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Last year at this time, we were in a hipster restaurant when a group of people in Halloween costumes came in. One guy was wearing what looked like my grandma’s armchair; his face peered out of a hole cut into the back of the chair, and his arms and body were puffy with upholstery. As his friends sat at their table, he reached under his bum, tipped out two hinged wooden chair legs, and leaned back and sat. He *became* a chair – I don’t know if my description has done it justice, but it was brilliant. The rest of the restaurant broke into applause at his Halloween cleverness.

I love Halloween, but I’ve come to two realizations over the years: 1. I want to be chair guy, who goes all out with a great costume every year; and 2. I’m too cheap and too introverted to ever be chair guy. So this year, I’m keeping it small and simple, and doing what I do best: knitting!

It’s Max. From Where the Wild Things Are, less the 2009 movie and more the 1960s book. It’s just a toque/beanie with big wolf ears, and (soon to come) a felted crown; pattern by tinyowlknits. I may go all out and draw some whiskers on my face. And if people don’t know Where the Wild Things Are, that’s ok because I’ll just say I’m a crown-wearing goblin.


You know I love a good cardigan, right? Well, I’m really excited about this one.

I wanted to design a solid cardigan with a shawl collar and a big cable up the back. It would be cozy, not too fitted, medium length, and knit out of dk-weight yarn. A quick search on Ravelry found almost exactly what I had been thinking of…already designed by Thea Colman.

That’s just life, I guess, and never one to turn down a good cardigan, I bought the pattern and cast on.

This cardi’s going to be awesome!

Ok, it’s not that cold here yet. But I’m ready. Last winter, ears cold, I had the shocking revelation that I only have one toque/beanie/winter hat. It’s a ratty old crocheted thing that I bought in the university SUB about, oh, five years ago. I’m almost embarrassed to write this. For all my knitting, I’ve never managed to produce a hat for myself. And then, in that way we tend to overcompensate, I had visions of dozens of hats to choose from, one for each winter outfit! That’s not going to happen, but at least now I have one.

I owe much of the inspiration to start knitting again a few years ago to Rowan (and to Felicia at Sweetgeorgia, but that’s a story for another time). The first pattern magazine I bought was a Rowan. It was in 2007, I don’t know where I got it, and I was totally shocked to find that people were writing fashionable knitting patterns. Really amazing patterns. Despite an early slip-up buying a gross railroad yarn (which I still inexplicably have in my bottom desk drawer, and which I find every few years and am still surprised that I would have spent any amount of money on), I was quickly hooked on Rowan Felted Tweed before I was much of a knitter at all. And then Kidsilk Haze, and Kid Classic, and etc. For all my support of artisans, tiny companies, slow movements, and locally made…big ol’ Rowan is my desert island yarn, the one I would choose if I could only have one.

So, I bought a ball of the new Rowan Drift about two minutes after it went on the yarn shop shelves. You saw the start of my Rapunzel hat here, and now it’s done. It’s a little large, but not at all unwearable. I hope we get four feet of snow this winter!

>>You should know that this pattern included long braids – not my thing, but go for it if your mom always cut your hair before it got past your shoulders, and you’ve always wondered what long princess braids are like.

Pattern: Free Rapunzel! by Tiny Owl Knits (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Rowan Drift (100% merino wool) in 908 Shore

Also, I’m excited to go to Knit Social’s yarn swap next Thursday evening in Vancouver, and have been going through my stash ruthlessly. Hope to see you there. I have some railroad yarn to trade.

There’s a chill in the air that signals that bittersweet end to summer. Like most knitters, I love fall more than the other seasons combined. So here’s a knit that celebrates end-of-summer dress-wearing, when you might need something to keep you warm out on the patio, drink in hand, Christmas lights twinkling…

This shrug has been sent to Urban Yarns where it will be on display for the next six months or so – my first store sample! It was a bit of a gamble on my part: I asked Anina what was on her sample wish list for the store; she immediately brought back a ball of Millais yarn and pattern book. I chose this shrug because it promised to be quick and interesting to knit, and it was.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that the pattern calls for the yarn Rossetti by the same company (Louisa Harding), and I just assumed it was for Millais…and didn’t realize this until the shrug was completely finished. Luckily, it turned out to be a pretty good substitute, only having a little less drape than the Rossetti.

Pattern: Ribbon by Louisa Harding (Ravelry link here)
Yarn: Louisa Harding Millais (50% wool, 50% acrylic) in Peacock

Knitting doesn’t slow down in hot weather for me. I just can’t stop. I’ve already polished off two new knits in the last few weeks despite our sauna-like apartment. So, I’ll have photos of both, finished, later this week.

But I’ve also been pouring my efforts into a project that I’m very proud and hopeful about: my very own tiny company. It’s been hard to write posts without giving it away, which unfortunately I’m still not quite ready to do. But it’s small and knitterly and I think you’re going to like it. So until then, here’s another designer’s project on the needles, the start of a free rapunzel hat as I continue my little affair with tiny owl knits:

I’ve been following some knitting on Ravelry that both amuses and amazes me.

You know tiny owl knits? I love her designs, especially the beekeeper’s quilt. Every time I see it I wish I’d had the idea first. It’s about a zillion little hexagon-shapes in different colours and patterns, stuffed and sewed together to make a blanket. Everyone loves these cute multicolour hexipuffs. Can you believe that there are 1269 projects? It’s such a huge thing to knit!

But what I really love is that people aren’t just making the quilt, they’re adapting the puffs into all kinds of things: chair cushions, cat toys, earrings, Christmas decorations, pillows; people make their own charted designs for the puffs and share them with others…really, it’s all quite weird and delightful. It’s such a big project that I don’t think anyone has finished a quilt yet – but so far there are at least a few happy cats.

Also see Stephanie’s cool designs at

Whoops – time to get this project up on the blog; Alexa beat me to it and it’s already up on the Urban Yarns blog! What a generous post, I’m very flattered. I’ll just give a few more details:

I saw a Duck Soup sample at another yarn shop a few years ago, and have been trying to get to it since. I think this is an ingenious design: it’s a jacket or sweater, depending on the size. Because babies grow so quickly, you’re meant to make it a couple sizes too large, rolling the hood and sleeves for a good jacket fit. Once baby is larger, unroll those sleeves and it’s a sweater. A cozy, handknit sweater! Economy, meet luxury. Brilliant.

I still have not had the pleasure of meeting Neko, the jacket’s recipient, but I hope it’s a gift that he & mom get a lot of use from. The frog closures were fiddly but fun, and they really made the project. It was a clever pattern, knit from the top of the hood down. The hood was kitchenered up the centre and the knot tied last.

Pattern: Duck Soup by annypurls (ravelry link here)
Yarn: Spud & Chlöe Sweater (55% wool, 45% cotton) in Moonlight
Mods: Frog closures – did 3 stitch i-cords in the same yarn (instead of sock yarn), but made them each about an inch longer than recommended

I completed some knitting for a deadline recently, and had the usual shock you get from coming to a full stop. I tried to take a break. And I did, a bit: barbecuing anything that wouldn’t fall through the grill, taking photos with my birthday Diana Mini, and getting outside. But I couldn’t just sit around not knitting, could I? Because there are things I’ve been wanting to make but couldn’t…they’ve been calling to me.

Yesterday I cast on a shrug for a store sample – it should be finished quickly, so stop by Urban Yarns to have a look if you’re in the neighbourhood.

I switched up the yarn I was using for a Honey Cowl, and there’s a pile of toffee-coloured Madelinetosh yarn ready for a Dark and Stormy cardigan. I brought home a ball of Rowan Drift for a hat. I really haven’t had a problem starting things.

But I also feel stuck on what to do next. I have so many ideas for my own designs that I’m not sure where to start them. I think I need an originality holiday, just to let ideas simmer and develop on their own – which is ok. There are so many amazing patterns out there that, for now, I’m happy to let other clever designers do the thinking for me.



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