Indie Design Giftalong – part 3 of 4

Continuing on from part 2, here’s the 3rd set of 12 patterns that caught my eye in this year’s Indie Design Giftalong. They’re on sale on Ravelry with code giftalong2017 until the end of day (Eastern time zone) on Nov. 28th.

Indie Design Giftalong - part 3

Oydis Cowl by Linda Marveng

BUX by The Restless Knitter

Steps by Tierce Knits 

Songbird Mittens by Erica Heusser

Wolf In Sheep Clothing Hat by Yvonne B. Thorsen

Hólm by Lee Meredith

Little Mr Fox by Mrsmumpitz by Doreen Blask

Sapin by Karen Fournier

Gelting Hat by Frauke Neubauer (Strickwetter)

Persian Dreams Worsted by Jenise Hope

Gehry Wrap by Noriko Ho

Soleil Nouveau by Sara Huntington Burch

I’ve got one more set of patterns to share with you. Meanwhile I’ll be over on Ravelry trying to figure out how I’ll find the time to make the patterns currently sitting in my cart. Only 2 more days to buy them at 25% off!

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Indie Design Giftalong – part 2 of 4

As I mentioned in part 1, there are tons of patterns on sale from hundreds of designers. The sale (with code giftalong2017) ends on Nov. 28th, 2017. Here is my second set of of patterns that have caught my eye:

Indie Design Giftalong part 2 of 4

From top, left to right, these beauties are:

Dragonhart Mitts by Ruth Brasch

Amigurimi Penguin – Wilbur by Kate E. Hancock

Iron gate by Anna Johanna

Daffidini by Anna Dalvi

Zelda Hat by Szilvia Linczmaier

Amillë by Emily Ross

Winesap Mitts by Danielle Chalson

Roses and Ivy by Julie Yeager

Vodograi by Natalie Pelykh

Bloomsbury kids by Svetlana Volkova

Illumine by Nim Teasdale

Gathered Cloche by AbbyeKnits

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Indie Designer Giftalong – part 1 of 4!

The Indie Designer Giftalong is on again on Ravelry! This is the annual event that starts with a week-long pattern sale and continues with a knitalong that runs until the end of the year. During the KAL, you can make any of the paid patterns from participating designers and win prizes just by posting a photo of your FO! You can also play along in the games threads and win prizes there.

There are 311 designers participating, and each have at least 10 designs available in the sale (which goes until Nov. 28th, end of day Eastern time). Thousands of patterns are on sale for 25% off with the code giftalong2017.

This can be overwhelming, but I’ve gone through all of these patterns and picked out some that appeal to me to pique your interest. I picked quite a few, so this is just the first post of 4!

Indie Design Giftalong picks - part 1

These patterns are (from top, left to right):

Tullamore Cardigan by Emily Ringelman

Autumn Vibes by Lesley Anne Robinson

Winter Apples by Kristina Vilimaite

Kauri by Gabriella Henry

Timberline by Sarah Cooke

Two Dropped Stitches by Marion Bulin

Quaintly – DK by Kelly van Niekerk

Kimono Cardigan / Sweater 2 in 1 by Natalia Kononova

Collusion by Hunter Hammersen

Silver Fir Mitts by Kerri Blumer

Kissing Circles Crochet Blankets by Amanda Perkins

Portraiture Mitts by Elizabeth Sullivan

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Looking back at Rhinebeck 2017

I went back to Rhinebeck again last weekend for my 8th trip to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. Note to self for next time: enunciate more clearly when telling the border guard why I’m going.

What beautiful weather we had! It was great for the drive down to Poughkeepsie. Sarah and I had a spot at an AirBnb which we found thanks to Siri. There were quite a few turns on the way. This intersection still makes me smile:

Crum Elbow and Netherwood

Since we’ve been going to the festival for a few years, we didn’t feel the need to show up terribly early – and we didn’t even buy tickets online. That may change next time, as we did have to wait for a little while, but we had a nice chat with two ladies from Kromski who were off to see their dealers. Sometimes the best parts of Rhinebeck are the conversations you have with new people that you’re in line with!

I met up again with Danielle Chalson (makewise) and her lovely family including this cute new addition (shown here in her Rhinecliff hat, but it was too hot for that by the time we met up).

Rhinecliff Hat

I was at the Cooperative Press booth having a chat with Andi Smith when Miriam Felton came by and handed out keychains and talked about her new Yarn Stories podcast ( The intro episode for the podcast is up now, and she’ll be telling stories about where yarn comes from. It’s going to be an audio-only podcast, which means it’s going right into my list of things to listen to on the drive to work!

I also visited Barbara Benson in the author area to get a signed copy of her new Mosaic & Lace Knits book. Here she is surrounded by the gorgeous samples and explaining her inspiration and process to an interested knitter. She’s really good at explaining things. How do I know? She’s got a fantastic YouTube channel (Watch Barbara Knit) where she explains knitting and other fun things.

Barbara Benson & book

I meandered around for about 6 hours on Saturday and an hour on Sunday and ended up with a variety of items (bowl & small cup from Jennie the Potter’s booth, Neighborhood Fiber Company yarn (in Banksy colourway), cakes of yarn from Briar Rose Fibers, and a couple of signed books):

Rhinebeck 2017 loot

On Saturday, Sarah and I parked right behind Catherine (Mairwen) at the Mason-Dixon Knitting Rhinebeck Pie Party, so we all wandered in together.

Pie party with Sarah & Catherine

We had pie, cider, and more discussions with other new friends on the large porch. Thanks to Ann & Kay for a wonderful event!

The happiest part of Saturday was when I sat down, exhausted, at a table in the food area. Pauline stopped off too, and we got talking. She’d done a great deal of shopping and it was her first trip to Rhinebeck. We had an uplifting chat as she showed off her great deals and fun purchases, and now we’re following each other on Instagram.

It was a wonderful weekend and the warm sunny weather made the driving very pleasant. Until next time, Rhinebeck!

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Difficulties with knitting difficulty

I’d already been thinking about knitting difficulty classifications when the LoveKnitting blog post went up highlighting 10 challenging patterns. They included my Gingham Style scarf (on LoveKnitting and Ravelry) because it is a double knit intarsia pattern.

Gingham Style by Natalie Servant

The blog post and other comments about knitting difficulty have had me thinking about what a difficult knitting pattern is. I think the perception of difficulty depends on the knitter and their experience. Here are just some of the reasons that I’ve heard people call a knitting pattern difficult:

  • it only has charts
  • it only has written instructions
  • it includes a technique they’ve never tried
  • it includes a technique they find tedious (purling, cabling, intarsia, darning in tons of ends)
  • it calls for a yarn weight they don’t like to use
  • it’s time-consuming

In my description for Gingham Style I called it challenging because it can be. If you’re familiar with both double knitting and intarsia and willing to put up with handling multiple balls of yarn, it’s fine. I enjoyed working on it when I knew I had uninterrupted time and my setup of the balls in order beside me wouldn’t be disrupted.

These days when I’m writing pattern proposals I tend to list the techniques needed instead of giving some kind of difficulty rating. I’m trying to do that in my patterns on Ravelry too.

When I’m writing patterns, my goal is to make them knittable. If I don’t think something is a generic enough knitting technique that people will figure it out with Google, I include either a tutorial or a link to one.

Frequently, difficulty is temporary. Something is difficult until you’ve done it enough times that it is just another skill in your repertoire. It may take a bit of pain to break through that barrier, but it’s often worth it. Sometimes it takes the right desired end goal (your dream project) to get you to persist.

Here are some projects that I found difficult as I was making them. I know I could make them again now with more happiness and confidence:

A christening dress – the seaming was painful for me because it wasn’t something I had done properly before.

Zoe's Christening dress

A double knit scarf: started, but never finished.

my first double knit project

Anemoi Mittens by Eunny Jang – my first stranded colourwork knitting. It was also the first pattern I ever bought online! I did bail on the tubular cast on…

Anemoi mittens by Eunny Jang

La Traviata stole – this was reasonably logical, but I needed to closely follow the charts. It was also just acres of knitting (or so it seemed at the time).

La Traviata pattern by Marianne Kinzel

What do you find difficult in knitting? Has your idea of what is difficult changed?

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Streamline Moderne

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know about my interest in architecture. One area of Art Deco architecture that I haven’t explored (or photographed) much is Streamline Moderne. There have been a couple, including the Go Transit station in Hamilton:

Go Transit building, Hamilton, ON

And a few blocks away (because I was strategically photographing nearby buildings of interest while the family waited), there was this other building:

55 John Street N, Hamilton, ON

I don’t think the tenants appreciated my interest in their building, especially when I went inside. But look at their light fixture:

Light fixture, 55 John St. N, Hamilton, ON

I do love the curves and straight line elements of these buildings, and have stopped Poirot (and other shows) to take photos like this:

Hotel from Poirot

House from Poirot

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally come up with a knitting pattern inspired by these buildings. Streamline Moderne is a bottom-up garter shawl with scalloped edges and stripes. It’s a skinny triangle.

I made one in beautiful greens in some lovely Bohemia Sport from Outlaw Yarn. This soft and fuzzy yarn has a blend of Polwarth, alpaca, and possum.

Streamline Moderne in Bohemia Sport from Outlaw Yarn

And then I made a nautical version in worsted weight Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0. The gorgeous blue was dyed by Jennifer Heverly of Spirit Trail Fiberworks. The garter stitch in this one is *so squishy*!

Streamline Moderne in Cormo 1.0 from Clara Yarn

I’m working on getting this finished up & released as soon as possible, but I’m thinking that both of these babies are coming to Rhinebeck with me next week. See you there?

Streamline Moderne in Bohemia Sport from Outlaw YarnThanks as usual to the lovely Francine for being my model!


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Visit to the Marine Building

Marine Building - the top

This year I got to check something big off my Art Deco building bucket list: the Marine Building in Vancouver, British Columbia. I talked about this beauty back when I released my Marine Building shawl, but I only showed one little picture of the building just above the front door.

We had a family trip to BC for a week this summer, and we stayed in a hotel just a couple of blocks down the road from the Marine Building. I took outside pictures by myself, but was too shy to enter without being part of a walking tour.

Here’s the entrance and a few close-ups, including the beauty that you only see if you stand under it and look up:

Marine Building entrance

Marine Building entrance detail

Marine Building entrance detail

Here’s some lovely but pock-marked seaweed by the entrance:

Marine Building detail

The tour was great & this building was the highlight for me. I could have easily spent an hour getting detailed shots of all the amazing things, but this way I figure I’ll just have to get back to Vancouver and visit it again.

Here are the elevator doors that I obsessed over:

Marine Building elevator door

Sometimes it’s the little details that pop out later on. I love these tiles on the stairs:

Marine Building - tiles on stairs

Check out the look on the face of the whale in the middle here:

Marine Building - whales and ships

And the waves around this ship are amazing:

Marine Building - ship light

Even the ceiling is stunning:

Marine Building - ceiling

What’s on your must-see bucket list? I’ve got whole maps with pins in them set up for Chicago and New York City!

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I posted on Instagram about the #FallShawlKAL2017 a while back. It’s going on until the middle of October. There are weekly themes and prizes! Now that I’m back from family vacation I thought I’d tell you a little more and tempt you with pictures.

There are 7 indie designers participating, and each of us has chosen 5 eligible patterns. You can see the full list of 35 shawl patterns over in the Ravelry group. Here are my top picks:

Fairy Wings from Ruth Brasch

Fairy Wings by Ruth Brasch

dekke by talitha kuomi

dekke by talitha kuomi

Aveza by Emily Ross

Aveza by Emily Ross


Sparkling Rain by Christelle Nihoul

Sparkling Rain Shawl by Christelle Nihoul

Birdsfoot Fern by Laura Patterson

Birdsfoot Fern by Laura Patterson

Solar Flare from Lindsay Lewchuck

Solar Flare Circular Shawl by Lindsay Lewchuk

Remember that the #FallShawlKAL2017 runs on Instagram until Oct. 15th, and there are weekly prizes. Head on over & check out what’s happened so far. There is a different theme for each week:


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Last day of the Echinacea KAL: another prize!

Remember earlier in the week I showed you the fabulous one-of-a-kind Echinacea bag that my friend Beatrice made? Well she’s done it again. This time she spotted some echinacea fabric and she’s sewn it up into a sturdy bag with some denim left over from a skirt. It has an interior pocket in the Echinacea fabric and two metal D-rings for yarn guides.

Echinacea bag by Beatrice Janky

It’s deceptively large. For scale, I borrowed my friend Nicole’s mostly-full wound ball of Wollmeise Lace (300g, 1575m):

Echinacea bag with a skein of Wollmeise LaceWhat does this mean to you? It means there’s another fabulous prize, and your best chance at it is to win the Yellow Jersey. If you’ve finished up your project take the prettiest picture you can and make sure you add it to your post in the Finished Object thread for the KAL. If you’re not participating in the KAL just make sure you’re a member of my Ravelry group or on my mailing list, and you’ve still got a shot depending on the prizes that people earlier in the list choose.

In the mean time I’ve managed to finish up my own new Echinacea shawl. I decided to try out the rectangular shape with just one repeat of each chart. I used Vale Lace and started out with Morel, then Arabesque, and finally Barberry for the flowers. I can’t wait to unpin this and get some good pictures!

Rectangular Echinacea by Natalie Servant

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Echinacea KAL: 1 week to go!

With one week remaining in the Tour de France (and so also one week remaining my Echinacea Shawl KAL), I’ve got some wonderful news. Beatrice, a fantastically talented friend of mine, had an idea and she had to act on it. She’s made an Echinacea project bag as a prize for my KAL!

It’s a beautiful one-of-a-kind wedge bag (about 11″ x 8″) with a hand-painted echinacea flower. The bag is embellished with embroidery and scattered with little individually-applied Swarovski crystals. On the inside there are two yarn guides with snaps, making it a great project bag for colour work.

Echinacea Bag by Beatrice Janky

Beatrice is amazing!

So now this new prize is added to the pile of yarn as well as any of my patterns or ebooks. You’ll be spoiled for choice if you enter!

So far we’ve had a few folks finish including Heather, who used a variety of lace weight yarns based on the colours in both the French and American flags:

Heather's Echinacea Shawl


Peigi made a stunning gray version from local-to-us Red Sock Blue Sock yarn:

Peigi's Echinacea ShawlThere’s still time to start, even if you don’t finish. As usual I’ve got prize categories that include people who finish as well as those that don’t finish, and even those who cheer from the sidelines. All the details (and prize threads) are in my Ravelry Group. Join us!

Tune in next week & I’ll let you know who won and showcase some more finished shawls!


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