Category Archives: Tutorials and How-To’s

Tips and Techniques for knitters and crafters

It’s in the mail

This past weekend we were happy to host the gals from Dear Toronto who took over our window gallery to make this wonderful installation.  A winter wonderland with letters not bound for Santa Claus but notes addressed to our fine city.
Hand knitted envelopes hang in wait for passers by and knitters to fill them with their thoughts of and wishes for Toronto.

The envelopes are knit with Cascade 220, one of our most popular yarns and a yarn which we recently restocked.  Many sweet colours including the enchanting hue used for these envelopes (a complex purple called Galaxy) some neutrals and greys and brights too have come home to roost.  Cascade 220 Sport too!

Since it is the time for giving gifts I thought you all might benefit from this idea.  We had an old 2011 knitting calendar hanging around and we decided we could re-purpose it nicely- like so↑

To make your own envelopes (for gifts, Christmas cards or otherwise) take an envelope of favored size and shape, then unglue and unfold it.  Trace around it on a stiff piece of paper or cardborad (in this case we used an old file folder).  Cut it out and this will be your template.  You can then trace around it onto calenders or other papers to make your envelopes.  Cut these out and  fold your paper into shape.  We used a glue stick to hold it all in place, but double sided tape or other glue would work too. There you have it! Now you have fancy gifting envelopes and you recycled too!

Along with the Cascade 220 came some  Brown Sheep Burly Spun in deep charcoal and Misti Alpaca in creamy white.  Both are very popular yarns, so if you needed them to finish off something for the holidays they are now at your disposal.

Craftily yours

night owls to take over the knit cafe! read all about it!

Nuit Blanche comes but once a year.  It takes about that long to come up with a project worth doing and then to execute with crafty conviction.
For those who are not familiar: Nuit Blanche is an arts festival that  is celebrated in many cities around the world.  It began in Paris, hence the frenchie name and for the last 5 years Nuit Blanche has been part of the cultural life of Toronto too. This year on Saturday October 1rst the city will be taken over by all manner of artistic endeavors.  The fun doesn’t start till 6:59pm  and won’t end till sunrise (approximately 6:59am) so eat your Wheaties! See the Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche web page for details about the event.  See below for a preview of the Knit Cafe’s plans for the night.
Stitch wizards  have been crafting these little buddies!  They will take center stage for the Knit Cafe’s 2011 Nuit Blanche exhibition called Tecolote (the spanish word for owl).  These night owls were created by a host of talented folks.  In the picture the one on the left was made by Iwona and the one on the right was made by Ray.  Ray’s owl was knit in Noro Silk Garden.  I think I may have let loose a squeal when I saw him for the first time, but can you blame me?  He is going home with Iwona so don’t get any ideas …but I digress.

Ray’s owl and his owl friends will be celebrating the Day of the Dead starting Oct 1 at 6:59pm.  You will have to come by and see exactly how this is done but until then here is another sneak peak into our preparations.
 Mexican Paper Flowers made from bright colours of tissue paper!  Yesterday there was even more paper arts then needle arts at the Knit Cafe.  Many happy flowers were assembled for the big night (this coming Saturday).  Thank you to all who came and helped out!  Cameron was especially helpful as you can see.If you would like to make your own tissue paper flowers, and you might as they would be a great project to do with kids or with kids of all ages, and they would bring joy, joy, joy to any party planners heart!  There are some good tutorials here and here.The Knit Cafe will be open all night long on the night of October 1.  Come join us and see our knit installation; bring your knitting and stay a while.  Coffee and treats will be served all night to boost endurance.  If you are not available to come and see us during Nuit Blanche you will be able to check out Tecolote on your own schedule.  It will be our window display for October into November.

If you would like to know about the Knit Cafe’s Nuit Blanche exhibitions past have a look at Knit City, Cirques des Hiboux and Knit Magic, unfortunately there are no pictures available from our Late Great Pom Pom Event from 2007, but maybe that is really for the best.  Some things are just too fluffy to document.

Till soon
Craftily yours

well rounded

One door closes and another opens.
Today is the last day of the Knit Cafe’s summer sale.  I will be packing it all up in a short while. I will take down the signs and reshelve the yarn, but I am happy to take that sale sign down.  Happy – because I know it will be replaced with something lovely.  We are so lucky this month to have a guest artist to exhibit her work  in our Knit Cafe window. Keily Stewart is her name and felting is her game.
Pictures will follow at a later date of the exhibition itself but for now and for the next few weeks I thought I would devote some time to exploring the wonderful world of felt!
Expect some eye candy, some art, some DIY projects, and expect the unexpected. There is a whole big bad felt world out there and when I say “bad” I mean good, in a Michael Jackson-esque way.
For day one of felt fodder lets begin with the most simple of felt shapes: the sphere. Balls!
Pretty crafty wreath! Find it on Pickles with a little “how to” to go with. 

and here↑ a ball is transformed.  See how it is done in this tutorial on needle felting animal heads also from Pickles. Hooray for Pickles!
For ones more sophisticated side you might want to try this↑
This trivet under teapot  provokes imaginings of chilly, white, bright mornings in a homey Swedish abode full of birch wood and white paint, colourful ceramics and of course felt.
There is a tutorial for this project too. Have a look and see at the Purl Bee .

More felt fun to come.  Till then-
Craftily yours

crocheting on the edge

A super sunny DIY for a scorcher of a day.
This sweet project is the brain child of Cassie and her blog You Go Girl.  There is a wonderful tutorial there with clear and detailed photos on how to accomplish this crocheted edging.
I was smittened right away when I saw this and decided to try my hand at it. Coincidentally I had just inherited some cloth napkins from a friend that looked like they might appreciate a little reno.  So I went to work and there were some discoveries along the way!
I began with a straight from the horses mouth approach except I changed the materials slightly choosing Valdani Perle Cotton over baby weight yarn and a 3mm hook instead of a 3.75mm.
Truthfully my first attempt was a failure.  The blanket stitch I stitched was spaced too far apart for the tension of the crochet, leaving the trim pulled  and the edges of the napkins curling in.
Backing up to the drawing board  I resorted to the first rule of careful knitting/crocheting: check your gauge!  I stitched some crocheted scallop edging all on its lonesome and then measured the distance between the midpoint of each scallop and the edge of each and found that I should have been spacing my blanket stitches .75 cm apart instead of the half inch the tutorial suggests.  Oh you live and you learn!
The second attempt went swimmingly. I did make a few changes however:
1. I chose to make the length of my blanket stitches shorter (as well as closer together) so that the bars did not reach under the hem of the napkin but fell midway through.  I felt the shorter stitches were more appropriate for the delicate perle cotton.
2. I did not double strand my cotton as  I made may blanket stitches.  Waste not /want not!
3. When blanket stitching I did not use a length of cotton 15 times the circumference of the napkin  as the pattern suggests.  Since my yarn was not double stranded  I would not need so much.  Also I found I preferred to add on a new length from time to time rather then pull a ridiculous length of yarn through every stitch and watch the resulting tangles ensue.  Word to the wise – when blanket stitching  pull your yarn through slowly and carefully, remember to breath, and eat some chocolate as the tutorial suggests.
4. When single crocheting  through my blanket stitch I only made 2 single crochets in each space (not three).  I compensated for this later when making my scallops skipping only one single crochet (instead of 2) in between each scallop. 

With one wee ball of Valdani Perle Cotton I edged one full napkin and got 2 sides of the scallops finished on the second.
You could have fun trying out different kinds of edgings on all manner of whatnots.  A skirt hem for example, or a pocket edge, a table cloth or a tea towel, or even some pillow cases.  This is a page from one of my favorite crochet resources- Super Stitches Crochet. A glossy book with pretty pictures and easy to follows charts and written instructions for all sorts of crochet stitches, textures and edges too. Check it out next time you are in the Knit Cafe.

Happy stitching all!
Craftily Yours


I thought I would share this little nugget that I discovered on the blog called Honestly WTF.  It delivered me into a whirlwind of nostalgia and revery of summer crafternoons when I was but a fledgling.  

I think this craft might be the catalyst for hours of entertainment for me and my niece this summer at the cottage.  If you (like me) need a memory jog on how it is done you can check out this great friendship bracelet tutorial here 

Today my longest-time and bestest-friend gave me these: the prettiest of all flowers.  She got them for for being a smarty pants.  She’s a Doctor now, a full fledged PHD, but still delivering flowers and joy to her old pal.  
I picked out these colours of Valdani hand dyed embroidery floss using this sweet bouquet as inspiration.  Valadani floss is available at the Knit Cafe in all affable and chummy colours – enough for all your friends!

New KC patterns on Ravelry and a mitten-lining tutorial

The last week we have been busy getting our new patterns pdf-download-ready and we are happy to say they are now available as Ravelry Downloads.  Hooray!  Check out the Saturday Night Shrug, Confetti Mittens, Tedster, Chunki Cardi, and Chevron Rug!
These Confetti Mittens in black and white worsted weight  have a hemmed cuff. Perfect for putting in a mitten liner to make the mittens extra warm!  Here is how it is done:

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darn it all!

When last we spoke I was metering out advice on moth prevention, but what if the critters have already had their way with your favorite sweater and you are beside yourself with grief.  To you -poor unfortunate, I say “darn it”!This pretty picture comes from Craft Alert’s “For Keeps” a show about mending from 2010. You can find Craft Alert here Continue reading

beware the dreaded MOTH!

Although any kind of infestation is likely to cause the shivers in the most stoic, moths are the most feared critter to the knitter.  As springtime fast approaches it is time to consider these creatures and what they could do if not properly guarded against.

Tips to dealing with Cloths (Wool) Moths Continue reading