Archive for April, 2013

Addi Sock Rockets

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Sock knitters rejoice! Our beloved Addi needles now come in a new package, geared directly towards sock knitters who work with either the magic loop, or two circular method. With that in mind, they only come in 24″ and 40″ versions, in sizes 2.0, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, 3.0 and 3.25mm needles (in both lengths). So other than a restricted size and length selection, what makes these needles special? Well, they have taken the pointy pointy tips from the lace collection, and given them the same ultra-slick nickel finish found on the turbo collection – the very best of both worlds. These are now in stock, and sure to please…


They kind of make me wish I were a sock knitter!

In other news, lace yarns are at an all-time high in the store, from pretty much every distributor. Now, I think I’ll save a big lace roundup for another time, but I just wanted to highlight one of our most popular patterns from last year: The Churchmouse Yarns Mohair Bias Loop.


Now, the red sample that we have is done out of the incredibly decadent Superior from Filatura di Crosa, but I have seen plenty of stunning ones done out of any laceweight yarn (mohair or otherwise). My favourite so far was out of some undyed bison that someone had got a hold of up north – stunning.

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Fair Isle for Spring

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Hunter absolutely LOVES the aquarium. She runs around like a crazy person trying to say any names she knows (she’s pretty sure the Caymans are ‘croc-oh-die-ahls’ all 4 syllables, and no arguments to the contrary would suffice), pointing at things to show Jones, while I and my stroller just try to keep up. She also enjoys a day of changing the fishtank water with daddy. They change the water, feed the fish, watch them swim. It’s a bonding activity. So you can see, fish are important to Hunter! I had to knit her a fair isle yoked sweater to commemorate this fish-filled time of her life.

Goldfish is knit from the top down, sleeves and button bands are knit last. It has a cute little bubble detail at the bottom. I decided to throw caution to the wind and put a LOT of buttons on it because they are so darn cute! I just leave them buttoned and pull it over her head, she doesn’t mind much. For Goldfish you will need 2 colors of sport or dk weight yarn, something bright and vibrant for Spring!

If you haven’t tried fair isle knitting yet, it’s time to learn! There are so many multi-colored wonderful patterns out there and so many great color combinations to choose from! If you are intimidated just give us a call and Amanda will set you straight, she’s a whiz with colorwork!

Tool Time – Charts

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

OK. So. Charts. You might like them, you might hate them, you might be downright terrified of them. Me, I love them. In fact, you have asked me for pattern advice, or taken a lesson with me, I may have waxed downright poetic about them (um, sorry? Actually, no, definitely not sorry). In short, I think that being comfortable with reading and working from charts will greatly speed up a new knitter’s ability to ‘read’ their knitting, and is a far more elegant and effective method of following and writing patterns than line-by-line written directions (in general – there are always exceptions). Since it’s been a while since I offered an introduction to charts class, I’m going to give a very brief rundown today – if you’re interested in learning more, you know where to come!

First, this is a chart.


And so is this.


Charts can be used for colourwork, lace, cables, even knit and purl patterns (and presumably any other types of patterns I have overlooked).

When it comes to reading charts, it varies between working flat and working in the round. When working flat, the right side rows will be read from right to left, and the wrong side rows will be read from left to right, and should be numbered appropriately. (Please note, that as in all things, not every design or pattern is created equal – I am generally referring to best practices, you will of course come across some that are… not as clear)


And for charts worked in the round, each row is read from right to left, and again, should be numbered properly.


Now, there is all sorts of other notation on these charts. Some include indications about where to repeat motifs (usually lines in bold outlining part of the chart), some include stitch counts (usually along the bottom), but all well-designed charts should, without exception, include a legend.


Now, here’s the thing that does irk me about charts. There is an almost worrying lack of consistency and standardization amongst designers as to what each symbol represents. That is why legends are essential. Most designers or design houses do have a reasonable degree of internal consistency, but without exception, you should always, ALWAYS read the legend.

Want to learn what some of the symbols mean and how to get the most out of charts? Well… sorry, but you’re going to have to take my class! Or at least just get yourself a pattern and dive in – there’s really nothing to be afraid of!

Odds and Sods

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Just a few small odds and ends tonight.

1) I finished (finally, after like…. 6 months) the China Blue 2 crewel kit that I’ve been working on. I use finished in the most generous sense of the word, as I still need to press and mount it. But the embroidery is done, and it was a lot of fun! We’ve still got a number of assorted Wool & Hoop kits in store.

China Blue 2

China Blue 2

2) This really cool triangular shawl/scarf! The pattern is Metalouse, by the ever-captivating Stephen West. This particular sample was knit with 2 balls of Noro Aya, and 2 balls of Schoppel-Wolle Cashmere Queen. It is just indulgently soft and luxurious.


3) Finally, we have a few Babette’s Blanket kits left. At $299.95, the kits include all the yarn, and the pattern (everything needed except the hook), more than enough to recreate this fun and colourful blanket for yourself. (And on a side note, I would highly recommend both the story and film, if you haven’t seen them already.)

Babette's Blanket

Babette's Blanket

Twist Review Spring/Summer 2013

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

The latest issue of Twist Collective is out and it is fabulous! I love a good inspiring magazine and Twist never fails to deliver. This issue has a few items I’m excited about, they all make me want to take a romantic stroll in the rain.

Pont Neuf by Emily Wessel

First up is Pont Neuf, designed by Emily Wessel, my better half at Tin Can Knits. This cardigan is knit seamlessly from the top down with the lace panel picked up and knit last. Pont Neuf is feminine while still utilitarian, and it has a bit of romance to it. The rosebud lace pattern makes me want to wear this sweater while taking a walk on the Sea Wall or through the woods. Probably holding hands, you get the picture!

Galliera by Iris Wildsmith

Galliera by Iris Wildsmith

Galliera is a pretty slouchy beret. I love this design, it has a soft and cozy look with a vintage feel. A bit of lace and a bit of texture makes for a beautiful hat that will look good through the ages.

Wavelettes by Janine Le Cras

Wavelettes by Janine Le Cras

Wavelettes is a great big swath of textured lace pattern to wrap yourself up in. As the weather turns cool in the spring evenings this item is a great wardrobe addition. It can be worn as a large scarf or a shoulder wrap depending on your mood. Something like this also makes for good vacation knitting if you have a road trip or plane ride in your future!

You can peruse all of the patterns in the latest issue as well as articles on swatching and fixing your mistakes here.

French Cancan

Sunday, April 7th, 2013
Despite the change in weather, I have high hopes that spring is on the way. It’s time for bold colors and light fabrics, sunshine and flowers! While it’s not quite warm enough for me to start on too much lace or vacation-esque knitting, I do want to start a shawl. Something about sunshine makes me think cozy shawl and evenings by the fire. I was inspired by this:

Rebecca's Angelus

The pattern is Angelus by Emma Galati and this is Rebecca‘s lovely version in SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock. It’s just so fabulous, color combination and all. Just 2 skeins (one in each color) will make up a generous scarf/small shawl.

French Cancan by Mademoiselle C

If you like the braided edging but are looking for something in a single color or in a thicker weight, I also love French Cancan. Pretty details with a healthy dose of garter to keep things simple. This pattern would be perfect in Madelinetosh Merino DK (perhaps in Torchere….), or Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca, something warm to wrap your shoulders on the blustery days!

Grey grey grey

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Well this is actually kind of fitting timing. After the gorgeous weather we had last week, we are back to some cloudy and cool days here in Vancouver.

I was in the shop a few weeks back and my eye was immediately drawn to this quiet, unassuming skein of grey yarn.

Twisted Hat

Now, I know that shades upon shades of grey may not be to everyone’s taste, but I saw a certain elegance in the yarn and the possibly for some good, satisfying texture.

Twisted Hat

And that’s how most of my projects get started. A vague idea (I want a soft, subtle all-over textured something) turns into some mostly illegible chicken scratch in my notebook, and I’m off to the races. I chose to work a hat because I only had the one skein of yarn, and hats are basically grown-up swatches, which makes them way less intimidating than an entire project.

Twisted Hat

A little bit of twisted rib, and then a nice swath of what I’m calling a twisted seed stitch. Gosh this has such a fantastic texture. It almost looks a bit sloppy at first, and then if you look closer and see that it’s not just straight stockinette, the colours and tones in the yarn really start to pop.

Twisted Hat

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to knit a grey hat on a grey day. It also kind of makes me think of a very grey wintery beach day. I love it.

Twisted Hat

Yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Dk in Whiskers. Pattern is… probably forthcoming, but currently just being designed as I go.