Toronto Yarn stores – Yarns Untangled

Spouse and I took a much-needed week and visited Toronto.  It’s an amazing city – 4th largest in North America (from the airplane it seemed enormous)!  The people are friendly and even the graffiti is artistic (probably by design – but even public wall art that did not look sanctioned was artistic and not vulgar).  Lots to do, lots to see, lots of great food.

Where ever I travel, I try to find a “Local Yarn Store” to visit, and I try to purchase locally-made yarn.   I found two – Yarns Untangled in the hip Kensington District on Nassau Street and Romni Wools on Queen Street W.  I also found a 3-story Michaels’ store, which was an adventure by itself, and had an enormous selection of yarn, but since that’s not a LYS, it doesn’t count.

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Yarns Untangled is a small local craft boutique, with a lovely (if small) selection of yarn.   What was interesting about the yarn selection, is that you could find boutique yarn of the same dye lot in varying weights – a neat concept.  The staff was extremely friendly, and there were four people sitting around a small table knitting and chatting when I visited.  If you get the chance to visit Toronto, be sure you stop by – it’s worth the visit, and if you have a less-interested spouse, there is a terrific cantina next door, with a nice selection of beer.

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Who Invented Knitting

As it happens, the history of knitting is somewhat obscure – artifacts have been discovered as far back as 1000 AD, but because of the fragile nature of textiles, it’s likely that the craft is older than that.  Interesting speculation suggests that it evolved from the Middle East, where language is read from right to left, because knitting is from right to left.

Learn more about the history of knitting at this interesting article on AllFreeKnitting.com2017-08-10 07.01.29 (1280x720).jpg:

 

Everything old is new again

Or, “This Old Sock.”

There were these socks.  I knit them up for the boy-child, who never liked them and never wore them. After he moved out (he is a grown-up, now, and living on his own, but stops by from time to time), I found them in his room and confiscated them for my use.

Well, I decided that I didn’t really like them, either, and I was annoyed by the yarn pooling on the foot of the socks.  However, I couldn’t bring myself to throw out perfectly good (if ugly) socks, so I thought…. could I re-knit them?

So, here we have “Nutkin” sock, by Beth LaPensee, free on Ravelry.  I’ve had this pattern for a long time – it was first published in 2007.  Never made it, though.  Not sure why, but I think the turned cuff at the top had something to do with it.

I started at the toe of the old sock (since it was a top-down sock) and knit the new as I unraveled the old.  Worked very well, and I am very pleased with the result of the first sock.

Now that I’m working on the second sock, I wonder if there is some “off-ness” about the yarn, which caused the pooling (from a sock-yarn perspective).  It took several false starts before I could align the yarn in the second sock so that it did not pool.

Yarn:  I have no idea.  I am fairly sure that I knit this, the first time, before I had the blog, so it’s been a while ago, and I don’t have a record.  It’s good, solid sock yarn, so probably one of the common commercial brands.  It was washed several times before abandoned and then reclaimed.

Note on the “new” (top of picture) sock – although the colors you see in the heel and toe are throughout the yarn, because of the shorter rows, it is only distinct in the heel and toe – almost looks like one used a different yarn for contrast.

Shout out to Beth LaPensee for a good pattern – it’s easy to follow and memorize, and looks nice.  I changed her short-row heel for a German Short Row heel (check out the video by Knit Purl Hunter), which I discovered a while ago, and like because it is a lot easier than traditional short rows, and looks nicer.

Bart & Francis – Brioche Knitting

I was certain that I had posted a “casting on” photo, or at least a WIP photo, but I may have only thought I did.

Here is another Nancy Marchant project, Bart & Francis, published in Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two-Color Twists & Turns, available from Amazon.

Continuing as before, I selected a pattern that would use an entire skein of Lion Shawl in a Ball yarn, this time in color Cleansing Quartz, along with the companion Knitpicks Stroll Fingering in color Black.

Also, continuing as before, it took multiple tries to get the hang of the pattern.  I wish I could figure out what my problem is with these patterns – It’s like that “Magic Eye” picture – it makes no sense until, suddenly, it does, and then it’s a great project and lots of fun.

Completed Project – Champagne Bubbles

I wasn’t sure about the lace version of a Nancy Marchant pattern, but I decided that I was ready to try.

Champagne Bubbles is published in Vogue Knitting, Holiday, 2014 (available as a digital magazine).  Again, using Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, in color Peaceful Earth, with the contrast color of Knit Picks Palette in color Camel Heather.

I intended this to be a light and casual wrap, and I believe that is how it turned out.  Very enjoyable project, and now that I’ve knit several of these, I can follow the pattern and fix stitches that are missed.

Note on the picture with two side-by-side projects.  The one on the right is not blocked – same yardage as the one on the left.  What a difference a little warm water and stretching can make!

Diagonal Herringbone Scarf

I wanted an easy project, with an easy-to-memorize pattern, that I could pick up and set down without fear of losing my place, and which would be transportable.

While I didn’t find quite what I was looking for in my usual places (my digital library, Ravelry, Pinterest), I did find some things that seemed close.

Meanwhile, I had time for a visit to my favorite LYS, River Knits, where I enjoy spending time between meetings when I am in downtown Lafayette (Indiana).  I picked up two balls of Berroco Millefiori, in color 7891 “Terra.”  This is a nice variegated yarn in a bulky (#4) size.  The color patterns looked nice, but would not show up well in a fussy pattern (lacy or otherwise).  I found a herringbone stitch that I liked, but thought that it would look too plain for the nice yarn.  I decided to make it a diagonal herringbone, and it turned out just like I wanted.

Pattern is easy:  Cast on 35 stitches (or any odd number).

  • Row 1 – Knit through front and back of first two stitches (increase 2), *Slip 1, Knit 1, pass slipped stitch over knitted stitch and knit slipped stitch.  Repeat from * to last 4 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 2 together (decrease 2).
  • Row 2 – Purl 2, Knit 1, *Purl 2 together, then purl through 2nd stitch before dropping off needle.  Repeat from * to end.
  • Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until you have just enough yarn left to bind off.  I used two skeins of the Millefiori, which was perfect for this project.

I think the herringbone stitch and diagonal format worked well with this yarn, and I really enjoyed this project. The resulting fabric is soft but sturdy and will make a nice warm gift.