Archive for August, 2011

If in Doubt

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

There are so many things to consider when choosing a pattern: yarn, needles, quantity, fiber, drape, feel, softness, colour, the list is pretty endless! Sometimes you just know what you want and acquiring said items is a simple task. I want a teal sweater in a DK weight and it’s on some 4mm needles, simple. Other times, it’s just not as clear! This is when I most enjoy being able to turn to Ravelry.

While I’m sure most of you are on, or have at least heard of Ravelry (if not I seriously recommend you check it out!), I have some tips on using it to your full advantage. It’s not just a place to organize your knitting life and search the wide world of patterns, it’s also an informational gold mine! If you have already chosen your dream pattern your first stop is to check out some finished objects to get a better idea of how your finished project will work. Ravelry is a collective site so you aren’t just sharing your projects with your buddies, its with everyone. The more projects you can see, the better idea you’ll have of how the knit will turn out.  I’m always happy to be able to see a knit in a larger size, sometimes things just don’t size up well and others times the pattern looks just right in a larger size too.

Checking out other finished items is also a great way to help you choose your yarn. If a pattern is popular you can see how it looks in a smoother yarn, a fuzzy yarn, something bright or something dark. It’s not the only thing to take into consideration but it’s a good start. Once you’ve perused the yarn choices and pictures it’s time to move on to the comments and notes. You can filter projects to see only the ones with comments (or even just the ones with comments other people have found helpful). This will tell you what other people may have thought about a pattern or yarn or combination. The more information you have about a pattern the better. You can also check out any modifications people have made, maybe they are the exact modifications you are looking for!

All of these ideas are particularly helpful if you are starting a big project like a sweater. They are a lot of work so a little research is a good place to start!


Thursday, August 25th, 2011

There is a new yarn in the shop but it is rather reminiscent of an old favorite: Rialto Chunky. I’ve knit many a project in Rialto, both the DK and the Aran and I have always found the stitch definition amazing and it’s the easiest care of any yarn I’ve worked with. A nice tight spin has made my knitted items last, even if they went through a wash or two. Now Ms. Bliss has married two great things, chunky yarn (about 15 stitches per 4 inches) and Rialto.


There are a lot of great chunky weight patterns to be knit too, and just in time for the weather to start thinking about turning. I’m in an accessory mood so a nice pair of Bella’s mittens might be in order, I knit up a pair for my cousin last year and she is ready for another pair to go with her new coat! There is also the ever popular Burberry inspired cowl. Jan knit hers up last winter and it is still a fabulous piece.


Another pattern that would be really great in the Rialto Chunky is the Fisherman’s Pullover. It’s a great little baby/toddler knit and it looks adorable! A nice subtle shade perhaps….


Duck Soup

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011


I’m not sure if it’s her amazing knitting or her amazing photography that draws me to everything Ann knits! I check out her blog and bam, I wanna put something new (and usually identical) on the needles. The latest knit from Ann is Duck Soup, an absolutely adorable baby sweater.


I’m not sure if I love the frog closure detail on this sweater the best or the little dangly on the hood. I think a spark of colour turns a knit from something cute to something extraordinary. The colours you choose make that knit personal to you and the person you make it for.


The hoodie is an excellent baby item too. I love dressing Hunter in a hoodie, it makes her look kind of elfish and it’s a good backup in case you forget to bring a hat. The warm weather can’t last long so it’s the perfect time of year to knit up a sweater that can be worn all fall and winter. Ann knit this little wonder out of Spud and Chloe sweater, a washable yarn that’s a combination of wool and cotton. The colour is my favorite too, Moonlight.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I recently saw this silly little movie and it was great. I mean, is there anything better than George Clooney as a hen hungry fox, looking to break away from his safe and settled life and back into his wild ways of the past? Nope, I love Clooney, I can’t help it.


So after watching some Clooney/cartoony magic I was particularly smitten with Kynna’s latest project: a Fantastic Fox of her very own. It’s adorable! I have only seen it in person while it was in progress but it was adorable even then. Another great toy knit from Interweave Knits Magazine. Knitting mags are so much fun, there is usually a wide assortment of patterns as well as some interesting knitterly tidbits to peruse.


This Fantastic Fox was made with Classic Elite Fresco, a soft yarn in just the right foxy colour. Pick up a mag and a couple of skeins and make yourself a little foxy of your very own.

60 Quick Baby Knits

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011


Baby on the brain? We just got in a fantastic book to satisfy any baby knitting needs: 60 Quick Baby Knits in Cascade 220 Superwash. That’s pretty much everything I love in a baby knit in one fell swoop, a worsted weight yarn (18 stitches per 4 inches) and superwash! While I’m a big fan of handwashing my knitting (6 month old and all) it’s nice to give a mummy, or even your own babe, something that can take at least the punishment of a wash. And a worsted weight baby garment knits up so quickly too!


My favorite thing about this book is the collection of vintagey items. Baby things can be trendy but there is something nice about a hand knit that will stand the test of time. The garter cardi is a great example of a timeless knit, the homey look of garter stitch coupled with a classic design.


I’ve been really into fair isle lately (OK OK I’m pretty much always into fair isle) and there are 2 projects in this book that caught my eye, this pretty Christmas-esque sweater and the toques. The toques remind me of sledding on Burnaby mountain on Christmas morning with my brothers!


We have a trunk show of all the Quick Knits so come and check them all out!

Yarn Swap!

Friday, August 12th, 2011


Is your yarn stash feeling in need of a make-over? If you’re anything like me you have an extensive stash made up of a mix of stunning yarn and some seriously less than awesome stuff. When I first started knitting I just didn’t know there were so many nice fibers out there! I have yarn that is stunning but the project I bought it for no longer holds my interest or (even worse) I can’t remember exactly what my plan was in the first place! It’s lovely yarn and it needs a good home! There is a great stash busting solution coming up this weekend!

Welcome to the world of the yarn swap. Take your full skeins down to the Cambrian Hall (address below) and do some swapping! Take home some great yarn that is more to your current taste/obsession and leave behind some skeins that needed a good home. It’s lots of fun and a great place to meet some knitters.

A Vancouver Yarn Swap

August 13 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm

at the Cambrian Hall

215 E.17th just East of Main

Admission $4

“Lighten your stash load and cheat on your yarn diet guilt-free at the first ever Knit Social Yarn Swap! Bring your yarn, fibre, needles, books and notions for trade or sale. How you swap is up to you – straight up, three-way, or a little cash thrown in to sweeten the deal, it’s your choice.”

Click here for more information on Knitsocial.

Little Red is Here!

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011


I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it, Little Red in the City is here! Little Red is the latest book from Ysolda Teague and it is amazing. Not only does it have 7 fantastic sweater patterns in it, it also has a lot of great information about sweater knitting and fit. It’s crushing to knit a whole sweater and have it fit poorly, but Ysolda has some great tips on how to avoid this knitastrophe.



One of the other nice features of this book is the sizing. Many sweater patterns are for 1 or 2 sizes but these patterns go up to some larger sizes, a nice feature if you need it! The real question is which one to knit first! I’m loving all 7 really but I’m a sucker for a fair isle yoke and birdies so I think Chickadee has to be my fave.



Just a reminder that we are all working on an Ysolda Teague KAL (knit along) so if you are feeling bold cast on for one of these great sweaters for the finish late in September!

Crochet Love

Thursday, August 4th, 2011


While I don’t always feel the crochet love from the knitting community I definitely have it! Every so often I get really enthusiastic about crochet. I mean REALLY enthusiastic. I long to cast on many large projects and even while I am working a foundation chain I dream of the stunning finished product, looking grandmotherly and chic all at the same time. I would say that grandmotherly-ness is the number one complaint about crochet that I hear but I beg to differ. There is nothing better than taking something classic or retro and putting a great new and modern spin on it. Choose luxurious fibers or funky colour combinations and your work of art will definitely come out looking stylish.

At UY all the lovely ladies (OK at least most of the lovely ladies) myself included are working on the crocheted blanket to end all crocheted blankets: the pattern is the Seeing Stars Blanket from Spud and Chloe and we are knitting an extra large version to put on display. Kynna, Ann, and I had such fun diving through rainbow of Sweater to come up with all different colour combinations. That’s really the fun of knitting all those little squarish pieces, changing your colour combinations every 4 or 5 squares. The crochet isn’t too difficult and the end result is spectacular so pick up some Sweater and start a Stars blanket of your own!

Book Review: Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn

Monday, August 1st, 2011

With so many knitting books in the knitting world it’s hard to choose between them. There are some with lots of information, some with lots of pretty pictures, some with simple patterns, and some with harder patterns. There are books for sweaters, scarves, and socks and I’m starting to feel a bit like Dr. Seuss. It’s safe to say that if you want to learn to knit something, there’s probably a book for that. I thought I might share a book I quite enjoy, just in case you are looking for a good sock book.


Escher Socks

Socks make a great traveling knit. One skein makes a whole pair and sock patterns are abundant. The same footish format is adaptable to any knitting style, if you like cables, texture, or lace, there are patterns in the world for you. The only trouble can be breaking your double pointed needles (unless of course you magic loop) but I recommend something called a whip tube for that. It stores those thin pointy guys in a nice safe place and helps you to avoid having any stitches pop off, just ask the ladies at the shop and they’ll be happy to show you what I mean.


Herringbone Socks

The book I recommend bringing along for the next car trip (or plane trip, or staycation) is Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Cariol Sulcoski. The name doesn’t do the the lovely patterns inside justice. The book is filled with sock patterns that I think anyone would wear proudly. There is also some great information on how to choose your handpainted yarn best suited to your sock pattern. If you are looking for pooling or avoiding it, debating stripes or a simpler kettle dye, this book will help you decide how best to pair your yarn and project. As for patterns my personal faves are the Herringbone Socks (which I’m working on now), the Escher Socks, and the Spot Check Socks. There are so many great sock yarns in the shop, including some fantastic local dyers, pick some up with this book before you next hit the dusty trail!


Spot Check Socks