Modification Monday: No Hood Vivian

Original Pattern: Vivian

Knitter Extraordinaire: Olga (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Changed the gauge, added short rows on the back for the shoulders, and changed the hood for a ribbed, mandarin-style collar. More details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: The original pattern is very pretty, but there is something about that fabulous little collar that makes this a real show-stopper! Using a slightly small gauge also helps this cardigan look very polished, and eliminating the hood emphasizes the streamlined shape of this great little cardigan. It’s also clever to add the short rows to help with the shaping of the saddle-shoulder construction, for a smoother fit. Every mod Olga made is perfect!

London, and New Goodies

We had a very short stopover in London, just before we flew back to to Toronto:

I had the opportunity to meet up with Allison, who used to live in Toronto but now lives in London (lucky girl!). We met up for coffee, pastries, and a cruise through John Lewis and Liberty’s haberdashery departments (she also very kindly took photos 4 and 6 in the above). We were originally planning on going to Loop, but it was much further away and more than a little awkward to get to with a stroller… so I’ll have to save it for another time. But I did pick up some goodies:

Wonderland was purchased at John Lewis, buttons and measuring tape are from Liberty of London. 

Wonderland is a great little collection of stunning kid’s knits, I’m really impressed with how stylish and lovely they are. And I like that they have a good size range (2-7 years old), I feel like if I don’t get around to knitting some of my faves for a little while, it’s okay.  I’m definitely going to make the Lovisa cardigan for Lila, as it features three buttons and will be perfect for my new Liberty buttons. A big thank you to Allison for making time to up and tour me around, it was fun!

Paris, and La Droguerie

guy and lila
 My favourite photo from Paris.

Towards the end of our trip, we spent a couple days in Paris- because really, if you’re a short train ride away, why wouldn’t you?! We had an amazing time. The food, the sights… ah, Paris.

I even had an opportunity to go to La Droguerie, one of the better known yarn and haberdashery shops in Paris. And…. it was an epic disappointment. And not just because one of the staff berated me for taking a photo. It’s a very pretty shop, but it is not customer-friendly at all. Even if you speak fluent French (I had some help with the fluent part, I went with someone who was). The yarn that you see in the store is only display yarn (and it is a modest selection, but with a good colour range), so you have to ask someone to get you the yarn that you would like. Except you don’t just find the nearest staff person and they are able to help you, you have to hover near the yarn (they provide benches for you to sit on), and wait. And wait. And wait. It is apparently the norm to wait around 45 minutes for someone, even if you can see three staff members at the back of the shop near the swifts chatting with each other. Even if the woman at the cash register is sitting right there by the yarn, in a booth. I assume that this is clearly a cultural difference. Obviously it works for them, or they would change it. But I left empty handed, and that was disappointing. They do have an impressive button selection, though. And it looked like you had a better chance of getting service if you were only buying buttons.

 It’s okay, though. Who goes to Paris for the yarn, anyway? And it was the only down moment of the whole trip- otherwise I found that Parisians were generally quite friendly and helpful, and the food was spectacular. Plus that photo of Lila on Guy’s shoulders with the Eiffel Tower in the background pretty much just made my year.

Modification Monday: They’ll Always Have Fresno

Original Pattern: Fresco Fair Isle Mitts

Knitter Extraordinaire: Eliza (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Using the colourwork design form the mitt pattern, Eliza turned it into a hat and reversed the light and dark colourwork. More great details can be found on her project page, here

What Makes This Awesome: I actually have this pattern and I didn’t even recognize it when I saw this hat! This is one of the easiest ways to make a big change on the look of fair isle- reverse the light and dark yarns. It changes the contrast balance and often gives a stranded knit a whole new look. As for turning it into a hat, I love Eliza’s solution with working the design to create an X with the diamond motif, and the decrease sections worked with the dark seam is perfection. It solves the problem of decreasing in a stranded pattern beautifully. This hat looks amazing!

Modification Monday: Barely Recognizable Annis 3

Original Pattern: Annis

Knitter Extraordinaire: Jody (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Used a new way to make nupps, and made a much smaller version, and included eyelet sections.
 Project page with great details can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: The Annis shawl is one that has been featured a few times, as the original pattern is a great one for modification- the beautiful edging and stockinette are very flexible for new interpretations. I love Jody’s mini version, it’s a great way to customize for a certain yardage or special yarn, and the eyelet addition is very pretty. Plus, Jody learned a new technique to make the nupps much easier, and any knit that you have totally customized AND managed to learn something new is a slam dunk! Love this pretty little shawl.