I’m sorry I haven’t written a proper post in a bit, I’ve been tied up with helping you guys in the store, humidity and life. Luckily, life works for us, and gives us little breaks where we can breathe, and contemplate, and write inspiring things!
I wanted to thank those of you who write, call, and stop by to tell me how appreciative you are – it means the world to me, and I’m very grateful for your feedback, it keeps me going! It’s the most rewarding thing in the word to know that I’m helping and inspiring you. It also helps me know that I’m on the right track, and when it’s time to make a change – both of which are incredibly valuable.
Thank you for connecting with me, it helps me connect with you. ~ Haley
First Winter Blanket
This pattern popped up on Ravelry last week and I think it’s absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. It’s a baby blanket that turns into a bunting – genius! It uses 3 skeins of one of my favourite yarns, Malabrigo Rios, an incredibly soft, hand dyed machine washable merino wool from Uruguay. The knitting is pretty basic, just garter stitch and seed stitch, so it’s accessible to knitters of all skill levels. The pattern is FREE, so Yay!
Plus, the manufacturer, Malabrigo Yarns, is committed to employing women who lack job opportunities, ecological sustainability and ethical animal husbandry. These things are important, and while it may sound kooky, I increasingly think that all the parts of the manufacturing process end up *in* the product. Trendy isn’t enough for me – I want more, I want JOY.
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)
December is always a good time to try out new patterns for accessories – winter can be long in Canada and I’m always sick of last year’s accessories by the time the fall has ended. I found this neat looking hat on Ravelry and figured it might make a nice new style. The pattern is the Copy Cat C.C. Beanie by Emily Ingrid (a freebie)and we used one skein of Malabrigo Rios.
The hat is designed as a beanie, so if you want something slouchier I would knit an extra pattern repeat. Ours is a smidge shorter than normal, I think we also accidentally left off the last tier of 1×1 rib at the top – oops! It fits a 22″/size medium head, but if you want to make something larger it is an easy pattern to modify, you can just add 8 stitches to the pattern. To make it smaller omit 8 stitches (or knit it on 4mm/US8 needles).
The brim is turned over, but I don’t know if that is a necessary feature, I think you could just knit the ribbing on 3.75mm/US5 needles and do it as a single ply.
I love this new scarfy/wrappy pattern, Orion, from Nick Davis. I adore the simple but elegant welted ribs – they always give a simple air of style to a basic knit. Plus, it’s made with one of my favourite yarns, Malabrigo Rios. Rios is a hand dyed, super soft, machine washable merino wool made in Uruguay by a family owned company that supports local development environmental sustainability (plus they’re really nice, I met them at a trade show last summer and we chatted for a bit). If you want to substitute another yarn, you can use any worsted weight yarn.
The pattern uses basic short-row shaping to create the asymmetrical ribs (something else I love). If short-rows are a technique you don’t already know you don’t need to be afraid, they aren’t difficult and are definitely worth learning. There are LOTS of tutorials online, there’s a good one with photos and video HERE.
Mini Short-Row Knit-Hack
It’s easy to lose track of where you are in most knitting projects, but if you start with a consistent system your chance of success goes up exponentially! The most important thing about how to make short rows successful and fun is to keep track of what you are doing and where you are:
Put a locking stitch marker in your wraps to mark them. Everything is easier when you can see it clearly!
Keep track of your rows as you go. Your system doesn’t have to be fancy, I usually just use paper and pencil to track where I am in the pattern, and I often tick off my progress right on my pattern. Plus, I’m a big fan of pencils, because if I have to rip back my work I can erase and adjust my notes without making a mess that will inevitably confuse me later.
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!