On the Road

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Leaves on the Road

This past weekend, Teddy and I jumped in the car and headed for the Big Smoke. It’s Creativ time again! It’s always such a treat to see what’s going on in other crafts and it’s inspiring to bring home new ideas and new ways of looking at knitting. This year, I was particularly surprised at what sprang from unexpected sources…Mary Maxim, for example. I don’t know if y’all have Mary Maxim south of the 49, but for a Canadian girl growing up, Mary Maxim was “Grandma Knitting”. Every week, in the Sunday paper, there would be a little black & white ad waaaay back in the classified section. It would be a tiny line drawing of a sweater or a hat and scarf. You’d clip the ad from the paper, make yourself a self-addressed stamped envelope, enclose about .35 cents plus 2 cents for postage and Voila! Three weeks later, you’d have a pattern in your mailbox! Magic!

Mary Goes RetroHow things have changed for good ‘ol Mary! Over the past couple of years at Creativ (and various fibre festivals) I’ve noticed a great number of her little pink bags being toted around. This year I decided to see what all the fuss was about. Wow! Grandma’s knitting no more! At least, not all of it. I’m telling you, there are some incredible marketing geniuses at work here. In her 60th year, Mary has partnered with Roots Canada (that’s right! Hipster heaven!) to create these magnificent sweaters, all evocative of our Canadian heritage and imbued with the irony so particular to hipsters. Yet, the Grandma quotient has not been entirely ignored with many of her iconic low priced synthetic fibre still available. 

Short Row JacketSome great knitting minds have been employed in Mary’s resurrection as well. Check out these brilliant short rows! Though I can’t say I’m nuts about the color or the yarn, I’ve been searching everywhere for this pattern, post-facto, and am seriously thinking of phoning Mary’s original Paris, Ontario store to get it.

Clever Short Rows

Felted/Knitted CapeThe best thing about Creativ, though, is the desire on the part of knitters (and other crafters) to keep pace with what’s new and what’s out there to learn. Creativ hosts a multitude of classes and workshops which are very well attended, my own Two-at-a-time Sock class among them. I was blessed with an eager, skilled and intelligent group who really ‘suspended their disbelief’ to learn the technique. It was great fun and a great learning experience for me, too. At their request, I’ve posted two new videos on the Tutorials page, “Long Tail Cast On for Two” and “Twin Stitch”. I hope they’re helpful :)

On and Off!

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Cinnamon Stone by VeryBusyMonkey

My Cinnamon StoneStarted Friday, finished this morning, Tuesday (even though I worked Saturday and Monday). What a great ride! As I was saying to hubby-dear just yesterday, a little shawl is a lotta bang for the buck…very showy results for very little yarn and time. I loved this pattern and found it very compelling. Like a good book, I am a little sad that it’s over. Having said this, I did find some errors in Chart 3 and, judging by Ravelry projects and comments, I’m not the only one. They weren’t deal breakers, but one does need a certain turn of mind to keep the eyelet pattern positioned correctly and the stitch count consistent. Can’t wait til it’s blocked. As we all know, lace always looks like the dog’s breakfast until it’s blocked.

Diana Draft 2Onward and upward. After my enjoyable distraction with Cinnamon Stone, I shall dive back into my Diana Hat & Gloves pattern. After the first sample section, I made some notes, made some changes and on to Draft 3. It’s coming along nicely, especially since the advent of “Intwined Pattern Studio” onto Mr. Mac. Changes in the blink of an eye, whole pattern sections moved with a key stroke…heaven. And no enormous graphite-y scribblings all over the house. ‘K, Good.

So! Classes! The Rosehaven newsletter was delivered Sunday afternoon for those of you who subscribe. Here’s the line-up with one or two new workshops to come for December, January and February (ie: another Sock Camp!)

Knitter’s Crash Course: 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 you’ll need to know.

Knitting-in-the-Round: Take your knitting skills to the next level with Knitting in the Round and open up a world of opportunity! With this two session course or Saturday workshop, you’ll learn to knit in the round using both circular and double-pointed needles.
You’ll learn basic shaping techniques while creating a super snuggly hat. You’ll also get an introduction to color work by learning to knit jog-less stripes.

Mitten Magic: If you can knit mittens, you can knit anything! In this action-packed full day workshop, you’ll learn all the magical shaping techniques required to make mittens using the versatile Magic Loop method. You’ll learn to cast on “magically”, create a gusset thumb and finish up with a nice, rounded top. Soon, you’ll be making Magic Mittens in every color and texture imaginable!

Don’t forget! We’ll be at CreativFestival this weekend! I’ll be teaching Two-at-a-Time Socks nine a.m. til noon on Sunday.

Happy Trails!

Pretty New Things

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Thanksgiving Place Setting

There seem to be so many pretty new things in my world right now. Last weekend, as you may know, was Thanksgiving in Canada. That meant some fun and exciting time with family and friends, and for me, the fun of planning and serving a big dinner. At about 4 o’clock on Saturday, Carl rambled in. “I’ve just picked up your Christmas gift. I’m wondering if I should just give it to you now…” He retreated to the garage, returning with several very big boxes. Buried within a bunch of bubble wrap and newspaper lay a complete set of vintage china. How ’bout that?!? I swear there are place settings for 12 including covered serving dishes, 2 gravy boats, coffee and tea pots…everything! Despite having to rethink my table service, I was over the moon!

Cowl by kllHere at the shop, some very sweet and lovely new things have made appearances over the past week. Look at this gorgeous cowl by kll! I love everything about this…its lightness, its silkiness, the color and its every-perfect-stitch-ness. I wish the photo did it justice.

Lesley’s mom, Rosemary, is one of the loveliest knitters I know. She worked up this little hat sample for us from the new Quince and Co Osprey. Isn’t it cute? I love the color, the gauge and the simplicity of this little hat. It makes me smile :)

Osprey Hat by Rosemary

Something about this sweet scarf really speaks to me. Reversible cables have always intrigued me, but there is something softly special about this simple scarf, Tumnus by Elizabeth McCarten. And it is red, which never hurt either. (Once again, the photo just can’t show the subtle perfection of this pretty new thing.)

Tumnus by Elizabeth McCarten

Here’s something new! I bought two skeins of this rich, brick colored Shibui Staccato at Twist in August. It’s been sitting in my stash ever since and scarcely a day goes by that I don’t think about it, wondering what project could possibly do justice to its loveliness. I pulled it out last night, foolishly right before bedtime. I tossed and turned all night and resolved that I’d find a project for it today or bust. For a little added incentive, I have Creativ and our PEC knitting retreat coming up and I’d love to have something precious to wear. I got on it Shibui Staccato in Brickfirst thing and, after weighing my options, decided on the Cinnamon Stone Shawl from VeryBusyMonkey. Got the pattern, got the yarn, got the needles! Just CAN’T WAIT to get home and cast on!

Cinnamon Stone Shawl

Autumnmmmm….

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Fall Vineyard in PEC Love it! Driving to work this morning, I marveled at the incredible color popping out all around me. Did you know that leaves turn color, not because of lower temperatures but because of fewer hours of light? Think about it…photosynthesis! Never mind, five syllable words cannot dim the glory of the changing seasons ;)

Autumn YarnWhen I got to the shop, I peeked through the shelves and pulled out some lovely autumn shades from among the skeins. All summer long, I’ve worked in aqua, pale green, yellow. Now I’m craving the luscious warm shades like plum, brick, and pomegranate. 

It has been on my mind to make a pair of socks from this, one of my favorite ‘staple yarns’, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, in glorious Canadian red! Perhaps Carl shall be the recipient.

Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine

Quince & Co ChickadeeThis is my favorite new yarn, Quince & Co. Chickadee. I’m using this plump and fluffy little gem for a new hat and gloves pattern. I’m currently using “Glacier”, but I’m struck with how pretty these three colors look snuggled up together on the shelf.

Malabrigo Rios in CumparsitaThis arrived yesterday…Malabrigo Rios in “Cumparsita”. What an indescribable shade of plum it is, and with such a complexity of shades, it reminds me of fresh berry pie! I’m currently/intermittently knitting Carl’s Birthday Sweater with Rios, but in the Playa colorway. 

We’ve had this pretty yarn for a month or so and I’ve been really intrigued by it. It’s an extremely soft and squishy blend of baby alpaca, wool and silk. The colors are lovely! I think maybe gloves?Cosma

Art Yarn Mohair SilkAnd who can resist Art Yarns Mohair Silk? You know, aside from a little ‘play time’, I don’t think I’ve ever worked an entire mohair project. I guess I better put that on the Winter 2015 list.

Pumpkin Ice BucketAfter all those years of living in the US, it always feels a little weird to celebrate Thanksgiving so early, but celebrate we shall! We’re blessed with family and dear friends this weekend which means cooking, baking and cleaning. Better get at it!

Ticklish Ribs

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Rib and Stripe Scarf by Kristin Spurkland

On this cold and rainy fall day, I am diligently working samples for my Magic Mittens workshop. The pattern is a simple mitten blank that is easy to customize with colorwork, cables…anything. While working the 2×2 ribbing for the cuffs <yawn> I started daydreaming about the many clever ways that knitters use ribbing and about the many ways a ribbed effect can be achieved.

Shibui Mix #21 by Lydia TsymbalA nice lady came into the shop on Saturday. She was about 4 rows short of finishing this! Lovely, isn’t it? She worked it in Shibui Staccato in the most gorgeous shade of slate gray. Since I’d picked up a couple of skeins of this yarn at Twist a few weeks ago, I was particularly thrilled to see how beautifully it works up.

Shibui Staccato in Tar

I’ve got a couple of sock designs on the drawing table these days and knowing how ribbing or ribbing-like stitches contribute to a well-fitting socks, these pretty examples caught my eye.

Tumnus by Elizabeth McCartenIt’s a big fat bonus that ribbing is reversible, even some of the fancy ones, making it perfect for scarves.

Reversible Cable-Knit Scarf by Bette Day Stern

I guess I shouldn’t be yawning after all!

Recalled to Life

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Danny's sweater "The Shining"

I finished “The Shining” sweater! Off it goes in the mail today.

Andalus MittensI’m a four season knitter. I don’t quit once the warm weather hits; instead I switch to cotton, linen and other light-weight fibers. It never fails, though, that twice a year I’ve got off-season knits on the needles when the weather changes. Sometimes I berate myself for my lack of commitment but recently, I’ve come to enjoy recalling to life the dormant projects I’ve left behind for greener pastures. For example, last year at this time, I dug out these pretty stranded mittens. I had only to knit the thumbs (which I accomplished in very short order) and they were ready to be worn and enjoyed all through the winter. 

Riverside CowlI was rummaging through the ‘Time-out Basket’ the other day when I came across this little cowl designed by Mary Ann Stephens. I have literally 2 inches of white lining left to knit on this! Why I felt it was necessary to drop it at that point is beyond me. The bright side is that I can start the fall season with a very-close-to-finished object. It also sort of matches these languishing stranded mittens.Snowy Morning Mittens

Gnome Hat

This poor little gnome hat lay crumpled in the basket next to its half charted pattern. It looks a little like the sorting hat from Harry Potter at the moment but I think it might be cute ;)

Meisi GlovesUnder the heading of “New Stuff”, I’m making quite good progress on these, the “Miese Gloves” with one glove finished and one worked to just above the thumb. I think they’ll shine up good when blocked. I’m working these with one of my old favorites, Ultra Alpaca Fine in Turquoise Mix. Also, I am working on the samples for my Knitting 101 and Knitting in the Round classes, pics later. And that’s all the news that’s fit to print :)

Happy Hands

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Crème de Noyaux by Dagmar Mora

Fall blew in yesterday. It took all of 45 minutes. That got me thinking about hats and gloves; I love knitting both. 

Mitaines Rainbow by Elise Dupont

Inverness Gloves by Elizabeth McCartenAs luck would have it, I found Elizabeth McCarten’s new Inverness Gloves pattern when I arrived at the shop this morning. I’m so excited to try it! I’m intrigued by this new thumb shaping method that has Elizabeth so excited.

I’ve always found that if my hands are cold, I’m cold all over. I’m always the first one to pull on gloves or mittens in the fall and I always have a spare pair in my handbag. A girl can never have too many.

Meisi Gloves by Laris

I’ve got 2 pretty skeins of Koigu and a precious skein of Blue Moon Socks That Rock, so I’ve been casting about (pun intended) looking for pretty things to make my hands happy. Now…where to start?!?

Eisblume by Laris

Back to Normal

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Foggy Morning in the County

I woke up to this beautiful fog this morning! I love fog…it’s so peaceful and mysterious. (I don’t envy Carl having to drive through it, however!)

So, today is the first day of “Back to Normal” for me as you can probably tell by my recent silence. I’ve had a long, lovely chain of houseguests, visiting friends and family, for about three weeks. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! I love the cooking and cleaning and the happy anticipation of folks arriving. I only regret not taking more pictures. Why do I never have my camera at hand when I really need it?

WIP The Birthday Sweater

Moss Henley by Christina WallEarly fall is such a busy time…classes to plan, soft wooly knitting to be done, patterns to write. As much as I love knitting with cotton and linen, I’m always happy to see the return of yummy merino and alpaca. I’ve made some fairly good progress on The Birthday Sweater. This is loosely based on Christina Wall’s Moss Henley because I love the way she’s used the moss stitch. As I mentioned before, I am augmenting the pattern with a teeny bit of colorwork inspired by some work I saw over at Loaves and Stitches. By and large, I’m pleased with the pattern except that it contains absolutely no stitch counts. Mostly, I’ve been working out the details using “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters”. I love the way Christina’s worked the Henley placket, though…brilliant and so easy.

I’m loving the Malabrigo Rios. It is big and plump and bloom-y. I have noticed something a little weird though. When I’ve left stitches on my nickel needle tips overnight, something in the dye leaves a strange tarnish on the needles. I was worried that some chemical in the dye had actually etched into the needle surface, but found that a vigorous cleaning with Twinkle silver polish shined them up again, leaving only a slight shadow on the needles. How odd.

I’m doing an interesting little custom job for a friend-of-a-friend. Barbara wanted an exact replica of Danny’s sweater from “The Shining” for her little boy. Writing and then working this intarsia chart has been fun! I’ll needle felt the black details later. A somewhat strange choice for a kid’s sweater but…kinda cute, no?

Danny's Sweater

Diana's HatMy beloved co-worker Amy referred one of our customers to me for a custom hat. She fell in love with the Malabrigo Silky Merino in Bobby Blue. It really is gorgeous to knit, but works to a very curious gauge. Like most single-ply yarns, the gauge varies wildly depending on the needle size. Here’s a peek at the brim pattern. Pretty color, isn’t it?

 

That’s all the news that’s fit to print for now. I’m taking a leaf from Elizabeth McCarten’s book; I’m trying to limit my WIP’s a little so I don’t lose focus. (We’ll see how long that lasts ;)

Extra Inspired

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Twist Too

I’m feeling extra inspired this week after our wonderful trip to the Twist Fibre Festival. There were so many clever people! Among the best were the lovely mother/daughter team from PureLaine Etc. where I procured two amazing skeins of Shibui Staccato. Since we were staying in the same guest house, we had many opportunities to talk over our wonderful craft. (Many thanks to Sylvie for helping with my terrible French :) Also in the magic mix were the incredible Purlin’ J and L’il Dorothy. I managed to scoop a coveted Purlin’ J project bag, lucky me! I spend a dizzying few minutes at La Maison Tricotee. Oh. My. Goodness. La Maison specializes in the rare and gorgeous. I swooned over brands that are without distributors such as Jill Draper and Blue Moon. Though they can certainly be found online, one seldom has the opportunity to touch and admire them. Got me some “Socks That Rock” from Blue Moon.

My Twist Loot

We managed to get our booth set up in record time due to the amazing fact that we were able to drive Chuckles-the-Subaru right inside the arena and right up to the booth! (That was really fun :) Rosehaven did very well, particularly because of our new Berroco products. They offer really great value on truly luxurious fibers. I’ve long been a fan of the entire Ultra Alpaca family and now, especially the Ultra Alpaca Chunky. (If you haven’t seen the new Berroco Cosma, you ought to!)

 

 

Now that I’m home and the weather is fine, I’ve been spending some precious time in my “summer office” working on The Birthday Sweater. I LOVE the Malabrigo Rios I’ve chosen this year. It is buttery soft, tightly twisted and an absolute joy to knit. The color is unique and produces a fabric that looks sort of distressed, I think because it is dyed after it is spun. When I’ve snipped it, I’ve found that it is pale in the center. 

Several months ago, I saw some rather inspiring photos over at Loaves and Stitches. While doing some test knitting for Baby Cocktails, Carie dropped some high contrast color work into a Malabrigo cardigan. It impressed me and the image has stuck in my mind. I decided to try it. There were moments when I was tempted to go with a coordinating color instead but I fought it, choosing instead a bright tomato red. I’m happy!

Today’s outdoor knitting will be focussed on a little custom project. I’m making a copy of the sweater worn by the little boy in “The Shining”. It’s obviously an intarsia project which oughta be fun! Pics to follow.

Danny's Sweater

Happy Knitting!

Eve’s Rib

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Eve's Rib Cardigan

Whew! I’m finally able to publish my new cardigan pattern, Eve’s Rib.  

Little Brown SweaterWe have a cute Little Brown Sweater in the shop. It was placed there on consignment by an elderly knitter who could not remember where the pattern, if any, came from. Yet it seemed everyone wanted to knit the LBS, myself included. I thought it would be smart to write a pattern for the Little Brown Sweater with a few important modifications. The original LBS had set-in sleeves and was knitted in pieces and sewn together. Who wants to set in sleeves made of chunky yarn? Not me! In fact, who wants seams of any kind on a simple little cardigan? So, Eve’s Rib is top-down, raglan sleeved and seamless, though it retains the original 3×3 ribbing that made LBS so cute. I’ve elongated Eve a little too, to update her silhouette. She’s designed for Cascade Eco and Eco+ which we carry at Rosehaven (in fact, it’s the best sleeper-bargain in the entire shop ;) Lovely Lesley tells me we’ll be getting a bunch of new colors just in time for fall. 

So that’s that.

Check out some happy scenes from last weekend’s Sock Camp!

We covered a tremendous amount of material. I think everyone learned a lot, especially me!

In other events, it’s been cold and rainy. The humidity has risen a little over the last couple of days making it feel a little warmer. Unfortunately, it was decidedly unpleasant for our weekend visitors :(

In an uncharacteristically timely manner, I have begun The Birthday Sweater! Unlike other years, I will NOT be working on this project on December 20th (1 day after deadline). By Lesley-magic, I was able to procure the required amount of Malabrigo Rios in the colorway “Playa” which heretofore seemed impossible. It is every bit as beautiful as I’d hoped :) More on that as the project progresses.

Twist Fibre Festival

Tomorrow, Lesley and I depart for points east where we’ll be participating in the Twist Fibre Festival in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec. Pictures to come!

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