December 2019 Show & Share

Lisa brought in her Odyssey Shawl made wth Sweet Georgia, Cascade 220 Wave & Shirley Brian Yarns.
Laura brought in her Langley Hat made with WOOLganic Yarn.
Laura also brought in her Gamaldags cardigan made with Topsy Farms yarn.
Mindy brought in her new pattern design, the Beekeeper Hat, made with Cascade 220.
Liz brought in her Birkin made with Tukuwool.
Gillian brought in her Jolly Wee Elf made with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter & Plucky Scholar.
Karen brought in her Selbu Mittens made with Gaynor Homestead Worsted.
Kris brought in her Gnora gnome made with Estelle Yarns.
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Knitting Design – Resources for Creating Your Own Projects.

In October, I gave a talk about beginning to design your own projects. I make this careful distinction between projects and patterns, because I consider pattern writing to be a completely separate topic, although it is of course dependent on the design process. If you are past the project-design level and are interested in writing down your patterns, I HIGHLY recommend first reading Kate Atherley’s Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns cover to cover.

Below are some resources I use personally as references or tools during my design process. I hope you find them useful! If you have any suggestions to addd to the list, please let me know in comments!

Foundations – Shirley Paden

I can’t recommend Shirley Paden’s work enough:

Shirley Paden’s foundational textbook, Knitwear Design Workshop is an indispensable resource for knitwear design.

Shirley Paden also has an accompanying Bluprint class (formerly Craftsy)

Handknit Garment Design with Shirley Paden

Sizing & Measuring

Another great Bluprint resource if you are heading in to creating objects in multiple sizes is Faina Goberstein’s class Sizing Knitwear Patterns.

Faina’s class materials include detailed size charts for women’s sizes. Size charts are an essential tool for design if you don’t have your “subject” available to you for measurement. You can access free size charts and “standard” size information at the Craft Yarn Council of America‘s website. These are a good place to start, however you will likely find you end up preferring more detailed measurements charts, as well as more specific body-measuring guidelines.

Ysolda Teague offers a free measurement resource for knitwear designers that fills in many of the blanks left by the CYCA.

For guidelines on how to measure an actual human for a garment, here is a nice printable PDF from a tailor – notice how they use a shirt as a guide in measuring the cross-back width between the shoulder seams. There are many examples like this on the internet ripe for googling. My only warning: beware any instructions that guide you to measure an arm held straight, unless you like sleeves that will always be slightly too short.

Stitch Dictionaries

I have a very large collection of stitch dictionaries that I add to whenever possible. Even if they overlap in some portion (I have a LOT of instructions for Feather and Fan), you never know what unique gems they might contain, so I pick them up whenever & wherever I come across them. I prefer dictionaries with charts so that I can see a stitch pattern’s construction at a glance, so I’m more likely to purchase stitch dictionaries that include charts. If charts aren’t your thing, you should check to make sure the dictionary you’re holding includes written instructions as well.

750 Knitting Stitches: The Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible is also available from the Guelph Public Library.

Charting Software

A Google search of knitting chart software will bring up a multitude of options, including websites that will let you create your own charts online for free. Currently I use StitchMastery. Programs like this let you quickly sketch out an edit stitch patterns, and design elements, not to mention create professional-level charts for inclusion in patterns.

You also have the option of using Excel or other spreadsheet programs. Here is one tutorial on how to set up your spreadsheet.

Good ol’ pen & paper

Of course you can always use graph paper. You can even download or purchase Knitter’s graph paper – wherein the “squares” are not actually square, but rectangles that are slightly wider than they are tall – to better reflect the dimensions of an actual knitted stitch.

These are just some of the resources you can find online to help you take the jump “off pattern.” I’d love to hear about any others you come across in your travels, and see any projects you design!

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October 2019 Show & Share

Roxann brought in crochet hooks that she bought from Kelly Brooks of Knitbrooks in Hamilton.
Liz brought in her Swoncho knit with The Fibre Co. Aranmore Light
Victoria brought in her Mittens from Surnadal made with Sandnes Garn Sisu
Kris brought in her Saugeen Summer Lace Cloche made with Cascade Avalon
Mindy brought in her latest design, Robin in the Rain, made with Briggs & Little Tuffy
Mindy also brought in her PNW Stocking made with Briggs & Little Sport
Jennie brought in her Easy Goes It shawl made with Songbird Yarn in the Bluebird colourway
Gillian brought in her Orianna Shawl which she test knit.
Lisa brought in her Kali Wrap knit with Koigu & Bluebrick
Sandy brought in her 1880s Knitted Gloves made with Songbird Yarn in the Ruby Throated Hummingbird colourway.
Judy brought in her Loops shrug/scarf made with Patons Canadiana (soon to be made again with Twisted Willow)
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September 2019 Show & Share

Our September meeting was all about sharing with each other, about each other, and showing off our summer projects. So get ready, this post is a doozie! As always, if I have missed anything or mis-identified anything, please let me know. Enjoy 🙂

Susie brought in the Love Note sweater she’s making in Lichen & Lace Isagar.
Linda brought in her Find Your Fade made with Hedgehog Fibres.
Linda also brought in her Perfect Blend made with Miss Babs, Richard Devrieze and Hedgehog Fibres.
Liz brought in her Brise Cardigan made with Firefly from Classic Elite.
Laura brought in her Harriet’s Hat made with Jamieson & Smith and Twin Oaks Farm
Laura also brought in her Roadside Beanie made with Jamieson & Smith and Twin Oaks Farm
Laura also brought in her Sheep Love Hat made with Twin Oaks Farm.
Laura also brought in her Soft is the Song My Paddle Sings made with Twin Oaks Farm.
Laura also brought in her Arisaema Shawl made with Twin Oaks Farm.
Roxann brought in her own design, Pauline in Disguise with Diamonds made with Les Belles Bouclettes Pauline DK
Roxann also brought in her new crochet shawl design made with Songbird Yarn in the Eastern Bluebird colourway.
Cheryl brought in her Harbour Village cardigan made with Indigodragonfly Chameleon Sock.
Sarah brought in her Seine shawl made with La Bien Aimée Merino Sport
Jo brought in her Soldotna made with Twisted Willow.
Gillian brought in her One More Stripe shawl made with Plucky Knitter.
Gillian also brought in her Pop Crop Sweater made with Plucky Knitter Bello & Shibui Silk Cloud.
Sue brought in her WIP Seavaiger made with Milarrochy Tweed.
Terri brought in her WIP Summer Sky shawl made with Lang Jawoll Magic.
Judy brought in her Plicata Shawl made with Georgian Bay Fibre Co. Bayfield DK.
Judy also brought in her Swirl Hat made with Akara Yarns.
Judy also brought in her Dangling Conversation shawl also made with Akara Yarns.
Judy also brought in her Vanilla Latte socks made with Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury.
Judy also brought in the Lattice & Cables Sweater she made for her husband with Studio Donegal Wool.
Mindy brought in her Grasslands Shawl sample from her recent MKAL.
Mindy also brought in her Luthien pattern sample.
Mindy also brought in her Born of Spirit pattern sample.
Sherrill brought in her sweater made with Malabrigo Rasta that Roxann helped her to seam together and finish.
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June 2019 Show & Share

Judy brought in the Spiral Sock without Heel she has in progress.
Wendy brought in the Tundra Sweater she made for her husband.
Fran brought in the Secret Paths shawl she is making with Songbird Yarn SW Sock in the Blackbird colourway.
Victoria brought in the Eivor Cardigan she is making for her niece with Pickles Pure Wool sourced from Norway.
Barb wore the Vitamin D cardigan she made with Classic Elite Firefly.
Judy brought in the yarn she bought on her trip to Ireland – O’Maille Donegal Heather
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Knitting in Canada – further reading

Last Thursday I held the Yarn Club hostage in overtime to dissect approximately 300 years of Canadian knitting history. Thanks for sticking it out, team! Today I’m rounding up some of the resources I used in my research for those of you who’d like to take a deeper dive into some of the topics we covered. I’ve tried to organize them roughly by topic.

First off though, I owe a great debt to Canada Knits by Shirley A. Scott. I’m not sure by what license the full text of this book is available online at the link above. I own a hard copy, but was able to access the book in PDF as well. Published in 1990, this is a great overview, especially of early Canadian knitting history, and the history of knitting on the East Coast in particular. It set me on the right track many a time as I filled out the stories I wanted to tell and traced more recent developments from the last 30 years, after its publication date. Recently, Ms. Scott has co-authored another book, to great acclaim: Saltwater Mittens.

Cowichan Sweaters


Ice Harbor Compass Mittens

East Coast Mitten & Sock Innovation


(We did decide that the correct spelling is Toque, FYI. You heard it here first.)

Toque Basic pattern

Knitting in the Interior of Canada

Wartime Knitting

Briggs & Little

Patons & Baldwins Ltd. (Beehive)

Spinrite Yarns

Mary Maxim

Independent Yarn Producers

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Stranded Colourwork Resources

At the May Yarn Club meeting we talked about Colourwork techniques with a focus on stranded knitting. I’ve rounded up some of the online resources I referred to in my talk below.

I got some great historical information from Lela Nargi’s book, Knitting Around the World: A Multistranded History of a Time-Honored Tradition.

BluPrint has some great online classes for starting or just perfecting your stranded knitting skills. I enjoyed:

  • Fairisle Fundamentals with Tanis Gray
  • Modern Stranded Knitting Techniques with Mary Jane Mucklestone
  • Custom Colorwork Techniques with Stephanie Tallent
  • Cut Your Knitting: Strand & Steek with Confidence with Beth Whiteside

You can learn more about colour choice, colour theory, and online colour resources (including my favourite, Design Seeds) in my post about our colour theory for knitters meeting. Find Part 2 of that post here.

Other Online Resources for Stranded Colourwork:

Other Colourwork Techniques

Do you have a favourite blog post, book or colourwork pattern? Let me know in the comments!

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Show & Share May 2019

The Grand River Bead Society is accepting fibre arts & fibre artist vendors to its annual Show & Sale this October 19 – 20, at the Evergreen Centre. Check back to the website for vendor applications or contact to request an application

Rose brought in her Cushy Smocked Throw made with Patons Classic Wool Worsted.
Mindy wore her Chandail cardigan made with Cascade 220
Liz wore her Tilda top made with Lang Yarns Xenia
Judy brought in her Umina cape made with Random Ranch Alpacas yarn
Barb brought in the Anchorage Cardigan she made for her husband using Kelbourne Woolens Scout
Kris brought in her Gnome de Plume!
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April 2019 Show & Share

Cheryl wore her Mine Hill cardigan made with Indigodragonfly Wingenhooven Fingering.
Valerie shared her then-WIP (look! it’s all finished now!) Tsumuzikaze, made with Shipwrecked Sheep Anji Sock.
Victoria brought in her Training Wheels brioche cowl made with Gaynor Homestead Worsted.
Liz wore her Truss cardigan made with Julie Asselin Nurtured.
Alexis was working on an Oliver (cardigan version) with West Yorkshire Spinners Jacob Aran
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March 2019 Show & Share

Roxann shared the following resource after last month’s meeting: Betsan Corkhill is a UK Physiotherapist and wellness coach who wrote the book Knit for Health and Wellness.

Wendy brought in her Diamond Edge Shawl which she test-knit for the designer.
Wendy also brought in the Almaz Cowl that she test-knit as a gift for her son.
Mindy brought in her Little Vine Hat that she made with yarn from Songbird Yarn & Fibres purchased at the February meeting.
Valerie wore her Cabeladabra sweater made with Canadian Ewe yarn.
Valerie also brought in her Citrus Hat that she made with Qiviut yarn
Jennie wore her Colorwork Yoke Pullover from the Fall 2018 issue of Knit Simple
Jo brought in her Carbeth sweater made with Cascade Eco+
Liz wore her Gehry sweater made with Brooklyn Tweed Loft
Lize also brought in her A Girl’s Best Friend shawl made with Lichen & Lace and Hedgehog Fibres yarns
Judy brought in the Close to You shawl she made with Songbird Yarn & Fibres yarn purchased at the February meeting.
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