The Great Northern Knitwear Collection

Being a knitter and a fan of Twin Peaks, I was excited to hear that Teresa Gregorio and Leah Coccari-Swift were writing a book of patterns based on the show. Twin Peaks is known for its many, many sweaters. One fan counted as many as 118! It’s therefore surprising that Teresa and Leah are the first knitwear designers to pursue a Twin Peaks project. However, it’s ideal that they are going to be the ones to do it, since both designers’ aesthetics are well-suited to Twin Peaks. They are not afraid to experiment and tackle the odd and unique, which results in interesting designs that are not run-of-the-mill. All qualities that also describe Twin Peaks.

Jade_Loop2_medium2 ccbonnet8_medium2

Both designers are also clearly knowledgeable when it comes to fashion, culture, and history, which is reflected in their work. This is ideal, since Twin Peaks is very much steeped in time and place, albeit one that is not far removed from our own. Masterful clothing and set design is what signals the subtle shift in time and place to the viewer effectively. It’s part of what I love about the show, and these ladies have recreated the feel of Twin Peaks perfectly. While none of the patterns in the book are going to be slavish reproductions of specific sweaters seen on the show, it is evident that Teresa and Leah have done their research and are true fans. Just check out these obvious sources of inspiration.

The Last Evening wrap channels some early Maddy.

The From Another Place sweater has clear nods to Lucy’s first sweater,

in addition to a few other peak-filled (get it?), high-contrast, chevron-y numbers.

log-lady

And just like that, Log Lady makes her first appearance in this blog post: setting up the perfect segue to…

Cherry Pie. Yes, the Cowichan-like jackets the ‘lady wears while ambling around town and eating the iconic Twin Peaks sugary fare are an obvious inspiration for Cherry Pie, the sweater.

They most definitely informed this design as well.

I’m sure these other cozy gems had something to do with it too.


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I love that Gregorio is opting to update this classic look of the Cowichan with more modern colours from Rain City Knits.

I CANNOT WAIT.

Then there’s Audrey’s cropped, fitted little numbers translating well into the design for a sweater called Too Dreamy.

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The sketch even LOOKS like Audrey.

Lastly, we have the cleverly named Lynch Pin sweater.

With its lapel collar, use of see stitch and deep beige colour, it’s also very reminiscent of several sweaters in the show.

Well done, ladies!

This fan is impressed.

For more information and to fund the Kickstarter head over to greatnorthernknits.com

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For the love of yarn

It’s been officially over a month since my last post. It was the holiday season and I was furiously knitting, crocheting, and sewing, so I make no apologies. More to come on those adventures soon. For now I’ll continue on the topic of my being a process knitter, or “knitting for knitting’s sake,” lest things get disjointed.

More proof of my process bent can be found in the fact that I recently got a copy of this in the mail:

One of EZ‘s best, but perhaps most esoteric works. Lots of great patterns and knitting advice next to divergent stories about her life. Because of this, some find it tedious and lacking in enough patterns to be “worth it.” Yet I find her life supremely interesting: her stories of first learning to knit as a child, how this creative spark later translated into going to school for fine art and into starting her own knitting related business, how she loved to create clothes for her family and ended up passing her passion on to her daughter Meg. To me it’s inspiring.

Let’s be frank, my love for “Knitting Around” isn’t just proof of my being a process knitter, it also exemplifies the extend of my nerdiness. Take, for example, this other tome I bought (I use tome judiciously – it is rather large):

As this review states, the book is a sort of social history told through mittens. It is a collection of traditional knitting patterns and the stories behind them. Robin Hansen “gathered them from authoritative sources in New England, the Canadian Maritimes and Scandinavia—from knitters who are grandmothers, fishermen, lumberjacks and farmers, men and women, and who learned them from parents, aunts and neighbors.”

Does this kind of talk get the interests of you guys piqued, or is it just me?

As a side note, Hansen also wrote Sunny’s Mittens (which I’ve written about previously) and this other kid’s book I just stumbled across:

As a knitter, history lover, and children’s librarian, I heart you Ms. Hansen.

The same author appeared mentioned in another book I’ve read lately:

The author, Gwen Steege has put together a great compilation of things you need to know to be a knitter who can truly say she knows her craft. In it she mentions Hansen’s “Favourite Mittens” and talks at length about her work on twined knitting:

“Twined knitting was used throughout northern Europe and the Middle East whenever a firm, flat edging was needed, such as on scooped necklines or stocking caps. Today it turns up in eastern European and Middle Eastern knitting as a decorative edging, often called ‘braided edging’, although the effect of the two-color twined purl is more like a series of sideways chevrons than braid. The apparent reason for twined knitting’s demise in many regions has to do with the spread of the German or continental method of knitting in much of Europe… In twined knitting two strands are worked alternately, usually two ends of the same (quite small) ball. The strand for the present stitch is brought consistently either under or over the strand just used, creating a half-twist between stitches… The knit side is typically quite flat and firm, and the fabric has only slight elasticity… Although working twined knitting initially seems slow, the resulting fabric is firm, warm, and durable and, depending on the yarn and ornamentation, can also be quite elegant.”

A great tutorial on twined knitting by Knitty can be found here.

Since books seems to be the theme (yet again) I have to share this other recent acquirement (sales! all sales! I swear!) :

By the great Margaret Radcliffe, this is hands-down the best book on colour knitting I’ve seen.

Lastly, I need to share this:

“From the neo-feudalistic slubs, the corn-filled world of Tane’s youth, to his apprenticeship among the deadly saleswarriors of Seattlehama–the sex-and-shopping capital of the world–to the horrors of a polluted Antarctica, Yarn tells a stylish tale of love, deceit, and memory. Tane Cedar is the master tailor, the supreme outfitter of the wealthy, the beautiful, and the powerful. When an ex-lover, on the run from the authorities, asks him to create a garment from the dangerous and illegal Xi yarn–a psychedelic opiate–to ease her final hours, Tane’s world is torn apart. Armed with just his yarn pulls, scissors, Mini-Air-Juki handheld sewing machine, and his wits, Tane journeys through the shadowy underworld where he must untangle the deadly mysteries and machinations of decades of deceit.”

Um, awesome? It’s on my to-read list.

ADDENDUM: while on the topic of nerdy knitting things, I just found this post on knitting in Shakespeare by fellow blogger Katknit. “I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit” – I might have to use that in my wedding vows…

Pattern coveting

The walking mitts for mom are finally done!

Six yarn overs in a row is a LOT, let me tell you.  Also, if you are making very fitted mitts with ribbed cuffs I suggest this cast off. It saved my bacon after several ill-fated attempts at other methods.

I also managed to whip up another pair of fingerless gloves, this time for myself, using Julia Vaconsin’s pattern on Crochet Me.

Not as fancy, but it’s getting too cold to not have something on my hands. Crochet aran weight works up FAST, yo. I got a little tripped up by the foundation single crochet (fsc) row, but this tutorial was a great help.

My next project is Martina Behm‘s Hitchhiker Shawl.

Why is it called “Hitchhiker?” As the pattern says, it has 42 teeth/points. 42 is the answer to the question about the universe and everything, according to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which happens to be one of my favourite books!

And this is the yarn I’m gonna use for it:

It’s the Manos del Uruguay Serena I picked up at The Purple Purl at the September Knitty Yarn Roundtable. Photobomb courtesy of my cat, Desmond.

Speaking of cats. This is the stuff my nightmares are made of:

He even looks like Desmond.

Who has taken to burrowing in our bedclothes, by the way. Yarn isn’t a far cry.

Good thing I keep all of my stash in plastic bins…

Other things that are new:

Remember Canary Knits’ book “Ghosts” I talked about in my last post? I scored a free copy in Knit and Purl Mama‘s giveaway. So excited to get knitting! Especially Calavera Catrina

and Hitodama

I also stumbled upon this amazing free Christmas ornament pattern:

Definitely making one (or five…)

Can I also just point out that I miss Christmas lights that looked like that? Reminds me of my childhood.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Creativ Festival haul

Two posts a tad close together, I know, but I had to share the fruits of my second day at the Creativ Festival. Pics of my adventures as a model for the Fashion Knits show to hopefully come soon.

Voilà my haul of goodies, comprising both days:

Breaking it down, we have the two awesome books I got, more detail in my other post. Both are entirely worth the investment, but I love that I got them at a huge discount from Grantham Books. They’re at the festival every year, and I always come home with something. On their site they list other shows they go to as well as permanent locations.

In the foreground you can see some navy blue DK possum merino. That’s right, possum. It is made in New Zealand, and available in Canada here, the UK here, and the USA here or here. Apparently, “the possum fur is hollow and, when spun with merino wool, produces a hardwearing yarn with superior heat retaining qualities.” Either way, it feels awesome and I am excited to try it. Here’s a close-up.

I also picked up some good ol’ Berroco Vintage Chunky in white from Creative Yarns. It shall one day (soon) become the shrug for my wedding dress. I’ll be using the same pattern as for the one I talk about here.

I think it will be gorgeous. Actually, I know it will be because someone has already done it:

I also got some neats beads, pendants, and a pair of cool glass earrings at this store’s booth.

After much hunting, I was finally able to find a booth that sold Brother equipment for my Brother sewing machine. I got some thread, extra bobbins, a blind presser foot for fancy hems on dresses and dress pants (I have a backlog of stuff to fix…), and a teflon foot and twin needle for sewing onto knitting, so that maybe I can finally get the lining onto my cabled belt from way back.

One thing I did not buy, purely because I have a large enough stash already, is the HPKY I fell in love with. Their website isn’t the greatest, but I believe the yarn is called Lamé. It’s a bulkier weight and has strands of glitter running through it. The booth selling it (called Yarn Deals, LLC) I could not find a website for anywhere, but they had these wicked knitted samples that only need 1 skein:

I especially like the one with the tapered and braided ends. It makes it really easy to wear as a scarf or snood/hood type thing. Gotta remember this design idea for later.

And finally, you may remember Ozzy the Alpaca from yesterday’s post. Today, I leave you with a fortune.

Books

I’ve been writing about knitting a lot lately, and technically this blog is supposed to also be related to the fact that I am a librarian. So, without further ado, some book-ish things (though some of it is still yarn-related, but I digress) :

The Toronto Public Library’s Arthur Conan Doyle Collection recently acquired an autograph notebook. This item was purchased from someone who found it at a flea market in England.

What makes this find so interesting is that it seems to have belonged to two children with the last name Cubitt. On one of its pages they concocted a unique code using images of dancing stick figures.

This was in 1902. In 1903 Doyle signed the book for the children.

What is interesting is that in that same year Doyle published his Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Dancing Men,” and Holmes’ client in the story bears the last name Cubitt. Additionally, Doyle is said to have gotten the idea for this inventive code after seeing some stick-figure letters drawn by a young boy in an autograph book. Intriguing, wouldn’t you say? Full story here.

Sometimes I wish I worked in a collection like the Doyle Collection. For one, I’m a nerd who likes history and having the responsibility of preserving it, but another reason is that it would get me out of public service.

Don’t get me wrong, 90% of the time I like it. You get your difficult patrons, of which there have been many of late for some reason, but the good experiences make up for it. And I’m too social a person to be content hiding behing books all day. It’s just that this coming week I have my first class visit :S

I love doing storytimes for the kiddos, and have been doing that for almost two years, but this is another level. It’s not just fun and games, read them books, teach them songs, and just get across that literacy = fun. I have to talk about what the library is and offers… to 5 year olds. Do they even know what “borrow” means? Probably not. I need to remember to explain absolutely everything, but as simply and non-boringly as possible. And their teachers will be watching. Adults are so much harder to please than kids…

This brings me to this new book I’m quite impressed with:

Show Me a Story by Emily K. Neuburger has been giving me lots of ideas of things to try next week. It might just save my bacon…

And now for the latest editions to books-Erin-shouldn’t-be-buying-but-did:

Sewing Basics : All You Need to Know About Machine and Hand Sewing by Sandra Bardwell I am hoping will answer all of my myriad of questions as I enter the netherworld of sewing machine use. By the look of things, it will:

That's a lot of types of machine feet...

So excited for Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson, which I scored for $10. Priscilla also wrote this other gem, which I wrote about here. It’s not flashy, but it is packed with information. If you are at all interested in textile history, this is one you should pick up.

I got these two books at the Creativ Festival today, where I modelled for the fashion show displaying local designers, organized by Creative Yarns. It was a lot of fun and very inspiring (we have a lot of talent in Toronto). Off to bed now for round two and more shopping tomorrow.

I leave you with the progress I’ve made on my fingerless gloves WIP…

and Ozzy the alpaca.

And as a bonus for making it to the end of this post, have some free book plates I’ve pinned on Pinterest. Cheers!