The Indie Gift-A-Long is back!

This Thursday the Indie Gift-A-Long begins again on Ravelry. It’s a 6-week holiday knit-along/crochet-along for patterns from hundreds of participating designers running right until the end of the year. There are games & prizes. The amount of work behind the scenes to mount this even boggles my mind. Bravo to the amazing volunteers!

This fun event starts with a sale of patterns from 335 indie designers (from Nov. 19, 8pm EST to Nov. 27, 11:59pm EST). I’ve got a selection of my patterns available in a bundle & all you have to do is (during the time period mentioned) add them to your cart & use the coupon code giftalong2015. You can check out the Ravelry group for more info. There are over 5000 discounted patterns!

Natalie Servant Designs GAL 2015

Then on to the knitting part of the GAL! Pick the patterns you will work on from now until Dec. 31, 2015. All of my paid patterns (and those of the other 334 participating designers) are eligible for the KAL part, so you may want to look through your pattern library and queues to see what you’ve already planned to knit!

Then you just have to get crafting. Join the Indie GAL group on Ravelry & tag any of your projects with the appropriate GAL tags. And there are games & prizes throughout the GAL in the group too!

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Sunday spinning update: more of the same

I did finally finish spinning the singles on my Loop bullseye bump. It really took up all the space on the bobbin:


Instead of moving on to something that would spin up a little more quickly, I have started another bullseye bump from Rhinebeck. I just had to know how this one would spin up. It’s got rainbow-type colours separated by little bits of black/dark grey. So far so good:

Loop - start of rainbow bullseye bump

In family news, all is well at the moment. The kids have brought their first report cards home & there were no real surprises, which is good.

I have learned a new hairstyle for Zoe, at her request. I tried to get her interested in trying out something with a Celtic knot, but this is what she wanted instead:


Meanwhile Sam brought all the foam squares upstairs spontaneously & built a fort:


The open roof is particularly helpful when being served food & beverages.

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I was preparing to write a blog post as today’s news about the tragedy in Paris came in. I can’t go on with what I was going to write, so here are some images of Paris instead. My thoughts are with all of those affected by these attacks.

Eiffel Tower



Notre Dame view


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Needler’s Retreat: Rejuvenation

This past weekend I was in Gananoque at the Needler’s Retreat. This was my 8th trip, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Debbie Wilson of Sheeps Ahoy is the organizer, and I always know I’m going to have a great weekend.

The leaves smelled wonderful & the view is always spectacular. I find it extra relaxing to grab a few quiet moments to take pictures:Crabapples

Morning view at Glen HouseEven when there’s a storm, it’s a beautiful place.View from Glen House

The teachers this year were wonderful and I learned something new in every class. Amanda Schwabe (aka aknitica) taught us about sock heels. My takeaway from that was a better way of picking up stitches. Julie Nandorfy (now working with Kathryn at Riverside Studio) taught us double knitting. She’s got some lovely double knit cowls that she showed us and they were inspired by embroidered pillowcases done by her grandmother. She had a lovely stack of them with her to show us. And finally Nancy Halliday taught us about drafting patterns – basically it was a class about boobs, and there was a lot of measuring involved. I came out of there with a vest pattern that will fit me properly. A bunch of us are talking about starting vests in January. I’ve got a bag of Rowan Calmer that might be perfect.

There were plenty of moments to relax with friends at a meal, or before or after a meal. We are all well fed at retreat!

Dinner with the gang

Dinner with the gangIt’s a bit jarring to go from this state of relaxation back to work and life as normal. Perhaps I’ll learn my lesson next year & take the Monday after retreat off too!

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A quick trip for inspiration

Earlier this year I made a quickly-planned trip to Toronto on the train. I went down and back on a Saturday for the Doors Open event, where all kinds of buildings are open to the public.

My main targets were the Art Deco Design Exchange (formerly the Toronto Stock Exchange) to see the original trading floor and Commerce Court North (not so much completely Art Deco as completely decorated). I also made a stop at the Canada Life building to check out the observation room (17 stories up) which is only open once a year. Then it was off to the ROM, which I hadn’t been inside since I was a grade schooler. Finally I capped off my walking marathon with a trip to 3 local yarn stores. It was a full day and the weather was perfect.

I’ve finally taken the time to edit my way through these photos, so I’m going to take you on a multi-post tour. First up is the Design Exchange, formerly the Toronto Stock Exchange. The facade is now part of a larger tower, but you can still go inside & see the old trading floor. The frieze & doors were designed by Charles Comfort and showcase a variety of industries.


I’ve been smitten by the doors at the former Toronto Stock Exchange for quite some time.

Former Toronto Stock Exchange doors

This trip was my first chance to get a look at some of the details inside the building. They didn’t disappoint. Here’s the start of the walk up to the trading floor:

detail of bannister, old TSE

The ceiling in the stairwell:DE_ceiling

The entrance to the trading floor:

Entrance to Trading Floor, old TSE

The trading floor:

Trading floor of old TSE

This was a great way to start off the trip. Next time I’ll show you my detailed shots from Commerce Court North, which is just around the corner. It’s about 1000 times more rich and extravagant in its details, but I love both buildings.




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November’s Canadian Art Deco pattern: Aldred Mittens

On my trip to Montréal last year I had a map printed out with all of the buildings that I wanted to see marked on it. I even had a colour code so that if I was running short on time I’d skip the less-promising ones.

The starting point of the trip was in Place D’Armes at the Aldred Building. This stunning skyscraper is at the top of a hill, so you can see it for quite a distance, despite it being much smaller than modern buildings.

Aldred Building, Montreal

I spent time playing around with my two lenses trying to capture what was right in front of me, as well as the details up top.

Aldred Building from Place d'Armes


I even went inside and was able to take some pictures of the lobby before being gently encouraged not to do that.

Aldred Building Lobby, Montréal, (c) Natalie Servant


When I got home, I knew that I was going to knit a pair of mittens from this building. After playing around on a spreadsheet for ages, I finally came up with something that I felt reflected the beauty of the building. Aldred Mittens by Natalie Servant, photo by Zoé Servant

The Aldred Mittens have a floral design that comes from the very top level of the building. The overlapping zig-zag type pattern on the palm was inspired by the carving at a different level.

Aldred Building, top level details



Aldred Mittens, by Natalie Servant

I knit these mittens using yarn from two wonderful Canadian companies that many people are familiar with. The grey yarn is Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Sock and the black yarn is from the sister company: Hand Maiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock. I used 50g or less of both.

The Canadian Art Deco Knits ebook is almost complete. I’ve got one more fun pattern to come in December. My sample is already knit & waiting for pictures!

The Aldred Mittens are available on Ravelry for pattern: $5 USD

Canadian Art Deco Knits by Natalie Servant

Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book subscription: $25 USD


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Sunday spinning update

Why yes, I have still been spinning in my spare moments. Since I last blogged, I have plied the Seraglio from Southern Cross Fibre, giving me about 350 yards of chain-plied loveliness. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep this skein before, but now I’m not sure I’m willing to part with it! It must be the silk content.

Seraglio - chain-plied

I also did a 2 ply of my batts from Countess Ablaze. Now this greeny-reddish-coppery skein is *perfect* for me. I’ve got some great yardage too, even if I can’t remember exactly how much (500+yds?). This is one of those skeins that’s much better in person that in a picture.

2 ply skein from batts from Countess Ablaze

And now I’m on to the next thing. Before Rhinebeck I started working on the blue part of a bullseye bump from Loop (Into the Night).

Bullseye bump from Loop


Progress on Bullseye Bump

I’m still working away a few minutes at a time. If the kids are ready early in the morning I can get 10 minutes in. If I get home from work early, I can get 15 minutes in. I imagine the singles will be spun this week. I’m not sure if I’m going to ply right away or move on to something else. I’ve got a hankering to spin something like Polwarth that’ll be all big and robust and poofy.

I don’t have any crazy stories from the kids lately & there has been nothing of interest found in the laundry (thank goodness). Here’s a recent shot of them climbing the tree at my parents’ house. I can’t believe how tall they’re getting!

Guelph - kids in tree

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Back from Rhinebeck

October has been flying by at a crazy pace. It started out with a push to get things done at my day job, which meant I didn’t blog much. Then we went to Guelph for Canadian Thanksgiving – no blogging. And last weekend I had the pleasure of going back to Rhinebeck for the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. I had better blog about that!

This year thanks to a friend, Sarah (habsgirl) and I lucked into sharing a house quite close to Rhinebeck. This was the view of the Hudson.

View from house in Rhinecliff

The first day was fabulous. As usual, the trees were gorgeous, the yarn was everywhere, and I got to meet up with friends that I rarely see, even if some of them live in Ontario:

Canadians at Rhinebeck

(byneedleandthread, habsgirl, ashtree22, and martoad)

Danielle Chalson (aka Makewise Designs) and Natalie Servant

(the lovely Danielle Chalson aka Makewise Designs)

Sarah (habsgirl) wearing Simone Kereit's Fox Crossing with Andi Smith (knitbrit)

(Sarah in her Fox Crossing by Simone Kereit with the fabulous Andi Smith aka knitbrit)

When I got back to the house, I showed evidence of some serious sun/wind burn for a few hours:

Rhinebeck windburn

Eventually it calmed down and I stopped being quite so red. We nipped back to the festival on Sunday for the last few items we needed (including maple cotton candy) and had an uneventful ride back to Ottawa. The hardest part of the weekend was going back to work on Monday after doing all that! Perhaps next year I’ll learn and take both the Friday and the Monday off ;)

Trees at Rhinebeck

Trees at Rhinebeck. There always seemed to be someone taking a picture of them when I went by.

Rhinecliff woodpiles Wood piles that we spotted on our drive into Rhinebeck. I just had to stop & snap a photo.

I did manage to do a bit of shopping. Two Loop bullseye bumps, a skein of Chameleon Sock from Indigodragonfly, and two cakes of Charity from Briar Rose. Not pictured is the Cast Iron, Cast On book that I bought for a friend. I’m still kicking myself for not getting co-author Becky Herrick‘s autograph before leaving the Cooperative Press booth!

Rhinebeck 2015 haul

This weekend in family news, we’ve just celebrated my son’s 8th birthday. His actual birthday was back in the summer, but we went to FunHaven today to celebrate with friends. The first stop was the bumper cars, and everyone had a blast.

S & Z in bumper cards We all survived. I am very thankful I chose to do this first thing in the morning!

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October’s Canadian Art Deco Knits pattern and Songlines Collection winner

October’s Canadian Art Deco Knits pattern is the Chandelier Hat. This double knit hat was inspired by the beautiful large chandeliers in the Supreme Court of Canada. From the outside, the Supreme Court fits in with the other copper-roofed Chateau-style buildings that line the Ottawa River: the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier.

Supreme Court of Canada

Once you approach the buildings the Art Deco touches are visible: the statues, the palm-style lamp posts, the large doors with their bas reliefs designs, and the black and white geometric stained glass windows.

Supreme Court of Canada - lamp  Supreme Court of Canada - stained glass Supreme Court of Canada - door

The building was designed by Ernest Cormier, down to the last detail. The grilles he used in the Pavilion Roger-Gaudry make an appearance here too. And then I walked into the courtroom and saw the chandelier:


I knew right away that this was the first thing that had to be on my needles, and I quickly came up with this hat (made in Sweet Paprika Designs Messa di Voce in Graphite and Chimney Smoke):

Chandelier Hat by Natalie Servant (fingering weight version)

After I’d made the fingering weight version trial, I realized that not everyone would want to do quite that much knitting. I ended up creating a similar DK weight version using Sweet Paprika Designs Minuet (Canneberge and Harvest Moon):

Chandelier Hat by Natalie Servant (DK weight version)

Thanks to my friend Jo Beumer for agreeing to model the hats for me!

The Chandelier Hat pattern is available on Ravelry for pattern: $5 USD

Canadian Art Deco Knits by Natalie Servant

Canadian Art Deco Knits e-book subscription: $25 USD

Lastly, I did a draw for the winner of the Songlines collection from Ambah that I posted about last week. The lucky winner is commenter #3, Susan. Congratulations!

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 8.55.41 PM

I’ll get in touch with Ambah & she’ll send the collection over to you. Enjoy & happy knitting!

If you’re sad that you missed out on the collection, you could always go over & visit Nina Machlin Dayton’s blog for another chance to win!

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Sunday spinning update: 3 bobbins full

I’m happy to report that I’ve been doing quite a bit more spinning this month. I finished up the Seraglio singles that I was working on before (on the right below) and rather than ply it up, I moved right on to the next thing, and then the next thing. I ended up with 3 full bobbins:

batt from Countess Ablaze, Promise, and Seraglio

The first thing up turned out to be Promise, a bag of Finn from Southern Cross Fibre. I love fall colours, and this was full of them. On a whim I decided to separate out the colours and spin a gradient yarn. After all of that fun I was anxious to see what I’d ended up with. All plied up, I’ve got about 210 yards of chain-plied yarn ranging from red to deep green. I have no idea what it’ll be, but I’m thrilled that I have the time & ability to sit for long enough to spin again.

Promise on Finn wool from Southern Cross Fibre, spun as a gradient, 210yds of chain ply

And now I have started on a pair of batts from Countess Ablaze. Once again, there are some lovely fall colours in these batts: red, rust, orange, green, and bronzy sparkles. The first batt pretty much filled a whole bobbin:

batt from Countess Ablaze

Hopefully I’ll get through the second batt this week.

In family news, school seems to be going well so far. Zoé is already excited for Hallowe’en and has her costume, hair, and makeup already planned! Meanwhile, Sam seems to be thinking a little further ahead. He asked me this morning why they say, “You’d better watch out” in the song about Santa Claus.

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