Archive for November, 2010

Smitten With Mittens

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Handknit mittens are a special part of holiday tradition, bringing back childhood memories, the excitement of the first snowfall of the year, making lopsided snowmen in the backyard, snowball fights on the way to school, and lacing up those skates for Saturday afternoons at the ice rink.

Rekindle some of that nostalgia and give the gift of warmth with a thick and cosy pair of handmade mittens.  Iceberg by Katia is an extra bulky merino wool in a holly jolly choice of colours, the ideal mitten yarn with homespun charm.  For last minute gifters- this is a speedy project, two cups of hot chocolate, and you will finish this pair of mittens in one night!       

For that extra festive touch, tuck in a gift card from a favorite coffee shop, or a few freshly baked holiday treats wrapped in cellophane.  Hang a pair on the front door with a snip of greenery for a cheery welcome.  Its the homemade gifts that we appreciate so much.   

Raspberry Mittens

RASPBERRY MITTENS

Size:  Women’s Medium

Needles:  8.00 mm double pointed set

Tension:  9 sts and 14 rows = 4 in/10 cm in st st

Yarn:  2 balls Iceberg Col. #5554 by Katia

Left Mitten:  Cast on 16 sts, divide sts evenly onto 3 needles.  Join in round.  Work in K1/P1 ribbing for 8 rounds.  K 2 rounds.

Gussett:  KFB (Knit into Front and Back of next stitch), place marker on needle, K to last 2 sts, place marker on needle, KFB, K1.  K 2 rounds.  Rep these last 3 rounds until 22 sts on needles, working KFB into the st right before 1st marker and right after 2nd marker.

Thumb Opening:  K to last 3 sts, slip next 6 sts onto holder, **cast on 2 sts, place marker for beg of round, continue to K to endof round.  Divide sts as follows- 5 sts on 1st needle, 4 sts on 2nd needle, 9 stson 3rd needle.  Continue to K each round until work measures 4 in/10 cm from Thumb Opening

Shape Top:  (1st needle)- SL1, K1, PSSO, K across needle (2nd needle)-K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1 (3rd needle)- SL1, K1, PSSO, K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.  K all stson next round.  Rep these last 2 rounds until 6 sts remain.  Cut yarn and thread through remaining sts, tighten and secure. 

Thumb:  Slip 6 sts from holder to needle, attach yarn, pick up and K 4 sts across opening, divide these sts onto 3 needles, Ktog last st from holder with 1st picked up st = 9 sts.  Continue to K each round until Thumb measures 2.5 in/6.5  cm.

Shape Thumb Top:  *K1, K2tog*, rep *to*.  Cut yarn and thread through remaining sts, tighten and secure. 

Right Mitten:  Work as Left Mitten until **.  Place marker for beg of round, cast on 2 sts, continue to K to end of round.  Divide sts as follows- 9 sts on 1st needle, 5 sts on 2nd needle, 4 sts on 3rd needle.  Continue to work as Left Mitten to end. 

(Design by:  Michele Meadows)

Caution: Cowls Ahead

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
The cowl returns, topping the list of cold weather accessories, in every shape and style imaginable.  Tuck away your favorite scarf this year and try on one of these cowls for size, it just might surprise you how easy they are to wear and what a difference it will make on a frosty day. 

Indie Cowl

It takes no more than an evening to whip up this bulky cowl and have it ready to layer over a jean jacket for a casual weekend look.  Indie by Sirdar is the leader of the pack with eight zesty colourways all seasoned with southwestern flavor.

Luxurious Winter Cowl by Sublime

Double up or triple up in an endless loop, knit in Wooly Merino by Sublime, a chunky boucle yarn composed of merino and nylon, with eleven melodic shades- (Rolling) Stone, Purple (Rain), Ruby (Tuesday), and (Moody) Blue, just to name a few. 

The Ribby Cowl by Sublime

The Ribby Cowl hits a high note with Spruce (Springsteen) fans, one of three fresh new shades in the musical line up of Wooly Merino, and also featured in Sublime Book #639.

Brioche Neck Wrap by Debbie Macomber

Just when you think you have seen every style, here is another version- a side buttoned neck wrap in a far from boring brioche rib stitch.  Check out The Blossom Street Collection Book One  by Debbie Macomber for this eye-catching design, knit in pure wool Gerbera Print, and available in six different self-striping patternways.  

Kate by Mirasol

Layers of ribbed texture make this long and winding cowl especially attractive as a neck piece, and equally as effective as a barrier against the cold.  Kate is knit in Rippling Lakes, one of eight colourways in Maylla by Mirasol, an earthy twist of alpaca, highland wool and bamboo sourced viscose.

Wooly Merino Cowl by Sublime

Brace yourself against winter’s fury with the warmth of Sublime’s Wooly Merino Cowl in A Whiter (Shade Of Pale).  A chunky weight yarn that’s cosy and comfortable enough to wear as a head covering or a  neck warmer.

Cabled Cowl by Debbie Bliss

Taking on this knitting project means a mile long adventure with twists and turns on every row.  Cables and ribs sit neatly side by side in an extra long cowl featured in Andes by Debbie Bliss.  With sixteen shades to pick from, this blend of baby alpaca and mulberry silk yarn will slide deliciously across the needles.

Victoria Roll by Sublime

Simple moss stitch highlights the beauty of Cashmere Merino Silk Aran, in a whopping range of thirty-four shades.  The Victoria Roll by Sublime is the  perfect ending to any outfit.

Spring Forward

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

The clocks rolled back this past weekend for Daylight Savings Time while inside the Diamond and Nova showroom, it was ‘Spring Forward’.  The 2011 Spring and Summer Collections were on display, an early glimpse of whats to come in fashion yarns and handknitting styles.  Over the weekend, shop owners had a chance to mingle and browse, comparing notes after leafing through design catalogues and spreading out shade cards, sampling the extensive assortment of yarns, and trying to decide on a few personal favorites. 

For Spring 2011, the emphasis is on shimmer and shine with silk and viscose grabbing the reins as soft floaty styles take shape.  Optimism is in the air and the feeling is reflected in sheer layers of lacework and frills with powdery blues and pinks, watery greens and lilacs, creamy buffs and camels.  Subtle hues are stepping out from the shadows once again. 

Get a jump on the coming season and have a quick glance at the 2011 Spring and Summer Collection in stock soon-

Sublime

Sublime sweetens up the springtime ambiance with two sugary new qualities- Tussah Silk DK, a 50/50 blend of silk and viscose, and Baby Silk and Bamboo DK, a 80/20 melange of bamboo sourced viscose and silk with a smooth glossy finish. 

Sublime for Baby

Melting our hearts once again, here are the Sublime babies with their adorable cheeks and angelic poses.  A quick peek inside this pattern book reveals fairisle and cables are topping the list of little knits for next year.

Debbie Bliss Spring Collection

If you’ve been wondering what Debbie Bliss has been up to lately, the secret is out- Bella and Prima are in full production for an early Spring delivery.   Bella, a smooth mixture of cotton, silk and cashmere, compliments nicely with Prima, a buttery blend of bamboo sourced viscose and merino.  Two new yarns destined to be the ideal balance of coolness and warmth.  Both are available in Debbie’s trademark range of muted shades.  Angel crosses over the threshold into the cooler days of Spring, a whispery puff of soft kid mohair and silk, with new designs set to appear in the next Debbie Bliss magazine. 

Ella Rae Spring Collection

Ella Rae dresses up for Spring with loads of luster and gloss in Phoenix (top shelf) an Egyptian cotton in a full assortment of classic shades.  Rimini (lower shelf) shows off an attractive twist of cotton, silk and viscose in a dk weight yarn.

Noro Nobori

Noro’s freshest selections will brighten up the remains of winter, chasing away the clouds on dreary days.  With a ‘thumbs up’ to bohemian flair, Nobori adds colour in a big way.  This one is ‘express lane’ knitting on 10.00 mm needles!  Also on the list of Spring arrivals- Tanabata combines cotton, rayon, silk and wool in a fun, bobbly textured yarn.  Taiyo is back again with bright new rainbow hues, and introduces Taiyo Sock, a lighter option for those who love the comfort of cotton, silk and wool in a durable sock yarn.

Katia Collection

Katia makes an easy transition from one season to the next with elegance and softness.  Following the success of scarf sensation- OndasTul appears on the horizon as a filmy cotton version, adding frills, ruffles, and sheer layers to all styles of knitwear, and just in time for proms and weddings. 

Katia Spring Collection

Hydra and Tucan are two new qualities that bring a lively splash of colour in self-striping colourways.  Temis changes the mood with its threadlike slubby texture and knits up like a diaphanous dream as an over layer, in a tunic, suntop, or cover-up for the beach.  Isis radiates incredible sheen with a twist of cotton and viscose, showing it off well in Katia’s new design collection.  

Araucania Spring Collection

Here’s a peek at the delicious array of hand dyed cottons and silks from Araucania.  The Chilean-based company well-known for its pleasing colourways will be presenting a couple of new additions to the family- Chaiten Solo, Lenga Multy, and a few returning summertime favorites- Patagonia with its distinctive thick and thin bulky texture, Ruca Solids and Ruca Multi, that outstanding sugar cane viscose yarn that wowed us last year.

Stay tuned for future posts highlighting whats to come for Spring 2011

Knitting On The Edge

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Every year around this time, after the pumpkin lights have burnt out and the candies are sorted, the newest and most ingenious novelty yarns start to appear on store shelves, each one trying to capture our attention in a huge way and become the next ‘it’ yarn out on the market. 

This year, Katia takes the wrap off an exciting trio of fancy scarf yarns- Rizos, Triana, and Ondas.  Each one unique and revolutionary in its manufacturing process and finished look.  These are futuristic ribbon yarns with stitches already built in along the edge, requiring little more than taking your knitting needle, lifting up a loop and slipping it through each stitch.  Amazing but true!  There is no yarn to wrap around the needle and draw through, it really is space age technology in a skein of yarn.  These three scarf yarns are poised and ready to take knitting to a new level, get ready for knitting on the edge!

Here is a look at what will be flying off the shelves very shortly at your LYS.  Which one will grab your attention and be the next ‘it’ yarn?

Rizos by Katia

Rizos is a flat one inch wide tape consisting of four complimentary shades all neatly striped and woven side by side, with built in loops at the top edge.  This is where the knitting needle is inserted to catch the edge and draw through the stitches.  By knitting every second loop on 5.00 mm needles, a ruffled scarf is created from just one skein.  This one sits high on the list of cosy neck warmers with ten shades to choose from, including burnt orange (above).  Free pattern to download:  Rizos Scarf

Ondas by Katia

Ondas is already causing quite a flurry on Ravelry, as knitters prepare to swoop in and catch the wave of the hottest scarf yarns before the store shelves are empty.  With its silky sheen and meshlike appearance which unfurls as you knit along, Ondas spirals into soft ripples.  Knit on 4.50 mm needles in a full spectrum of colour.  Choose from eighteen shades including magenta/lilac (above).  Free pattern to download:  Ondas Scarf

Triana by Katia

Triana first appears as a half inch wide ribbon in the ball, then amazingly stretches out to six times its width to reveal an intricate honeycomb grid.  Layer upon layer of cascading ruffles materialize as the scarf grows on 8.00 mm needles.  Take your pick from eleven colourways including seagreen/blue (above) or fire red (below).  Free pattern to download:  Triana Scarf

Just for fun, here is a ball of  Triana in fire red  ‘on the needles’ and ready to knit as a test scarf. 

Triana Scarf

The cast on row is eight stitches which are really just loops at the top of the honeycomb grid.  Its very easy to slip them onto the needle and then turn the work and prepare for the next row.  Next step- gently pull the ribbon to its full width, insert right hand needle into the first stitch on left needle, lift the next loop along the top edge of ribbon onto right needle, draw through stitch, its really that simple.  Look how quickly the layers are starting to appear, just ten rows and the scarf already measures eight inches in length.  Gradually the colour changes from plum, into wine, and then crimson.  

Triana Scarf almost finished

Two hours later, and the scarf  is just a few rows away from completion!  The finished effect is lovely, very lightweight, the layers fall into place nicely, and no tension issues to worry about, every knitter will get the same length as the stitches are already customized.  The extra bonus- no ends to sew in!

Final Verdict:  Grab this one quickly, its a sure winner for the scarf of the season!