With the Crochet Blanket Class close at hand (it starts on July 22) I thought I would share my version of the blanket.
I was inspired by Maurie Todd’s beautiful creation below. In fact I outright copied her. Noro Sock yarn for the middles: that ever-changing yarn that gives you all the colours in the rainbow in just one ball, and a solid coloured sock yarn for the outside.
But since the recipient of this blanket was still in diapers, I picked some peppy colours. Lorna’s Laces Firefly for the background.
I found making this blanket addictive, especially the happy little middles that I stacked up and admired. Then I unstacked them and ordered them, reordered them, puzzled and plotted, and restacked them. Then I made more. Attaching them all together was not so bad either. They were crocheted together with NO SEW SEAMS! Something you will learn in class.
When it was all done – I was not!
The finished blanket had wavy edges thanks to the hexagons and all their angles. Those of you who have made the blanket will know what I mean. To remedy this I made “half hexagons” and added them along the edges that needed them (2 of the 4). Necessity being the mother of invention – I taught myself how. Others have gone before me and done the same but they were not around.
This is what I did…
I should do this more often.
There are so many talented knitters that pass through our doors, and lucky me I get to peer into their knit baskets and see all their goodies. This is what I saw this week.
Ellen’s version of the Hudson Bay Blanket made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca and I think a little Galway. Was it Galway – Ellen?
The fiery colour is Handmaiden Casbah, the purple is Madelinetosh Merino Light in Clematis. The project is the Knit Cafe’s Soho Scarf and it was made by Maurie.
The Sexy Shrug is finished on the right and in progress on the left. The rosy one was made by Rona with the decadently delightful Anzula – For Better or Worsted. Madelinetosh Vintage in Composition Book Grey is also quite heavenly in Maurie’s version.
Iwona’s Wispy! She made it with Euroflax Linen. Isn’t she smart! A linen sweater will be perfect for the season. The detail you see on the collar was Iwona’s addition to the pattern. Pleats in the fabric were sewn in after finishing to make the fit better, but it looks kinda rad!
I hope you all are as inspired as I am by all these excellent knit-ups!
This past Thursday Toronto broke a record. The temperature was 33.8 C. This gave the June weather official heat-wave status, with three successive days of heat over 32C. The last time this occurred was 1949.
I thought it might be safe to put away the last of the woolies. It was actually quite pleasant to splash around in some cold water as I washed them clean. I was squeezing out the water when I thought of Elizabeth Zimmermann.
I know some folks take umbrage with wrapping the woolens in a towel and pressing with all ones might to rid them of moisture. I don’t know why. Perhaps they think it is too rough, but then I think of EZ. She describes stuffing her sodden sweaters into pillow cases and then whipping them around – a kind of spin-dry. So I think, if that is acceptable, then a certain amount of stomping with a towel must be alright too. I look to Elizabeth Zimmerman for guidance in all things knit. She is the gold standard.
EZ is a brilliant author of several fantastic knitting books. She is also a genius knitter! She is the designer of the above sweater called “The Baby Surprise Jacket”. It appears in her book the Knitting Workshop. You can also buy the pattern separately. We have both at the shop.
The Baby Surprise pattern shows off EZ’s super-brain. Made all in one piece with just decreases and increases for shaping and only one seam. Making this sweater was a joy. I had memorized the pattern in no time giving me occasion to concentrate on how fantastic it is to knit with Noro. This sweater was made with Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. All the beautiful colour work you see here is pure Noro genius. Genius+Genius=Double Genius. It’s the new math!
I was so excited about making the baby surprise jacket, I had to make another. This one was made with soft Casbah from Handmaiden Yarn. This sweater was made for my friend and her newborn who are living expat style in the USA. I chose the coloured details to be reminiscent of the Hudson Bay Blanket and Canadiana. It subtly whispers remember your roots.
I added on the hood to the pattern. It was improvised. The pompom on top is actual a needle felted ball.
One day (and it will be soon) I hope to have read every word Elizabeth Zimmermann ever wrote. I have been schooled heaps from what I have so far digested, I have been tickled by her turns of phrase, bolstered by her creativity and many a time laughed right out loud.
The baby surprise jacket is not necessarily for beginner knitters, although there are great video tutorials on the subject if you search them out. The time is ripe however, to make baby sweaters. As the city heats up, small projects are more comfortable to knit. If you have never knit a baby sweater before (or any kind of sweater for that matter) you might want to have a look into the Knit Cafe’s Baby Sweater Class that is coming up soon. This sweater is a basic construction that will teach you about making simple sweaters of all sizes. Here are the details:
Baby Sweater Class
Monday July 2, 9, 16, 23, 7-9pm
$96, materials not included
to register call 416 533 5648
Since it is the selfish season, I put needles to work on this project.
My ottoman was sadly stained and well…sad. It needed a sweater.
Made with Cascade Ecological and a tight gauge (4.5mm)
I started at the middle of the top working outward in rounds with 4 double increases every other round to make the square top. Cast off with a crochet bind off for stretchiness. Then, when I picked up stitches to make the sides, I picked up looking at the wrong side so the seam wound have it’s bulk on the outside. I hoped this would make it a better fit and it seams (hee, hee) to have done the trick.
I picked up the stitches for each side separately so that I wouldn’t have to work so much heft all at once. Also, I had a plan. I would seam all the sides together with crocheted seaming (the bulk to the outside). The sides were worked on a knit 3, purl 1 rib.
I didn’t have enough of all the same colour. I was trying to make the good-use of the left-overs – hence the stripes. I’m still not sure about the gold on the bottom and have not woven in my ends in case I change my mind one day.
What do you think? Rainbow striped bottom? Hot pink?
The bind off on the bottom of the rib was also a stretchy one. Seamed together with crochet using the yarn colour from the top and Voila!!
I have been a fan of Le chandail de hockey ever since I read it in French Class in high school. This very Canadian tale by Roch Carrier of a boy denied the hockey sweater of his choice and forced to wear a sweater not to his liking has charmingly tragic proportions. When I first saw these chapeaux, knit by Iwona, I was immediately smitten. I think (in part) due to my love of this sweater- story. If you would like to investigate this bit of Canadiana further check out this beautiful animated version of the story by Sheldon Cohen.
For Christmas Iwona whipped up this patriotic project; a duo of head-warmers for her family. I could not resist copying her and making one for my Leaf-loving pal. I promised the details and here they are:
TEAM SPIRIT HAT
The main pattern came from a blog called Artemis Adormnments. It is a freely available hat pattern with a classic snowflake design. Iwona omitted the snowflake and replaced it with the blue maple leaf. The chart for the leaf was found here. Both Iwona and I were impressed by the extra stretchy ribbing on the bottom of the hat. Knitting through the back loop makes for a springiness and sturdiness that gives this hat a traditional toque-iness.
We used: Madeline Tosh DK in colour Fathom
For the white, Iwona used Berroco Ultra Alpaca , I used 2 strands held together of Dream in Colour Smooshy which makes it a completely superwash hat.
The pattern calls for 4.5mm, but both Iwona and I used a 4mm instead of the 4.5mm recommended. Both of us are looser knitters, but the pattern’s assertion that the original hat was made for a extra large head made this needle choice an easy one.
Once you pass the ribbing, the white takes up about 25 rows of stocking stitch. The Maple Leaf pattern is 20 rows, so begin it on the 3rd row of stocking stitch. Pick up again with the blue and start the decreases at about 6″ from ribbing. We made the maple leaf after the hat was done with duplicate stitch, but you could produce it with intarsia (your choice).
Then make a big old pompom if you choose and you are done!
The prolific and lovely Iwona has finished her sweater from a Norah Gaughan design called Geordie. Isn’t it great when something knits up just like it’s picture?
This sweater’s appearance on the scene has caused quite a ripple effect here. Everyone who has seen it has wanted one for themselves. More Berroco Peruvia wool is on order to make sweater dreams come true. Your favorite colour can be easily procured too.
The booklet where we found this pattern Norah Gaughan volume 9 is full of gems. Have a look next time you’re in the Cafe.
At some time, a while back, I coined an expression I quite liked. It was in a Knit Cafe Newsletter shortly after Christmas. It was in this January Newsletter I proclaimed this time of year to be “the Selfish Season” – at least for knitters.
I think after a long period of selflessly knitting for others; thinking of their needs, sizing them up, and picking colours to suit their disposition, it is time to pay a little attention to ones own self. I’m not talking candlelit bubble baths (although that would be nice). I am thinking that now is a good time to knit one or two things just for you.
I have been taking my own advice.
Here is a very awkward picture of me, trying to get a good shot of the cable detail on my brand new hat. The pattern came from Brooklyn Tweed. It is the Rosebud Hat
I thoroughly enjoyed making this hat. A good combo of thinking and not thinking to achieve it – if you know what I mean. The pattern was clear and easy to follow. The yarn was a dream. I am not disclosing, as of yet what I used for the hat. Let’s just say it was research. The Rosebud pattern is available here at the Knit Cafe.
Iwona has been taking my advice too
She has been knitting Geordie by Norah Gaughan. She is blocking it right now in fact, and it is looking gorgeous! Soon it will be done and I will have a finished picture to show but I just couldn’t wait to share it. The Geordie pattern was found in Norah Gaughan’s Book Volume 9, which has too many good patterns to mention. Check it out next time you are in the cafe. Iwona made this chunky cover-up with Berroco Peruvia Quick, which she has raved about!
I could also not wait to share this↓
I am no slave to fashion, but I have not been immune to how many fantastic sweaters I have been seeing on the movers and shakers around the city. Fisherman sweaters in all their classic wooly elegance have been admired as they whiz by me on bicycles or saunter by the Knit Cafe window. I want one! Now that I have found this I feel one is within my grasp.
The Retro Knitting Company, an online retailer of vintage pattern has a slew of such patterns to choose from. How to choose seems to be the only hurdle.
Happy selfish season everyone!
Think back to June. Remember when I enthusiasticly introduced the discover of the orange crush blanket. This yet to be released Knit Cafe crochet pattern is still in production and with pattern production comes pattern testing. Here is Kate’s version of the blanket, as pretty as a garden in summer. The green grass background is made out of Handmaiden Casbah and Fleece Artist Trail Sock. Both are soft and dreamy sock yarns, both are washable. Perfect for a baby blanket which this beauty is destined to be.
The flower centers are made from the bits and pieces of past projects that lay about in waiting. In this case all powerful pinks: furry mohair, sock yarn, and boucle. Kate tells me some angora may make an appearance soon. Sweet!
So nice to see the same project made in completely different materials. The blanket Iwona is making is a much heavier weight (worsted) and made from solid coloured yarns (not hand dyes).
Another example of a project stitched with a difference is this Sexy Shrug.
Edie Kim and her shrug are the first to pass the finish line in the Sexy Shrug Knitalong! Edie’s shrug was stitched with a petal-soft coloured worsted weight so different then the colour we chose for our shrug which was earthy and deep. the light as air colour-way really shows off the stitch pattern in the lace. Love it!
Carte blanche is what you have when you make your own things. A complete and utter artistic license. Changing colour, texture, size and shape with whimsy or considered calculation leads to items of individualistic character. Vive la difference!