino is a bit more of a cool colour, and the alpaca is warmer. They ended up working well together, with the fuzzy alpaca becoming the dominant colour. This is an interesting phenomenon that I hadn’t actually noticed until now. I’m glad I photographed the hats next to their constituent yarns, you can kind of see which colour is more dominant when they are neighbours. Cool! I just learned something new!

The fabric of this hat looks a lot less flat and more fuzzy than felted, probably for a few reasons:

  • Both of the yarns’ colours are heathered, which give it a bit more depth of colour.
  • In the purple alpaca yarn the silk and alpaca content are almost indistinguishable, the entire strand looks the same. In the light grey the silk (the carrier yarn or core) took the dye in a different way (silk does this, it’s fickle) and it is lighter than the alpaca (you can see the silk shining through in the picture below). This little hit of colour runs through the stitches, randomly creating little highlights. (One of the advantages of knitting holding 2 strands together is that the colour distribution is completely random. When the yarns are already pre-spun together you lose that added depth of colour.)
  • The value (the lightness or darkness of a colour) of the colours is much lighter than the purple hat. The dark value of the purple hat added to the flatness of the colour. With this hat, the lightness of the colour creates a greater depth of colour. I can still see details in the yarn, like the stitches and the plies. Even though our mind doesn’t tend to register those little lines, they create micro shadows which in turn creates contrast and adds more depth to the overall colour.

Anyway, this hat-speriment was definitely a win. It looks really good on me, and I think I’m going to have to make myself a second – otherwise I’ll swipe the store sample.

Materials

Chunkeanie

The grey hat worked out so well that I decided to try a different colour and make one for my mom. My mother has a little mini head, so I opted to try a smaller needle size and went down to a 4mm/US6 for the ribbing and 4.5mm/US7 for the crown. The tension was fine, but I definitely feel like the 5mm/US8 was a prettier tension.

The first hat (purple) was a dark colour, the second (grey) was a light colour, and this one was in between. It looks like the fuzzy yarn (the alpaca) is still coming out as the dominant colour in the fabric. The alpaca also seems to look patchier in this hat, which is an optical illusion because it is exactly the same as the other two hats. This is because of the special things going on with this particular colour combo:

  • The Cascade merino is a heathered colour, so it isn’t as flat as the purple. But the heathering is only one colour, white, and it isn’t as complex or have the depth of colour that is in the light grey, which has black and white in it. (You’ll have to take my word on this, my camera skills haven’t made it this far.)
  • The Cascade merino is a bit lighter than the alpaca, while in the other combos this was reversed. The base is showing through a lot more than the other hats, which look more uniform. Light colours project and pop out to the eye, while dark colours recede.
  • Like with the grey hat, the silk hasn’t taken the dye exactly the same as the alpaca and is peeking through, creating some small highlights.

Materials

Knit Hack: Alternate Cable Cast-On

The Chunkeanie pattern calls for an Alternate Cable Cast On, which you do not have to do to make this hat, but I like trying new things, seeing how they work, why the designer chose to use it, etc. The Alternate Cable Cast On is a great way to cast on for a ribbed edge of K1P1 or K2P2 and is a much, much, much easier alternative to a Tubular Cast On. Like, SO MUCH.

So if it’s so much easier, why does it need a hack? Good question. When you do this cast on you’re basically alternating making a knit stitch, then a purl stitch, a simple enough concept – in theory. In theory, my brain should be able to pay attention to knits and purls and knits and purls. In THEORY. In reality, I found myself having a nice little rendez-vous with my learning disabilities. I was constantly screwing up the sequence of the knits and purls and having to rip it out.

How I Mastered this Cast On

Stitch Markers. Get them, use them, they’re your little plastic friends! I placed a stitch marker after every 10 stitches, and before proceeding more than a few stitches past that I went back and checked to make sure the last 10 stitches were correct. Once I confirmed that I was on track, I moved on to the next 10.

Read the Stitches. The other thing I had to do was learn to read what the knit and purl stitches looked like. You can’t check to see if your stitches are correct if you don’t know what they are. The best way is to just practice casting them on and looking closely to see how the knit looks compared to the purl. To my eye, the knit is a long bar that sticks out and the purl is bead or a bump that recedes. I tried taing a picture and labelling it for you, but I don’t know if it’s super helpful – people all conceptualize things in different ways, so it’s best just to study your stitches closely and get familiar with them in your own terms.

Pay Attention to Your Join. This is where reading your stitches again comes in handy. Because the sequence of the stitches is what this cast-on is all about, I joined my stitches by threading the yarn tail on a darning needle and pulling it through the other side. I don’t know why, but I found that once joined my stitches had gotten turned around to the other side, and my round was starting with a purl. At this point I didn’t really care why or how this was happening, I just wanted to get on with it and make a hat, so I adapted and started my ribbing on a purl.

Conclusion

OMG, that was SO. MANY. WORDS. I’m sorry if it’s too many words, too much explanation. Please feel free to take it or leave it, or take some and leave the rest. My conclusions are thus:

  • The hats look really good!
  • I like the yarn combination, it worked out well.
  • The grey hat made me the happiest, but the purple was cool.
  • I now know more than I did before, and this exploration was definitely a worthwhile use of time and resources.

I’ve already moved on to my next project, I’m knitting a Nuvem with the Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk as a straight-up single stand. I think it’ll make for a super cosy wrap for spring, and so far it looks great – but more to follow!

PROJECT Easy Garter Wrap

Easy Garter Wrap

We just finished making our FREE Easy Garter Scarfy Wrap with one of the new multi-coloured Handmaiden Casbah 5ply Gradient Wrap Kits – I knew it would come out beautifully! Handmaiden always comes up with interesting colour combinations that I wouldn’t normally think of, and the pop of colour is just what’s needed on dreary winter days.

All of the Handmaiden Casbah 5ply Gradient Wrap Kits are one-of-a-kind so no two colourways will be the same. The pattern is free, VERY beginner friendly, and mostly mindless. I used THIS TUTORIAL for weaving in the ends on garter stitch – it is super helpful. This project didn’t require many notes, but you can find it on Ravelry anyway.

Materials

PROJECT Mega Rib Hat

Mega Rib

I’m so sorry you haven’t heard from me a few days, you guys have been keeping me very busy in the store! I did manage to get a quickie off the needles this week – check out my Mega Rib! I managed to knit up this beanie in a single night – does that make it a one night stand? It;s definitely last-minute-giftable! It was quick & easy, I used one skein of Fleece Artist Merino Stream and 8mm/US11 needles. This yarn was a bit thinner than the one specified in the pattern, but I think it still works. The hat would also look good made according to the pattern’s directions with Cascade Spuntaneous (a super soft, single ply merino wool). Oh, and I forgot, the pattern is a freebie!

Modifications

  • I used 8mm/US11 needles and the tension was comfortable a bit loose for a Canadian winter. Use 7mm/US10.75 needles for a denser tension.
  • I cast on 48 stitches, it fits an Adult medium. For an adult large cast on 51 sts, for a small cast on 45 sts.

Materials

SHOP ONLINE

Mini Hack

When you cast on with a different number of stitches, a different stitch pattern or a different size needle this changes the tension and the colours may pool differently. 

PROJECT Granny Slippers (and a Hack)

Granny Slippers

A client came in last night who wanted to make some granny slippers, and it occurred to me that I’ve NEVER made a pair, and maybe I should step outside my box and try a pair. I’m happy to report that they were SUPER EASY, beginner friendly (like after scarves), fast, and don’t use a ton of yarn, and are super cosy and warm! I whipped up a pair in one evening, so they’re definitely doable for holiday gifts. They aren’t fancy, but they are definitely cosy, warm, and fast!

I decided I wanted a funkier pair and used one skein of hand dyed Fleece Artist Back Country, but another great (less pricey) yarn would be Berroco Vintage Chunky. The yarn was lovely (as always), soft and smooth. If you want a pair of fuzzy slippers you could hold together 1 strand of Cascade 220 Superwash and 1 strand of Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk (1 ball of each should be enough. The pattern, Easy Steps by Drops, is a freebie, and was fairly easy to follow. Please read below for our modifications and notes. 

Modifications & Pattern Notes

A. I used 5mm/US8 needles, and it made the tension a bit tighter, 15 sts = 4″ (10cm). My feet are narrow, so this didn’t make a big difference in size, but if you are knitting for wider feet I would add a couple of stitches to the pattern.

B.  The pattern, which was not originally written in english, has one phrase that novices might find confusing. It says “K sts tog 2 by 2”. What they want you to do is K2tog across the row (so knit 2 stitches together, and keep doing this to the end of the row. For beginners, the pattern website also has a how-to video on how to knit 2 stitches together. 

C. For beginners who do not know how to seam (or for more experienced knitters who may not know how to do this particular seaming prettily), the pattern website offers some handy how-to videos to get you through the project. To make a tidy seam at the back of the foot (because it is a cast-on edge) this may be a helpful video

D. Please see our Hack below for suggestions on making sure the colour distribution of hand painted, variegated yarns is the same for both your slippers! If you’re using a solid, heathered or semi-solid yarn you don’t need to worry about this, but you might find it interesting and useful information for the future.

Materials

Knit Hack

And now for the hack! It’s a universal knitting truth that variegated yarns have a tendency for the colours to pool in ways we can’t anticipate. Sometimes it’s fun, funky, and enhances the project, and sometimes we don’t really care for it. It’s random, it happens, and we learn to accept it. You can usually play around with this effect by varying the needle size, the number of stitches you put on, and the stitch pattern you choose. But while knitting these slippers I found out something new – the place in the colourway that you cast on (where you place your slip knot or first stitch), can have an effect. 

Option A) Asymmetrical Pooling  Approximately half of the colourway in this particular skein is dark, and the other half was colourful (lets say it starts with the dark blue, the moves into a second part, the brighter warm colours). In the picture above, I made the slip knot around where the colour is changing between the two. The colours pooled kind of randomly, and I thought it worked with the skippers once they were seamed – they’re kinda funky.

Option B) Symmetrical Pooling  In this picture, I made the slip knot around the centre of the dark part of the colourway (so about 1/4 of the way through the colour repeat). The colours ended up pooling completely symmetrically! All the Blues stacked up on the right and the reds lined up on the left. It was super cool. It also didn’t suit my sensibilities for this project, although I kind of want to make a neckwarmer this way. 

Caveat Emptor: every skein of hand-dyed yarn is different, so this isn’t a rule. so much as a factor. Like I said at the start, the number of stitches, the tension and the stitch pattern also have an effect on the colour distribution. But if you are making your own slippers with hand-dyed, variegated yarn, be sure to cast on in the same place in the colourway to get a similar colour distribution. 

So there you go, you learn something new every day!  For more information on colour distribution in variegated yarns, I highly recommend the book Artful Color, Mindful Knits.