Finished Knit: Arika Cowl

Arika Cowl |

Over Easter weekend, we were up north at my parents place where the snow was still plentiful and my parents could watch Lila and James while we took photos in the backyard. We waited all day for the light to be just right, and seeing these photos reminds me that when we rush to just get the photos done, it’s never as awesome as waiting for the right light. Of course, getting the right light is easier when the grandparents are on hand to look after the little ones while we pop outside!

Arika Cowl |

Ravelry project page can be found here.

Pattern: Arika Cowl by Jane Richmond 

Yarn: Ancient Arts Yarn Big Squeeze Bulky in ‘Frolic’ 

Needles: 6.5 mm (US 10.5)

Mods: None.

Notes: The Arika Cowl is such a fast knit, I think it took me longer to put the fringe on than it did to actually knit it. I love the construction, it’s clever without being complex. This knit does require a bit of seaming and actual blocking, but I’m not adverse to either of those. I love how the thick ribbing around the neck gently gives way to an open lattice work. It’s got a lot of style.  I’ve been seeing a lot of wonderful Arika Cowls popping up all over Ravelry, and it seems to look good on just about everyone. There is something classically interesting about fringe-  it’s never so trendy it’s on everything, but it never goes out of style, either.

Arika Cowl |

I’ve got a lot of love for the Ancient Arts Big Squeeze Bulky yarn, it was so much fun to knit with, and is squishy soft around the neck. It feels wonderful! And I’m really happy with my colourway choice- Frolic looks like a forest full of beautiful cool greens and hints of earthy redwood. Just like the blue spruce and cedars behind me.

Arika Cowl |

I’m a huge fan of how snow on the ground reflects the light- it’s nature’s photoshop. And while it’s bloody cold standing outside in the snow with no coat on, it only takes 5 minutes (after that, my nose turns pink anyway). Some people do polar bear swims- we do outdoor winter photos. Then back inside for cuddles and hot drinks!

Arika Cowl |

Modification Monday: A Rose Is a Rose Is a Shawl

1 shawl

Original Pattern: Thistle and 63-9 Brocade Sweater

Knitter Extraordinaire: Nora (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Using the shaping of the Thistle shawl, Nora used the rose charts from the Brocade sweater design. More photos and details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I think if I saw this rose shawl in person, I wouldn’t be able to contain myself- I would scamper over to the wearer and immediately want to interrogate them about it and see if I could pet it. It’s worth clicking through to see more photos- the name of the shawl is worked into the top edge, and even the wrong side of the fabric looks like a tapestry. I feel like if this complex of a chart was knit in high contrast solids, it would be too graphic and busy.  But in the heathered charcoal and gradient red that Nora chose, it shows of the complexity of the charts from the brocade sweater while still being subtle enough that the eye lingers. A beautiful pairing of pattern and charts, and a beautiful pairing of yarn colours.

Modification Monday: A Rose is a Rose Shawl |

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

Feeling like adding some things to your bucket list? Here is a list of inspiring craft vacations around the world. Sign me up for all of them!

I adore these photos of Darth Vader going about his daily life. Too funny!

A little TED talk on yarn bombing as a movement. Loved this.

Next level virtual reality headsets! 

Yeah, that last one? April Fools! 😉

My Favourite Pins This Week

Pin Ups and Link Love: Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna |

I looooove lasagna, and all it’s variations. This is a wonderfully healthy option for those trying to simultaneously eat more veg AND more lasagna. I can’t be the only one with both of those goals, right? Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies |

These cookies are the cookies of my dreams. Peanut butter, oats, and a healthy smear of chocolate- just don’t leave me alone in a room with lots of these and no one else. I will most definitely eat them all. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: Fruit and Tonics |

I’m very intrigued by these fruit and tonic drinks- you puree different types of fruit, freeze them in an ice cube tray, and then serve with tonic water (can be made with or without alcohol, but I like the idea of these without).  I bet they would even be great with just club soda or carbonated water, and a fun way to use up fruit that might otherwise just be slipping past the ‘ripe’ stage. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

Pin Ups and Link Love: DIY Quilted Coasters |

These pretty quilted coasters look so fresh and modern, especially with that Alice in Wonderland fabric. I’d  happily use these any day of the week! Sadly, my quilting skills are non-existent. But perhaps you might be way handier with a sewing machine? And in possession of some cute odds and ends of fabric that would make amazing coasters? Pinterest link is here, and the original DIY is here Pin Ups and Link Love: Leaves Print |

I am utterly mesmerized by this palm frond watercolour painting. And I hate to be ‘that guy’ insisting that a painting is so basic they could do it too; but I  really feel like I might be able to paint something like this. I would at least like to try one day. Pinterest link is here, and the original print can be purchased here.

Have a great weekend, friends!

In Progress: We Are Knitters Waffle Sweater

We Are Knitters Waffle Sweater |

I’ve started knitting a new sweater that is going to be so cozy, you know the weather will be warm the second I finish it. This is the We Are Knitters Waffle Sweater. We Are Knitters is an international craft house that is big in Europe, and based out of Spain.  I previously knit one of their kits last summer- the super comfy Pacific Sweater which I will definitely be wearing again this summer.  

We Are Knitters Waffle Sweater |

Can I swoon a minute over this perfect lavender colourway? The yarn is the Petite Wool, a single peruvian wool.  I love how silvery it is, the sheen and the softness… all knit up in the squishy good times that is the fisherman’s rib stitch. I have never knit fisherman’s rib before (or apparently any stitch that requires knitting into the stitch below), so this has been a new one for me, but I love it. I found it easy to get into the rhythm of the stitch.  The kit comes with lovely straight beechwood needles, and even though it’s been ages since I’ve used straights, I went for it- and have been pleasantly surprised! First of all, these tips are super sharp- which on an 8 mm needles (US 11) is rare. Far pointier tips than I’ve ever seen on a needle that size. Which is great, because it makes knitting into the stitch below that much easier, and could double as a self defense weapon, should I need it. Or if someone is getting too close to my knitting- get back! The sweater is mine!

We Are Knitters Waffle Sweater |

The book in the photos is Garance Dore’s Love Style Life, a wonderfully charming book that I would describe as half biography, half timeless fashion advice. I’ve been thinking more and more about my personal style, and what that means for my knitting- not just the patterns I choose to knit, but the colours I choose as well. I feel like I’m forever trying to match up yarn with the patterns I want to knit, and it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that the problem exists because I’m not stashing/buying yarn in colours I will actually wear. My stash has too much variety, not enough core wardrobe colours. I’ve been thinking more about what I want those core colours to be- what colours do I need my knits to be, so that I will want to wear them every single day?

I wear a lot of  simple knits that are exclusively grey, navy, black, cream, greens, and light, dusty-grey pinks and lavender. Obviously the next time I’m buying yarn for a garment those are the colours I need to stick with. Finally figuring it out has been a revelation- I can still play with fun colours and outside the box choices with accessories; but going forward I’m sticking with simpler sweaters in colours that are just right for me. Those are the knits I reach for when I’m getting dressed.

We Are Knitters Waffle Sweater |

In the meantime while I figure out what to do with the stash that doesn’t work, I’m going to be so very glad I chose this waffle sweater kit in the perfect silvery shade of lavender. This is definitely a step in the right wardrobe direction.

* This is part one of a short series of sponsored posts for We Are Knitters. I chose the pattern kit and the colour, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Pattern Review: Knit Picks Aura Collection

The new Knit Picks Aura Collection features 16 new patterns to tempt knitters to embrace those warm weather knits. The collection is very thorough, in that there are airy knits, solid stockinette knits, mesh, cables, cardigans, pullovers, tees and tanks, a dress, a skirt, cowls and wraps. The collection focuses on lighter yarns, so everything is either laceweight, fingering weight, or sportweight, which means some are  quite yardage-heavy (I’m looking at you, stunning Poetic skirt that takes over 3500 yards and is mostly stockinette!). But there are some that make the most of smaller amounts of yarn (under 500 yards), which means some are only 2 skein projects. Lots of mesh and modern, easy silhouettes. If you would like to check out all the patterns at a glance on Ravelry, you can find the collection here.

I like knitting lighter weather knits, so this collection really appeals to me- even some wonderful mohair lace knits that look fresh and modern. I’ll go into detail on 5 of my favourites from the collection below, but if you have questions about the patterns for any of the others, let me know and I’ll answer in the comments!

Review: Knit Picks Aura Collection |

Solana by Irina Anikeeva

This sportweight cardigan has a clever top-down saddle shoulder construction, beginning with the cabled lattice on the upper back (charted only) and then picking up stitches at different parts to work the fronts and back. An easy to wear summer cardigan that you could throw on with just about anything, I can see this being an easy wardrobe staples.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love top down knits so you can try on as you go, and open front cardigans with lots of drape.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You will never wet block your swatches (or swatch!) Swatching is important here, especially wet blocking- how the mesh stitch opens up with your yarn will tell you what size you need to knit. If you just guess based on your ‘usual’ size, you will probably end up with a cardigan that is too small or too big.

Review: Knit Picks Aura Collection |

Muse by Katy Banks 

This is a laceweight tee knit in the round from the bottom up. It starts with the beautiful lace hem with button details (charted). You really want to click through the link and check out all the photos of the top to appreciate the small details of this one.  with a vertical mesh column on both the front and back.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You have one of those 1000 yards skeins of laceweight kicking around your stash for ages, and have no idea what to knit with it. Knit this.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: You are dead set against bottom up construction, and are lazy about blocking- the pattern requires that you wash and block this three times while making it- this is because of how laceweight mesh changes after blocking, and how that affects picking up stitches in the round.

Review: Knit Picks Aura Collection |

Chilla by Amanda Schwabe

This sportweight top is as relaxing and easy to wear as it gets- a-line, with a slight high-low hem. The front is simple so as not to detract from the fantastic split back, with button detail on the upper portion. There are also directions for knitting a sleeveless version, but given the proportions of this sweater, I’d recommend sticking with the sleeves.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You adore stockinette, folded hems, and would love to show off some special buttons with this fun back detail.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: you get bored when knitting stockinette, or your body and A-line shapes aren’t friends. And if you are indecisive when it comes to buttons, start looking for them as soon as you cast on.

Review: Knit Picks Aura Collection |

Catamaran by Bekah Knits 

A fingering weight shawl knit in a linen and cotton blend, Catamaran is a stylish mix of stripes and eyelets.  The shape is almost a crescent, but has a slight triangular point, and comes in two sizes. It’s slightly asymmetrical, with an i-cord edging. This would be a quick knit, taking about 1 skein of each colour, with endless combination possibilities. Both lace and stripes are written out and charted.

You Should Totally Knit This If: Stripes and shawls are your favourite things!

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: I guess if you don’t like shawls, or asymmetrical shawls. But this is one of the more wearable shawl (read: easy to wear casually and doesn’t feel too fancy for everyday use) designs I’ve seen.

Review: Knit Picks Aura Collection |

Alize by Amanda Schwabe

I’m really feeling easy to wear knits these days, and Alize fits the bill perfectly while still feeling a little bit special in that kid mohair. This is an oversized bottom up laceweight top with a split high-low hem and knit at a worsted-weight gauge so you know it’ll be speedy. I’m not that crazy about how dramatic the high-low hem is, so I would probably even it out. Prefer more texture to lace? There are directions for replacing the lace with seed stitch instead.  This sweater is worked flat and seamed, which helps give oversized knits better structure.

You Should Totally Knit This If: You love lightweight knits for layering, super quick garments, and a pattern that gives you options.

You Should Definitely Not Knit This If: The idea of seaming laceweight is so scary it keeps you up at night.

So what do you guys think? Any standouts from the collection for you?