Archive for September, 2010

Nicky Epstein’s Enchanting Collection

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Nicky Epstein has developed a magical approach to design.  Known as a knitting architect amongst her peers, her style is defined by the use of artful embellishments, precise angles and the remarkable shaping that she creates by suddenly changing direction in the middle of a row, swirling and twisting stitches with nimble ease. 

Nicky Epstein

Teacher, designer, and author of more than twenty bestselling books on technique and design, Nicky Epstein learned the basics of knitting from her Italian grandmother and later studied fashion design and fine art at Columbus College.  It was during a stint as art director at a design firm that she took a chance and entered a handknitting contest sponsored by McCalls Needlework magazine.  That  winning entry was a colourful sweater with a unicorn motif and Nicky’s playful embellishments.  She currently lives in New York City, spending time promoting her love of knitting through workshops, special events, and as a frequent host of Vogue Knitting Tours.

In this latest book, Enchanting Collection, Nicky was enthusiastic about the natural palette of fibres from Aslan Trends, and put together thirteen original designs.  Expanding on her innovative crochet and knit techniques, she has created functional, wearable pieces for women inspired by the ‘enchantment’ of gardens, and the changing seasons.

Bewitching Hooded Scarf

Like pieces of a puzzle, knitted triangles fit together in a series of blocks to form a ‘scood’ with a center back seam.  Crocheted corkscrew tassels and faux fur add an extra touch of luxury and whimsy.  Its the hidden back seam that keeps the hood in place.  Knit in Artesanal, a blend of cotton, alpaca, and nylon. 

Cosy Cable Coat

A hit of bright contrast in Del Zur luxurious merino goes a long way in this bulky jacket with cable detail on the pockets, front panels and back.  Los Andes, in Indigo is the main colour, a thick slubby merino blend that knits up on 9 mm needles.  Raglan sleeves give it a smooth fit across the shoulders and the collar is knit into the front sections, so no extra finishing required.

Heavenly Cardigan Shrug

Look once, look twice, Nicky baffles us with this crocheted shrug.   Its really two separate panels, criss crossed and joined at the centre back neck and side seams leaving ample room for armhole openings.  Butterfly wings, a sprinkling of leaves and flowers with beaded centres are the icing on the cake.   

Back of the Shrug

Crocheted in Invernal, a lightweight angora blended with merino wool in Sky Blue.

Spellbound Woven Vest

Clever construction makes this vest stand out in a crowd.  Look closely to see knitted strips are interwoven and attached at side edges with Nicky’s signature I-Cord closures.  Knit in a simple cable rib with Del Cerro, merino wool in Khaki.

Magical Two-Way Capelet

You may want to give yourself more than just one option with this floral inspired capelet, knit in Pima Clasico, a pure cotton with all the sheen and substance of silk.  Four squares are knit, pieced together and edged with I-Cord.  Wear it horizontal as shown, or swing it one half turn and change the look to a V-shaped front and back.

The Blossom Street Collection

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Many of us are well acquainted with The Shop On Blossom Street, the first in a series of heartwarming books about knitting and friendship by Debbie Macomber.  The story centres around a group of women who meet for the first time at a weekly class held at a new knitting shop, A Good Yarn.  Over many dropped stitches, sharing both laughter and heartache, lifelong bonds are formed.  Debbie’s inspiration for The Blossom Street books developed from visits to her favorite yarn shop, being in the company of fellow knitters and their encouragement to try new projects.  At the time, a busy travel schedule prevented her from signing up for classes.  Writing a book became the next best thing, a way of spending time with other knitters, even if they were fictitious.  

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber is a successful author with more than one hundred and fifty million books in print, spanning a thirty year writing career.  Hot on the heels of the Blossom Street series, comes a brand new venture for Debbie, the introduction of her signature line of handknitting yarns and pattern books.  As a big supporter of programs for children and families in need, Debbie is donating proceeds from The Blossom Street Collection to charity.

Here is a look at her new collection-

Lakeside Cardigan in Cashmere Fleur De Lys

One of six exciting new qualities from Debbie Macomber- Cashmere Fleur De Lys combines the suppleness of extrafine merino wool with a gentle whisper of cashmere in an aran weight yarn.  The Lakeside Cardigan is a pretty sampling of the styles featured in The Blossom Street Collection Book  Two

Fair Isle Bands Cap in Gerbera Print and Solid

Gerbera Print stands out vividly with six splashy self-striping colourways, oopsie daisy, purple prose, tequila sunrise, lazy river, blue moon, and black dahlia.  Meanwhile, Gerbera Solid settles quietly in place as a backdrop for this design, the perfect accompaniment in an aran weight wool.

Bridget Vest in Wild Meadow

For easy care in a preppy tweed yarn, Wild Meadow combines the simplicity of acrylic and the warmth of wool in a double knitting weight, available in six shades, including this pick of the crop- Juneau, an interesting swish of two current colours, charcoal and teal.  Add the finishing touch to the Bridget Vest with shiny hardware, fashionable pewter closures.  

Grow With Me Child's Cardigan in Rosebud

A washable merino wool in a classic dk weight yarn, Rosebud has a whopping selection of fourteen solids to choose from.  This little girl’s garter stitch cardigan with fair isle detail is included in Book Three

Twist n' Stripe Socks in Petal Socks

From the tips of your toes, Petal Socks generates long-lasting heat with the right balance of ingredients, superwash wool, nylon, and the cloud-like softness of angora.   Six diffused colourways are ready for sock knitting weather.

Blissful Arrival

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

The much anticipated Fall/Winter Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine has just fluttered in, landing directly on the bookshelves in your LYS.  A blaze of fiery fair isle stands out boldly on the front cover in this fifth issue to date from well-known British knitting icon, Debbie Bliss.  She continues to capture our interest with her unique lifestyle magazine, covering the gamut of designs from babies to adults, home decor to gift items, tossing in an occasional glimpse into her design studio and favorite recipe file.  Its an emporium of creative new patterns and a few favorites revisited.   

Debbie Bliss Magazine Cover

Note:  The gorgeous cover model is Grace, who grew up in Muskoka Falls, Ontario and was scouted by an agency while working at a local grocery store.  

Lets take a glance inside this current issue and get inspired!

Moss Stitch Jacket

Debbie salutes Scottish tradition- plaids, tartans, argyle and fairisle are back in the limelight, freshened up with a lively burst of colour.  This modern little jacket is knit in Luxury Tweed Aran with plaid pocket accents in Rialto DK.

Fairisle Beret

A cheerful tam o’ shanter sets its mark on first-timers to practise the art of fairisle.  Lightweight and warm, its knit in Rialto 4 ply, extrafine merino wool spun into twenty-six colours.  The trick to fairisle knitting is carrying the yarn loosely enough across the back to allow for stretch.   

Pocket Pals

Moms-to-be will appreciate this practical solution for baby’s essentials.  Knit in Rialto DK, each pocket is worked in intarsia with moss stitch borders and and sewn into place on a larger rectangle piece.  An ideal shower gift and sure to become a treasured keepsake.


Covering up your head, ears and neck in one giant cowl, Debbie Bliss highlights her newest yarn- Glen, an alpaca/merino blend in tweedy self-striping colourways.  Cables and ribs add extra texture and interest.

Cushion Covers

Isn’t it time to start writing out your holiday gift list?  Home accessories are always a popular feature in Debbie’s magazines, and this latest issue shows a hint of nordic inspiration in pillow covers, slippers and small gift items.  Just check them off one at a time and they will be ready to wrap for Christmas.

Zip Up Hoodie

After a day on the ski slopes, a cosy hoodie will take away the chill.  Breaking all the rules, this design changes background colour across the yoke which carries nicely into the hood.  Knit in three shades of Fez, a soft blend of camel and extrafine merino.