1000 Stitches for Syria

Karusellen

25,000 Syrian refugees are arriving in Canada this winter. The first group arrived in Toronto on December 11 and our new Prime Minister did a fantastic job in greeting them. I believe wholeheartedly in a warm welcome and thankfully, groups of knitters have sprung up across the country to help make this happen. There’s 1000 Stitches for Syria, based in Toronto, and 25 000 tuques in Quebec with a great slogan: “Because in Quebec, the only true enemy is the cold.”

I knit my bit and made my first contribution to 1000 Stitches for Syria this weekend. Erica-Knits’ Karusellen toque (from Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 14) will be going to one of the new permanent residents of Canada. I wish them success and happiness in this country of ours.

For more information
1000 Stitches for Syria: 1000stitches.org
25 000 tuques: jdussot.wix.com/25000tuques
CBC: Quebecer launches online knitting campaign to help Syrian refugees

[Ravelled]

Pure Qiviut Hat

100 per cent qiviut hat

Lightweight and oh, so soft, 100 per cent qiviut is wonderful to knit with. Not to mention warm; it’s eight times warmer than sheep’s wool. I have knit with qiviut before, blended with Merino wool and silk, but this was a new experience. What you see here is undyed qiviut, so 100 per cent natural colour as well.

Qiviut is musk oxen fleece, and it feels more like cashmere than anything else. Most musk oxen live in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland but they were recently reintroduced to Alaska, where they’re farmed. I came across this video from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, showing how qiviut is harvested in a farming environment. Shedding takes place naturally on the tundra but here the qiviut is combed out in a synchronous shed that looks like a blanket.

100 per cent qiviut

100 per cent qiviut hat

Some sources for qiviut yarn:

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Qiviut Dimple Hat

Qiviut Dimple Hat

Two of my most-worn knits of the winter – that’s a glimpse of my Fiddlehead Mitts in the background – and a new hat! I like to think it’s the qiviut (muskox fleece) that makes this lightweight hat so warm. The yarn is from Belfast Mini Mills on Prince Edward Island, which my cousin researched and gave me for my birthday last year. It’s a blend of qiviut, Merino wool, silk and bamboo, and has quite a nice sheen to it.

The pattern is a great free one – the Dimple Hat from the Purl Bee. The only change I would make is to knit a longer brim – probably two inches instead of the 1 1/4 inches written. I still have one skein left so I’m on the lookout for another great dk-weight hat pattern…

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[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

Holiday knits

A whole whack of holiday knits ready to be wrapped! I was taking my sweet time documenting them and since December is now here I felt the window closing… Canada Post does need an ample amount of lead time.

The top photo is Veera Välimäki’s Stripe Study Shawl in Tanis Blue Label, which made great travel knitting in France and Spain this fall!

The second is Jane Ellison’s Griffin in Classic Elite MountainTop Vista. Thanks to Jane for helping me pick out the colourway, which is natural and undyed 50/50 wool and alpaca.

Then we have another Veera design – this one Shimmer in Blue in Malabrigo Yarn Rios. I love the fact that the cables are reversible, and the wider opening at the bottom so that you can pull it down over your shoulders.

Finally, another of Michele Wang’s Eternity Scarves – this time in Tanis Green Label. I love this pattern and plan to make one or two more!

Happy December and happy knitting!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

[Ravelled: Stripe Study Shawl, Griffin, Shimmer in Blue, and Eternity Scarf]

Sylkie + Norfolk

Two alpaca knits to share with you! This is Gudrun Johnston’s Sylkie knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca. The slipped stitch pattern is worked without a cable needle, which was quite nice once I got the hang of it and trusted that I wouldn’t drop the stitch! It’s knit lengthwise and grafted together at the end so you could easily knit it as long as you like.

And this is Amy Christoffers’ Norfolk Hat. This was a very exciting project for me – my first using the tubular cast on technique. I’m in love. Seriously. It results in such a neat, flexible edge. I used these two tutorials.

Now for more projects using tubular cast on…

[Second photo courtesy of Christopher]

[Ravelled: Sylkie + Norfolk Hat]

Windschief

I paid a pre-holiday visit to Romni Wools here in Toronto to find that there was a December run on worsted-weight charcoal yarn. There was not a ball to be had.  If you’ve been to Romni before you will find it hard to believe that they could be short on anything wool-related. Ever. So I drifted over to the aran section and ended up sitting on the ground rooting around in a cubby full of Naturelle New Zealand wool by Naturally Yarns. At the very back there was a single, unmarked ball of charcoal. Hurrah! I used it to make this Windschief as part of Chris’ birthday present. You might recognize the snood he’s wearing — the Sag(ittarius)  Snood that I made for him for his birthday three years ago. Still in very good shape!

Yesterday was my birthday and I really had a great day. Chris and I went to Morning Glory for breakfast – my favourite breakfast spot in the city – and I met Jane for an afternoon of coffee, chocolate and a make-up lesson. I was a bit nervous and felt even more so after the make-up artist told me that she would do half of my face and then I would do the other half. My skill level in this area is very limited! I think we were all surprised when I ended doing an okay job… I definitely felt fancy for the rest of the night and learnd a lot.

Chris rolled three of my favourite things (Australia, food and travel) into one and gave me a copy of Kylie Kwong’s new book It Tastes Better. We spent our first night in Sydney at Billy Kwong. The experience was intensified by our extreme jet lag; delicious but there’s not a hope in hell that we’ll ever remember what we ate.

Jane gave me a beautiful gift box edition of The Travel Almanac. I can hardly wait to dive into this. Plenty of inspiration for future travel!

My knitting partner for life, aka Erin, sent me a gorgeous Bandana Cowl made out of Misti Alpaca Hand Paint. It’s the perfect thing for this bout of -20 weather we’ve been having!

A big thank you to everyone for helping me celebrate my birthday. 36 isn’t looking so bad! Although I almost had a heart attack typing that number.

[Photos 3 & 4 courtesy of Penguin Books Australia; 5 & 6 courtesy of The Travel Almanac]

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Waffel Hat

Waffel Hat

Waffel Hat

Continuing on the hat kick, this is Anna & Heidi Pickles’ Waffel Hat. It’s a great free pattern – the stitch pattern is easy to memorize and knit in aran-weight yarn it comes together really quickly. The only modification I made was to cast on 96 stitches instead of 112.

You may recognize the yarn (ahem) – Debbie Bliss Fez. I promise I’ll mix it up a bit for my next post!

Waffel Hat

I knit Katherine and Robert hats for Christmas and Katherine posted some great photos of them over on her blog. Katherine’s hat is Gudrun Johnston’s Norie in Rowan Felted Tweed DK and Robert’s is Jane Ellison’s Griffin in Filtes King Australian Merinos. It makes me so happy to see them in their knits!

[Photos courtesy of Chris]

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Huaraz Hat + Mitts

Huaraz

This is the first pattern I’ve knit by Kirsten Kapur although I have many faved on Ravelry. Huaraz comes with some variations to choose from: no earflaps, short rounded earflaps, long rounded earflaps and long pointed earflaps. I made the no earflaps version for my sister and then found out that she really, really wanted an earflap hat. So… rather than alter this one, which I really like, I’m making her Alexandra Tinsley’s Wabbit Season as well.

Gray Dawn Mitts

To go with the hat, I made a pair of Theresa Lasichak’s Gray Dawn mitts – a fantastic free pattern using a mock cable stitch pattern. This was a perfect commuting project – mock cables look great and you don’t have to worry about dropping your cable needle on the bus. My sister is a huge fan of these. I think she only took them off when she was sleeping.

I used Debbie Bliss Fez for both. I can’t get enough of that yarn!

[Photos courtesy of Chris]

[Ravelled: Huaraz and Gray Dawn]

Clockwork + Jacques Cousteau

Clockwork Scarf

Clockwork Scarf

Jacques Cousteau Hat

Jacques Cousteau Hat

Wishing you all a very happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2011 is filled with all the good things in life. In my world that means time spent with friends and family, travel, food and of course knitting!

Here are two FOs from 2010: Stephen West’s Clockwork scarf and Lalla Pohjanpalo’s Jacques Cousteau Hat. I made the hat for part of Chris’ birthday present and the scarf for part of his Christmas present. It makes me happy that both got a lot of wear over the holidays!

I splashed out on the yarn for Clockwork and used Jade Sapphire’s 2-ply Mongolian Cashmere in Silver Fox and La Nuit. I absolutely loved working with this yarn. I was constantly amazed by how light and airy it was. I guess I was on a bit of a cashmere kick because I used Louisa Harding’s Kashmir DK for the hat (although this one is mostly merino). Jacques Cousteau is a great free hat pattern. I made two more in different stash yarn for my annual Street Knit donation. I don’t think this Clockwork will be my last either – a fun pattern to knit and very well written.

[Ravelled: Clockwork Scarf and Jacques Cousteau Hat]

More hats and some cables too…

16 Cable Hat

Continuing on the hat kick… this is the 16 Cable Hat by Circé Belles Boucles. Nice, chunky cables worked in Debbie Bliss Fez. I really love teal right now and this is the perfect shade. I made the beret version and I think when I make another I’ll give the smaller, fitted version a try.

Raymond

And this is Jane Ellison’s Raymond from Queensland Collection Book 9. It’s a bit big for me but should fit the recipient quite nicely! I used the last of the now discontinued Estelle Alpaca Cashmere Tweed.

Cabled Cowl

Cabled Cowl

For something a little bit different (but just a little bit), a cabled cowl in Malabrigo Merino Worsted. Susan Lawrence wrote her free Tuesday Night Cowl pattern for three different weights of yarn – worsted, aran, and chunky – so it’s a great pattern if you have a skein or so of yarn in your stash that needs a good home.

If you’re on your own holiday knitting kick right now I wish you luck with it! I have to admit, I’m feeling the pressure! What are you making?

[Photos courtesy of Chris]

[Ravelled: 16 Cable Hat, Ribbed Tuque, Cabled Cowl]