Archive for February, 2012

Top Ten Home Decor Projects

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

With a clear blue vision of Spring just a calendar page away, these last few weeks of frosty fingers seem almost an eternity.  If flip flops and sunscreen are not on your shopping list for the coming month, maybe transforming your home into a haven of soft, cosy comfort will do the trick. 

Dig out your knitting needles and have a browse through the Top Ten Home Decor Projects, for some inspiring accessory ideas to warm up your nest.

Malabrigo Book 3

Extra large floor pillows knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, the creme de la creme of exquisitely hand dyed wool that currently includes a mouth-watering range of well over a hundred shade choices- ‘hollyhock’, ‘pollen’, and ‘azul bolita’ (shown above).   

Mirasol Book #27

For a dreamy soft landing, this textured pillow embellished with petals is from Mirasol Book #27, and whips up in a weekend.  Knit in chunky Sulka, a superb blend of merino, silk and alpaca.  ‘Paprika’ (shown above).

Debbie Bliss F/W 2011 Magazine

Safari prints are a big trend in home decor, and Debbie Bliss tames the wanderlust by bringing zebra stripes right to your fireside with a thick and cosy rug knit in a double strand of Rialto Aran, extrafine merino superwash.  Pattern available in Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2011 magazine. 

Debbie Bliss F/W 2011 Magazine

Its The Year of The Tiger, and what better time to express your wild side with an exotic trio of knitted pillows.  From the Debbie Bliss Fall/Winter 2011 magazine, knit in Rialto Aran

Tip:  If you lose your momentum halfway through, just finish the pillow backs with a matching fabric panel.

Elsebeth Lavold Sugar & Spice Collection

Brighten up your spirits and your dining table with a knit runner in a zesty shade of Spring green.  Knit in Bambool, a fresh mix of bamboo and wool from Elsebeth Lavold.     

Pear Tree Yarn

A multi-purpose felted pot, ideal to cover a vase of fresh flowers, to hold your knitting needles, or as an everyday catch-all.  Knit in Pear Tree Supersoft 8 ply, an exclusive Australian merino in a dozen natural colour choices including ‘grass’ (shown above).

Debbie Bliss S/S 2012 Magazine

Go for coffee and cream accessories, in this clever design from Debbie Bliss, place mats with cutlery pockets moss stitched in Eco Aran and embellished with dotty fabric panels.  Check out Debbie’s brand new Spring/Summer magazine for these and other home decor ideas.    

Debbie Bliss S/S 2012 Magazine

Save those cardboard tubes from rolls of giftwrap, they make a sturdy base for these knitted napkin rings.  Another blissful idea featured in the Spring/ Summer issue on store shelves now.  Knit in Eco Baby, an organic cotton, and just one 50g ball makes all four rings.   

Elsebeth Lavold Sugar & Spice Collection

Diffuse your lighting with a cotton covering knit in a pinwheel design.  A touch of  Swedish inspiration from Elsebeth Lavold in her latest release, the Sugar & Spice Collection.

Debbie Bliss S/S 2012 Magazine

Lighten up a sunroom or get ready for a season of relaxing on the porch with these lovely zigzag lace pillows knit in Eco Aran from Debbie Bliss.  A pretty border is knit separately and sewn around each edge.  Add a scrap of cotton fabric as the lining in a contrasting colour to really show off your lacework.

Going In Circles

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Perhaps it was the invention of the wheel, that truly opened our eyes to the everyday presence of objects without straight edges.  From the moon to the sun, and the multitude of planets in between, circles exist all around us, unexpectedly appearing in nature, and as functional yet exquisite man-made components in architecture, or inspiring us as soothing elements in artwork.  The word ‘circle’ originates from the Greek word, ‘kirkos’ meaning to bend or make a turn.   

This Spring, circular motifs are one of the biggest trends in knitwear, taking the fashion highway from straight to curvaceous-

Circles in Nature

Droplets of rain hitting the water, illustrate the endless cycle of nature.

Sirdar #9544

Catch the breeze and feel refreshed in this swirly summer vest, an intriguing design worked in four pieces to create the illusion of an endless loop.  Knit in Calico DK from Sirdar, a cool and comfy blend of cotton and acrylic with three new shades, charcoal, taupe, and bottle green.

Concentric Circles

These are concentric circles, radiating outwards from a central bulls-eye, yet maintaining a consistent theme.

Sirdar #9564

Spiraling outwards from a central back panel, this circular design is a showpiece with bobbles, lace and a fluttery edging.  Optional long sleeves make it into a cardigan that will transition easily into all seasons.  Try it in a solid shade or go for a trio of neutrals in Sirdar’s newest Spring release, Raffaella DK,  a cotton mix with a pearly sheen and a crimped texture, available now in ten fresh picks.

Crop Circles

These striking patterns are a mystery, created most often during the night by the flattening of crops such as wheat, barley, and rye.  Ninety percent of all crop circles occur in Britain and explanations are varied.  Could it be a natural weather phenomenon, paranormal activity, or simply a man-made hoax?  Whatever the reason, they are fascinating to look at, and great inspiration for design.

Sirdar #9508

The circular theme resonates once again in this dressy cropped cardigan enhanced with bobbles and leaves.  Knit in Simply Recycled DK, an earth friendly mix of cotton and acrylic from Sirdar with three new shades in stores now, slate, denim, and marigold (shown above). 

Children’s artwork inspired by Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter well-known for his abstract work, created a series of circles within squares in the 1920’s. 

Katia Degrade Sun

A bold crocheted motif is effectively applied against a background of knitting and highlights the boho beach vibe, a fun cover-up from the Katia Sport Collection #69.  Knit in Degrade Sun, pure Egyptian cotton dyed in a lively painter’s palette.

Knits A La Heart

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Valentine’s Day is the second-largest occasion for exchanging greeting cards with more than one hundred and forty million sent out and that doesn’t even include the assortment packs for kids in the classroom.  Hallmark first introduced Valentine cards to the public in 1913, with heart-shaped outlines, floral designs, doves, and Cupid with his bow and arrows as the central motifs.  Today the industry leader has created fourteen hundred unique designs all for the most romantic day of the year.

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine’s Day cards carry us back to a different time, when life moved along slowly, and handwritten sentiments were lyrical and poignant.  Handmade paper cards first gained their popularity in England, during the nineteenth century where they were adorned with lace and ribbons.  The daughter of a large stationary shop in Massachusetts, Esther Howland, caught onto the idea after receiving a Valentine from a British associate of her father’s.  In 1847, inspired by the tradition, she began her own mass-production of paper cards with lace and floral decorations imported from England.

Enjoy a few vintage verses and Valentine inspired designs from Mirasol, a Peruvian yarn company with heartfelt passion, giving back to the community, by providing schooling and boarding for children in their region.

Mirasol Book #14

‘My heart’s a posy, blooming for you.

With love all rosy, fragrant and true’

A wide centre panel of honeycomb cables looks ravishing in ‘Rosa Red’ in this tunic length turtleneck knit in Akapana from Mirasol Book #14.

Mirasol Book #27

‘May your fond love in favor shine,

On him who sends this Valentine’

Cherish the Valentine spirit all winter long with a pair of cosy heart mittens knit in Sulka, a dreamy blend of merino, silk and alpaca featured in Mirasol Book #27

Mirasol Book #16

‘I put this letter at your door

A token that I love you more

Than tongue can tell or words define

And I want you for my special Valentine’

Revel in the colour of love this month with a softly ribbed cardigan knit in the irresistible Miski, pure baby llama fibre from Mirasol, highlighted in Book #16.

Mirasol Book #17

‘Tis a heart of pansy bloom

All made of thoughts sublime,

To you it’s sent to ask a boom

Will’t be my Valentine’

Hearts will be aflutter with the gift of this charming earflap cap from Mirasol Book #17.  Knit in Sulka, a delicately spun chunky mix of merino, silk and alpaca available in twenty-eight subtle shades.

Mirasol Book #27 Wristwarmers

‘I’d be happy

if FUEL be my Valentine’

Show your admiration for someone special with a pair of fingers-free hand warmers, a keepsake from the heart.  Pattern available in Mirasol Book #27.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Putting A Spin On The Olympics

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Needles poised……ready….set……GO!  The London 2012 Olympic Games are just under six months away and your favorite athletes dating back to ancient Greece are waiting to be knit up in time for this year’s exciting summer event. 

‘Knitlympics’is the brainchild of Scottish textile designer and author, Carol Meldrum who has put together an eccentric collection of twenty top Olympians, complete with shiny medals, the all-important torch, a tiny podium, a laurel wreath, and that highly sought after ticket to the most popular sporting event. 

Knitlympics by Carol Meldrum

Hot on the sneaker soles of last year’s huge success, ‘Knit Your Own Royal Wedding’ by Fiona Goble, which brought knitters together to create a cast of characters in knitting shop windows in time for the tea parties and early morning nuptials.  This quirky book includes patterns for a lineup of our favorite Olympic icons, including mustache-man Mark Spitz, who won seven golds in Munich ’72, high jumper Dick Fosbury at the top of his game in ’68, Flo-Jo, the fastest female sprinter in the world with two records set in ’88, and Swedish heptathlon Carolina Kluft, one of the golden girls in Athens ’04.  

Olympic Buddies Sebastian Coe & Steve Ovett

Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett in their famous pose after winning gold at the Los Angeles Olympics in ’84.  ‘Knitlympics’ is set to be released in early March with plenty of time to knit your way into the Olympics!

NOTE:  In the latest Spring/Summer issue of the Debbie Bliss magazine, an unfortunate mistake was made.  In the article, ‘Our Canada Visit’, on page 35, Nell mistakenly refers to leaving from the Billy Preston Airport, instead of the Billy Bishop Airport.  Both Debbie and Nell apologize for the error, and meant no disrespect to one of Canada’s great heroes, nor the talented American musician.