Modification Monday: Christmas in July Hat

Original Pattern: Christmas in July

Knitter Extraordinaire: Laura (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the colourful yoke of the sweater pattern, Laura created a hat for her daughter instead. Details are on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Ah, the colourful yoke sweater – such a great source of inspiration! Laura loves a colourful yoke, and decided to make a hat for her daughter using a yoke from the Christmas in July sweater pattern, which she’s knit before. Changing a yoke to hat isn’t completely straightforward, it does take a bit of finessing when the decreases at the crown begin, and Laura adjusted the pattern to allow for the decreasing at the crown to be worked in a way that made sense for the both the hat and the pattern. Improvising is a useful skill when knitting with colourwork, but when working with an item like a hat, you can always rip it back a tiny bit if you don’t like the way the improvised bits are working out.

I love the colours Laura chose- that rainbow effect is so darn happy! And the decreases look perfect, topped with that light blue pom pom.

Laura is a frequent modifier who loooooves colourwork- you can see some of her previous Mod Monday contributions here, here, here, here, here, and of course here.

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Oh man, I was hit hard by a stomach bug this past Sunday, so sorry for anyone looking for a Mod Monday post- it took me a few days to get out of bed! But I’m all better now…..

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Technology was supposed to make things easier for us, but it’s actually given us a lot more ‘shadow work’. I totally agree, I hate self checkout – especially in grocery stores!

This is awesome – the Sikh Captain America! “We have to ask ourselves: Did I judge somebody today? Did I act on my prejudices today?”

Looking for ways to give back in the ramp up to the holiday season? Here are a lot of great, doable ideas.

If you are prime for a coffee break, click through this utterly stunning pictorial history of handcrafted velvet from the original factory in Venice, Italy and the Guild of the Silk Weavers. It’s incredible.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Christmas tree calzones!! Don’t know what a calzone is? It’s basically a pizza pocket, but if you make it yourself you can call it a calzone and feel like a total kitchen boss. The recipe calls for something that sounds like fake meat, but it’s your pizza tree, you put whatever you want inside of it. If you want ham and pineapple, you do that. Whatever floats your calzone boat. Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe is here.

 

If you are making cupcakes anytime soon (and really, let’s make cupcakes because cupcakes are awesome) how fun is this rainbow icing swirl technique?! I had no idea it was so easy, either. Pinterest link is here, and the full tutorial is here.

Ah, the yarn pom pom wreath. Every year, I admire them all over pinterest. Every year, I fail to make one. But maybe this is the year! I love this simple cream coloured idea. Have you made a pom pom wreath? Would you like to? Here’s a link to Pinterest in case you just want to pin all the pom pom wreaths and never make them (like me), and the full tutorial is right over here.

I love this crocheted cowl- it looks so big and cozy, and it’s a free pattern, too! Pinterest link is here, and the full pattern can be found here. Maybe for you, or someone on your holiday list?

 

I’m a huge fan of Austin Kleon – his blog is fantastic and his weekly newsletters always have interesting links.  He recently gave a great talk about struggling with our work and creativity when it feels like the world is on fire, and I love his warmth and humour. All these points are brilliant. I highly recommend the talk on youtube, which you can watch/secretly listen to while you are at work here.

Have a great weekend everyone!! My big plans involve trying to stage the kids into a holiday photo for christmas cards this year… I didn’t do christmas cards last year, but I want to get back to it. And of course, I want to make my own with a photograph of the kids. I assume I will have to bribe them into participation with huge amounts of chocolate…. wish me luck! And good luck to whatever shenanigans you are getting up to this weekend, friends!

Are You a Yarn Snob? Consider Being a Yarn Omnivore

Many of us have experienced the particular sort of heartache and disappointment of knitting something with a sumptuous 35-bucks-a-skein yarn and it turned out…. sort of blah. Or how many of us are holding onto special, expensive yarn because we haven’t found the absolute perfect pattern that would go with it – and it’s been 8 years?

Not everyone has the money to knit a sweater that will cost them $200 in yarn, and no knitter should feel badly for this. Not just beginner knitters, but knitters at every stage of their knitting. Because there are a lot of great yarns in the craft stores these days more than even this yarn omnivore expected.

Yarn Snob? Try Yarn Omnivore

I define a Yarn Omnivore as someone who crafts with all sorts of yarn fibers and uses materials that fall all across the cost spectrum. I have expensive needles that died too quickly and inexpensive ones that were surprisingly durable and solid. I’ve got yarn that cost eye-watering sums and some that cost a few bucks a skein.  How much they cost has had no impact on how easily they pill or wear through, or if they are durable and wet block beautifully. I’ve got silks, wool from several different breeds of sheep, buffalo, alpaca, cottons and linen, acrylic, nylon,  viscose and everything in between. There’s even a yarn made from milk protein somewhere in my stash. This broad approach to my knitting has made me a happier knitter because I love trying out new yarn, and I love being happily surprised by a skein of yarn that was a great bargain.

My Favourite “Craft Yarn” Projects

I believe there is room for more than one type of yarn in your stash. There was definitely a time in my knitting life when it was clear to me that working with ‘craft store’ yarn was seen as something you moved out of in your knitting life, but I never quite understood why (looking back on old posts, I’m practically apologizing for using it, which is crazy). Recently I reviewed my Ravelry projects to see what I had made with those types of yarns, and was surprised at how many items there really were. Some of my favourites (and baby Lila!):

Top row, from left to right: Kitten hat, Squirrel, Bunny hat.

Bottom row, from left to right: Pot Cozies, Tiger, Pugsley.

I knit many of these in Bernat Satin, a very soft acrylic that I picked up at my local Michaels, because they needed to be very soft and machine washable. The Bernat Satin is very soft to the touch, and made at a time when I wasn’t sure how a new baby’s skin would deal with real wool. I love how the yarns has held up over the years, and the toys are in good shape – although I made the tiger eleven years ago for a friend’s now 11 year old, so I’ll have to ask how it’s held up!

The plant pot cozies, which I now use as coffee sleeves, were knit in Patons Classic Wool Worsted, a 100% worsted weight wool that I hadn’t tried before that project, and was really impressed with. The yarn has held up wonderfully, and they look exactly the same as in the photos after washing, even with the stitched on face details and ears. If you were looking for a very affordable, 100% classic wool, it would definitely do a great job.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve expressed my feelings on this subject- I wrote this post back in 2016 originally to speak about being more inclusive when it came to slow fashion October, and I still feel the same. But it’s easy to have an opinion, it’s another thing to actually walk your own talk.

Some New-to-Me Finds

Recently I had a stroll through my local Michaels and took a look at the yarns. There were a lot of happy discoveries for me, things I hadn’t realized would be there. And it occurred to me that there were definitely some yarns that were absolutely perfect to buy at a big craft store!

Shown here, from Left to Right: Patons Shetland Tweeds Chunky (In Aran Tweed the light cream, and the grey is Pewter), Patons Alpaca Blend, Bernat Velvet in Burgundy Plum.

Ideal purchases from the yarn aisle of your big craft store? Marled yarns, inexpensive 100% wool, tweeds, and yarns with different fabric effects – like the velvet shown above on the right.

I’m swatching with some of the Shetland Chunky Tweeds, which is an acrylic and wool blend. In the lighter swatch I wanted to see how the flecks came out in simple stockinette, and in the grey, I’m checking the stitch definition with a thick cable- I’m knitting chunky braided headband, which you can see is coming along nicely!

I have been loving the velvet trend that has been popping up in clothing stores recently, but you know what sucks about velvet fabric? The back of it, which is the part next to your skin. It’s not soft at all. What is the point in wearing velvet if the only way to feel the softness is to stroke your own arm?!  But velvet yarn? Well, that’s some 360 degree softness, right there. Case and point – I’m madly in love with this Bernat Velvet yarn.

Honestly, if you go to the craft store for no other yarn, please go and pet this yarn. It’s incredible. I want to knit a whole sweater out of it, but  it would also be brilliant for some very soft and luxurious cowls or mittens. Then I want to knit sheets out of this yarn, and sleep between them. Everything I touch should be as soft as this yarn!

And come to think of it, would be great for holiday gift knitting- assuming you can part with any of it once you’ve touched it. Surely we all know someone who would love a luxe cowl or mittens in a velvety yarn like this. And the skeins are HUGE – 315 yards per skein of a chunky weight yarn. Not too bad at all.

The other thing more affordable yarns are perfect for- yarn crafts. You don’t really want to use your cashmere blend to make a pom pom, do you? Holiday decorations that are going to spend most of the year in storage will likely become treasured keepsakes if crafted in non-organic fibers, as my Nana’s holiday decorations (crocheted more than 30 years ago) can attest. Moths don’t like to munch acrylic! I’m thinking of making a big pom pom wreath this year, and I doubt I’ll be looking for anything in my merino stash for it. No, I’ll be looking for something fun and festive, in the yarn aisles of my local craft store.

 

** This post was graciously sponsored by Spinrite yarns. All opinions are my own, and I chose all the yarn myself.**

Link love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

What to do with Chernobyl, which won’t be free of radiation for another 24,000 years? Turn it into a giant wind farm for green energy, of course.

A database of how to fold every kind of paper airplane ever. Because office procrastination is more fun with paper airplanes.

These holiday cards are killing me – SO FUNNY.

This was a great piece on the “pop up experience” places that are basically instagram factories. I went to one yesterday and I loved it, but yes, I totally see how they exist for the sole purpose of taking fun photos. But – is that a bad a thing? I’m not calling it art at all- they are interactive moments of fun and silliness, but I don’t find them to be the soulless endeavour that the writer makes them out to be. I love going to galleries and seeing great works of art (did that last week, actually) but I can also jump into a gigantic photo-op ball pit and laugh until my cheeks hurt. There’s room for both, I think.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Sometimes, tasty things on great bread is all I want to eat. It doesn’t have to be complicated- some great fresh vegetables, a bot of cheese, a bit of balsamic… perfection. This recipe (directions, more like it!) will have you eating a tasty, healthy lunch or light supper in no time. Pinterest link is here, and the full post is right here.

Looking to make an easy – but impressive!- dessert? These mini cakes are actually baked as a sheet cake, and then you use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes, and make individual layer cakes. Soooo much easier than it sounds. Pinterest link is here, and the full recipe and instructions on how to put these delicious little cakes together is here.

Planning on serving brunch to houseguests, or just want to make your weekend a little special? I’m all about breakfast board, and this mini pancake one is so amazing. Bacon! Fresh fruit! Yum. Pinterest link is here, and the original post can be found here.

I love how this wall hanging actually looks quite chic, while also being a really easy DIY. Plus you could completely customize the colours for what would work for your decor, or switch it out seasonally. So pretty. Pinterest link is here, and the full DIY is here.

Did you know that you could use Instagram to make your life happier?! It’s true! I know it can be hard not to fall into the comparison trap (been there, my friend, been there), but there are actually a bunch of ways you can use Instagram to make you feel happy about your life. Items 2, 3, and 5 are totally my main reasons for even being on Instagram (I also love keeping up with friends and family near and far, and the hashtag #alpacasofinstagram brings a lot of joy to my feed). Pinterest link is here, and the full  post is right over  here.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

New Pattern! Underneath it All Camisole

Not exactly aligned with the season, but bear with me. I think a knitted camisole is trans-seasonal!

Pattern: Underneath it All

Yarn: The Blue Brick Manitoulin Merino (discontinued)

Needles: 3.25 mm (US 3)

Check out the details on the Ravelry pattern page, here.  If you like it, give it some love! Add it to your favourites or queue!

I had this gorgeous skein squirreled away in my stash for ages – too long, it seems, as it was since discontinued- but I loved it and wondered if it was possible to squeak out a little camisole with the yardage. Turns out, it was possible! I often look tall in photos, but if you have met me in real life, I’m actually on the smaller side – 5’4″ and knitting generally in the size of a 32″ bust.  I was able to exactly what I wanted- squeak out a camisole on the single skein. I love how it turned out, but made a couple of changes when writing up the pattern. In these photos, you’ll see that there is a faux seam – I took that prat out of the pattern, as I thought it was already form-fitting, and didn’t need to have the faux seam. I am a huge fan o the split hem, so that was a feature I really wanted this pattern to have- I find that split hems sit nicely around the hip area and keep tops and sweaters from riding up while wearing them.

The pattern is designed to be worn with zero or negative ease, but my amazing test knitters also tried modifying it- because you know how I love modifications! Some went for an A-line approach, and others made a size up…. it was neat to see. As the pattern just went live on Ravelry late last night, projects are still being connected to the pattern page, but it worth checking out the notes of those that made some changes and experimented with it. I would caution on going a size up in the bust area, though. the i-cord ties only bring things in so much, and if there is too much room in the bust, the neckline will bag and sag. If you want more ease in the body, I would recommend casting on for a size or two bigger than the bust, and then decreasing down to the true bust size (take measurement on the high part of your bust, not the widest part of your bust). Side stitch markers can help with where to put those decreases, should you decide to try that.

When knitting this, I made the neck placket too deep so I sewed it up a bit – and I loved the result! it gives s lot more coverage than you would think, since you have to really look hard at the lace in order to see anything beyond it. I also have an amazing strapless bra on that matches my skin tone, so you think you see skin, but you are really looking at my bra. The straps are i-cord, but if you would prefer wider straps, you could easily modify and cast on for thicker straps, maybe in the lace or even ribbing! I hope to see some neat strap modifications!

These photos were taken in September, with goldenrod behind me. I know that the cold weather has hit most of us, but this also makes a lovely top to sleep in, and also is really pretty layered with a cardigan over top.

To celebrate the new pattern release, the pattern is 30% off until Friday, November 9th (midnight Eastern Time). No coupon code needed!