Archive for April, 2011

A Knitting Milestone

Friday, April 29th, 2011


Kynna has finished her first full sized sweater!!!! This is a major knitterly accomplishment if I do say so myself. Sweater knitting is a lot more particular than say, scarf knitting (most of the time). You have to be a lot more precise with your gauge and sizing, and this can be a little scary. It’s a lot of knitting and we are so used to trying on sweaters before we buy them! Not to discourage though, it’s a challenge worth taking on.


That being said, when you knit your own sweater there are also a lot of upsides. You have a unique garment, no one will have one exactly like it. You can also really tailor it to your liking. This may take a few re-do’s and a little ripping out but it’s worth it for a sweater that works just the way you want it to.


Kynna’s sweater is Wordsworth by Berocco. It is knit up in Berocco Blackstone Tweed and it’s just lovely. It’s a nice soft tweed (relatively hard to find  a soft tweed so it’s quite nice when you do!) and it comes in a whole bunch of lovely colours. Kynna’s pretty pink sweater is also rather timely, since it’s been so cold this week! I’m loving the vintage leather buttons she chose too, they add a little something to the knit. Well done Kynna!

The Clapo-tea party has had to be postponed until Friday May 13th, I’ve seen some beautiful projects already, it’s gonna be a blast! Here is a pic of Kynna’s rainbow Clapotis, it’s coming along nicely.


My Favorite Booties

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

2 month photos, the phone is for scale

There are man baby bootie patterns out there. I mean MANY. Some are cute little button up items, a nice wardrobe addition but for miss Hunter I wanted a substantial bootie to keep her feet warm. Socks have been an issue, but in a different way than most. Hunter’s little friend Sofia is always losing her socks because they are too big for her teeny tiny feet. Hunter is always loosing her socks because they are too small for her large feet. Why no just purchase some bigger socks you might ask? Because her ankles are still very small so they fall off! You can see why she needs some nice wool booties to ward off the cold.

My very faves are these bad boys from Elizabeth Zimmerman. The patten calls for a fingering weight (AKA socks weight or 28 stitches per 4 inches) but Hunter has some enormous baby feet (skis) so I knit mine in a DK weight. They are a little bigger but they will fit longer, always a good thing. They are really just little sacks for her feet that stay on with ties. I was supposed to secure the ties to the bootie but apparently I enjoy searching the house for longish pieces of i-cord instead…..


The construction of these booties is amazing. I wasn’t sure I would really end up with actual booties in the end because they are knit all in one sort of square piece (you’ll know what I mean if you knit a pair) that needs only one little seam. This is a good project for a beginner with some faith because there are only increases and decreases, no heel turns.

It’s hard to find baby socks in darker colours. There is a lot of pink and blue, a little yellow and that’s about it. Hunter needs to be stylin’ though and she needs black socks! I settled for a very dark purple but I’ll be making a few more pairs of these for sure, so black is still on the list!

Time to Ride Again

Thursday, April 21st, 2011


It’s that time again and Urban Yarns is ready as usual! Last year Jan, Anina, and the team were wildly successful in raising money to fund cancer research and they are up for the challenge again this year. They will be hosting a fundraiser next Thursday, April 28th from 7-9 at 1537 Marpole Ave. You can give in 2 ways at this shindig. The first is by purchasing some beautiful jewelry from Silpada Sterling Silver Jewelry. There will be samples to check out and try on and 10% of all sales will be donated to the UY Ride Team. The second is by bringing $20 and a bottle of wine worth approximately the same. For every 10 bottles brought there will be a draw and some lucky winner will win all 10 bottles. The event is sure to be a fun evening for a good cause. Please RSVP to Jan at ASAP.

We are also excited for some great upcoming workshops. First up is Margaret Radcliffe, knitter, designer, and the author of the Knitting Answer Book and The Essential Guide to Colour Knitting Techniques. Margaret is coming to UY in May and will be teaching both Two-Handed Two-Colour Knitting Techniques and Perfect your Circular Knitting. Give us a ring at the shop to sign up for either or both! There will also be a book signing Friday May 27th from 7-9 so we will see you there!

Two Handed Two Colour Knitting

Wednesday May 25th from 7-8:30 pm

Cost $35

Perfect Your Circular Knitting

Thursday May 26th from 1-2:30 pm


Some Easter Knits

Monday, April 18th, 2011


It’s Easter coming up this weekend and I’m enjoying some excellent Easter themed knitting. I realize that wee Hunter will not remember this occasion but I’m still looking forward to knitting her up a little bunny and photographing her to death surrounded by colourful eggs. I haven’t started my bunny yet, but I’m confident I can pull this off in 4 days. The pattern is a free one from Spud and Chloe’s blog (I recommend you check it out, there are quite a few nice free patterns there). It’s a cute little guy knit in Spud and Chloe Sweater in the colour Ice Cream and stuffed with a tennis ball. This is a pic from the pattern, since mine is a work in progress.


When I went searching for a charming little knit for the coming event I found many cute patterns out there! Easter is a perfect time to pick up those pastels you’ve been coveting but not sure what to do with too. One of my faves is this little combination of pastels, fair isle, and eggs. You will need a variety of sock yarns in an eastery pallet for these little joys. They won’t go bad and you don’t have to dye these ones up!


These little chickadees are also a quick knit and a good introduction to toy knitting. They don’t have too many fussy parts but they have enough shaping to pose a small challenge to the beginner knitter. I’m knitting mine up in Spud and Chloe but any aran weight (18 stitch gauge) will do. I’m going to put a cat toy with a bell in it inside the chickadees for a little added fun.


Last but not least are some pretty little fuzzy chicks. I’m thinking Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri of course, although I’ll be knittng mine in white and blue instead of yellow. A fuzzy Peter Rabbit would also make some adorable chicks. Just choose a needle 2 sizes smaller than the one recommended on the ball band to knit with. This will make a nice tight fabric so your fill won’t show through between your stitches.

Enjoy some fun seasonal knits!

A Rant on Baby Sizes

Friday, April 15th, 2011


It’s not that I don’t love knitting baby items. I actually love knitting them even more now than when I was preggers. It’s that there is no real way to size a baby. They are all just too darn different.  Above is a photo of 2 baby sweaters that are apparently the same size – 9-12 months. They are only a little bit big on miss Hunter (who is 12 weeks old) right now.


Does this mean that the patterns are flawed? Nope. I really enjoyed the Owlet pattern, it knit up so quick and it looks so cute! It just means that babies are very different sizes and it’s nearly impossible to knit for a particular age for the first year or two. I originally knit the Owlet so it would fit her at 9 months, in September/October when the weather is turning cold again. Not gonna happen. She will be wearing it on some cooler summer nights instead.


Once I accepted that I cannot size a baby to a specific month, or even a small range of months, life as a knitter became easier. I could freely knit some larger sweaters and not concern myself with the exact date she would be able to wear the garment. I remember when she was first born and I was disappointed nothing I knit would fit her. Now I have a slightly different spin on the subject: who could know? My mum is tells me about how she didn’t have a sleeper big enough to take my youngest brother home from the hospital because he was so big when he was born. There is just no telling! So if you’re knitting for a babe, just knit a bigger size and go with the flow.


The sweaters above are the Owlet and the Simple Raglan Top Down Baby Cardigan (knit for Hunter by the lovely Kynna). They are both aran weight sweaters (18 stitches per 4 inches) so they knit up in no time! Pick up a couple of SweetGeorgia skeins and knit something sweet for a babe today!

The Art of Yarn

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, knitting is art. There are many who would agree (and some who would not) but I firmly believe that the use of fibers to create a unique item, whether it be a garment, a household item, or just a pretty piece of knitting is definitely art.

On the CBC As it Happens they recently aired a piece on a small group of knitters in the UK. They were inspired by famous works of art and created masterpieces in their preferred medium: yarn. Some of the re-imagined masterpieces were creating using quilting, needle point, knitting or crochet.

You can check out a little about the CBC piece here and there is also a facebook page with more examples of inspired fiber art here. There is also a pretty fantastic pattern for a Marilyn Monroe illusion knitted wall hanging here on Ravelry if you are in the mood to re-interpret some art with a pattern. I find this kind of work inspiring, knitting solely for the sake of art, without the practical element of useful knitwear. Knit up something just for the fun of it!

At the Farm

Friday, April 8th, 2011


Spud and Chloe have long been a fave of mine around the shop. It comes in 3 weights (sock, aran, and bulky), fabulous colours, and it’s machine washable. I still don’t usually put my knitting through the wash, but it’s nice to know nothing terrible will become of it if I do. There are a lot of great things to be done with Spud and Chloe and now they have their own book!

Toy knitting is all the rage (I’ve even cast on some Easter wonders, more on that next week….) and this Spud and Chloe book really fits the bill. The book is a series of toy animals you might find on a farm. It kind of reminds me of childhood days on my grandparents farm. I was in charge of collecting eggs when we visited.

The thing about toy knitting is its addictiveness. They are quick to knit up and toys always somehow look lonely on their own. It sounds silly but it’s true! I heard a rumor that Anina was working her way through the whole barnyard, I’m sure she’ll have it done in no time. Pick up some double pointed needles, a couple of skeins of Sweater and At the Farm today!

Tip of the Day

Monday, April 4th, 2011


I am lucky enough to know many talented knitters and I often have the opportunity to pick up some great tricks of the trade from them. There are so many little pieces of advice that can make a project flow more smoothly. Most of the time I’m very willing to try something new and different. I’ll just whip out some needles and yarn and give a new technique a whirl. Unfortunately there are other times I think to myself, yeah, yeah, the way I’m doing it is fine, why fix what ain’t broke? This has been the case when a few people have given me a trick for a nice join when working in the round.

My old way of doing things was to just knit into the first stitch I cast on when joining for working in the round. This would leave a small gap but i would just sew up this gap when I went to weave in my tail. Works every time, why get fancy? Right? Wrong. I finally gave in and tried a different method:

Cast on 1 extra stitch

Transfer this stitch to your left hand needle.

Knit the first 2 stitches together (that’s the extra stitch you cast on and the first stitch of the round together)

Simple right? It’s easy, it makes a flawless join, what more could anyone want? Now it’s the only way I cast on for knitting in the round. So, I pass this small piece of wisdom on to you, give it a try next time you cast on anything circular and be amazed at the difference.