PEI Lila

During our trip to Prince Edward Island this summer, we made a few stops at various family farms, as well as one of the mills on the island. Believe it or not, PEI has not one, but two fiber mills on the island. The one we got to go to was called Belfast Mini Mills, which is a producer of smaller mills that are sold and operated all around the world. They operate a mill on site, where they process and spin a number of gorgeous yarns. I was blown away by the selection and could have spent hours there (Jake is such a good sport). I picked up a good amount of yarn, and have earmarked most of it for projects already. First up was this incredibly gorgeous natural colored wool, called Homespun. 

This line of yarn is made from the wool of the sheep that live on the farm where the mill is. It honestly doesn't get more local than that. And the price couldn't be beat - each skein was $8 (Canadian), which means I got enough for a sweater for less than $40 US. I knew immediately it needed to be a Lila.

Jesse and I were already planning to do another KAL and knit up Lila together, and this yarn was just perfect for it. We finished our sweaters about a month ago, but with the time change, photos just haven't been as easy to take. We braved the cold weather (it was about 30 degrees F when we took these, with 20 mph winds!) and went on a hike this weekend, so I took advantage of the beautiful scenery and had Jake snap some photos.

This wool is a heavy worsted, which made my gauge off a little. I followed instructions for the 32.25" bust to give myself a 34-35", which was just the right amount of positive ease. I seriously haven't stopped wearing this since I finished it last month - full disclosure: I haven't even blocked it! That's how little I've taken it off since binding off.

I added about 2 inches in length, both in the body & sleeves, and I'm really happy I did. 

This is my favorite kind of sweater. A great neutral pullover, with a special story behind it. Another matching sweater with my wonderful friend, made from yarn born, raised, and spun on beautiful Prince Edward Island. I could fill my wardrobe with sweaters like this.


The Stories We Knit

This summer, our vacation was a bike touring trip around Prince Edward Island, Canada. Since we were doing a combination of camping and staying in Inns around the island, I had to pack everything I needed for 8 days on my bike. This meant that packing lite was a necessity - and that included knitting. I threw around a couple of project ideas to take with us, but ultimately landed on Annie Rowden's Purbeck Shawl. She had just wrapped up hosting a mystery knit along, and the end project just resonated with me - for multiple reasons. One, I loved the soothing look of the movement in the lace, and I loved that it wasn't anything crazy, as sometimes mystery KALs tend to be. 

Another thing I loved about the pattern was that it included stories from the farm where the yarn was produced. This gave it a really personal touch and made me feel a little bit more connected to the pattern, which I really enjoyed. 

I've really been thinking a lot about the silent stories that our knitting can tell. From the pattern, to the yarn we choose, to the memories knitted into each stitch - almost every project can remind us of where we were when we worked on it, or who we were with, or what the soothing power of knitting was getting us through at the moment. This shawl is no exception - it has quite a story.

Inspired by Annie's yarn choice, I used wool from a local farm, which is perfectly sheepy and rustic, and cast on the first day of our biking trip on PEI. This project traveled all over the island with us, safely tucked in my bike's saddle bag. I knitted it while watching the sunset over the sea, in our tent, on a northbound ferry, on a French speaking Canadian island, and in multiple Inns across PEI. It has memories knitted into every single stitch, and feels like a part of PEI itself has been knitted into it.

I ended up finishing the shawl after we returned from vacation, and it only seemed fitting to take some photos at sunset here at home, in the mountains where the sheep that grew the wool that became this yarn live. This is such a special shawl, an heirloom that I will treasure my entire life, and will hopefully be treasured through generations to come.

{see more photos on my Ravelry page}

I encourage you to think about some of the stories your knits have created, and some of the memories they may bring to you. It's added a new level of enjoyment and satisfaction to this craft I love so much. I've decided to share some of mine over the next few months on Instagram using the hashtag #thestoriesweknit - I'd love for you to join too, if you're so inclined.


Shoalwater and Sidewalk to Seashore

A few months ago, while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I noticed a sketch of a vest that Chelsea posted. It was love at first sight. I was fortunate enough to get to test knit this pattern, and this lovely, unique vest has already become a staple in my summer wardrobe. I posted some sneak photos on my Instagram about a month ago when I finished it, but I just got around to getting some better photos.

This pattern is so well written and thorough, and Chelsea includes all the info you'll need for all the finishing techniques, if you've never tried them before. There are so many things to love about this vest - it's a quick knit, knit with a looser gauge, it's unique, and there's a good combination of stockinette and lace to keep you interested. There are a good number of finishing techniques to this vest like i-cord bind-off and seaming, but in my opinion, they are well worth it and give the vest some lovely details.

And the twisted back? I just love it. I think it's the thing that drew me in in the first place. 

I was initially going to use Hempathy for this vest, but it turned out to be much too thin, so I opted for the yarn the pattern called for, KnitPicks CotLin, a cotton/linen blend. This yarn was pleasantly surprising. It works up nice and soft, and gets even softer with washing and drying.

The Shoalwater Vest is a part of Chelsea's newest e-book, Sidewalk to Seashore that she just released. It's a collection of four patterns designed with CotLin, and I am seriously in love with all four patterns. I'm already dreaming of casting on Beachcomber!

Aren't these (and Chelsea!) just gorgeous? And because Chelsea is such a sweetheart, she's offering a coupon code on Ravelry for the first 10 days of the e-book's release! So, until August 22nd, use the coupon code: “beachknitting” and get $1 off any of the four patterns in the Sidewalk to Seashore collection, or $1 off the Sidewalk to Seashore e-book! So hop on over and check out these gorgeous patterns. I know Chelsea has put a lot of time and love into creating these and putting them out in the world, and I'm so happy for her that the release is finally here!


Summer Lovin'

I'm going to be honest here. This is a very unpopular opinion, and I totally understand, but I feel the need to voice it anyway.

I don't really like summer.

Sure, it has some advantages, like longer days and more opportunities to go outside and gardening and flowers, but overall, it's just a few months that I tolerate between my two favorite seasons, spring and fall. It all goes back to my very strong dislike of being hot. I don't mean sweating while running, biking, hiking, or some other activity, I mean stepping outside and sweating, or sweating while sitting on the patio. Also, bugs. Have you ever been riding your bike up a mountain with no breeze while trying to fight off the cloud of gnats swarming around your face? I can assure you that it is terrible. And while it usually isn't hot here in comparison to many other places in the US, this summer we've already hit 90 multiple times. That's really, really hot here. Especially for June.

To help cope with these sweaty months, I've really thrown myself into summer knits. First there was my Seaboard Tank, and now most recently is my finished Saco Stripes Tank (I'm also just a few seams away from a new summer vest, which I'll post more about later). 

I thoroughly enjoyed every stitch of this knit, right down to the seams. I considered knitting it in the round, but was afraid my yarn, Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, would be too heavy, which would cause the top to stretch. Speaking of, this yarn really was great to work with. This was my first time knitting with it, and I actually ordered it for another project. It's labeled as a DK weight yarn, which it is clearly not - it's more like a heavy fingering. A lot of comments I read after I got it said it would bloom and transform into a DK weight after washing, but I didn't find that to be true. It did bloom a bit, but not whole lot to make much of a difference. Because I purchased the yarn with another project in mind, I had to make a pretty obvious modification to make sure I didn't run out of the main color - instead of the two row contrasting color stripes, I made mine 4 rows. I'm glad I did, I definitely would have run out of the main color if I hadn't.

I also chose to omit the edging around the arm and neck holes, mainly because it seemed tedious to me, and I didn't want to mess with it. I intentionally slipped the first stitch of every row throughout the entire project hoping it would make for neater looking edges so that I could leave that edging out, and it really did the trick. The straps do roll in a bit, but with a camisole underneath, I don't have to worry about bra straps hanging out.

I chose to knit the smallest size, giving me a bit of negative ease at the bust, and plenty of positive ease at the hips thanks to the a-line shape. In the past I've shied away from this shape, but I will admit that I love the way this looks.

And the drape of this hemp and cotton blend is just wonderful. So breezy and light, and it hangs just perfectly.

I'm totally sold on summer knits, however my fingers are starting to crave a nice, wooly fall sweater. Thankfully, Shannon's summer sweater KAL will be coming up soon - I'm planning to knit an Oshima (finally!).


Hello, June!

I'm struggling with the fact that the year is already halfway over. How did that happen? It's one of those weird things that your grandparents used to always tell you - the older you get, the faster time goes by. It really feels like it was just February.

I apologize for the silence in this space. Life sure has been busy, and blogging is one of the things I've let fall by the wayside. But I'm jumping back in with both feet today, and showing you my most recent finished knit, the Seaboard Tank by Tanis Lavallee.

This little tank top is the perfect knit for summer. It goes well over a tank with jeans, or it can be worn over a dress for a more "adult" look. And even though it took me over a month to knit it, it could have been done quicker. This was my entry into Shannon's Tops Tanks & Tees KAL, and I think it's the first time I've actually finished before the deadline! It helped a lot that I jumped in with a knit already in progress, but hey, a finished project is a finished project.

The project was very straightforward and simple - a section of easy to memorize lace, followed by a section of stockinette, repeat to end. Boom.

I particularly love this side panel. The tank doesn't include any shaping, but I found that this side panel sort of forms to your body shape, giving it a little shaping.

The yarn I used is some of my naturally dyed. It was originally dyed with black beans, but came out more of a grey color than I'd hoped, so I overdyed it with a bit of hibiscus flower, which gave it an ever so subtle purple hue. I really like it, and think it's a great neutral.

I'm officially hooked on knitting summer tops, and have already cast on a Saco Stripes as my second entry in the Tops Tanks and Tees KAL, as well as for a fun KAL with some Instagram buddies. If you're interested in joining (and you should, if you don't have a ton of other projects going on!) you can read more about it in Lesley's Ravelry group

Happy June, everyone. I hope you're enjoying your week!


Sweet Sproutlette

I had planned to do an in-progress post of this little knit, but it appears I won't be able to do that, since it's already off the needles and blocked.

This took less than 2 weeks from start to finish, and probably would have been done sooner, but there were probably 5 days or so in that time that I didn't work on it for one reason or another. I will, however, share some in-progress photos.

This sweet little dress is Sproutlette, by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts. This is my first time knitting a TFA pattern, but it won't be my last (in fact, I've already started another one!). The pattern was very well written, and the adorableness factor is off the charts.

This yarn has been in my stash for about 6 years (!!!). It's now discontinued, which I guess can happen when you hoard something away for that long. While knitting, I was trying to figure out why it took so long for me to knit it, and I think it was because it kind of stood for a turning point in my knitting. This was the first skein of yarn I purchased from an indie dyer, as opposed to buying from the big box craft store. I guess that made it special to me, although it wasn't exactly intentional. While I love the color, I didn't really love the feel of the yarn while knitting with it. It's 100% superwash wool, but it felt almost acrylic. I've learned recently that the superwash process either coats the wool in a layer of polymer, or uses an acid treatment, to make the wool machine washable. If I had to guess, I'd say this was treated with the polymer method, because it had a plastic-y feel to it. It softened up after blocking, so I don't worry about it being an irritant to the baby's skin, but it wasn't my favorite to knit with. However, when making baby gifts (for non-knitters, especially), machine washable yarn is a huge plus, I think.

I mean, how cute is that? I hope the mother to be loves it, and that the baby gets lots of use. After a lot of contemplating, and lots of advice from you guys, I decided to go with the 0-6 month size for a few reasons. First, I was a little worried one skein wouldn't be enough for the 6-12 month size. I'm pretty sure now I could have made it, but it wasn't something I wanted to chance - especially with the  yarn being discontinued. Second, since the baby is due in June, she'll be able to wear it through this summer, and into the fall with tights and something under it. And, maybe next spring and summer it'll still fit, just as a top rather than a dress. I also didn't want to make something that couldn't be used for a year, with fear that it might get stuck in a drawer somewhere and forgotten about (thanks for the tip, Rachel!). I'm very happy with my decision, and just absolutely love how this turned out. I hope I have a reason to make more in the future!


Cutch Ginkgo

I wrote about this shawl a few weeks ago when I wrote about all the projects I had on my needles. I wasn't expecting to be finished with it this soon, but after weighing my yarn halfway through the second chart repeat, I realized Jesse & I would be playing some serious yarn chicken if we repeated the entire chart twice, so we bound off after working the chart one and a half times. The result is a lovely sized, delicate, shawl.

This shawl is so special. Not only is the yarn naturally dyed, but it's the first thing that Jesse and I have knitted together that's exactly the same. She put it best - it's the knitting version of the 90's BFF necklaces.
The color is a bit hard to pick up - it's a wonderful orangeish-brown, with red tones. Great description, right? The above color is probably the most accurate that we could get.

I also want to take a second to apologize to those of you that are still snow-covered. I hope these photos give you a glimpse of what's to come - Spring will arrive! We've been having some beautiful weather this week, and I'm getting really excited for the flowers to bloom, and all the gardening in my future.


The yarn I used for this shawl is a 70/30 wool/silk blend from Knit Picks that I picked up during one of their sales. I've dyed two other skeins of it, and I just love the way the wool and silk pick up the dye. The yarn always turns out so silky, with just a hint of sheen. I plan on using one of the skeins for a pair of socks, and I'll be interested to see how the yarn holds up as socks. I loved working with it, and may use the remaining 98 yards of this skein for a pair of fingerless mitts.

Since I got two projects off the needles this past weekend, I've already started a new laceweight tank for me, and will cast on for the baby knit I asked your advice on last week. I hope to have a post next week to show you what project I ended up choosing! Thanks to all of you for weighing in - it was much appreciated!