It’s Sunday and I’ve got no spinning at all to share with  you because my back has been acting up this week. For now spinning is out. I hope to get back to it soon.

I just realized that I haven’t blogged about another new pattern of mine, so I’ll tell you about that instead. Suzanne is an aran weight reversible cable and garter cowl (or scarf). It came out of a request from my mother-in-law for a very long red cowl with “cables and stuff” and when I finally got around to making something this is what happened:

Suzanne Cowl by Natalie Servant

I used three 100g skeins of James C. Brett Aztec (90% acrylic, 10% alpaca).

When it came time to join it I had the idea of doing something new to me. I knit a strip of garter stitch perpendicular to the original direction of knitting, joining both the live stitches and the stitches from a provisional cast on. Then I found a couple of sets of buttons to decorate this new strip of knitting. It’s not really a button band, it’s an opportunity to dress up the cowl  with two different sets of buttons for two looks.

Suzanne Cowl by Natalie Servant: faux button band detail

Of course you can add knitting on to the ends and do a real button band if you want. And if you want less trouble, you don’t even have to join it up if you’re making a scarf.

For the second cowl I made a much smaller cowl and grafted it closed. I’m a little sad that this sample is living at my LYS for the moment because it’s lovely squishy merino and we’re having some dreadful weather. It used three 50g skeins of Diamond Luxury Collection Fine Merino Superwash Aran. The yarn may have a long name, but at least the name tells you what it is!

Suzanne Cowl by Natalie Servant

You can find Suzanne on Ravelry for $4USD:

Posted in design, knitting | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

February yarnie: Sweet Fiber Yarns

I made February’s Hockey Scarf pattern in 3 versions from 2 lovely yarnies. Today’s yarnie is Sweet Fiber Yarns. I met Melissa last year at the Toronto Knitters Frolic. Guess what? You can too! If you’re near enough to Toronto to go to the Frolic (April 25th!), you can find Sweet Fiber Yarns in booth 30 this year.

I’d heard about Sweet Fiber Yarns a few years ago, but I hadn’t seen any in person until I went to the Sweet Yarns store in Sudbury a few years ago. Yes, February is all about sweetness – and the other yarnie this month is Sweet Paprika Yarns! So yes, Sudbury. I saw a lovely container of yarn and spent some time looking at my options. I came away with a skein of Amber Briolette on Sweet Merino Lace. I haven’t figured out what it wants to be yet, but it’s lovely just as it is:


I’ve got a whole colour theme in mind for my Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book. You haven’t seen all of the colours yet – wait for April! My idea is to work with the colours of the buildings I’m inspired by: greys/silvers, pale yellow brick, gold from the metallic accents, and brick red. After dithering over the selection at the Frolic for a very long time, I selected Vintage Lace on Coastal for the DK version of the scarf:

Hockey Scarf by Natalie Servant in Sweet Fiber Yarns Coastal (DK)

Melissa also kindly dyed up some Merino Twist Worsted in Smoke for the more manly worsted version of the scarf:

Hockey Scarf in Sweet Fiber Yarns Merino Twist Worsted (Smoke)

While we’re talking about Sweet Fiber Yarns, you should have a look at Melissa’s recent collection: Sweet Fiber Accessories. Here are my two favourites:

Endsleigh (and it’s not just because of the gorgeous green):

Endsleigh by Melissa Thomson

(c) Melissa Thomson

and York:

York - by Melissa Thomson from Sweet Fiber Accessories e-book

(c) Melissa Thomson

Finally, if you’re not able to find Sweet Fiber Yarns near you, you may want to sign up for their email list. Rumour has it that there will be another pre-order happening later this month, which will let you order whichever of the glorious colours you want!

Posted in Canadian Art Deco Knits, inspiration, knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Sunday spinning update: a bit of a slow week

I got all hopeful that I’d find some hours to spin in the last two weeks, but that hasn’t come to pass. I did manage to find a little bit of time, so I’ve started working with a lovely Polwarth/Tencel blend from Southern Cross Fibre (Twelve, for the Doctor).

I split it into thirds (going for a 3-ply) and I’m loving the blend. It’s spinning easily and the shine is wonderful. Now I just need to find the time to spin it. Perhaps next weekend (with a long weekend) I’ll manage to find more time.


Posted in spinning | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Canadian Art Deco Knits: Hockey Scarf

The February pattern in my Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book is the Hockey Scarf.

Hockey Scarf in Sweet Fiber Yarns Merino Twist Worsted (Smoke)This reversible textured scarf was inspired by the corners of Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. That makes it a bit of a miracle that my husband (an ardent Ottawa Senators fan) agreed to model for me. This is the worsted weight version in Sweet Fiber Yarns Merino Twist Worsted (2 skeins of Smoke).

Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto

This scarf was the first pattern I designed for the e-book. I’d been collecting pictures of Art Deco buildings across the country and this was the first one that spoke to me. Sometimes a design comes together quickly – and that’s mostly what happened here. I originally tried to include the windows in the middle section, but it got too fussy and didn’t look quite right. When I simplified things and settled on the current design it came together. What I love most about this scarf is how thick and squishy the fabric is.

One thing that I like to do in my patterns, where possible, is to use a variety of yarn weights to make the same design. I originally knit this in worsted weight and then tried it out in fingering weight, adjusting the stitch count and the directions. Wonderful! So here it is in two more yarn weights from two great Canadian indie yarnies.

Hockey Scarf by Natalie Servant in Sweet Fiber Yarns Coastal (DK)

The DK weight version is in Sweet Fiber Yarns Coastal (Antique Lace, 2 skeins). This is silk and merino and the sheen and feel are amazing. This yarn may not be readily available, but finding a silk/merino blend DK weight yarn shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

Hockey Scarf by Natalie Servant in Sweet Paprika Yarns Messa di Voce (Café au Lait)

The fingering weight version is in Sweet Paprika Yarns Messa di Voce (Café au Lait, 1 100g skein – or 2 50g skeins). The fingering weight version is light and delicate compared to the other two. It’s got great drape and is a dream to wear. I wore mine doubled-up this week to fetch the kids from school in a snowstorm and it was perfect!

I’m already looking forward to bringing you the next couple of patterns in this series – but there is still some knitting left to do for the months a little further out. It’s time to get back to work!

You can get the individual Hockey Scarf pattern on Ravelry for $4 (USD).

Canadian Art Deco Knits by Natalie Servant - Feb 2015 cover

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


Posted in Art Deco, Canadian Art Deco Knits, design, inspiration, knitting | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Sunday spinning update: another gradient skein

First off, I should mention that the blog is somewhat messed up at the moment and comments are not functional. That’ll be something I’ll try to fix soon. This week I’ll have some more knitting content & hopefully I’ll get to the blog fixing next weekend.

I must be on a gradient kick, because I took a perfectly beautiful bunch of BFL from Southern Cross Fibre and ripped it up to turn it into a gradient yarn.

Ripped and ready to spin: BFL from Southern Cross Fibre

This week I finished up my singles:

Southern Cross Fibre, After the Rains on BFL - singles spun up

And then tonight I chain plied it all for a skein that’s about 290 yards in 104 grams.

Southern Cross Fibre, After the Rains on BFL - chain-plied

I love the variations in the colours that come from spinning from the fold.

Southern Cross Fibre, After the Rains on BFL - close up view of the skein

Next? Who knows. I’m so busy with the day job and knitting in the off hours. Spinning isn’t very high on the list of priorities. I still hope to start something new this week.

In family news, the kids have started up the latest round of swimming lessons at their new levels. All seems to be going well, except that I do worry that Sam is taking on a little too much water. It looks like a class in drowning at times. I did see improvement from the first week, so that’s promising. He’s also doing baseball skills training. This coming week will be Zoé’s first time at a volleyball class through the city. She had her first taste of this sport in school last week and is super keen to learn more. Fingers crossed that it goes well and that the enthusiasm doesn’t pass!

Posted in spinning | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Sunday spinning update: crazy BFL mission

Last week’s blue singles from a Loop bullseye bump got plied into a wondrously soft skein of yarn. I’ve got somewhere around 320 yards. It’s a great way to start spinning in 2015:

handspun chain-plied bullseye bump from Loop (Wavelength)

Next up I’d had an idea that I wanted to try spinning from the fold. I wanted BFL. I went to the stash and November’s club offering from Southern Cross Fibre fit the bill. Before I knew what had happened, I’d torn it up into bits roughly where the colours changed and sorted it:

Ripped and ready to spin: BFL from Southern Cross Fibre

Yes, not only am I spinning from the fold (new for me), but I wanted to try to make a gradient-ish yarn. I took these bits of fluff and separated them into 7 different colour groupings.

When I started spinning the singles were super skinny. Oh dear. Not only is this a crazy project, but it’s going to take me a while. It’s been so much fun this week that I’ve already worked my way through the first 4 colour groups. I think I’m over half way there:

progress spinning BFL from Southern Cross Fibre (1)

progress spinning BFL from Southern Cross Fibre (2)

progress spinning BFL from Southern Cross Fibre (3)

Posted in spinning | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

January’s Art Deco Pattern location: Université de Montréal

January’s pattern from my Canadian Art Deco Knits ebook is the Cormier Grille Shawl. Today I’m going to show you some of the pictures I took of the Pavillon Roger-Gaudry, the building with the metal grilles that inspired this pattern.

Last year I went to Montréal with my friend Louise on a picture-taking expedition. I had maps of buildings to visit and a plan to get to most of them. There was a lot of walking involved, but we had a good day for it.

We finished up by visiting the Université de Montréal high up on Mont-Royal. We took the metro, some stairs, and a moving walkway system at such a high incline that I remember giggling about what would happen if someone went tumbling down.

heading up the moving walkway

When you finally emerge and look behind you there is a  fantastic view. In our case it was a fantastic view of the storm that was about to hit us:

View from Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

When you look at the large Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, there’s a lot to see:

Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

Ernest Cormier designed this building and although it was started in 1924, the Great Depression meant delays. The building wasn’t officially opened until 1943.

Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

As you can see, we arrived at the same time as a graduation ceremony was about to begin. I was tired & sweaty from a day of walking around the city. I was wearing runners, shorts & a t-shirt. I felt quite out of place and so we only stayed a short while and got a few pictures. I’d love to return back at a better time!

ceiling of the Hall of Honour, Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

light, Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

And here are the metal grilles:

metal grilles, Pavilion Roger-Gaudry, Montréal

Posted in Art Deco, Canadian Art Deco Knits, inspiration | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Sunday spinning update: first skein of 2015 in progress

I feel relieved that I’ve finished enough of my knitting deadlines that I was able to spend some time at the spinning wheel over the holidays. I started out with something that’s new to me: a merino Bullseye Bump from Loop. Mine was called Wavelength and was composed of lots of different shades of blue.

Wavelength Bullseye Bump from Loop's Etsy shop

The spinning was simple: pull from the middle & just keep going. It was hart to stop at times because I wanted to see the next colour. Here are my progress shots from beginning right through to having the singles all spun up:

spinning progress on Loop bullseye bump (1 of 3)

spinning progress on Loop bullseye bump (2 of 3)

spinning progress on Loop bullseye bump (3 of 3)

I am planning to chain ply this for a nice blue gradient yarn. I haven’t a clue what yardage I’ll get. The batt was 4.5 oz.

Next up I’m thinking I’d like to get back to working with some BFL. I love to spin it and I’ve got lots of choices thanks to me of my Southern Cross Fibre club membership. I’m glad to be back at the wheel!

Posted in spinning | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Goodbye 2014!

2014 is just about over, and to help me get my mind cleared & ready for 2015, I am reviewing what this year’s been all about. The biggest thing we did was move. In May we moved from a rental house to our built-for-us house. There was packing, cleaning, unpacking, and following up on things that needed fixing. It took up more than half of the year. We’re loving the new house. Here’s the great room all decked out for Christmas:

2014 Christmas Tree

Due to the move, I didn’t take on any outside IT contracts early in the year which meant some time to knit. Despite the move there was plenty of knitting going on!

I had the pleasure of designing two shawls for the Wooly Wonka shawl clubs. Morgaine came in January:

Morgaine Shawl by Natalie Servant

And I delivered Lucy the Valiant in December, so you’ll have to wait until March for that if you weren’t a club member:

Lucy the Valiant by Natalie Servant

I had my first pattern in a physical magazine. My Valerian Hat was in the 2014 Accessories edition of Knitscene:

Valerian Hat by Natalie Servant (Knitscene Accessories 2014)

© Knitscene/Harper Point

I created a simple triangular shawl with lace, texture & bead options. Khufu was fun:

Khufu Shawl by Natalie Servant

In July, for my 5th annual Tour de France KAL, I released Peloton. This semi-circular shawl was inspired by the cyclists in the Tour:

Peloton Shawl by Natalie Servant

A fun knitting break led to a simple pattern release: the Giftable Cowl is quick, reversible, and perfect for handspun yarn:

I released the Frond patterns – mittens & a hat. This was my first mitten pattern, but there are at least 2 more on the way in 2015:

Frond Hat & Mittens Set by Natalie Servant

And finally, I was thrilled to begin to share some work that’s been in progress for a couple of years. Here’s the initial “cover” of my Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book:

Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book

So far only the first design summary square is filled in, but 11 more are on the way! The patterns will be coming once a month in 2015. I released the January 2015 pattern a little early. My Cormier Grille Shawl is a reversible lace shawl – deceptively simple, and worked in yarn from a wonderful couple of Canadian indie yarnies:

Angel Lace (Lothlorien) from Turtlepurl Yarns:

Cormier Grille Shawl by Natalie Servant (Canadian Art Deco Knits)

Sock (Pewter) from Yvieknits Yarn:

Cormier Grille Shawl by Natalie Servant (Canadian Art Deco Knits) on Pewter Sock from Yvieknits Yarn

See you with a whole lot more Art Deco fun in 2015!

Posted in Art Deco, Canadian Art Deco Knits, collections, design, inspiration, Tour de France KAL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Sunday spinning update: spinning mania

I’ve been looking at the yarn on my wheel for quite a while. I haven’t really touched it since November. I had 3 shawls to knit and very little time to spend spinning. This weekend, with the deadlines done I finally made up for that. First up, I finished spinning and plying the batt from Into The Whirled:

I have over 500 yards of chain-plied yarn! It goes from silvery to violet to purple, green, then turquoise.

Then I went crazy and made a thick and squishy 4 ply from some merino that I had in the stash from Turtlepurl. This one is called Purple Rain. After plying it’s around 100 yards and it reminds me of velvet:

Merino isn’t my favourite breed to spin, but this skein was a success. I’ll have to remember that for next time. Perhaps it’s time for a break with something I love like BFL. I don’t know what’ll happen next on the wheel because this week is Christmas.

I’m working this week, including on Christmas Eve morning. The kids are going to a day camp. I’ve got the forms and required items all set aside for tomorrow. There are still presents to wrap and some non-urgent knitting to do. Also there are patterns to write up, but I’m thinking that can at least wait until the end of the week.

Merry Christmas to all & I hope you get a break over the holidays, no matter what you do. I aim to return to the blog before the end of the year for a look back at 2014. Here’s something the kids made recently (small amount of knitting-related content):

Posted in spinning | Tagged , , | Comments Off