Canadian Art Deco Knits: Marble Floor Cowl

September’s design is inspired by the colours and patterns on the floors of two stunning Art Deco buildings. From Toronto’s R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, I drew inspiration from the pattern and colours:


And then the zigzags of Montréal’s Peterson Hall captivated me:


For some reason I got it into my head to include both of these patterns in one accessory. I created a two-sided stranded cowl. I know that when I try to work in 3 colours in a round my tension goes a bit crazy, so I made it a little easier by only including 2 colours in a round. Any area that needs more colour has it applied with duplicate stitching after the knitting is done.

I’m thrilled with the lovely cushy result, made with 4 different colours of Shelridge Yarns Soft Touch Ultra Fingering:

Marble Floor Cowl by Natalie Servant

But I have to admit that I do have a favourite side. I do feel a little bad for the lovely Peterson Hall side:


but the R.C. Harris one has my heart!

Marble Floor Cowl by Natalie Servant

You can get the individual Marble Floor Cowl pattern on Ravelry for $5 (USD).


The Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book is $25 (USD) and will include 12 different patterns by the end of 2015. 3 more patterns to go! 

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August Yarnie: Tanis Fiber Arts

The yarn that I used for August’s Tramways Hat & Mittens was from Tanis Fiber Arts. The Brick colour of Blue Label Sock Yarn was more than I could have hoped for. The variation in the yarn made it fun to knit with and I thought it looked stunning when finished up. I used the slightly heavier Yellow Label DK Yarn for the Roositud work to help it stand out:

Tramways Hat & Mittens Set by Natalie Servant

I’ve been following Tanis online for at least 5 years now, ever since one of my local yarn stores started stocking her yarn. I still have some lovely silk in the stash that I haven’t found the right project for. Her colours are amazing and I love reading her blog, especially for the Monday Mood Board eye candy. Here’s this week’s beauty, Nova Scotia sunset:

Tanis Fiber Arts Moodboard: Nova Scotia Sunset

(c) Tanis Lavallée

You can also see these inspirational pictures and more (like super-cute kiddies) on the tanisfiberarts Instagram account.

If you like surprises (colour-wise), then perhaps you should know about the Tanis Fiber Arts annual Year in Colour Club. You get 6 different 1-skein shipments, each with a different yarn base and a pattern to go with them. It sounds wonderful!

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PEI: a quick yarn stop in Kensington

While I was on vacation in PEI, we drove through Kensington. It was the closest place to the rental cottage with grocery store, so I was thrilled to see a yarn store because I *knew* I’d have a chance to get back to it.

I popped in later in the week and found out that the store is brand new. The Trailside Yarn Shoppe just opened in July and lots of new yarn is still expected in.

When I visited, they had some Fleece Artist, Handmaiden, Noro, Diamond Yarn, Patons, Debbie Bliss & others. There are plans coming together for a lovely area to sit & knit, perhaps with a TV to check out how-to videos. So far so good, though:

Trailside Yarn Shoppe, Kensington, PEI

Trailside Yarn Shoppe, Kensington, PEI

Of course I didn’t leave empty-handed. I ended up taking two skeins of a Briggs and Little 1 ply yarn because it reminded me of the beach:

Briggs & Little Lite 'n' Fancy Softspun

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Canadian Art Deco Knits: Tramways Set

I know it’s already half-way through August, but it’s not too late to tell you about this month’s design for my Canadian Art Deco Knits ebook.

The building that inspired this month’s pattern is the Tramways Building in Montreal. Technically, this building doesn’t really exist any more. The facade (and apparently some of the interior) were preserved as it was absorbed into the large Palais des congrès. I did take some pictures of what is still visible, and I knew that this would have to be knit somehow:

Tramways Building, Montreal

The technique that I turned to was Roositud. This Estonian colourwork technique is relatively easy to learn and I’ve taken a very non-traditional approach in this design, just using one colour & using my own motifs. What makes it really shine for me is the wonderful background colour. The mittens and hat are knit with Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Sock Yarn (brick) and the Roositud is done using the slightly heavier Tanis Fiber Arts Yellow Label DK weight (natural).

Tramways Hat & Mittens Set by Natalie Servant

I’ve written both the hat & mittens in 3 sizes, and I’ve also included some advice for further adjustments for the perfect fit. Of course I’ve also covered how to do Roositud in the pattern. Time permitting, I’ll eventually do my own video for this technique.

Thanks to my good friend Louise for helping me out with a last minute photo request!

You can get the individual Tramways Set patterns (hat & mittens in one pattern) on Ravelry for $7 (USD).

Canadian Art Deco Knits by Natalie Servant

The Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book is $25 (USD) and will include 12 different patterns by the end of 2015. It’s 2/3 done now! 

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Sunday spinning update: the wheel is moving again!

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog for a while. Part of that was a recent well-earned vacation, which was fantastic. On the other hand, a big part of my disappearance was due to a new back issue.

I’ve been dealing with some pain since June. Then it suddenly got rather a lot worse. I’ve seen a lot of well-qualified people for help, advice, and tests. My physiotherapist’s instructions seem to be working quite well. Apparently I had a herniated disc, which explains the pain.

But that’s the blah news. The great news is that my physiotherapist thinks that I’m at a point where I can resume my regular activities, which (for me) means spinning. This week I took some lovely Southern Cross Fibre for a bit of a test run (Seraglio on 75 BFL/25 Mulberry Silk). I haven’t done much, but this is the first time in months!

Seraglio by Southern Cross Fibre (BFL/Silk)

I’ll try to keep it up a bit at a time and not overdo it. Given how things are (school starts soon, work is busy, knitting deadlines are looming), I should be ok!

Meanwhile in family news, here are a couple of pics from the wonderful vacation we had in PEI. The kids had a fantastic time playing in the sand & sea.





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July yarnies: Indigodragonfly and Sweet Georgia Yarns

The yarns that I used for July’s Dominion Building Shawl were from Indigodragonfly and Sweet Georgia Yarns.

Yarnie #1: Indigodragonfly

I used Indigodragonfly’s Cariboubaa in Sharktreuse for the fingering weight sample:

Dominion Building Shawl by Natalie Servant (in Cariboubaa by Indigodragonfly)

Way back in March I showed you some of the things that I’ve made in the past with Indigodragonfly. Today, I want to highlight their clubs. It appears that there are openings for their Sweater Club right now, and if you’re interested in joining the Fiber Club or the Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination 1 Skein Club they’ve got some dates posted that you will want to add to your calendar.

The most exciting development I’ve seen from Indigodragonfly this year are their gradient sets: Tornadoz (sock set with 5 mini skeins, each of 100yd/25g). Although I was also tempted by the Braïnz (sweater quantity gradient set) at the Frolic a few months ago, it’s the smaller sets that are stuck in my head, waiting for the right design idea. Here’s what one of those sets looks like:

Tornadoz - yarn from Indigodragonfly

(c) Kim McBrien Evans (Indigodragonfly)

Yarnie #2: Sweet Georgia Yarns

July’s lace weight sample was from a gorgeous golden skein of Sweet Georgia Yarns Merino Silk Lace in Goldmine.

Dominion Shawl by Natalie Servant in Sweet Georgia Yarns Merino Silk Lace (Goldmine)

I’ve admired Felicia’s yarns & fiber for quite a few years. I love the colours she comes up with. She makes the decision-making part of buying very difficult! Felicia is also a Craftsy instructor & I’ve taken her class on Spinning Dyed Fiber.

I could have used her class a few years before it was launched, because one of my first purchases along with my spinning wheel was some fiber (superwash merino Stella) to spin from Sweet Georgia. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, really, but I turned this:

Fiber from Sweet Georgia Yarns

into a 4 ply worsted weight yarn:

4 ply handspun from Sweet Georgia Yarns fiber

And then I brought the yarn to a Cat Bordhi class and created a mobius cowl which is shown here on my friend Mary Pat:

Mary Pat in my cowl

That was some of my first wheel-spun yarn!

I can’t wait to use the next bit of Sweet Georgia yarn that I’ve got lined up, but that’s going to have to wait a little while. December’s project is made with worsted weight yarn and it’s one of my favourite ones in the ebook, and I will have to wait a few months to share it with you!

Meanwhile, I’m excited to let you know that Felicia recently started a podcast that you can find on the Sweet Georgia blog, iTunes, or Stitcher Radio.





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Saturday spinning update: cobblestones

For the last few years I’ve participated in the Tour de Fleece, spinning along with the Tour de France while running my own Tour de France KAL. This year I had to abandon the race before I started.

My back has been giving me problems for the last month or so, but in the last couple of weeks it’s gone to a whole new level of pain. I’ve sought a whole bunch of assistance and I’m currently working with a great physiotherapist to help get me back to normal. All of this means that my wheel has gone quiet and that my lovely monthly parcels from Southern Cross Fibre have been piling up on the table beside it.

Meanwhile my children have come up with some lovely statements and observations I’ve been holding onto for my next weekend spinning post. Since that doesn’t seem likely to happen for a bit, here’s my favourite recent quote from my son. He turns 8 this week:

“When I get married I’ll do sex. ‘Cause marrying is sex.”

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Tour de France KAL: Kick it into gear!

The Tour de France begins this Saturday, July 4th. This year’s Tour de France Knit Along pattern is Labrouste, this semi-circular shawl inspired by the ceiling of a reading room in France’s national library in Paris:

Labrouste shawl by Natalie Servant

So what’s the deal with my KAL? If you haven’t participated before, you buy the pattern (discounted to $4 automatically for the month of July), sort out your yarn and needles, and on July 4th you start knitting. Knitting continues as long at the Tour de France runs (3 weeks!) and then finishers post pictures on Ravelry.

To participate, just join Ravelry (free & fun), and join my Ravelry group. I’ve got a set of threads open for people to chat as well as ones to post your finished shawls. There are lots of prizes, including a prize for folks who start the KAL but don’t finish (because sometimes life interferes) as well as a prize for spectators (because we don’t all have the time to participate). See the details below.

Here’s the prize pool for 2015:


Prizes will be chosen in the following order and the winner can choose any remaining skein they’d like or any single Natalie Servant pattern of their choice.

Prize Selection Order:

1. Maillot Jaune: Yellow Jersey – Finished object from this thread with the most (love).
2. Maillot Vert: Green Jersey – random draw from first 5 finishers in this thread.
3. Maillot à Pois Rouges – Polka Dot Jersey: The mountain prize will go to the person whose tale of woe in this thread has the most (love).
4. Maillot Blanc – White Jersey: This prize for rookies will be drawn from among the list of finishers who tag their project with the “white-jersey”. It’s up to you to decide whether or not you belong in this category.
5. Finishers: A draw will be done among all finishers who haven’t already won a prize. Just post your FO in this thread.
6. Lanterne Rouge: Started but didn’t finish? You’ll be eligible for a draw for this prize, provided you’ve got a picture of your progress on your project page.
7. Red Devil (Spectators): We don’t all have the time and space to compete in the Tour. Follow along and cheer on the competitors. Random draw from among members of my Ravelry group, my Facebook page, and my mailing list. The inspiration comes from Didi Senft, a notorious spectator, bike-builder, and cycling fanatic. Here’s a great short video of Didi.

Prize Pool:
Any single Natalie Servant pattern of your choice

Tosh Sock: Dusk

2 skeins Estelle Super Alpaca Lace: 10104

Malabrigo Sock: Arbol

Tosh Lace: Tart

Sundara Silk Lace: French Lessons

Tosh Lace: Citrus

Art-by-Ana “House” Sock – Party cake

Alchemy Juniper: Barceloneta

Riverside Studio Merino Singles Fingering: blue!

Yarn Chef Spun Sugar: Camelot

Indigodragonfly Linen Silk: This Is Your Brain On Cookies

Indigodragonfly Merino Nylon Sock: Bunnies, Bunnies, It Must Be Bunnies (Buffy)

Socks That Rock Superwash Merino Lightweight: Smokey Mountain Man

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Canadian Art Deco Knits: Marine Building Shawl

I never realized when I started a pattern-a-month ebook subscription that it would make the year speed by even more quickly. Here it is July (Happy Canada Day! Happy 4th!), and the Dominion Building Shawl is now available.

One thing I like about some Art Deco buildings is the feeling I get from looking at the placement of the windows. The Dominion Building in Halifax draws my eye up with its vertical lines of narrow windows.

Halifax Dominion Building entrance

I played with this idea of narrow windows grouped in a set of five in the middle and threes on the outside to create this shawl. This trapezoid-shaped shawl is knit from a straight edge on the bottom up and out, so you can stop when it’s big enough or when you’ve run out of yarn. The pattern is simple enough that after a repeat you can store most of it in your head.

I knit the grey fingering weight version using 2 skeins of Cariboubaa in Sharktreuse from Indigodragonfly. I used 180g on the shawl with 4 repeats of the second chart. You may not want it that big, but it’s a nice comfy shawl that you can wrap around yourself.

Dominion Building Shawl by Natalie Servant (in Cariboubaa by Indigodragonfly)

I made the golden lace weight version with 1 skein of Merino Silk Lace in Goldmine from SweetGeorgia Yarns. Again, I did 4 repeats of the second chart, but since the gauge is slightly smaller, this delicate fluttery shawl is a little bit smaller than the fingering weight one.

Dominion Building Shawl by Natalie Servant (in Merino Lace Silk by SweetGeorgia Yarns)

You can get the individual Dominion Building Shawl pattern on Ravelry for $6 (USD).

Canadian Art Deco Knits by Natalie Servant

The Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book is $25 (USD) and will include 12 different patterns by the end of 2015. We’re over half way there now! 

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June yarnies: Raventwist and Riverside Studio

I used yarn in two completely different weights for June’s Marine Building Shawl.

First I used a meaty sport weight wool (Deva) from Raventwist. I told you all about Hasmi last month. Deva was fantastic for the pattern and almost didn’t need to be blocked. I used about 175g of this yarn for a nice cozy wrap:

Marine Building Shawl in Raventwist Deva (Slate) by Natalie Servant

The second yarn that I used was a single 100g skein of fingering weight from Kathryn at Riverside Studio. She dyed up this lovely colour for me and called it “Nat’s Gold”, which was a wonderful thrill to see on the label.

Marine Building Shawl by Natalie Servant
I first caught sight of Riverside Studio yarn at a knitting retreat. My friend Julie had brought the yarn to tempt us. Kathryn had dyed up some fabulous yarn, and I have been collecting it ever since! Julie, on the other hand, has been knitting fabulous sweaters and accessories out of the yarn instead. So practical, that lady! She has sent me some pictures to share with you:

 Moroccan Nights with 3 skeins of Riverside Studio Merino Lace Singles:

Moroccan Nights with 3 skeins of Riverside Studio Merino Singles Lace

Dotted Rays by Stephen West with 4 skeins of Riverside Studio Merino Lace Singles:

Dotted Rays knit with 4 skeins of Riverside Studio Merino Singles Lace

A couple of double knit cowls designed by Julie (and at least one uses Riverside Studio Merino Cashmere Nylon Sock):

double knit cowls by Julie Nandorfy with Riverside Studio MCN Sock

Kathryn does some amazing multi-colour skeins and fabulous semi-solids. Debbie at Sheeps Ahoy had a whole pile of it to sell at the Knitters Frolic in Toronto and I had a hard time not collecting even more. This Cobalt & Rust, for instance, is gorgeous:

Cobalt & Rust by Riverside Studio

Kathryn’s yarn is in her Etsy shop and  she, Julie (designer, knitter, teacher) and Maureen (a potter) blog over at Three Crazy Knitters.

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