Wee things

Posted by on August 11, 2014 / 2 Comments

A few days ago I received an email from my mum. It went like this:

“Hi mouse (read sweetie, that’s what we say in German), I just saw a bunch of babies on TV. I would like to have one or several grandchildren. Thanks and kisses!”

Now if you don’t know my mother you might think, “Oh, how pushy and insensitive of her to put such pressure on her daughter!” Don’t fear, I thought it was hilarious. My response was:

“Dear Mrs. XYZ, we would like to inform you that the arrival of a grandchild is estimated to take place in 3-5 years. Please note that the ETA is susceptible to and might be influenced by life circumstances and unforeseeable complications brought on by factors yet unknown. For the meantime we refer you to the maternity ward of the local hospitals and the TV program you have been enjoying.

Sincerely, Nele and husband, manager and assistant manager”

She seemed fairly content with that answer. Anyway, let’s talk babies and stuff!

With the newest addition of Sarah Young’s wee one to the Happy Knits team and sooooo many of our friends having and expecting babies, we have been cranking out itty bitty sweaters, hats, slippers and blankets that I want to share with you today.    group_photo

So much baby stuff!

Let’s start with the newest sweater Annette got us all into–Beth and I are making one each for our respective pregnant lady friends: Ysolda Teague’s ‘Wee Envelope’! Super cute, super quick aaaand it uses Mohonk from Jill Draper Makes Stuff, which we love! All of Jill’s yarn is sourced and processed in the US.

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‘Wee Envelope’ by Ysolda Teague made with MohonkUnderneath: ‘Wool Leaves’ baby blanket by Jared Flood made with Cascade Ecological Wool held double

An all time favourite is Laura Chau’s ‘Sweet Bunting’ in Acadia by The Fibre Co. Turns out, you can make a simple baby hat that shows off the same adorable colourwork as the sweater out of the leftovers!

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‘Sweet Bunting’ by Laura Chau in Acadia

In case you need a shower gift instantaneously, look no further, the Purl Bee has got it! We like to look to their renowned blog for inspiration when we need a project that is beautiful, simple, modern and minimal.

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The ‘Super Simple Super Soft Merino Baby Hat’ by Purl Soho. I made mine with Tundra because that’s as close as you can get to heaven in the fibre world.

The ‘Super Simple Super Soft Merino Baby Hat’ is a free pattern on the Purl Bee that works up in less than one hour on size 11 needles. Make a quick pom pom out of leftovers and you have  superb present!

Another free pattern from the same blog is the ‘Garter Ear Flap Hat’ and it is equally adorable! And of course we did not only make a hat–no–hello, matching sweater and booties! All of these are made with the machine washable Pebble Worsted from Black Trillium, dyed locally in Portland! The ‘A Simple Baby Pullover’ pattern is available for FREE on Ravelry.

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‘Baby Moc-a-Soc‘ by Bekah Knits , ‘Garter Ear Flap Hat’ FREE by Purl Soho and ‘A Simple Baby Pullover’ FREE by Erica Kempf Broughton in Black Trillium Pebble Worsted. The blanket is ‘Dogwood’ by Emily Wessel in Madelinetosh Vintage

Last but not least some inspiration from one of my favourite blogs, Knitted Bliss. Julie often inspires me with the modified knitting projects she seeks out on Ravelry. This is one of Laura’s projects and I had to show it to you because I think that the new multi-coloured Regia would work fabulously for this!

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‘Freakin’ Foxtastic’ modified sweater knitted by Laura. She combined the free patterns ‘Fox in the Snow Mittens’ and ‘Baby Sophisticate’. Try something like this with our new Regia yarns because the multicoloured fox heads are an effect of self-striping sock yarn!

Alright friends, I hope I got you all excited about tiny things (or not so tiny – I am actually making an adult sized version of the Freakin’ Foxtastic. I don’t care if you think that’s silly, I’ll wear it, keeping Portland weird.)

Grab your needles and go!

Dear Knitter, You Are a Couture Designer and a Rockstar

Posted by on August 4, 2014 / 1 Comment

Bold statement you think? Let me illustrate…

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          My custom-fit V-neck cardigan in the making. I love the Tosh Sock from Madelinetosh for sweaters!  Make sure to take a peek at all the new colours we have stocked.

Haute Couture is French for “high fashion” or “high dressmaking” and has been used since the mid-19th century to describe the making of custom-fitted, exclusive clothing. Properly used it only refers to the extremely expensive and incredibly detailed creations of a few fashion houses who are members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, but colloquially it is also used to distinguish handmade quality clothing from mass-produced factory goods.

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Photo courtesy of Thuy-Tien Crampton

I had the opportunity to see these exquisite Madame Grès dresses during the exhibition at Musée Bourdelle in Paris. They are pleated in millimeter-deep pleats from one piece of up to 20 meters of  the finest silk jersey. Like sculptures and paintings, these garments radiate such beauty that is best experienced in person.

A couture garment is made entirely by hand without the use of machines, often using sumptuous materials and take weeks or days to be finished by highly skilled craftspeople. Made to order for the client, the garment is made to his or her specific measurements.

Photo Courtesy of style.com Detail on a dress from the Christian Dior Fall 2014 Couture show

Sound familiar? Ok maybe you are not a princess or duchess or queen. But you are a knitter, and if you are crazy and obsessed like I am, you probably spend as much as you can afford on your materials. So we got the sumptuous materials. Made entirely by hand? Check. Takes days and weeks to finish? Check. Made to measure for the client/recipient/vous? Check. By a highly skilled craftswoman/craftsman? Check check check!!!

The great thing about being an individual hand-making wonderful things is that you do not have to please critics, difficult clients or pay for the overhead of an atelier with 15 full-time employees. You have the wonderful opportunity to create, an artistic outlet, and you are truly self-sufficient. Think about it: besides food and shelter, what is more essential for us humans to survive than clothing to shield us from the elements? When function meets beautiful form, that is when design happens.

Oh and the reason why you are a rockstar? All points stated above and: Knitting must be one of the best forms of entertainment there are, you know like listening to your favourite rock band. Or country band. Or German Schlager, whatever makes you shake the booty.

Summer of Knitting

Posted by on July 21, 2014 / Leave a Comment

I don’t know about you, but summer has always brought on sort of a melancholic feeling for me…in a romantic way. Maybe it is the heat induced lethargy and spending seemingly endless summer breaks running through fields alongside the riverbank, swimming in cold lakes and sleeping on air mattresses on the patio.

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Seashore Kerchief, free pattern courtesy of Churchmouse Yarns 

in Allhemp6LUX colour Olive

Lounging on a blanket in the green grass, either in the back yard or a park, the essentials for me are: a pair of sunglasses (think 1940′s French movie actress),  a good book, some cold watermelon slices, homemade lemonade, and…..knitting mais oui bien sûr!

Because knitting is not just for winter, no (imagine, our friends living closer to the equator would NEVER EVER get to knit). For hot weather, you just have to make smart knitting choices. There are some lovely silk, linen, hemp and cotton yarns and blends out there that are just perfect for 100 degree weather. If you stick to light weight yarns, even wool, cashmere and llama blends have proven to be most appropriate. I’m particularly mad about my Twinleaf shawl for the past weeks since I finished it. It is perfect to wear with just about anything, on the bike ride to work in the morning, the walk to the yoga studio at night and it also functions quite nicely as a body blanket in the refrigerator isle at the grocer’s.

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Twinleaf Shawl by Grace Anna Farrow

Made with 2 skeins of Meadow from The Fibre Co., colour Black Adder and Serena from Manos del Uruguay, colour Oyster for the stripes, this was a very rhythmic and meditative project.

Annette made a wonderful thing also: the Ellen Scarf by Nancy Ricci. This elegant scarf is just the right thing to add some pizzazz to…anything. The star of the show is Sylph from Jade Sapphire, a cashmere linen lace weight blend that falls into the category of fluffy bunnies and fairy dust.

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Ellen Scarf by Nancy Ricci in Sylph

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Emma and I have been waiting anxiously for the Wildflower yarn from Knit Collage to arrive, and when it did we looked to the awesome shop Loop London for inspiration since they just published the free Wildflower Headband pattern on their blog, www.loopknitlounge.com

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And here are our Wildflower Headbands!

In the hemp and linen department we like tank tops and little kerchiefs that provide coverage but not warmth. Maybe you remember our Facebook and Instagram posts about the Villeneuve tank, another free pattern from the wonderful shop Espace Tricot. We settled on Hemp for Knitting’s allhemp3 and Fibra Natura’s flax for our versions. Other patterns in our queue for both yarns are the Tulip Tank Top and the Pebble Tank, both free patterns courtesy of Purl Soho.

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Villeneuve Tank Top, free pattern courtesy of Espace Tricot in allhemp3 colour Pearl

If you are particularly fair skinned like Emma you will probably love her idea of making a bandana to cover up the precious and delicate decollete. She just whipped up a simple triangle scarf that she finished with a picot bind off. Churchmouse yarns also offers a very pretty and again free pattern, the Seashore Kerchief! I think I will make the Bandana Cowl, famous free pattern from Purl Soho.

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Left: Seashore Kerchief, free pattern courtesy of Churchmouse Yarns in Allhemp6LUX colour Olive

Right: Emma’s improvised simple kerchief in Allhemp6LUX colour Veridian

 

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