Saturday, December 13, 2014

FO: Tolt Hat

 I'm finally feeling the pressure of Christmas knitting. I thought I was doing alright on my knitting and then I actually looked at the calendar - not as much time left as I thought! I needed a quick pick me up gift so I went to my pattern library.
 I found the perfect pattern in my library and even had the right yarn for it in my stash.
Pattern: Tolt Hat by Andrea Rangel
Yarn: Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia in Quail and Cactus Blossom
Needles: US #8 Addi Turbo
Mods: None. I knit the size medium and it's a tad loose on me so I think it will fit the gift recipient perfectly. The pattern also includes instructions for  a pair of mitts but I don't have enough of the magenta yarn to knit them and I don't want to run out and get another skein. This hat took about one long even to complete and it would work handsomely for men in a different color combination. This would also be an excellent project for trying out colorwork.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Music Monday

I put out a Facebook call asking for non-annoying Christmas music because I didn't believe it existed. I'm not a fan of repetitive bells, songs about Santa, or church music and that seems to encompass a lot of Holiday music you hear at retail stores (and my building's elevator). Ask and you shall receive.

"364 Days" by The Murder City Devils

I'll be sharing more of my Facebook holiday music gems over the next few weeks. Get ready.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gifts for Knitters: The Knitting Library

Au Courant

Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads: A Modern Knitter's Guide to Exploring and Discovering Style by Cirilia Rose. A collection of 26 pieces ranging from sweaters to accessories with advice on creating and discovering your own personal style. Good for knitters who like variety in their knitting and are style savvy (or want to be). $27.50

Curls by Hunter Hammersen. 14 patterns for wraps sized from cowl to scarf based on the yarn you use. This one is all over knitting blogs and podcasts right now and for good reason, the variations on size and the simple shape make these accessories easily customizable. $19.95 to $21.95.

Modern Classics

New American Knits by Amy Christoffers. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I have a knitting crush on Amy Christoffers and her design aesthetic and I plunked my money down for this book sight unseen. 20 pieces ranging from a tank top to hats to (many) sweaters. These are classic pieces with modern twists and interesting details. From $18.49.

Vintage Modern Knits by Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn. Modern knitwear inspired by traditional knitting techniques from cables to colorwork and all knit in The Fibre Company's lovely line of luxury yarns. $29.94

The Shetland Trader Book 1 and 2  by Gudrun Johnston. With designs inspired by the Shetland Islands and Gudrun's impeccable eye for detail these two books do not disappoint. The collection is a combination of garments and accessories that include interesting techniques and a variety of style options. From $20.00.

Building Blocks

Up, Down, All Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard. 150 stitch patterns both written and charted for knitting top down, bottom up, flat, and in the round. Included are eight patterns for garments and accessories. $29.95.

Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker. This isn't a very sexy book but the information is great if you want to branch out into knitting your own top down sweaters (and other garments). $20.

The Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This is an excellent book for trying your hand at building your own sweater from scratch. Some of the instructions read more like recipes but if you're okay with that then this might be the book for you. $24.95.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

FO: Rolling Thunder Gloves

I finally updated some of my project pictures and now I have an FO to share! Hooray!

Pattern: Rolling Thunder Gloves by Sivia Harding (free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Leading Men Fiber Arts Show Stealer in Anne's Story
Needles: US #1 (2.25 mm) Addi Turbo 
Mods: None! I knit the pattern as written and the mitts are a perfect fit. I used copper lined size 8/0 Japanese beads from Fusion Beads in Seattle that I re-purposed from a knitting project that never came to fruition. The garter rib is quite stretchy so the mitts would fit a variety of hand sizes and the details on these are just lovely: a turned hem, texture stitches, little lines of beads along the purl welts, a garter thumb gusset, and a rolled hem. The only fussy thing about knitting these was pre-stringing the beads.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Music Monday

"After You've Gone" by Bessie Smith (1927).

"After You've Gone" by Nina Simone. I couldn't find this song as a track listing but I believe it's part of the Black Swan Live at Carnegie Hall album which was recorded in 1963.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gifts for Knitters: Quality Goods

As a new knitter I often purchased the least expensive notions and tools. Don't get me wrong, inexpensive is great and not all inexpensive tools are cheap or cheaply made, but over the years I've slowly upgraded my toolkit to include lovely and useful tools that will last me for years to come. 

Stitch Markers

I love the removable stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co. They look very similar to coil-less safety pins but have a circular end to fit around the needle much a like a traditional fixed stitch marker. HiyaHiya also makes these markers in shiny brass or nickel so you can choose your poison, er, finish. $3.50 - $6.

If you are partial to closed stitch markers with a little bling then I can recommend Velvet Hippo on Etsy. Torii makes lovely color-coordinated sets of markers that slip easily between needles and provide just the right amount of sparkle to your knitting project without getting caught or snagged on your stitches. $3 - $15.

Project Bags

I have a partiality to zippered project bags so when I received my Anne of Green Gables kit from Little Skein I was thrilled! The shawl-sized bags are roomy, sturdy, and have interfaced sides so you can knit directly out of them like a yarn bowl (very handy for knit night). Anne's stitching is impeccable and her fabric choices are spot on (she also has luxurious knitting kits in her shop). 
$28 and up.

Chubby Cloud has an amazing array of project bags and miscellany offered up in her Etsy shop. You can find everything from knot bags to zippered pouches to kindle and iPhone cozies in fabrics funky to adorable. I picked up her new design at KnitFit! at the beginning of the month and it has been in constant rotation ever since. $15 and up.

My knitting group consists of several Tom Bihn devotees and while I haven't tried them myself I trust the opinion (obsession?) of my knitting friends. The Yarn Stuff Sack is the bag I'm most familiar with but Tom Bihn carries a large selection of bags that are easily adaptable for knitting purposes. Tom Bihn's fabric choices and styles are very unisex so if you're gifting to a knitter of the male persuasion this might be just the thing. $9 and up.

Scissors and Snips

My favorite scissors are Gingher 4" lightweight embroidery scissors. You can find them at most local yarn stores and they're small enough to fit in most notion pouches. I like the non-metal grip and the very sharp blades. $13 and up. 

Fringe Supply Co. has a lovely variety of scissors to choose from if you want to get a little more fancy with your snipping. Personally, I think the Italian Bow Scissors are quite nice. $8 and up.


Let's not forget our local yarn stores! Shop small and shop local this Holiday season to support your local economy. Small business owners depend on support from their communities to stay in business and you can help them out by shopping locally this season.