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Knit Stitch

Stratford, Ontario Yarn & Craft Shop
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Friday 22/05/2015

The weather today is my idea of heaven!  My neighbourhood is awash in the most lovely, fragrant lilacs which seem to be benefiting from the slight coolness in the temperature.  Nice to have a day of spring isn’t it?

In case you didn’t see this on Facebook, here’s the most stunning British animated short that is beautiful and moving, which is no easy feat to pull off in animation.  I’d love to know if the animator is a knitter…

I was helping a woman with a baby blanket, which involved going back a few rows, and then I saw this tutorial on frogging back that lays out the process very concisely.

One of the few things I miss about Toronto, aside from my friends of course, is going to see concerts… and one of my favourite singers to see live, without question, is Ben Harper.  I love this new video of his gorgeous song Amen, Omen.

My Mom is visiting for a few days, and today she’s off to see the Quilts of France exhibition in Ailsa Craig.  It looks like a wonderful exhibition if you’re looking for a little road trip tomorrow, which is the last day to check it out.

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I’m finished the first of my Monkey Socks and I just have to graft the toe… which isn’t my favourite part of top down socks!  I’ve learned to go slowly and carefully and fingers crossed it should be fine.  As mentioned in the newsletter, I’ve just brought in Cascade Heritage Sock yarn and above are some of the lovely colours.  Now I just want to make socks!

And please note that the knit/crochet brunch is pushed from this Sunday to the 14th of June.  My hope going forward is to have it the second Sunday of the month.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Hope you get some time to make something special!

S.

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Weekend Knitting

The knitting continues on my beloved modified Vitamin D, but I got a bit distracted this weekend… I think I needed a little break from the vanilla stocking stitch!

The lovely Pam twigged me to Martina Behm’s Tensfield hat over the winter, and when I got in the Liberty Wool by Classic Elite I knew the yarn would be a perfect match for the pattern.  It’s a fascinating pattern and I put Martina Behm into the camp of what I call “math brain” knitters.  It’s truly ingenious!  You can knit it with any yarn you like to fit any size head.  I can see making several of these down the road.  What a fun little knitting detour!

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I’ve also started my first pair of socks for the Summer Sock KAL.  I had planned to cast on in June, but  Katie came by to keep me company on Saturday and since we were getting her started on a pair of toe up socks, I thought I’d start my Monkey Socks.  I’ve never made socks by Cookie A, but I can see why there are so many devotees of her patterns and sock clubs.  I love how she lays things out very clearly, and the stitch pattern is very easy to memorize.   I’m using the new addi Flip Stix needles which are really fantastic… one end is blunter than the other so you can use whichever end favours the yarn you’re using.  I love the colours and the aluminum makes them strong and the perfect weight.  If I have to use double pointed needles for socks, these are my new go-to needles.  The yarn is Schachenmayr Regia Design Line in Icing Sugar which is one of Kaffe Fassett’s colourways.

IMG_0794I had planned to just knit to the top of the heel and then go back to my sweater, but I think I’ll just keep going while I’m in the groove!

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend!

S.

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Friday 15/05/2015

We’re on the edge of the long weekend, and usually this feels like the start of summer, but with this weird weather lately who knows what’s coming!  Regardless, I always love the shift in pace that a long weekend brings.

I’m working my way through the early seasons of The Great British Bake Off on YouTube  so I’ve got baking on the brain!  Good thing my Mom is coming to visit next week so someone can help me eat it all… this chocolate banana cake is top of my list for the weekend.

Isn’t this knitting board on Pinterest inspiring?  I think this Miette cardigan that I saw there might be one for my list… Maybe in a bright Spud & Chloe Sweater for over summer dresses.

I’m a fan of Etsy and these sweet, whimsical prints caught my eye the other day.

IMG_0420The response to the sock knit along has been really positive which is exciting!  I’m planning to cast on my first pair next Saturday… I think I’m going to make Monkey Socks by Cookie A which are top down, but I’ll need some time to pick which yarn to use!  If you need some help and can’t make it down on Saturday morning just drop me a line or give a call and we can find a few minutes to get you started.

Play On, the street hockey tournament is on this weekend in Victoria Park, so if you’re coming downtown, you might need some extra patience for traffic and parking.

I’m thinking Buster has entered his teenage years as he’s been sleeping more than usual…. the other day I found him asleep in my closet which was a first!  Weirdo!

Happy Victoria Day everyone.

S.

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Vanilla Knitting

So, before I get to my sweater… the picture above is of the linen stitch scarf that I started at Christmas.  I keep picking it up, which I’m sure is in reaction to my current sweater.  I remember thinking I’d bang the scarf off over the holidays… famous last words, right?!  It’s a combination of leftover bits of sock yarn and some Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails.  It’s become the kind of project that I can knit a few rows on and then go back to my regularly scheduled sweater.

I’m in the mindless knitting part of my sweater, especially so since I’m not doing any of the short-rows that would make this a bit more interesting.  But I’m not questioning my decision to make this more straightforward at all!  Knock wood but it seems to fit me perfectly across the shoulders and I think the simpler approach is perfect for this gorgeous Blue Sky Alpaca Silk.  I’m guessing I’ve got a couple of weeks of what I’m calling vanilla knitting… rows of stocking stitch in off white!

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I hope everyone survived the muggy weekend…  boy I’m not ready for that weather yet!  Hopefully the rain washed away a bit of the pollen that seems to have settled on every surface of my house.  Ugh!

S.

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Saturday 09/05/15

Happy Saturday!

Buster has been waking up in the middle of the night all week, so I’m starting to feel a bit dazed and looking forward to my weekend… I don’t know how new parents do it!

I made this yummy strawberry frozen yogurt last night and how perfect it will be for this muggy day!  I’m definitely going to try it with different fruit.

I LOVE these ideas for using up leftover and small amounts of yarn!   Definitely some good ideas there!

I heard a piece yesterday on the radio focusing on the ukelele, which seems to be in the zeitgeist at the moment.  I wouldn’t say my family is known for outstanding talent in the musical arena, but the ukelele looks fun to me.  A friend of a friend is working on Melanie Doane’s USchool  which looks like a great program to bring music to schools.  I love this video of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain playing the theme from Shaft!!  What fun… especially when the audience start to get into it!

This is another terrific post from the Fringe Association blog… with a great list of lovely summer tank and tee patterns.  Do you have a favourite summer sweater or cardigan pattern?

I hope everyone has some nice plans to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow!

S.

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Summer sock knit along

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I’ve been thinking about socks lately… I haven’t made a pair in ages so I was thinking a knit along would be fun.   The goal will be to knit one pair of toe up and one pair of top down anytime between June 1 and August 31.  I’ll shift the Saturday drop in so you can come down and get help if you need, or just come sit and knit.  Anyone buying yarn for their socks for the knit along will get 10% off.  And this will be a good excuse for me to figure out how to set up a Ravelry group for the knit along.

Feel free to use any pattern you like, or certainly drop by if you need help finding a pattern.  For top down, I’ve got copies of the Churchmouse Basic Sock pattern  which has great photos and covers everything you’ll need to know, and it also includes directions for both fingering and dk weight socks.  I think I’m going to make either Hermione Everyday Socks by Erica Leuder or Monkey by Cookie A.

On the top down front, my bible is “Socks from the Toe Up” by Wendy D. Johnson, which I’ve got at the shop, but here’s a free pattern by her that looks good.  If you haven’t tried toe up, the only tricky part is the cast on (I use Judy’s Magic Cast On), and even that isn’t really that tricky.  I like that you don’t have to pick up any stitches when you turn the heel, and if you have second sock syndrome you can do two at a time using magic loop.

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On the sweater front, I just finished the first sleeve for my modified Vitamin D and I think it’s going to be really lovely.  I just can’t express how lovely and soft the Alpaca Silk feels.  I may have to make a scarf with it later as I can’t imagine anything more snuggly and comforting to wrap up in when the cold weather arrives.

Again taking my cue from Flickafish, I changed the garter stitch cuff to a bit of a rib and then an icord cast off which I’d never done before.  I used this tutorial from Knitty and it really does give a very lovely edge.   I love trying a new technique like this!

So the love affair with sweater number 3 continues!

S.

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Saturday in London

I’m feeling the love for London, ON today!  Fall is my favourite season, but I’d say today is just about perfect.

My neighbourhood was buzzing this morning by 9:00am… I live down the street from a lawn bowling club, and the street was filled with bowlers heading over in their crisp whites.  And Buster and I passed a church jumble sale and a couple of yard sales already in full swing when we were on our morning walk.

One of the things I love about London is how liveable it is.  I stopped at the library on my way in to the shop to pick up a cookbook I’d reserved (it looks like a good one!).  I LOVE the London library system… I never used the library in Toronto, but I’ve embraced it wholeheartedly here.  It’s just so easy to reserve and pick up.  The other morning when I was picking up another book, there was a woman playing the piano in the library for a few minutes before her shift at the Valumart down the street!

If you’re looking for ideas for a Mother’s day gift, check out the London Potters Guild sale  which is on today and tomorrow at 1250 Dundas Street.

Another Mother’s Day gift idea would be something from Ziraldo Alpacas.  I love Debbie’s Felted Dryer Balls which I carry in the shop, but it looks like she has some other wonderful gift options.

And obviously a gift certificate from Knit Stitch would be the perfect gift idea for any mother who knits or crochets… a wonderful low stress, but high impact option!

Happy Saturday everyone!

S.

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Friday 01/05/15

Happy May!

It’s been a very frustrating day on the technology front, so this will be short and sweet.

Little Buster turns 2 tomorrow!  Yikes!  It’s hard to imagine he was small enough to wedge himself under the cupboards which was one of his favourite places to sleep when he was a puppy.  I’m biased but I think he’s a keeper!

May means the start of Me Made May, which you might have seen popping up on some of your media feeds.  It was started a few years ago by a sewing blogger in the UK, and the original idea was to post a photo of yourself wearing something you made each day for the month of May.  Here’s the pledge for this year.  I really like that people are now modifying it to create their own handmade manifesto for the month… like simply committing to taking a few minutes each day to do something creative… which seems a bit more manageable to me than wearing and documenting 30 items that you’ve made!

With the warmer weather coming I’d like a bottle of this rose toner in the fridge to spritz at will!

Here’s another terrific post from the Fringe Association blog…   To be honest I’ve never had a consistent way to “close out” projects, and when I read this I had one of this “why has no-one ever told me about this?” moments!

Given my level of frustration today, I’m glad I’ve got a batch of this amazing vegan fudge  to bring to my friend’s for dinner tonight… and a bottle of white wine chilling in the fridge!

I’ve been trying to find a simple wrist warmer pattern and I really like this one by Leslie Friend.  I made the ones below with leftover Kenzie from my Mailin sweater.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

S.

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Sweater #3

I cast on my third sweater last week, which I’m calling my Vanilla Vitamin D.  I’ve had my eye on Vitamin D by Heidi Kirrmaier since seeing many people wearing it at Squam 2014.  I love the simple eyelet detail and the drape of the sweater… but that being said, I completely fell in love with this modified version  by Felicia Semple of The Craft Sessions, who I’ve mentioned before.  So I’m going to do a similar version of Vitamin D, which is basically eliminating the short rows to make a more straight forward open cardigan.

The pattern is both easy to follow and a bit involved.  Kirrmaier has done an amazing job of laying things out clearly, and I love it when a pattern tells you how many stitches you should have after increase rows, so you can’t get too far off track.  I cast on last Wednesday and last night I finished the yoke and divided the body and sleeves, so I feel well underway already.

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It took me awhile to decide on this one, but I read a blog post somewhere (I’m sorry that I can’t find it again…) that talked about being a bit more practical when making decisions about what we make.  To paraphrase badly, it was about choosing to make things that one would wear as opposed to just making what you want to make… I certainly am guilty of making things in colours that don’t match anything else in my closet, and so for this one I’m embracing the most neutral of colours, which I’m actually really loving working with.

I’m making this in Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, which is a bit indulgent, but boy I can’t say enough about how soft and lovely this feels.  My other choice was Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, which can knit to a sport weight gauge and would have the right drape. I wouldn’t knit a sweater with something as luxurious as the Alpaca Silk everyday, but it makes me happy so I’m just going to enjoy it, and hopefully create something beautiful and special!

I’m really enjoying my little 6 sweater project.  I’m not sure why it’s been a surprise that having this goal for the year has kept me more focused as a knitter… previously I usually had too many future projects in my head than I would ever be able to make and it would make it difficult to settle on the one that I really wanted to make next.  I’m not sure if that makes any sense!  All I can say is that I think an annual theme for my knitting might be a good thing.

Hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine!  Yay!

S.

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Saturday 25/04/15

Happy Saturday!  Yesterday got away from me, so here’s a quick little random round up!

Ok… now how absolutely cute and adorable is this knit puppy?  I think I squeaked when I saw it on Pinterest!

I think it might be that I’ve got spring cleaning and recycling on the brain right now, but I loved this post about visible mending .  I really love this blog from Felicia Semple… wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to her Craft Sessions?… although the fact that it’s in Australia might make it a bit tricky!

And for the crocheters, I love the look of this retro granny square tea cozy.  My Mom is coming to visit in a couple of weeks, and I think I may need her to teach me to crochet…

My sweater project has made me a bit more mindful of gauge and swatching and here’s a really good article on the subject.

I’m a HUGE fan of the series Friday Night Lights (the entire series is available at the London Public Library).  Years ago, a friend leant me his dvd and I ignored it for months… the idea of a series about the world of Texas high school football didn’t feel like my cup of tea…  but I decided I needed to watch at least one episode so I could say I’d given it a try, and instead of watching a few minutes I watched 5 episodes straight!  The anchor is really Kyle Chandler who plays Coach Taylor… really I can’t recommend the series enough.

And for Kyle Chandler fans there’s the new Bloodline on Netflix.  I watched the first episode last night and it pulled me in immediately… it’s worth checking out just for the cast which includes Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepherd, the setting of the Florida Keys is both beautiful and somehow menacing, the music is haunting.  I love finding a great series to dive into!

Part of my spring cleaning involves going through back issues of The New Yorker that I’ve let pile up.  I loved this article on Birkenstocks and how they became so popular.

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This was Buster the other night when it snowed!  I think he had the right idea snuggling under the quilt!  But it sounds like the warm weather is around the corner (again)!

S.