Strange Brew Knitalong 5

This will be my last post for our Strange Brew Knitalong. My sweater is all done! This is how that last few steps went.

The Strange Brew – design your own fairisle sweater pattern by Tin Can Knits is knit all in one piece from the bottom up. In my last post I showed how I knit my sleeves and body of my sweater together so that it was all in one piece. The last step is to knit the yoke of the sweater. This is also the part of the sweater that is the most fun to knit as it has all the colour-work patterns in it. Yahoo!

If you are new to fairisle knitting you might not recognize this as the back side of the sweater. All those long bits of yarn you see are called “floats” They are the bits of yarn that are carried with you across a row while you are knitting with another colour in the same row. The most crucial of tricks with fairisle knitting is to keep the tension of these floats relaxed. If they are too taut they will distort your knitting pattern and make you knitting projects too small. Try to make your floats a little loose. Your knitting should not look buckled, if it does you are too tight with your floats. If you swatched your fairisle knitting on a different size needle now is the time to switch to that needle size.

One thing to consider when you are using multiple colours in a fairisle project is whether you will “carry” your yarn colours up a row when you are not using it. It’s worth thinking about. How many rows will you carry? The more rows you carry the less ends you will have to weave in, but on the other hand the more rows you carry up will mean that your pattern may get distorted in that area or if you are carrying several colours if will add lots of extra bulk in that section. Me, personally, I will only carry a yarn over one row, and that’s why I have soooooo many ends to weave in.
This is quite a chore. Best to take a few breaths and make a cup of tea.

…and now the big reveal!

Volila! I just need to graft the underarm stitches and block this baby!

Thank you for knitting along with me. If you would like to make your own version of the Strange Brew Sweater you can find the pattern HERE.

The Knit Café has a fairisle knitting class
you can read all about it and register HERE

Craftily yours


Strange Brew Knitalong 4

I am finished to the armpits on my Strange Brew sweater pattern. The Strange Brew is a typical bottom up, all in one, (no seaming) sweater construction. The body of the sweater is knit up to the arm pits, leave these stitches on your circular needles and knit up your sleeves and leave these stitches on your needles too. The next step is to join it all together.

This can seem very daunting to the uninitiated but if you just follow the steps laid out in the pattern you will have no problem. The trick is to not to over think it – just do it!

One other trick:  make sure you are joining your stitches with the right sides facing.

As you can see in the picture I am joining the first sleeve with only knit stitches facing me. If you are knitting into purl stitches you are on the wrong side, turn the sleeve around!

First sleeve is on! Knit across the body stitches and attach the second sleeve. Knit across the second sleeve’s stitches.


Voila! Both sleeves attached!

Next time we will get to the part we’ve all been waiting for – the fairisle yoke!

Craftily yours

Julie Asselin is back in stock!

The Knit Café is just busting with hand dyed yarn and today we received even more from Quebecois artist Julie Asselin.  It’s so interesting how every hand dyer has a recognizable style. I would say that Julie’s style is sophisticated, both in her choices of yarn bases and in her colour application.

We have two yarns from Julie Asselin in the shop. One is called Leizu DK. We’ve had this one before and just loved seeing what you made with it. Boy, does this yarn knit up great! It’s a blend of 90% superwash merino and 10% silk and a  tight spin with a little sheen from the silk. It’s the yarn featured in the popular Campside Shawl. It knit’s to a standard DK tension 20-24 stitches per 10cm.

We also have a brand new yarn in the shop. It is a sock weight yarn called Nomad. It’s comprised of 80% superwash merino and a healthy amount of nylon; 20% for strong sock knitting. Each skein has a generous 412m (450 yards), a little extra for long socks or shawl or sweater projects . Perhaps the best thing about Nomad is it’s pedigree. Nomad is produced  ethically from American sheep’s wool and spun in the USA too. This yarn is spun with extra loft for light skeins that trap air and become soft and subtle with blocking. Julie has worked hard to develop dye methods that are less toxic and produce less water waste. Maybe most importantly this yarn is lovely and will look even better once you’ve knit it up!

Craftily yours

Show and Share from The Knit Cafe

Truth be told there is very little that will hold this blog post together theme-wise. I just have a bunch of yarns and projects and pics I have gathered from the last few weeks that just can’t wait to be out and proud!

Here’s one ↑. I know you may be wondering why I can’t wait to show you a skein of white yarn, but this is no ordinary plain-Jane-skein, it is virgin yarn full of potential.  An undyed, 80% merino 20% nylon, fingering weight yarn that we have purchased just so it can be hand dyed and become it’s true fabulous self. The Knit Café is hosting a Yarn Dyeing Class this weekend. This one is all full up, but look out for the next class on the schedule which is running on Sunday January 14, 12:30-4pm

The undyed yarn will be used in the class but is also available for purchase to anyone in need. Each 115g skein is $14.

If we practice, and hard, with our hand dyeing we may one day be able to make something as beautiful as the skeins that come from the dye kitchen of Lichen and Lace. If you haven’t already heard the news we have recently received a BIG order forom this fantastic Cannuk hand dyeing Co. We have a full selection of both sock weight and worsted weight yarns. Above – you can see the fingering weight skeins. So pretty!

Look here ↑. This is a picture of socks-in-progress by knitter-extraordinaire Vanessa Jost. She is making these fantasic stockings from Mondim by Retrosaria. Retrosaria is the yarn company from Portugal I was gushing about a while back. You can read the gushing HERE. I am so happy to have knitted evidence of how beautiful this yarn knits up. Look at those happy socks!

Vanessa is knitting two socks at once because she is a pro! Sock-making wannabes check out The Knit Cafe’s First Sock Class starting November 15. There are only a few spots left in this class!

…and here is the culprit! The yarn that made it all possible! It’s the very pretty Mondim!

Edie Kim came in the other day wearing this ↑. Edie is part of The Knit Cafe’s Yarn Club. The Yarn Club releases 6 patterns with matching yarn throughout the year. Next Yarn Club subscription will begin in April so look out for it. The last release for The Yarn Club 2017 was this neck warmer we call the Bonnie Bandit. It is knit with three colours of Hedgehog Fibre. This version features colours Day Dream, Bramble, and Typewriter. I am so pleased with the way it turned out.

Here are some more colours of the Hedgehog Fibre that we received in our last order. Many of these are still warming our shelves and ready to become Bonnie Bandits and so many other things.

This is the original version of the Bonnie Bandit made with colours Oracle, and Zephyr and in the middle a Potluck colour available only to yarn club members.

Find the Bonnie Bandit Pattern right HERE

Craftily yours

Strange Brew Knitalong 3

It’s time for casting on! Starting a new project is so fun especially when you have done all that prep work, swatching and charting and plotting.

The Strange Brew Pattern where we can design our own fairisle sweater project leaves a lot of the decision making to us – the knitters! For example you can choose the ribbing stitch  for your bottom band and cuffs and neck band. Will it be 1×1, or 2×2 or 3×1? I chose a 1×1 ribbing stitch since I am knitting a small size and I thought the smaller rib would match the sweaters smaller stature.

If you like you can also add fairisle stitching to the body of your sweater and/or the sleeves. I have decided to do one motif just above the bottom band and a smaller version of the same just above the cuff.

Now it’s knit, knit, knit up to the arm pits!

Craftily yours

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


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