Archive for January, 2011

Some Lovely Gifts

Monday, January 31st, 2011

While I promise not to blog solely about my new little girl and her knitted wardrobe I simply had to share some pretty fabulous knitted gifts that Hunter has received. First up are some gifts from a couple of lovely knit night ladies,Ashley and Kirsten.

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There was an evening this past fall (or was it summer? I’m losing track of time) when UY had a run on Misti Alpaca, in the rainbow colourway in particular. It was one of those knit night things where Kynna (or someone else but I find Kynna to be the most excitable) walks into the knitting ring with a new and exciting yarn and begins to ponder what she will do with it. Inevitably someone will suggest something perfect they saw on Ravelry and the thing seems to take on a life of its own. Suddenly three knitters are holding skeins of the coveted yarn and there is a small crowd around the computer searching for their very own perfect yarn-pattern match. It’s happened more than once and it’s one of my favorite things about knit night, the enthusiasm for all things fibre and pattern related.

But I digress….This particular obsession resulted in a a Colonade shawl by Kirsten and a Simple Yet Effective Shawl by Ashley. A few weeks later I came in to knit night and each charming gal had knit me an itty bitty rainbow something for my soon to be born hippie child from their yarn left over! Kirsten knit the Mary Jane Booties and Ashley knit the Bambino Bamboozle hat.  The alpaca is delightfully bright and soft, baby perfect in my books. I’m obviously a sucker for a rainbow and I find them to be especially great for precious little girls named Hunter.

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The other fabulous knitted item that was gifted to Hunter is a very adorable sweater. Recognize it? It’s a sweater inspired by one of my favorite children’s books: Where The Wild Things Are. If that’s not the cutest pic, I just don’t know what is. Sara knit this sweater out of Qina, by Mirasol and it is so soft Hunter just curled herself right up in it. The pattern is Wild Thing.

Thanks so much ladies! Hunter is actually able to wear some knitted items, even though her Mummy only knit her things she will fit into 6 months from now!

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A New Knitter!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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While life for me is has often been all about knitting, this week has changed that rather dramatically! My baby girl Hunter Ann was born on Saturday night, January 22nd. She’s a healthy 8lbs 1oz and I love her to death already. Our little family has been relaxing at home (with a few small excursions) and enjoying our time together.

Not knowing how big babies are in general I’ve found that she fits absolutely nothing I have knit her, she is just so little! While you might know in your head that babies are little I still find myself pulling out outfits that appear to be ridiculously small only to find that she is swimming in them! I’m not worried though, she’s guaranteed to grow.

My favorite past time for the last 5 days has been watching Hunter’s facial expressions. Her Daddy and I spent at least and hour one day just watching her make faces, how different and wonderful life has become. I’m hoping that since I have birthed the perfect knitting model (if I do say so myself) I will be showcasing some of her knitwear soon! Thanks again so much to everyone who has offered their kind words and congratulations and to my wonderful co-workers/friends who were there from the beginning. Love you!

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Knitting Something Different

Monday, January 24th, 2011

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While we are all familiar with the knitting of many different types of garments, it’s nice to see something knit that’s really different. It’s knitting outside the box if you will! That’s what Amanda’s fantastic knitted jewelry makes me think of. I don’t think non-knitters would recognize this jewelry for what it is, which is also cool. Amanda has some amazing knitted jewelry kits that are available at the shop in really fantastic colour combinations.

There are a few different categories of beaded knitting: there are yarns with beads already in them, which lends your knitting a nice random bead quality. There are also many shawls that involve specific bead placement to varying degrees of beady-ness. The last category is this beautiful knitted jewelry which appears to be almost entirely made of beads, the knitting is almost your little secret.

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Knitting with beads is a little scary for some but once Amanda gave me a demo I’m feeling a lot less daunted by the task. There are 2 different ways of knitting with beads (I suppose there could be more but there are 2 that I know of). The first is the obvious one: string all the beads onto your yarn before you start then move the beads to the needles as you need them. This is not necessarily a bad way to go, the beads lay quite nicely on the stitches this way. The obvious downside? Stringing MANY beads and having to run your yarn through all of them. A while back Anina knit herself up a Shipwreck Shawl and she used this stringing method. The result was stunning but she was pretty sick of stringing beads by the end.

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The other method involves a little tiny crochet hook and the bead sits on top of the stitch. This method has it’s clear advantages, you can place the beads as you go without having to string them in any sort of order. This method is definitely convenient for lace knitting and knitting with any sort of fuzzy yarn. Fuzzier yarn doesn’t seem to like going through many beads before meeting it’s final destination on the needles.

If you are interested in learning some jewelry knitting skills Amanda is offering a class this February:

JEWELLERY KNITTING
(With Amanda Kaffka)
Time: 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Dates: Feb. 15, 22 & March 1
Cost: $40.00 + HST, (kit extra $29.95)

Some Sarah Socks

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Socks are such a popular knitting item at UY we have an entire wall of sock yarn. We have a shelf of sock knitting books. There is a bootcamp class dedicated to teaching socks in an evening (or part of an afternoon). They are just so popular! There are a lot of things to like about socks, not the least of which is the fact that the pattern possibilities are endless. Once you know the size of your foot and the heel turn that really works for you you can knit a sock up in any which way. There are also an endless supply of sock patterns online, as well as many sock books to choose from. The other great thing is that the colour options are fabulous. Socks are usually hidden under your shoes or pants (unless you’re a socks and sandals kind of person) so you can be colour adventurous!

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Before leaving us for San Fran Sarah was knitting up some charming socks that inspired me to get back to my own pairs on the go. The first pair she knit up in the ever popular Zauberball. This yarn is a lot of fun for socks, it doesn’t really stripe so much as it moves from one colour or shade to another, making it kind of exciting to knit with. What colour will come up next?! It sounds silly but give it a try and you’ll see what I mean. The only trouble with striping yarns in general is that you usually get more a fraternal twin sock than an identical one. This doesn’t phase me at all but it can be kind of a pain to get your socks to match, not impossible, just more difficult than with a solid yarn. The pattern for these lovely socks is Circle Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry.

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Next is a pair of pretty purple socks in SweetGeorgia’s Cashluxe yarn. We have a couple of sock yarns with a hint of cashmere in them and I am always pleased with the feet treat they offer. I love a nice soft sock yarn that is still washable, it’s the best of all worlds! This colourway is Violet Hill and the pattern is Esther Socks (another Ravelry freebie). The pattern is just beautiful, it is a pretty embossed leafy pattern that is to dye for! So pick up some sock needles and hit the sock wall for some lovely portable knitting!

New Blue Sky Patterns!

Monday, January 17th, 2011

It’s always excitement around the shop when the new Blue Sky Alpacas patterns arrive. We all scramble around deciding which colours the items should be knit in and what sizes to make. We argue over who will knit what and which pattern is clearly the best, it’s always a good time! I missed the hubbub this year but I can only imagine! Here are my three faves of the new patterns:

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First up is the men’s vest. There are really so few men’s patterns out there it’s refreshing to see something simple and trendy. Why there are so few men’s patterns I don’t really know but they can be scarce. This is especially frustrating since I find women usually want to knit their hubby something simple that can be worn with multiple other items. This shouldn’t be such a tall order! Digression past, BSA has put out this lovely simple vest pattern which is knit in my fave: Sport or Melange. The colour combos are endless and the yarn is soft and warm, just what I would like in a vest!

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The next two patterns are great for Spring knitting. They are knit in the Blue Sky Alpacas Silk, a warm yarn with the beautiful drape of silk. I knit up the Rectangular Shawl in BSA Silk and it’s one of my favorite pieces (even though I knit it in black which left me incredibly bored by the end of it!). The Alpaca Silk has a great shine as well and comes in perfect colours for spring, or some darker hues if they are more to your liking. First up is the Cecily cardigan. A lovely open lacey item for mild spring days.

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Last is a gorgeous shawl with a leafy patterned edge to it called the Kaw Valley Wrap. I am thinking it will make a really great Mother’s Day gift, or perhaps a beautiful wedding shawl? There are so many uses for a shawl so lovely, as a gift or just for you.

Cinder Scarf

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

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It’s snowing on Burnaby mountain and I need a new scarf! I’ve been walking around the mountain trying to convince my child it’s time to come out! I need something long and wrapable, warm, soft, luxurious, and maybe with a little cable….. enter the Cinder Scarf. This is a pretty Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed) pattern and one of the features I quite like is that it is reversable. Reversable just makes good sense in a scarf because what are the odds, with all the wrapping and twisting a scarf naturally does that it will be lying exactly the way you want it to? Pretty much nil. With this beauty the ribbing makes it completely reversable so  you don’t have to think twice once you wrap it on.

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The yarn for Cinder is one of our newer favorites, Ariosa by Classic Elite. A super soft single ply yarn made up of merino and a hint of cashmere. The single ply combined with the cashmere make it a really luxurious yarn, perfect for any knitting project really. It’s a nice bulkyish yarn too: 14 stitches per 4 inches, so the scarf will go nice and quick even if it is quite long. The one Amanda knit up in the shop is 6 skeins but it’s a REALLY long scarf so anywhere from 4-6 is great depending on your scarf length preferences.

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If you are as smitten with this yarn as we are and are looking for a larger project there is also a wonderful sweater pattern in Jared’s book ‘Made in Brooklyn’ called Rockaway. It’s absolutely gorgeous! It’s knit in the Ariosa as well and I think it would be great for guy or girl, a nice warm wear for the weather.

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Beautiful Audrey

Monday, January 10th, 2011

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Of all the Blue Sky Alpacas patterns I’ve seen the Audrey coat really takes the cake. It’s so elegant and somewhat extravagant it beckoned to me immediately. A big part of the beauty of this pattern is in the clean lines and the details, I absolutely love the covered buttons. This coat really reminds me of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn’s great style. A classic coat that would work with any outfit, but remains a statement piece. My fashionable aunties both asked me to knit them one but I declined, this is a knit for knitters, something to knit only for yourself! Now that all the hubbub over holiday knitting has seriously died down, it’s time to get started on a project just for you, and I think the Audrey coat is perfect.

Audrey is knit in warm alpaca sport, held doubled. This means the colour options are practically endless! The fashionable and Audrey-esque Amanda knit hers up in the original red and it’s just stunning. The picture above is the Audrey coat Amanda knit on our UY mannequin, Ursula. I think the beret makes a nice touch don’t you? I’m personally smitten with Blue Sky’s newest colour though: emerald. I think a beautiful emerald Audrey coat would definitely keep the winter blues away!

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New Spud and Chloe!

Friday, January 7th, 2011

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One of our favorite lines here at UY is Spud and Chloe. SnC is a sort of spin off of Blue Sky Alpacas, one of our other faves. It’s kind of a new kid on the block (they’ve been around about a year now) but already there are a ton of patterns and projects to choose from. At their blog here you can find all kinds of inspiration, free patterns, and even a fun knit along or two. Anina has joined in on a couple of these knit alongs. Basically they tell you which yarn you will need then they give you pattern instructions a step at a time so  you won’t know what you’re knitting until it’s done. A bit of knitting fun!

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I really like that Spud and Chloe is a very practical yarn as well as coming in a really great colour pallette. It’s a washable yarn that comes in 3 different weights (sock, aran, and bulky) so it’s great for all kinds of projects, especially for children. I am always, as you may have figured out by now, a sucker for a rainbow. It’s not that I necessarily want to knit everything in rainbow format so much as I really like having a large rainbow pallette to choose from. A rainbow really draws the eye and it’s also perfect for knitting all things colourwork.

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With the addition of some really pretty new colours SnC have inspired me to start on some Fine socks. I’m not sure which patter to start first though. I’m also a little smitten with the colour names, Anemone, Cricket, Daschund, so cute. Spud and Chloe has  3 patterns that would be perfect for a rainbow! Whenever I see that rainbow I want to knit one in every colour!

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New Years Resolutions

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

New years resolution time here are UY and all the ladies are making knitterly promises to themselves. We all have different goals, some to try something new, some to return to projects of old, and some to persevere through projects that have thwarted them in the past. We all have plans for the fresh new year, what is your knitting goal?

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Kynna and I are returning to our Reindeer Sweaters. We originally started these beauties quite some time ago along with Amanda and Anina. We all worked out of different yarns and started at the same time but only Amanda and Anina finished theirs up. Both are absolutly stunning and they are so different. Anina knit hers up in the luxurious Viking Alpaka for her daughter (although they do share and Anina’s sweater is in the shop for viewing). Amanda knit hers up in the Viking of Norway Naturgarn. I love her colour choices, it makes a very traditional pattern into something modern and trendy, classic Amanda! So with all this inspiration around us, Kynna and I will return to our versions of this sweater, mine is in Dream in Colour Classy and hers is being knit up in Cascade Eco Wool.

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Jan and Kathleen WILL be returning to their Fiddlehead Mittens. With these popularity of these little items sweeping the shop the two decided they should get on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss is about. They made it pretty far but seem to have gotten themselves stalled somewhere along the way. With such beautiful yarn (Blue Sky Alpacas Sport for the outside and Brushed Suri for the inside) they can’t leave them unfinished!

Amanda is comitted to finishing all 2010 projects by March 1st. This is quite the goal as she (along with most of us, let’s be honest) has dealt with a battle or two of startitis! I’m sure I’ll be keeping everyone posted with her frequent FO’s (finished objects). One of the most intersting resolutions I have heard this year is also from Amanda: no pressure knitting. This is interesting because I sometimes feel like pressure and deadlines are some of the only things that make me finish some projects. There are just certain things I lose steam on and need a little pressure to break through. Amanda is sick of late nights and her resolution is to plan ahead and avoid the birthday, shower, and holiday rushes. I think this is a great plan, perhaps plotting your knitting well in advance is the way to maximize your knitting enjoyment!