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.
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 combining colours, and this simple scarf is an easy way to experiment. It’s a free pattern (YAY!), and it isn’t very hard to knit. The colourwork is easy-peasy, you just hold 2 strands of the yarn together and change up the colour combinations at the pattern tells you. And if you are afraid of knitting with 2 strands held together, don’t be, it’s simple! If you want a wider scarf or a wrap, just add extra stitches to your pattern and made sure you centre the decreases in the middle.
We used light as air Malabrigo Lace on 4.5mm/US7 needles, and the finished scarf feels light (great for fall strolls through fallen leaves and apple picking). The pattern was written for fingering weight yarn, which would make a slightly sturdier garment suitable for a cold winter climate. We used semi-solid colourways, but I think it could look really beautiful using variegated/multicoloured yarns (I’d go 4 colours of Manos del Urugay Alegria). And of course, it could be a great way to use up some yarn in your stash.
If you’re tentative about choosing colours that will look nice together, I usually suggest picking a palette with colours in the same family, or close-ish to each other. Blues and greens go nice together, especially turquoise or teal. Blue and Purple, Red and orange or red and pink blend well, as do neutrals.
We finished the scarf after working the colourway twice (once was too short), and we could have kept on going, we still hard yarn left (I have put the yardage amounts in the Ravelry Project Page).
I saw this and thought of you! But seriously, I love things that are both simple and pretty, especially if they can work in some texture and colour. Yume is made in one piece (no seams!) from the top-down, so you should have it done in time to actually wear it. The depth of colour is created by working with 2 strands of lace weight yarn held together, which is also a great way to negotiate colour distribution and pooling issues in hand-dyed yarn. I think it would be PERFECT made with Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino (ON SALE NOW!). It has a beautiful hand and it’s soft halo ensure the strands will do their job, stick together and look more like they’re a single strand of yarn. Plus, it’s just so soft!
Taking a look at the shelf, here are some colour combos in Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino that will blend well together (these pairs are based on the actual dye lots, not the images):
XS (S, M1, M2, L, XL, XXL)
finished bust circumference: 35.75 (38.5, 41.5, 43.75, 45.75, 48.75, 52) inches or 89 (96.5, 103.5, 109, 114.5, 122, 130) cm
The sample is worn with 3.25” (8.5 cm) positive ease at bust.
Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino: Short Sleeve Version 2(2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4) skeins in each of TWO colours, Long Sleeve Version 3( 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4) skeins in each of TWO colours
Malabrigo Merino Worsted is simply divine, squishy, knitting pleasure. It’s a single ply, super soft merino wool with tons of loft (it fluffs up). Use it for anything worn next to the skin – it’s so soft and airy you’ll want to cuddle up in bed with it. Note: this yarn must be hand washed (it felts like a beast), but it’s so soft it not only feels like a baby’s bottom, you can also wrap a little tush in it too! It can also be knit very densely, which makes it great for knitting stuffed toys.