Summer knitting projects

Knitting often conjure images of scarves, wooly sweaters, socks…. an activity perfectly suited to colder climates, which I supposed helps explain why I never met anyone who could knit growing up in Brazil. Many knitters take a break in the summer months since the thought of handling wool then is enough to make one’s hands begin to sweat. I find summer the perfect opportunity to switch to cooler fibers. Linens, cottons, bamboo, silk, all come out waiting to be turned into breezy shawls or summer tops.

My first summer as a serious knitter was dedicated to knitting a massive cotton wrap that took me nearly the whole summer. Last summer I did a cotton top (my first one!) and a linen shawl. I enjoyed my linen shawl so much that I planned to knit more linen shawls this summer and had at least three in mind for the three months I will be in Spain.

Considering how large my shawl collection is becoming….

My shawl collection is growing!


….I’m starting to think that perhaps *some* of that yarn earmarked for shawls should turn into summer tops.

But which one? They are all so nice! Here are four waiting to see which I shall pick:

Fathom Harvill’s Coachella top

@Fathom Harvill

Bristol Ivy’s Linun Tee

© Knitscene/Harper Point

Melanie Berg’s Otherside

Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s Nyanen Tee

© Carrie Bostick Hoge

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Ideal project bags

My favourite project bags are Tom Bihn stuff sacks. What I really like about them is that I can clip them to the handles of my purse.

stuff sack

Unfortunately, I only have two and of the small variety. I occasionally knit something larger than a fingering-weight shawl and ordering just a couple small items from Tom Bihn from Canada can be very expensive.  I’ve since bought or made a variety of cotton-fabric bags but found those to not protect my knitting enough and they were not so easy to clip onto my bags.

Thanks to Caroline, at Eweknit, I finally found a solution I can acquire locally. Meet MEC’s pack rat, which come in a variety of sizes. Made of a very light fabric that is tough and waterproof, it locks via a rolltop closure that leaves no extra fabric.

MEC pack rat

It clips nicely to the handles/straps of my purses and my knitting needles are safely out of reach from my cats.

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Since I finished my summer top ahead of schedule and I have two conferences coming up, including one that will involve a fair amount of commuting, I decided to start another summer top. This time, I’ll be making Waterlily by Meghan Fernandes, published in the Spring edition of Pom Pom magazine. I came across the exact yarn Fernades used for this pattern and I couldn’t help snatching it up. It’s a very interesting yarn since its wool content is not merino – the usual soft wool we encounter in North America – but rather from a breed of sheep called Bluefaced Leicester.

This image was originally posted to Flickr by Magic Foundry at Wikipedia Commons

It is said to have more structure than Merino and I’m curious to see how it knits up.

As  I knit my gauge swatch for this piece, however, I cannot help myself but wonder why is it that we knitters don’t really enjoy swatching. Is it because we are so impatient to start the actual piece? Is it the waste of yarn? And before someone starts correcting me, I know it’s not really  a waste if it prevents us from making something that turns out the wrong size. So far, all I can say is that I really like this yarn and can’t wait to cast on the actual piece.

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My first knitted adult sized garment

My local yarn shop is hosting a make along – the idea is to sew or knit a summer top. Since I had been trying to find the encouragement to make a garment (as opposed to an accessory), I joined in. We had 6 weeks to finish our garment of choice. Since I am a very slow knitter and wanted to make sure I finished in the time allotted, I picked a pattern that used thicker yarn and not that much yardage. It was a good choice – I finished my project with three weeks to spare!


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Coffee shops in Paris

I have been researching third-wave coffee shops in Paris and made a short list of the ones I must try:

I’ll be posting reviews of each of them and linking them back here as I visit them. Will I find the best cortado in the city of lights?

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Yarn tourism, pt 2

One yarn I’m looking forward to checking out in Paris, is Titus, by baa ram ewe, from Yorkshire. I blame my friend Kat, my knitting guru, for telling me about all the different heritage breeds of sheep and how each of them produce very different wool. It’s not all about Merino, folks!

Titus is a truly British yarn: a blend of  50% Wensleydale, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% UK Alpaca for extra warmth and softness. All in a fingering weight yarn. I’m thinking of coupling it with a British designer such as Ysolda Teague and make Ishbel.

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Yarn tourism

As I prepare for a week holiday in Paris, my thoughts turn to knitting and yarn. Which knitting project to bring? Which yarn shop to visit? What yarn to buy?

The knitting project is easy to decide since I am currently working on my knit along with others at Eweknit, here in Toronto. The idea is to knit a summer top before the beginning of June. Since I’m making good progress on my summer top, that is the project to bring.

What about yarn to buy? Turns out France doesn’t have that many artisanal yarn manufacturers but researching the different yarn shops in Paris, I discovered I can get some unique British yarns as well as… Icelandic yarn! Yes, Icelandic yarn in Paris. I know nothing about Icelandic yarn, it is probably very scratchy, but there’s something about yarn from sheep from remote regions that greatly appeal to me.

Christine, the lovely woman behind TrIScote, the online shop that sells Icelandic yarn in Paris, agreed to meet with me to sell me some yarn and introduce me to Icelandic knitting traditions. We’ve spend the past few days exchanging emails back and forth looking at various combinations of yarn to make an Icelandic lace shawl. Some pictures below:

Christine has been very patient with my inability to make decisions – let’s just not mention how many emails I sent that starts with “actually, I changed my mind, how about…” She’ll bring a few options for me and we’ll meet on Friday to discuss them. I can’t wait!

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summer top taking shape

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Sweet Dreams

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Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits knitted in Madeline Tosh Merino Light. Colourway: candlewick. My first crescent-shaped shawl. The picot bind off was a killer but the results were well worth it.

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Hitchhiker by Martina Behm knitted in Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Turquoise. A classic knitted more than 14,000 times by ravelry members.

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