Tuesday, January 30, 2018

fo: #rightbrainmutany project

I may be weird, but I actually like doing the year end inventory at the shop.  Well, the counting bit at least.  Gives me a chance to spend some quality time with the yarn, when I barely have a chance to glance at it most days during the holiday season.

This year, I was chatting with one of my volunteers and glanced down at the Briggs & Little Heritage shelf, and saw three skeins of yarn sitting side-by-side.  And then I felt like I got smacked in the face with them.

Sometimes a yarn will misbehave and appear to disagree with anything you try to use it in, and us Knitter's and Crocheter's will have to resign ourselves to leaving that yarn alone until it tells you what it wants to be.

These three skeins SHOUTED what they wanted, and no matter how much I fought it, I couldn't ignore their demand.  They wanted to be this:

fo: #rightbrainmutany project: gradient cowl
The image I got in my head was narrow but deep gradient cowl in some sort of textured stitch, where the three colours transitioned from one to another.

Natural White, Ragg, Sheep's Grey

To get this, I held two strands together throughout the whole project.  First, I held two strands of the natural white together, then one strand of natural white and one strand of ragg (itself a marled yarn), followed by two strands of ragg.  To transition to sheep's grey, I repeated the process, holding one strand of ragg and one sheep's grey, followed by two strands of the grey.

fo: #rightbrainmutany project: gradient cowl fo: #rightbrainmutany project: gradient cowl
I found the transition from the natural white into ragg was sharper than the image slammed in my head,and the transition from ragg to sheep's grey nearly invisible.  But I can't bring myself to care because the end result was stunning!

fo: #rightbrainmutany project: gradient cowl
The textured stitch was just a simple Irish moss (k1, p1 around for two rows, then p1, k1 for two more).  I cast the sucker on at our last Fibre's Guild meeting with 6.5 mm needles, but after knitting a few inches, realized the fabric was too tight. 

wip: #rightbrainmutany project
So I ripped it out and started fresh with 8 mm needles.  Much better!

I'd originally planned this cowl to be something like 30" long, but then I realized that was a ridiculous length, and also I would need more yarn - probably just an extra ball of the ragg, but I wanted to keep this within the three balls.  It's actually a perfect size (about 18" long and 30" around).  Easy to toss on and artfully fold in whatever way I need, whether as a fashionable cowl or obscuring most of my head and face when we hit -30C temps.  And the textured stitch locks in heat, so I'm always nice and cozy in this sucker.

Why do I call it the #rightbrainmutany project, you ask?  Folks, I'm not a monogamous knitter.  I just realized the other day that while I own approximately 30 cords for my interchangeable needles, I only have 2 in my knitting case.  I have a lot of wips.  But this project?  It DEMANDED my attention.  I tried to work on other projects, but this one wouldn't allow it.  My right brain took complete control and didn't let me go until this thing was off the needles.

I had this project done in 3 days, so I guess there's something to be said for monogaknitting.  And let me tell you, it was a battle between brain sides when I had to be Not Knitting at the shop.

(Right brain often won.)

fo: #rightbrainmutany project: gradient cowl
Have you ever had a project take over your brain?  Or had a part of your brain mutany and take over you?  And I've only just noticed that I've been spelling "mutany" wrong all this time.  Oh well, I've been hashtagging it wrong as well, and I'm not going back to change any of it! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Long Overdue fo: Whitehorse 2015 Year in Temperature Scarf

I don't even want to go dig up the old posts on this project.  The fact that it was knit and (nearly) finished in 2015 should say enough.  Though to be fair, the sewing in of ends only just got finished a couple of months ago, and not by me either but a friend who was tired of seeing it with it's sporadic fringe.

Without further ado, here is my finished Year in Temperature Scarf!

fo (at last): Whitehorse 2015 Year in Temperature Scarf
Yes, this is the slatwall chalkboard in the shop.  It makes for a fun display!  For those who don't know, this is a conceptual project, where you choose colours to represent different temperature ranges, and knit rows for each day in the colour that represents the temperature that day!

If you look closely, you can see each of the months labeled, the black deep colds at the beginning and ends of the year (which represents average temps of below -30C), and the swath of light pink that represents my trip to Mexico in June of that year (it was my only chance to use light pink!).  My favourite bit is the change from deep cold in early February to above zero temps within the week.  Oh Canada.

Here's the temperature ranges I chose:


I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport.  Most people who knit this chose a palette that follows the standard colours used to represent temperatures ranges on weather reporting (red orange yellow green blue purple).  I wasn't a fan of how they came out though, so I picked my own colours!  I love blues and purples and burgundy, so of course that had to be my range.

I knit this sucker in a 1x1 rib and did two rows of each colour for the average daily temperature for each day.  Ravelry tells me I cast on 44 stitches and and I honestly can't remember anything else about it. 

The whole thing measures just shy of 10 feet.  This scarf only really gets broken out when it's super cold, since I can wrap this thing around my head 3 or 4 times!  Makes me laugh every time I put it on, and even more when I try to take it off and boggle at the amount of wraps.

Anywho, now that Christmas Retail Insanity is over, I'm hoping to get back into blogging.  There may be a flurry of posts in the next little bit, as I've been mentally composing a ton of them in the last month or two.  I'm glad to get this one off my list at last!  It's always nice to get an old, long-term project finished up, complete with a post. 

Have you ever tackled a conceptual project like this, and would you consider it?  Where would the temperature range sit on my chart above in your area? 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Repairing a Well-Loved Sweater

So not all Store-related knit work is as fun as knitting store samples.  I'm open to taking repair jobs from customers, since despite telling myself I just don't have the time and energy, I can't leave poor damaged knitwear that someone's grandma or mom knit then.  Though I've learned to be more picky on the jobs I take on.

This sweater is one of the repair jobs that taught me that lesson.

Repair Work For a customer
This beauty was brought in by a local gentleman along with two other sweaters.  Um, about a year ago.  Oops.  They were all knit by his Mother years ago, and she's since passed away.  This is an important job.  The first sweater was an easy repair - a couple of broken strands and some mostly-matching yarn to fix the hole.  This is the second sweater, and boy did I under-estimate the work needed on her.

Repair Work For a customer
There are no before pictures, but there were quite a few holes in the sleeves.  Mostly at the elbows, but while repairing those, I noticed how thin the fabric was getting around the holes, and on other sections of the sleeves.  You can maybe see my patches above and below.

Repair Work For a customer

Repair Work For a customer
Maybe because I'm damn good at these sort of repairs - patching large sections and creating new fabric.  Though there's only so much I can do to match the yarn colour.

Repair Work For a customer
I only noticed the hole while taking these photos. You can sort of see a patch I started months ago. Obviously I didn't finish the section back then.
Sadly, looking over the whole sweater for other thin sections, I noticed just how brittle the yarn is getting.  I'm really not sure how long this poor thing will last, but hopefully it'll last a bit longer.  The armpits in particular are looking so strained and brittle, but there's only so much I can do here.  I've decided, for now, to leave this section be.  I'm going to tell him to bring it back in if he has any problems.  I may sew a fabric patch over the whole area if needed, rather than reinforce the entire area.

Repair Work For a customer
The last section to be repaired (other than a few wee holes around the colourwork at the bottom of the sweater) was the ratty hem.  I wish I'd taken a photo of it before hand, or even from a few hours ago.  I'd say about 2/3rds of the bottom hem were falling apart.  Mostly just on the cast-on row, but there were a few sections with broken strands a few rows down.

Repair Work For a customer
It took a few tries, and abandoning the hem to practice on the sleeve hems, but I managed to work out how to do a sewn reinforcement for most of the edge, with a few areas where I had to build up the fabric by picking up clean stitches and knitting the fabric up, then bind-off the edge.  My yarn is a bit more red than the sweater yarn, so you can kind of see what I'm talking in these photos, especially the one below that shows one section that I had to build up the fabric.

Repair Work For a customer
The sweater is having a bath right now.  Ye gods, I didn't realize how dirty this sweater is, poor thing.  I was hoping to take it to work tomorrow because I think he's coming by then, but I feel like I should leave the sweater in the bath overnight.  I added a bunch of moisturizing conditioner to try to add some moisture back into the fabric.  Don't know if it'll work, but it can't hurt.

Repair Work For a customer
Oh, and here's a shot of the yoke colourwork.  She really is a lovely sweater.  Despite the time and effort of this repair, I'm glad I could give it some life!

Do you ever tackle any big repair jobs?  I know I didn't before this.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

fo: (Pumpkin Spice) Fredrika Socks

So remember that sock I mentioned at the end of my last post

I uh...finished them.

fo: Fredrika Socks
These were the quickest socks I've ever knit.  Granted, I shortened them to ankle-length to get the pair from one ball of yarn, and the yarn itself is worsted.  But I don't really attribute either of those to my speed.

fo: Fredrika Socks
I entirely blame the pattern itself.  It was addicting!  Each section was quick and interesting, with 4 different (but relatively easy) charts to finish, and a unique heel method that had me fascinated by the whole process - both times!  They just seemed to fall off of the needles.

fo: Fredrika Socks
Which is good because it's -17C outside right now and my floors are damn cold!

fo: Fredrika Socks
Pattern: Fredrika, by Tiina Kuu
Yarn: Custom Woolen Mills CWM Sock Yarn 4-ply
Needles: 3.5 mm
Modifications: Shortened to ankle-length

I actually knit these as an excuse to use one of Custom Woolen Mill's new sock yarns.  I'm not a quick sock knitter in general, and I resisted using their 2 ply (fingering weight) yarn.  And then the 4 ply (worsted weight) yarn arrived, and there ended any resistance.  This yarn is hardy and rustic - entirely my sort of yarn, and with 30% nylon, it'll hold up to all sorts of dragging my feet around my home.  This colour called to me too, and I'm so excited to wear these suckers!

fo: Fredrika Socks
If you have any sort of interest in sock knitting, do yourself a favour and knit these socks.  The pattern is even free, so you have no excuse!  I'm torn between making another pair, or tackling this pair that my fingers are itching to start.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

fo: Unanticipated Christmas Stocking, and Another Oops

Folks, I hate all things Christmas when it's still October.  Or honestly, before Remembrance Day on Nov. 11th (do you have that in the States?  Elsewhere?).  But I've unfortunately learned that when you're in retail, especially in yarn-related retail, you kind of need to start thinking Christmas earlier than that.  Mostly because smart knitters and crocheters have started their Christmas creating by now.


So this year (unlike last year), I dived in early and I got a Christmas sample made up.


fo: Christmas Stocking Knit using Briggs and Little Heritage yarn and their Christmas Stocking pattern.
Okay, so it's not very traditional for Christmas, but whatever I knit a Christmas stocking.  And do I know my customers?  Yes I do, because I had a lady with her friend come in just as I hung this sucker up and promptly freaked out about the adorable little sheep and decided to make one herself.

Though we had a good laugh because she loved my colour choices but didn't want to copy me.  Oh my dear, it's not like we'll be wearing these stockings out and get all embarrassed because OH NO WE HAVE IDENTICAL CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS YOU HORRIBLE COPY CAT YOU.  :)

Seriously though, who can resist that sheep?!  I couldn't - the sheep is precisely why I knit a stupid Christmas thing in October.  Stupid cute sheep.

Pattern: Christmas Stocking #103, by Briggs & Little
Yarn: Briggs & Little Heritage (with a bit of Custom Woolen Mills 2 ply Mulespinner, because I had a bit of cream and brown on hand for the sheep)
Mods: Only did 3 sections on the leg; changed up the heel flap for my standard heel flap method; lengthened foot of sock; did contrast heel/toe.

fo: Christmas Stocking Knit using Briggs and Little Heritage yarn and their Christmas Stocking pattern.
I loved working with this pattern, and B&L yarn permanently lives in my yarny heart.  The pattern was great because it has multiple charts you can choose from on the leg, so you have mix and match to your hearts content.  I kind of want to knit another one in blue with a snowflake theme!

Though not right away because I have way too much else to do.  For every project I show here, there's at least 3 that I've finished that I never blog about.  Certain bits of owning and operating a shop is getting easier, which frees up more time to deal with all the other stuff I never realized I should've been doing!  Haha oops.

fo: Christmas Stocking Knit using Briggs and Little Heritage yarn and their Christmas Stocking pattern.
That doesn't meant that I'm not making time for personal project though.  For instance, winter is officially here in Whitehorse, and that means that the floors of my basement suite is getting DAMN COLD.  Being a knitter, that means that I have to knit myself new thick woolen socks.  Obviously.  And when Custom Woolen Mill's CMW 4 ply sock yarn arrived, I knew immediately that they were the One.

And despite telling myself I couldn't start it until I finished a different store project and 2 repair jobs, tonight my hands conspired with my cold feet, said screw that, and I got the cuff of an ankle sock knit.

Oops I started a sock.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


So despite having several finished items to share with you, I haven't managed to find the time to take decent photos yet (and the one sweater now needs to be reblocked because I've worn it so many times, it's a bit stretched out).  Instead, I'm going to show you the new project I started!

This project is another accident.  Wasn't anywhere near my queue.  Wasn't even on the radar.

At this month's Northern Fibre Guild meeting, I borrowed this book from the guild library so I could read up on Fair Isle knitting and play with some of the charts in the book.  It's an interesting book with some gorgeous designs in it, despite the very strong 1970s vibe.  Oh the sexy moustachio'd man poses!  ::swoon::

And then this yarn arrived in shop.

And I had a closer look at the pattern on the cover.

Swatching for my new sweater
And then I swatched.

Oops, started a new sweater.
And now I'm knitting a sweater.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

fo: Rolling Rock Henley

fo: Rolling Rock
This photo is a bit dark, but it's the closest to the true colour of this sweater, which is a dark grey/charcoal shade. The rest of the photos wound up too bright, but shows the details a bit better.  Ugh photography - you are not my thing.
Anyways, here's some photos (at last) of my Rolling Rock that I knit during the Briggs and Little Spring KAL earlier this year.  I love this sweater and I wear it regularly, but there's some major issues with it.  More on that in a second.

Pattern: Rolling Rock, by Thea Colman
Yarn: Briggs & Little Sport in Dark Grey
Mods: Not much on the upper body, all the waist shaping on the lower body.  Shortened sleeves to 3/4 length.

Things I love about this sweater:

fo: Rolling Rock
Henley neckline.  Very cleverly done and well instructed.  It makes for such a lovely neckline and one of my favourites that I've ever knit.  The buttons were some old ones I've had in my button stash for yonks, which I found for about 30 cents at a thrift shop in Manitoba.

fo: Rolling Rock
Oh wow, nice butt photo there Heather.  If I weren't too damn lazy and wanting to go to bed, I'd go back and crop it.  OH WELL BUTTS FOR YOU.
Lace pattern on the back piece only.  It's a lovely lace, is easy to remember, and I adore that it's just in the back.  Granted, it didn't show up well in this rustic wool, but the texture is there and I love that the lace pops when I wear a bright tank top underneath!

fo: Rolling Rock
Body shaping.  I added a ton of shaping to the body below the bust to make this sweater fit me better.  I think it turned out really well, and skims my body nicely.  Not too tight, not too loose, but just right = Goldilocks shaping!

fo: Rolling Rock
THIS YARN.  Dear me do I ever love Briggs & Little yarn.  It's rustic for sure, rough and a bit scratchy.  But it's warm as all get out, and so long as I'm wearing a tank top to protect my lower back and tummy, I can easily wear this against the skin.  It does soften up with washing, and I'm itching to knit another sweater from it.

Things I don't like about this sweater:

fo: Rolling Rock
The too-big upper body.  So, I wasn't thinking when I cast this sweater on.  I did choose a size that corresponded with my upper bust as I always do, but unfortunately this pattern has both that size and the one above it start with the same cast on amount, and you just add more stitches later on for the larger size (which happened to be my full bust size).  By the time I started to realize that the sweater was coming out too big, I was nearly at the sleeve divide.

fo: Rolling Rock
MOAR BUTTS.  But (hehe) you can also see how bad the upper torso fit is at the underarm.  It's too wide across the upper back.  You know, I could probably knit this whole sweater again and simply eliminate a few lace repeats form the back.  Hmmm.
Now, I don't mind ripping out a sweater if something is going wrong with it.  Better to get it over with and redo it than to wind up with a sweater you won't wear.  But I was in that KAL and I was determined to finish on time.  I wouldn't be able to do that if I ripped it.  I convinced myself that it would be alright.  Dividing for the sleeves and knitting an inch proved me wrong.  So instead of starting over, I started to do some aggressive waist shaping to get a good fit below the bust.  Not sure what my reasoning was - probably the thought that I'd get the sleeves and lower body fitted well and maybe no one would notice the poor fit above the bust.

And you know what?  It worked!  Sort of.  I point this problem out to EVERYONE, and they all say that the sweater looks great and they don't see anything wrong.  I do, of course I do.  Between the large size and the slight bias this single ply yarn creates, the neckline is actually skewed a bit, and the henley doesn't hold itself open unless I keep the sweater tugged down.

fo: Rolling Rock
But you know what?  I DON'T CARE.  Love love love this sweater and I'm going to keep wearing it with pride.  I'd like to reknit this pattern in another colour, and I'll try to get a better fit that time.  But there's so many more sweaters I want to knit in the mean time that there's no sense in resenting the problems in this one.  It's comfy to wear and looks great on me - what else could a knitter want?