Modification Monday: Full Length Deschain

Original Pattern: Deschain

Knitters Extraordinaire: Susannah (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Susannah created this amazing modified Deschain pullover by casting on fewer stitches on both sides, lengthening the sweater, added waist shaping, and lengthened the arms to compensate for the reduced width. Details on her mods can be found on her Project page.

What Makes This Awesome: The original sweater is beautiful, but a cropped, super boxy summer sweater is not going to be universally flattering. Susannah fixed that by making changes that suited her frame, to reduce the volume of fabric through the body. As the amount of fabric through the body affected the shape and length of the sleeves, she lengthened the sleeves sot hat they would be more in line with the original sleeve length. Adding the extra repeats of central design added the length that Susannah was looking for. If you want to try something similar, make sure you have a wet blocked gauge swatch (length could be very different between blocked and unblocked!), and measure an existing sweater/top that is the length you are going for. Once you can see how many rows you are getting per inch of length, you will be able to calculate how many extra repeats you need to do. Then you are well on your way to a beautiful new sweater, just like this one!

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Wait, you don’t need to peel a kiwi? Mind. Blown.

How to support a friend who is dealing with anxiety.

How to fall asleep in under a minute. I think it takes me a bit longer, but it does work!

This was an interesting read, about how the way we talk to boys and girls differently about their emotions has a massive impact on every aspect of their mental development.

My Favourite Pins This Week

Frozen peaches and cream cake is crazy easy, guys! I had no idea it could be so easy. it’s not the mot photogenic dessert, but it tastes like heaven and is a perfect summer dessert. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Sometimes, the best dinner is just amazing ingredients on toast, and summer is a time when that pretty much seems like they way it should be. This is a brilliant way to braise fresh tomatoes, and if you don’t have access to burrata cheese, use feta. That’s what I did, and it was delicious. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe can be found here.

How beautiful is this crocheted flower? I love the technique, it looks so easy and would be a wonderful way to use up leftover bits of yarn, even those with angora. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here (in Russian, but if you use Google Chrome, you can right click and translate to English or the language of your choice).

These clay confetti coasters are so pretty, and would be a lovely homemade housewarming gift. Or you could make them into shallow bowls for change or keys, too! Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY can be found here.

This isn’t a DIY tutorial, but it’s such a pretty wall decoration (how perfect for a craft store or yarn shop?!) and would be easy enough to mimic on your own, using the photos as a guide. yarn wrapped embroidery hoops, colourful pom poms, and some little bird houses and branches- just so pretty! Pinterest link is here, and the original post can be found here.

Were are the weeks going?! Lila’s just had her last full week of school and after school programming, next week she has her final 4 days of school (and there’s no after school program). Eeek! Something about when school lets out that makes it feel like summer is truly, officially here!

I know that it’s been quiet on the knitting front- once my fractured finger healed, I had a deadline for a top secret new design coming out this fall. I will have shareable knitting content soon! Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Modification Monday: Misty Dissent

Original Pattern: Dissent and Misty Meadow

Knitter Extraordinaire: Joy (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Combined elements of two different shawls into one new shawl! Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: It sounds complicated to combine two different shawl patterns, but Joy did it brilliantly and made lots of common sense decisions to make the process easier. She began with one shawl pattern (starting with Dissent), and, knowing that the tricky part in combining patterns has to do with stitch number variances, didn’t worry about the exact stitch count. This worked brilliantly as much of the increasing was done in garter stitch, so it gave her more control over making it the size she wanted. When she was ready, she then switched to Misty Meadow, to knit the beautiful lace border. Doesn’t it look fantastic? There are so many great striping shawl patterns out now, wouldn’t it be interesting to try your hand at combining one with a different shawl pattern, and see what stunning new shawl you could knit up?

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

An interesting source of inspiration: The Museum of Failure.

I wish I could search on Netflix for these genre labels.

Summer can sometimes feel like a bit of a creative slump, so here are 13 ways to nurture your creativity this summer.

I can’t believe I just read this for the first time – Why I bought myself an engagement ring. Loved it.

My Favourite Pins This Week

This is a flavourful and summer take on the same old chicken alfredo – Taco Alfredo! This is a 5 ingredient dinner, so you know it’s brilliant for weeknights. Although In their 5 ingredients, they clearly aren’t counting the seasonings, but it’s pretty straightforward. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

I don’t know about you guys, but it feels like we have a whole bunch of parties and barbecues and summer activities coming up, and naturally you will probably want to bring something to those gatherings. If you are in charge of dessert, I highly recommend this coconut cake with ricotta whipped cream. it’s so much easier to make than it looks, and is all about simple ingredients and lots of pretty fruit on top. Perfect for summer. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe can be found here.

Remember how Frose (frozen rose slushies) were huge last summer? How about a watermelon frose, a blend of frozen watermelon and rose? Summer cocktails were never so fun! Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

This crochet bear pouch is so adorable- I want one for myself. I think it would be great for weekend breaks or travelling, as a little jewelry or toiletry pouch. For kids, it would be great for their little treasures and crayons. You could even crochet this with a smaller hook and fingering weight yarn for an utterly charming coin purse! Pinterest link is here, and full directions can be found here.

I love this idea of embroidering and drawing on black and white photographs- makes them look like fascinating pieces of art! And there are so many fun ways to play with this idea. Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post can be found here.

Have an amazing weekend, everyone! We have  busy weekend of barbecues and visits with friends planned, plus it is Guy’s birthday AND father’s day… but I know that Father’s Day is not a day that makes everyone happy or comfortable. If anyone struggles with this day for any reason, feel free to take a social media vacation from Sunday. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, and have a lovely weekend.

Dyeing Yarn: My First Time

I have been dragging my feet on this blog post, all because I was disappointed with my photos. But considering I took a full day yarn dying workshop and tried my hand at dyeing yarn for the very first time, it seemed a shamed to not share the experience because of less-than-great photos. So here we go, my first time dyeing yarn!

I’m on the newsletter list for pretty much every yarn store in Toronto, and I’ve been waiting for one of them to offer a yarn dyeing workshop. It’s tough, not many shops have the set up to do this, as you need regular access to running water, and a high-powered hotplate or oven to set the dye. And space for the yarn to drip dry, too! But The Knit Cafe recently had a yarn dyeing workshop, and I was fast enough to snag a spot.

This was the set up:

It was a small workshop for only 4 students, and there really wouldn’t have been room for anyone else. We dyed on natural skeins of Cascade Eco, a bulky weight yarn that I love knitting with, but I suspect is actually pretty hard to dye. It’s a two-ply wool that has quite a lot of halo (meaning, it’s pretty fuzzy) so some dye techniques seems less defined than I would like, such as when we tried speckling. but we will get to that!

We tried our hand at mixing dyes, talked about the proportions of dye and water and the effects, and how to space colours. This was my first attempt, and I was trying for a rainbow effect:

The image on the left is before the dye was set. The method we used was to wrap the yarn in plastic wrap, and then put into heavy, freezer-style ziploc bags, and then put the bags in the pot of boiling water (on the hot plate) to set. The dye tends to move around a lot through this process, so my bright bands of yellow on the left became more of a bright yellowy green after the setting process. I learned to leave more space between colours the next time:

Here is an attempt at speckling, before being cooked:

I applied the barest specs of dye, or so I thought. The yarn was likely a bit too wet for the dye to stay put, so you can see how it is already getting a little more of a watercolour look, than crisp speckles.  It’s easier to talk about it when you can see them all at once.

The yarn is in sequence from left to right, the far left skein begin the skein I tried first and the far right the final skein. Doing a technique of pouring over dye is definitely a satisfying way to dye that feels like it turns out almost every time. The second from the left skein was my attempt at making something with a variegation of purples and blues, and while the blues don’t have much range, the purple does. Then I tried to do a speckled skein with black speckles, but it’s pretty much mostly dark grey with some rainbow bits in it. So then I tried to do some speckles with no black dye, and I think it looks rather pretty (3rd from the right).

These photos, blegh. It was too sunny when I took them, so they are bleached out in places. But if I try to edit the contrast down, they look grey and dark. Oh well. Can’t win ’em all. 

 Those were our ‘mini skein’ tests, which were about 30 grams each, and then we dyed our final two skeins, which were 60 grams each (the two skeins on the far right). I decided to do a lighter, unicorn colourway, thinking it would be something Lila would like – maybe I’ll make her a hat and some mittens in the winter? I’m really happy with how it turned out. Then I took my final run at trying for a speckled skein, and managed to use only the tiniest amount of black dye with the other colours. While I think it looks pretty good, I can safely say that trying for a speckled effect on a really sheepy bulky weight yarn is probably not going to yield those crisp results you see when the same techniques are done on superwash merino yarn.

I really enjoyed the workshop – I have dyes at at home and a box of undyed yarn, and have been meaning to try dyeing yarn for probably a couple of years now. But it all seemed so daunting, especially with the huge range of advice and the general insistence that you need separate pots for dyeing yarn than for cooking. I have a small kitchen and no storage, so that never seemed like an option for me. What I loved about the workshop was seeing the ziploc bag technique, which meant that there was never any dye in the pot, so the pot was otherwise perfectly fine.

Due to my finger injury, I haven’t had a chance to swatch up some of these little skeins and see how they look, but I’m pleased to report that my fracture has healed, and I’m back to knitting! Now to finish those sweaters….