I received an animated call from a friend the other day, something to the effect of “Haley!!! The big *hand made craft thing* going around the hospital are these things that hold masks …. ” I don’t remember much of what followed, I kind of got stuck on the idea that there was a crafting trend going around a hospital, like a middle school jelly bracelet tend or cabbage patch kids. The crafty trendy mask things are worn at the back of the head, the mask hooks around the buttons, it’s kind of like a mask extender. Anyway, these little doohickies are very popular with the medical set right now, and I thought “Hey, do they need them? Would they appreciate it if people who are stuck at home made them some?” My friend checked in with the hospital department boss person and they replied “Ummm … YES PLEASE!!!!”
So, if you are interested in making a contribution, I’d love to receive your hand-made ‘Mask Mates’ (they also go by the alias of ‘Ear Savers’) and I’ll pass them on to my friend who will take them to the hospital and distribute them.
Here are the project requirements:
They have to be made with a yarn that is seriously machine wash and dryable at high heat, like Lily Sugar & Cream craft cotton
The fabric should not stretch, and we decided that a dense crochet stitch is ideal – a 4mm//G or 4.5mm/US7 crochet hook is good and a pattern like the free Mask Mates Ear Saver.
The buttons should be 0.75″ to 1″ (20mm to 25mm) wide
Our “Soft Reopening” is Tuesday May 19th, but it’s a modified, slow, cautious reopening with LOTS of physical distancing. Curb-side pick-up and shipping are still preferred, but the store will also be open for shopping by appointment. Because of physical distancing requirements we will NOT be holding classes, private lessons, Sit ‘n Knit or any kind of hanging out.
Store Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am to 6pm
Shop by Appointment
I really want you to stay safe, and it’s still really important that people maintain physical distancing protocols and limit physical contact, so starting Tuesday May 19, 2020 we will be open for In-Store shopping by APPOINTMENT. To keep our clients and staff safe we are implementing the following physical distancing measures:
Only one customer is allowed in the store at a time.
Please mind personal space and stay approximately 2 metres (6 feet) from other people.
We are accepting contactless forms of payment like a credit or debit card with ‘tap’ or Apple Pay, etc. Cash is not accepted.
Customers MUST bring and wear a mask – the type is your choice. We can not provide masks.
Appointments are 15 minutes long.
Appointments can be booked online quickly and easily. I’ve installed a new online booking system, and it’s fast and easy. You can see our entire schedule and book your appointment up to one hour in advance (for anything shorter than that please call us: 416-653-7849). The system will send you a confirmation by email & text, a reminder before your appointment, and you can easily change or cancel your appointment from those contacts.
On a personal note, I think it’s a bit too early to reopen the economy and have people mingling. I know the government says it’s ok, but the chief medical officer does not, and I prefer to get my science from scientists. I know everyone is sick of jumping through hoops and wants to get back to normal, I do too, but we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Our curb-side pick-up and shipping have been working REALLY well, so if you are in a high risk group or have family who are, PLEASE don’t put yourself in harm’s way for yarn – it’s just not worth it. I don’t think you need to be afraid, just be cautious and smart, right now it doesn’t hurt to be a little conservative.
I had the loveliest dream the other night that I was at my hairdresser, getting my hair trimmed … that’s it, that’s all there was to the dream, it was completely mundane, and it was DELICIOUS! No matter your pandemic experience, I know everyone yearns to get back *some* level of normalcy, we all want life to copy the weather and reopen. Things are looking up, we’re on our way, but unfortunately, we aren’t there *yet*.
By law, retailers with a storefront (like ourselves) are only allowed to provide curb-side pick-up service and shipping. This means we still can not have clients come inside the store (the only people in here are staff and my plus-one), and the fines are pretty stiff – upwards of $100K. Additionally, we will not be able to hold Sit ‘n Knit or classes until people are allowed to sit within a 1/4 metre of each other (presently, people are supposed to be maintaining a distance of two metres).
We are still offering curbside pick-up and shipping, and Canada Post has dropped their rates a bit! You can place orders online or over the phone, and we are open Monday to Saturday from 12 to 5 pm.
My first COVID project was this cloth-type-thing, Baker’s Twine. I don’t know why, but I thought that using a marled yarn would come out looking like holding two strands together, but it turns out it it doesn’t. Doesn’t matter, I made a pot holder or trivet or towel or something and it’s good and I’m happy!
The pattern, Baker’s Twine, had an interesting technique for making and inserting the loop, so that was entertaining. It’s knit on small needles, and I found I needed slippier needles and changed to a metal pair. The yarn was thicker than that used in the pattern and my project came out wider (one entire skein made the piece 12.5“/32cm long x 10.5”/26cm wide, and that was a 3.75mm/US5 needle). If you want a smaller potholder size you can omit one pattern repeat (12 sts). The pattern was not free, and I felt like it was a bit overpriced, but I tried something new and learned something new.
The yarn is new one around here, Borgo De’Pazzi Amore Cotton. It’s a blend of recycled cotton and poly fibres (apparently the synthetic content is in there to shore up the recycled cotton and make it yarnable, but it doesn’t feel or look like Tupperware) and you can feel the texture of the two strands spun together. It’s machine wash and dryable, so I figured it would make a good kitchen textile. Interestingly, while it doesn’t look thick, the ball-band suggests a 6.5mm/US10.5 to 8mm/US11 needle or hook. It’s also made in Italy, so first world/no slavery. One skein made a substantially sized piece of fabric. If you want to make a Potholder that looks like the one in the pattern’s photos (below) I’d use Cascade Ultra Pima (one skein of each colour).
Michelle picked up and distributed the fist batch of COVID hearts and it was an IMMENSE SUCCESS! She dropped them off at Villa Forum, a long term care home in Mississauga. The staff were profoundly touched and the nurses gave her an ovation of hand hearts. Your efforts were extremely well received!
Michelle is working on a second batch to take to another long term care home, and you can drop your contributions off at the store or mail them to us. You can read more about the COVID hearts HERE.
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.”
I’ve been looking for something quick-ish but also with some interest to make with Berroco Estivaand I was so happy to come across the FREE Midsommar Shawl! It’s knit on 6mm/US10 needles, so you’ll be able to finish it and wear it out by the time social distancing is a distant memory.
The pattern is pretty straightforward, and it is broken down line-by-line (I especially like this for newish knitters, it makes it easier to read and follow the pattern). For the more experienced, it can still be an asset, as it’s a lot less likely you’ll forget where you were if you’re ticking off each row on the pattern as you go.For those with dyslexia or ADHD, it’s a treasure!
BerrocoEstivais a soft, 100% cotton tape yarn that knits on a 6mm/US10 to 8mm/US11 needles. It’s already knitted, so it isn’t heavy or bulky and there’s no splitting when you work with it. It’s also machine washable, so no shrinkage. Last year we used it for several projects (including a forthcoming pattern I’ve yet to finish) and it’s a keeper. They came out with some brighter colours this year, which I think is really needed right now (although they still have the more muted colours too).
My client Michelle brought this initiative to my attention and we decided this is a great bandwagon we’d like to join …. people are knitting and crocheting little hearts for people hospitalized with COVID and their families. One of the most heartbreaking realities of the COVID pandemic is that hospitalized patients have to be isolated from their families and are dying alone. The premise of the heart production is you make little hearts in matching sets of two; one is given to the patient and the other goes to their family. The idea is to try and create a connection in a patient’s dying moments, and hopefully some much needed comfort for both parties.
If you would like to contribute your knitting and/or crochet skills and labour, I will provide a drop-off location at the store for your hearts and Michelle will come pick them up and distribute them to local hospitals.
Hearts must be little, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Hearts must be in matching sets (red with red, pink with pink, etc).
Each pair of hears should come in their own little ziplock baggie (for sterilizing purposes and etc).
I doubt there are colour requirements, but I think people would probably think red or pink would be nice.
Drop off your little hearts at Knit-O-Matic (1382 Bathurst St, Toronto). You can knock on the door Monday to Saturday 12 to 5 pm (I’ll put on my face-mask and you can pitch them at me) … or just leave them in our mailbox and I’ll figure it out.