Archive for December, 2009

‘After The Holidays’ Inspiration

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

If you are searching for a bit of ‘after the holidays’ inspiration, look no further.  Just flip through the pages of Canadian Living Magazine.  In the December issue (page 223) you will find a free pattern for these  Fingerless Mitts, knit with one luxurious fifty gram skein of  Malabrigo Silky Merino in Velvet Grapes.  Can you think of anyone who might enjoy wearing these cosy mitts while talking on a cell phone or snapping outdoor pictures?  If you didn’t get around to knitting this project in time for Christmas, the pressure is off, its a little quieter now, so why not pull out those double pointed needles and whip up a pair for a birthday or a Valentines Day gift. 

Fingerless Mitts

In the February issue of Canadian Living Magazine (page 129) look for a free pattern for a Soft and Silky Scarf, knit in super easy Moss Stitch with Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo.  The eco-friendly scarf takes only 4 balls in colour 142- Cherry Lips, a delicious hot pink that is sure to warm you up.   

For a cuddly snow baby, what could be cuter than a striped hat and scarf set trimmed with colourful pom poms.  New knitter- Sarah proudly shows off her knitting skills with baby Finn wearing his crayon inspired hat and scarf knit in Diamond Luxury Superfine Merino DK.

Sarah and Finn

Thanks for sharing Sarah!

Baby Scarf and Hat Set-

Size:  9-12 months

Yarn:  Diamond Luxury  Fine Merino Superwash DK 1 ball each in NAVY (#1660), SKY (#2439), LEAF (#2074), ORANGE (#2100), and SCARLET (#2060) 

Needles:  4.00 mm

Tension:  22 sts and 28 rows = 4 in/ 10 cm in st st

SCARF: 

Cast on 36 sts in NAVY.  Work in K2/P2 ribbing throughout, starting with 9 rows in NAVY.  Continue in ribbing following Stripe Sequence –

*6 rows in SKY, 6 rows in LEAF, 6 rows in ORANGE, 6 rows in SCARLET*, rep *to* until 36 in/ 91 cm.  Change to NAVY and work 9 rows in ribbing.  Cast off.  Make 2 in/ 5 cm pom poms (2 each in 3 different colours) to attach at opposite ends of Scarf.

HAT:

Cast on 90 sts in NAVY.  Work in K2/P2 ribbing throughout, starting with 9 rows in NAVY.  Continue in ribbing following Stripe Sequence as above.  When work measures 7 in/ 18 cm-

Shape Top:

Next Row (right side)- K2, *P2, K2tog*, rep *to*, end with, P2, K2

Next Row- P2, *K2, P1*, rep *to*, end with, K2, P2

Next Row- K2, *P2tog, K1*, rep *to*, end with, K1

Next Row- P2, *K1, P1*, rep *to*, end with, P1

Next Row- *K2tog*, rep *to* = 23 sts.  Cut yarn and thread through remaining sts, tighten and secure.  Sew side seam, reversing seam at top of NAVY border.  Make 2 in/ 5 cm pom poms (1 each in 3 different colours) to attach to top of hat.

The Emotional Side of Choosing Yarn

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Every ball of yarn has individual charm, waiting to be discovered from inside a tightly wound centre.  Some yarns are quiet and reserved, spinning a web of mystery, while others are bold and vibrant, a kaleidoscope of colour, revealing a hidden painting one stitch at a time. 

As knitters, we are a ‘touchy feely’ bunch, choosing yarns generally by what handles nice and smoothly, as it slides across the needles.  We also make a selection based upon environmental factors, the changing seasons, and our emotions.  Knitters often question- is it the yarn or the pattern that I should choose first?  The pattern will always be the framework, the real spirit is in the yarn, it tugs at our emotional side, luring us straight into a state of heart- fluttering bliss.  A ball of brightly multicoloured yarn can lift our mood in an instance, renewing that get-up-and-go feeling by just knitting a few short rows, while a more conservative yarn, maybe a little less adventurous in colour, relaxes and comforts as gently as a cup of chamomile tea.

Poems Sock by Wisdom Yarns suits this festive time of year, bright and lively, it dances with colour.  With thirteen shades to choose from, Poems Sock is an artist’s paintbox waiting to be opened, offering a colourway to suit every mood.  One ball can make any of these eight wearable projects in the Poems Sock E-book which is available as a free download.  Take a tour of some of my favorite shades, Tropical Sunset, Cotton Candy, Spa Shades, Grape Arbour, Vista…….. and see if your mood is lifted today. 

col. 957

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col. 960

col. 961

col. 956

 

 

Designer Chat with Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

On a soul-searching train trip through Europe in the early 80’s, a passion for handknitting design was ignited.  Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton has spent the last twenty five years knitting with Noro yarns, transforming colours of the rainbow into wearable art.  Her latest book release, NORO Meet The Man Behind The Legendary Yarn, showcases forty of her favorite designs, stunningly photographed, along with an inside look into the company that pioneered colour blending and natural fibre into the yarns we all love to knit with today.

NORO Meet The Man Behind The Legendary Yarn

NORO Meet The Man Behind The Legendary Yarn

We catch up with Cornelia between book signings and sweater designing.

Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton

Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton

MM:   Hi Cornelia, thanks for stopping by for a chat.  Lets sit down with a warm cup of tea and get comfortable.  It must be such a whirlwind for you at the moment , with the release of your latest book, NORO Meet The Man Behind The Legendary Yarn.  Are you currently in the midst of a book tour?

CTH:  Yes, I started in England in October at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandria Palace.  Then I was off to New York and Atlanta.  I am back in Sweden now, but will be attending the TNNA Show in Los Angeles in January, then the Yarn Market News Conference is in the works for March.

MM:  How did you come up with the inspiration for this book, combining forty of your exquisite designs with an inside look at Noro, the company and the man behind it?

CTH:  As you mentioned, the book is a compilation of some of my most popular designs from previous publications using the beautiful Noro yarns.  The inspiration for the book is Mr. Eisaku Noro, himself.  His respect for his craft combined with his perseverance in communicating his artistic ideas has been constantly developing for the last thirty years.  Noro yarns have always been among the most interesting on the market, season after season.  Innovative, creative, a bit whimsical at times, they are always exciting.  Since I have been a long time fan and have worked extensively with his yarns, I am very pleased to be associated with the presentation of Mr. Noro.

 
Benedikta Patchwork Sweater

Benedikta Patchwork Sweater

 

MM:  In this latest book, you describe the ‘ego’ of the yarn.  Can you tell us a little bit more about this and how your design process begins?

CTH:  My design process begins (and often ends) with the yarn.  If it is not sufficiently interesting to me I will leave it alone.  Noro yarns suit my way of designing very well.  They are very tactile as well as colourful.  It is the combination of the texture, the colours, and the spinning that makes them so complex.  Each yarn has its own characteristics- its ‘ego’.  In order to get the most out of a yarn and to show it off to its best advantage, you have to consider its ego.  To do a yarn justice, the designer has to take into account how the yarn responds to being worked with.  From there I get ideas about how I can best work with the yarn.  Where these come from depends……I just hope they never stop.

MM:  When you are at home in Sweden, what is a typical work day like? 

CTH:  My work day is quite full.  Since I make my own hours, I have the privilege of working evenings and weekends, experimenting with different yarns and stitch patterns, and running my own business, Hamilton Yarns.  I find that being a handknit designer is a lifestyle not just an occupation.

MM:  Since your venture into the world of yarn in the early 80’s, there has been great re-direction and growth towards eco-friendly fibres.  What other changes would you like to see in this industry?

CTH:  What I would like to see is more experimentation with yarn production.  Not just the production of a yarn because it is easy and inexpensive to make, but yarns with more distinction.  I think this trend has already started and will bring excitement to the market for years to come.

MM:  Did you have any notion early on, that yarn would play such an important role in your career?

CTH:  Funny that you should ask……thread, string, and then yarn have all been an important part of my life.  I started embroidering when I was thirteen, began to crochet at fourteen, went on to macrame jewelry at sixteen……and finally got to knitting when I was twenty- two and never looked back. 

MM:  Tell us what is ‘on your needles’ at the moment?

CTH:  I have a scarf I am working up in silk.  I have a jacket in my own yarn,  Heaven’s Hand, being finished.  I’m also working on another whole sweater too, and then there is that shawl…….

MM:  What is your image of a perfect knitting holiday?

CTH:  My idea of a perfect knitting holiday would be to go with a group of knitters to the south of France and stay at a country cottage.  I’d divide my days between learning cooking and knitting.  Throw in a wine-tasting or two and you’ve got a great week on your hands!

Horndal Hat and Scarf

Horndal Hat and Scarf

(Images courtesy of Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton)

 

Quick To Knit Christmas Gifts

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Its beginning to look a lot like……..our first snowfall, and doesn’t it put you in the mood for Christmas knitting?  Barely two weeks to go until the jolly elf appears, and there are still plenty of last minute gift ideas for every level of knitter, even those who have just cast on stitches for the first time. 

Sirdar has a great selection of accessory patterns for children and adults, highlighting their current and extremely popular collection of Crofter Chunky, Big Softie and Escape Chunky.  Mittens, leg warmers, socks, berets, scarves, helmets, neck warmers, and toques, all wrap up nicely as a gift of warmth for someone special on your list this Christmas.image002

Crofter Chunky is a self-patterning yarn which knits up with a magical effect, in a mix of washable cotton, acrylic and wool.  These patterns have a full range of sizes, and require only two to three balls per project.image001

Big Softie is a Super Chunky yarn, in a lightly spun blend of wool and acrylic.  Images of Christmas baking spring to mind with a few of these delicious shades- Marshmallow, Cherry Pie , Souffle, Cupcake, Meringue…..  image007

Slouchy Hat in Muffin and a pair of Wrist Warmers in Souffle.

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Three trendy scarves and a neck warmer to knit on 10.00 mm needles in Big Softie.

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Escape Chunky captures every knitter’s attention with its vibrant colourways.  A surprise awaits in each ball, as this wool and acrylic combination gently transitions from one shade into the next.  With eight shades to choose from, its a hard decision to pick just one.

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Slouchy Hats and Floppy Berets in Escape Chunky score high points with girls of all ages and take just an evening or two to knit.  When the Christmas rush is over, don’t forget to take some time and knit a special gift for yourself.