My Knitting Heroes - Brooklyn Tweed

    In the last of my little summertime series on my knitting heroes I'm ending with the shortest and most direct of these posts - this one on blogger Brooklyn Tweed (Jared Flood). This knitter extraordinaire is so obviously a knitting hero of the highest order, his inclusion in the list barely requires explanation so I'll just list the illustrative facts...

  • Jared's knitting is impeccable.

  • He inspires by sharing the products of his needles and spinning on his blog using lighting, props, staging and photography that shows off the beauty of his work and the fiber of which its made.

  • He writes clearly and with great attention to detail when sharing information about his projects.

  • Jared champions process (even guage swatches!) - something of which I need to be more mindful.

  • Jared seeks out, explores, designs and redesigns with what seems like a constant eye for clever, elegant construction.

  • He seems unrelenting in finding the best yarn for the stitch as well as the drape and fit of the garment.

There you have it! Brooklyn Tweed - one of my knitting heroes.

(BTW his design work also made the cover of the Fall 2008 Issue of Vogue Knitting!)



Its been a week of getting ready for that nasty "Back to School". We've taken care of business in that regard so now I can transport my charges back up north to enjoy their last extended stay of the season at the cottage.

The rain this summer has the forests up north looking very lush and green but last week some red and orange started to appear at the edges of some of the maple leaves around our cottage. I choose to view this not as a sign of autumn but rather only late summer which I do love. After all August is...

  • Corn on the Cob Season
  • The time when the bugs at the cottage are largely gone
  • The best sailing season of the summer
  • Ideal for bon fires by the lake because its getting dark earlier so they don't have to start at 10:00 pm.
  • An opportunity to rather effortlessly enjoy the garden at home and the boats at the cottage since the back breaking work required by each early in the season has been done.
  • Unlike July, when the kids are unwinding from the previous school year, in August they're relaxed and fun to be with.
  • When the fall issue of Interweave Knits comes out on the 19th!

And speaking of knitting ...

  • I've got that new yarn from yesterday's outing for a couple of baby gifts that should be pretty fast and fun and a change from the other more plodding stuff I've been doing this summer.
  • I've been to the library for knitting books to scatter about the cottage for "atmosphere" and anytime vicarious thrills.
  • I've got the new Vogue Knitting already packed.
  • I've been on line looking at everyone else's cue and reading about their plans for maximum inspiration.
  • In the knit blog rhealm there's going to be some radio silence around here until that first week in September - not because I won't have lots of knitting fodder but just because I'm not planning on being around here much or possibly at all.

In the meantime, happy knitting everyone. Enjoy the best of whatever late August means in your part of the world!


A Question in the Morning. The Answer in the Afternoon.

Can a frenzied knitting nut with an almost EMPTY knitting basket make a return to the LYS of a single ball of leftover yarn and come home with nothing but a credit on her account?

The answer this afternoon!

Please imagine "Jeopardy" Theme Song Music in your head for a moment (or click here to listen) to symbolize time that did pass between the post above and the following...

In real time its now afternoon. The idiot knitter was so giddy at the prospect of yarn shopping she left the #!?X&ing yarn that needed to be returned at home! After realizing this I made a quick turn and headed for the nearest LYS (Its great being a knitter in Toronto!) rather than my intended target LYS at which I could have secured the credit for the yarn above. (Oh well I should look on the bright side - I guess that means another LYS trip sometime soon!)

And what did I get? (Other than no store credit!)

Yarn to make baby gifts for two new parents who work with My Beloved. I want to knit them over the next two weeks in which I will be hosting/cooking/tending bar/parenting/operating as boat captain pretty much on a solo basis. So I need something mindless, essentially devoid of shaping or even much counting. I've decided to make the Boat Sweater from Debbie Bliss Family Knits.

The shop I went to is moving in two weeks, they are in packing mode and their stock of the Cotton Yarns called for in the pattern was essentially limited to shades of orange, violet, lime green and black - not exactly baby colours. So I switched to wool - Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran - and got enough for a navy version (#004) and and one in cream (#101). I'm pleased at having to make the switch because two cotton sweaters in size 2 is not what my hands are aching to do - if you know what I mean. (The new parents didn't have babies two years ago, they both very recently had babies with birth weights close to 10 lbs. so I don't want to risk making newborn sizes.)

Its not very exciting as yarn goes but the knitting will be a pleasant and necessarily slight diversion when the cottage is full. I'm not only tight with my knitting tension - its essentially a constant state of affairs with me so anything to keep me relaxed and going with the flow will be great to have on hand. As I've said before Ms. Bliss is my go to gal for baby knits so I'm confident in my expectations of this pattern and the yarn.
As an aside, yesterday I endured multiple disasters, false starts and time wasting dead ends in my quest to deal with my lengthy list of back to school errands. The misfire on the yarn return today though was no problem. As soon as knitting or yarn are in the mix, its like oil on the water!


Mitered Heart Sachet FO

Following my early summer flurry of sweater making I wanted to work with teeny tininess for a while and this is what I came up with...
Pattern: "Mitered Heart Sachet" by Vicki Sever
Yarn: Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino
Colour: 138
Needles: Clover Bamboo 2.0mm dpns
Modifications: None
Start: July 16 Finish: August 12, 2008

Its been in my cue for a long time. I discovered the pattern on line probably close to two years ago. Then it took forever to find the yarn...
Koigu is made just north of Toronto but it was impossible to find in stock around here. Eventually I landed some at Purl in NYC this past February in a colourway I thought would work. (KPPPM 138 -there's no sign of this colour ref.# on the Koigu site maybe its discontinued?)
Meanwhile for two seasons I've been planting more lavender in the garden to have enough to actually fill the "several" sachets the pattern said could be made from one skein of yarn.
Then of course came the harvesting and drying and then cleaning the lavender flowers off the stems. Comparatively speaking, the actual knitting of these was probably the smallest part of the whole project! My first attempt at miters, each sachet made of 14 interconnected squares, I made 4 sachets for a total of 56 miters.
I got faster at them as I went but also a bit bored. Coincidentally I was reading a library copy of Mason Dixon Knitting during this project (I've wanted to do a mitered blanket ever since reading about it on the January One blog). After making my 56 miters though I don't think I'll be doing a mitered blanket. Repetition on that scale - repetition that requires a bit of attention be paid -isn't what I'm looking for in my knitting time. Having said that though, I can see picking up another skein of Koigu if I ever come across it again and taking another run at the sachets since a) I now have the lavender harvest to fill them and b) they are a lovely little gift. I also think they'd be lovely knit in a pale, solid colour linen yarn which would make an utterly different effect with a pretty ribbon for contrast.

(My number one son surprisingly told me he thinks these sachets are the nicest things I've ever knit! He also shared the fact that he can't understand "shoving them in a drawer with a bunch of underwear"!)
This was also perfect summer time knitting. The wool never touches any part of you other than your fingers and its utterly portable. Its also a very good knitting value for the money. The one skein kept me and my fingers intermittently amused for the better part of three weeks. The coil less safety pins called for to hold live stitches would have been a great help but not being able to find any I made due with regular safety pins and the smallest stitch holders in my collection. I did find I had to track every line of every square with post it notes as well as mark square #1 as a reference to avoid getting lost or joining on miters in the wrong order or orientation.

I've decided to make liners for my sachets because I think there are too many holes in the knitting through which the lavender might escape. The scent of lavender is lovely on clothes, but the feeling of lavender buds in clothes is another story entirely.

My liners are made with fabric remnants hand sewn with a couple of strands of embroidery thread from my little stash. (Both remnants are fifty or sixty years old - one side from a much laundered cotton bed sheet, the other a piece of very fine tulle) I could have whipped these up on the machine much faster but I don't think the vintage tulle would have survived and I just like the idea of making the whole thing by hand. My favourite part about the sachet design paired with that colourway of Koigu is they remind me of time worn tapestry or heavy embroidery and I think they deserved a lining in keeping with that well worn aesthetic.

No one will likely ever open the sachets to replenish the lavender (other than me) but I like the idea of knowing that if they do they'll find attention to detail even in there.

Two of the sachets will be birthday gifts for my mom this week and two will stay with me. There may be one more left in the remaining yarn. I'll just have to see if the mood strikes me to start another and find out for sure.


Its all in how you look at it...

No matter where these goggles are lying on the dock I feel like they are looking at me.

In the manual for my husband's vehicle it says that this is a beverage holder...

I see it a little differently...
When I'm at the cottage over weekends in the spring and autumn it feels like that location is the holiday spot. By this point in the summer though, when I'm only spending 24 hours a week in the city, the house starts to feel like the place where I'm taking the "break" from routine. Whatever my state of mind or point of view though, I arrive in the city with a massive list of things to get done in a big hurry before its time to hit the highway again. I know its going to be busy enough that I actually leave the knitting behind at the cottage (except the obligatory car sock knitting!). I did undertake a new, fun little project at the cottage I hope to be able to post about it as an FO next week.

My knitting basket looks empty in terms of yarn and needles but the time of year, as the colder weather undeniably starts to creep up on us along with the launch of new patterns and yarns means its absolutely overflowing with potential.
I'm trying to come at my next big project from the point of view of what my wardrobe needs rather than just what might amuse me and my needles to make...
  • More wool socks are definitely required.
  • If "Honeycomb" goes well I can see making another vest or two to wear under blazers before coat season really sets in.
  • A couple of biggish woolly, cabled sweaters for the coldest months would be nice.
  • I would get a lot of wear out of some finer weight cardigans or even pullovers.
Playing around with possibilities in my mind rather than being tortured with obligations to WIP's is a very pleasant way to be as I finish the few bits and pieces I have left lying around.

Last night I visited the updated spots on my blog roll and was inspired at the idea of Cables at Knitting to Stay Sane and a consideration of the importance of "wooliness" at Knitting on Impulse. Crochet caught my eye at Crazy Crocheter and the numerous references to Ysolda's "Little Birds" sweater on Twist has me thinking about doing some more colour work (I must have now fully recovered from sewing in the ends of Bonbon and Imprint last month!)

Anyway I look at it, it feels like high knitting season is about to begin and its going to be a good one all around!

In the meantime I plan to enjoy the moment, the little projects, Tomato, Corn on the Cob and Peach Season during the weeks of summer still to come.

Finally in my little study on point of view in this post, how do you see the following? Our little lake took 4 direct hits of lightening during an early evening storm this past week. The bolts were palpable to people in their cottages along the shore and it blew out an underwater cable that runs from the side of the lake serviced by towers over to the side without. You could say those cottages were unfortunate enough to have their power knocked out.

Or you could say they were lucky that specialized boats are nearby ready to be launched with crews equipped and trained to replace such a cable so service is pretty quickly restored. Whether things seem good or bad I think is often determined by how you look at it isn't it?


Bonbon FO

'Back in town for a 24 hour turnaround before the long weekend I arrived to find Bonbon, 'blocked last week, dry and ready for a photo shoot.

Pattern: Bonbon Pullover by Mari Lynn Pat - Interweave Knits Winter 2007
Yarn: Sheldridge Farm W4 Soft Touch and Mission Falls 1824 Wool (White only)
Colour:"Silver"/"Misty Blue"/"Bottle Green"/"Green Apple"/"Lemon Lime"/"Cornsilk"
Needles: Aero Circulars 5mm 16",24", 36" lengths
Start: May 17 Finish: July 22, 2008
Pattern Modifications: Colours/Brand of Yarn
I'm very pleased with how it turned out despite undertaking a lot of new things with this pattern.

This was my first stranded colour work project and being a very tight knitter I found the stranding caused me to be ever vigilant about the tension of the floats. It seems to have paid off.

I substituted Sheldridge Farm W4 for the recommended yarn (GGH Belaire) and I used Mission Falls 1824 to get a less creamy white than was offered in the W4. The 1824 is slightly bulkier than the Sheldridge Farm but given its use in the pattern as the "netting" it worked fine. The W4 is part of their "Soft Touch" line and it really lives up to its name - especially after blocking in stockinette. Wool usually bothers me very little - even right against my skin (must be my Scottish heritage!) but its hard to believe this is wool at all. It's just that soft. I'll be looking to use it again soon.

I changed the colour scheme from warm to cool. This was the most harrowing part for me as I've never tried anything like this before but I'm pleased with the results. The main colour is a wonderful deep rich grey with a lot of blue and purple in it (at least to my eye) and I love it. It suits my colouring - phew! - and the accent colours of Apple and Acid Green - the topic of lengthy debate during and after purchase do end up giving needed punch to the overall scheme.

Of course there is a fair amount of waste with a design like this but what better problem to have than several almost complete balls of great yarn to add to the stash?
This sweater is quite long and goes right down over the hips. The decision to go with neutral ease was unproven until trying the sweater on after blocking. Pre-blocking the band of detail around the hips really pulled in at a location where a person with, shall we say a "womanly" form does not want a sweater to get narrower but I unpinned it last night and this morning its holding its shape and straight sides nicely.

As for the pattern, I didn't change a thing and I'm not a bit sorry. I briefly considered ditching the yoke detail across the shoulders and I'm so glad I didn't end up doing that. The yoke is my favourite part. I love the way it accentuates the shape of the shoulders without becoming pulled out of line. The sleeves are quite long (I may have blocked them to become even longer) but I really like the length as it further highlights the colour work at the cuffs.

I like the garter stitch edging at the collar and cuffs. It gives a slight a flair to the line without gaping and I like the way the turtleneck sits just away from the throat. The lines of knitted "dots" were the only thing that gave me any trouble with this knit. They don't really appear as they should but they do lend linear spots of colour as well as texture for an almost quilted effect. I worried while doing the collar that I wouldn't have enough ease to make it over my generous noggin so I changed out the circular needle to a longer one twice during the collar's knitting to try it on. An extra step like this is typically the kind I would have omitted in the past. Disastrous results naturally followed so its one of the things I'm trying to do more consistently now. There is nothing worse than the heartache of a finished knit that won't fit.

I will share the "Devil"s Eye" of this knit with you - I misread the first two rows of the chart at the very beginning but didn't realize it until I started the second side. Rather than rip the whole first side out, I did a duplicate stitch fix once assembly was complete and it really did the trick masking the error. Can you see the white underneath the grey "slipped stitch"between each pair of blue stitches just below the garter border?
Although it took a bit over three months to complete, the knit only received about 2 months of real attention. I enjoyed knitting Bonbon. I learned a lot of valuable lessons by undertaking it and I know I'm going to enjoy wearing it. Pretty satisfying all around!