Friday, December 16, 2011

One from the back catalogue: Santa Hat pattern

A free pattern for a Santa hat... (with US needle size conversion fixed). Neither of the yarns are available anymore, but you at this time of year you can easily find nice quick-knit yarns in the bulky section.  Lion Brand Wool Ease "Thick & Quick" would fit the bill very nicely and inexpensively.

The fur yarn used for the pattern was a good stable bulky yarn with extra fuzziness that made a good fabric on its own.  If you can't find something similar, use a nice chunky weight smooth white wool held together with a fuzzy/furry/eyelashy sort of thing.  Lion Brand's Festive Fur would work brilliantly.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Estonian Mitts

Our friend I. is Estonian... her parents came to Canada from Estonia in the 1950s, and although she was born and bred in Canada, I. is in many ways a true Estonian.

She and her partner made a trip to Estonia this summer, to tour the homeland together.

Naturally, as knitter, I asked them to bring me something back - something knitted.  I told them I didn't care what it was, or how much it cost, as long as it was handknit and local in origin.

Check out the thumb - the colorwork lines up perfectly.
And boy did they come through: they brought me back this tremendous pair of Estonian mitts.  They are the classic shape and style, with fabulous colorwork.  Although neither I. or her partner E. are knitters, they managed to ask a few key questions to get some info for me about the mitts they'd chosen.  They were definitely hand-knit (by someone's grandmother, naturally!), and the stitch pattern is apparently regional, associated with Tallinn, the city in which they were bought.

They bought the mitts at the city's Knit Market - known as the 'sweater wall'.  Fab picture here, on Flickr.

Let me say that again: In Tallinn, Estonia, there is a market area that specializes in hand knits. More info and droolworthy pictures here. Many of the vendors are locals, selling their own work and work of other locals.

The work of Ms. Viira.
In addition, they came upon and fell in love with the store NAiiV, run by the very talented knitwear designer Liina Viira.  Ms. Viira is of Estonian background, but was born and raised in Stockholm.  Her work combines both Scandinavian and Estonian techniques and patterns, but with a modern spin.  Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

Next time I'm going to give them a blank cheque and a empty suitcase so that they can bring me everything back.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More Streetcar Knitting

As a follow-up to the article about me knitting on the streetcar, the Toronto Star has created this really great video...

Some great Toronto scenery, lots of gratuitous sock shots, and a bunch of knitting.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Karen's First Sweater

Image courtesy Karen Kwinter/Canadian Living
Over the late summer and early fall, I helped out the lovely Karen with a project.

We were introduced at the Purple Purl, and the girls there told me that Karen needed to knit a sweater.  We've all been there - we find a sweater pattern we just plain NEED to knit.

Karen's situation was a little different, however.  She's a very stylish style editor at Canadian Living, had been inspired by the amazing knitwear in the fall and winter lines of her favourite fashion designers, and she decided that she wanted to make herself a sweater. The thing was that she was a novice knitter, and she was working to a deadline.

Karen is a woman possessed of excellent focus and perseverance, and in less than 7 weeks from our first meeting, she had a most excellent alpaca sweater that looks great and fits her beautifully.  She blogs about the process here.

I'm incredibly proud of her.  Check out the pictures in the January issue of Canadian Living.