Archive for February, 2016

Sophia By Sublime

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Judging by the beautiful array of knitting yarns and fresh airy designs, the first blooms of spring cannot be too far down the garden path.  Known for sophisticated styles and natural fibre yarns that never fail to disappoint, Sublime tempts our needles this spring with a new Italian quality that is sleek and sophisticated.

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Sublime Sophia is a supple blend of bamboo sourced viscose, merino wool and silk dyed in a palette of six striking shades that shine with a silvery patina.  This collection features sixteen designs with a polished Euro-look and a velvety-smooth finish.

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Simple in structure, this boxy top is ideal for light layering, highlighted with a peekaboo mesh pattern.  Nova (shown above).

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This lacy shawl slides effortlessly into place across the shoulders and is held secure by a cascade of pretty flower motifs.  Leila (shown above).

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Not ready for a long-lasting commitment to just one colour?  This stylish wrap is knit on the diagonal in a simple and effective eyelet pattern bringing the full shade spectrum into play.

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Cap off your favorite sleeveless warm weather ensemble with this short and sweet asymmetrical cardigan knit on 4 mm needles.  Also available as a sleeveless vest.  Pewter (shown above).

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Making waves this season, Sublime’s breezy top suits a day or evening outfit with a subtle rolled neckline and an ultra relaxed look.  Also available in a sleeveless version.  Enya (shown above).

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Knitted skirts are coming out of the shade and ready to shine in the sun again.  This classy mid thigh design features a diagonal lace pattern complete with a fluttery hemline.  Pewter (shown above).

The Art of Detangling

Monday, February 15th, 2016

There is a secret society in our midst and apparently very few of us are even remotely aware of it.  Imagine a place where you can mail in or drop off your tangled, tousled bowl-of-spaghetti-like yarn, and magically it appears one day in your mailbox neatly-wound into a plump cake, ready for knitting.  Who are these white knights who gallantly take charge and restore a measure of calm and order to our knitting world?

A group on Ravelry known as Knot A Problem, consists of close to three thousand detanglers from twenty-seven countries, all eager to offer their invaluable services at a moment’s notice.  Suzie Larouche from Toronto, Ontario, also known as ‘Gloxie’ on Ravelry, is one of these detanglers.  Having knit for over sixty years, Suzie has experienced more than a few of her own snarled skeins, “I never really chose to detangle for others, it just happened.”  Being inclined to help others, she remembers her first real assignment taking place at her lys, The Purple Purl, when a lumpy tangled bag of lace weight silk arrived, showing obvious signs of being tossed around like a salad during shipping.  “That was the beginning of a full week of very painstaking detangling” sighs Suzie, “ten kilometres of it in all!” 

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Suzie explains, “A tangle is essentially a piece of fabric that needs to be unwoven and one of the most common causes with commercially prepared skeins is careless handling.”  There is a right way and a wrong way when it comes to winding skeins and Suzie shares her secret for success.  “To avoid the woes of a tangled skein,  first find one of the ties and hang the whole skein on your finger from that tie.  Make sure that the tie goes around all the strands and that they do not cross over it.  Next, loop the skein around both hands, holding them as far apart as the skein will allow.  Give the skein a good shake, as if to place your hands even farther apart.  This will settle the strands neatly in order.  Now the skein is ready to place onto the swift for winding into a cake.”

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Detangling is a complex labyrinth (not for the faint of heart) and requires the utmost in patience and perseverance yet those who choose to do this task for others seem to find it meditative and relaxing.  Anyone with a background as a sailor or fisherman just happens to be naturally good at this, having a knack for loosening knots.  Yarns spun with either silk or mohair can be a real nightmare, they tend to be clingy and much more prone to matting and tangling easily.  Suzie recalls her biggest challenge, a skein of lace weight merino that came apart while being dyed in a pot.  “It should have been left to die a natural death, but I loved the shade of red I had obtained and decided to give it a go.  It took me from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, doing nothing else except eat and feed the cat.”

Should you find yourself in need of a detangler, contact Gloxie on Ravelry or check online at Detanglers By Location.  All it takes is a request for help and then a short wait for a reply from your nearest detangler.  You will be required to pay postage both ways and include a self-addressed envelope for the return trip.  A little thank you goes a long way and is always well appreciated.

(images courtesy of Suzie Larouche)

Denim

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Take a stroll through your favorite shopping mall this month and you can’t help but notice the swirling sea of denim that is currently washing over the fashion cosmos.  Distressed, shredded, patched, bleached, or stonewashed, there really has never been a time when denim was not ‘in style’.  It goes with the flow, casual, relaxed, and feels as familiar as hanging out with an old friend.  Denim has been around since the middle of the nineteenth century when durable jeans were first designed to outfit frontier workers, miners, surveyors, and ranch hands.  Sometime during the last century denim just naturally evolved into mainstream fashion and shows no signs of going anywhere but hanging neatly in our closets.

British designer, Debbie Bliss has captured the tranquil essence of spring 2016 in her latest booklet featuring twelve styles casting the spotlight on Cotton Denim DK, a printed yarn in ten softly-faded shades.

Here is a sampling of what will be on our needles this coming season-

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Taking the cover spot in Debbie’s all-new Cotton Denim DK collection, this boxy style transitions beautifully through four shades of soothing blues in a vertical wave pattern created with cables and lacework.  New Denim, True Blue, Mid Blue and Pale Blue (shown above).

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Wrapped up in an easy go-anywhere style, this crossover waistcoat has a flirty collar, crisp lines and looks fresh for spring when paired with white or navy.  New Denim (shown above).

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Inspired by the original classic worn by cowboys in the 1800’s, Debbie’s version of a denim jacket portrays a more feminine vibe showcasing a playful mix of cables and moss stitch.  Charcoal (shown above).

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Its the small and simple details that Debbie Bliss is well-known for as displayed so well on this v neck design , accentuated with smooth even stitching and a graceful deep neckline finished off with a lace up closure.  Mid Blue (shown above).

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The strong statement cables on this crew neck design draw the eye upward while the heathered nature of the cotton yarn relaxes the overall look.  Pale Blue (shown above).

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A harmonious pairing of intricate patternwork and shade-shifting on this Tonal Cowl, creates subtle elegance.  Knit in the round, this project uses the same four shades as the cover design.  New Denim, True Blue, Mid Blue and Pale Blue (shown above).

Winter Getaway Styles

Monday, February 1st, 2016

February and March are traditionally the most popular months for escaping the winter chill and heading down south to a tropical destination.  This winter may have been unseasonably mild (so far) and the polar dipping Canadian dollar is making us all shudder yet the allure of wearing flip flops instead of boots and the sweet sounds of steel drums is still a very strong pull.  If you need a little more inspiration to get your suitcase out and your sunscreen packed, here are a few new splashy designs from Sirdar, that may encourage you to book a vacation just to wear them.

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Head out in style to savor the flavors of a tropical dinner and watch the sun go down wearing this dress up cardigan with elegant three quarter sleeves and a modern vibe.  Choose from one of thirty sunny side up shades in Cotton DK from SirdarPomegranate (shown above).

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Spend an afternoon shopping in town, soaking up the local history and ambience in this cap sleeve cardigan.  Its a go-anywhere design accentuated with openwork detail.  Long sleeve version also included.  Lotus and Seashell (shown above).

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Light and lacy, this sleeveless top sizzles with trend-setting style when worn over a liner tank in a contrasting colour.  Cap sleeve version also included.  Pomegranate and Citrus (shown above).

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Cool and comfortable, this latticework top makes an effortless transition from day to evening wear.  Crocheted in a simple mesh pattern with contrasting trim.  Pomegranate and Toasted (shown above).

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Hang out at the beach or pool sipping pina coladas in a breezy caftan-style cover up crocheted in four easy pieces.  Remember the Granny Square of the 1970’s?  This design is an updated fiesta-inspired version.  Pomegranate with Sapling, Seashell and Citrus or solid colour in Lotus (shown above).