Meet the Sponsors: July Edition!

Meet the Sponsors July Edition |

Name: Madbird Bags & Accessories 

What They are all about: Alecia and Rob Miller make fun and functional project bags, project clutches, totes, spindle bags, needle and hook rolls, and zip pouches- with a wide variety of fabrics, you’re sure to find the right size you need in a fabric you love.  Project bags come with interior yarn guides that have a snap on them, so your yarn feeds through cleanly, but you can change out the yarn or project any time you like. And they are all sturdily built, with fleece interfacing and solid bottoms that ensure the bags stand up well on their own, once a project is inside.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: The Les Amis large project clutch has a sweet little forest animal print, and I adore the lining fabric with the woodgrain- such a great fabric pairing! The Night Grove project bag is actually completely reversible- so it’s like getting two gorgeous project bags for the price of one, and the Kamakura large project tote features beautiful Japanese style fabric, a magnetic close and a matching notions pouch. Perfect for big projects like sweaters!

Meet the Sponsors July Edition |

Name: Bijou Basin Ranch 

What They Are All About: Carl and Eileen have a family-run Yak ranch in Colorado. The sell amazing yak fiber and yarns that are both 100% yak and blended with other fibers (like bamboo or merino) to give the yarn strength and variety. And if you haven’t tried yak fiber before, you are missing out- it’s very soft, and very good for those that have wool allergies.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right: Lhasa Wilderness of a Yak (75%) and bamboo (25%) blend,  this is shown in a tartan colourway of Fraser’s Ridge. Don’t you love that they have tartan colourways?! And check out this awesome argyle sock kit– it comes with yarn to make two pairs of argyle socks, with variations! Worth clicking through to check it out. And this Shangri-la laceweight in ‘Ruby’ is absolutely stunning- it’s a blend of 50% yak fiber and 50% mulberry silk for a shimmery, beautiful yarn perfect for shawls and wraps. Oh, and when you click the link, there is a pop up to sign up for their email list and it gives you a code for free shipping. Now who doesn’t love free shipping? 

Meet the Sponsors July Edition |

Name: Agrestal Yarn

What They Are All About:  Agrestal yarn is a new Toronto-based indie yarn company that is all about plant-based botanical dyes  and Canadian raised fiber.  Agrestal offers yarn in both a fingering and worsted weight, and you can check out the bases page to find out more about where the fiber fo reach comes from.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  This is wool blend Worsted weight in ‘Lakeside’, which has lovely teals that are perfect for summer,  then the fingering weight ‘Peace Slice’, which is a blend of wool and mohair for strength.  Then we have another wool blend worsted weight in the ‘Obscurity’ colourway- gorgeous plums and grape tones in this one. And you know what else is awesome? You can use the code KNITTEDBLISS for 10% off your order!

Meet the Sponsors July Edition |

Name: Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe

What She is All About: Alicia makes luxurious all-natural lotion bars and lip balms using skin-loving ingredients like lanolin, cocoa butter, almond oil, and vitamin E and mango butter. If you haven’t tried a lotion bar before you are missing out! it’s non-greasy and great for air travel (none of this liquid limit problem on planes, where the air is super drying).

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  Adorable sheep soap, people! I’m in love with these super cute moulded goat’s milk soaps (this one is the peaches  & cream scent) made with all-natural moisturizing ingredients. For a lotion bar, this Crisp Pear scent is made with skin-softening lanolin, and the lip balms (I’m a big fan) has a new addition to Alicia’s offerings with the Strawberry Vanilla scent/flavour.

Meet the Sponsors July Edition |

Name: Knit Circus

What She is All About: Dyed-to-order gradients are her specialty, there is a whole range of colours, weights, and yarn bases to choose from. If you’ve been eyeing some lovely knits featuring gradients, you should check this out.

A Few of my Favourite Things, from Left to Right: This incredible deep blue gradient  (‘Blue Hawaii) is so entrancing, I feel like anything made with it would have no choice but to result in an unbelievably beautiful knit.  Jaala has designed the great River Cowl kit that pairs one of her pretty gradients with a natural white shade, and the high textured stitch makes this cowl totally reversible!  For Cookie A sock lovers out there, the Race to the Cookie Jar colourway was designed with socks in mind, and has fun yellow, green, and teal shades in it. Perfect for socks, of course!

Meet the Sponsors July Edition |

Name: Yarn in the City

What They Are All About: Rachel and Allison are North American expats who have been living in London, UK for a while, and created Yarn in the City, which plans and creates yarn-themed crafty get togethers and events all around London, UK such as the Great London Yarn Crawl, Pop Up Marketplaces, workshops with awesome designers from around the globe, and .  And don’t think that this is just for people living in the UK because they are also super tourist friendly! Later this year they will be launching a Crafty Guide to London, featuring great routes and info on all the best knitting and craft supply stores in the city, and include patterns and tips for knitting and crafting while on vacation.

A Few of My Favourite Things, from Left to Right:  Coming up September 5th is the annual Great London Yarn Crawl,  a non-profit yarn tour of the several London knitting shops with all funds going to charity. You can sign on to join a team and travel a route of London via public transit with your new knitting crew! And  check out the list of incredible vendors at the next Pop-Up Marketplace (also on Sept. 5th)  September 6th, Kate Atherley will be leading two workshops on Pattern Writing for Knit Designers, with the morning session dedicated to introducing the basics of knitwear design, and the afternoon on increasing your pattern writing skills. People, if you are travelling to London around those dates or happen to live there, you won’t want to miss these events!

Modification Monday: Circular Beatnik

Modification Monday: Circular Beatnik |

Original Pattern: Beatnik

Knitter Extraordinaire: Lorraine (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Lorraine rejigged the original pattern to be worked entirely in the round, and added a v neck shawl collar instead of the original boat neck.  Project page with links to the circular revision download and more details can be found here.

What Makes This Awesome:  I know many knitters out there prefer knitting in the round, so Lorraine did just that- took a great pattern and modified it to suit her knitting preferences!  I love it when a knitter revamps a neckline, too- this v neck shawl collar looks fantastic and gives the sweater a modern flair. She also shortened it a bit to work with her body type, which is what everyone should do- make sure you are checking the schematics and making decisions about a length that suits the wonderful body that you have.  I love the complete effect of this sweater- all of the great, lush cables of the original, but with a fresh silhouette and all in the round, you can’t be that!

Modification Monday: Circular Beatnik |

Pattern Review: Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 9

Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 9 features 14 stunning patterns: five pullovers, five shawls, two rectangular wraps/scarves, one dress and one cardigan.  Some knits are very architectural and structured, others are earthy and botanical; some are lots of stockinette, and others are full of new stitches and techniques.  I did find that all the garments (5 pullovers, one dress and the one cardigan) were decidedly structural with very bold shapes, which is on trend. For those looking for a brave new frontier of knitting patterns, they might be just the thing you are looking for! For others, don’t worry, there are shawls and wraps ahoy, all with interesting techniques and lots of details to help flex those knitting muscles.  I highly recommend you look at the skill level ratings on each pattern page, but don’t forget that patterns a little bit outside your comfort zone are a great way to grow your skills and make an amazing knit.

For 14 patterns, I’ll review 5 of them in depth here, but if there was one you’d like more info on, let me know in the comments and I can respond to your questions there. And if you’d like to look at the patterns on Ravelry, the link is here.

Pattern Review: BT Wool People 9 |


If I was casting on this second, Gyre is the one I’d pick first. It looks so wearable, and features a sunburst diagonal ray pattern that spreads out across the eyelet scarf. It looks instantly wearable with everything, and yet unlike anything else you’ve knit. The design does have resting rows on the wrong side rows, meaning you’ll knit the knits and purl the purls.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love summer scarves, eyelet anything, modern designs that wink at vintage appeal, and charted knitting that keeps you paying attention.

You should definitely not knit this if: you are not comfortable with charts. The entire thing is charted, literally 6 different charts (that print out nicely at one chart per page). Or if your idea of a ‘resting row’ is nothing but stockinette, not having to count and add in a purl stitch at regular intervals.

Pattern Review: BT Wool People 9 |


A swingy A-line pullover with a classic v neck and great ribbing details on the shoulders and dramatic side vents. The sweater is worked from the bottom up, and front and back are knit separately.

You Should totally knit this if: You love classic-but-with-a-plot-twist sweaters, cheeky military styles, stockinette for days and big side vents.

You Should definitely not knit this if: you are steadfast in your refusal to seam your knits,  you like being a wall flower, or if you find that whenever you knit stockinette for more than an hour, you put your knitting down and leave it languishing in the WIP pile for weeks.

Pattern Review: BT Wool People 9 |


This deceptively simple looking pullover is anything but- interesting construction details and a classic casual sort of vibe make this incredibly easy to wear. This is the sort of knit that really stretches your knitting skills, as it’s anything but typical in its construction. It’s a bottom up sweater in the round, with short rows in the lace detail at the hem and German short rows at the shoulders (yes, two different types of short rows!).

You Should totally knit this if: If you want to try a couple different short row techniques, and you enjoy knitting in the round, and i-cord edging (it’s at the hem and cuffs, and then the i-cord drawstring).

You Should definitely not knit this if:  short rows terrify you, or you want to just veg out in front of a movie or a show while knitting, or i-cord is your enemy.

Pattern Review: BT Wool People 9 |


This is a triangular shawl that is knit from the outer border in, entirely charted with additional notes for each chart (6 charts in total). Every wrong side rows is a full resting row, meaning you’ll just purl the entire row. I’m predisposed to love this shawl because that leaf stitch has been something I’ve always wanted to  use in a pattern of my own design, I think it’s so pretty.  Lots of great texture in this shawl, and would also look lovely in a tonal or hand painted yarn, as well.

You Should totally knit this if:  you love  classic triangular shawls, botanical motifs, lace in all its forms, and resting rows.

You Should definitely not knit this if: you don’t wear triangular shawls, or smocked stitches- that’s when you pass stitches back and forth between your needles to wrap the yarn around them for the banded technique you can see in the photo above. If you’ve never worked smocked stitches, I can assure you they are easy, they just take time.

Pattern Review: BT Wool People 9 |


Rakke is a  crescent shaped shawl/wrap that comes in two different variations, and has four size options for both of the variations. Definitely click the pattern link above and check out the other photos, which include a photo comparing the two variations so you can see how they are different. Both are knit from the top (the garter portion) down.  The wrong side rows do have some parts where they are charted, and some parts where they are full resting rows. There are 3 charts for this shawl.

You Should totally knit this if: you love Estonian lace, garter stitch, and crescent shaped shawls.

You Should definitely not knit this if:  you hate knupps,  and having to read charts on the wrong side rows.

Those are my favourite 5 from the collection! If you have any questions about these or any of the others, let me know.

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

You cannot dodge the ups and downs of being human. A great read on how we must commit to our big goals, even when it’s hard, even when we don’t want to.

Feel like reading some great short stories? Here’s a link to 14 fantastic short stories you can read over your lunch break. Assuming you eat lunch in front of your screen, like I do. 😉

Learn to love the necessary hard work that comes with pursuing your goals.

I know I don’t usually post on the weekends, but tomorrow (Saturday!) I’ve got a pattern review of the new Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 9. Come back tomorrow to check it out, and if I didn’t cover the patterns you wanted to know more about, let me know in the comments and I can reply with more details.

San Francisco Peeps!  I’m doing a knit night meet up with Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting while In San Francisco on July 5th– I’d would so very much like to meet my fellow knitters there! If you are local, please check out this link- it has all the info on the great class that Alana is teaching on Sunday afternoon, and more info about the meet up in the evening!

Pin Ups and Link Love: Pixellated Socks |

I adore these pixellated socks that just came out from Purl Soho. They look like they would be amazing with a busy variegated yarn and a solid yarn, as well as soft colours like these. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Maple Glazed Bundt Cake |

It’s Canada Day next Wednesday, and this maple glazed bundt cake is a Canadian homage to both maple syrup and our beloved donuts! Even if you’re not Canadian, if you liek cake and maple syrup, I bet you’ll love this. Pinterest link is here, the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Turkey and Spianch Stuffed Mushrooms |

Super healthy turkey and spinach stuffed mushroom caps- perfect for a side or an appetizer, and sooo flavourful! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Granny Square Tutorial|

These pretty pastel flower granny squares are so lovely, and would make a great crochet project to chip away at.  The pattern and loads fo great step-by-step photo tutorials are all in the link. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Quote |

Heck yeah, Laura Ingalls Wilder. You nailed it. Pinterest link is here, ‘original’ post (it’s a tumblr, I’m not convinced anything original is on tumblr) is here.

We are going to a friends cottage for the weekend, and I’m really looking forward to it! Anyone else have fun aandrelaxing plans for the weekend?

How to Knit Faster: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Tips

How to Knit Faster: Advanced Tips |

No matter what stage you are at with your knitting, most of us want to knit faster! I’ve put together  a list of a variety of tips and tricks for you to try. Some take more practice than others! I’ve divided them into tips best suited for beginner, intermediate and advanced knitters but it’s worth a read of all of them- you never know what might be just the trick you are looking for!

How to Knit Faster: Advanced Tips |

Beginner Tips

  • Learn to knit the basics (Stockinette, garter stitch, and ribbing) without looking at your hands. Practice knitting while looking away from your hands a few seconds at first, then a few more… which sharpens your mind on how the knitting ‘feels’ rather than looks.  After a while, you’ll even be able to feel when you’ve made a mistake or a stitch didn’t knit properly, and know to look down at your knitting again.
  • Learn to knit in the round. Knitting in the round decreases the amount of time you would need to turn your knitting over and adjust your stitches on the needle.
  • Find the right needles for you. You may find that you knit faster with metal needles (which many find more ‘slippery’), or bamboo needles. Find the right type of needles that you really enjoy using, that encourage your stitches to easily float along the needle. Not having to adjust your stitches on your needle will save you knitting time.
  • Practice, a lot. The more comfortable you are with knitting, the faster you will get.
  • Choose projects that call for worsted weight, Aran, or even Bulky- the bigger your yarn and needle size, the fewer stitches it takes to get from cast on to finished knit!


How to Knit Faster: Intermediate Tips |

Intermediate Tips

  • Knit everywhere. Make sure you always have a simple, portable knitting project that is easy to take with you and doesn’t require you to be looking at the pattern the whole time. Many knitters like simple socks or simple shawls for this very reason- lightweight and portable.
  • Time Yourself. Watch the clock and figure out how long it takes for you to knit a row or round of your pattern. Then try to beat that time for the next row/round.
  • Experiment with different viewing or listening materials. For example, if you knit while watching a movie on Netflix at home, look at the clock, watch a drama (for example), and then see how many rows/rounds you can complete in an hour. Then try it again with a comedy, or an action movie. You may find that the pace of the action on the screen will affect your knitting speed. Faster-moving plots may see you knitting more than a slower, more dramatic one. The same is true for music- you probably will knit more slowly listening to relaxing, slower temp music than you will to a faster, livelier tune.
  • Experiment with different styles of knitting. This is especially important if you are feeling any sort of hand or wrist strain from knitting. different styles often have you holding the yarn and needles differently, which would naturally use some different muscles. It’s worth trying out continental knitting.
  • Choose your yarn wisely. Knit with higher twist yarns that are less likely to split. Certain yarns can slow you down because they are more likely to snag on quick needle movements. Yarn with a high twist (or single ply) are less likely to snag and split.

How to Knit Faster: Advanced Tips |

Advanced Tips

  • Learn to do lever knitting.
  • Decrease your movements. The more minimal your movements, the longer you can knit more comfortably without fatiguing your muscles. It’s worth paying attention to how you are sitting, and how you are holding your back, shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists and fingers as you are knitting. How you hold your needles and carry the yarn are also important factors.
  • Knit using only the tips of your needles. Again, this is reducing movement in your knitting, by keeping your stitches closer to the tip and moving them along quickly. it takes practice to not drop a stitch when using this technique (so I don’t recommend for lace unless you are really awesome!), but it does add up.
  • Practice memorizing longer pattern repeats, so that you don’t need to refer to your pattern as often.

All of these tips decrease small fractions of seconds off the knitting time of each stitch. When you think of the thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of stitch involved in a project,  all those fractions can add up to some serious time lost. For example- If you are knitting a sweater that will use approximately 1000 yards of DK, and it’s knitting up at about 6 stitches per inch, that’s about 216,000 stitches. Shaving a little bit of time off each round or row could save you hours.

Any tips that you would most like to try? I so want to learn lever knitting!