Technical Tuesday: The Colour of Truth Part One

I had a really good question about variegated yarn the other day and I thought it was something good I should address. How do you know what a multi-coloured yarn would look like after it is knitted? When you’re trying to plan a project and go looking for yarn it’s really hard to tell if the lovely variegated yarn you picked up is going to lend it self well to your project. How can you tell? The really short answer is to do a swatch. Just knit a swatch and see what the colours look like at that gauge.

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You may have noticed that this post was labeled Part One; I am going to go over a couple different kinds of variegated yarn. This week I will talk about the most common kind of multi-coloured yarn, a short colour shift. This is really popular now especially with so many indie dyers on the rise. The colours are applied to the yarn while it is still in a hank, so the colour repeats will be short.

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If the skein is dip dyed, the colours will repeat at perfectly regular intervals. With this technique you can apply some math to your gauge and have this kind of yarn pool in specific patterns or keep it totally random. Other techniques, such as hand painting, mean the colours do repeat, but not in a perfectly regular fashion.

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In order to not completely blow everyone’s mind with too much information I am going to go over long colour shifts next week, then I will talk about how your gauge affects them. This will be the difference between knitting the body of a sweater and the sleeves.


It has been a long time since I’ve written about the books I am currently into. I really fell off the book wagon and didn’t keep up with the series I read. When I came around to it, there were two more books out for the Chloe Neill, Chicagoland Vampires series.

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This book series is one of my favourites and a blogged about it way back in April 2014. The last time I checked in, I was waiting for the next book to come out around August 2014. I was so excited for the book release, but didn’t manage to check it out when the time came. I suppose that was only two months before the wedding and one month before the Kitchener/Waterloo show so I was, unsurprisingly, preoccupied.

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I realized I was TWO WHOLE BOOKS BEHIND when I was recommending this series to a friend. When I looked up the order of the books, there were two I didn’t have! I actually love it when that happens because you get a new book without the wait. Usually when I finish a book I am hunting down the release date for the next one immediately.

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I really love the energy this series gives. They’re a fun read and very descriptive. I swear I gain weight every time I go over these books; all the food descriptions are to die for. The next book in this series is coming out in March of 2016. I am going to mark that one on my calendar and try not to miss it!!

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Chloe Neill is coming out with another series, the Devil’s Isle books. I am really looking forward to checking this book out! I really love Chloe Neill’s writing style and can’t wait to see what she has coming out next!

Not Socks!

I’ve been knitting something that isn’t socks. I know! Everyone will go into shock at my lack of hosiery!
I bought the yarn at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2013 and it has been sitting on my shelf decoratively.

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I even had each skein balled into three separate balls for the pattern. I bought it for the Gradient pattern by Shibui Knits.

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I bought enough for one in brown tones and another one in all different colours. I’ve obviously started the colourful one first! This scarf is the true epitome of potato chip knitting. The gradient makes you want to keep going and just add in one more colour.

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I really love these scarves, they’re so light and fluffy! I am going to keep knitting this one and try to stay off the sock train for a little bit. The Gradient scarves are so much fun to knit up, lets hope they last for me!

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Technical Tuesday: 5 Mistakes that Every Knitter Makes

Every one makes mistakes, which is how we learn isn’t it? There are a few that every knitter makes, even if they aren’t particularly new. I still find myself doing a couple of these.

1. Leaving your Knitting at Home

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This mostly happens to me when I am in a hurry and forget to pack anything, then I get to an appointment and have to wait. I sit there and think about the knitting I could have been doing as I sat there.

2. Knitting While Tired

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I always think to myself, ‘just one more row, then I’ll go to bed.’ I wake up in the morning and can’t even dissect what happened on that last row. This is especially true with colourwork. You think you’re knitting in the pattern, but that is actually sleepions messing with your brain. Never trust the sleepions.

3. You thought you had that Pattern Memorized

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Same kind of malfunction as Knitting While Tired. You thought you had that pattern totally down and walked away from the paper. Next thing you know it looks like your garment got second place in a wood-chipper fight.

4. Not Following your Intuition about a Pattern

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You read it over… sure, it’s slightly confusing, but you can totally handle it. Don’t bother checking over techniques that are unknown to you, just cast on all 400 stitches of lace and let ‘er fly! I am the biggest advocate for being adventurous with your knitting, but there are some patterns that just don’t work. If you’re thinking a pattern is written strangely or the wording is too cluttered, ask a friend for help BEFORE you start.

5. Not Knitting a Gauge Swatch

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I guarantee, every knitter has done this (myself included). You think ‘oh I know what I am doing’ or ‘what could possibly go wrong.’ My friends those are the last sane words you will think. I have had both ends of the spectrum with clothes that ended up being hideously too big and indecently too small. Trust me, there are some things that don’t just block out.

Be smart and learn from your mistakes!

Summer Pattern Love

I know there are some seasonal knitters out there who slow down or even stop in the summer, but I’m obviously not one of them! There are so many things outside of our control in life that we definitely need something we can hang onto. I am going to share some links to a few summer patterns I’ve been looking at!

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 7.37.32 AMThe Summer Carnival Pattern by Georgie Hallam

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 7.39.56 AMSummer Wind by Irishgirlieknits

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Gemini by Jane Richmond

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Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart

How do you manage to keep knitting in the summer? Is it the patterns that inspire you?


Technical Tuesday: Ravelry

I know I have talked about Ravelry on and off through out the years, but it still surprises me when I tell people to add me on Ravelry and they don’t realize they can do that. Ravelry is an amazing tool for knitters that can really take your knitting to the next level. Today I am going to link you to a few videos about basics on Ravelry.

Adding a project! When you knit something you can link to the pattern, yarn, needle size you used. You can also add notes to a project. If you had a problem with a pattern or the yarn changed drastically after you blocked it, you can make a note and the next person to use that yarn/pattern won’t be surprised! It’s an infinitely helpful tool and it also helps you keep track of your own projects. If you forgot what size needles you used for a certain garment, you can go back and take a look at your Ravelry project page.

There thousands of patterns on Ravelry and you can narrow down the results by using the advanced search! If you’re looking for socks, and you just search ‘socks’ you are going to get thousands of hits. If you’re looking for a certain weight of yarn or brand of yarn, you can activate these advanced search options.

The Library! If you buy a pattern, it automatically goes into the pattern library, but you can also add books and magazines you have. This is great for keeping track of your physical library and what patterns are in those magazines and books.
A few other useful tools to check out on your own are your queue, stash and the best part; going into your friends profiles to see what they have been working on. I always find out about the best patterns by looking at what people have queued! Find a couple friends with similar taste and see what they’ve been working on!

Top Ten Places I’d Like to Go!!

I was having trouble thinking of something to write about since Thursday’s are off topic. I’ve pretty much already talked about everything going on in my life and I don’t want to bore you. I quick text to my friend Megan and she came up with something right off the bat! Fantasize about ten places I would like to travel some day, sign me up now!

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Number one has got to be Walt Disney World in Florida, for several reasons. The Disney Princess Half Marathon is held there and it is on my bucket list to run that. I’ve been re-reading the blog This Runners Trials, and it makes me want to run it sooooo much more! I am very excited about the run, but the WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER IS IN THE SAME PLACE! Well… close enough. Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood and life in general, actually one of the first ‘good’ knitting projects I did, was a Harry Potter scarf.
I’ve wanted to go to Disney World since I was a little kid, my parents always said we would go when my brother was more mature, but he is turning 23 this year and we still haven’t went. I’m not holding my breath on that one…

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If the first one is Florida, then the second one has to be California. Paul has some family down that way and we have talked about going to visit sometime. Also, that is where Disneyland is and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is held; another bucket list item.

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Nassau, Bahamas
This was originally where Paul and I were going to honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to check out the Bahamas, but I really REALLY want to go to the aquarium there, Atlantis. I heard about it from a co-worker, looked it up and have been dying to go for a couple years now.

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I want to travel all over Scotland, especially to see the Fairy Pools at the Isle of Skye. I’d like to see castles and learn about history. Perhaps visit a yarn mill or two?

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The UK in general
I am a huge geeky fan of many British TV shows and I would love to see some of the sights that are important in those shows. As well as several books… cough, cough, Harry Potter, cough. Bodleian Library, Durham Cathedral, Kings Cross Station, Alnwick Castle.

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Paris, France
Well… who doesn’t?

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Chichen Itza, Mexico
Any Dresden Files fans? No? It’s not just the books, I promise, I have a great desire to see Aztec Temples. There is such a rich history there that I wouldn’t be able to resist.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Okay, the beach, urban rainforest, Corcovado, Sugar Loaf Mountains and Museu Historico Nacional. Who could say no to that?

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Machu Picchu- Cuzco, Peru
I watched a lot of Discovery Channel as a child and became totally fascinated with the Inca people. That and I wouldn’t say no to Aguas Calientes either.

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Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples… I could go on, but I want to see everything… and eat a LOT of pizza and pasta.

National Knit in Public Day!

This Saturday, June 13th, is national knit in public day! I wanted to talk about this because I think the public has a skewed view of knitting and only we can change that.

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Whenever I tell people I am really into knitting, they usually look at me like I am crazy. It’s the kind of look that says ‘… but you’re not a 90-year- old retiree…’ No, I am definitely not. For some reason this blows people’s minds.

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If it’s a friend giving me that look, I usually suggest they try it out. The very first thing 99% of people say is either ‘oh, I could never do that’ or ‘I would never live it down.’ They’re afraid they would fail and/or people would tease them about it.

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Personally, it doesn’t bother me if I get a little bit of razzing over my chosen hobby, but I know people who don’t tell other people they knit. They’re afraid of judgement and derision from their friends, family, co-workers and peers.

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That is why I think it is so important for us knitters to go outside and knit in the sunshine. We can challenge the status quo, crush stereotypes and give others a hand up. There are so many knitters (and crotchetiers!) out there; I’ve been at some exceptionally large conventions and seen it for myself!
I constantly knit in public; anywhere I have to wait for something, I am knitting. However, this weekend is a time when lots of people are gathering en mass. Join in the crowd and proudly proclaim your addiction to fibre and making something special with your own two hands!

Technical Tuesday: KNITmuch

As I wrote a couple weeks ago I’ve written a few articles for an online blog called KNITmuch, since I’m a little tight on time for this week I am going to post some photos. These are the things I designed for the Red Heart yarn Scrubby.

Double thick Chevron Scrubby dishcloth working on dished in the sink.

Heart Shaped Scrubby Stuffies

Star Stuffie ready to go!

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Pleace the soap into the pouch and lather!

I hope everyone enjoyed the patterns and tries out this yarn. I am not a huge dishcloth fan, but these ones are really fun. The colours help too; you know me… I couldn’t possibly make a boring dishcloth.

I would highly recommend checking out some of the other articles as well. There is a photo of some impossibly cute penguins in sweaters and some really informative knitting articles written by Glenna C.

Tri Tri as Hard as you Can.

Well a couple weeks ago I actually signed up for the Give it a Tri on Toronto Island August 22nd. The money is paid; there is no going back. We have passed the point of no return. Remind me again why I do these things?!

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Oh yea… because I LOVE IT!
I’ve been training in a pretty round about and general way for a few weeks, but when I actually filled out the forms, I had to get my act in gear. I promptly added training to my calendar and figured out what workouts I am doing what days; run, bike, yoga, swim, run, brick, repeat.
I recently picked up some new triathlon lingo. A ‘brick’ refers to a workout when you stack two disciplines one after the other with little to no interruption. For example, I have been working on the bike to running transition because I’ve heard it is the hardest.

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The very first time I tried to do a bike/run brick, Paul and I went to the rail trail in Hamilton. It’s a really lovely bike on a trail that goes all the way from Hamilton to Brantford, a good 32K (approx. 19.8 miles). Don’t worry, I wasn’t doing the whole thing. In the actual Triathlon I have to bike 10K then run 2.5K, so to train we biked 16K. We had to go from our car, 8K up the trail and then come back again. You might be thinking this is slightly excessive, but Paul and I are decent cyclists and the first 8K is all uphill.
This is one of my absolute favourite bike rides because when you get to the point of turning around, your legs are on fire and you don’t know how you’re going to make it back. You turn and glide the whole way back, so really, our 16K bike ride isn’t as impressive as it seems. By the time you reach your car again, you’ve flushed the lactic acid out of your legs by pedaling so light and fast.

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Knowing this, I popped off my bike and started running… I thought I was going to die. My legs felt like lead, I hadn’t even made it back on the trail and I was breathing very hard. It was embarrassing. I just had to remember that this was the first one and the first one is always the hardest. Luckily I’ve been keeping so busy, I didn’t really have time to dwell on the bad run.
This past Sunday was my second bike/run brick and I CRUSHED IT! It was difficult, don’t get me wrong, but I felt a lot better. I felt strong, like I could definitely muscle through and optimistic I would get better. Since then I have felt really REALLY optimistic about this race. Like I can just handle anything that will come at me, I’ll be able to get over it.
I’m not sure if the feeling will last, but I really hope it will. I am going for my first swim of this week today (early Thursday morning). Swimming is not my forte so we will see if my optimism is waterproof!

What’s going on Wednesday

What is going on indeed? There has been so much happening in the past couple weeks I feel like I can hardly keep up! Unfortunately that doesn’t mean there has been a whole lot of knitting going on. I’ve done a few rows on my Grandmother’s sweater… sleeves. I’ve also been steadily plugging away on the second sock of The Warped Porch colour-way.

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This self-striping colour-way is named after my friend Lisa, or the Queen, as many know her. She gave me the colour combinations and I put them together. It’s really bright; poke you in the nose bright, but really, which one of my colours isn’t?

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The June newsletter went out Monday morning announcing this new colour-way, I thought I should probably include it here to, just in case. The black and white photo was really cruel, but I will admit to feeling terribly clever with myself afterwards. How to fill a post with photos when you are working on secret projects!? Well, everything isn’t a secret, just the colour. BAM! Inspiration!
I mentioned in the newsletter that there are still a few hanks of Psychedelic Onyx (the black and rainbow) self-striping sock yarn, so if you’re in the market the shop is here.

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We are also getting ready to get our dyeing game on. There are quite a few shows in the fall and it will work best if we start the dyeing now! This also means I have to pick out my samples for the next shows. Hmmmm what do I need an excuse to knit. That is possibly the downside to working in an industry you love… there isn’t a lot of time to actually participate in the thing you love.
I’m thinking about taking a weekend away sometime. I have dreams of nothing but tourist traps and knitting in the evenings before bed. I am pulling at the end of the chain trying to escape into vacation-time daydreams. What helps you focus?

Technical Tuesday: Weaving in the Ends

This is probably my least fun part of knitting a garment for me. It was something I struggled with when I was first starting to knit, how could you just tuck these ends away and expect them to stay there?! What if they came out? My whole garment would unravel! I wrote a post about weaving in the ends as you go, but for those who prefer to do them separately, here are the videos.

There are a number of reasons a knitter would want to wait till the end to weave in all their ends. If you might have to frog the project, it makes actually finding the ends a lot easier. If you’re watching how much wool you’re using and need to see where you added a new ball.

Weaving in your ends is one of the skills that take your knitting from homemade to hand-made. If ends aren’t woven in well, it’s a noiceable feature. Mind you it is a skill that takes time to learn. I know I watched a lot of videos about weaving in ends and I am still learning little tips and tricks to make the ends less noticeable and more secure.