Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FO: Fayfay for Christie

For my sister's birthday, among other gifts, I knit her a Fayfay (from the most recent issue of Popknits). I used some pink Bollicine Etoile mohair from my stash--this is definitely one of her colors. (Check out my bump. Wowsers.)

My mods: I cast on 60 stitches, instead of the recommended 48. I used 2.5 skeins of the yarn, more than the pattern calls for (obviously). Otherwise I jus tdid what I was told.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Knitting Travels: Brier Run Alpaca Farm

Oil Springs, Ontario, Canada

My parents and I drove through the fog and melting snow to visit Brier Run Alpaca Farm this morning.

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The owners, Heather Blanchard and Norris McAuslan, opened the store for us and then gave us a tour of the processing facilities.

The store includes many kinds of yarn and roving, most of them made from a single alpaca and named after that animal (i.e. McDermot, Glen Fiddich, Tukie). Some are blended with silk for extra softness. Heather and Norris currently sell hand-knit products on their website, but soon they’ll be opening an online store for their yarn as well.

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They also sell roving and raw fibre for spinning. It was fun to manhandle the bumps to compare the color and softness of each alpaca.

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In the processing plant, their friendly cat showed us this wonderfully soft roving from one of the cria (baby alpacas)—it felt like air.

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Later this will be spun into yarn in their machines:

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They also spin lower-grade alpaca fibres around a twine core to make yarn that will be woven into rugs:

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Or batting for alpaca duvets:

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The alpacas were hiding out from the rain and mud, so we only got to see a few of the 75 or so that live on their farm:

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Thanks to Heather and Norris for the tour! I can’t wait to get some of this yarn on my needles. Oh, and did I mention that I really really really want an alpaca of my own??? Look how cute they are!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Homemade Christmas

This Christmas I made some ornaments out of some old felted sweaters. This is originally Jordynn's idea--check out her original post on this topic.

Simple Steps:
1. Draw pattern on heavyweight paper and cut out with scissors.
2. Pin pattern on 2 layers of felted sweater.
3. Cut around the pattern.
4. Now you can decorate the material as you wish--embroidery, sewing on spangles, etc.
5. Using embroidery thread and needle, sew the two halves together using blanket stitch. You might find it easier to pin the two halves together first. (Essentially you stitch from the front to the back and before pulling the thread tight, slip the needle through the loop in the thread, then pull tight. Repeat.)
6. Keep sewing until a one inch hole is left. Stuff the two halves with polyfil. Then finish sewing the edge.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Alpacamas 2008

My Christmas present this year came from Brier Run Alpaca farms in Oil Springs, Ontario. My nieces McKenna and Kennedey went to pick out the yarn with my mom and got to meet some of the alpacas:


These are just a few of their alpacas. They sell roving and yarn as well as handmade products, and you can also bring your own fibre to them for processing in their mill, where they can blend it with silk, wool, or alpaca if desired.

My nieces picked out this gorgeous alpaca-silk blend in a chocolate brown:

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I can’t wait to design something to show off the beautiful tweedy texture.

My mom also made me this awesome case for my circulars:

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I also gave out several knitted gifts which you will see in our upcoming Winter 2009 Knitty Professors Collection. But here are some previews:


 preview4 preview3preview2

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Knitting

I made some hats for my sister, her husband, and their baby Julian--a.k.a. the cutest little stinking thing you've ever seen--for Christmas this year. I used Kimmie Kemper's pattern from Knitty, Swell. I made a few modifications, because my gauge was huge (4 sts/inch), and because I needed a baby size. (The mod notes are on the project's Ravelry page.)

Each one is a little different, with the sizing and the pom-pom configuration. Julian got three, momma Christie got one, and daddy Yomi didn't get any, because I thought the likelihood of Yomi wearing his hat had a pretty tight inverse correlation to the number of pom-poms I put on it.

I used some Plymouth Encore worsted in orange, and Cascade superwash 220 in the blue, so everything is good and washable. And fuzzy soft.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happiness is...

1. an ashford drum carder. i bought some time on one at the bull city fiber loft and holy. shit. it turned some freakazoid icelandic fleece into these lofty spinnable batts in about 1 second. thanks, myfiberfetish!

2. my knitty friend raptwithfiber coming to visit me after xmas. when i won't have much "real" work to do. and we can just sit around and watch the history channel and knit. and knit. and knit. and knit.

3. the idea that no matter what, my grading will be finished before i sleep tonight. because it has to be.

4. this:

yeah, i'm knitting booties and humming perry como xmas music.

Blog "Following"

We noticed that a number of people are tracking our blog using some sort of blog reader. So we decided to activate the "follow" feature in blogger, in case some folks wanted to use that instead. The box is over there in the sidebar.

Whoa. Technology.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Vintage Find: Knitting for Fun, ca 1973

In the local thrift store today I found this lovely book:


As you probably know by now, I find it very hard to resist vintage knitting books, but I’m proud of myself because I only picked up two out of the 6 or 7 they had. The other one is Traditional Island Knitting, which includes traditional patterns nad motifs on Aran, Fair Isle, Channel Isle, Shetland, Icelandic, and Falkland Islands knitting. More on that some other time.

Knitting for Fun includes all of my favorite elements from 70s knitting books, from the quirky and cute… scn0002

… to boho glam…


… to the outright hideous…


(a belted tunic? for men? really??)


(It wouldn’t be the 70s without a rainbow poncho.)

… to the actually kind of awesome:


I sort of want to make these. Maybe not in the Rainbow Bright color scheme. But they’d keep your legs warm on a cold day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Harper in Popknits

[updated 13 Mar. 10]

The new Popknits issue is live, and they've published my pattern "Harper."

This sweater-poncho is named in honor of Harper Lee (b. 1926), Pulitzer-prize winning author of everyone’s favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird. The 1940s and 50s were a great era for sweaters, with the rise in machine knitting and the slim-fit “sweater girl” trend. Less racy sweater-wearers opted for full knits that revealed a little less bust, with elegant, draped silhouettes.

Harper features an airy yet simple lace stitch, buttons under the arms to create “sleeves,” and a hand warmer pocket on the front. The Valley Yarns Northampton (shown here in Merlot Heather) is an economical yet sturdy yarn choice for a large project like this one.

Direct link to Harper pattern here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Word I Wish I didn't Know

You guys might remember an earlier post of mine in which I freaked out a bit about the fibers some spinners choose to work with.

I just came across a new word in a spinning context: "Chiengora."

As in "chien," French for dog.


[double gag: the word was used in an add for a used drum carder--the seller was raving that it had carded her "chiengora" well. but now i don't want to buy it.]

[note: if the seller of this carder is reading this, i apologize if i hurt your feelings. it's really a pretty drum carder. i'm just skeeved out by the knitting with dog hair thing.]

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Pattern Coming Soon at PopKnits

Katie’s new pattern, Harper, will be featured in the new PopKnits. The preview is live already—check it out!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Knitty Professors Holiday Gift Guide, Part 5

For Anyone

A knitted pillow in a neutral color:


This Wreck Tangled blanket has nerd appeal:


According to the designers, “The design consists of 14 different rectangles, all with the same area. The total area of the rectangles is equal to the total area of the background.”

Holiday items are also fun. Take these cute holiday stockings from 


Or how about these Dickens Mice? They’d make cute Christmas ornaments:



As would these adorable gnomes:


I’m also working on a pattern for my own holiday felted ornaments, coming soon:

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Knitty Professors Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4

For Your Mom/Sister/Best Friend/Girlfriend

I love the texture in these Daisy Stitch Handwarmers:


Magic Mirror Mittens from


Since all of our gift guides need at least one nerdy reference, how about the Chromosome Cap:


Or DNA tank?


And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention some of our own patterns:

Flatiron Mittens


 Mrs. Whatsit’s Neckerfuffle

(Coming soon at!)


Chopin Handwarmers


Happy knitting!