June Show and Share

Sandy shared a delightful pair of socks, aptly called Fine Socks, a pattern by Kim Petryshen. Sandy knit hers in Fleece Artist Cottage Socks.

Fine Socks, photo via JoEdgett, Ravelry

Gillian brought in her Oban Sweater, a classic looking cabled sweater by Thea Colman. The yarn she used is Blue Moon Targhee Worsted

Oban Sweater, photo via Thea Colman, Ravelry

Valerie earned some ooo’s and ahhh’s from the Yarn Club crowd with her stunning Stained Glass Cowl by Wendy D. Johnson. The yarns she used are Cascade Heritage Paints and Ella Rae Lace Merino.

Stained Glass Cowl, photo via RioBioBIo, Ravelry

And let’s not forget the most perfect use of a variegated yarn, Valerie’s Pincha Shawl by Pinpilan Wangsai. The yarn is Fleece Artist Merino Slim in Kluane Yk. I don’t think you could have chosen a more suitable yarn for this pattern. Bravo!

Northern Light Pincha Shawl, photo via RioBioBIo, Ravelry

I shared a sweater I finished for my nephew’s third birthday, the Wilhem Tell (Iceland Yoke Sweater) by Elin Brissman. My nephew is REALLY into ‘digs’ and anything to do with large construction equipment, and his birthday party (coming up this Sunday!) is construction themed. I loved the pattern for the simplicity and the fun arrow yoke detail, and the colour combination looked just perfect on the sample so I used the same colours. I picked up the yarn at the Spinrite factory outlet in Listowel (total aside, have you all been there? It’s AMAZING!), it’s Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash.

Wilhelm Tell (Iceland Yoke Sweater), photo via Allison McCoy, Ravelry

Happy knitting,

Victoria

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June Meeting Recap

As my meeting reminder emailed said, who doesn’t love an alpaca? Wendy Cross from Lady Slipper Alpacas was our guest at our last meeting before breaking for the summer. Wendy shared pictures of her lovely alpaca herd and told us all about these critters.

Wendy got into raising alpacas kind of by accident, she told us how she and her husband wanted some animals for their farm and thought alpacas looked cute. It seems bringing home a cute and cuddly animal is a great way to kick start a new business venture! Fast forward a bit and Wendy now has a number of alpacas and produces fleece and fibre to sell at shows. Wendy shared some insider details about alpacas and their adorable noises (seriously, YouTube it), and told us they make great watch dogs.

Check out Wendy’s website for more information about her products, and you can find her at local shows and festivals if you’re looking to purchase anything from her. You can find her next at the Black Sheep Festival in Elora on July 7.

This was also my last meeting acting as the facilitator for Yarn Club, and I wanted to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the last year. Thank you for your feedback, your attendance and participation at meetings, and your support of the fibre community. I’ll continue to be a member at Yarn Club and you can find me at meetings or on Ravelry. Alexis is back leading the charge when Yarn Club returns in September. Keep an eye on your inbox for more details about next year’s program.

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May Show and Share Recap

This month was a great roundup of your recently finished items, thank you to everyone who shared!

Judy shared two different projects with us, here’s her Cirrus, which can be best described as a combination sweater/poncho. Nancy O’Connell is the designer, you’ll find this pattern published in Shibui Knits. Judy made hers in an Americo original yarn held together with Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace.

Cirrus, photo via Shibui Knits, Ravelry

Judy’s second share was actually two items – an adorable matching pair of ponchos for a set of twins! This is Temptation Poncho and Hat Set by Tatsiana Matsiuk. She used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.

Temptation Ponco and Hat Set, photo via Tatsiana Matsiuk/ViTalinaCraft, Ravelry

Judy knit these while on an epic road trip around the US. A long car ride just isn’t complete without knitting.

Liz shared a wonderful book she picked up recently – Uniform, Knit and Sew by Madder and Grainline Studio. Liz spoke highly of the patterns in the book, and how they are very customizable.

UNIFORM - knit & sew / Book & E-Book
She shared some other great resources with the group, including some favourite fabric stores if you’re into sewing:

Needlework – 174 James St N, Hamilton
Spool and Spindle – 142 Waterloo St, Waterloo

Both stores sell 100% cotton double gauze.

Liz also shared an excellent pattern for pants, which she was wearing at the meeting – Pants No. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing.

Roxann shared her Mesh Wrap, a pattern by Iris Schreier, from One + One, Scarves, Shawls, and Shrugs. She made her shawl using Crooked Kitchen Yarns 50/50 wool and silk, the colour is Whippoorwill.

Mesh Shawl, photo via beadaddictroxy, Ravelry

Sharon showed us here arm sleeve for Alzheimer patients, a great project to use up lefover yarn.

I shared my yet-to-be-named knitted doll, originally made for my niece’s first birthday, but quickly turned into a project that will wait until she’s a bit older. The basic doll is from Knitted Dolls by Arne and Carlos, and I’m most excited about now starting the wardrobe collection for the doll. I figure I will have a doll with a selection of outfits done in time for her fifth birthday. Unless I get too attached and decide to keep the doll for myself.

Happy knitting,

Victoria

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May Meeting Recap of Successful Yarn Substitutions

Our May guest speaker was our very own Alexis, who shared helpful tips and information about successfully substituting yarn in a project. Do you ALWAYS use the yarn the pattern calls for? I’m guessing probably not. I know I don’t. Sometimes the yarn is unavailable in your area, it’s discontinued, or you simply found another yarn you’d rather use. Cool. That’s fine. Alexis gave us the tools and knowledge to help us chose an alternate yarn for a pattern without the whole project turning into a disaster.

Get ready for it….GAUGE! Of course this discussion is going to start with talking about gauge. You can’t avoid it, I’m afraid. And if you want to advance your skill as a knitter, it’s something you need to embrace.

When considering YOUR gauge for a particular yarn and pattern, keep in mind that this is very individual, and affected by many factors. Your needle size is the easy one to change around to adjust the number of stitches per inch, go up or down a needle size or two to change your gauge. D’uh. But don’t forget that your tension affects your gauge (relax!), as does the material of your knitting needles (bamboo vs. metal), and the fibre content of the yarn you’re using (more on that later).

Before choosing a yarn to substitute, assess your pattern. What is the required “bounce” factor of your finished piece? Will the weight of the garment affect your yarn choice? Wool wants to bounce back and it has memory to hold its shape, while cellulose as ZERO elasticity. Are you working with a blend? How much of the fibre is non-elastic?

To add another level to the consideration, ask WHY a pattern calls for a particular fibre. Substituting 100% cotton for a garment pattern that calls for wool is an…interesting choice. Do you want to go against that recommendation?

Alexis broke down substitutions into two levels:

Level 1 – match all the features of the called-for yarn, ie. untreated BFL for untreated BFL, superwash for superwash.

Level 2 – change the protein fibre blend, ie. wool vs. alpaca vs. blends. Swapping your yarn for a blend with a non-elastic component will affect the ‘grow’ of the piece, which translates to your row gauge.

The other factor to consider before substituting yarn is the construction of the yarn. How is it spun/plied? Worsted spun yarn is more common, but woolen spun is making a comeback. The way the yarn is spun will affect the yardage, as airier, lofter spun yarns fill out the yardage. Don’t rely on the weight terms you see on the label. Yarns designated as ‘worsted weight’ span a large spectrum, so this is not the only factor you should look at when comparing yarns.

So you’ve poured over all of the details of your yarn-to-be, you’re familiar with the fibre content, you’ve analyzed the yarn construction, you’ve considered your gauge – now what? Consider your ratios, the number of yards or meters compared to the weight of the ball of yarn. When a yarn labeled ‘worsted weight’ doesn’t line up with what you expect, be a yarn detective and ask yourself WHY it is different from what you expect.

Alexis showed some great resources during her talk, including a Yarn Substitutions Cheat Sheet which will be shared with Yarn Club members.

Best of luck in your yarn substitutions!

Happy knitting,

Victoria

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April Show and Share

Laura shared a few of her recently finished projects – first up, Warriston by Kate Davies, knit in emerald green Malibrigo worsted.

 

Warriston, photo via TwinOaksFarmFibre, Ravelry

Here’s Spindrift, by Helen Stewart, knit in Laura’s own Twin Oaks Farm fingering yarn

Spindrift, photo via TwinOaksFarmFibre, Ravlery

And for a spot of colourwork, how about this Merrie Dancers Toorie by Elizabeth Johnston, knit in Uradale Shetland DK?

Merrie Dancers, photo via TwinOaksFarmFibre, Ravelry

Liz brought in her Highway 61 Pullover, pattern designed by Jennifer Owens. She knit hers in Berroco Blackstone Tweed, and shared with us that the cables were a bit of slog, but she was happy with the finished item.

Highway 61 Pullover, photo via Interweave/Harper Point Photography, Ravelry

Liz also shared her finished Building Blocks Shawl, a mystery knit-along by Stephen West. She knit hers in Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles. Liz didn’t love this project, but we all agreed it was a beautiful finished piece!

Building Blocks Shawl, photo via westknits, Ravelry

Cheryl shared her Pavonis cardigan, featuring some delicate bead work. Robynn Weldon is the designer, and Cheryl knit her version in ColourMart Cashmere/Silk.

Pavonis, photo via Cheryl21, Ravelry

Jean brought in a darling stuffed toy, Puppy Love by Lorraine Pistorio. Her version including a knitted bowtie (which conveniently covered the seaming!). She knit her puppy in Vanna’s Choice for an easy-care toy.

Puppy Love, photo via Lorraine Pistorio, Ravelry

Jean also shared her Eleanor Cowl, a pattern by Audrey Knight, knit in Cascade Sport Superwash.

Eleanor Cowl, photo via AudKnits, Ravelry

Bogna shared her Iðunn sweater, by Ragga Eiríksdóttir. She knit hers in Lettlopi.

Iðunn, photo via Bogworks, Ravelry

Remember back in October when Mindy from Raven Knit Designs came to talk to us about shawls? I LOVED this talk, and I immediately went home to search for a “house shawl” pattern that I could wrap around me as an extra layer when I’m bumming around the house. The shawl I chose is Daybreak, by Stephen West, and I just finished it in March. The yarns I used are Georgian Bay Fibres Bayfield Fingering for the main colour and a gradient mini skein pack from Frabjous Fibres for the shades of green. I wear this shawl almost every day.

Daybreak, photo via vrock, Ravelry

I also shared the details about a neat little shawl pin I bought specifically for wearing with this shawl. Mindy spoke about penannular shawl pins during her talk, and the idea haunted me for months. As soon as my shawl was off the needles, I scoured Etsy for the perfect handmade shawl pin. The pin I bought is from QuirkySue’s on Etsy.

Handforged Copper Penannular Shawl Pin,  | Copper Cloak Pin | Celtic Penannular Brooch | Metal Scarf Pin or Strap Fastener. Small Size.Handforged copper penannular shawl pin, photo via QuirkySues, Etsy

Happy knitting,

Victoria

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coriand3r knits April talk

It was a nice change to have a guest speaker at Yarn Club this month, and Chantelle from coriand3r knits was a perfect burst of COLOUR at our spring meeting with her long colour change gradients. Chantelle broke her talk into two parts, discussing social media for fibre enthusiasts in the first part, and details about her business and dying techniques in part two.

One of the best pointers Chantelle shared about social media was using it as a way to support your favourite small businesses. Speaking as an indie-dyer, Chantelle LOVES when her customers tag photos of things they’ve made with her yarn. What a wonderful way to let a business know your support them and love what they do. Don’t be shy about tagging a business in your next Instagram post; they get the notifications and it can help build their business.

Chantelle spoke to us about her experience with Instagram as the voice of the promotional campaign for the 2017 KW Knitters’ Fair as well as for her own business. She spoke about using hashtags to make your posts searchable, and to join in on trends on social media. Think of hashtags as tags for your posts, and make note of any ‘official’ hashtags for events so you can be part of the feed of searchable tags.

Part two of Chantelle’s talk was about her dying process, which was originally inspired by her long search for red an black variegated yarn. Frustrated with the search, she set out to make her own! Her original introduction to dying was at Dye Camp by Indigodragonfly, and she hasn’t looked back since. Chantelle was very open to discussing her dyeing process and techniques, and shared loads of pictures. My favourite details from her talk were her recent investment in an employee – a electric ball winder – and the Nina Soft Sping Dryer she uses to spin almost all of the water out of her skeins before drying.

Connect with Chantelle at a number of upcoming fibre festivals and events this year, details about her scheduled shows can be found on her website.

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Cineprismatic Shawl Errata

For copies of patterns downloaded or purchased in hard copy before April 15th, 2018, Rows 7 & 15 in Section 1 – Mini Coloured Honeycomb should read as follows:

Row 7: K2 MC, P1 MC, P2 CC, P1 MC, *Sl M, P2 MC, P2 CC, P1 MC, rep from * 4 more times, K2 MC.

Row 15: K2 MC, P1 MC, P2 CC, P2 MC, P2 CC, P1 MC, *Sl M, [P2 MC, P2 CC] twice, P1 MC, rep from * 4 more times, K2 MC.

Pattern files on Ravelry and Phibersmith.com have been updated.

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March Show and Share Recap

It was a lovely roundup of knitted beauties this month. Yarn Club members turned out in droves (with a few new members and guests!) for the talk on fixing your knitting mistakes, and you brought some delightful finished projects to share.

Jo brought in her Veronika Cardigan, by Shannon Cook, knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca (she used colour number 62176).

Veronika Cardigan, photo via K Good Photography, Ravelry

Bogna shared a heavy shawl, Decemberist by Melanie Berg. She made her version in Mary Maxim Northland (which is a discontinued yarn, sorry).

Decemberist, photo via bogworks, Ravelry

Cindy shared her BlueSand Cardigan, a pattern by La Maison Rililie Designs. My favourite part was the colourful pockets – who doesn’t love a garment with pockets?! Cindy made her version with Berroco Remix Light, made from 100% recycled fibres.

BlueSand Cardigan, photo via LaMaisonRililie Designs, Ravelry

Alexis debuted a new pattern and shared her sample with the group, here’s the Comforati Hat! Her versions features an INTERCHANGEABLE faux fur pom pom, which has a snap attachment rather than being sewn onto the hat. Change your pom pom to match your outfit or your mood. The hat is knit in Debbie Bliss BFL Aran (sadly, also discontinued).

Comforati Hat, photo via Alexis Hoy, Ravelry

Roxann shared one of her own designs for a dual lucet braided hat. Roxann used two strands braided at a time to create the hat, and used the large prongs of the lucet for the loose braid over the hat body, and the smal prings for the dense braid at the hat brim. The yarn she used is from G n’ R Alpaca Farm in Lisle Ontario.

Thanks for sharing your finished projects!

Happy knitting,

Victoria

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Fixing Our Own Knitting Mistakes

Our March meeting was a talk all about fixing your own knitting mistakes, or starting down the path to understanding what’s going on with your knitting oopsies. This discussion cannot happen without some knowledge of how to read your knitting. Alexis covered this topic nicely last year, and summarized her notes in a handy blog post – check it out here. This post references another great resource which I used when creating my talk this month, a great series of blog posts from Telana Winters:

Reading Your Knitting Part 1

Reading Your Knitting Part 2

Reading Your Knitting Part 3

Seriously, read them. If you’re at all unsure about what your knitting is telling you, and you find yourself unable to spot what went wrong in your knitting, give them a read.

With some of the basics of understanding what your knitting is telling you covered, we can move on to actually fixing our mistakes. Let’s start with some of the tools you need:

These are great things to keep handy in your knitting bag. I’m guilty of never having a crochet hook around when I need one, and I’d like to point out that all of the techniques mentioned below can be done with a knitting needle (and sometimes a helpful set of fingers to assist). A crochet hook makes it a heck of a lot easier, so it might be worth it to keep one in your bag, or get one of those handy keychain ones.

Our first fixing option is unknitting, literally undoing a stitch in the exact opposite way it was made. One. Stitch. At. A. Time. As you can probably guess, this is great for a mistake a few stitches back, MAYBE even a few rows back, but not for one that you realized you made at the very beginning of the project.


Not at all tricky, and gets the job done. But what about mistakes that are farther back? Well, we can drop a stitch on purpose to travel back to the mistake vertically, and then work our way back up to the current row. If you’re newer to knitting, dropping a stitch is likely your number one fear, but it’s really nothing to worry about. You’re in control here, and your friendly neighbourhood crochet hook gets you back to where you were quickly.


The particulars about working back up to your current row depend on whether you’re recreating knit or purl stitches:

YouTube will help you a lot here if you want a visual guide. Here are the videos I showed during the talk:

Creating Knit Stitches

Creating Purl Stitches

If the level of your mistake calls for something more drastic, you’re looking at ripping out the whole thing. Steps can be taken to make this a little less awful, including picking up the stitches below your error BEFORE you rip out the stitches.

Don’t fret if you just ripped your needle out before thinking about how you would get those stitches back on the needle. You can fix any wonky stitch orientation after you get the stitches on the needle. Here’s a lovely video that shows the mechanics of doing this.

Alexis shared a great technique for unknitting a few rows at a time, rather than having to rip out your work. This technique involves putting your needle into the stitch two or three stitches below the current row, and following the same process described above for unknitting the stitch. The trickiest part to deal with is the “ladder” of yarn that starts to appear as you work your way through the round/row. But once you’re back to the beginning of the round, all the ladders let go and are simply your working yarn again.

A few particular situations were focused on when it comes to fixing errors; miscrossed cables, placing a lifeline (great for lacework!), and mistakes in colourwork.

This one follows the same methods as ladder down to fix a stitch, except recreating the stitches as you ladder back up involves re-cabling the stitches to correct the error. Keep in mind that if your cable has travelled away from the original set of 4 or 6 (or more) stitches in the cable, you need to ladder down from where the stitches have traveled.


Placing a lifeline can be done as you knit a round, or placed in after the fact. Cheryl shared a great tip she’s used, she attaches a sewing thread to the small hole in her interchangeable needles and knits the next round of knitting. The thread comes along for the ride and adds the needed lifeline without the bulk of a strand of yarn and without the extra effort of threading it through each stitch by hand.

This final section was my favourite one of the talk, where it started out being about using duplicate stitch to create faux stitches to cover your mistakes, and turned into a nice little segue on mending and darning your knitting.


Duplicate stitch is a legitimate way to fix your mistakes. Mistake in your colourwork pattern? Duplicate stitch the correct colour later! Miscrossed cable? Duplicate stitch some faux stitches going the correct way!

And my favourite thing from this talk – darning! I love darning, and I didn’t realize there were different ways to darn. I tested out all these techniques on some mittens that needed a patch job.

For more detailed instructions on all of these techniques, check out the resources below.

How to Fix Knitting Mistakes: 3 Stress-Free Solutions to Any Problem

http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter03/FEATwin03TT.html

http://www.twistcollective.com/collection/35-articles/features/1673-darn-it-all

Cubley, K. (ed.) Free Guide to Fixing Knitting Mistakes for All Knitters. Knitting Daily.

 

 

Happy knitting,

Victoria

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February Show and Share

Alexis shared her recently completed set of three hooded cardigans for her boys (and none of them have outgrown them yet!). The pattern is Sibling Revelry by Meghan Jones, published in Little NutMeg Productions. She used Patons DK Superwash (in colours selected by the kiddos) for the body of each sweater, with a coordinating variegated yarn for the hood from Kat’s Riverside Studio.

Sibling Revelry, photo via Meghan Jones, Ravelry

Roxann let us know that the newest issue of Piecework magazine (January/February 2018) has a great feature about socks. This is the magazine’s historical knitting issue, and the article focuses on handknitted socks and stockings from around the world.

Liz shared her #21 Oversized Cardigan, a pattern by Cathy Payson. She knit her version in Noro Silk Garden.

#21 Oversized Cardigan, photo via SoHo Publishing, Ravelry

Sandy showed a WIP project, her Wolkig cowl, by Martina Behm. Her version uses Wellington Fibres‘s Canadian Shield colourway in a 2-ply.

Canadian Shield Cowl, photo via SandhillCrane, Ravelry

And without even realizing it, I brought along my recently finished Broken Seed Stitch Socks for Show and Share, and they got to double as convenient demonstration items for the blocking talk. I was totally mesmerized by watching the crinkly and stubborn heel section of my socks lay flat and become smooth when I steamed them. Just like magic!

The pattern is really more of a basic set of instructions with the stitch pattern, so this would not be an ideal sock pattern for a new knitter. Broken Seed Stitch Socks by Hanna Levaniemi.

Broken Seed Stitch Socks, photo via handepande, Ravelry.

Happy knitting,

Victoria

 

 

 

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