Author Archives: kristinledgett

Strange Brew Knittalong 2

Here I am continuing with my planning and prepping for the design-your-own fairisle sweater pattern by Tin Can Knits called Strange Brew. You can knit along with me and you can come into the Knit Café for Saturday meetups. Last week I posted about charting my pattern, you can find the post HERE.

This week I am swatching!

I know swatching is not everyone’s favourite activity but  it is a great way to try out your yarn and in this case, test your fairisle pattern and your colour combinations. I radically changed what I thought I would do for my colour arrangement once I started swatching.

When arranging your colours I suggest you choose colours that have a strong contrast in colour value within the same row in the places where you want your pattern to be strongest. Colour value is the strength of your colour from lightest to darkest. The best way to consider the colour values of your various yarns is to imagine your yarn in a grey scale, or better yet take a pic of your yarns all together and change the pic to black and white with a filter. Colours that appear black are obviously the darkest and the ones that are almost white are the lightest and then there are all the greys in between. Make sure you have lots of contrast in value in your colour choices before you start swatching.
Of course if you are new to fairisle knitting you may want to only pick two colours for your project (a background colour and a pattern colour) if that is the case still make sure that you are choosing two colours that have a contrast in value.

Once you’ve swatched it all up and you have a colour sequence you are proud of it is time to measure. A good size swatch will give you at least 10 cm to measure. If you have too many stitches within your 10cm, swatch again with a larger needle, if you have too few stitches, swatch with a smaller needle. Then block your swatch and measure again. Many yarns change a lot after washing especially superwash yarns. I find the Brooklyn Tweed Arbor (that’s what I am using for my sweater) does not change much with a block.

Did you get gauge on your fairisle swatch? Great! Too bad you’re not done yet. You need to make a plain stocking stitch swatch without colour-work too. Most knitters will find that their gauge is much tighter when they are knitting colour-work. That being the case many of us will have to use one needle size on the colourful yoke and another on the plain body of the sweater. I know I will.

PS. Swatch in rounds for both your colour-work swatch and your plain swatch. If the idea of all this swatching irks you, how about making a hat or a cowl and measuring your gauge after it’s completed? Tin Can Knits have included a pattern for both a cowl and a hat in the Strange Brew Pattern. Thanks guys!

Come in and swatch away or if you are still planning your pattern come in and sketch away this Saturday October 21, noon-1pm.

The Knit Café will be giving a 10% discount on yarns purchased for the Strange Brew sweater when you spend $100 or more.

Craftily yours
Kristin

 

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Strange Brew Knitalong

Join us at The Knit Café for a Knitalong!

This past week Tin Can Knits released a new pattern called Strange Brew.  It’s a design your own fairisle sweater! If you enjoy getting creative with your knitting you will love this idea. Tin Can Knits have laid out their pattern specs so you choose your size (baby to giant) and then mix and match a very nice collection of fairisle charts to create your colour pattern. As Tin Can Knits say – they have done all the math so you don’t have to.

Here, Lloyd and I are embarking on our sweater design. We have all the necessaries – knitters graph paper, pencil and eraser, coloured pencils and sharpener, knitting pattern with carts and scissors. Scissors? Why scissors?

The first thing I did when I received me Strange Brew pattern was make a second copy of all the fair isle knitting charts. Then I could cut out the ones I was interested in and mix and match them with others to see how they looked together without the trouble of drawing and redrawing.

A yoke on a fairisle pattern is usually divided into three sections with a row of decreases dividing each section. The Starnge Brew pattern tells you how many rows are in each of your sections and each chart clearly shows how many rows tall it is. All you need to do is match one to the other.

Once I had a combination of patterns I liked I sketched it out on my knitter’s graph paper in regular lead pencil so I could erase if needed. Once I was happy with that I started applying colour to my chart.

Above, you can see some of my handy work. The little X’s represent the decreases in the pattern. This is not absolutely necessary to add into your chart. I added it so that I could see how one pattern would sit on top of another after a decrease row. You can also see on the side how I kept track of my rows. The pattern size I am following said to do 8 pattern rows, followed by a decrease row, then 4 pattern rows, then a decrease, then four more pattern rows and a decrease for a total yoke height of 19 rows.
Now Tin Can Knits clearly states that applying your fairisle design to the sweater pattern is “squishy”. What they mean by that is as long as you fit in all of your decreases into the appropriate number of rows for your yoke you are doing AOK. I definitely made a “squishy” pattern. One initial row followed by 7 pattern rows, 1 decrease row, 3 pattern rows, 1 decrease, 5 pattern rows, 1 decrease = 19 rows!

For our Knitalong we will have a meet up time every week.
Come by on Saturday October 14, noon till 1pm. You can use my coloured pencils.

Expect a blog post every week with more of my Strange Brew insights.

A meet up every Saturday at noon

10% discount on supplies for purchased over $100
We recommend Brooklyn Tweed Arbor for this project. We have all 30 colours in stock!

Find the Strange Brew pattern right HERE

Craftily yours
Kristin

Thankful for New Yarn!

Hello folks, I am brimming with yarn news to tell you. We have received some very exciting deliveries this week. This includes three big boxes of Brooklyn Tweed, so it’s a good time to start planning your fall sweater projects!

Also new to arrive is a brand new yarn for the Knit Café. It is from Swans Island; a wonderful yarn company based in Maine. Swans Island Company have been working up gorgeous fibre into yarns with attention to sustainable practices. For example, the yarn we have prettying up our shelves is 100% merino wool, it’s organic and it is made superwash with a process called “ecowash” which is a more gentle and environmentally respectful process then the norm. Thanks be!  Bonus – it is crazy soft and the colours are vivid and gem-like. These sport weight skeins are hand dyed in a very subtle, tonal way. Swans Island Washable Wool Sport is an obvious choice for all your baby and kiddie gear but it would also be terrific for grown-up fare too. We love it!

Hedgehog Fibre is back!!!! For something different we have received an order of the Skinny Singles which is a one-ply fingering weight yarn. This is a perfect shawl yarn and the original yarn feature in the popular Find Your Fade project. Skinny Singles will also be great for The Knit Cafe’s latest pattern – The Bonnie Bandit.  We have some real beauties here including four potluck colours. Potluck colours are unique, limited edition skeins that are not reproducible and created with spontaneity. We only have 4 skeins of each of the four varieties so come in soon to get your hands on these.
Looking for Aran weight Hedgehog Fibre? – we have that too!

There are more things to show and tell but you’ll just have to come on over to 55 Roncesvalles to find out all about it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Our holiday hours are:
Saturday: 10-6pm
Sunday: 12-4pm
Monday: closed

Craftily yours
Kristin

Brioche-ing!

There are so many beautiful projects made with brioche-stitching out there right now. Brioche patterns look almost like ribbing stitches but with this technique and two colours you can make a fully reversible fabric that far surpasses good ol’ rib in its scope.

We are still in love with the beautiful Crosshatch Scarf pattern we made last year from Brooklyn Tweed’s Woolens Collection.

There are a few Indie Pattern Designers that are just brioche-crazy, in a good way. One of them is Stephen West, who has many brioche patterns, hats, scarves, sweaters and wraps including the one pictured above called Briochevron Cowl and Scarf

Andrea Mowry has some gorgeous patterns too including this fantastic hat called Vintage Prim.

Then there are some very advanced brioche patterns out there like this one by Lesley Anne Robinson. It’s called Dandelion Fields.  

There are also more simple one like the Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella.

All four of these designers have many more brioche patterns in their lexicon, I encourage you to check them out if you are interested in this kind of knitted fabric. If you are intimidated to start your first Brioche Pattern all on your own then you are in luck, we have a class for that, and it’s this coming week!

Brioche Knitting Class

Wednesday October 11, 18, 6:30-8:30pm

Register HERE

In this class we make this cute and serviceable cowl. Explore brioche stitching in rounds with both one colour and two colour techniques. Learn to recognize your stitches and fix your mistakes.

Craftily yours
Kristin

I’m Finding My Fade! How About You?

A certain kind of madness has hit the knitting community – it’s called “Find Your Fade”.  Why is this project so popular and what the heck is it?
It’s a gigantic shawl project, definitely a double or a triple neck wrapper, it is asymmetrical, with open eyelet sections broken up with garter stitch sections but most of all it is a huge colour explosion. I think the popularity of this project is due to the happy challenge of combining 7 different colours of yarn and imposing an order, but not just any order, a colour-fade.  In the “Find Your Fade shawl each colour is added to the next in the hopes that the eye will blend them and each colour will have a gentle transition. It is harder to do then one would think.

Iwona and I spend a lot of time trying to “find our fade” It is crazily addictive! Even though I have just finished my Find Your Fade shawl, I already want to start another one!

Here it is! (pre-blocking)
I used a combination of Lichen and Lace 80/20 and Hedgehog Fibre Sock, with a little bit of Koigu KPPM thrown in for good measure.

There is a one night workshop at The Knit Café this Thursday where we will be Findin Our Fade and how! So I decided to put together a few possible fade combinations for students. We have so many lovely hand dyed yarns in the shop to choose from. These combos are a mix of Yarn Indulgences, Lichen and Lace, Zen Yarn Garden, Koigu KPPM, and of course Hedgehog Fibre which is what the original “Find Your Fade” shawl was knit from.

Pretty nice eh?

Find Your Fade Knitted Shawl Workshop

Thursday September 28, 6:30-9pm

Register HERE

You can find the pattern for Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry right HERE. Since the inception of this shawl Andrea has designed some wonderful spin-off patterns, check out So Faded and So Faded Pint Size, Free Your Fade and now a new mystery KAL What the Fade.

Craftily Yours
Kristin

Olá Retrosaria!

I was so excited when I discovered this yarn! Retrosaria is the brain child of Rosa Pomar, a textile talent who has taken on the project of conserving indigenous sheep breeds in her home country of Portugal. To make certain that these unique sheep breeds and  some of the traditional Portuguese fibre processes are preserved she has developed several beautiful yarn lines that celebrate both. We have three of them in the shop for you to try.

Beiroa ↑ is a rustic wool yarn from the Bordaleira Serra da Estrela sheep. It comes in a lovely range of colours as you can see. It has a woolly hand, full of lanoline which is the perfect hand moisture for knitters and has a wonderful smell, yes smell!! Is so sweet!
Beiroa softens and blooms beautifully after washing.

Beiroa in it’s natural state is lightly spun with both texture and colour variation. Light and dark sheep’s wool are spun together to achieve tonal changes and some barber poling effects.  The wool is then over dyed in all the pretty colours and the result is a wonderful colour depth with lots of whimsical and unexpected shadows and highlights.

Mungo ↑ is made from recycled wool and cotton in equal amounts. We can feel good about using a product that is made entirely from pre-consumer textile waste. The fibre and the processing is Portuguese and therefore has a small footprint too. We can feel pretty good about how the yarns looks and handles too. I love the subtle texture and the colour heathering (I think I just made up that word) in this product. I also love the labels, they are so cute….which brings me to …… Mondim ↓

I adore the illustration on these labels. In fact I could have purchased this yarn just for that, but there is more! Mondim is a fingering weight yarn made from 100% Portuguese wool. You could make super cute socks from this yarn or there is a sweater project Rosa Pomar has started made from Mondim that I am coveting. This is not a superwash wool so the natural properties of the yarn have not been messed with and your knitting and crocheting projects will keep their shapes beautifully. It also is lovely-soft! This yarn knits up with gentle colour variation and some striping depending on the stitch pattern and the number of stitches.

For Retrosaria inspiration and drool worthy projects have a look at Rosa Pomar’s Instagram account HERE

Craftily yours
Kristin

Back to School at The Knit Cafe

We have updated our class schedule with new dates for the Fall and Winter season!

Check out our roster of classes for knitting, crocheting, weaving, felting, dyeing, rug hooking, spinning and needlepoint too. In addition we are working on some brand new classes that will be extend our class menu even further. Stay tuned for exciting updates!!

Read more and register for Knit Café Classes

HERE

Craftily yours
Kristin