Summer knitting

Houlland

Summer is for knitting, just for the fun of it.

This weekend, I cast on for Donna Smith’s Houlland from Kate Davies’ fabulous The Book of Haps. The border is knit in one long strip — the body worked from its picked up stitches.

The yarn is beautiful and fine. Shetland Supreme Lace Weight, 2 ply from an all-time favourite yarn company of mine: Jamieson & Smith from the Shetland Islands.

What are you working on this summer? I’m on Instagram, sharing knits and food (mostly) — join me there!

Alpaca Hömin Shawl

I revisited both the yarn and the pattern for this project – Gudrun Johnston’s Hömin Shawl in Misti Alpaca Lace. I had a skein and a half left over from my Ishbel and it turns out I’m getting pretty good at using the yarn I have! My first go at this pattern was in a fingering-weight Malabrigo, which I loved and gifted to Sara for Christmas. This one, in lace weight, was a gift for Chris to give his mom for Mother’s Day. I love the pattern construction – the edging is knit first in one long strip and you pick up stitches along one edge and continue with the garter stitch crescent-shaped body. I used needles two sizes larger than those used for the body when casting off. I learned this lesson from my lace weight Wave!

I hope you fellow Canadians out there had a great Canada Day! I have many samples from my dyeing class to share – reds and blues. Until next time!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

[Ravelled]

Spring Lace

It’s starting to feel a lot like spring here in Toronto. What better way to kick it off than with a couple of light, lace knits. I mistakenly bought a skein of lace-weight Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Lace at Knit-O-Matic a while back, when I was obsessed with Hand Paint Suri & Silk. Since I was expecting a dk-weight and didn’t realize my mistake until I got home, it just sat in the back of my cabinet for the past two years. Then I saw Kristen Finlay’s free pattern for Wave, a shawlette worked in alternating sections of Turkish Lace and garter stitch. So pretty and simple, and I loved her samples knit up in variegated yarns.

My second piece of spring lace is another free pattern, The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower. The pattern calls for dk-weight yarn so I went down two needle sizes and did an extra repeat of the alternating stockinette and eyelet sections. I was a bit stressed over the tightness of the loosest bind off I could manage with Wave (decrease bind off), so with this one I went up two needle sizes for a regular bind off. In the end, I didn’t need to fuss over either – they both blocked quite nicely and I didn’t run into any tight-BO issues.

Oh, and you may notice that my bag in the background of the top photo fits with the knits. Alpacas! Jane showed me this alpaca Baggu a while back and while I was at Good Egg in Kensington Market yesterday they just happened to have one! Mika, the owner, pointed out that the pattern looks like houndstooth from a distance but close up… all alpacas.

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

[Ravelled: Wave and The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief]

Whisper Cardigan

My version of Hannah Fettig’s wildly popular Whisper Cardigan is finally finished and blocked! There are more than 800 versions of this cardigan on Ravelry, and that’s just since the spring issue of Interweave Knits came out in February. The pattern calls for laceweight yarn, which makes for a nice light cardigan for spring. However, if I were to do it all over again I would knit it in a sport/ sock weight yarn instead. I found it challenging to get a nice fabric with the gauge given. I ended up knitting the largest size on small needles in order to make the cardi less webby and more whispery.

The cardigan is knit primarily in stockinette stitch, with ribbing at the collar and to shape the waist. It’s seamless, which is a real plus when it comes to finishing! Hannah posted a schematic on her blog if you’d like a closer look at the construction.

Ishbel

It was almost a year ago now that I knit my first lace. I was intimidated by the complexity, but once I got into it I realized lace knitting is really just knits, purls, increases, decreases and yarnovers. Nothing scary, and there’s nothing more pleasing than finishing a lovely piece of lace.

Ishbel is another knit from Ysolda Teague’s Whimsical Little Knits collection. At the rate I’m going, I should be through the collection by the end of the year! Ishbel can be worn as a shawl or scarf and knit with either laceweight or sport weight yarn. I used Misti Alpaca lace (100% baby alpaca and so very soft) in cobalt blue.

It’s so lightweight and airy, but alpaca is deceptively warm. Even in laceweight yarn, it makes for a very cozy shawl/scarf.

Spring Knits

Photos courtesy of Interweave Press

It seems a bit early to start thinking about spring – at least in Toronto where the snow is lingering! But I can imagine a time, in the not so distant future, when I will be able to leave my winter coat and boots behind. To help with some warm weather inspiration, I picked up the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Knits at The Purple Purl. I love Andrea Pomerantz’s Diminishing Rib Cardigan, pictured above. Clean, simple lines and the ribbing gives it just a bit of flounce. A black merino blend perhaps?

Photos courtesy of Interweave Press

Another great pattern is Hannah Fettig’s Whisper Cardigan. Knit in a laceweight yarn, it has a beautiful drape. Hannah has a helpful schematic on her blog, as well as some tips on the seamless construction. I’m addicted to seamless cardigans. All it took was one! I can hardly wait to make this – I’m thinking about using an alpaca lace. So maybe more of an autumn knit than a spring one!

Photos courtesy of Interweave Press

Vivian Høxbro’s Net Duffel Bag is the perfect market bag. And a good opportunity to learn how to knit mitered squares. The pattern suggests using a strong linen yarn, but I think I might try a hemp yarn instead. Maybe a sprout green? So I may get a spring knit out of this issue after all!

French Girl Knits

I couldn’t help but think of my knitting partner for life when I received this book. I associate feminine, French style with her. She was the only person I knew in my early 20s that had spent a year in Paris. She came back to British Columbia with many wonderful stories of food and fashion.

French Girl Knits was written by Kathleen Griffin-Grimes, aka French Girl and published by Interweave Press. Kathleen launched her pattern line in 2005 and runs a knitting retreat in the Languedoc region of France. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Photo courtesy of French Girl Knits

One of my favourite patterns from the book is pictured above – Niobe, a lacy pullover. I think this will be my first project from French Girl Knits – worked in a laceweight mohair/silk yarn, how can I resist!

The patterns are presented by theme: la Boutique Parisienne, Enfant Sauvage, la Créatrice and Dans la Rue. From romantic and vintage-inspired to rustic folk designs, the common thread is definitely feminine design.

Most of the patterns are constructed seamlessly, which is something I’ve grown to appreciate very much!  The book includes useful construction overviews of techniques such as top-down seamless raglan and side-to-side seamless construction.

There’s a lot of prettiness in this book and I recommend taking a look. Even if the patterns aren’t necessarily your taste there’s a lot of inspiration and techniques to benefit from.