Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Knitting Nook in the Making

Mike and I have just moved into our new home (pretty much a dream come true) and even after having lived here for 3+ weeks we're still surrounded by cardboard boxes and random items that I know should be in a different room.  I keep telling myself that it all takes time but truthfully I wish I could just whizz around in a couple of hours and have all of our 'stuff' put away.  I would definitely follow up that accomplishment with some good quality knitting time.

One of the spaces in our house that I'm really excited to get all set up is the Knitting Nook.  I don't know if Mike ever imagined that he would live in a home with one of these but I'm confident that he's starting to see the light. Who wouldn't want a cozy little corner full of knitting goodness?  Skeins of beautiful yarn, knitting projects on the go and/or finished, and some tasteful knit decor can only be one thing: wonderful.

As you can see from the picture above (sorry for the iPhone pic; I haven't found/unpacked our camera yet) things are in a bit of a state, still far from my vision of a relaxing, knit-filled space. I've already set aside a few things just for this corner: I've got some lovely boxes from Indigo (waited them out last fall and got a steal) and a pretty ceramic vase I picked up from our last trip to Scotland. We'll also be sure to use a few framed photos that we had hanging up in our old house, just not sure where they will be on the wall yet.  As for storage, the Ikea Expedit was an obvious choice and I love that I can stow some things away in the baskets.  I'm still looking for an easy and efficient way to organize patterns that I've purchased or printed (right now they're stuffed thoughtlessly into a binder...they deserve better than that), so if you have any ideas please let me know.

If I could somehow incorporate these two ideas, I would be over the moon.  I love the whimsical pop of colour, the fun and the simplicity of both features.

Anyways, wish me luck!  I'm hoping to have this little project tackled by the week's end.  I'll be back to show you the 'after' pictures soon!

- Christy

Monday, January 28, 2013

Free this week: Maddy's Tiny Dress

It's a dull, snowy winter morning here in Eastern Ontario---and on top of that it's Monday.  To counter-balance the fifty shades of grey outdoors, I wanted to feature this sweet little sweater pattern by JaneTerrzaDeisgns, Maddy's Tiny Dress.  Its cheerful colours and overall baby cuteness almost override my general feeling of January blah. Almost.  :-) 

This infant/toddler pullover is a unique little project.  It's designed to be knit flat, in one piece, to allow for minimal seaming.  The triangles are constructed using short-rows, and if you've never attempted these before the designer says not to worry---just follow the pattern row by row. 

Short rows are a great technique to add to your knitting toolbox---they allow for shaping and other interesting design features.  I know after I figured them out, I wondered how I'd gotten along for so long without them!

As a bonus, the Maddy's Tiny Dress pattern is free this week only (January 27th to February 3rd, 2013).  You can find it on Ravelry.  It's sure to brighten your week!  


Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Robbie Burns' Day

For additional photos click here.
I couldn't resist posting this photo of shetland ponies in fairisle sweaters.  I saw the pic about 10 days ago as it got passed around through knitting peeps on Pinterest, and since then it's pretty much gone viral.  They are part of Visit Scotland's tourism campaign for this year, which they've deemed Year of Natural Scotland.  Can't think of a better reason to visit...

Now go drink your scotch and eat your haggis!                                     -Hilary

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wool 4

Here in Eastern Ontario, everyone is talking about the weather: it's COLD.  We're in the middle of a particularly frigid cold snap, which makes it a challenge to even venture  your toe out from under the one or two duvets on your bed in the morning.  I felt really bad for my 16 year old daughter, Bridget, who not only had to head out early in the -25C weather, she had to go out to go write an exam.  Talk about adding insult to injury.  

After getting her off to school early, I had a little extra time to browse through some new knits online.  Yesterday, Quince & Co published Wool 4, the latest in their Wool series.  In my knitting world, when Quince & Co release a new set of designs, it's big news.  

If you're not familiar with Quince & Co, they are an American yarn manufacturer, producing beautiful yarns that are sourced and spun in the United States in as earth- and labor-friendly a way as possible.  They admit to having a strong bias toward natural fibres, and their colourways are unique---very much mirroring colours found in nature. 

Wool 4 is a beautiful set of patterns, featuring a beret, a cowl, and three top-down sweaters, designed by Cecily Glowik McDonald and Melissa LaBarre.  On Q&Co's blog, they explain that each pattern meets all of the following criteria: each one is easy, it's wearable, and it's just a little bit unique.  Sounds about perfect to me.  Between the designs and the photography, Wool 4 is a treat to look through.

I think my favourite of the collection is the Sylvia sweater, which takes a simple stocking-stitch cardigan and tweaks it by designing the front closing on a diagonal.  That and a sweet cable detail on the front pocket make it a stand-out.  

So if you're hibernating today, and looking for a lovely project to start, or if you're in the mood for some online shopping, Wool 4 is available to purchase as a set, or by the individual pattern.  Quince and Co yarn is also available for purchase on their website.  You won't be disappointed.          -Hilary


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ReStart and Welcome

We're almost a month into a brand new year, and I'm determined to breathe some new life into my once fairly-regularly-updated blog.  With a new name, and a new partner (more info to follow) I'm excited to get moving!

I'm ashamed to say that my last post was---yikes---over 3 & a half years ago.  The beautiful little baby featured in the photo is now a very busy 4 year old, who still loves her handknits.  This is my niece Audrey, who's wearing the Kina cardi by Muriela, which I knitted up for her last year in some delicious Quince & Co Chickadee yarn in the clay colourway.  More about Quince & Co another day, but check them out for yourselves---they make absolutely lovely yarn, and their colourways are sublime.

So much time has passed that Audrey even has a little brother now, Matthew, who enjoys a nice sweater himself.  This is him in his Abernathy pullover, again lovingly knitted up by yours truly in SMC Select Extra Soft Merino, in a great blue colourway.  Matthew is now 18 months old, and toddles around the house with his cars and trucks.  He is always ready to show you his belly, or too snuggle in with some cozy hugs---I love that guy!

My goal now is to keep the blog updated at least weekly, with the help from my new co-host here, who I'm excited to introduce: my sister Christy!  Christy & I have been sharing our love of knitting for well over a decade.  Though she took it up later than me, Christy learned quickly and in no time began to share equally in my passion for (obsession with?) finding beautiful and practical patterns, yarns, notions and accessories, and of course knitting up as many beautiful things as possible.  

Christy also has an incredible eye for style, both for the home and in clothing and accessories, and I'm really looking forward to being able to share some of her insight and ideas here too.     

Welcome. It's so good to be back. :-)