Archive for June, 2013


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Because some weeks life is just too busy to handle… It’s time for another pattern round up!

Here in the lovely, wet climate of the Pacific Northwest, layering is the name of the game. We don’t get to throw on a big puffy down jacket and keep warm, we must layer. Like onions. Big, wooly onions.

Um, anyway, the key to layering, is to work with several light layers. You can certainly have something heavy as an outer layer, but to truly catch hear and provide some lasting protection from elements, more light layers are the way to go.

What does this mean? Well, it means working in lightweight yarns. Lightweight as in sport at the very heaviest (DK? Too heavy). For crazy people like me, this is great! Do you enjoy knitting miles upon miles of stockinette in fingering and laceweight yarns? Well, I do. So much so that in fact I knit myself a big wrap-front cardigan out of a light sock yarn, which meant a LOT of knitting, for it to be my size.

All that aside, light garments make for great three-season wear! In addition to lots of Winter layering, they are perfect for Spring and Fall coverups. So, without further ado, a round-up of some of my favourite cardigans!

Whisper Cardigan
This is where it all started for me. Hannah Fettig is a fantastic designer, always such effortless pieces.

Featherweight Cardigan
Another Hannah Fettig design – I might even like the shape of this one more.

I adore the simplicity of all Kirsten Johnstones designs. So clean, great lines.

Vitamin D
A lovely, cheerful little knit. A bit more difficult to layer, but would be great for Spring or Fall.

Delicate, dainty, and it looks like a lot of people have made some excellent modifications as well.

Slouchy, Cozy, Stripey, what more could you ask for?

If I could hire someone to design all my outfits it would be Veera Valimaki, hands down. Love love love her designs, cannot get enough of her esthetic.

Ann Weaver has done some fantastic designs. I think the strip detail at the waist is an excellent touch in this pattern.

Same Same but different
Maybe the epitome of the perfect vanilla cardigan. You could totally spice it up, but it is perfect as is.

Abigail Cardi
I think this is the ideal Summer evening cover-up. I don’t like knitting in alpaca, but I think with just a bit of halo, this would be irresistible.

On the Lace Dress

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Now, as we all know, knitting is pretty great, and is excellent for producing a wide range of fabrics for a variety of garments, but not all garments. In particular, skirts and dresses can be problematic (ask anyone who’s tried – I bet if they were successful, it took more than one attempt).

I have done some Thinking, and come to the conclusion that there may be a sneaky way to get around the knit dress issue: Lace. I know, I know, I hear you say “Michael, isn’t Lace your solution to EVERYTHING?” In my defence, not everything. Sometimes it’s cables (and lace), or basic texturing (with maybe a bit of lace), or even colourwork (which, believe it or not, looks really really good paired with lace). So you see, I’m not so biased!

But really, since starting to work on Teva Durhams Shetland Shawl Dress (yes, I’m still working on it. I promise it will be done soon. Ish.), I think it’s a really great idea! Pair it with a simple muslin or linen slip and you’ve got a great summer/picnic/barbecue piece. Trust me. So with that in mind, I’ve rounded up a few lace dresses that I think would be really great, with just the right execution.

First up is obviously the Shetland Shawl Dress by Teva Durham. Try it out of the recommend Louet Linen Lace (not listed in our store right now, but call, we’ve got it), for an incredibly durable, machine-washable layering piece that will only get softer and more comfortable with wear.


Next! this gorgeous “tea length” dress from Vogue’s Early Fall 2013 magazine. It calls for Koigu KPM, but you could easily substitute any fingering weight yarn (tosh-philes, I’m looking at you).


And now, a little bit different, a maxi dress from Noro. Now, I’m not always a big Noro fan, but in the right colourway, it would be just stunning. Or you know, substitute any aran weight yarn.


And finally, this one from Interweave is not technically a dress, but keeping the bodice as is, if you lengthened the bottom into a basic a-line shape, well, I would be fan. And of course, the Manos del Uruguay Serena is just luxurious and to die for (again, it’s not online, but we stock it, just call us)


So what do you think, will you try a lace dress this summer or fall? Or next spring?

Knitty – a review

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

It’s that time again, the new Knitty is here! This edition has 1 pattern I am itching to cast on: Sugar Stick

Sugar Stick

Sugar Stick by Kristine Byrnes

Sugar Stick is a pattern to solve an age old problem: beautiful hand painted yarns. It’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong, but I know exactly what the designer is talking about. The allure of a hand painted yarn is something I’ve fallen prey to many times. The colors are so pretty together, the look of the knitted fabric so wild and beautiful. Sometimes the combinations in a hand painted yarn are just too much though. When they are on the needles they somehow turn into more of a soup than a stew and it’s just all wrong.

Sugar Stick is a pattern to subdue the craziness that hand painted yarns can become. You can pair something fun and wild with a subdued hand dye, perfect to show off your pretty kaleidoscope of colors. I like the idea of a nice neutral paired with a wild and bright color combo. Malabrigo has both types, wild and neutral. Something like this perhaps?:

Paired with something like this:

What color combo will you come up with?

A La Amanda

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

I may have mentioned this before but Amanda is the type of gal who breezes into work wearing a crazy mish-mash of styles that look elegant and coordinated at all times. I swear if I put the same thing on it would look awful, but Amanda knows just how to pull it off. Her latest scarf is no exception to her sense of style. When I came to knit night last week it was in a heap on the back table but even in this haphazard manor, I knew I wanted to knit it!

While it seems upon first glance to be a simple coordination of stripes (my current fave), stockinette, and yummy soft yarn, it’s more than that. Mihaly (and no I do not know how to pronounce it) is knit on the bias, giving the stripes an added element. The yarn is Diamond Luxury Alpaca Viva and it is just lovely, so soft and sumptuous. Amanda has paired the perfect combination of colors, in my opinion, and I think I might have to knit it exactly the same! There is a kit for both the scarf and the shawl, or you can mix your own color combo!

Product Spotlight: Shibui Knits

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Wow guys, thanks to the great response we got to last week’s Product Spotlight on Habu Textiles, we’ve decided to keep running these features, to let you get up close and personal with our very favourite brands. This week: Shibui Knits.

Shibui has been around for a good little while, and is based just down the coast a bit in Portland. Before I forget, I highly recommend checking out their blog as well – it’s always fun to see the inner workings of such a neat company. Now, we don’t carry all their yarns (Cima and Merino Alpaca), but I can at least give you the rundown on the ones that we do stock.

From left to right (and also in order of gauge from lightest to heaviest): Silk Cloud, Linen, Staccato, Sock (solid), Sock (semisolid), Sock (fluids), Baby Alpaca DK, and finally Heichi.

Want a closer look?



Nice, eh? We sure like them. Let’s give them each a bit more attention. Like last time, I’ll just pass on the yarn in their own words.



Silk Cloud. 60% kid mohair, 40% silk. “Glossy silk and wispy kid mohair unite in this luminous lace weight yarn. Silk Cloud can be knit alone for gossamer-light lace projects, or held alongside any Shibui yarn to add a soft halo and subtle glow.”



Linen. 100% linen. “Clean, crisp linen fiber is spun into a unique chain ply structure for Shibui Linen, our breeziest yarn yet. The quintessential summer yarn, Linen knits up into light, airy garments that become softer with every wear. An array of vibrant colors brings Linen to life and provides a fresh spin on this classic fiber.”



Staccato. 70% superwash merino, 30% silk. “A luscious blend of merino and silk, fingering weight Staccato knits up into drapey fabrics with a subtle sheen. An array of bright, hip colors in solids and multis makes Staccato a great choice for stunning fine-gauge projects, eye-catching colorwork, and truly luxurious socks.”




Sock. 100% superwash merino. “Spun from fine superwash merino, Sock is a touchable yet hard-wearing fingering weight yarn. A broad palette of solids, semisolids, and variegated hues provides a plenitude of color options for socks, colorwork, baby garments, or any fine-gauge project.”


Baby Alpaca DK. 100% baby alpaca. “Irresistibly soft and lofty, Baby Alpaca DK is gently spun from the finest baby alpaca fiber. Its versatile weight and luxurious drape makes it ideal for a variety of elegant accessories and garments.”



Heichi. 100% silk. “Literally “juxtaposition” in Japanese, Heichi is a fascinating blend of old and new. Rustic beauty and traditional elegance combine in this raw silk tweed yarn with a distinctly modern edge.”

Well, now the issue (as always) is “what to knit?” Shibui has a history of providing us with a range of really excellent patterns. We’ve brought in a few of the new ones from the Shibui Mix line. Here are some than feature Linen and Silk Cloud, respectively (we have numbers 1, 2, 3, 13, 15 and 17, as well as Parabola, but there are more available online).



Hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest for now. We do have lots of the older pamphlets as well – some absolutely to die for baby patterns and really fantastic tops, but it sounds like Shibui is moving more towards online publishing, so find them on Ravelry to keep apprised of all their new designs!

Just Baby

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

The summer really feels like the time for small projects to me. I still knit sweaters and blankets, but I really enjoy something small and accomplis-able. A lovely accessory, a wee toy, or my current favorite: a baby sweater.

Rowan - Just Baby

Rowan - Just Baby

If you haven’t knit a baby sweater before I highly recommend it. If you have never knit a sweater it is a perfect chance to try out your skills on a mini version. Or perhaps you are a regular sweater knitter, in that case, this mini sweater will fly off the needles in no time. The yoke of a newborn version can be accomplished in a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.



We just received a new book, Rowan Just Baby. It has 18 patterns for any adorable little munchkin in your life. There are simple knits like Norton (perfect for a beginner) or something a little more complex like Potter. There are booties and mittens, a blanket, a bonnet, create your perfect baby shower set!