Gifts to Knit

Flobbly Beanie

While some knitters might be well on their way through their Christmas queue, there are a few of us who are way behind. If you’re on the hunt for Holiday gift inspiration, and low on time, here are two hat patterns that we just love. Both are quick and easy, and each have their own charm. Though, the risk is that after you are done knitting them, you’ll likely want to keep them for yourself!

The Flobbly Beanie, which is available as a free download, is the perfect slouchy hat paired with generous bobble to keep someone you love extra cosy this winter. Knit with just one ball of Trenzar (including the bobble) it’s a quick and easy knit. The shop sample, modeled by the always lovely Jenny, was knit in the colourway 307. The eyelet fabric keeps things interesting while still being simple enough to fly off your needles in no time. And don’t forget: there are pompom makers and ready-made pompoms available for purchase in the shop, and we also have some useful tips for attaching a bobble to your hat.

Kernmantle1

The Kernmantle hat by Woolly Wormhead (available for purchase via Ravelry) has a beautiful cable detail, and is the perfect opportunity to add a new technique to your repertoire, if you haven’t yet tried knitting cables. A single horseshoe cable runs from the brim to the crown, which pops beautifully against the textured seed stitch. The sample pictured was knit using just over one ball of Malabrigo Twist in the colourway Pearl Ten. We recommend purchasing 2 balls, which will leave you with plenty of leftovers for a second project; perhaps the Hurricane hat? Or maybe the Turn A Square hat? Both are free patterns available on Ravelry.

Kernmantle1

We’d love for you to pop by the shop to try on our samples, the hats really are even cosier than they look!

When do you start working on your Christmas knitting queue? What are some of your favourite patterns to knit for Holiday gifting?

Omena Vest

Cold and blustery weather doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, for knitters it just means it’s time to get started on winter projects! If you’re all stocked up on hats and mittens, maybe it’s time to try your hand at knitting a garment?

Omena Image from Ravelry…¬† (c) Plucky Knitter

Knitting a jumper or cardigan can seem a bit intimidating, or maybe it’s just that you want something that will be off your needles and over your shoulders as quick as possible. Omena by Jill Zielinski is an excellent example of just that: a quick, easy, and oh-so-wearable layer that is sure to keep you cozy against the chill. It’s clever shape means no complicated construction, the armholes are even self-finishing – it really doesn’t get easier than that.

Omena truly is a great transition into garment knitting; if you’re ready to adventure beyond scarves and hats, this pattern is the perfect introduction. The pattern calls for worsted or aran weight yarn, which means it knits up quickly. Done in the round, it requires no seaming or special techniques, just some basic decreasing and increasing. The fit won’t be a problem, either; being a loose and flowy vest, it is universally flattering and easy to wear. It’s circular shape makes for the ideal layer to wrap up in!

OmenaSample

Here’s our shop sample, knit using three shades of Ella Rae Superwash Classic for a gradient effect. For our version, 2 balls each of colours 117, 119 and 132 were used. As with all our shop samples, feel free to pop in and try it on. This project also looks great in just one solid colour, as you can see from some of the gorgeous versions on Ravelry.

What patterns are in your winter knitting queue? What was the first garment you ever knit?

The Warm + Woolly Campaign

With the holidays fast approaching, we are often reminded now, more than ever, of the importance of giving. If you’d like to contribute some knitted or crocheted projects for charity, Olann and Warm + Woolly Campaign is collecting winter essentials for the Simon Community, assisting the homeless of Ireland. With cold and harsh weather on it’s way, many homeless individuals and families are in need of warm hats, gloves, and scarves. These projects are quick and easy, and will go to the most grateful of recipients, thanks to the efforts of the Warm + Woolly Campaign and the Simon Community.

Not sure what to make? They’ve put together a few suggested free patterns for both knitters and crocheters, for much needed cold-weather essentials such as hats, gloves, scarves and socks. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can even do a jumper or cardigan. Whatever you end up making, they do request all projects be knit in muted or neutral colours, to ensure the recipient is not self conscious about any attention a vibrant colour may attract.

Other donations are also accepted, such as thermal underwear, toiletries, clothing, chocolate and cookies, and sleeping bags. All items for donation at the Simon Community Shop on Camden Street.

Will you be knitting or crocheting for charity this year? What are your favourite patterns or charities to knit/crochet for?

Beginner’s Brioche

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The word Brioche may get you craving the warm, fluffy, diet-crushing French bread, but today we’re referring to a considerably less guilty indulgence (which is also quite fluffy in it’s own way): the Brioche knit stitch. A textured stitch pattern that creates a voluminous fabric with a ribbed look, with just as much elasticity as a traditional 1×1 rib. Brioche may look intimidating, but it really is just a combination of stitches you likely already know well: a few yarn overs, slipped stitches, knit-two-together and you’re set! The perks of Brioche stitch? It’s reversible, it creates a thick, cushy fabric, and looks gorgeous when done with two colors, which can create beautiful color work that is almost 3D in its plushy texture.

This stitch is ideal for projects where you’ll want lots of stretchiness, such as hats or fitted garments with negative ease, or when you don’t want a “wrong side” to your project, such as in scarves or blankets. With its almost double-knit texture, this stitch also creates a dense fabric with lots of structure, which can be useful for something like the collar of a sweater. Within Brioche stitch there are also a dozen variations, including Waffle Brioche, Twisted Brioche, Moss Brioche, Honeycomb Brioche, Double Brioche and more. Most create a reversible fabric, and many can be worked with one or two colours, with some even incorporating a third colour.

Brioche 4

Fancy giving Brioche a try? After all, this kind is calorie free, what do you have to lose? Join us at the shop for a Beginner’s Brioche class on December 6th, from 3pm – 4:30pm where you’ll learn how to knit a pair of reversible fingerless mitts with two colours, just like the one’s worn by the lovely Jenny seen here! The sample was knit with the multicolour¬†Noro Kureyon and Lamb’s Pride Worsted in a solid shade.

Brioche knitting is seeing a comeback these days, thanks in part to Stephen West, who released several patterns recently all of which feature Brioche. The stitch beautifully highlights both colour and texture in his gorgeous designs, as seen in the “Bundled in Brioche” scarf where colour blocking and vertical stripes create a vibrant, plush scarf showcasing a spectrum of colours. Great for eating up leftover yarn from other projects!

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An important tip to remember when knitting Brioche is to use a cast-on and bind-off method that will allow for the large range of elasticity you’ll get with this stitch. In this case it is often suggested to use the Italian cast-on, or Tubular cast-on, which create a very elastic, ribbed “invisible” edge where stitches seem to wrap around the hem.

So, have you worked up an appetite for Brioche yet? What is your favourite Brioche pattern or one you’ve been hungry to try?

Mojo Magic

Garter Flap Hat

We meet a lot of customers in the shop who confess to having “too many” projects on the go at home. This fact is whispered conspiratorially, often guiltily, and quite often during a purchase of yarn for a new project to be started.

Of course, we understand, I’m sure not I’d like to know the actually number of items that I have languishing half-finished on needles, scattered around my house.

That said I think there’s a great benefit to be had from not feeling too tied-down to a project. Sometimes our enthusiasm can wane mid-way through a second sleeve (as is currently happening with my Nanook) and all we need is a little pick-me-up: a quick project to boost the knitting mojo again, to remind us that FOs can and *will* happen, and we’ll be delighted that we plugged on through another few inches of stockinette.

Garter Flap Hat

And, for me, the Garter Ear Flap Hat from the wonderful Purl Soho website has been that project. A two-night diversion, with just enough detail in the techniques to keep things interesting. The clever short row shaping used for the ear flaps creates a flowing, seamless finish, and the visible line of double decreases lead in to a pleasingly whimsical tassel.

The pattern is free and this baby size version was knit using less than one ball of Katia’s Cotton-Merino. All in all, a pretty much guilt-free diversion, one which has magically restored my mojo.

Now… where’s that second sleeve?