2 By 2

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B&W Stripes

Cladonia by Kirsten KapurSo last night, I started this! I’ve been doing a ton of non-me-related knitting lately and  I’ve been dying for a pretty, gentle, just-for-me knit where I might learn a thing or two. I chose Cladonia by Kristen Kapur, partly because of the stripes. I am extremely fond of 2-row stripes. I even love the 2-row striping one needs to do when working with hand-dyed yarns.

Sommernachtstraum

There’s just something lovely about stripes. They can be soft and subtle as in this shawl by Tanja Steinbach. It’s worked in Tahiti by Schachenmayr, which is a really pretty sport weight cotton. I managed to procure a skein of this at Needle in a Haystack in Picton a couple of months ago and have thought many times about going back for more. Perhaps this shall be my motivation. Look how subtle these are; the grey and white garter stripes look as if they’re studded with little pearls or gems. Lovely. Liaison by Annestricke.

Liaison by ANKESTRiCK

Wavelike by Stephen WestStephen West is a master of stripes, both the 2-by-2 variety and the brioche variety. I know I need to knit a Stephen West project at some point, I just can’t decide which one! This one, Wavelike, is fabulous, but I think I may be leaning toward Exploration Station.

Lilli Pilli by ambah

Nymphalidea by Melinda VerMeerI admire the way Ambah has chosen to combine these seemingly disparate elements in the Lilli Pilli shawl. Somehow, they bond to one another, though, don’t they? And I’ve always been a big fan of running a self-striping or gradient yarn against a solid or semi-solid as has been done in the Nymphalidea Shawl.

A big favorite of mine is the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli. I think I really NEED this piece, especially if it could be cashmere. It’s like a knitting sampler. I could see myself wearing this all year ’round. After all, here in Canada I’m only comfortably warm for 2 days out of the  year…

3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli

 

Needle Wrangling

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Gordian Knot

Circular needles…we love them, but what a tangle they can become. There are a number of interesting ways to tame them, depending on your needs.

Deerie Lou CD Case

Because of teaching and working in the shop, my needles are constantly in ‘mobile mode’, zipped up and ready to go. Sophie of Unravelling Sophie had this clever solution: an ordinary CD case! As we all know, these are cheap and ubiquitous.  The Namaste line makes a pretty cool case with accordion-like plastic sleeves and a convenient labelling system. This comes in a double-wide format as well. They can be purchased at KnitPicks.

Namaste Circular Needle Case

Chic-a Circular Needle CaseChic-a Circular Needle CaseFor being sweet, you can’t beat Chic-a. Their zippered needle case holds 16 needles and comes in a variety of cute fabrics. They make one for interchangeable sets too. The outer fabric looks like oilcloth, although the web page is a little low on detail. 

If you’re into handmade, Etsy has some lovely cases like the pretty aqua one with a snap closure from Needle Palace. I love these from CrippenWorks too.

Circular Case Pattern by Stitching TimeFor those who like to sew, there are a number of patterns available. This one, by Stitching Times is available for about $6.00CDN on Craftsy. What a great gift for knitty/sewy friends…you could give the pattern or the FO!

Sometimes, I wish I could leave my needles uncoiled to let the cables straighten out. I’d love one of these hanging cases. Perhaps I should make a pattern and stitch one up!

Sweetest of all, however, are these little 6″ DPN “Cozies” by the Nome Knitter. What an adorable way to keep everything buttoned up and tame those stray stitches.

DPN Cozy by the Nome Knitter

Buttons!

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Denna's Button CookiesMartha Steward Button CookiesSo. You’ve invested the money, put in the time and you’ve created a beautifully crafted, hand made sweater with perfect buttonholes and button bands. What now? Buttons! I hear people complain about how hard it is to find good buttons, but my quick little search led to so many wonderful things, I could have looked at fabulous buttons all day. (I’d especially love a batch of the buttons above…button cookies! Check out the tutorial here.)

Mimi's Dorset ButtonsDorset buttons are something I really love and I’m sorry that I default to a shopping trip every time I need buttons. They are quite easy to make, require only the most basic materials and are perfect for those times when the buttons need to blend with the sweater. Knitting Daily published a neat tute on making these Checkerboard Buttons.Checkerboard Buttons on Knitting Daily

Kate Davies has a very good tutorial where she’s used a contrasting wool button. Here’s another by Henry’s Buttons, based in Dorset where the button industry began in the 1600’s. These sweet little buttons have an interesting history too.

Dorset Buttons How To

Buttons by ButtonMadThe variety of ceramic buttons available boggles the mind! ButtonMad, located in the Boston area, had me paging through their lovely, whimsical catalogue where I could easily have loaded up a shopping cart of pretty things, like these little sheep. A more rustic approach to ceramic buttons comes from potter Duane Collins at Elements Pottery on Etsy. Imagine a feature button like this crafted in dramatic raku.

Raku Buttons by Elements Pottery

My favorites are made of natural, classic materials like bone and horn. Fringe Supply Co. has a beautiful array of simple buttons.

As features buttons, I was really taken with these sea-stone and sea-glass buttons from IrisDesigns on Etsy. 

Iris Designs Sea Stone Buttons

I guess we’re not looking at Yo’Mama’s Button Box anymore, are we? 

Simple Shapes

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Easy Sewing Projects

Maybe it’s my current focus on a handmade wardrobe, maybe it’s the success we’ve had at Rosehaven with the Cut Loose line, but I’ve really been enjoying the trend I’m seeing toward easy, unstructured lines in clothing and accessories. Simple shapes are occurring with greater and greater success in knitting and in sewing for clothing and accessories. A clever girl could create a complete and elegant handmade wardrobe using pared down, essential silhouettes.

Look at these lovely layering pieces! This is gentle knitting, tenderly shaped, that a knitter can create while watching tv or sitting on the beach or at the park. All of these minimalist patterns lend themselves to seasonal interpretation as well.

SS15 | Slope by Shellie AndersonFeatherweight Cardigan by Hannah FettigFine Sand by Heidi KirrmaeirNotched Hem Tank Top by Purl Soho

 

 

On the sewing side, I’m seeing a similar trend toward simple shapes. The rise of the independent pattern design movement has contributed in a large way by presenting quick, easy-to-sew, go-to pieces like these:

SHEARWATER KAFTAN BY MAKE IT PERFECTEMERSON WRAP BY SEW TO GROWUp Sew Late Simple ShapesROSALINE BY KZJO STUDIO

 

 

I want to make at least one of each! More exciting new indie pattern designers can be found on IndieSew, a fabulous new website for those who love to sew. Is this the Ravelry of sewing? I hope so! It’s about time…

Summer Classes

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Now that all the scheduling, sample knitting and brochure making is done, here’s the new class line-up for summer!

Knitter's Crash Course

KNITTER’S CRASH COURSE

Saturday, June 27 from 10am – 6pm

Level: Absolute Beginner

Full Day Weekend Workshop

$100 + materials & tools

Go from absolute beginner to capable knitter – no previous experience required! This intensive 8-hour workshop teaches the essential techniques you’ll need to take on new projects with confidence. You’ll learn to cast on and cast off, to knit, purl and combine stitches. You’ll learn to read a pattern and discuss yarn weights, needle sizes and other important technical things.

PROJECT: Our summer project is a collection of soft, luxurious spa cloths, each featuring a different stitch combination. You’ll enrich your stitch vocabulary while practicing your cast-on and bind-off while making these giftable and colorful cotton cloths.

TOOLS & MATERIALS:

4 skeins Nova Plus Four Seasons cotton (solid or variegated)

1 set – 4.00mm circular needles with minimum 24” cable

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Locking stitch markers

 

 

Knitting in the Round

KNITTING IN THE ROUND

Sunday, July 12 from 1pm – 6pm

Level: Beginner

Half-Day Weekend Workshop

$60 + materials & tools

 

Take your knitting skills to the next level with Knitting in the Round and open up a world of opportunity! With this Half Day Weekend Workshop you’ll learn to knit in the round using the versatile magic loop method. You’ll learn basic shaping techniques and some new stitch combinations while creating a super cool cotton beanie.

PROJECT: This summer-bright topper is fun and quick to knit from a great new yarn made from recycled jeans.

TOOLS & MATERIALS:

1 skein Berroco Indigo

1 set – 3.75mm circular needles with minimum 40” cable

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Locking stitch markers

 

 

Knitting classes

INTRO TO KNITTED LACE

Sunday, July 26 from 1pm – 6pm

Level: Advanced Beginner

You’ll need to be comfortable with knit and purl stitches, simple increase and decrease techniques and you’ll need to recognize these stitches by sight.

Half Day Weekend Workshop

$60 + materials & tools

 

In this half-day weekend workshop, we’ll unlock the mysteries of lace knitting. You’ll learn to read charts, lay in a lifeline, and create the pretty, openwork fabrics that make knitted lace so pretty. We’ll be working a soft and slouchy summer hat in Berroco Indigo cotton, made from recycled jeans.

PROJECT: This deeply ribbed, super slouchy summer hat is fun and quick to knit from a single skein of cotton yarn. Guaranteed not to cause hat-head ;)

TOOLS & MATERIALS:

1 skein Berroco Indigo

1 set – 3.00mm circular needles with minimum 40” cable

1 set – 4.00mm circular needles with minimum 40” cable

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Locking stitch markers

 

 

 

Knit to Fit

KNIT-TO-FIT:

Saturday, July 4 Noon – 5 pm

Level: Advanced Beginner

You’ll need to be comfortable with knit and purl stitches, simple increase and decrease techniques and you’ll need to recognize these stitches by sight.

Half-Day Workshop $60

You’ve knit scarves, dishcloths, hats and maybe socks…now you’re ready for the BIG ONE! It’s time to knit your first sweater. KNIT-TO-FIT is the perfect way to get the best results possible. We’ll learn to interpret a pattern and to use schematics to make a sweater that really fits and flatters. We’ll learn to make intelligent yarn substitutions and pattern modifications and to knit a gauge swatch that ensures success.

 

 

 

SOCK CAMP!

SOCK CAMP: Basic Training

Saturday, August 1 from 10am – 6pm

 LEVEL: ADVANCED BEGINNER

Full Day Weekend Workshop

$100 + materials & tools

Perfect for the first-time sock knitter, Basic Training focuses on the fundamentals of sock knitting. You’ll learn to knit socks the fast, fun and easy way while concentrating on the three essential sock-knitting techniques. Using one of our fabulous heavyweight sock yarns, you’ll be casting on, turning heels and grafting toes all in the course of an action-packed day!

PROJECT: We’ll complete a prototypical nano-sock as we work through all of the techniques you’ll need to knit socks of any size and weight.

 MATERIALS:

1 Skein ON Line Supersocke 8-ply OR 1 skein Regia North Pole Color

1 – 4mm circular needle with minimum 40” cable

1 set of 5 double pointed needles, size 4mm, minimum 5” long

Tapestry needle

Removable stitch markers

 

All classes are given at Rosehaven Yarn Shop, 187 Main Street, Picton, Ontario. Visit the shop or call 613-476-9092 to register. See you there!

 

 

Things I’d Knit if I Had the Time

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Pop Blanket by Tin Can Knits

My Ravelry queue is an absolute catastrophe. I mean….! There are items on that list that have been there forever. Every time I go to weed things out and straighten things out I just. Can’t! I can’t just remove things. I’m afraid I’ll lose track of them forever. All the things I really want to knit may be lost! Tragic. 

…And speaking of tragedy and the things I really want to knit…Seems to me I’m knitting a whole bunch of things right now that I only marginally want to knit. I wish the “hafta” knit list could be done so that I could move forward into the “wanna” knit list. Forward from that would be never creating the “hafta” list to begin with. (Let’s allow that thought to simmer a minute, shall we?)

Anyhoo…here are some things I’d knit if I had the time.

Cooldown by Alicia Plummer

1. If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m on a bit of a health kick lately. I’ve been working out and eating healthy since the beginning of March. (Why Mother Nature, knowing this, conspired to put not one but TWO new bakeries within spittin’ distance of the Shop, I’ll never know, but that’s another post.) Just when I thought wearing work out clothes precluded wearing a comfy sweater, Alicia Plummer came up with this: “Cooldown”. I love this as a concept and have a very interesting idea germinating in my mind which involves KnitPicks “Shine” (60% Pima cotton, 40% Modal.)

Haruni by Emily Ross

2. I made a “Haruni” about 3 years ago, and loved every minute of it. It’s pretty and instantly gratifying. I wear this old Haruni every time we do a show. It packs easily, I can wear it no matter what the season or temperature and it always gets me a ton of compliments. I’d like another. Actually, I’d like to knit another. While we were at Knitter’s Frolic back in April, I bought some Madeline Tosh and some pretty beads with just this purpose in mind. Now, if I only had the time…

Pop Blanket 2 by Tin Can Knits

3. I’m in love with Tin Can Knits, just like everyone else. I’d heard of Tin Can of course, but really started looking closely when I found the Simple Collection; it’s packed with great stuff for knitting classes. When I saw “Pop Blanket”, I knew I’d have to make it some day. The combination of the color-changing fantasy of Noro Kureyon (it’s actually meant to be “Crayon” I’m told by a Japanese customer) and the earthy goodness of Cascade Eco had me at “Cast-On”.

Epistrophy by Kate Davies

4. Something, anything, by Kate Davies. I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve never knit one of her patterns and the suspense is killing me. It would be a very tough call, but I’d probably choose “Epistrophy” from the “Yokes” book. Anybody who’d design a sweater in homage to Thelonius Monk is pretty okay in my books!

Brookline by Elizabeth McCarten

5. “Brookline”. Love at first sight. We got Road to China swatch cards in the shop last week. It was all I could do not to order the yarn and cast it on. I would have, too, if I’d had the time.

A She-Shed for Cheryl!

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Architectural FollyThey remind me of the “Folly” buildings popular in Victorian architecture, tiny out-buildings often hidden on great estates. The “Folly” was often built in elaborate or whimsical style and was a favorite trysting place for Victorian ladies and gentlemen. The modern incarnation of the potting shed and the antithesis of the “Man-Cave”, the “She-Shed” makes a marvelous canvas for the romantic and frivolously feminine.

It was Tilly Trout that got me thinking about it. She recorded part of her podcast from her little shed several weeks ago. When I saw Tilly’s, I knew I had to have one of my very own. 

Out in back of the Little Church is a huge and poorly constructed addition. We’ve long been on the fence about whether to tear the abomination down or bend it, somehow, to our will. Really, it was a matter of mathematics. Would it be cheaper to rehab what was extant or to tear it down and start over? After a long, careful look and lots of scribbling the verdict was to start over, even though the demolition is more than we can afford this year.

She Shed (Before)Part of that nasty addition is a tiny room with its own little deck. Hmmmm…

In my imagination, it was not a busted up ol’ room that hadn’t been occupied in over a decade. It was a tiny, yet resplendent feminine oasis spilling over with flowers and scented with lavender. The truth is somewhere in between. 

Here’s where we started. Actually, Carl had done a significant amount of clearing up before this photo was taken.

She Shed 1I found a rustic stone patio under an overgrowth of sod. I’ve just about got it cleared now! And though it’s hardly “overflowing with flowers”, I have made a little start (as much as my withered brown thumb will allow) with planting a few living things. 

She Shed 2

 

I’m rather pleased with finding this old sink among the debris. 

She-Shed 4

Teddy and Pops built some stairs…

She-Shed 5…which can be exhausting.She-Shed 6

I’ve found some sweet furniture, too.

She-Shed 7

I can’t wait to post photos of the inside when it’s done!

Many W’s in P & a Couple FO’s

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Mosaic Sample

Gosh, I have so many WiPs, I’m starting to feel anxious. Not that I’m a monogamous knitter. I think that life calls for different types of knitting: car knitting, TV knitting, sitting-at-the-table-paying-attention knitting and everything in between. We can’t expect to get all of these things from one project. But still, too many is too many. I guess I wouldn’t feel so bad if my many WiPs were the result of spring castonitis or yarn lust or something exciting. But they’re not. They are kind of grunt knitting. Not that I mind…I love knitting, no matter what for!

Knitting projects for beginnersThe majority of my current WiPs are samples for upcoming knitting classes. Though I’m only writing 4 new classes between now and the new year, I really wanted to update some of the ongoing beginner knitting courses (like the Knitter’s Crash Course) with some bright summer projects. 

How about some summery cotton spa cloths? I thought these would make great knitting projects for beginners during the warmer months and I must admit, I’ve enjoyed making the samples. Sometimes, it’s lovely to sit and make something pretty and pure and simple.

Knitting projects for beginners

It’s always a challenge to find appropriate projects for Knitting in the Round. Hats are a perfect choice, but it’s tricky to find a good summer hat, so I came up with this one. You know how it is? You can be knitting the most challenging project in the world, rockin’ it and showing off all your skills. Yet it takes a simple little thing to bring real pleasure and put a smile on your face. This little cap is that project. Don’t know why…I just love it :) Can’t wait to block it and take a proper photo.

I really wanted to offer a beginners lace class this year. It didn’t fly during the Spring session I had planned, but I think that was because the project was too big. A little hat is just enough to teach chart reading, laying in lifelines and other rudimentary lace Knitting classesknitting skills. I’m just not in love with the fabric of this hat…or more precisely, the gauge. I feel it is too tight to be really airy and it’s a bit of a squeaker yarn quantity wise as well. A bit of a re-think is due here, and maybe a nice sandy color.

Knitting ClassesLast summer, I did a Tea Cozy Class that was very popular. Originally, I had it planned as a knitting in the round class for beginners. Though I had some very clever folks in the class, I think perhaps it was a little tricky and, since at least half of it is worked flat, wasn’t really the perfect project for that skill. Nonetheless, everyone enjoyed it, so I decided to revamp the course and offer it as a project class, “The Big Polka Dot Pot”. Instead of focusing on knitting in the round skills, I thought I’d introduce intarsia using big polka dots. Fun idea, yes? I better hurry up…the class is scheduled for July 4. (Now can you see why I’m anxious??)

I could go on and on. I have at least 4 more photos, but I think I’ll stop there. I’m starting to give myself the heeby-jeebies!

Fresh Knitting Projects from the Garden

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Knitted Fruit by Susie Johns

Anyone who knows me well, knows that the words “She was a gardener” will never appear on my tombstone. Still, I’m smitten with the adorable spate of knitted fruit patterns I’m seeing lately. Now honestly, it’s not likely you’ll find fruit or vegetables among my knitting projects, but I have to admire it anyway.

Knitted Fuit Patterns by Susie Johns

Much of this garden of goodies comes from the brilliantly quirky mind of Susie Johns. A graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art, Susie has worked as an editor, writer and illustrator for such publications as Stitches, Let’s Knit, and (believe it or not), Marvel comics.  Over the years, Susie has written several books featuring knitting patterns for fruit and vegetables, each styled and photographed beautifully. Within the covers of  “Knitted Fruit: Twenty to Make”, “Knitted Fast Food: Twenty to Make and “Knitted Pets”, you’ll find clever knitting projects that are small and easy to manage, reinforce key skills (like simple shaping) and are terrific stash busters. 

I suppose we can attribute the popularity of knitting patterns for fruit and vegetables, in part at least, to the rise of Japanese amigurumi, the art of  knitting or crocheting small animals or anthropomorphic shapes. I have a theory that the rise of amigurumi began with the popularity of Anime, but that’s another post. Suffice to say that all of the above is made possible by our desire and ability to glimpse Japanese culture in general. Susie Johns has given us her charming English slant on it. I’m going to have a salad.

The Culture of Color Trends

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Color Trends

Is it magic? A conspiracy? Ever wonder why you can’t find that perfect shade of “Lipstick Red” in anything from cars to actual lipstick? Chances are it didn’t make the cut over at Pantone, the behemoth responsible for issuing the seasons color trends. Since Spring 2015 Color Trends are entitled “En Plein Air”, I’m afraid you’re outta luck for Lipstick Red, at least for the foreseeable future.

This season, cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones follow a minimalistic en plein air theme, taking a cue from nature.

Spring 2015 Color TrendsSo says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute, of the Spring 2015 color trends with monikers like “Toasted Almond”, “Strawberry Ice”, “Tangerine”, “Custard”, “Glacier Gray”, “Woodbine”, “Sandstone”, “Dusk Blue”and “Lavender Herb”, not to mention the Color of the Year “Marsala”. (Since Pantone is extremely proprietorial about their swatches, you’ll need to click here to see the full version: Spring 2015 Color Trends.)

 

So who makes this stuff up? Who are the arbiters of the culture of color trends and how are they so pervasive? By developing a color “language”, the Pantone Color Match System, Pantone has become the world’s leading authority on color. This system allows designers to communicate with manufacturers, printers, suppliers and consumers in an unprecedented and seriously accurate way. As such, it’s become the go-to tool for predicting and forecasting color trends. At Pantone, the impressions, opinions, and tastes of designers from all disciplines, fashion, cosmetics, interior designers, architects, costume and set designers, marketing experts, even political pundits are culled constantly to predict and inform the culture of color trends. A partnership with Clariant International, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dyes and colorants, ensures Pantone’s grip on color trend culture; Clariant makes everything from micro-pigments and textile colorants to the coatings used in road markings.

 

Minion Yellow PantonePopular culture is beginning to exert influence too. In April of this year, Pantone announced the birth of a brand new color, “Minion Yellow”, named for the little yellow guys in the animated film “Despicable Me”. “Minion Yellow” is the first color ever to be named for a movie character. As fashion writer Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times reported April 21, the very first to pick up on this new color trend was a yarn company, UK based Wool and the Gang.

 I quote an email I got just hours after the Pantone announcement from Wool and the Gang — it is “a perfect, gender-neutral pick for all little princes and princesses.” In other words, it’s royal baby ready! “How A Color Becomes A Trend” NY Times, April 21, 2015 

 
(Wouldn’t you know knitters would be the first to jump on that one! That’s just how we roll ;)

Though some might detect a whiff of the sinister about Pantone’s hold on color culture, I can see an up side. The color trend forecasts tidy up the color landscape for us, helping us focus on a communal vibe. It has a unifying effect. Though Pantone may be a little guarded about their swatches, they’re certainly not keeping the color trends forecasts a secret! That creates a more level playing field for independent designers of all stripes. We don’t have to guess at what the big boys are doing. And I’m impressed by the way Pantone colors evolve from season to season. There is no chucking of the “out” colors for the “in” colors; this might help fashion stay a little more sustainable. 

 

And incidentally, Pantone notes a “Color of the Day” in its “Colorstrology” section. Today’s color? Deep Mint: Progressive, hardworking, enterprising. Have some fun and check it out ;)

Color Trends
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