Christmas Round-Up #4 – THE Sweater

Saturday was a good day, knitting wise.  I cast off the final stitches and seamed together THE sweater. I’ve been working on this sweater since mid-September, according to my Ravelry project page, and after four-and-a-half months, it feels great to be finished!

I knew I wanted to gift my father a sweater for Christmas.  Dad has a large hand-knit sweater that was commissioned by my grandfather, and Dad acquired it after Grandpa passed away.  Dad wears this sweater all the time as it helps fend off the cool Canadian weather.  He loves this sweater, and I knew he would appreciate another hand knit sweater.  In the past, I’ve made him two scarves and two hats, and all are well worn and well loved.  Dad is definitely on the ‘knit worthy’ list, so in September, I bought the yarn, found the pattern, and cast on!

The pattern is Pub Crawler Men’s Sweater by Jennifer Hagan.  This lovely pattern can be found in the book Son of a Stitch ‘n’ Bitch.  I used just over 8 skeins of Cascade 220 in knitting the sweater, and I am so glad I bought an extra skein than what the pattern called for.  The size I made calls for 8, and I needed that ninth skein. This was my go-to project for weeks, picking it up and knitting a few rows here and there whenever I could.

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The finished, blocked cables – the yarn is actually green, not beige like the picture shows…

The cables on this project truly shine.  Cables are such a simple technique but they look so complicated and intricate that they always grab my eye and I love them so.

I FINALLY gave my father the sweater yesterday afternoon, however, it was still a little damp and needed a few more hours of blocking to be properly finished, so I don’t yet have a photo of him wearing the sweater, but once I do, I’ll be sure to share.

And with that, my holiday gift-giving knits are wrapped up!*

*Please keep reading this blog even after that terrible gift/wrapped up pun.

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Christmas Round-Up #3 – 504 King West

I love this project as much as I love the story behind it.

My sister has recently moved back to the suburbs after living in Toronto for two years, not a decision made lightly. She loved her neighbourhood, from the convenient location to transit, to the quirky little shops located a few blocks away, her favourite coffee shop, and her favourite bar.

For Christmas, I knew I wanted to make her a shawl. I bought a stunning skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegría; I grappled back and forth with the choice to be selfish and keep this beautiful yarn all to myself, or do I use it and make something just as stunning for someone else. Gifting won out, and I’m so glad it did.

I spent some time perusing on Ravelry for just the right pattern. I wanted a pattern with fingering weight, that was asymetrical, and one that was ideally free. And then I saw 504 King West.

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Being honest, it wasn’t the pattern that sucked me in but rather the name. 504 King West is the name of a streetcar route in Toronto, one that I have taken a handful of times with my sister, a streetcar route that ends around the corner from her place in TO.  This pattern was designed by the Knit Cafe, a LYS in Toronto that I’ve visited with KT. It’s the same LYS she texted me about after exploring her neighbourhood and finding it. As a non-knitter, KT has as little interest in yarn shops as all non-knitters do, but she found this shop, texted me about it, and we visited it on one of my weekend visits.

With this connection to her neighbourhood and its name rooted in Torontonia, I knew immediately this was the shawl for my sister. (Yes, I just made up that word, Torontonia, but if Canadiana and Americana exist as words meaning concerning or characteristic of the country, its civilization, or its culture, then Torontonia can totally be used in the same manner!)

I started 504 King West and worked a few rows while on my cruise. One beautiful thing about this shawl is that it is made with several complementary colours, and I made this one the same way. The variegated Manos is colourful and bright, and it pops against the black Cascade Heritage I bought for contrast. For edging, I was able to use what I have in my sock yarn stash, and I used a self striping yarn; I love that this is the same self stripping yarn that I bought months before at the Knit Cafe.

This shawl was a part of her gift, which also included craft beer from the brewery in her neighbourhood, as well as a photo collage of her neighbourhood favourites and the stunning street art found on Dupont. She might not be physically in her neighbourhood anymore, but now she has a piece of her neighbourhood with her.

Thank you Knit Cafe for publishing such a great pattern with a fantastic Toronto-centric name. It’s a wonderful pattern if you’re looking for a shawl, easily memorized, and very transportable.  Please visit their blog post to check out the pattern and to read the story behind the inspiration for 504 King West.

Christmas Round-Up #2 – Short and Sweet Projects

Some holidays knits were months worth of work, some required thought, planning, and charting, like my brother’s Argos Hat, while with others I turned the brain off, followed the pattern, and completed the objects fairly quickly. All were labours of love and I was so happy to make them for people I love.  Today, I’m showcasing the fast and finished objects, or as I’m dubbing them, the Short and Sweets

For my grandparents, their gifts fall into Short and Sweet category. Grandma asked for a pair of fingerless gloves (as they keep her hands warm while her fingers are still free), and Grandad received a watchman’s cap (or as Grandma asked for, “a hat that won’t make your grandfather look like a pixie and stick up on his head”).

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Fingerless mitts and a proper tuque

Both of these projects knit up very quickly.  I love the yarn I used for both – Grandma’s mitts were made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky, and Grandad’s hat with Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  Apparently I was in an alpaca mood for my grandparents, but then, how can you not love alpaca?  The mitts are the Fast and Fearless Fingerless Mitts, a pattern that truly lives up to its name, and the hat is ChemKnit’s Generic SkullCap. This is the same basic hat as Brother’s Argos hat, and I love the way the top finishes with a swirl, so I knew it would be a great pattern for Grandad.  I modified mine by making the ribbing longer so that it could have a folded brim.

My best friend has twins, and I love being able to shop for gifts for them. It’s so much fun buying clothes and toys for mini-humans. She said that they needed PJs, so PJs they received, but what set of PJs would be complete without matching slippers? I didn’t get pictures of them, but I made the twinkles each a pair of Aunt Maggie’s Slippers in colours that would match their new jammies. I’ve made the adult sizes countless times, and the child sizes came together surprisingly fast.

The last project I’m featuring in this Short and Sweet round-up is the scarf I made for my mother. It technically isn’t a short and sweet project because it was in the works for a month and a half, but besides loving the pattern and loving the yarn, there isn’t much to remark about it. The pattern was compliments of a yarn company based in Mississauga, Dye Version, after I bought two skeins from them at the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic, and the yarn was bought in Waterloo during my day there with my sister. It’s Cascade Yarns Avalon Multis, a lovely sturdy cotton, and as soon as I saw the colours I knew this yarn was destined to be something for my mother. She loved the scarf, loved the cotton, and as I intuitively knew, she loved the colours.

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Christmas Round-Up #1 – The Argos Hat

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you have been enjoying this season of merriment! I had a lovely few days with my family, ate a lot of food, visited with friends, and am currently enjoying a few days off from work.  All is very well right now.

Even with the holiday behind us, I’m still knitting up a storm! My largest gift, which I’ve been working on intermittently since September, is still on going, but Dad now knows he going to receive a lovely forest green sweater.  It is a sleeve and a half away from completion, and I’ll feature it once it’s finished.

As I’ve been hinting for weeks about my various WIPs, I thought I would write a few posts highlighting the finished objects.  I’m starting with the gift for my brother: the Argos Hat.

My brother is always the hardest for me to gift. Since he’s been old enough to work, he’s been able to buy himself whatever he wants and needs. He’s a simple guy who likes gaming and sports. As I know less than nothing about gaming, I tend to give him things related more to sports and/or experiences. Tickets seem to go over well.

Last year for Christmas, I made him a hat, ChemKnits New England Patriots Hat, appropriate as his favourite NFL team is the Pats.  It wasn’t my first project with colourwork, but it was by far and away the most complex.  Brother loved it. As I’m completely unoriginal, I thought I would make him another hat this Christmas, although with a closer-to-home motif.

I used the basic hat structure that ChemKnits designed, but I designed the colourwork pattern, the Toronto Argonauts logo. (Side note for context: in Canada, we have our own football league, the CFL with nine teams. The game basics are the same, although our field is longer and there are only three downs, not four.  The Argos are our local team. Context complete). Whenever he can, Brother goes to games, often with Dad, and whenever a game is playing, chances are it’s on a TV somewhere in the house. Knowing Brother appreciated the Pats hat, I thought a matching Argos hat would go over just as well, and sure enough it did.

Charting the logo proved to be slightly more challenging than I expected, but all in all, I was happy with the chart and happy with the finished object. My design is simpler than the actual logo, but a fan knows what it is and my brother appreciated his gift. I’m still not great at colourwork, and I’d like to spend more time in 2016 practicing this technique.

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Modelling the complete Argos hat

As this will be my last post for 2015, I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has followed my blog, who reads my posts, or if you’ve just stumbled across this for the first time on the world wide web. It’s been a great full year of blogging, and I cannot wait to continue sharing my stories, my current projects, and my historic knits, in 2016!

Happy New Year everyone!