Sunday spinning update: a very little bit of spinning

I’m encouraged this week by the progress I’m making in getting my back back to normal. I’ve got a couple more sessions scheduled with the chiropractor, but if this keeps up I may not need them.

In the spirit of taking it slow & easy, I’ve done a very little bit of spinning to celebrate my progress. It’s the same bobbin as before. I’m still working on the first third of this bit of fiber.


One thing that kept us pretty busy last week was a party for our daughter. We have a 10 year old! I’m still having trouble believing that. The party was a riot of sugar-fueled games including hide and seek and a pillow fight in the basement (once it became clear that Zoé’s room was too small for a 7 person pillow fight).


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A knitting request I couldn’t refuse

I’m relieved to say that although my spinning has been sadly neglected due to my back issues, I have been knitting. In the middle of all of my deadline knitting I had a request from my daughter. She’s been wearing an old purple mistake rib hat that I made her ages and ages ago. One day she told me that a friend of hers would like one too.

That was enough for me to take action. We went off to the yarn store & picked up a skein of purple worsted weight yarn. Then I started having doubts. Although I didn’t know exactly what I’d used to make the hat, it seemed more like aran weight yarn. I went back to the yarn store and exchanged the yarn for a skein of Aztec, by James C. Brett. I used this for the red version of Suzanne and I already knew that it was a fairly easy care yarn.

After a little comparison counting, I cast on 64 stitches. It worked up quickly. I changed the decreases up a little bit from the last time that I made this hat, but it’s not rocket science. Plus the nature of the pattern hides any imperfections.


The hat has now gone off to live with its new owner and has been seen in the wild (ok, on the way to the school bus) at least once.

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February yarnie: Sweet Paprika Yarns

This month’s second yarnie is Sweet Paprika Yarns. This delightful yarn company was formed by a pair of sisters in Montreal. I’ve admired their yarns at shows for a few years now. I bought some lovely DK weight yarn from them a while back, but I can’t show you that just yet because it turned into a different pattern! I can show the lovely selection of yarn that you might see if you happen by their booth at a festival:

Sweet Paprika booth, Twist Fiber Festival

If you aren’t lucky enough to visit the yarn in person, you can visit the Sweet Paprika Ravelry group instead.

I chose the delicate Café au Lait colour in Messa di Voce for the fingering weight version of the Hockey Scarf. It reminded me of the yellow bricks of Maple Leaf Gardens in the shade. I love how this drapes in a lighter weight yarn – but it’s still got the squish factor from the thickness of the fabric:

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

Sweet Paprika yarns will be making a return to my Canadian Art Deco Knits ebook later this year. I’ve got two versions of October’s hat to share with you: DK weight and fingering weight.

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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:

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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!

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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.


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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.


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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!

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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)

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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

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