UPDATE & A HACK COVID Memorial Blanket

COVID Memorial Blanket

It seems like you guys have been very busy bees, knitting up squares for the COVID Memorial Blanket … I made one too, and I plan on getting my niece, brother and sister-in-law to make one each. It’s a very easy pattern, suitable for beginners – you only need to know how to knit and purl.

If you aren’t already familiar with it, the COVID Memorial Blanket is a country wide project to honour and remember Canadians lost to COVID. Knitters from all over the country are knitting squares (with Berroco Vintage), which will be joined together to make a MASSIVE blanket … you can read more about it HERE.

This week CBC news did a story on it, it was also on TV. Since then we’ve sold out of colour 5125 Aquae (the colour designated to represent healthcare workers), the distributor is also out of stock, and we don’t expect to have it again until mid-September. That said, there are lots and lots of other colours available in Berroco Vintage, and the only limitation is what makes you happy! There aren’t really any front-runners for popularity, but I can tell you that when given the opportunity, people are going for COLOUR!

Yarn Availability & COVID

As an aside, I’ve been told by a few sales reps that availability is going to be a little spotty this fall on any products coming out of Peru – they’ve been hit pretty hard by COVID and the mills are only working at 30% capacity. Going forward, if you were thinking of making a large project and you want specific colours in Berroco Vintage, Berroco Vintage DK or Berroco Vintage Chunky, you should order your yarn now because I may not be able to get the inventory later. I think this especially applies to the neutral colours like white, off-white, ecru, all of the heathered greys, black, oatmeal, etc.

MINI-HACK! The Baggy Bind-Off Stitch

Yesterday Erica and I were looking at swatches and the subject of that last bind-off stitch came up. Somehow it’s always stretched out … and while I never really cared about it, it got me thinking that someone, somewhere on the interweb, must have found a solution. It turns out lots of someones have resolved the issue, the video below is the first one that popped up in my Google search, and I liked it a lot.

PREORDER Beaubourg Wrap Kits

Beaubourg Wrap Kits

I swa this kit and immediately thought it would made a great project to keep busy hands occupied … and since it’ll be about a year and a half until a vaccine is available for COVID, we might be at this a while. Beaubourg is a large rectangular wrap that features two-colour brioche and slipped stitches against a background of garter stitch to represent the colourful pipes that run up the façade of the Beaubourg museum. Because this pattern uses the brioche technique, I don’t feel like its for the beginner knitter, but if you wanted to make something similar you can make a project Meadow Lane and alternate the two colours every-other-row. If you love it, but don’t wear really big wraps, you might also enjoy it as a STUNNING throw for your home.

Kit

Each kit comes with 8 skeins of Urth’s gorgeous hand-dyed, 100% superwash merino wool. It features 4 skeins of Urth Uneek Worsted, a hand-painted self-striping yarngasm (the main colour), and 4 skeins Urth Monokrom, a hand-dyed semi-solid (the contrast colour).

The colourway in the photographs is #01 (it’s a pretty bright rainbow colourway). The other colours that I think will look gorgeous include 05 (the red is sensational as a contrast colour, not for the faint of heart), 02 (I love, love, love the autumnal neutrals with the yellow), 03 (this combo will come out looking like pinks and reds), and 06 (inky!!). Or, If you’re like me and you have your own creative vision and just can’t stick to the items on the menu, you can contact us and we can talk about combining another shade of Urth Uneek Worsted with a dark or medium grey .

Pre-Order

Because they’re fairly substantial we’re selling these kits as a pre-order and aren’t stocking them in the store on a regular basis – they’ll function almost like a special order. Your kit will ship or be available for pick-up once it arrives, and we will contact you. That said, the vendor is very fast, reliable, and close-by, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. If you need your kit for a specific date please let us know and we can find out if it’s feasible. Please also let us know in advance if you’d like the yarn wound (you can leave a note when you are checking out online).

Materials

PROJECT Treit

Treit

When I came across this project it immediately struck me as a great little summer tee … an it would be PERFECT made with Quince & Co Sparrow. Treit is a light tee, worked bottom up, with a cropped length and leafy lace yoke. After a few rounds of twisted rib at the collar, the cropped body (which can be knit longer if desired) is knitted to the underarms. Two sleeve caps are knitted, body and sleeves are joined, and the yoke is worked from a lace chart to the neck. There are optional instruction to raise the back of the neck neck with short rows (a nice feature for more experienced knitters, and great that it isn’t necessary for those who need to keep thins KISSasble (you remember K.I.S.S., right? I refer to the sage life advice, “Keep It Simple Stupid”, not the 70’s band with the black & white getups.)

P.S. Quince & Co Sparrow is ON SALE until the end of July!

Suggestions

A. If you want to reproduce the ‘tweedy’ texture, use one of ‘Marled’ colours (they are marked in the drop-down menu of colours on our site). If you aren’t so keen on it, that’s cool too, just use one of the regular colours for a more refined finish.

B. I would DEFINITELY suggest the use a lifeline when knitting this project. Linen is slippey, and lace is lace, so do yourself a favour and give yourself a safety-net. If you are not already familiar with this concept, now’s the time to add this very, very handy little hack to your “I wish I knew that BEFORE ….” life list.

Size

  • Finished bust circumference: 33 (35, 38, 41, 45, 48, 51, 54, 57, 60) inches or 84 (89, 96.5, 104, 114.5, 122, 129.5, 137, 145, 152.5) cm
  • The pattern recommends you choose the next size up from your normal bust size, but linen is very stretchy, so if you plan to wear this top over a tank or cami you may want to take that into consideration and not size-up.

Materials

  • Quince & Co Sparrow: 4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7 8, 9) skeins
  • 3.75mm/US5 – 24″ & 29″circular (or longer for larger sizes) longer and below gauge-size circular needles of
  • 3.25mm/US3 (or 3mm) – 16″ & 29″circular (or longer for larger sizes)
  • 3.75mm/US5 – 12″ circular needles (or double pointed needles)
  • 3.25mm/US3 (or 3mm) – 12″ circular needles (or double pointed needles)
  • Stitch markers in two colours
  • Waste yarn (for putting stitches on hold)
  • thin waste yarn to use as a lace “lifeline”
  • Pattern

Sweater Quantities

To make life easier, here’s a list of colours that we have in relevant sweater quantities … well, at least at the time of publishing … once it goes live it’s in the hands of a higher power (the yarn gods?):

  • Butternut
  • Eclipse (first 2 sizes)
  • Fen
  • Frond MARL (up to 6th size)
  • Fundi
  • Little Fern (first 2 sizes)
  • Lunar
  • Maize
  • Mineral MARL
  • Rille MARL
  • Rosa Mundi MARL
  • Sans
  • Surf MARL 253 (up to 8th size)
  • Venice 218 (first 2 sizes)
  • Viburnum (first 2 sizes)

CONTRIBUTE COVID19 Memorial Blanket Project

What is the Covid19 Memorial Blanket Project?

The creators of this project are creating a massive, 9000 square foot blanket (a bit like the AIDS blanket?) to honour the Canadians who have been lost to COVID19. They’ll also be creating a memorial book and donating individual blankets to various aid agencies.

To make this happen, they are putting out a all to all Canadian knitters and crocheters, to knit or crochet a square. The pattern and square instructions are on their Facebook Page and Ravelry. The main blanket will be made of Berroco Vintage, and the individual blankets from any washable worsted weight yarn. They have chosen colour Colour 5125 Aquae to represent all front line/essential workers in the memorial blanket. 1skein should make approximately 1.5 squares.

Crafters Can ….

  • Knit or Crochet a 12 inch Square (or more if you desire).
  • Volunteer to help assemble the blanket
  • Help moderate the Facebook/Instagram page
  • Spread the word! Use the hashtag #covid_19memorialblanket like and share social media posts.
  • Help moderate the Facebook/Instagram page

Materials

  • Berroco Vintage: 1 skein (1skein should make approximately 1.5 squares)
  • 4.5mm/US7 needles (straight or circular, it doesn’t matter)
  • FREE pattern

The Artists & Contact Info

This project is being organized and led by Heather Breadner, Amanda Sharpe, and Ally Day. If you would like to contact them, they can be reached at admin@aberdeenswool.ca, please include “Covid_19 Blanket” in the subject line. They can also be reached through messaging on Facebook or Instagram. You can find all the information, patterns and upcoming events at their Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Covid_19-Memorial-Blanket-111818693934448) or on Instagram (@covid_19_memorial_blanket).

Donating

Drop off your squares at our store and we’ll arrange to get them to the artists! Our address is 1382 Bathurst St, Toronto ON M5R3J1, open Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 5pm.

Squares can be mailed directly to:
Covid_19 Memorial Blanket
111 Cable Road
Fenelon Falls, Ontario
K0M 1N0

Please include with your square the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your email address
  • If you would like to include a message of hope, love, or memorial, please include with your square.

Your personal information will not be released. For the purpose of the memorial book, only your name and general location, (ie. province) will be included. If you wish not to have your name NOT published, please let them know.

PROJECTS 3 Knitted Bag Patterns

Last time was crochet, so today I’m looking at knitted bags that make me happy. Knitted bags can be simple and elegant, and make great totes and carryalls. They’re also a nice, smallish summer project – great for taking up to the cottage, your back-yard or the local park. They benefit from working with plant based fibres, which are perfect for the summer because they don’t hold humidity like most animal fibres do (wool, alpaca, camel, mohair, cashmere … basically everything except silk).

FYI: All the Yarns Listed Below are 20% OFF until July 31st!

Sachetto

I kind of love the simple spiral design on this bag, it’s elegant but has some interest, it’s a great design feature! Instructions are included for three sizes. It’s worked in the round, cast on using Judy’s Magic Cast-On and worked from the bottom up. Straps are then worked back and forth and grafted together at the top. 

Size

  • Small (Medium, Large)
  • Circumference: 28(31)(34) inches
  • Height: 13(13.5)(14) inches
  • Total Strap Length: 14(14.5)(15) inches

Suggested Yarns

Materials

  • 4mm/US6 – 24″ circular needles
  • locking stitch markers
  • Pattern

Simple Knit Tote

Simplicity is also key wit this tote! You make this bag by first knitting the base flat, then picking up around the Base and knitting the Body of the bag in the round.

Size

  • Finished Circumference: 25 inches
  • Finished Height: 11 inches
  • Base of Bag: 3½ inches wide x 9 inches long
  • Strap Width: 3½ inches
  • Strap Length: 22 inches

Suggested Yarns

Materials

  • 5mm/US8 – 24″ or 32″circular needles
  • a spare 5mm/US8 double pointed needle
  • stitch holder (optional)
  • stitch markers
  • a few yards of sport or light worsted scrap yarn
  • Pattern

Judoka

Graphic stripes and simple designs make me extremely happy! This bag is knit flat in one piece in garter stitch to form a rectangle that is then folded and sewn on two sides to create the bag shape. If preferred, you can carry the yarns up the edge of the piece when working the “Thin and Thick Stripe Pattern” sections.

Sizes

  • Sizes: 1 (2, 3)
  • Finished width at base: 28 (35, 42) cm / 11 (13¾, 16½)”
  • Finished height: 28 (35, 42) cm / 11 (13¾, 16½)”
  • Before sewing, flat piece measures 20 (25, 30) cm / 8 (10, 12)” x 60 (75, 90) cm / 24 (30, 35½)”

Suggested Yarns

Quince & Co Sparrow

  • Colour A: 1 (2, (2) balls
  • Colour B: 1 (2, 2) balls
  • Colour C: 1 (1, 2) balls

Materials

  • 3mm/US2.5 needles
  • tapestry needle
  • Pattern

PROJECTS 3 Market Bag Patterns

People have been asking a lot about market bags this summer, so I’ve put together a little bit of inspiration for you. I prefer crochet for market bags, the stitch reinforces the strength. Plus crochet is fun in the summer, it’s an extremely comfortable way to work with plant fibres. A basic crochet bag (like the second below) is also a great next level project for new or inexperienced crocheters.

FYI: All the Yarns Listed Below are 20% OFF until July 31st!

denim 1.JPG
Photo: eLoomanator

French Market Bag

Here’s a great one for the people who aren’t afraid of the hook – a gorgeous french market bag crocheted with cotton!

Suggested Yarns

Materials

Crochet Grocery Bag

I designed this little bag many, many moons ago and it’s still one of my favourites. My favourite version were the ones I made a few years ago with some Quince & Co Sparrow Linen – they’re sturdy, light, and put away up nicely!

Suggested Yarns

Materials

Provence Summer String Bag

I love the lace in this bag – it’s vintage without being too much. You can easily change the handles to make them longer.

Suggested Yarns

Materials

FINISHED Cruz Bay Crochet Cardi

Cruz Bay

I finished my Cruz Bay crochet cardi! It turned out really nicely, it’s a great summer top, I’m very happy with it and wearing it in the store.

The Pattern

It wasn’t a crazy hard piece, but I’d say it was an advanced beginner to intermediate level of crochet pattern. I used a larger hook because my tension was looking too tight in the pattern stitch (luckily you start the pattern from the bottom of the sleeve so it sort of serves as an opportunity to check your tension). I had a few pattern questions that needed clarification and the designer, Donna Yacino, was incredibly fast and helpful. I put my modifications& details in my Ravelry Notes. Keep reading for more details from my project experience.

The Yarn

Berroco Estiva is a soft, machine washable 100% cotton, made in Italy. It works up in a gradient, from light to dark (or vice versa). It was easy to crochet with and worked up reasonably fast (for a tape yarn). I used 2.5 cakes of yarn for the smallest size. Each sleeve/side used its own cake of yarn. I started from the dark end of the cake and worked to the light. I used the remnants from the sleeves/sides to start work on the medallions around the neck and then started my third cake at the light end.

FYI: Berroco Estiva is 20% OFF until July 31st!

Size

The fit for this cardi is oversized and unstructured.

  • Bust (closed): 36 (40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64)“
  • Length: 13 (13, 14, 14, 15, 15, 16, 16)” including lower edging
  • Shown in size 36 this blog post (my finished size ended up: 40″ body circumference, 12″ sleeve cuff circumference, 16″ upper sleeve circumference. My tension was 3 stitch pattern repeats & 14 rows = 4″/10cm)

Materials

Notes

I didn’t always find the pattern instructions incredibly, explicitly clear … I don’t know if it was my limited experience with crochet sweater patterns or because the pattern was written during COVID and the designer and editors were totally stressed – either way Berroco and Donna Yacino were both great.

The instructions for the rows on the body were a bit vague and I kind of fudged it (crochet is more flexible than knitting, you can do this … and after previously emailing Donna twice I decided she had earned a break) except I didn’t really keep track of what I did on the first side … and then COVID brain kicked in. As you can see in the picture above, it’s a good idea to write down what you did. I didn’t. Ooops. My general approach to this project was “Does it look like the picture? Good enough!” I am very appreciative to Apple for making it possible for me to embiggen images on my iPad.

FYI: If you decide to make this pattern with another yarn I strongly suggest you swatch first.

Ron’s Patterns Review

My beau, Ron, is sitting next to me while I write this blog post and he doesn’t understand why I have so much to discuss. His review: “I sat next to her and she didn’t swear at all during it, so I’m guessing it’d be good for an advanced beginner or low level intermediate.” Sage words.

SUMMER SALE!

Our Summer Sale is ON! Select summery yarns) are 20% Off all July.

Can’t make it in? No Problem! It’s all in our Online Store, which offers a Free In-Store Pick-Up option at check out. Can’t make it in at all? That’s ok too, you can have your order shipped – plus Orders over $150 ship forFREE!

COVID Update – Slow Shopping

Good News!

Just a quick update on the status of the store vis-a-vis COVID … things have been working well, the protocols put in place seem to be keeping everyone safe – I’ve come to think of it as “Slow Shopping”. Some of you have told me that coming into the store has been your first venture out since the lock-down started, and I can’t tell you how grateful that makes me feel.

I’ve been directed that things have progressed to the point where we can safely have two clients in the store at the same time, with masks, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining physical distance. Yay!!!! I’m not used to having too many people around, but I’ll get used to it again.

Walk-in Shopping: Yes!

Things seemed to have slowed down enough with the weather and the time of year that I don’t think we need to have a controlled entry anymore. There is no longer any need to book an appointment before coming in, the door is open, and there is no time limit. TWO customers (from different households) are allowed in the store at a time.

Masks & Hand Cleaning: YES!!!

I know many people find them uncomfortable, but wearing a mask is still a MUST in the store (a study just came out connecting the wearing of masks to substantially lower death rates). We also have a big container of some very nice smelling hand sanitizer produced by a company that normally makes organic apple cider vinegar, please make use fo it, I don’t mind buying more. If you’d like to wash your hands, you can use out bathroom, we have nice smelling organic citrus soap and disposable hand towels for you.

Cash: Nope

Paying by cash falls under “not touching other peoples stuff”. COVID does not like living on textiles or other fibrous materials like paper, but it does get along quite nicely with smooth, flat surfaces like plastic and metal. For the time being we are only accepting credit and debit (or apple pay, google pay, etc), and we appreciate it if you have ‘tap’ enabled (although I clean the machine after every transaction, regardless of whether it has been touched by the hand of man).

Support: Yes, No and Maybe

Unfortunately, we still can’t offer any support where we touch your materials, or are within 2m of you. If you need help with something we can eyeball it and talk you through it, but it’ll have to be from the other side of a table. Support is by appointment, which you can book HERE. As always, our support is free for something quick & easy, and more in-depth work is $4.97/20 minutes.

Classes: Nope

Classes, private and group, are still cancelled until it is feasible for people to be within a foot of each other – sorry.

Winding Yarn: Yes

Yes, we are happy to wind your yarn! If it looks like it will take a while you can leave it with us and come back for it (our neighbours on the corner sell nice plants and flowers, and we are located in an ice-cream district).

Returns and Exchanges: Yes

Returns and exchanges are ok – COVID doesn’t tend to survive well or for very long on porous surfaces like textiles.

Shipping and Curbside Pick-Up: YES!

Shipping and curbside pick-up are still going strong and are great options. All the details for curbside pick-up are HERE, but it’s working smoothly and we are always flexible. If you order a colour you don’t like, you can exchange it, no problem. If you’d like your yarn wound, please tell up, we’re happy to do that too. Our shipping pick-up is approximately 3 pm from Monday to Friday, so if you get your order in by 2 pm on a weekday it should ship the same day. Canada Post has lowered its commercial rates during COVID, so that’s a bonus too.

Thank you for your patience, you’ve been troopers, and I know you’ll continue to be.

Much Love,

Haley

UPDATE Mask Mates For Healthcare Workers

Update on Mask Mates For Healthcare Workers

We didn’t receive a lot of donations of Mask Mates, but we sent them off and the response was overwhelmingly positive:

So it seems we have found a way to make a positive impact on the lives of people who in turn directly help other people … I like to think of it as a part of the butterfly effect (something as small as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can eventually grow into something substantial). My friend also says that the doctors have received a new model of PPE masks that are oversized and don’t really fit over your ears properly, so the mask mates will be even more helpful.

If you are interested in making a contribution, please drop off or send your ‘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
  • Drop them off or mail them to us at Knit-O-Matic
Photo by Willow Designs

I also stumbled across this pattern for extremely adorable ear savers, which you can purchase individually or as a collection/ebook. They brightened my day, and I thought they might do the same for healthcare workers and their patients. Joni Memmott/BriAbby and Glenna Gordon both also have some really adorable Mask Mate patterns.

xox Haley