Modifcation Monday: Anthro Cardigan

This is easily one of my favourite knits of the year. In the spring my LYS held a special kind of knit-along: an indie dyer knit along! It gave me a perfect excuse to continue my affection for Lichen and Lace’s single ply fingering weight (which some of you may remember was also the yarn used in my Devil’s Backbone shawl). I decided to go with the Anthro cardigan by Polish designer Hanna Maciejewska.

Anthro Cardigan knit in Lichen and Lace

The biggest reason I picked this pattern was because the waist shaping method is to place a gorgeous cable in the small of the back. No increasing and decreasing along the sides – just a cable! And what a lovely cable to boot. I love the texture, and how it played with the handpainted yarn.knit cable as waist shaping

I made a few modifications to the original pattern. The most significant being that I took the contrast colour that is supposed to be knit on the inside of the cuff and bottom band and flipped it. The main body is knit in the colourway rainy day and the contrasting colour is calm waters. I liked the look so much that I used calm waters for the button band and the collar.

I also added an inch or so to the body after the waist shaping so the bottom hem sits exactly where I’d like to. This meant I had needed even more buttons than the ten or so required.

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I found the buttons at a local shop in the market, and the sweater requires fourteen of them. I really like the pearly-stormy look, matching right in with my sea/sky theme that is threaded through the sweater.

I made a mistake modification with the sleeves. They’re 3/4 instead of full length (on purpose, I swear!) and the cable detail on the cuff is altered to make it tighter than the original.

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Now I did that by eliminating plain knit rows between cable rows. Which wasn’t originally my intention, but once I did it, I liked it so much that I mimicked it on the other side to match.

I was so pleased with the final product that I treated myself to some new wool-wash from Eucalan’s jasmine-oil infused Wrapture. (They didn’t even pay me to say that or anything. I just adore it.) The yarn bloomed very nicely, making the sweater very soft and easily washable. My Lichen and Lace obsession continues! I’m sure this won’t be the last project with it.

Thanks to my lovely Mama for the pictures. Happy Knitting, friends!

 

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The Weekly Round Up: Loop 10, Champagne Shawls and Awesome Charity Knitters

What a quick week! I blinked and it flew by!

Freshly Plucked Patterns

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Brand new this week is Loop 10. This book of twelve patterns celebrating ten years of Loop, London and features many of the designers they worked with over the years. It’s available for pre-order now.

Also new this week is the Golden Square Shawl by Jennifer Batt. I had the pleasure of seeing this beauty in person and it sort of reminds me of chainmail. If chainmail were champagne coloured, 100% silk, and squishy…

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Photo (c) Jennifer Batt

It’s available for free on Ravelry so if you’re looking for a simple and lovely shawl pattern, check it out.

Knitting in the News

After the devastating news out of Virginia this week, I had a lot of trouble looking at news articles about knitting circles and projects. Instead of seeing the stories they were telling, I was seeing the young reporters behind them. Instead of being able to focus on what they were talking about, I was hit by grief. This week’s section of Knitting in the News is dedicated to the memory of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. The vast majority of news stories about knitters isn’t hard hitting journalism, but necessary fluff-pieces done by young journalist that reminds us humanity isn’t always horrific, but mostly full of kind and generous people. So in the interest of highlighting the kind and generous stories these journalist tell I dove into the headlines of knitterly goodwill the world over. Here are some of my favourites:

Knitters in Germany spent last weekend covering old diesel locomotives with knitted objects to turn them into symbols of peace in a movement called Knitting For Peace. In the US twelve seniors have made over one hundred knit and crochet items since January to donate to women and children in need through organizations such as WomenRising and Hope House. In England one mother’s vision has turned into an organization of over 2500 people knitting baby clothing for premature babies (who are often too small for conventional clothing) and distributing the packages containing miniature cardigans, hats, gloves, and socks to care units in over 150 hospitals across the UK.  Male prisoners in New Zealand are knitting blankets for abandoned pets, providing both a rewarding activity for the inmates as well as vital supplies to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who say they are very grateful for the help.

The world over knitters are reaching out in their communities to help others. Do you do any charity knitting in your community? As winter approaches, I’m looking at increasing my efforts on that front. Hopefully I’ll have some projects to show you soon.

Random Things I Did This Week

My birthday was this week so I decided to treat myself to some birthday yarn! I’d been eyeing Riverside Studio’s Merino Cashmere Sock for some time, and finally bought myself some. I do have an idea of what I’d like to make with it down the road, (coughBLAMshawlcough), but for right now it’s just decorating my apartment shelf and looking all purdy…

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Colourway: “Morning” If I were to have a crush on yarn, this would be it.

That’s all for this week. Happy Knitting everyone!

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The Weekly Round Up: Custom Socks, Texture is the New Black and Knitting: a more deadly activity than last week.

Another edition of “what caught my attention in the knitting world this week.”

Freshly Plucked Patterns

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Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet by Kate Atherley came out this week. I fancy myself a reasonably competent sock knitter, but this one really grabbed my attention. The initial reviews are glowing, the author is a genius, and the pictures look amazing. Definitely one for my birthday wish list (did I mention it’s tomorrow?)

This amazing pattern collection also caught my eye this week:

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Texture is The New Black by Melanie Berg contain five different knits. The sneak peeks on her instagram have been teasing me for weeks, so I’m really glad to see the patterns go live. The collection contains two sweaters (one pull over, one cardigan), a shawl and a hat/fingerless mitts set. The Risen cardigan in particular makes me very excited. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go lengthen my Ravelry queue…

Knitting in the News

This concept for a bio-knit shoe using knit fabric with polymer yarns could make a shoe that’s 100% recyclable! A group of knitters in Oregon are knitting purple baby hats to raise awareness for shaken baby syndrome. Knitting needles are apparently really, really dangerous, particularly if you accidentally impale yourself with one. There is even a three digit identifying code for “knitting and crochet related injuries” among paramedics. Dude.

ANYWAYS, in MUCH HAPPIER NEWS, an organization in Pakistan called the Rawalpindi’s Darakhshan Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre for Women with Disabilities is having great success in helping people with visual impairments learn to knit and giving them a new way to make a living. Round of applause for an amazing organization!

Random Things I Did This Week

Hey! I finally got to unpacking my yarn stash after my move! Check out its happy new storage space. I sort my stash mostly by weight: lace weight on the top and bulky on the bottom. Living in a studio apartment means there is no space to hid away the yarn. Luckily I experience zero stash shame syndrome, so my response to comments like “that’s a lot of yarn, Nicole,” is a cheery, “not really!”
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I also earn myself a Liebster award so check out this post if you want to know some random facts about me. It is very very warm  this week so there was considerable knitting in cotton for most of it. More details about that project later. The aran weight wool hat that I planned on knitting up for the end of August is making me sweat just looking at it. Perhaps something for a later time…

I’ve also started a secret sample knit that should occupy me for the next month. Stay tuned for a menagerie of vague comments and the odd sneak peek shot. 😉

Hope you guys had a great week. Happy Knitting!

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Surprising Travel Knitting – my Regency Blouse

My latest knitting project is a new summer top: Regency Blouse from Jane Austen Knits 2014.

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Look at that photograph…I was helpless…

Honestly, I’d fallen in love with it from the minute I bought the magazine last year, and the NBK superwash merino fingering weight that I picked up recently was the perfect match for it. I wanted something with subtle colour variation, spring-like, but not too outside of my comfort zone. The yarn knit up beautifully (please ignore the wonky swatching…I’d never seen blocking pins before…) and I was smitten with the combo of pattern and yarn from the get-go.

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No photograph really does the colourway justice, but I tried.

I picked up 1400 yards, because the pattern called for 1200 and I didn’t want to be under and run out when there was no hope of getting more in the same colourway. Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? Extra yarn in this beautiful colour? Not exactly what I’d call a problem…

Despite being a top, it’s deceptively simple, and once I got past the shoulder increases it was straight stockinette stitch for several inches, making it perfect to take on the train.

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My life is a walking advertisement for VIA Rail Canada.

All it now takes it one single stitch maker to mark the beginning of each round. And wouldn’t you know it? The stitch marker is also…purple.

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“I heard you liked purple, so I put some purple with your purple so you can purple while you”…wow this meme is old…

Because I knit it so much on the train, or perhaps in front of the TV (go Blackhawks! Sorry Tampa Bay…) it’s working up surprisingly fast. When I look down at it after the credits of the movie roll and the lights come on I’ve always forgotten how much work can get done when I’m not looking at it. We’re almost past half way!

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Is that a little bit of lace I see at the bottom?! And yes, I’m definitely still rocking the handmade Sesame Street Project bag made for me by Rachel!

My goal is to have it finished by the time NBK comes to visit my LYS in Toronto so I can show them how much I love their yarn. It’s some of the nicest stuff I’ve ever worked with, so I’m hoping I can do it justice!

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What Do You Want To Be?

I was stash diving about little while ago (it’s a small stash, relatively speaking, there isn’t much to go through…) and I came across a yarn I didn’t recognize.

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Apparently Ravelry didn’t recognize it either, because it wasn’t in their yarn database. I have no recollection of buying it and there is only one hank, so I suppose it must have been a gift. There was a tag (with the price obviously torn off…).

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The company is based out in PEI and, from what I can tell, doesn’t produce massive quantities of yarn. It’s certainly wool, two-ply, very bulky and far too scratchy to wear next to the skin. And for the last few weeks it’s been practically jumping out of my stash saying “knit me!”

So, my little friend, tell me: what do you want to be?

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“Merry Christmas, Knitter Girl”

Turns out I’m on the nice list… Santa left me a notions box, proper tapestry needles, stitch markers (no more fraying slip knots marking my work!) and a beautiful Socks that Rock skein, in “Supercolourfragilistic” as well as a bonus pattern from Lettuce Knit.

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Happy Christmas, everyone!

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It’s So Pretty…

Sometimes with yarn, it really is love at first sight…

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Photo credit to Sylvie here. I resisted last week at Stitch Night, but this week that beautiful yarn was still there, hanging on the wall looking at me pleading, so out came my wallet. It’s warm and squishy and gorgeous, and as of right now the wound skein on the right belongs to me.

I don’t know what it will be yet…for now I get to revel the wonderful land of possibilities. *happy sigh*

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Baby’s “First” Gauge Swatch

I don’t swatch.

In eight years of knitting I have made a gauge swatch exactly once despite the fact that countless times it would have been prudent to do so. I blame Rachel, frankly, because she taught me almost all of my basic knitting skills and never once did swatching come into the picture. Her blog is even titled “Swatchless”, giving you a pretty good summary of her feelings on the subject. Swatching just wasn’t how things were done.

Times are a changing now though. I’m planning on knitting a vest for my grandmother for Christmas. When I was knitting sweater was for myself I never bothered with the fit too much, because the worst case scenario was that it might look badly on me (and some of those first monstrosities, did.) But now that it has to fit someone else by a deadline – not to mention the fact that the pattern calls for bulky and I’ve got super bulky lined up for it – swatching is starting to look like a good pretty idea. So here it is:

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11 rows = 2 inches, exactly as the pattern says, but strangely enough 8 stitches = 2.5 inches. Interesting. Some adjustments will have to be made.

The yarn is Patons Misty in Purple Fog. My mother spotted at KnitTraders and pointed out that it would be perfect for this project. Despite my synthetic snobbery, washability is critical since hand-washing it is not possible for Gram. She also doesn’t care much for 100% wool, even if it’s not going to sit against her skin, so that left me with some sort of synthetic yarn. She does, however, adore mohair and the colour purple. I couldn’t really argue with this yarn:

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48 % Acrylic, 32% Nylon, 10% Wool and 10% Mohair. I’m undecided on if I like it or not yet, but I know that she will love it, so I have seven skeins of it now.

The swatch doesn’t seem to have changed much post-washing (to the surprise of absolutely no one) so after a little math, I’m ready to cast on. Wish me luck!

The pattern name is called “Sequoia” so I’ve nicknamed the project Gram’s “Dawyck Purple Vest” after the beech tree, because they are a little more native here in Ontario than a Sequoia tree.

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Photo Source: Four Seasons Garden
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A stash enhancement of the very best kind

Near the end of the holidays my mum mentioned Grams old knitting box to me. My grandmother hasn’t knit for many years and assured me that she was not about to take it up again. She couldn’t remember what might be in her knitting stash other that “yarn and needles, probably.” but I was welcome to it. So up to the attic I went to discover this:

Norah's Knitting '97 This box has been packed away for more than 12 years

That is everything that was left of my grandmothers knitting when she moved out of her house in ’97 and into her apartment. It hasn’t been opened since.

First peek inside

The first thing on the top was a canvas knitting bag with “I <3 to knit” on it. I can’t imagine Gram carrying this around but it looks  pretty used. It’s wearing through on the bottom, especially where the needle pockets were.

The "I love to knit bag"

Moving right along there was what appeared to be an unfinished adult sweater in green. Based on the unused yarn around it, the yarn is Patons Beehive Shetland Chunky in a forest green colour.

The sweater- if you look closely you can see the cables down the center.

At this point I decided my attic was too dusty to be unpacking knitting not to mention complete lack of light for pictures so I hauled it all down to my bedroom to get a better look. Next out came a bunch of needles…

There were remarkably few mismatched pairs of straights, just one extra 4mm and one 3.5mm.

The scissors had a intricate flower pattern on the handle and appear (to my most untrained eye) to be silver. Mum took them and is trying to trace where (or who) they came from.

Next, and most interesting for me were the patterns and pattern books. Most of them were in pretty good shape dating from the 60’s to the early 80’s This makes sense as my mother and her siblings were born in the 60’s and Gram likely knit for them when they were kids. It would explain the baby/children patterns:

Baby Patterns!

There also were some “how to knit/crochet” books and a fantastic stitch dictionary:

Crochet Stitches, Knitting Techniques, Knitting Stitches and a How to Knit book from Patons
There were many other patterns and pattern booklets as well. From mittens, hats and gloves to sweaters, baby caps and knitted toys. The only type of pattern I couldn’t find was sock patterns. Interesting. I’ll have to ask Gram about that.
All the patterns and books.
There was also an almost completely knit kids sweater!
The only thing left to do is graft together the second sleeve and possibly knit up a collar.

I wondered why it was not finished… until I turned it over.

Oh.

That explains it. Fifty odd ends to weave in? No thanks! Maybe one day I will work up some insanity ambition and finish it.

And last but certainly not least there was yarn.

81.75 balls (50g/ball) of yarn. That's approximately 6090.375 meters of yarn!

Most of it is acrylic which I usually dislike but it’s not terrible, particularly for from acrylic 20+ years ago. I’m going to test some of it out as blanket squares and see if I can comfortably work with it. If all that fails there are a lot of people at my old high schools knitting club that would love it.

Well I’ve given the contents of the box a more pleasant home in my closet. It didn’t belong in a dusty box in the attic. I think it’s really really neat that I will knit things with the same needles and the same patterns that belonged to my Gram. Thanks Gram!

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