Archive for September 2011

Sometime last year, prompted by a dear friend’s pregnancy, Monique asked if I’d guide her in knitting her very first project. She’d only knit before, and had never cast on, bound off or done any kind of decrease. I immediately accepted and visited Patternfish on my ipad so that she could choose what to knit for Kate (also known as the boss of our hair). Imagine my surprise when she chose my bear claw blanket, without even knowing that I had designed and knit for IK back in 2003*.

I warned her that this entails a fair bit of knitting, but she was undaunted. We agreed to substitute yarn, as I have a bit on hand, and selected a palette for baby-to-be Ella by playing around in Illustrator.

Because Nordique is heavier than the original yarn, Mo decided to knit only 4 squares but decided to knit a wider border. It didn’t end up being ready for Ella’s birth – a couple months would have been a bit of an optimistic timeline for a woman with two boys under the age of 6, don’t you think? – but it was ready and blocked with time to spare for her first birthday.

Mittens are next – as soon as I come back from Knit East, she’ll come over and select her colours for a pair of Jared‘s Northlight Mittens. Perhaps she’ll catch the blogging bug and will tell you all about it herself (she’s now on ravelry, btw).

And, speaking of Knit East, I’ve decided to run another little contest. Anyone I meet in New Brunswick and Rhinebeck will receive an entry coupon. Those who can’t make it to either can enter by subscribing the the newsletter. I’ll share a few more details in a couple days.

*It took me 6 weeks to knit the original, and I must have knit literally during every waking moment. Since then, we refer to seemingly insurmountable endeavors simply as ‘bear claw’. Ironically, IK decided not to run the pattern until 2005!

Those who don’t subscribe to the newsletter probably don’t know that we recently added something new to our collection:

This is Sommet - it’s a pure baby alpaca which knits up at the same gauge as Nordique. Trust me… I’ve tested it every which way to Sunday!

First, I swatched by its lonesome using Laura Grutzeck‘s Hunter Jacket pattern as its basis:

Next came a portion of the border from the Green Mountain Shawl. I went up a couple of needle sizes, as I did when I knit the original.

I was having fun, can you tell? So, I tried to see how the halo would stand out against Nordique. Jared used Boreale in his Northlight Mittens pattern (scroll down a bit – it’s on the fourth row), but Nordique and Sommet will also work – it’ll just be a warmer pair of mittens.

I then tested out a strand each of Nordique and Sommet… perhaps I’ll add a big collar to Gamine at some point in the future.

For a lighter weight garment, a strand each of Boreale and Sommet. This is the border from Robin‘s Woodward Cardigan from the last issue.

Finally, I swatched Sommet double stranded. Oona’s Hoodie is a good choice for a heavier, pure alpaca garment as it is fitted and seamed. Alpaca does not share wool’s elasticity so care has to be taken when selecting a pattern for it. I am planning a yoked cardigan knit in the round, but it will be fitted and knit using a single strand – I don’t imagine I’ll have any problems since it is a sport weight.

Now, it’s your turn! Enjoy swatching…


I’ve been back from Iceland for a few days, but the simple cold I had when leaving Reykjavik had its volume turned up to 11 thanks to air travel. I’m hacking away still but hey! I make sense now.

As you can well imagine, a knitter cannot visit Iceland without stopping by Istex and, luckily for us, Ragga wasted no time taking us there. I knew I wanted some unspun, if only because I had never worked with it before. Seeing garments made with two strands held together at the Alafoss store only reinforced my aim and I selected enough to knit Védís Jónsdóttir’s Ranga from the new book ‘Knitting with Icelandic Wool’.

Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. Ranga’s sleeves are unshaped, and my arms are simply not long enough to allow me to get away with that. I also decided that I’d nip the body in slightly around the ribcage while I was at it. Oh, and yeah – I’d also be doing away with the zipper. But doing the pattern as written apart from that.

Except that after swatching, I found that the fabric I liked was at a different gauge than called for in the pattern. This was entirely my fault, by the way – the pattern called for Lett Lopi, not Plötulopi.

We were to be in and out of the bus for a few days, taking in sights and visiting yarn  and grocery stores (don’t laugh: the latter sell yarn). And we we’d be socializing amongst ourselves, so math was out for the time being. In order to move forward as simply as possible, I selected the size which would fit me best after accounting for the tension change and cast on… for the yoke!

Which worked really well. I had a provisional cast on to pick stitches up from for the body and sleeves, was able to try it on on the fly and there was no reverse engineering to be done. All I had to do was locate the number of stitches after the body and sleeves were brought together and go on from there. Danielle and Anne decided to give it a try as well – you can see some of Danielle’s progress here but she was much farther along when we said goodbye last week.