Archive for the 'Crochet' Category

Fiber Goodness, right downtown!

Toronto has got a gorgeous new yarn store, and it’s right in the middle of downtown; Ewe Knit is located in Mirvish Village, just one block south, and one block west of Bathurst and Bloor.

The front features a comfy coffee shop stocked with goodies.

The inside… oh the inside! It explodes with colour and fibery goodness from a refreshing range of brands that are not commonly found in Toronto. I immediately fell in love with some heavenly stuff called “Zen Garden Yarns”.

All the staples are here too; Cascade, Koigu and Noro grace the shelves. My yarn hankering was drawn to the wall of IndigoDragonfly, where I bought yarn specifically because the colourway was call ‘People Are Extremely Stupid Today. I Cannot Talk To Any More Of Them’.

Alongside the IndigoDragonfly goodness are Malabrigo and (be still my beating heart) Sweet Georgia. No longer do I need to fly to the other side of the country to get my hands on this wonderful stuff.

That doesn’t even cover the range – check out their site for a full list of their products! The location is amazing, the selection is amazing, and I haven’t even gotten to the staff yet. Claudia, the owner, is sweet, friendly and runs the business with a strong focus on local talent and fair trade yarns. Here is an excerpt from their website so you can see what you’re supporting when you shop here:

Eweknit has its roots in the fair trade community. Claudia, the creative force behind Eweknit, learned to knit at an early age when a nun at the school she attended asked her to stay after school and to accompany her to knit. The lessons about the joy of knitting and the importance of communal activities stuck with her. Seven years ago, Claudia helped found, and continues to work, with a single mother’s Co-operative in El Salvador that that produces about 100,000 fairly traded t-shirts every year for sale in Canada.

This emphasis on fair trade carries over to Eweknit as we try to carry, promote and sell as many fairly traded products as possible. We carry yarns from Italy that are produced by small family businesses, from co-operatives in South America, and we are especially proud of our Canadian dyers such as Indigo Dragonfly, Koigu, and Zen Yarn Garden, who demonstrate the beauty and creativity of our local community.

I have more news about this yarn store – my first design collaboration will be with Claudia. She’s given me a skein of DK weight Zen Yarn Garden to design a kit from – I’m swatching right now and I’m so excited! Stay tuned to see where our creative collaboration leads us :)

New FO and How To Fix Curly Shawls

So I finished this lace shawl, and it’s so gorgeous I can’t believe I knit it.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

It’s the first thing I’ve done entirely from charts, and I have to say I’m pretty pleased with m’bad self. The pattern is Mystic Fire by Anna Dalvi, and the yarn is Northbound knitting Superwash Merino in the gorgeous colour way ‘Artemisia’.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

The pattern is great – some of the charts look intimidating at first but one row at a time I managed just fine. I have an iPad, and an app called ‘Good Reader‘ that opens and lets me mark up pdf files. I can’t recommend it enough – it let me outline the row I was on for easy reading, insert other lines to break up the chart into digestible chunks and leave notes for myself on the side, such as which repeat I was on, and directions another knitter used to make it bigger if I felt so inclined.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

Still, when it was all done, there was a problem. I may have needed a few extra rows of garter stitch in there, but the thing curls up faster then my cat in the sunny spot on the couch. I didn’t discover this until after it was bound off and blocked.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

I needed a solution, because the curl really bothered me, and damned if I wasn’t going to get to enjoy the best bit of lace knitting I’d ever done. I bat around different ideas like sewing on edging, blocking it even more aggressively, threatening it, and finally hit on a solution that I’m sure many knitters before me have discovered but was brand new and shiny to me and had a good amount of it’s-so-simple-it-just-might-work going for it. I was going to crochet on a simple trim.

Here’s how I did it:

  • I used the leftover yarn from the project, luckily there was some. You only need a small amount.
  • I used a smaller hook size then the needles I’d used. 1.25mm smaller to be exact.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

  • I tied the working yarn to the bottom corner of the shawl and single-crocheted my way across, using the small holes left by the stretchy k2tog bind off (highlighted in yellow). At the corner I did 3 SC in the same stitch to turn.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

Even after only 1 row of SC you can see it’s looking better:

© Shireen Nadir 2012

I did 2 rows of SC before tying off the yarn and blocking it again.

© Shireen Nadir 2012

It worked like a charm. I know some folks might not be fond of having a thick border below their lace, but in this case I feel it works. It’s certainly way better than the curled edge I was getting before, even after removing the pins and wearing it the edge stays flat, allowing me to take this creepy instagram pic:

© Shireen Nadir 2012

Best of all, it cost me nothing extra and I was able to work directly into a cast off piece. The beauty of crochet was that if it didn’t work I could have just pulled it out without damage to the shawl. I’m pretty happy with the results :)

Ravelry Project Page here.

Free Pattern – The Mushin Cowl

Free Pattern Mushin Cowl

Cool weather is coming; just last night in Toronto it was downright chilly. Time to stock up on some fall accessories! Mushin is a Japanese term frequently used in Martial Arts training that means ‘Without Mind’. It’s totally appropriate because this is completely the easiest, most mindless project for instant gratification.

I worked this up over a day (no kidding) just carrying it around wherever I went. No TV show or conversation, however complex, will make you err on this simple, sweet crochet project. The simple pattern is great for both solid yarns or that special skein of variegated that you love, but don’t know what to do with ;)

Materials:

  • 4 mm crochet hook
  • 335 yards of sport weight yarn
  • Sample is using one skein of Malabrigo’s ‘Arroyo’
  • in Colourway ‘Jupiter’
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in your ends

Finished dimensions:

When lying flat: 12.25 inches wide and 13.25 inches tall.

Download the pattern here!

Ravelry Project Page here!

Stash Update

All done! And what a task it was. Here is Stash Part 1…

…and Stash Part 2.

It is now only 1/3 the size of it’s former glory.

I kept the yarns I love to work with, the precious yarns that were handspun or gifted to me by friends and the yarn that Tito liked even if I didn’t. It takes up only 1 drawer and one large box now, and what that means to me is that I have lots of space to fill with new yarn :)

Here is what I’ve ended up with, and where they’re going. By ‘bag’ I mean 12″x12″ ziplock bags.

  • 3 bags that I’m sure have animal content – these are going to a church group who knit blankets which are donated to the Mississauga Humane Society. I figure this is a good mix because animals are presumably not horribly allergic to each other.
  • 8 bags that I’m sure are 100% acrylic – this is going to the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton – I believe they make things for cancer patients and also keep yarn on hand in the waiting rooms for patients who like to knit. The Juravinski Cancer Centre is also getting my spare needles, dpns and crochet hooks.
  • 9 bags where I’m unsure of the fibre content but could certainly include wool. Novelty yarns are in this pile as well. – 3 bags of this are being added to the animal content bags that are going to the Humane Society Knitters. The other 6 are going to the Purple Purl here in Toronto who have lots of connections, such as streetknit, for the yarn to go to :)

Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions!

To end… here is the start on my Colour Affection shawl, knit in 2 TFA one of a kind skeins as part of Tanis’ TFA Colour KAL. Looks like mint chocolate – yummy!

The Purge – Sending Stash to a Good Home, Suggestions?

I’m doing it. I’m Purging the Stash. There is a ton of yarn here that predates my discovery of my one true love – hand dyed merino and alpaca blends. Lots of acrylic, wool, novelty yarns and other things I know I’ll never use. Lots of them are full skeins. I’m looking for a worthy home to donate the yarn to – if you’ve heard of something really worthwhile please post it in the comments!

My only criteria: Lots of folks accept knitted items, but I’m looking for a place that accepts yarn and needles. Toronto area would be nice but I’m not picky ;) Other than that I’m open to ideas!

You don’t have to be a grandma to crochet a doily!

I had this gorgeous skein of cottony blue yarn with absolutely no stretch to it, as I found out while trying to make fingerless gloves from it. Because I was determined to make something out of it, and because I was hungry for a quick FO, and because the colour is perfect for my home…I crocheted a doily from it. Yes, I crocheted a doily. This may just be a whole new stage in my life.

crochet doily

Even Ollie doesn't seem impressed

The pattern is super easy and sort of granny squareish in that it grows on it’s own and you don’t need to pay much attention to it. It was started at lunch, followed me around all day, and was blocking by 8. Beat that, knitting!

crochet doily

Of course now I need to make more – a hexagon tile blanket? Coasters? Oooh, maybe I’ll use what’s left of the gradient yarn to make a doily for the dining table…. or just use it as a stash buster for all my TFA yarn bits and seam them together later. In the meantime, here is the pattern!

crochet doily

For mine I used a 3.75mm hook with 100 grams of worsted weight yarn. You can use whatever your heart desires, it will still work.

  • Ch5, join with slip stitch to form a ring
  • 1st round: (Chain 6, 1sc into ring) x 6, join with slip stitch to base of first chain 6
  • 2nd round: (Ch4, 1sc into next ch6 space) x 6, join with slip stitch
  • 3rd round: (Ch4, 2sc into next 4ch space, 1sc into next sc) x 6
  • 4th round: (Ch4, 2sc into next 4ch space, 1sc into each of the next 2sc) x 6
  • 5th round: (Ch4, 2sc into next 4ch space, 1sc into each of the next 3sc) x 6

See the pattern? Each round you will have one more sc in each group. It’s like a granny square in that way; it grows on it’s own without you having to keep count of stitches. Just remember to work the corners correctly and the rest takes care of itself. You can grow it as big as you like.

crochet doily

Oh, and we didn’t get northern lights here in south Ontario last night but I have hope… it the skies are clear we’ll be trying again!

The Blue Brick is on Craftsy!

Craftsy is starting to sell patterns, and the Blue Brick pattern store is ready! Only 4 patterns are up so far but I’m looking forward to building a fun collection :)

the Blue Brick Patterns


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