Tag Archives: lace

ColourRIOT: Avoiding clown puke

colour RIOT

It’s ColourRIOT time again!

For the next post in the ColourRIOT series, I invited my friend Mandy to write about how to cope with vibrant, variegated yarn. I tend to gravitate to semi-solid, tonal yarns, myself, at least when it comes to knitting — but I have a stash of more highly variegated yarns waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. Mandy, on the other hand, has a way with those multicoloured skeins, and the persistence and curiosity to keep trying new things until she finds a pattern that works with the yarn she loves.

Mandy is an erstwhile member of my local knitting group, the Uptownknitmob, although she moved back to her hometown of Winnipeg last year. She’s also a talented designer of shawls and other accessories — and (in case that wouldn’t keep her hands busy enough) she’s the mama of three little girls, two of whom are twins born just weeks after her return to Winnipeg. I’m delighted that she was able to steal enough time during naps to share this post with us!

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My friend Lindsey runs Waterloo Wools, but she’s been on maternity leave for a while. She’s re-opening the shop with a grand relaunch at the Woodstock Fleece Festival next weekend, and she asked me to knit a sample shawlette for her booth. Of course I said yes!

Kiran  1

Kiran shawlette

 Lindsey asked me to use her 100% BFL fingering-weight yarn, Tidewater, which hasn’t been a huge seller in the past — it’s a real treat to work with, but it’s less familiar than the usual yarn bases like merino-nylon sock blends or merino-cashmere-nylon luxury blends. We’re hoping that showing how the yarn looks knit up will help customers get a better sense of its possibilities.

Kiran  5

Such lovely texture!

Tidewater is a 2-ply yarn, woolen-spun, so it’s lofty and springy and a little bit nubbly. It’s scratchier and woolier than, say, a worsted-spun merino-nylon sock yarn, but it has an almost buttery hand to it — not oily or lanolin-y in the least, but surprisingly soft, even with its halo. (And, when you block it, that halo really blooms beautifully.)

Kiran  3

Just look at that halo, and those picots!

The bonus treat, for me, in knitting this sample shawl, is getting to use a pattern by one of my favourite designers, who also happens to be local, and a member of our Guild. Katherine Matthews has designed a number of beautiful shawls (as well as exquisite beaded cuffs, socks, and so on), and Kiran is her newest design. It’s exquisite!

(My favourite detail is almost accidental, but the way the two picots sit on either side of the centre spine reminds me of a swallowtail  butterfly’s ‘tail’.)

Kiran  2

Love that late-afternoon sunlight!

For the record, I knit the smallest size of the pattern (it comes in small and large versions with instructions for resizing to any size you like). I used all but about 13 yards of one skein of Tidewater to make it. Full notes are, of course, over at Ravelry.


Filed under Knitting for Gifts

Oh Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart

The Cecilia cardigan I’ve been working on for my friend to wear at her wedding is done and blocked! But, like the song says, she’s shaking my confidence daily… Continue reading


Filed under Dyeing, Knitting for Gifts

Summertime pursuits

Lest anyone reading this blog lately fear that I’ve forgotten how to knit, I can offer two pieces of proof to the contrary.

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Filed under Dyeing, Knitting for Gifts, Knitting for Me

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week: Day 4

Here is my contribution to Day Four of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, organized by the adorable Eskimimi. Today’s theme is A Knitter or Crocheter for All Seasons…


The funny thing about today’s theme for #3kcbw is that I’ve had a half-composed blog week about winter knitting in my head for months. I seem to do that a lot — get an idea for a blog post, and even think up what photos and phrases might belong in it, but then get distracted, or lazy, or otherwise occupied, until the post is no longer relevant.

I was going to post about how I was working on these lovely Norwegian mittens in Classic Elite Fresco, a super-soft angora-alpaca-wool blend.

Slow and steady - progress

Norwegian Mittens by Beth Brown-Reinsel - in progress

I was going to talk about being curled up on the couch, a handknit shawl around my shoulders and a blanket over my lap, with a big steaming cup of milky tea.

I was going to talk about my favourite winter-afternoon watching: Victorian Farm and the other brilliant series in this family of shows. A team of English social historians and archaeologists spend a year on a period farm, using appropriate technologies to better understand life in the Victorian era — or the 17th century, or the Edwardian era, depending on the series. It’s a perfect combination of nerdiness and utter beauty, with a healthy dose of fibre lore thrown in.

Peter Ginn and a lamb from Edwardian Farm

I was going to talk about the quiet that muffles the city when there’s a thick layer of snow.

I was going to talk about warm, folky music that sustains me through the winter, like this Queen (!!) cover by my favourite band, The Once:

But you know what? Now it’s spring (even if it did snow the day before yesterday). We’ve had the barbecue out; I’ve shaved my legs and worn skirts and sandals. I still love The Once, but we’re on to watching the Edwardian Farm team in the summer months, picking cherries and frolicking in bathing costumes at the seaside. And as for the mittens, well, I haven’t knit a stitch on them for at least a couple of months.

Now, I’m much more interested in dreaming up frothy, lacy things to knit for a friend’s wedding this summer:

The stunning Luiza shawl by Jane Araujo... High in my queue!

Funny, that.

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Wedding knits

Oh, right! I’ve been so distracted waiting for Jane Austen Knits to get published that I have somehow neglected to tell you about all the OTHER secret knitting I was doing!

My sister got married in August, and that prompted a total of 3 knits — some secret, some less so. I might as well blog about them all now!

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Filed under Knitting for Gifts, Knitting for Me


These days, it seems I either have a backlog of unbloggable knitting, or I have a backlog of unblogged knitting.

(Actually, right now I kind of have both, but obviously I can’t get into the unbloggable stuff just now.)

More gratuitous shawl pictures

This, however, is eminently bloggable!

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Filed under Dyeing, Knitting for Gifts

Summer Dreaming

I’m continuing to knit away on the Ribena cardigan. I have the left front panel (with all of its tucks) finished, and the right front is nearly done; the back’s finished too. Once the right front is done, I’ll join the shoulders, and pick up for the sleeves. Also, because apparently I’m a sucker for punishment, I think I’ve convinced myself to pick up stitches around the bottom, to knit down and make a folded hem that will (hopefully) not roll as much. I think the folded hem will look nice with the tucks, too — here’s hoping! I have pictures, but they’re not uploaded to the computer yet, let alone the interwebs.

Meanwhile, all that stockinette is leaving me plenty of time to let myself dream of future knitting projects. Here’s what’s got me salivating just now (with Ravelry links):

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Guess what I did last week?

the annes

Anne Hanson and meeeeee! (Photo courtesy of Yarnpr0n/Fireopalphoto.) -- Recognize Anne's cardigan? That's her lovely Sprössling, even prettier in person!

The Kitchener-Waterloo Knitters’ Guild — of which I will be president next year! — held our biannual Adjudicated Show last Tuesday.

The emcee? Yours truly.

The adjudicator/guest keynote speaker? The elegant, insightful Anne Hanson of Knitspot!

Anne came to Waterloo (and New Hamburg, and Toronto) to adjudicate our show, and to teach some classes. I didn’t get to attend any of her classes, but I got something better: I got to hang out all day Monday while she went through the stacks of entries for the show.

Anne examining one of the lace submissions. (Photo by me, and much less lovely than the one above!)

I don’t envy her the task one bit. There were entries there that honestly took my breath away — some of the first-time-knitting-lace entries were especially incredible!

The Guild site will have a gallery of the winning pieces in all the categories soon; I’ll post when I get the link.

Anne was absolutely meticulous in her adjudication. Gracious and specific in her praise, and generous and constructive in pointing out what next steps a knitter might take to improve on a particular piece. I find it really difficult to assess someone’s knitting critically in that way — I can spot when something’s truly awful, but I’m not so good at the finer nuances, like a slightly different blocking strategy, or a different type of cast-on technique.

We had a whole team of volunteers on hand for Monday. Adjudication’s not a small undertaking, when the Guild is one of the largest in North America! Some people laid out the pieces in the next category, and the next, and the next, as Anne moved from station to station. Someone else took notes as she talked about each piece. Others set up a miniature studio, and photographed every winning entry. Still others transferred Anne’s comments about each winning piece to another computer, where they were formatted into cards to be given to each recipient, along with the photo of their piece, and (of course!) their prize. And that’s all just on adjudication day — there was a massive, massive amount of work done beforehand, setting out the categories, getting prizes donated, soliciting entries, etc.

Then — did you think I’d forgotten? — came the actual Adjudicated Show. Meredith (Yarnpr0n/FireOpalPhoto) has some fabulous pictures on Flickr already, and there will be more in the Guild gallery when that’s up! She captured the event better than I could have. To be honest, my memory is mostly a haze of public speaking anxiety and the complete star-struckness (star-stricken-ness?) that hit me when I realized I was sharing the stage with one of my personal knitting idols.

I have to say… when I agreed, last summer, to be VP of the Guild, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but so far, it’s been a completely positive experience. Just getting to be associated with this calibre of knitters, designers, dyers, spinners, etc., is a huge honour.


Filed under Events


Ummm… where was I?

I was still blogging Christmas projects when I left off, I think. It feels a little late for that sort of thing now — I was just outside in the sun with no coat or boots, no hat or mitts, nor even a scarf, so Christmas feels like a very long time ago.

4W ravatar with rings

Waterloo Wellington Winter Wonders avatar base

Let’s fast-forward to February, and the (ZOMG-awesome-breathaking-and-incredible) Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and their fibre-filled counterparts, the Knitting Olympics and the Ravelympics.

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Filed under Events, Knitting for Me, Spinning