Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fit to print

I have three items to report!

First, two pairs of lace stockings that I made in the spring are finally in a state that I can show you:

© Interweave Knits

They're Hex Mesh Stockings from the Fall 2011 issue of Interweave Knits. The knee-highs take around 400m of laceweight yarn if you knit the smaller size, and the mesh is very quick to knit once you get started. (The pattern will be uncomfortably familiar to Niebling aficionados—the thigh-high version in particular is a lot of hex mesh.)

The yarn they sent me to knit the stockings was Malabrigo Lace, which definitely makes a luxuriant fabric but definitely doesn't make a durable one. I'm not sure what laceweight yarn would be a better fit for these socks; maybe something like Mithril, or fine tightly-twisted handspun if you can produce it. I have a fairly extensive lace yarn shelf and don't see anything in it that would be ideal, other than maybe one of the pure silks. In any case, the magazine will be on newsstands on August 9, and I am pretty excited to see it.

Second and third: I'm not going to be at Sock Summit this year, but I'm already feeling well-represented there. You can go to Miss Babs's booth and say hi to the Windsor Mitts:

Windsor mitts - open and closed

Mittens with flip-tops and half-fingers concealed inside! They took a little under 200 yards each of Miss Babs's delectable 3-ply superwash sock yarn in Roasted Pumpkin and Cadet. I used to be wary about stranded colourwork with superwash yarn, but this stuff is so springy that it works beautifully for this purpose, and I am wary no longer! The fabric is thick and heavy and utterly perfect for mittens. The ribbing it makes is admirably springy, too. If I were only allowed one yarn to ever knit with again, it would be a contender for top spot.

And you can see my cute bright orange knee socks with bold crocheted lace cuffs at the Tangled booth:

© Brittany Tyler, Tangled Magazine

These are made from 2 skeins of Spud & Chloƫ Fine. The crocheted cuff is worked flat, one medallion at a time, then joined into a ring; the knitted part begins immediately after the eyelet round through which the ribbons are threaded. I had a hard time sending them away because I didn't want to take them off. I am also now having irrepressible urges to crochet edge treatments for everything.

Tangled gave me a coupon code to distribute: use SOCKSUMMIT11 at checkout to get $1 off any pattern from their Sock Summit issue, which is right over here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I signed up for the new fat quarter club from Verb, which had its first shipment at the beginning of July; then I went away to the beautiful distracting coast for two weeks and totally forgot what month it was. When I got home, this was waiting for me.

Pressed Seam, July

They are all so good. The mushroom fabric! The blue Lecien one with the delicate pink flowers! The exuberant Brandon Mably clover!! I cannot pick a favourite and am really gleefully excited about how the rest of the shipments will look. What an auspicious beginning!

Kristine issued a challenge to us over in the club's Flickr group, which was to use five of the six fabrics in the same object. I have been having really elaborate daydreams about tiles and penny round tile patterns in particular, so I decided to commit one that I liked to yo-yos.

I made all of these in the sweltering heat this week. Sewing yo-yos is very soothing and soporific, and doesn't require you to heat up the iron or stay in the sewing room where the air conditioner doesn't reach.

Here is the assemblage:


The central few rounds are sewn together, but I am still undecided about the outer ring—I could sew it together as pictured, or add some plain off-white ones to make the whole thing a bit less busy. (I have a Mason jar of white yo-yos in case I decide on the latter course.)

What I'll do with it remains to be seen. I'm thinking about making a quilted background hexagon and sewing the yo-yo one to its front, to make a sturdy trivet or wallhanging. I have enough fabric left in these fat quarters to make a couple more small hex tile-inspired pieces, and could turn them into a little set of trivets or wallhangings. The future is wide open!


I came home from the marvellously cool coast to the worst weather ever.

Worst day ever

It's pretty much too hot to do anything other than lie motionless directly in front of the air conditioner. Even then it's pretty miserable. The Starbucks near my house is kept blessedly, bracingly cold, and I have been setting up camp there in the afternoons to enjoy the sensation of shivering before I step out onto the sidewalk and get blasted by the soupy heat again.

I have been having a lot of trouble knitting, partly because the humidity makes everything sticky and partly because the heat makes my hands swell up just enough to be clumsy. I started a tiny nearly-weightless project on steel needles so that I'd have something to knit at least some of the time, when nothing else seems to be working.

When in doubt...

It will be a veil (because apparently when I don't know what to knit, I can't help but decide on something supremely impractical). I am fondly remembering this beach, which is a tiny bay surrounded by rocks and a forest, so the veil will be a sort of stylized map. Pictured above are the "trees" and the "rocks" which border the innermost "wave" pattern, which is row after row of horizontal zigzags. Once it's the right size I will figure out some kind of knitted-on edging solution.

The yarn is Filatura di Crosa Nirvana, which I cannot recommend highly enough. I'd want to knit with it even if I could knit other things!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Six by six

This is how I've been spending my last day at the coast:

Morris Tapestry quilt top

It's small (42" a side) and I am considering getting more fabric and giving it a couple of borders made from half-square triangles of different sizes. When I was cutting out pieces and working on one block at a time, it seemed like the colours were a lot more varied than they are—all together it has a kind of beachy weathered look, thanks to all the taupes and browns. As noted before the fabrics are all from Barbara Brackman's collection "A Morris Tapestry".

I am also in desperate need of a new bag, because my old grey messenger bag is about to fall apart after three years of faithful service. The fabric where the strap is attached at both sides is falling apart from the stress of e.g. lugging home eight litres of milk (hey, it fits in the bag!). I decided that the replacement should be smaller so that I am not encouraged to ruin it in the same way. A bag that I'll actually use also needs to have no Velcro and few or no zippers, because it's too easy to snag knitting or yarn in them.

There weren't any bags that fit the bill in the stores I wandered through, but then I was looking at Susan Briscoe's Japanese Taupe Quilts, and there's an excellent bag idea toward the back. It's a small bag with a messenger-style flap made out of three quilted panels, a gusset with box pleats at the top of either side for shaping, and a lining. Excellent.

Leanne had some Kaffe Fassett striped and shot cottons sitting around, so I made use of three fat quarters. Here's the front flap:

patchwork bag, flap

It opens to reveal this panel:

patchwork bag, front

And this is what's on the back:

patchwork bag, back

I used a remnant of black linen (? it certainly felt like linen) to line it. Finished dimensions are 12" wide by 10" tall by 3" deep. The strap is 40" long, which is a comfortable length for slinging across my body. Probably later this afternoon I'll make a couple 4" or 5" blocks and line them and sew them in as patch pockets. The bag is probably not big enough to actually lose anything in, but pockets can't hurt.

This is how it looks outside:

Incoming storm

And how it's looked for most of the last week and a half. It was pretty great to have a break from Ontario's sweltering heat.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I am hanging out on the west coast this week and next, and it is pretty awesome here. There are rocks to scramble around on:

Rocky beach

and mountains and rain and the sea:

Mountains and the sea

and a poodle to snuggle:

Shade-dappled poodle

and seals hoping to be given delicious fish heads:

Hopeful seal

and a Morris Tapestry by Barbara Brackman layer cake that I am cutting into triangles:

A lot of quarter square triangles

(Pardon the blurriness. At least the colours are accurate.)