Something classic and cool for summer makes me very happy. It’s knit with Quince & Co Sparrow, one of my favourite yarns for summer. It feels soft and cool on your skin, washes beautifully in the machine, and just kind of *flows*.
Note: Linen can be quite stretchy once it is washed, so be sure to swatch a square at least 5″ x 5″ and wash it before you measure your tension. You may also want to make a smaller size than normal, I usually go down one size.
I have fallen seriously behind in my COVID knitting … you know how it goes, make plans and universe laughs. I pulled some sexy yarn from my ‘stash’ and have been working on Love Note. I know fuzzy isn’t really spring but hey, my pandemic, my rules. My sweater is not the pink one, that belongs to the pattern designer, mine is the dark one in progress below.
I finished the body last night and tried it on and it looked amazing! I’m feeling motivated to finish the arms and wear it – it feels light as air, it should be great over a cami. The lace looks really pretty, I’m not really a lace person, but it isn’t too much, and it’s in the right place. There is a sort of high front/lower back thing going on, if you aren’t into it you can skip it, although I would put in at least half of the short rows to even out the front & back. The pattern has both a cropped and full length version, I’m making the adult size XS in the full length (see below for interesting things about size), I added a 1/2 inch, and it’s still on the short side style-wise. I highly advise trying on your sweater before starting the short rows. BTW, the lace is fairly simple, and the pattern comes with both a chart and the written instructions.
The pattern uses a thin mohair held with a fingering weight yarn, but I’m not really up for mohair (itchy), so I have subbed a ‘blown yarn’ with baby alpaca. Blown means it has a knitted core and the alpaca is literally blown into it with a machine. It makes an extremely light, airy yarn that has some depth to it. I’m using Illimani Amelie, but you can also use the very similar and quite affordable Drops Air(or if you want I’ll special order you some Amelie, it’s super yummy scrummy sexy (I don’t have any in store right now, it costs $24/skein).
The pattern is EXTREMELY size inclusive, it runs from a baby 0-6 months up to an adult 5XL (72″ bust). I’m thinking matching mommy/baby sweaters? Sibling sweaters? Cousin sweaters? BFF sweaters? The opportunities are endless. The baby and child sizes are an ideal opportunity to use Drops Air – my mom always said you can put a baby in anything, that they can’t complain, but I beg to differ – they seem to be adept at wailing their adorable little heads off for as long as they feel uncomfortable.
Sorry we haven’t connected in a while, I’ve been working hard and am healthy and happy. You know how it is, this experience is wearing on the most resilient of us – going eyeball to eyeball with fear and vulnerability is challenging. Anyway, I haven’t been feeling myself lately, but I think that’s ok, I’m growing into something new, so I’m just sort of letting myself marinate. I saw my niece and nephew for the first time since before march break and found they have grown … they used to fight like cats & dogs and now they’re BFFs (it only took a month and a half of being locked in together). They got bigger too, but that’s a given.. they’re kids. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to (should you be interested):
Reading:The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle (audiobook) … I just started this on Sunday and it’s the kind of book that you’re going to read over and over as you grow. I think it’s also the kind of book that you don’t read until you’re ready for it. I wouldn’t say the material is over my head, but I’ve got some work ahead of me.
Listening: Tara Brach podcast …. I’ve wandered from her excellent weekly pandemic support content and have crawled into the back-catalogue from B.C. (ie. before covid). The episodes on Radical Compassion from December 2019 are excellent, this morning I was listening to Desire and Addiction from March 2020.
Discussing: The Zombie Apocalypse … apparently I’m not on my beau’s Zombie Apocalypse ‘team’ and he’s throwing me under the bus. On the upside, he says the team will eat me. I don’t really blame him, I can’t run and I bruise easily. Anyway, I don’t really want to be around for the Zombie Apocalypse anyway, it sounds stressy and low on crafts. Other topics of interest include washing our winter coats … is there anything better than sucking the air out of the storage bag containing your winter coats? That’s a feeling worth savouring!
Cooking: Instant Pot Chicken Adobo. Yummy, simple and easy! Serve with Rice and a veggie. Freeze in batches for quick prep later.
Working On: Making vulnerability my BFF … according to researcher Brené Brown in Daring Greatly: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
Yay!!! Inaugural Stash Game! I hope this is a fun diversion!
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)
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:
Notes: received as a gift by a beloved friend 7 years ago
Why This Yarn?
This yarn spoke to me for a few reasons:
The owner has been afraid to use it, which means it’s time for them to use it.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
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).
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.
We’re shifting over to our Summer Store Hours after the Victoria Day long weekend, so please note that the daytime Sit & Knit moves to MONDAY & SATURDAY, and we are CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. We go back to the regular store schedule the week of September 16th.
I find really interesting things when I browse through the patterns on Ravelry …. one of the things I found this week was a micro-collection of the same cowl made over and over again in different colourways of Urth Uneek Fingering (ON SALE UNTIL THE END OF JULY). I thought it was awesome that this knitter, Deb-Knits, enjoyed her project and the yarn so much that she wanted to continue exploring and experiencing it. I also get it, the project is GORGEOUS, and it illustrates that all the colourways of Urth Uneek Fingering work up beautifully. And hey, is it ever too early to start holiday knitting?
A client showed me this gorgeous, diaphinous top and I thought how great would it look knitted up with Handmaiden Flyss or Quince & Co Sparrow?! Both are sublime summer yarns; Flyss is a soft, summery blend of % silk and 35% linen, and comes with lots of yardage, and Sparrow is 100% organic linen. And since it knits up on 6mm/US10 needles it will go FAST!
As I’ve been writing about Rowan Original Denim yarn (ON SALE NOW) a question has come up a few times – what is the black denim like? And what they are really thinking is “will it end up looking like the sexy black jeans that ended up a sad dingy grey?”. The answer is it could if you’re really mean to your denim sweater, but if you take proper care of it you’ll have a “happily ever after”.
I think most people think of denim yarn as a knitterly sibling of denim jeans, but it’s really more of a cousin, so it doesn’t wear the same way, especially since we (hopefully) don’t wear or care for our sweaters in the same way we do our jeans. In high school, I worked in retail selling Levis jeans and became extremely well acquainted with the garment: they’re worn constantly, washed frequently, and cared for poorly. An average pair of jeans is dealt A LOT of abuse. Not so our sweaters: we don’t wear them as much, they aren’t washed as much, and when we do wash them it’s either by hand with a delicate wash like Eucalan or Soak, or in a delicates bag on the delicate cycle (cold) in the machine. Add a cup of white vinegar to the wash to stabilize the dye and you have some very good looking denim knitwear (the vinegar trick works with your jeans too, it’s especially helpful with dark washes).
This is the project that helped open up my perspective on black denim yarn. The pattern, Deschain, was designed with a substantially thicker and heavier yarn, but the garment design is so oversized that it easily scales down to a thinner yarn. The texture looks amazing with lace and works really well with the drape of the oversized aesthetic.
Vale by Kim Hargreaves
In my mind, if super designer Kim Hargreaves is down with it, it might as well as have received royal assent (that’s Canadian parliamentary humour for “it’s legit” … I’m also really pleased that Kim thinks it’s ok to wear a tiara out-and-about, I could use a little more bling in my coif). Like the denim Deschain above, Hargreaves exploits the denim to create a tension between the delicacy of lace patterning and the texture of the yarn. It’s a balancing act that works beautifully and makes for a really interesting garment – definitely one you’ll never find in any store.
This guy obviously either lives in a beautifully curated home or a Pottery Barn … either way, it’s a nice backdrop for a beautiful sweater, Seahorse. One of the big problems with black yarn is that it is very hard to photograph the colour properly, and it often looks like a washed out dark grey. The yarn itself is a very deep, dense black, so add white vinegar when you wash it to stabilize the colour.
I don’t know which pattern was used for RobbyRaccon’s Ridge top (I think it might be a variation of Rosamund by Tonia Barry, but it’s a different type of sleeve construction … if you know please tell me, it’s driving me up the wall), but it made excellent use of black denim yarn, every time I look at it I experience sweater envy.
With only one week left in our Summer Sale, I thought this might be a nice change of pace from linen and cotton … a fun, colourful top made with Urth Uneek Fingering (ON SALE UNTIL THE END OF JULY). The pattern shows off this stunning self-striping yarn, which I think it definitely deserves. Urth Uneek Fingering is a hand-dyed, self-striping, super smooth and soft merino superwash yarn. It’s made by an environmentally conscious and compassionate family company in Turkey, and straight up, it’s happy yarn.
I think my client Adrienne just introduced me to my soul mate, Big Mike. Big Mike hails from Huge & Huggable Mochimochi, and we’re going to have to continue to get to know each other better before we commit (I have to acquire the book), but I really feel like he’s the ‘one’. It;s no surprise that I’d fall hard for him, I’ve always felt pretty sentimental about Claes Oldenberg’s ‘Floor Burger’, it’s one of my must-sees on every visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario. I’ll probably use Berroco Vintage Chunky, it’s the right tension and it wears well, and that’s important because this dude is gonna received a LOT of hugs!