Archives for category: knitting

Our first post for The Newbie & The Knitter is one of the most important, I think. It’s important to pick the best yarn possible for your project. Kristen has written an excellent post about choosing the right yarn for this project over on her blog. I found it very clear and helpful, as well as full of tips and facts I hadn’t known before!

I chose a delectable bamboo yarn for this project in a rich raspberry. I wear this colour a lot, but I don’t yet have a jumper in my handmade wardrobe in this shade. Now is the perfect time! Using Kristen’s steps, I’ll share with you how and why I chose this yarn:


Kristen will be knitting her Cadence jumper in wool, her favourite fibre. While I do enjoy wool hats and gloves, wool jumpers are something I have never been able to wear – too itchy! I wanted as high a natural fibre content as my pocketbook would allow, as I dislike synthetic materials. Bamboo is a renewable resource, which naturally sways my vote as I am spending the next year focusing on sustainable and slow fashion.

I found my yarn at my local yarn outlet shop for 30% off per ball – a bargain! I have used this yarn before for crochet projects and it’s a treat to work with!

Cadence Pullover / (c) Jordana Paige


Cadence calls for an aran (also called worsted) weight yarn. This is a nice, cozy weight which will keep you warm all fall and winter!


Following Kristen’s instructions, I looked at the pattern’s finished measurements and I will be knitting up a medium or 38.5″ bust.

A medium jumper needs 738 yards (675 m) of aran weight yarn. The yarn I chose comes in 95 yard (87 m) balls and I bought 10; 950 yards (870 m). I will have more than enough yarn, as I plan on knitting the pattern as is.

* * * * *

What yarn have you chosen? Are their any particular fibres you love? Feel free to ask Kristen or I any questions you may have! Kristen, as the expert, is a fountain of information!


I’ve been quite a lucky lady this week. The postman brought not one, but two packages for me! First to arrive are these gorgeous striped fingerless gloves knit just for me by the lovely Victoria.

We had been talking about knitting and I mentioned that I love Hermoine’s striped fingerless gloves. Next thing I knew, Victoria was whipping them up on her needles and they were flying across the pond to me! Thank you so much, Victoria!


Aren’t they gorgeous?! I think Victoria’s done a spectacular job of reproducing them! (I like my version the best!) I do so love Harry Potter fashion and these babies will keep me toasty warm this fall and winter.

The second package to arrive was the newest issue of Mollie Makes, sent to me courtesy of charming Chandra, one half of my Mollie Makes magazine team. 🙂 I couldn’t believe how fast it arrived! Less than a week having a message from Chandra, it arrived on my doorstep! Thank you, crafty fairies!

Of course, this issue is chock full of amazing crafts, resources, and inspiration. This month’s kit is a knot necklace, which looks really cute! That’s one big difference between UK and North American magazines – the free kit. I have yet to see one offered on the North American (paltry in comparison, really) magazines I read.

Thank you so much, Victoria and Chandra! Your generosity is so appreciated and really makes my day!

***I am so thrilled to see that Jordana Paige, the talented lady behind Cadence and many, many others, has mentioned our KAL on her blog!!!

A HUGE thank you to Kristen for giving her the heads up!***

Holy Hannah Banana, kids, am I ever excited!! As you may know, I have recently started knitting and I am in heaven! There is something so relaxing about the click of the needles, the swish of the yarn, and the instant gratification of seeing your work unfold before your eyes. I am really enjoying having a portable hobby, as I was able to knit on the beach last weekend.

I have long admired hand-knitted garments and my spectacular Knitting Queens have knit me several. After almost a year of drooling over Kim Hargreaves, Stephanie Japel, and Jordana Paige, I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and dive in!

Cadence Pullover / (c) Jordana Paige

Imagine my delight to receive so much helpful advice from knitters around the globe, especially Kristen who emailed me a wonderful idea: a knitalong! I had been wanting to work up to knitting a jumper and the lovely Kristen told me she thought I was already ready to take the plunge! (Talk about a confidence booster!)

We wanted to have as many people join as possible, which is one of the reasons why we chose this beautiful pattern: Cadence by Jordana Paige.

Cadence Pullover / (c) Jordana Paige

Isn’t it just gorgeous?! I love the wide neckline and the beautiful details. It’s knitted from the top down in one piece in lovely aran weight yarn – perfect for the upcoming cool weather. It’s also available FREE from Knitty.

While Cadence isn’t precisely a beginner pattern, I am confident that with Kristen’s expert help I can definitely knit this. I do have yarn already chosen, but I’m not going to share it quite yet. Kristen will be discussing everything from choosing yarn, to knitting a gauge swatch, sizing, finishing and the like, plus addressing any questions (frustrations – LOL!) we may encounter along the way. I’ll be posting my progress and questions here; some in writing and some on video, depending on how well I can explain them.


Participants are now listed in the Newbie & Knitter tab on my menubar. If you don’t see your name there, please email me and I’ll add you straightaway.


We would love to have you knit along with us, regardless of skill level! This summer was all about Sorbetto for me, and I’m hoping to populate the knitting community with Cadence this fall! Feel free to paste the knitalong button (designed by the clever Kristen) on your blog and get your needles ready for September!

You can join the knitalong’s Flickr group here.

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Me and Shaun? Yah, we’re *like this*. Since I’ve finished my shawl, I thought I should channel my inner Shaun by practicing and perhaps challenging myself a bit. What’s on my needles now? Why this lovely scarf from One Skein Wonders:

I’m stash-busting by using some beautiful Debbie Bliss Cotton DK to make this scarf. Using quality yarn makes such a difference, and I’m not quite sure I would enjoy knitting with anything else! I decided to use this yarn, even though the pattern calls for aran weight, as I wanted to knit a lighter scarf. I am also using smaller needles (4.5 mm), as I find it easier to keep my tension nice and even using those. Does this mean I am a loose knitter?

I borrowed a lot of books from the library based on everyone’s advice and one of the very best I’ve found is The Needlecraft Book. It’s perfect for a visual learner like myself, as it’s choc-a-block with full-colour photos. It makes short work of explaining knitting (and other needlearts) and has really fired my enthusiasm for my newest hobby. I’ve added this book to my wish list.

I’m really pleased with how the scarf is looking so far. I like the basket weave pattern and I hope to improve on knitting 1×1 ribbing by the end.

The lovely Kristen and I are planning a knit-a-long, suitable for both novice (me) and experienced (Kristen) knitters. All the details will be posted shortly and we hope you’ll join us! I already bought some scrumptious bamboo cotton yarn to use. Heavenly!

….and I’m delighted by the prospect! I have been working away on my first project, the Basic Triangle Shawl, and I’m nearing the end. There are holes from dropped stitches and a couple of spots where I knit two garter stitch rows instead of one, but I am really happy with it.

I used Rowan All Seasons Cotton from my stash and it’s just butter soft and cozy! Like fabric, I really like quality yarns; I have found that they really impact your knitting experience. Needles also make a big difference, as I started on thrifted aluminum ones before Miss H. lent me her wood circular set. Heaven!

I was frankly amazed that I was able to knit stockinette stitch at all. I’ll chalk that one up to excellent instructions in the pattern and a handy little knitting pamphlet by Patons that I found.

This knitting? It’s awesome.

What I Did Well
I finished a few things for the 2nd Annual Summer Essentials Sew-Along:

The Cherry Sorbetto Top

I made a second Sorbetto top as part of my Building a Lifetime Wardrobe Project. I paired this with a black linen skirt I refashioned.

I also made this dress using Sorbetto as the starting point. Your positive feedback has been marvellous that I went on to make a second version. Thank you very much!

I have been working a few fascinators for clients. The one above was custom made for Miss H. who is attending an English country wedding this fall.

I kicked off my Learning to Knit project, which is directly inspired by all those gorgeous crafty/knitty blogs I read. My delight (and envy) For their beautifully finished items gave me the push I needed to start my own knitting journey.

I did start out knitting the Duchess Catherine shawl; however, after frogging and restarting the shawl eight times, I am now working on the Basic Triangle Shawl by Kate Atherley. You can follow my progress on my Ravelry.

Chocolate Chip Cookie stitch markers by beadpassion

I even found these adorable stitch markers to keep my projects on the straight and narrow (or the circular, as the case may be – LOL!). I simply cannot thank everyone enough for their extremely helpful comments – they meant so much and it made picking up the needles so much less intimidating.

What Needs Improvement
Maintaining a thrifty mindset has been challenging for me this year. Whether it’s the lure of bright and shiny retail stores or that little devil inside that says ‘I want, I want,’ I find I am tempted to pick the instant-gratification over the slow-fashioned, handmade option. I have been actively working to nip this directly in the bud.

This month was quite inspiring! Kristen at KristenMakes brought her Reversible Project to its conclusion. Click here to read all about her work for her MA in Fashion and Textiles Design.

I found Kristen’s summary post quite interesting and I’ve decided to take a page out of A View into My World’s book and pledge to not buy any clothes (underthings excepted) for myself for one year. I am a good seamstress and crocheter and with my Learning to Knit project, I have more than sufficient skills to make what I need.

I will be co-hosting a knit-a-long with the lovely Kristen this fall! I am quite excited about this project, as I will be knitting my first garment. As well, Kristen is an experienced knitter and I couldn’t ask for a better teacher and co-host. Please stay tuned for more details.

Thrifty Entertainment
I read these books and watched these movies this month and thought you may enjoy them, too.

A Killer Stitch
At the House of the Magician
Dyer Consequences
Fleece Navidad
Knit One, Kill Two
Needled to Death
Queen by Right

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Inception (Fantastic! Highly recommended!)
Mad Men, Season 1 (I did not like this)

Thrifty Shopping

(Time Turner necklace by purpleladee)

In case I haven’t mentioned before, Mr. Friday and I are big Harry Potter fans. I was delighted to discover this pretty silver Time Turner necklace! It’s been added to my wishlist. For more Harry Potter-inspired items, please visit Mistress Jeannie’s. I really like the Deathly Hallows charm bracelet.

Discovered in July

Chez Emilie
Dotty Angel (Thanks to Mollie Makes, Issue 1)
Festive Attyre
Love to Stitch
Miss P
This Old Life

Colette Patterns
Plans for August:

Over the past few months, I felt as if consumerism was creeping into my handmade and thrifty outlook and I was in danger of falling off my thrifty rails. I needed to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible.

To be honest, I have been struggling with being thrifty this year. For some reason, the bright and shiny newness of retail stores, combined with that little devil inside saying ‘I want! I want,’ has been very distracting. I really didn’t get my Useful, Meaningful, Joyful project started until June when I did a massive sewing room purge. It’s picked up since then, as my basement clear-out is almost done.

Colette Patterns’ Sorbetto

Taking a look at my handmade habits allowed me to break things down into necessary and achievable projects, based on my style, needs, and time available. I successfully whittled down my extensive pattern collection into pattern blocks and donated the remainder.

I have rediscovered the joy of slow fashion; making quality items I will wear again and again. Your incredible feedback on my summer essentials items has been spectacular and I thank you very much for it. I have a fall sew-along percolating in my little brain, based on the tenants of slow fashion and thrifty living, so stay tuned for more details.

I have updated my 2011 Project List to reflect bringing the Slow Fashioned Pledge into my handmade life and getting back on the thrifty track. My new list feels achievable and is filled with quality items that are needed and useful, yet leaving room for frivolous and fun items.

How do you stay on your thrifty path? What tempts you away? How do you plan your projects?