Category Archives: shawl

KNIT HACK Nuvem Needles

Nuvem

We’ve made a Nuvem for the store before (see our last Nuvem), and I thought it would be a good travel project for my holiday in California. After I wound up the skein I looked down and thought: “Oh crud, what have I done?! That is a dump-truck sized ball of skinny yarn, how am I ever going to get through it?” Well, I’m happy to report that my moment of project panic abated once I started knitting, I got used to working with the skinny yarn fairly quickly, and it was a good travel project. I’m not a laceweight kind of person, but the Wollmeise Lace has a lot of body to it and is easy to hold on to and work with. The colour is beautiful too, I choose a saturated teal blue (Neptun).

Materials

Notes

If you want to you can make a Nuvem with fingering weight yarn. To make a smaller, thicker version of the wrap, you can use about 800m of fingering weight yarn and 4mm/US6 needles.

 

Blog Nuvem 1.jpg

Nuvem Hack

Nuvem is a fairly simple project, there are just a few obstacles to getting it set up. The first is the cast-on, which is unusual, but not hard once you watch a video or follow a tutorial (which are included in the pattern, so not to worry, no hack needed). The second is the needle situation. The project is worked from the center out, but it’s knit in an oval, so you need to use TWO circular needles to do this. It’s the “two circulars at the same time” technique, which some people use instead of the magic loop technique. Don’t worry, it isn’t scary, when you use this method you only need to work with one needle at a time, the second is just hangin’ out, on hold. Normally people use the two circulars method to knit things with a small circumference, like a sock or a hat, and it’s easy to distinguish the two needles from each other. With a larger project like the Nuvem, it’s a bit harder to see what you are doing.

Normally people use the two circulars method to knit things with a small circumference, like a sock or a hat, and it’s easy to distinguish the two needles from each other. With a larger project like the Nuvem, it’s a bit harder to see what you are doing, and which needle is which. The pattern suggests you use two different types of needles (ie. one wood, one metal), but I don’t love this solution because I find that my tension is different on different types of needles. Additionally, you can’t take the exact size of you needles for granted, the manufacturing of each company is different. My solution was to use two sets of the same needle (Addi Click interchangeable bamboo – always great for flying) and I colour coded the needle tips. How does one colour code Knitting needle tips? Our method has to be bright, customizable, easy to see, sturdy, resilient, and also removable – I used Nail Polish.

Blog Nuvem 5.jpg

Life Hack: I keep a cheap collection of bright, distinct colours of nail polish around the house and/or office. Mine came from the dollar store and cost $3. They don’t have to be good polishes, you’ll never use them on your nails, and you don’t have to take special care of them, but they are extremely useful for labeling and organizing things. I am especially fond of colour coding my keys with them, and you can also write on white polish.It’s removable with nail polish remover, which can also be obtained cheaply at the dollar store or drug store. 

Blog Nuvem 3

Painting Your Needles

  • Paint your needles FIRST. Do not cast on until after you paint.
  • Use bright colours that are easy for you to distinguish from each other. I used Pink & Orange, but you might be better with a higher contrast like Green & Red, or Blue & Orange.
  • I painted on the METAL portion of the needles, not the wood (you won’t be able to remove polish from the wood without ruining the finish on the needles). If you don’t have a metal portion on your needles you can paint the plastic cord.
  • Paint on BOTH sides of the needles for maximum visibility.
  • Make sure your paint is dry before starting to cast on. Tap it and check t make sure there is no paint on your finger. If there is, wait longer.

 

Blog Nuvem 2

Ta-Da! The pink goes with the pink, and the orange goes with the orange. I have to say I’m extremely pleased with this hack; I was constantly looking to reorient myself (especially when taking my project out of the bag) and finding the other end of the needle was using was a SNAP!

KNIT HACK Short Rows & Mrs Watson

Mrs Watson In Progress

Spring Knitting ADD: Part 2

Yesterday I spilled about my Spring Knitting ADD, and told you about the project I’m working on when the weather is warmer, Gillespie. Today is part two, the project I’m working on when the weather is chilly, MRS WATSON.

I’ve had my eye on Mrs Watson for a little while since it is designed with my favourite sweater yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. The pattern is written by skilled shawl designer Martina Behm, so it’s got cred. After knitting six sweaters with the yarn I’ve got a few leftovers, and I figured I can probably work up something fun – hence multiple colours! I also like that the pattern has an interesting shape – it kind of looks like a leaf.

Mrs Watson KNIT HACK

Knit Hack: Colour Code Your Short Rows

 

The stripes in this pattern are formed by working short rows (wrap & turn), which aren’t hard, especially since you don’t have to pick up the wraps (a benefit to working in garter stitch). Keeping track of where I am in the short rows was less easy, especially if I was distracted, or recovering from a post Knitters Frolic hangover (it usually takes me a week to get back to normal after a big event). No problemo, I devised a Hack!

Hack Materials

Rainbow Locking Stitch Markers

This hack requires a very inexpensive, but specific product: stitch markers in the colours of the rainbow, two of each colour, and a total of 8 colours.

knit hack stitch markers

We are going to colour code our short rows with coloured stitch markers, so you know where each wrap is supposed to happen, and in which order they are going to take place.

1. Organise your stitch markers by colour, in the order of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple (I put peach after orange, and aqua after green). If colour theory isn’t your forte take a picture of your markers in order to help remind you later.

2. At the start of each short row pattern repeat, with your work in front of you, READ through the short rows (do not knit it) and place the markers, *in order*, whenever the pattern says to wrap & turn (W&T). Your first W&T will be red, your second will be orange, the third will be peach, the fourth will be yellow, etc.

Placing the Markers

In Leaf Pattern 1 of Mrs Watson, the instructions are as follows (omitting the actual pattern numbers – I don’t want to step on Martina’s copyright):

Row 2: K to X sts before centre st, w&t.  So we count to X stitches before the centre stitch, and place the first marker (red) on the needle there. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

Row 3: K to last Y sts, w&t. We count to Y stitches before the end of the row, and place the second marker (orange) on the needle. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

Row 4: K to Y sts before next wrapped st, w&t. We count to Y stitches before the next marker (the red), place the third marker (yellow) on the needle. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

Row 5: K to Y sts before next wrapped st, w&t. We count to Y stitches before the next marker (the orange), place the fourth marker (green) on the needle. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

 

This forms the first side of the short rows … now on to the second side …

Row 6: K to …. last X sts, w&t. We count to X stitches before the end of the row, place the first marker (red) on the needle. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

Row 7: K to Y sts before centre st, w&t.  So we count to Y stitches before the centre stitch,  place the second marker (orange) on the needle there. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

Row 8: K to Y sts before next wrapped st, w&t. We count to Y stitches before the next marker (the red), place the third marker (yellow) on the needle. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

Row 9: K to Y sts before next wrapped st, w&t. We count to Y stitches before the next marker (the orange), place the fourth marker (green) on the needle. Turn the work like you would if you were actually knitting.

You might be wondering why you need more colours of stitch markers? As the pattern progresses you’ll have more short rows in each section, and therefore need more markers.

Working the Short Rows

Ok, we’ve got our markers in place – now it’s time to reap the benefits! Again using Leaf Pattern 1 of Mrs Watson as an example:

Row 2: P1, k to X sts before centre st, w&t.  We follow the pattern and work to the first marker (red), slip the marker off the needle, wrap the next stitch and turn the work (W&T).

Row 3: K to last Y sts, w&t. Work to the next marker (orange), slip the marker off the needle, wrap the next stitch and turn the work (W&T).

Row 4: K to Y sts before next wrapped st, w&t. Work to the next marker (yellow), slip the marker off the needle, wrap the next stitch and turn the work (W&T).

Row 5: K to Y sts before next wrapped st, w&t. Work to the next marker (green), slip the marker off the needle, wrap the next stitch and turn the work (W&T).

Etc, yada, yada, yada … you get the gist of it – the markers you have placed will guide you where to w&t, and in which order they need to be done. Once you’ve finished your wraps there shouldn’t be any more markers on the needle. If you are extra cautious about keeping track of your wraps you can use locking stitch markers and place the marker that has been removed directly into the wrapped stitch – there won’t be any question after that.

Orienting Yourself

The whole point of this hack is to help you avoid short-row distraction disasters. So if you are distracted and come back to your work, wondering where you are in it, here are some clues to look for:

  1. Mrs Watson is essentially shaped like a leaf, with a main vein up the middle and secondary veins shooting off the sides. In the short row repeat, with the Wrong Side (inside) facing you, the right side of the leaf is worked first, then the left side is worked second.
  2. You will always know which is the next marker/w&t that is supposed to be worked because they are placed in order of their COLOUR.
  3. You will know which wraps have already been made because the markers will have been removed (or are in the stitches)
  4. Keep an extra locking marker on hand that looks completely different than the others you are using, and if you put your work down place the odd one in where you leave off.

Tracking Hack: Mini Charts

Another little issue my short attention span ran into in this pattern was the formatting. Sometimes the way a pattern is laid out on the page gets in the way of my being able to keep track of where I am in it. For example, in Mrs Watson the pattern says “Work rows a – g in Body Pattern 2 and rows a – h in Leaf Pattern 4 three more times. Work rows a – g of Body Pattern 2.” Great! I understand what it says, but looking at it makes my head hurt.

Knitting pattern publishers write things in this way to save space. If they wrote it out in a way that made it easy for us to tick it off as we went it would take up much more space, adding pages, and making the publication much more expensive. I bought Mrs Watson digitally and printed it out myself, but it was also published as part of a hard-copy book, which is part of the reason why the formatting is less brain-friendly.

Not to worry, there are workarounds for situations like these. My grandmother was a very experienced knitter and used to keep track of stuff with little checkmarks in the margin. But in this pattern the pattern repeats actually repeat, check-marking each line won’t work, there would be marks all over the frickin’ page! In situations like these you need to employ an information management system:

1. Re-Write

If you are a newbie or live with a learning disability and really don’t remember what you are supposed to be doing at any given time, you can re-write the prescient parts of the pattern row by row. I suggest doing this as a cloud-based digital document (like in Google Docs) so you can make changes, always have a copy, and return to your instructions on the fly (you’ll have access wherever your phone or iPad goes).  If you have a digital version of the pattern the PDF file might even let you capture and copy the text, so you can put it directly into your document file (you’ll have to change the formatting, but the text will be there).

As you knit, just tick off the rows as you work them. This method will use much more paper, but it will help you keep track of both where you are AND what you are doing. Plus, you can make and preserve copious notes to yourself in the document- always good if you make it again.

mini chart hack

2. Charty McChartface

If you are more seasoned and just need a way to keep track of where you are (and not what you are doing) consider drawing a little table or chart. If you are less experienced you can make them in a cloud-based document program (again, useful for revisiting past work). I just scribble mine in the margins of my pattern (a nod to my grandmother). The picture above is a little chart I’ve made for my current section of Mrs Watson.

Title:  Each pattern repeat section gets a chart, each chart gets a title – the title is very important, it lets me know where I am in the pattern. I’m currently working Body Pattern 2 & Leaf Pattern 4, therefore I have crudely titled it B2L4 (on the right side of the picture).

Rows: The next part is the table itself: I’m alternating two different types of pattern repeats, Body sections and Leaf sections, so my table has two rows, labelled B for Body, L for Leaf.

Columns: The final part is the columns, which reflect the TOTAL number of times I have to do each pattern repeat.  The pattern reads: “Work rows a – g in Body Pattern 2 and rows a – h in Leaf Pattern 4 three more times. Work rows a – g of Body Pattern 2.” So I have to alternate working the Body and the Leaf sections a total of four times, and then do the Body one more time; I need a total of 5 columns. I’ve blocked out the last space of the Leaf section so I know that it does not happen.

I’ve got five boxes for Body and four for Leaf. As I work, I check off the box for each section after I have completed it. If there is a mark in the box, I know it is finished.

 

Mrs Watson

After explaining all this in detail I feel like you might feel like it is a complicated pattern, but I want to assure you that is is not. It does require a little bit of information management to keep track of where you are, but that’s about it.

Yarn Options

Any Sport weight or DK weight yarn is ideal. The pattern is designed with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, an alpaca-wool blend, but for a spring/summer version try a seasonal yarn like Cascade Ultra Pima Fine, Berroco Summer Silk, or Handmaiden Silken.

Other Materials

Notes

BTW, if you want to make your Mrs Watson larger, Berroco published some instructions HERE, but it involves repeating pattern repeats, so you’ll have to plan this before your start.

Mrs Watson Hack COMBO.jpg

NEW Artisanal Maple Shawl Sticks

nature's wonders maple leaf shawl pins.png

In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, we’ve acquired Nature’s Wonders Maple Leaf Shawl Pins/Sweater Sticks. These gorgeous accoutrements are hand carved by a local artisan (Gary) using local (Ontario), salvaged wood. We ordered them especially in a darker wood so you can wear yours all year. We also carry Squiggle Sticks (see below), which are especially good at holding recalcitrant garments in place.

Sweater sticks and shawl pins serve to hold a garment closed or in place, and are an elegant way to fasten cardigans that don’t have buttons, shawls, wraps, scarves, etc. They are also extremely good at holding long hair in a bun.

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

Nature's Wonders Sticks COMBO.jpg

FREEBIE Fichu Bleu

 

 

Fichu Bleu

I really love the simple look this cosy textured wrap. It’s infinitely wearable, with just enough detail and interest. The size is just right – not too big, not too small, and elegantly shaped to fit your body (no ‘vee’ in back). The project won’t be too long and you’ll be able to wear it now (or next week, give yourself a week to make it) to keep out the chill of April & Early May showers. I can see it being perfect over a spring coat or as a shoulder warmer around the office.

I think it would look great made with Cascade 220 (I like the heathers, they add an extra depth of colour, but solids would look god too), and you’ll only need about 3 skeins, or 4 if you want to make yours larger. The suggested needles are 4.5mm/US7 but for the Cascade 220 I’d go up to a 5mm/US8 to let the yarn bloom and give the garment a bit more stretch. Plus a bonus, our Cascade 220 is presently on SALE!

Materials

  • FREE pattern
  • Cascade 220: 3 skeins SALE
  • 4.5mm/US7 or 5mm/US8 – 29″ circular needles (or size to obtain a tension you like)
  • stitch markers
  • tapestry/darning needle

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

 

RESTOCKED Sweet Georgia Party of Five

Sweet Georgia Party of Five DISPLAY BLOG

Sweet Georgia Party Of Five

Sweet Georgia’s Party of Five are sets of mini-skeins of their uber popular, Tough Love Sock. Each set includes five mini-skeins of 96m/105 yd (28g), with a total yardage of 478m/525 yds. Tough Love Sock is a soft & versatile blend of superwash merino and nylon, making for hardwearing sock and buttery soft shawls.

  • 5 x mini-skeins of 96m/105 yd (28g)
  • Total yardage of 478m/525 yds
  • Fingering weight
  • 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Nylon
  • 8sts = 1″ on 2.25mm/US0 needles
  • Machine wash, lay flat to dry
  • Made in Canada
  • See yarn on Ravelry
  • See Pattern Ideas

Sweet Georgia Party of Five COMBO  BLOG

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

Sweet Georgia Party of Five Reverb COMBO 2

Sweet Georgia Party of Five Reverb COMBO 1

Reverb

The Reverb Shawl is a super-simple top-down shawl or kerchief knit entirely in garter stitch using our Sweet Georgia Party of Five Tough Love Sock. This heart-shaped shawl is designed to maximize each colour, as one blends into the other with gradually thinner stripes. Arrange the colours as you like them!

Materials

 

FREEBIE & NEW Noro Kureopatora

Noro Kureopatora DISPLAY BLOG

kureopatora colours aug 2016

Noro Kureopatora

Noro Kureopatora is a one of Noro’s softest and most versatile yarns, and we’ve restocked it for fall! Made from a blend of different types of wool,  this single ply yarn looks great knit, crochet, or felted. One skein goes a long way -each carries a generous yardage of 270m/276 yards, and it blooms, so you can use a variety of needle sizes with it (two skeins are more than enough for a scarf). We made Lala’s Simple Shawl with 3 skeins and a Noro Striped Scarf with 2 skeins.

  • 100% Merino Blend Wool
  • 100g/270m (276 yds)
  • 4.5mm needles
  • 20 sts & 26 rows = 4″ (10cm)
  • Worsted Weight
  • Made in Japan
  • Pattern ideas

 

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

noro kureopatora striped ranbow scarf COMBO 2

Noro Striped Scarf: colour 1009 & 1011

 

noro kureopatora striped ranbow scarf COMBO

Noro Striped Scarf: colour 1021

Noro Striped Scarf

The Noro Striped Scarf is a super easy and satisfying knit. Two skeins of Noro Kureopatora makes a substantial (ours measured 102″ long x 6″ wide), eye-catching scarf.

 

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

1ade0-noro2bkureopatora2blala2bshawl2b12bblog

c9902-noro2bkureopatora2blala2527s2bshawl2bcombo2b42bblog2b

Lala’s Simple Shawl

Noro Kureopatora’s exceptional yardage and springy single-ply texture makes for a great shawl!

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

noro kureopatora striped ranbow scarf COMBO 3

Moss on the Old Oak

Moss on the Old Oak

This wrap just caught my attention on Ravelry and I felt like I had to share. It’s so cozy and pretty, wouldn’t it be the perfect addition to a fall wardrobe? I’m visualizing myself throwing it on over jeans and a sweater and sauntering out the door (this is my fantasy life, it involves a lot of knitwear and walking to nowhere to do nothing).

It is made with one of my favourites, Malabrigo Rios. Rios is soft, smooth, and squishy – in other words a delight wort work with and to wear. It’s made with machine washable Uruguayan merino wool, which is then hand dyed. Yummy! If you’re on a budget and want something a bit more modestly priced try using Cascade 220 Heathers (ON SALE NOW), Cascade 220 Superwash Heathers, or Berroco Vintage – they all have the same yardage and will give you great results.

The pattern is discounted ($3US/$4CAD) until the end of Friday July 22, so be sure to pick it up now if you are interested because the brice will be going up!

Size

78.5 inches from wingtip to wingtip and 42 inches from neck to center point.

Yarn Options

Malabrigo Rios:  6 skeins

Cascade 220 Heathers: 6 skeins ON SALE

Cascade 220 Superwash Heathers: 6 skeins

Berroco Vintage: 6 skeins

 

Other Materials

  • 5mm/US8-36″ circular needles (or longer)
  • 5mm/US8 double pointed needles (for provisional cast on)
  • 2 removable stitch markers
  • darning needle to weave in ends
  • Pattern on Ravelry

 

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

 

Moss on the Old Oak COMBO 1

Photos: Sweet Birch Designs