Archive for February, 2010

Hats Off To Canada!

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

The medals are shining bright for Canada!  Our athletes have now graced the podium more than eight times as we swoosh past the halfway mark at the Winter Olympics.  A colourful wave of red and white knitwear is blanketing our country from coast to coast with souvenir scarves, toques, and mittens flying out of stores faster than delivery trucks can bring them in.  Even Oprah caught the ‘red mitten fever’ as she opened her Friday Live show wearing a pair, sharing her enthusiasm by handing out Olympic mittens to each audience member.  Knitters who choose quality over quantity are creating their own original versions to celebrate the spirit of the 2010 Olympics.  

The excitement of the Winter Games is still here for another week, plenty of time to knit more Olympic Gear.  Last week, knitters who finished a pair of Maple Leaf Mittens had wonderful comments to pass on- one mom who knit three pairs of mittens in less than four days remarked, “my teenage son asked me to knit these mittens, and wears his proudly in front of the tv, its his way of cheering on Team Canada in the hockey games.”  Its not the gleam of medals on the front page of the morning paper that will stay in our memory, its the incredible smiles of our athletes, the bright light that radiates as they grin from ear to ear, arms raised to the sky, sharing their moment of victory with us.

Share the warmth, share the spirit……..

Maple Leaf Earflap Hat


Size:  Adult Medium

Needles:  4.50 mm                      Crochet Hook:  4.00 mm

Yarn:  100g Galway #44-MC, and 100g Galway #1-CC

Tension:  20 sts and 24 rows = 4 in/10 cm in st st

Earflaps:  Cast on 5 sts in MC.  P 1 row.  Cont in st st, starting with a K row, inc 1 st at each end of first and every following alternate row until 19 sts.  Work a further 11 rows in st st.  Cut yarn and leave sts on a spare needle.  Make a 2nd Earflap to match, do not cut yarn, cast on 10 sts, turn, K across these 10 sts, K across 19 sts from Earflap, cast on 32 sts, K across 19 sts from 1st Earflap, cast on 10 sts =90 sts.  Work 5 rows in st st , starting with a P row.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Next Row-K 45 sts in MC, PM (place marker on needle), work 17 sts from CHART with colours as shown in photo and using bobbins for each colour change, PM, K to end.  Cont to work in st st as set until CHART has been completed.  Cut CC, and cont in MC.  When Hat measures 5″ from top of Earflap ending with a P row-

Shape Top: 

Next Row- K1, *K9, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1

Next and all Alternate Rows– P

Next Row– K1, *K8, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K1

Cont to dec in this way having 1 st less between decs on every K row until 10 sts remain.  P 1 row.

Next Row-*K2tog*, rep *to* = 5 sts.  Cut yarn and thread through rem sts.  Tighten and secure.  Sew side seam.  Make  a 3 in/ 8 cm pom pom with MC and CC held together.  Attach to top of hat. 

Edging:  With 4.00 mm crochet hook, work 1 row of single crochet around edge, alternating MC and CC for each stitch.   


Design by:  Michele Meadows

Knit Your Colours

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
In just a few more days, the excitement unfolds as the Opening Ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics gets underway.  Our attention will be focused on the majestic beauty of Cypress Mountain, with breath held in anticipation- will a wintry veil of snow arrive in the nick of time?  The thrilling triumphs and agonizing defeats will take us to the edge of our seats as we watch the events displayed in high definition.  Its a great time to wear our red and white colours proudly, to support the Canadian athletes who have trained for many years to get to this pivotal point in their career.  Knit a pair of Maple Leaf Mittens in Galway, a classic pure wool available in sixty-eight colours, from the Diamond Luxury Collection, and show your spirit, be a part of the Olympics 2010 celebration. 


All you knit is love..

Maple Leaf Mittens


Size:  Women (Men)

Needles:  4.00 mm

Tension:  20 sts and 26 rows = 4 in/10 cm in st st

Yarn:  100 g Galway #44- MC and 100g Galway #1- CC

 Right Mitten:  Cast on 40 (44) sts in MC.  Work in K1/P1 ribbing as follows-3 rows in MC, *2 rows in CC, 4 rows in MC*.  Rep *to* twice more.  Cont in st st with MC only, work 6 rows. 

Next Row-K2 (3) sts, place marker on needle, using a seperate bobbin of yarn for each colour change, and working colours on CHART as shown in picture, work 17 sts from CHART, place marker on needle, K to end of row.  Cont to work from CHART between markers as set for another 1 (3) rows ending with a P row.


Next Row-Pattern across 21 (23) sts, Inc 1 st in each of next 2 sts, K to end

Next Row- Work in Pattern

Next Row-Pattern across 21 (23) sts, Inc 1 st in next st, K2, Inc 1 st in next st, K to end

Next Row- Work in Pattern

Next Row-Pattern across 21 (23) sts, Inc 1 st in next st, K4, Inc 1 st in next st, K to end

Next Row- Work in Pattern

Cont in this way with 2 sts more between Incs for Gusseton every K row until 52 (56) sts on needle.

Thumb:  Pattern across 35 (37) sts, turn, cast on 1 st, P 14 (14) sts, including cast on st.  Turn, cast on 1 st.  Work in st st on these 15 (15) sts for 2.5 (2.75)”, ending with a P row. 

Next Row-K1, *K2tog*, rep *to* across row, cut yarn and thread through rem sts, tighten and secure.  Sew thumb seam.  Rejoin yarn to right hand needle, with right side facing, pick up and K 2 sts at base of thumb = 40 (44) sts.  Cont in Pattern until work measures 6 (6.5)” from top of ribbing, ending with a P row.

Shape Top:  K1, SL1, K1, PSSO, K 14 (16), K2tog, K2, SL1, K1, PSSO, K 14 (16), K2tog, K1

Next Row- P

Next Row- K1, SL1, K1, PSSO, K12 (14), K2tog, K2, SL1, K1, PSSO, K12 (14), K2tog, K1

Next Row- P

Cont to dec in this way on every K row, with 2 sts less between decs until 16 sts remain.  Cut yarn and graft rem sts together.  Sew side seam.

Left Mitten: Work as Right Mitten for ribbing.  Cont in st st with MC for 6 rows. 

Next Row-K21 (24) sts, place marker on needle, work 17 sts from CHART, place marker on needle, K to end of row.  Cont to work from CHART between markers as set for another 1 (3) rows. 


Next Row-K 16 (18) sts, Inc 1 st in each of next 2 sts, Pattern to end of row

Next Row- Work in Pattern

Next Row-K 16 (18) sts, Inc 1 st in next st, K2, Inc 1 st in next st, Pattern to end of row

Next Row- Work in Pattern

Cont in this way, with 2 more sts between Incs for Gusseton every K row until 52 (56) sts on needle. 

Thumb:  K 30 (32) sts, turn, cast on 1 st, P 14 (14) sts, turn, cast on 1 st.  Work in st st on these 15 sts for 2.5 (2.75)”, ending with a P row.  Continue in Pattern as on Right Mitten.

Design by:  Michele Meadows

The History Of Sirdar

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Sirdar is a company with humble beginnings, deep family roots and a long standing commitment to quality and reliability.  Knitters are familiar with the trusted label- SIRDAR knitting made fashionable, but few of us know the entire story that has spanned one hundred and thirty years, the heritage that stands behind some of our favorite yarns and pattern leaflets. 

The original spinning mill was founded in 1880, in the tiny town of Ossett, England, by two brothers, Tom and Henry Harrap.  With a small handful of employees and a strong drive for success, the two brothers aimed high, producing good quality wool products and building a solid reputation.  A decade later, the company moved to its present location in Alverthorpe, a manufacturing district just outside of Wakefield.  It was Tom’s son, Fred who brought about the name change when he took over the helm in the 1930’s.  The new company name- Sirdar, was chosen in respect to Lord Kitchener and his appointment as Sirdar (Leader) of the Egyptian Army.  With his keen foresight, it was also Fred who re-directed the company to keep up with the changing times in England.  In the 1930’s Sirdar introduced handknitting yarns and pattern leaflets to the public.  By 1960, Fred’s daughter had joined the company and began to introduce patterns to the rest of the country through a new and popular format, women’s magazines.  The Sirdar label was now well on its way to gaining international recognition.  Lets take a glimpse into the archives, and follow the remarkable journey of Sirdar, a company well-trusted by knitters far and wide, as it has evolved from one decade into the next over the past one hundred and thirty years.   

Sirdar Vest 1930's

The pullover sweater made its debut in England during the 1930’s.  This was an era of thrift and recycling.  Sweaters were unravelled instead of being discarded, and the yarn was re-knit again and again.  Wool was harsh and scratchy, in a very fine fingering weight.  Cardigans, sweaters sets, and skirts were all popular knitted styles, and most clothing was knit by hand, not store-bought.

Sirdar Man's Vest 1940's

The 40’s brought about wartime knitting, colours were dark and sombre, women knit with what little wool was available.  The styles were refined and sensible, still in a fine fingering weight.  Socks were knitted for soldiers.  Handknit gloves and scarves became popular for women. 

Sirdar Vest 1950's

Sirdar knitting leaflets were now printed in full colour.  Double knitting weight yarns started to make an appearance.  During the 50’s, clothing items were knit for comfort and warmth.  The styles continued to be form fitting for both men and women.     

Sirdar Baby Set 1960's

 Acrylic yarns became increasingly popular in the 60’s.  A well-dressed baby was often seen in handknit leggings, coats, bonnets, and booties.  Children were taught how to knit in school during this time.  Ski sweaters with fairisle yokes became fashionable in England, and twin sets were in demand for women of fashion.

Sirdar 1970's

 In the 70’s, the styles loosened up, ponchos, capes, skirts, and wide leg pants were featured in knitting patterns.  Crochet became a huge trend in clothing and home decor.  Sirdar Snuggly and Wash n Wear  yarns emerged as strong sellers and have remained all-time favorites.  

Sirdar 1980's

 The 80’s introduced the first novelty yarns, and luxurious mohair sweaters became popular.  Handknitting was more about texture, sweaters became softer and fuller.  Dolman sleeves were the ‘in’ thing.

Sirdar 1990's

 The 90’s continued with a penchant for luxury knits.  Sweaters, cardigans and vests were now knit with ribbons and mohairs.  Picture knits became popular with children.  Favorite cartoon characters and animals soon appeared on the front of pullovers. 

Sirdar Flirt 2010

Over the last ten years, we have watched knitting rise to great heights in the media and fashion spotlight.  The introduction of novelty yarns like Funky Fur and Foxy caused an exciting phenomenon as new knitters emerged from the wings.  Self-striping yarns grabbed our attention with their magic and have kept us enthralled ever since with constantly changing colourways.   The environment has guided us gently in a new direction and eco-friendly yarns emerged.  These yarns have made a huge impact and continue to develop.  With more than three hundred published designs each year, and over nine hundred shades of yarn in their current collection, Sirdar continues to lead us forward, keeping practical fashion and durability at the forefront.