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A Yarn Story

Silly, silly self-imposed challenges March 03 2016 1 Comment

I decided last weekend that I would declare this the "Year of Garments" for my personal knitting. The last weekend in February isn't a typical time of year to set a goal or make a resolution but I think these things should be done when you're ready to do them not when a date on the calendar tells you you should. My goal is five garments for myself this year, I think that is both a challenging and yet reasonable number. What is perhaps more unreasonable is the first part of this mission...

Late last week I finally cast-on Georgia by Jane Richmond in SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock. I'd been planning to knit this for a while and I decided I really wanted to be able to wear it when I head to h+h in Cologne in a couple of weeks. A fingering weight cardigan in a size x-large with an extra long body and arms in four weeks - why the hell not?

 

The really nice thing about this pattern is that it is knit top-down in one piece and the button band and button holes are knit as you go. There is no fancy neckline to pick up later either, so the only finishing I will need to do is some weaving in of ends and sewing on of buttons. I've managed to pick out my buttons already too, I'm using two colors of small round buttons from Textile Garden. I'd highly recommend this pattern to someone looking to make their first adult garment for it's well written instructions and simple construction.

I'm well into the second ball now and I have made a plan as to how much I need to knit each day to finish this within my deadline. I will only need four skeins in total as there are a whopping 425yds / 388m in each 115g skein. The yarn is knitting up so nicely and I LOVE the color which are great motivators to keep going. One of the things I love about a lot of the SweetGeorgia colors is the super subtle color variations, Bewitched is full of rich purple tones that really pick up the light.

I'm keeping this post short and sweet as I really need to get back to the actual knitting of this lovely cardigan. I'll tell you all about the other garments I have planned for myself soon.

Do you ever make silly challenges for yourself on projects like this or is it just me?

- Carmen


Yarn Profiles: SweetGeorgia Yarns July 08 2015

This week I am finally getting around to something I have been promising to do from the start, I am profiling one of the lovely yarn companies we carry in the shop. This post is all about the fabulousness that is SweetGeorgia Yarns (SGY).

SweetGeorgia yarns are hand-dyed in Vancover, Canada by Felicia Lo and her team. Felicia started SGY in 2005 in her kitchen and it grew from there. (I highly recommend watching the video on the page in that link). I knew SGY from yarn shops in the states but hadn't seen it much in Europe and I really re-fell in love with all the beautiful colors after seeing their stand at Wonderwool last year. I took to their website to learn more and felt an instant connection to their brand and their concept. The SGY tag line is: "passionate, relentless and unapologetic color" and that becomes clear the instant you see their yarn. Unapologetic color is the absolute best way to describe the SGY palette, it is an array of stunningly saturated colors, all of which you will want to have, immediately.

Choosing the colors for the shop was a mind blowing task the first time around for this very reason, not only do they have some of the most incredible yarn bases to choose from but also an incredible range of color choice - I think they currently have almost 100 colors and Felicia is always coming up with more. To hear Felicia speak, which I had the opportunity to do at Unwind Brighton last year, is to listen to someone who is 100% passionate about what she is doing and it shows in the products she creates.

So enough about my girl-crush on Felicia and onto the fabulous SGY yarns we have here in the shop and why I love them...

Trinity Worsted was a yarn that I had only seen a sample skein of but I'm pretty sure I would have ordered it just based on it's fiber content alone, it's a truly luxurious blend of 70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% silk and has both a glorious sheen and drape to it while maintaining excellent stitch definition. 

As soon as I saw the patterns in the recently released Tempest I knew I had to knit the First Beach cowl. This pattern can be knit in either a shorter version that uses 2 skeins (1 of each color) or a deeper version that uses 2 skeins of the main color and 1 skein of the contrast color. I chose to knit the deeper version because I wanted a nice cosy cowl for the fall and winter. This pattern was a dream to knit up and I will absolutely be making myself a jumper in this yarn at some point, I just need to decide on a color...

We also have the ever popular and SGY staple: Tough Love Sock. This is a fantastic all around fingering weight yarn as it's made up of 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon and each skein is 115g with 388m of yarn to work with. So it will absolutely hold up to some wear and tear on your feeet but will also make a lovely cardigan as in Seaswell which is another pattern from Tempest. This was knit up for the shop by KnitInHarmony and it's a great example of what this yarn can do and how versatile it is.

Next up is an example of the lush Superwash DK in Mist which Nadia of Abso-knitting-lutely knit up for the shop. She chose the beautiful Melanie Berg shawl pattern Kir Royale and boy did she fall in love with this yarn! You can read her full yarn review over on her blog. This yarn is 100% superwash merino and comes in a 115g skein; a perfect yarn for just about anything. 

Superwash Six is a beautiful 100% superwash merino chunky weight yarn. It's the perfect yarn for a winter hat, a cosy cowl or some mittens. It's super smooshy and soft and has amazing stitch definition. This is a version of Rachel Brown's Bonfire Night cowl done in Mulberry by StitchAlli.

Not to be left out is the delicate and oh so soft Cashsilk Lace. Made up of 55% silk and 45% cashmere this yarn is the epitome of luxurious. 365m in a 50g skein will make you a little shawl such us the Shattered Sun Shawl designed by Felicia herself. Sweet Georgia's incredible colors just shine on this yarn.

 Last but not least we have the 60% fine kid mohair, 40% cultivated silk yarn, Silk Mist. This lace weight yarn can be used to make a fine shrug or ad a bit of glamour and texture to a project. Tempest has several patterns that feature this soft and fluffy yarn and customers have loved making the Mohair Bias Loop by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I don't have any finished photos to show off but I do plan on knitting up Eventide from Tempest in either Deep Cover or Silver later in the year.

So that is SweetGeorgia Yarns, can you tell that I LOVE them!?! New colors and new yarn will be arriving from the SGY studio later this summer and I'm so excited to share that with you when it arrives. Until then, happy knitting!

-Carmen

 


New Series: I Wish I Was An Octopus... April 20 2015 2 Comments

I made mention of starting a series of blog posts called "I wish I was an octopus" at the start of the year and well, I've finally gotten around to it. This is going to be a monthly series in which I talk about the projects on my needles and the projects I wish I had on my needles. As is probably the case with many of you, there are a hundred beautiful projects out there I want to knit and I only have two arms. But see, if I were an octopus it would be a whole other story.

On my active needles at the moment, (I say "active" because I have at least 4 WIPs in a basket in my office) is the simple but gorgeous In Stillness by Alicia Plummer, which I am knitting up in The Uncommon Thread Everday Worsted in Pontus. I can't take the credit for finding this pattern, it was a customer who sent me a photo (the one I used below) of her finished sweater and I instantly fell in love. I love things that aren't too fussy, that are simple and elegant in design but with a little something special. This ticks all those boxes. Alicia designed the pattern in Everyday Worsted and it is a perfect match. The stitch definition is incredible and of course the colors are amazing too. I'm hoping to whip this up pretty quickly so I can get on to one of these other projects.

I have been searching around for a baby blanket pattern for a while now as good freinds of mine are about to have their second. I have done a few baby blanket gifts in recently and while I am happy to repeat a pattern I loved, I was looking for something new and hadn't been finding anything that inspired me. That is until last week when this was in my instagram feed:

How great is this blanket!?! It's the latest release from Tin Can Knits and it's called Fly Away which is part of their new book Max & Bodhi's Wardrobe. I have yet to decide what yarn to use but I'll let you know when I do. It's going to be a belated gift as the baby is due in a couple of weeks and there is no way I'll get it done before then.

I have also been drooling over several versions of Stephen West's pattern Dotted Rays. I love both the single color versions and the super-multicolored ones. If I went single color it would have to be Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in Sapphire. It is just the most goreous blue and such a great yarn to work with. It would make a great Dotted Rays. If I went multi-colored route, then I would dig out some leftovers from my stash, as the cresents at the start of the shawl don't use much yardage it'd be a great way to use up some stash that will otherwise not find a home very quickly. Add in some Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Teacup and Skein Top Drawer Sock in Smokestack Lightning. (I'm having a bit of a blue/teal obsession at the moment if you haven't noticed.) 

Last on my list of things I wish I was knitting is Belle by Coco Knits. A perfect pattern for Shibui Knits Linen, a great summer sweater that could be thrown on over a tank top, a bikini or a dress. It's a super flattering shape and only requires 3 skeins for the small and medium while the large only needs 4. I've been eyeing the Fjord colourway for a while now but Cascade has started to speak to me as well, so I just don't know.

Belle

Let's recap for a moment, shall we? I am knitting a sweater, I want to be knitting a blanket, another sweater and a rather large shawl... I'm going to have to pick some smaller projects soon. And I'm definetly on a bit of a blue kick at the moment, all shades of blue. 

I want to say a quick thank you to my friend Dominique for her beautiful illustration, which is the official mascot for this blog series. You'll be seeing more of the octopus in the near future, so watch this space.

Until the next edition, happy knitting.

-Carmen

 


H+H Cologne Round-up March 30 2015

If you follow AYS on social media then you probably noticed a deluge of photos over the weekend. I went to H+H Cologne, which is a large fabric, yarn, haberdashery and craft trade show held at the Koelnmesse in Germany. It was a huge event with lots to see and touch and learn about. I went looking for some new yarn to bring into the shop and boy did I find some gems. Here is a round-up of my trip.

First thing Friday morning I got to check out the new Sweet Georgia Yarn colors for spring while sipping a coffee and chatting with the wonderful Allison Thistlewood. The new colors are a lovely collection of more muted tones to compliment the more saturated palette SGY is known for. They have also added two fantastic new bases; a BFL Lace and Glitterati Sock. Here is the new palette, so if you have any color requests, please let me know:





The rest of Friday was a bit of a blur - I spent quite a bit of time at The Fibre Co. stand with Daphne who walked me through their story and how their yarns are developed and dyed. They have a broad selection of unique fibre combinations dyed in rich, earthy colors as well as some beautiful patterns. I am sold and you can expect to see some of The Fibre Co. in the shop this summer.

  

I had been drooling over shade cards from Zealana for a couple of weeks already and so you would have thought it would be easy to make a decision once I was at the booth. No, no it wasn’t, as they had some great sample garments on display that made me think twice about what I wanted. But in the end the Air Lace won out as the Cashmere/Possum/Silk blend is too lush to pass up. This should land in the shop in the next couple of weeks, so make sure to stop by for a squish.

I hung out at the Westknits and Ysolda stand for quite a while as well. They had so many great shawl samples on display, they all needed squishing and trying on. They are all the nicest people too and I learned the trick to being able to make anywhere a #placeswhereyoucanknit - it’s a nifty little bag that holds your yarn and can be worn on your wrist. Additionally we talked patterns, design, yarns and workshops - a great stand to hang out at for a bit.

   

Then there was a stop at Habu… I don’t know what to say about Habu except that it border this beautiful space between art and function - while many of the yarns seem harsh, strange and off-putting on the cone - once they are knit up they become elegant works of wearable art. I was instantly seduced and a small selection is on it’s way to AYS, yay!

 

 

 

I can’t forget to mention Madelinetosh and its stunning wall of color. I stopped by here just to say and take a look at the new colors as they weren’t yet available when I placed an order a few weeks ago. If AYS had the space I would order every color available. To my delight while I was ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ and petting the yarns I got to meet Amy, the owner and driving force behind Madelinetosh. Such a great surprise and such a lovely and inspiring woman.




I could go on and on about each and every beautiful yarns I saw over the weekend but then this post will end up 10 pages long, so I’ll round it out with a few photos of the more crafty and bizarre items that were on display. If you want to see more photos, then check out our instagram feed.

 -Carmen