Tag Archives: Brooklyn Tweed

Pure planning bliss

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I am in something of a planning sweet spot. Something about a) finishing a big project and b) the approaching holidays has combined to create a space for planning and knitting that is making me both ambitious and realistic and so, so happy. I’m not saying I don’t get stressed about gift knitting (talk to me in the second week of December), but right now, when everything seems doable and fun and it feels like there’s lots of time? Right now, it is fun.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Artifact, destined to be this hat.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Artifact, destined to be this hat.

One of the things I like best about this time is planning pattern and yarn pairings. I like to think about what colour(s) someone will like best, what pattern will suit their style and their needs, and what will be an engaging knit. All of this necessitates spending some time looking at patterns on Ravelry and also buying yarn (oh darn) and, of course, this inevitably leads to me finding patterns and yarns that get added to my post-holiday, for-me knitting, which is fun to plan and think about too.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Almanac and Foothills, which I plan to use for this hat in January.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Almanac and Foothills, which I plan to use for this hat (for me) in January.

Last weekend, my friend Wendy and I went to New York for the New Yorker Festival. We went two years ago and loved it, so it was really fun to go back. The festival lineup was great and we had a tough time narrowing down our choices (as much as we’d like to see everything that’s a bit expensive and also, when in New York, it’s fun to have time to do other things too). In the end, we went to the New Yorker MOTH night, a panel on immersion journalism hosted by David Remnick, saw Susan Orlean interview Christophe Waltz, and watched Philomena (staring Judy Dench and Steve Coogan) followed by an on-stage interview with director Stephen Frears. It was great.

Anzula Squishy in Rootbeer – I am have a bit of a shawl moment right now, and I think this would gorgeous as  the Sagano Shawl by Laura Chau. Thoughts?

Anzula Squishy in Rootbeer – I am have a bit of a shawl moment right now, and I think this would gorgeous as the Sagano Shawl by Laura Chau. Thoughts?

Would a trip to New York be complete without a visit to Purl Soho? Probably not. So we went twice: once to look, and once to buy. I’d planned ahead a little and picked up some yarn for L’s annual hat as well as a couple of treats for myself, which is, I think, a perfect balance.

A practical purchase. Last year, I got quite a gash on my finger from all the knitting with sharp little needles. This year, I'm prepared.

A practical purchase. Last year, I got quite a gash on my finger from all the knitting with sharp little needles. This year, I’m prepared.

How was your weekend? Are you already planning or do you prefer to wing it?

A hat too late

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This weekend, it was spring. I don’t know if it’s going to stick around (being from Nova Scotia, I’m programed to expect a big storm in March), but for now, it feels great. I spent a good chunk of Saturday just walking around the city and enjoying being perfectly dressed for the first time in months. It was gorgeous.

Finished just in time to not need it! This is how people who don't wear hats plan hat knitting I guess.

Finished just in time to not need it! This is how people who don’t wear hats plan hat knitting I guess.

It stands to reason, then, that I would finish my winter hat just a week before this warm weather rolled into town. I haven’t blogged about the hat because, even though a month passed between when I cast on and when I cast off, I really never felt like I was knitting it. I am not, generally speaking, a hat person. I am that idiot on a cold day who’s turtled deep into a scarf and bareheaded. I don’t know why, but hats never occur to me. This was a cold winter, though, and when February rolled around and it became clear it wasn’t going to warm up, I decided to cast on. (I do, I should say, have a hat, a nice hat even, but I’ve never knit one for myself and I decided it was time.)

I guess there was too much halo for the cables. I still think this yarn will make a toasty hat.

I guess there was too much halo for the cables. I still think this yarn will make a toasty hat.

I chose Scrollwork, by Irina Dmitrieva (from Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People 4) and, very responsibly, paired it with some stash yarn. I got to the first bit of cabling and realized I’d made a bad choice. The yarn I was working with (this yarn, a wool/alpaca blend that would have made for a soft and lovely hat) was just not going to show off those cables to their advantage. And after the work I was about to put in, that would suck. So, I ripped back and started over with some of the Shelter I bought in New York.

Let me preface this by saying I didn’t swatch. This may be the first hat I’ve knit for myself, but it isn’t the first hat I’ve ever knit, and I know that 112 stitches on a 4.5mm needle will fit my head just fine. So I cast on and went with it. This is a demanding hat. The cables twist and turn and don’t think about trying to watch anything while knitting them because, well, you’ll be hitting pause a lot. I loved the knitting. For the few hours at a time that I spent with the hat, I enjoyed every stitch (well, almost every stitch – I also worry my post-cable purls are too loose) and there’s nothing like working complex cables to make you feel smart.

Right around here I started to wonder if maybe it wasn't looking a little short.

Right around here I started to wonder if maybe it wasn’t looking a little short.

What will quickly make you feel less smart, however, is after finishing your fancy hat and realizing it’s small. In the photos, there is quite a generous slouch, which is partly why I wasn’t worried about fit. I ought to have been. I don’t know if my hat just didn’t grow as much, or if my cables were tighter or what, but not only does my hat not have that slouch, but it is almost too small. I can wear it, but it doesn’t quite cover my earlobes, and a cold day, that’s dumb.

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This is a very good representation of the colour. Photo taken before it was spring.

On the upside, I enjoyed knitting it so much I might just knit another one! I am also probably going to have a go at the cowl too, since that would both be fun and give me a winter set. But maybe next year, since it’s spring now.

Details
Pattern: Scrollwork, by Irina Dmitrieva
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume
Needles: 3.75mm for the ribbing, 4.5mm for the rest
Modifications: I knit this exactly as written, except I switched to the larger needle in my last row of ribbing, which made the increase row a little easier to work. Also, of course, I started twice.

Lots of snow means lots of knitting

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I grew up in rural Nova Scotia, which meant that every winter we’d get close to a dozen snow days (one year, we had so many school was almost extended into the summer to make up for it). Snow days were, of course, the best, and usually an excuse to sleep late and be lazy all day (except when we were little and then they were an excuse for a lot of playing). Living in Toronto, we don’t tend to get much snow, and working at a newspaper, my workplace is never closed because of weather.

Last week, though, Toronto got hit. That same big storm that barrelled through the the East Coast hit us first, and although we didn’t get quite as much snow, we got a lot (over a foot!). It mostly came on Friday and, yes, I had to work, but waking up on Saturday to a city that was still digging out meant that everything was quite and beautiful and wintry. If that combination doesn’t fill you with the desire to knit, well, I don’t know what does.

After long grey days, snow really brightens everything up.

After long grey days, snow really brightens everything up.

L was busy marking assignments, so while we did go walking around in the snow and admiring how much prettier the city is in the snow – it was one of those perfect winter weekends, with a bright blue sky and no wind and snow everywhere – I spent the majority of the weekend happily knitting and listening to Tina Fey read Bossypants.

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I was was a little all over the place knitting-wise, but here’s what I occupied my needles most:

I wish I'd taken a photo on Saturday morning, because I just about doubled the size of my Woodstove cardigan.

I wish I’d taken a photo on Saturday morning, because I just about doubled the size of my Woodstove Season cardigan.

I can sometimes be a reactionary knitter, thus, a new hat. This is Scrollwork by Irini Dmitrieva and I'm knitting it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume.

I can sometimes be a reactionary knitter, thus, a new hat. This is Scrollwork by Irini Dmitrieva and I’m knitting it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Plume.

And, last but not least, I'm making good progress on my Everyday Socks. They're good TV knitting, and with the cold, I'm extra motivated to get another pair of socks finished.

And, last but not least, I’m making good progress on my Everyday Socks. They’re good TV knitting, and with the cold, I’m extra motivated to get another pair of socks finished.

A little all over the place maybe, but I like variety; it keeps me interested and helps ensure my hands don’t get tired or sore. Those cables are addictive, though, and if it’s still cold out when I finish that hat I will probably cast on right away for the matching cowl!

New York yarn shops

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Well, that ellipsis lasted longer than I had intended. This week got away from me, and while I could tell you all about the moose gloves (fingers are super weird to knit), I promised to write about yarn shops in New York. We left the city on Friday morning, mere hours before the VKL marketplace opened, but that was probably for the best, because I got quite an odd look from the customs guy when I told him that I had purchased “shirts, books, and yarn,” so it’s definitely good that everything came under the allowed amount because I think they would have been very confused about how to charge duty on yarn.

Anyway, we really only made it two yarn shops, because I didn’t want to highjack the trip and, while L and I are generally very supportive and indulgent of each other, I try not to push it. Also, we did this part of the trip on his birthday.

First up was Lion Brand Studios. I’ve never actually knit with any Lion Brand anything before (I’m not sure it’s that big a deal in Canada, but I might be wrong about that), but I had heard about its amazing window displays and wanted to see the shop in person. Let me just say, even if you intend to buy nothing, it is still worth a visit. The front window was incredible (despite the scaffolding erected in front of it) and the shop itself is small and cozy and fun.

The reflections are annoying, but since taking a photo straight on was impossible, this was the best I could do.

The reflections are annoying, but since taking a photo straight on was impossible, this was the best I could do.

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Everything in the window was knitted, including the swans and trees, which L thought was pretty incredible. (He thought I should make sure to get a photo of the swan's feet on the blog, so take a good look.)

Everything in the window was knitted, including the swans and trees, which L thought was pretty incredible. (He thought I should make sure to get a photo of the swan’s feet on the blog, so take a good look.)

One of my favourite things in the shop was the “Testing Wall,” where you could get some yarn and swatch it before buying. This is so smart, and something I’d love to see more of. I didn’t take advantage of it while we were there (it being L’s birthday and all), but I definitely would on a future visit.

Such a good idea.

Such a good idea.

I also really enjoyed that the knitting-related decor didn’t end with the window display. I didn’t even notice this needle light shade when I first passed it, and while I was taking a picture another woman came to see what I was doing and laughed when she noticed it. Genius.

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What to do with your giant-needle collection.

Next up was Purl Soho, which was the real destination. I’ve been reading their blog since I first started knitting, and very much wanted to see the shop in person. It was getting dark (and cold) by the time we got there, so I didn’t get a shot of the window, but I did take this one from just inside the front door.

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It’s a bit deceptive how big this makes the shop look, but the back half is all sewing and fabric. Yarn wise, they had many beautiful things, but I knew what I wanted, and I wanted Brooklyn Tweed (which you cannot get in Canadian shops, at least as far as I know). I splurged a little (it’s New York!) and bought five skeins of Shelter: two in Plume, two in Hayloft, and one in Snowbound. We went and grabbed lemonade (why? I couldn’t say) and I started swatching.

Yum yum yum. The hayloft is really more mustard than green, but it's tricky to photograph.

Yum yum yum. The Hayloft is really more mustard than green, but it’s tricky to photograph.

Plume up close. I am in love with this colour.

Plume up close. I am in love with this colour.

I have definite plans for this purchase, but they remain secret for now. I will say, though, that Shelter is a dream to knit with. It’s rustic and lofty a very soft, which is everything I want to knit with right now – I just need to finish those moose gloves! Speaking of which, I should really go do that since I’m just four fingers and a thumb from finished. Have a lovely weekend!