An Ode to Beautiful Fall Knits

It's that time of year where everyone is publishing drool-worthy knitwear patterns. In between anticipating the next Brooklyn Tweed collection, the gorgeous new issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, and all the beautiful self-published beauties coming out, I don't even know what to do with myself. I need more time in the day! (And a bigger yarn budget, but you probably know how that goes)
The biggest fall winner to date has to be the Paper Tiger collection that surfaced a bit over a week ago. I feel like this collection hits all the things that I've been looking for lately. Simple designs, colourwork to keep it a bit interesting, and neutral but exciting palettes.

My first and undying love from this collection has to be Moon Pulls. I mean come on. Garter stitch? Lopi? Cashmere blend for the cuff and collar linings? I can't wait to get knitting on this one! I absolutely love the look of garter stitch in garments, but it's stretchiness is often a recipe for disaster. (I made the famous Garter Yoke Cardigan ages ago and it stretched out to be unwearable. Not that the garter was the only issue, but you know. Such a bummer in any event) Especially with the cuffs being lined, stretching shouldn't be an issue.
Next up, Nikoline the socks. I feel like I'm turning a bit of a corner with socks. I will admit that I hated knitting socks with a passion, but after I finished the ugliest socks of all time, I'm a total convert. Hand knit socks are the best and now I'm on the prowl for great new patterns. I love that the stranded design on the cuff means an extra layer of warmth too. I think these will make great travel knitting over the holidays! I've already ordered some yarn from Knit Picks in similar colours, but if it goes well I'd love to do a grey pair with white contrast.
Finally, Acorn Teeth. I've always loved the idea of smaller mittenettes for the early fall and spring seasons, but I've never found any that get the proportions quite right. I also really like the colours used here. Green and gray? Bring it on.
I really hope I can carve out some time to work on some of these patterns over the next couple months. The Christmas knitting season is upon us, so I'll be back soon with a post of my plans. I'm taking my Christmas holidays a bit early this year, so I have to get cracking! Now I'm back to working on some homework before bringing my new kitten home. This weekend will be pleasantly full of kitten introductions, so cross your fingers for quick friendships and minimal hissing.

What are your favourite fall knits this year?

(All photos used c/o Dianna Walla)

Unintended Absences

Can you believe it’s almost the end of October? I’ve spent the last (almost) 2 months trying to make sense of school and get into my thesis-writing groove. Trying and failing, but it’s a work in progress. October seems to have turned into a month of thinking thoughts about my future and what on earth I’m doing in grad school. As always, though, there are happy things to settle my mind. Without any real knitting progress to show, though I’ve been knitting a ton, here are some good things happening right now:
  • Settling into life with the cat Monty Burns. (Seen above flashing his nuts like he just doesn’t care) His favourite way to be held is like a baby and he frequently just passes out with his little tongue sticking out. Even though he’s a bitey little man who doesn't believe in sleep-ins, I still love him to bits.
  • Deciding to get another cat! Monty is a high energy little guy and both my roommate and I live lives that require being out of the house for multiple hours a day. I met an amazing lady friend for him this week and I’m hoping that nobody else takes her home from the shelter before Sunday! Accepting my fate as a cat lady is kind of liberating. I grew up in a 2-cat household, and I’ve felt empty being catless for the last 7 years or so. And it’s OK to buy a cat for your cat, right?
  • Making myself feel better about not being at Rhinebeck this weekend by curling up under a wool blanket, knitting some socks, drinking pumpkin chai tea and watching Netflix with my guy. I can manufacture fall vibes inside a tiny apartment like nobody’s business. 

I’m spending my fall reading break with James and hopefully I’ll get both knitting and some thesis writing done. I also have an FO that was finished in May to photograph. What are you up to this week? Did you go to Rhinebeck?


Sock-a-long with Kollabora

It's official.. I'm home! Well, sort of home. I've been in Kingston helping my boyfriend set up his apartment and life out here. One massive perk of his apartment is that, much like a lot of Kingston, is quite close to the lake. So for the past 3 days we've made trips down to go swimming! I'm a massive wimp about jumping into water, but I've still managed to cannonball a good few times. Being away from my actual ontario home (WHERE THERE IS A KITTEN NOW) means also being away from my stash. I made a pit stop last week to drop off luggage, pick up some of my clothing, visit with friends and grab a project to work on. Conveniently for me, Sarah started running a KAL with Kollabora that lined up perfectly with my timeline. So, I'm overcoming my hatred for socks and am making a new pair!
I'm using Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the colour Mansfield's Garden Party. I bought this yarn awhile back despite my general leaning away from variegated yarns. The colours are just so pretty! Unfortunately, I'm kind of unhappy with the pooling. As you can see in the photos, I've got a weird spiral stripe thing going on, and on the foot part it looks like the pooling is lining up almost perfectly every row. I really love the way the colours are all mixed up in the heel/gusset area, though. Whatever, they're socks. They don't have to win a beauty contest!

I also want to take a minute to talk about how awesome Kollabora is. It's sort of like Ravelry in terms of project sharing, but it covers all kinds of techniques. I'm really enjoying looking through sewing projects lately as I have slightly grand plans of sewing everything. There's a button to my profile in the sidebar too. I'm planning on updating my more recent projects once I actually have stable internet access.

Are you on Kollabora? I'd love to add more awesome crafters to my feed!

Fall Knit List

With just over a week left for me in Italy, it's time for me to seriously get excited about coming home. I’ve had a great time despite my virtually constant grumblings about the heat and humidity. My thesis research has more or less recovered from catastrophe in June and I’m well on track to be finished up with a couple days to spare! (Though, I will probably be in the lab anyways because, well, that’s the only air-conditioned room I know of that doesn’t require me to purchase overpriced drinks) My daydreams are currently being filled with sweet thoughts of temperatures (hopefully well) below 30°C, hot coffee, crisp bike rides and liberal applications of wool in my wardrobe.

My big project this fall is, per my last post, going to be the Timberline sweater for my dad. Given Sarah’s reaction to the (24 page) pattern, which is basically what mine was when I read her post, I need some simple selfish knitting suitable for social occasions, thesis breaks and whose products are as cozy as possible. For now, three patterns have stolen my heart:
  1. Larch Cardigan by Amy Christoffers. This has been in my queue forever and I really need to get on it. I love how classic the shape is! I can see myself wearing this for a good couple years. I already have the yarn waiting for me at my fave LYS in Peterborough!
  2. Super slouch socks from Emily Foden. I’ve declared my hatred for socks in the past, but I can’t help but give these a chance. I absolutely adore the colour combo she used, with a neutral for the main portion of the sock and bright colours for the heel and toe. I’m planning on using some Tosh Merino Light in Antler for the main colour and Edison bulb for the contrast. They definitely won’t be the sturdiest socks ever, but I think they’ll be decent for around-the-house wear.
  3. Forge Toque from Jared Flood. OK, so this isn’t exactly a no-brainer, but I’ve had 2 skeins of Shelter in Wool Socks languishing in my stash for a while and I’m really into red accessories right now. I’ll have to track down some of my interchangeable needle tips to make this one, as most of the shaping happens through changes in needle size.

So, with that, I head back to my pile of bones and daydreams of home. What patterns are you dreaming about for fall?

In which I commit to a huge sweater project

Photos from BT Men
Let’s just take a minute here and talk about how awesome Brooklyn Tweed is. Again. While I’m always finding myself in love with BT collections, along with the rest of the knitting world, but there are two reasons that I’m especially happy about BT men:
1. The world really needs more modern men’s sweaters
2. Those sweaters should be modeled by (really) well-styled bearded men in a loft. Obviously.

Tragically for me, the boy that has stolen my heart is also less than fond of handknits, especially garments. (I’m confident I’ll get him one day, but today is not that day) The other knitworthy guy in my life is my dad and, well.. his wardrobe just happens to be lacking in the classic woolly sweater department. So, I send off the lookbook with an offer to make him a sweater if he liked any of them and he responded with a vote for Timberline because “it would fit well should [he] decide to start smoking a pipe in [his] later years.”

Photos from BT Men
This sweater was one of my favourites after a first look through, possibly because it reminds me of Exeter (which has been in the back of my brain as a bucket list sweater for ages). Though I have to say, Dad, way to pick the sweater with the greatest yardage requirement. Seriously. Never mind that long torsos and gorilla arms run in the family, both of which necessitate yardage-eating sweater modifications. And while I’d love to tackle this in the recommended Shelter, I also really like paying rent and eating food. So, I was brainstorming possible subs and I’m leaning toward something like Briggs and Little Regal, or maybe even just Cascade 220.

So, here’s to men’s sweaters! And tweed! And dreams of fall!

What were your favourites from this collection? Are you already thinking about fall knits?

Oh, Alberta

I leave Canada alone for 5 weeks and it decides to implode. My heart is breaking for all those who have lost homes, have had their property damaged and those who have a long road of rebuilding ahead. There's not a ton I can do from over here, but I did purchase an Alberta love magnet from Amy Victoria Wakefield, and she's donating proceeds to the Red Cross. (And, apparently, replacing artwork of hers that was damaged in the flood. How cool is that?)

So seriously, Canada. Stop it. Don't make me come over there. (Much as I would really love to right now) Stay dry and safe, everyone!

FO: Rock Island Shawl

Well, it's about freaking time that I have some actual knits to show off. Being separated from my stash is a good thing, I guess, because I've finished 2 things in the last couple weeks. But first and foremost, my Rock Island Shawl!

I seriously never thought I would finish this sucker. Because you knit the edge first and then pick up and work in, the beginning takes forever. I think I almost lit this thing on fire at least 5 times. In the end, totally worth it and I'll probably make another one.
I used Little Red Bicycle's Spark Lace which is a 75% merino, 20% silk and 5% metallic blend. That's right, this sucker sparkles. It's actually barely noticeable, but every once in awhile I catch a glint of silver in the sunshine. I like it! It's definitely super wearable too. I can't wait to actually block this with pins and real tools when I get back to Canada! You can see my Rav project page here.

Now, I'm trying to figure out ways to keep from dying in the heat. Seriously, my entire life has been spent with summers that get maybe 1 or 2 days above 30 degrees and now I'm facing down a forecast of days in the 30's for the next month or two. Oh, and it turns out I'm extra allergic to Italian mosquitoes (zebra/tiger ones?) so I'm spending my evenings slathering myself in antihistamine cream and trying to stay cool in my non-air conditioned room.

Stay cool, friends!


Well, I made it to Italy! I haven’t been around these parts since I only really have internet access while I’m on campus, and I never have time to write a post. So, instead of knitting over my lunch break, I brought my laptop to the park and here it goes!
I’m still not entirely sure of how I feel about my trip this far. I’m feeling incredibly homesick, and that’s putting a real damper on my desire to do anything. I’ve been working 9-10 hour days on my research and I’m typically exhausted by the end of the day and just retreat back to my apartment without doing much walking about. In order to counteract my apathy 2 weeks ago, I took a day trip to Venice. I’m only a 1.5 hour train ride or so away, and it’s only a €15 round trip train ticket, so what the hell, right?

This was my second trip to Venice. The first time, about 5 years ago, I was with James and we had just come off a rough week. (We had been robbed in France and I was without a wallet, so he had to pay for everything until I got a new credit card. Top that off with getting a fine for messing up our train passes.. it was a bad scene and I was super grumpy)
I arrived nice and early in the morning and was greeted by crisp (almost fresh!) air and pleasantly empty streets. I took my time strolling around, but at about 11 all the tourists are out in full force and, well, it gets a little cozy in those tiny streets. I passed at least 5 wedding parties, countless buskers and tourist groups. I did manage to make it to Piazza San Marco this time (somehow missed on the first grumpy visit) and the square, along with the waterfront, were just insanely packed. I ended up taking a turn to try and head back to the train station, but that kind of failed and I walked through small and empty streets for hours, only occasionally hitting a congested canal but I fairly easily abandoned those routes. I headed back home at about 3pm, and was quite happy to crash into bed and rest my feet. That was a lot of walking!

All in all, I probably won’t make a point of going back there again. I feel kind of pretentious saying that, but I think there are much more beautiful places to visit that don’t have the same degree of tourist mania. (If you can’t get a free map, there are probably too many tourists ;)

Have you been to Venice? What are your thoughts? This weekend I’m heading to Padua to fulfill my dreams of stalking the offices of Galileo and Copernicus.


ps: If you want to see more photos and follow my adventures, I'm on Instagram quite often! My username is hannahschm.

Packable Knits

As I mentioned earlier, I'm getting ready to spend my summer abroad. Obviously my #3 concern (behind finding flights and accommodations) is what knitting to bring. I want to keep it light, because I only have limited space in my luggage, and because it's going to be summer in a hot place. As a lifetime almost arctic-circle dweller, I'm concerned that I might die in the heat, so light things are a must. Last time I was away from my stash this long was on a backpacking trip, so all I could pack were socks. (Somehow I managed to make it 6 months of cross-continental travel without breaking a DPN! About 10 seconds after realizing this and being all self-congratulatory about it I totally snapped one in half, though. True story) Anyways, this time I have an apartment to call home base so I can be a bit more flexible with my choices. Here's what has been on my brain!

Candidate #1: Beautiful Spring Scarf from the Purl Bee
Photo from the Purl Bee
I fell instantly in love with this scarf. Seriously. I love the simplicity and the vibrance of the tassels at the bottom. It's such a fantastic contrast! I'm fairly certain I could never finish this scarf if I had steady access to both my stash and an LYS, as I have the attention span of a gnat. I figure this could be a solid desert island project! And since I can't find any knotting cord close by, nor can I afford the shipping from Purl Soho to recreate the tassles in this masterpiece, I'll have to figure that out later. I have some lovely cotton/linen in my stash that would make a great substitute for the scarf portion, though! (I admit, I fondled the yarn called for in the pattern for a shameful amount of time when I visited Purl last month. It's amazing.)

Candidate #2: Muji Painting by Lies Vandesande
Image from Lies Vandesande

Do you detect a theme? Because it's miles of stockinette stitch that go around my neck. I loved this cowl when I found it, and I was even more convinced when Ariane made one in the most beautiful shade of mauve. I would be inclined to pick up a couple skeins of Malabrigo Lace for this, given how fantastically soft and light that stuff is. Or maybe some Tanis lace. Who knows.

Candidate #3: Lakeshore Shawl by Glenna C.
Image from Glenna C.
This one is, by far, the most brain intensive of my candidates. I've had this queued on Ravelry for well over a year. I love the pattern, the scale, and the fact that it would fill a niche in my wardrobe that remains empty. I picked up some yarn at Romni on my first visit which is a nice, single ply in between fingering and lace weights with this shawl in mind.

Candidate #4: Bridgewater Shawl by Jared Flood
Image from Brooklyn Tweed
Ok, so this one only recently hit my radar in an urgent way. I'm possibly only including it in my brainchild list because a) Chelsea just finished one and I have massive shawl envy and b) I would do it in Malabrigo lace and, well, that just sounds like a great idea. One annoyance with this one is that the middle section is huge, but it is only garter stitch which would be great brainless knitting. I would probably skip the edging for the time being because I don't really feel like carting around the longest circular needle known to man, which is likely what's required.

What are your thoughts? What have you packed for trips away from your stash?