The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

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A gathering of knits

Wherein I try to bridge the yawning gap between the knitting and the blogging of the knitting.  You could call this a retrospective with some currents to start with.

If you move in my circles you may have seen this fall’s triumph – the lovely stranded Pinked Socks designed by Judy Alexander.  My feet have often looked like this:

They certainly did for the Yarn Harlot’s book launch.  I kind of skip when I wear these socks.  Apart from my pride in knitting sock-weight yarn in both hands all the way to the end, I adore the garter tab on the slip stitch heel.  Adore is not too strong a word.  Obviously because I am now knitting another pair.  That are by necessity larger.  For the current pair is being made to fit not just any man but my man.

To wit:  an 11 ½” circumference leg.

The yarns are both Cascade Heritage (solid & quatro).  The MC is the navy held in my right hand.  My gauge on 2.25 (Dyakcraft!) needles let me make the 80 stitch cast-on size.  The only modification is that I ditched the CC strip in the cuff again.  Honestly, cutting sock yarns just for show is not so cool in my books.

It’s a simple but captivating 5 stitch stranded pattern.  I’ve sped up in knitting it again.  The first was finished January 15th, and the second is here now:

DH also received a longer-than-me mosaic scarf this Christmas.  It was not supposed to curl by design (mine) but makes up for that in the aforementioned length.  If I get him to agree to pics you guys will be the first to know.  My argument is that it was that long.  

Speaking of winter wearables, I also have a new hat.  This friends is a hat by twined knitting, and I love it.

It’s warm but elastic and fits loosely enough for a person with my hair issues.

The design is the Traditional Textured Hat in Laura Farson’s New Twists on Twined Knitting.  After some wrong yarn turns, I ran out and bought 2 skeins of Ultra Alpaca Tonal.  The fuzziness at the top is a bit of Sublime Angora Merino that I dug out of the stash.  I used just 9 g from the ball.

The technique needs the right yarn.  For example, this Akapana by Mirasol Yarns was in the direction of madness.  All stabs at texture were lost.

Casting on in the twined way is not full-on fun, so I thought I would share the what not to do pic.  As much as it pains me.

The upside of relatively mild weather is that the fall knits have stayed in rotation.  In order of their knitting…  The FO pics of my Monday Morning Cardigan by Laura Chau:

I am royally ashamed to say that was completed in May 2011.  It was shy about the wonkiness in the collar area but has grown in confidence over time.

About that collar:  knitting in a car while chatting with Sandi Wiseheart is dangerous.  That is all.

Next up is my Tappan Zee by Amy King.  Yes, a blue phase was happening.

  The pictures do the project little justice.  I used my Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (4 skeins) for the 36″ chest size.  The mistakes are my own – it’s a great design!


My 5 ridges of garter at the lower edge were started 15″ below the armhole.  I also added 15 rows of stockinette after picking up at the arm and sewed all the bind-offs.  The yarn knitted very well, and is wearing beautifully.  It was so lackluster in the skein!

Another score was Leaflet Cardigan by Celcily Glowik MacDonald.  Knit in 4 days flat.

Business on the front.  Party on the back.

My yarn is Rowan’s Felted Tweed Aran, and I knit on 5 mm needles with 6mm for the binding off.  I had to make adjustments due to the gauge differences for a medium size.  My main modification was to use the rick rack rib from Barbara Walker’s Treasury.

This was my choice for the Woodstock fair in October, and many times since.

Garments – both knitting and designing – have been a goal for me of late.  I was able to stash sweater quantities from Main St. Yarns’ closing out sale, and am spinning away as well.  After speaking with Sandi, I’d also like to incorporate her Wise Sweater project into the learning curve.  I have also been adding to my library with books like Maggie Righetti’s Sweater Design in Plain English.

My big WIP that hasn’t been photographed is a Laar Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston.  It is giving me a run for my sanity with the miles of lace-weight knitting.  I love the result but am probably not wired for this sort of project…  Unlike some people that I know.

Lace is also a part of my knitting life.  For I keep stashing more!  I’d like to make the Prairie Rose Shawl by Evelyn Clarke with this new cone of Habu Tsumugi 100% silk:

We’re on the same page now!  How’s that for some progress?!?


Happy Holidays!

All odds were stacked against it but this is our happiest Christmas ever spent in Canada.  It snuck into what’s felt like a very tough year, including my day surgery 3 weeks ago.  As family rallied & recovery progressed, I slowly felt the pull of the season’s spirit.  Things have worked out.  In spite of the big worries.

It’s been a tough year for many of our friends, and probably many of you.  Kane, a friend from knit night pretty much summed it up on her gift tag:

Baaaaaa joins the flock at our house.

I am a sucker for all things sheepy.  Surprised?

There’s a whack of yarn, knitting and other fun stuff that hasn’t quite made it to publication as I navigated the past months.  Instead of being all mea culpa about it, here are my thoughts…

  • May your bobbins always be full.

I will allow that Masham wool is majorly fun to spin.  This is top hand-dyed by Waterloo Wools, and spun this week on my Watson Martha wheel with double drive tension.

  • New spindles always help for the rough spots in life.  Even if you aren’t well enough to use them as much as you would like.

She’s a Hounddesign lace spindle from The Fibre Garden.  Their spin-ins are stash enhancing events.  It is 20 g of Pau Amarillo spinning magnificence wearing a little bombyx silk.  Since I was also put in charge of getting some of my Christmas presents, let’s just say a couple more are in transit!

  • When in doubt, learn a new way to knit.

It’s twined knitting, my new love.  It’s a traditional knitting technique from the Dalarna region in Sweden.  Strands of yarn held in the right hand are knit by ‘throwing’ (English) and twisting around to exchange for the next stitch.  This cozy is the Media Case pattern in Laura Farson’s “New Twists on Twined Knitting” book that I found in October.  I also have a new twined hat that is begging for her picture to be taken.

  • Sometimes (even in Canada) the weather eases up on you at exactly the right moment.

A single bloom from the fragrant viburnum that I planted this year.  It looks as happy as I am about the mild weather.

  • Giving to the Spin-worthy is a good thing.

I got to surprise my friend, Teresa with her lace-weight yarn that I spun on two Ethan Jacob spindles and plied on another Greensleeves, a Katherine’s Cup spindle.  It started life as an Alpaca/ Merino/ Silk blend hand-dyed by Corgi Hill Farm, and is now approx. 1,049 yards.

Teresa is a very talented lace knitter.  If you have seen beautiful shawls modeled gracefully and long, black hair is someplace in the photo, then that is my friend.  She prefers to knit and contribute quietly in our community, and I am very happy to call her my friend.  I really am excited to see what magic she will work with my spun-in-the-other-direction lace.  These are also her colours but not the comfort solids!

It also was a hoot to ring the girl’s doorbell early on Christmas Eve morning, and RUN!   DH and I laughed that only a Canadian wouldn’t look up the street before taking the gift bag inside.  A Jamaican’s first thought would be to catch the culprit!

Her thank you is both the best email ever, and confirmation in writing of her spin-worthiness.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and happy holidays for your own traditions.  With a full heart, and love.