Review: Brooklyn Tweed Vale

The lovely folks at Brooklyn Tweed very kindly sent me two skeins of their new yarn, Vale. Vale is the newest member of their permanent collection of yarns (you might remember they have a limited edition laceweight called Plains), and an excellent edition, considering how many wonderful lace patterns there are. Brooklyn Tweed even put together a mini pattern collection by Jared Flood, featuring some classic patterns re-imagined in this new yarn, as well as one new pattern, for a small cowl. To amp up the excitement, if you purchase one or more skeins of Vale directly from their site, the yarn will ship with a coupon code for a free digital copy of that very cowl, which you can see in more detail here.

I wish I had a swatch to show you, but as I mentioned in this post, I’ve been knitting-sidelined due to injury (side note- so many great ideas on the comments, Facebook, and Instagram about other crafts I can do while the fracture heals!), so we will just have to admire the skeins as they are. But I did put them up in an apple tree, and the apple blossoms smelled like heaven.

These two colourways are Cobbler and Barberry, and the yarn is spun 2-ply Rambouillet that has a real loft and airiness to it (lighter than merino), and the tight, worsted-spun ply means it could definitely pass for a light fingering. There is a bounce to this yarn, which is rare for a laceweight. The skeins are 450 yards in length, so keep that in mind if you are looking to cast on for a larger laceweight knit!

While many of you may already be familiar with some of these patterns, I thought it would be fun to look at the two most popular patterns from the collection (they have been around for a while, but look very fresh in the new Brooklyn Tweed Vale laceweight) and see if you are tempted to knit them again, or for the first time!

Rock Island, by Jared Flood

One of the most popular Brooklyn Tweed shawls, this  triangular shaped shawl is knit from the bottom up wit the lace edging first, then stitches picked up and increased to form to rest of the body. It’s a two-skein project, and the the design is fully charted, with 8-stitch edging repeats, and the body has 6-stitch repeats.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love shawls (of course!), easy-to-memorize repeats, and garter stitch. Loving garter stitch is pretty crucial, as there is a lot of it at the widest part of the shawl.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If:  Garter stitch bores you to tears, you were hoping for a bigger challenge when it comes to lace knitting.

Girasole, by Jared Flood

This is a circular shawl that is easier than it looks, as long as you like knitting lace and working with charts! You will need 3 skeins of Vale to knit this shawl.  It is knit from the center outwards, which means that at the beginning it is quite small and manageable, and you work each ring with its own chart. The charts are very straightforward and the stitches are surprisingly easy (mostly k2tog and ssk, with some yarn overs), with the most complex one being the edging. But at least it is a small chart and you are bound to get the hang of it quickly.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You adore wearing shawls, and the circular shape of this makes you even more excited. And if you love knitting in the round!

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You don’t wear shawls. If you don’t wear standard triangular or half-moon shawls, wearing a circular one will feel like wearing a tablecloth. Although I suppose if you decided you weren’t going to wear it, it would be the most beautiful table cloth ever.

What do you think of this new laceweight from Brooklyn Tweed, are you excited to try it? And would you knit one of the revamped patterns, or the new cowl? If you have questions about any of the other patterns in this mini collection, let me know!

Setbacks

My knitting has screeched to a dramatic halt:

Over this past weekend, I fractured my ring finger. It was late at night and I was heading up to bed. I turned off the lights and was heading towards the stairs when I stepped on a kiddie toy, slipped, and in that slow motion panic of trying not to fall I thrust my hand out to grab the banister but instead hammered my hand into it.  It was so late that I debated going to the emergency room to get it x-rayed, but the emergency room is really just for immediate medical attention, so I tried to sleep (didn’t work out so great) and went to the doctor the next day. I have a split under my ring finger, and it’s taped to my middle finger for support.

The timing is especially unfortunate because I was *this* close to finishing the second sleeve of my Pomme De Pin cardigan for the Briggs & Little Spring KAL, which meant I couldn’t finish it. I have tried to do a bit of knitting the past few days, but to work around the splint creates some weird tension in the joints and it is painfully slow.  And I do mean painfully.

Stefanie suggested I take one of my swatches and make a cozy for it, which struck me as a brilliant idea:

I just haphazardly stitched the edges together and sewed up the top, which wasn’t too bad, even though it did take me ages. It keeps the gauze cleaner, too. That was from when I made these mittens for Lila – I did them so quickly one night after I realized Lila had lost almost all of her other mittens and the stores had stopped selling kid’s mittens. Naturally, she lost one before I could get modeled shots.

Also, the novel I’ve been working on for months has hit a snag. A series of unfortunate events in the Canadian Literature world has suddenly raised a lot of questions about whether or not white writers should be writing stories about those from marginalized cultures, and the novel I had been writing focuses on the life of a young man from Mexico working on his Masters at the University of Toronto. Now I have to figure out if I’m being ignorant and culturally appropriating, so I’ve stopped working on it and will try to work on other things, and try to listen to what is being said. Maybe it will all work out, and I hope it does, but I’m feeling pretty down about that. I love the main character so much, when I think of changing him into someone else, it pains me.

So, don’t mind me. I’m just having a little pity party over here. I’ll leave you with a photo of an absolutely stunning pink cherry tree that I saw on a walk last night:

Modification Monday: Journey with Hemp

Original Pattern: Journey

Knitter Extraordinaire: Carol (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Changed the pullover into a cardigan, adjusted the length, and substituted the main cable from the pattern with the Plaid Lattice pattern from “A Treasury of Knitting Patterns” by Barbara G. Walker. Details on Carol’s cardigan project can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome: I’m not surprised so many people opt to modify pullovers into cardigans, so many more seasons of wear! Carol’s sweater looks amazing. She changed out the main back cable for a different cable stitch, which is a great tip- if there are certain types of cables you absolutely love, then substituting them into a cabled sweater design is much easier than working them into a plain stockinette sweater. She also lengthened the sweater considerably, and her collar mod looks wonderfully modern against the classic cables, a nice contrast. A beautifully customized sweater that is just the way you want it should always be the end goal.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

How did I miss this fantastic trick for when I’m worrying too much?

Trying to figure out what the heck is going on with all this ‘unicorn food’? Here you go!

This does not surprise me in the lest – apparently almost half of moms throw away, re-gift, or return mother’s day gifts. Probably because most of the gifts are completely impersonal.

My Favourite Pins This Week

There is something endlessly compelling about the simple vanilla cupcake. This version is simple and perfect, just the way a cupcake should be. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe can be found here.

A beef noodle stir fry that is better than take out, and whips up weeknight fast? I’ll take it. What I like best about this beef noodle stir fry is that it has a lot of veggies, and a colourful dish always feels more satisfying, somehow. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

I’m hypnotized by this ice cube tray hack video! Who knew you could do so much with an ice cube tray – making chocolate bars?! Amazing! Pinterest link here. Couldn’t find the original link.

This giraffe trinket dish- I love it so much. It is a wonderful DIY that looks so elegant and classy, and I think I have a giraffe toy (or more accurately, my children do) that I could totally use for this. As soon as I find it in their endless toy chest, I’ll squirrel it away for this craft! Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY post is here.

Love this poster. So adorable, and so perfect. Pinterest link is here, and the free download can be found here.

Apparently it’s Mother’s Day this weekend, which always catches me off guard and I never know what I want (see previous link about returning mother’s day gifts! 😉 ). I know that this day is a sensitive one for some- so whether you are a mother or not, have a mother who is or is not in your life, don’t let one day make you feel any different from how you want to feel. if you are better off ignoring it, then take a social media sabbatical that day and do your own thing. We should all take social media sabbaticals, anyway! And if you are interested in how Mother’s Day even came into being, check out the Wikipedia article. I was surprised to find out how many other countries celebrate it, but many countries at totally different times of the year than in Canada and the US.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I hope you are having warmer weather than we’ve had here in Toronto- it’s been chilly and I’m so over it. Where are you, spring?!

Book Review: Margeau Blanc

This is a collection that I’m really surprised more people aren’t talking about, although it is a fairly new release.  Margeau Blanc: A New Perspective on Winter White Knits is the sort of collection that is perfect for knitters who want to knit classic wardrobe basics. And if you are a knitter who wants to knit your favourites over and over again, you would be hard pressed to find a better collection than this. It is also surprisingly beginner-friendly, with the level of difficulty increasing as the patterns go on.

The collection features 13 patterns (view on Ravelry for full details of each): 6 pullovers, 1 cardigan, 3 hats, 1 wrap (rectangular), 1 shawl (square), and 1 cowl.  The sweaters have simple silhouettes but great details, each with a different style of neckline, and far-from-boring hems:

As someone who loves a quick knit, I really appreciated that nine of the patterns are heavier weight yarns: two worsted weight, three Aran, two bulky and two super bulky. None of the sweaters are fingering weight, which I know makes many knitters sigh in relief (two of them are in DK weight, if you are looking for a light weight sweater). There are directions for 6 sizes in each of the pullovers, with every sweater designed to fit a bust range of 32 – 52 inches. Most of the garments are designed to have a fair bit of positive ease, as well.

I really went for the lovely white theme, but you should definitely knit these wardrobe staples in colours that suit your style. And the textured sweaters, like the Deep V Cardigan, Fisherman’s Rib Pullover, or the Waffle Thermal have a great amount of texture and would really make the most of a handpainted or variegated colourway.

The only drawback of this collection was that there are no charts (I love charts). There are only three designs where I was looking for a chart- the cabled hat, the shawl, and the wrap. The line instructions look easy enough, and I suspect that they could probably be memorized, but figured it was worth mentioning in case anyone loves charts. But if you hate charts, this is perfect for you!

I’m swatching broken double rib for the Deep V cardigan. I abslutely love the fabric that is knitting up- it feels like a cardigan in this stitch would be oh-so-cozy for chilly days, and a great layering piece for just about any season.

The good folks at Dover Publications have very kindly offered a coupon code for 25% off of ANY book on their site. So if you missed out the last time, now is your chance! There’s loads of knitting titles to choose from here, and you can click around and check out all their other craft books, if you happen to be multi-craftual.  Here’s the coupon code: WRBG 

And because they are extra awesome, Dover Publications is also giving away one copy of Margeau Blanc: A New Perspective on Winter White Knits. Perfect for building your hand-knit wardrobe, or branching out if you are a beginner knitter! (US and Canada addresses only. I’m sorry international friends!). And if you are already following on the social media channels for bonus entries, you are ahead of the game! Just click the buttons and enter the info for the bonus entries to count.

Click here to view this promotion.

Contest closes May 31st at 10 pm EST.

**This is a sponsored post from Dover Publications. All opinions are entirely my own.