Archive for June, 2010

Happy Birthday Canada!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Lets revel in all things red and white this Canada Day as we celebrate one hundred and forty three years.  Over the past year, our country has been a gracious and proud host to some of the world’s biggest events- the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the recent G8/G20 Summit in both Huntsville and Toronto, and currently the twenty-second official royal visit with the Queen and Prince Philip stopping in to say hello in five Canadian cities. 

Happy Canada Day!

This newest design, a trendy knitted cap for summer with a crocheted peak shows off our red and white pride in smooth, soft ECO cotton from Debbie Bliss.  One hundred percent organic, and grown without pesticides or harmful fertilizers, this yarn is harvested by hand by farmers who are part of the bioRe Association– a fairtrade program.  The cotton is dyed in twenty-four shades with non-toxic dyes and water used in the process is recycled and verified to be drinkable. 

Chelsie models Peaked Leaf Cap

PEAKED LEAF CAP

Finished Size:  Women’s Medium

Yarn:   Debbie Bliss ECO – 2 balls in col #613 (MC)

                                                         1 ball in col #608 (CC)

Needles:  4.00 mm

Crochet Hook:  4.50 mm

Tension:  20 sts and 24 rows = 4 in/10 cm in st st on 4.00 mm needles

Cast on 90 sts in MC.  Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 3 rows, inc 1 st on last row = 91 sts.  Work 2 rows in st st.  Cont in st st working CHART in CC over centre 17 sts.  When CHART has been completed, cut CC and continue in MC only until work measures 4.5 in/11 cm ending with a WS row.

Shape Top: 

Next Row- K1, *K9, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K2

Next and all alternate rows- P

Next Row- K1, *K8, K2tog*, rep *to*, end, K2

Cont to dec in this way having 1 st less between decreases on every K row until 11 sts remain.  Cut yarn and thread through rem sts.  Tighten and secure.  Sew side seam. 

Peak:

With 4.50 mm crochet hook, and double strand of MC, attach yarn to 32nd st along cast on edge.  Ch2, 1 dc in each of next 25 sts, ch2, turn.

Next Row- Dc2tog, *Front Post dc (yo, with hook at front of work, insert hook behind next dc from right to left, yo, draw yarn through, yo, draw yarn through 2 loops, yo, draw yarn through last two loops), Back Post dc (yo, with hook at back of work, insert hook in front of next dc, yo, draw yarn through, yo, draw yarn through two loops, yo, draw yarn through last two loops)*, rep *to*, end with dc2tog, ch2, turn

Next Row- Dc2tog, *Front Post dc, Back Post dc*, rep *to*, end with, dc2tog, fasten off.  Sew in ends. 

Design by:  Michele Meadows

Note:  If you are looking for more patterns to knit with a Canadian theme check out the free patterns section.

Ties That Bind

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
The necktie, a timeless symbol for Father’s Day, first gained popularity as a gift item in the 1920’s.  A special day to commemorate fathers was initially introduced in Spokane, Washington in the early 1900’s by Sonora Dodd in appreciation of her father- William Smart, a civil war veteran who single-handledy raised six children.  Father’s Day was officially recognised on June 19th, 1910 when members of the local YMCA attended church wearing roses as a tribute to their own fathers.  One hundred years later, and Father’s Day is celebrated in fifty-five countries, on different days of various months, but for us, it remains as always the third Sunday in June.
 
If Dad’s drawer is overflowing with handknit socks, change it up a bit and knit him a self-striping tie in a colourway to suit his unique style and just in time for Sunday. 

Fathers Day Knitted Necktie

  ONE SKEIN NECKTIE

Finished Size:  2 in/5 cm x 60 in/152 cm

Needles:  2.75 mm

Yarn:  100g  Wisdom Yarns Marathon Socks BOSTON col #214

Cast on 21 sts.  Work in Moss St across each row as follows- *K1, P1*, rep *to*, end, K1.  When work meas 17 in/43 cm-

Shape Tie: 

Dec Row- K1, K2tog, work to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.  Continue in Moss St, dec on every 20th row in this way until 13 sts remain.  Continue in Moss St without further shaping until work slightly stretched measures 60 in/152 cm.  Cast off.  Turn side edges 3 sts inwards and slip stitch in position on wrong side.

Tie and enjoy!

design by:  Michele Meadows

The Allure Of Alpaca

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

With jet black eyes shyly hidden behind a ‘mop top’ reminiscent of the Beatles era, its no wonder these gentle creatures capture our hearts at first glance.  Alpacas are cousins to both llamas and camels, native to Peru where they existed for thousands of years raised purely for their luxurious fibre.  In the late 1880’s, a British wool importer noticed the unusually soft and glossy fibre tucked inside a sheep wool shipment from Peru, and promptly launched the introduction of alpaca wool to the European market.  It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the first of five hundred alpacas made their debut in Canada, highly regarded as sustainable farm animals requiring very little maintenance, and leaving a gentle footprint on the environment.  Naturally inquisitive and social, alpacas get along well with other farm animals, and are exceptionally clean, able to adapt to almost any terrain or climate.  They are quiet animals, communicating with a gentle humming sound within the herd.  

Mop Top Alpaca

There are two very distinct types of alpacas- Suri and Huacaya.  The Suri breed has long straight locks and a noticeably silky lustre, yielding a highly prized fleece.  Suris make up less than twenty percent of the world’s alpaca population.  Huacaya is the more common breed with a full coat of soft crinkly fleece that fluffs outwards in a teddy bear- like appearance.  Over eighty thousand pounds of this buttery soft fleece is sheared in Canada each spring, processed into rovings, batts, felt and spun into luxury yarns, blending easily with silk, bamboo, linen, cotton, and mohair.

Huacaya Alpacas

Alpaca fleece is quite different from that of a sheep.  It is a hollow fibre containing no lanolin which makes it hypoallergenic.  Exceeding sheep wool in strength and resilience, alpaca is highly rated for its thermal value, drapes well in knitwear, and is very lightweight.  The only animal to come in so many colours, alpacas range from jet black, to black-brown, beige, fawn, silvery grey, to creamy white, a total of twenty-two officially recognised colours.   White remains the most desired colour for yarn manufacturers as it readily accepts dye.  

Suri Alpaca

Close Up of Suri Fleece

The popularity of these adorable animals continues to grow with hobby farmers, as one couple remarked, “we started with a pair of alpacas as pets, and in just three years we had a herd of thirty seven, they are hard to resist with their sweet disposition and charm.”      

Qina by Mirasol- baby alpaca and bamboo sourced viscose

Mainland by Earth Collection- baby alpaca and silk

Alpaca Silk Aran by Debbie Bliss

Suri Prism by Diamond Luxury Collection- suri alpaca and nylon