Knitting Guild workshops

Do you belong to a Knitting Guild? I had the pleasure of doing workshops at two different knitting guilds this week. I am also looking forward to my own knitting guild meeting later this week.

Our Couchiching Knitters Guild has been running (under various names and several different locations) for more than 20 years. We were getting so chatty at our meetings that we couldn’t seem to get anything else done so now we go for dinner first and then meet at the Purl3 knitting shop for our meeting. We do a short technical lesson or discussion (this month it’s bring your favourite Christmas gift pattern) and then, the highlight, our show and tell. There is always lots to inspire us: stories of problems, offers of solutions, new books, new patterns, yarn galore and lots of encouragement. It’s always terrific to be with people who love knitting as much as I do.

In Port Hope I lead the Make It Fit workshop. I was impressed by the number of sweater knitters in this group. We explored small additions to a pattern that can make a sweater fit each of our unique figures. Yes, the person who has to make a sweater fit really well is you.

Female-Body-Shapes Workshop (2)

We discussed why you need to make accommodations and where you would incorporate each technique. They knit a little sample to try out several techniques:  Easy Bust Shaping, Bust Shaping with Twin Stitches, Where is your Waist. Knitting the sample seemed to make it all more real and open up the possibility that they could actually add the shaping they needed on their next sweater. Because they are a guild they now have the support to make this happen.

At the Knotty Knitters guild meeting in Peterborough we explored taking a raglan pattern and seeing if we could make changes to the yoke and come up with something different.


I truly believe that every knitter has a designer inside them who wants to get out and try something. This is the class for that knitter. There are so many possibilities and places to go using a raglan pattern. This workshop has produced these two patterns so far:  Kid’s Diamond Pullover

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and Kid’s Summer Topper.

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There will be more coming down the pipe.

That was my exciting week. Next weekend is the Cabin Fever Retreat where we are doing all things I-Cord. The fun never stops!

Thanks for reading,


Cabin Fever patterns and Books on Ravelry

A “thing” about Reversibility

Do you have a “thing”? Let me put that another way. Do you have “strong opinions” about certain aspects of knitting?

My friend, Gayle of Knits From the Woodlot, has decided opinions about reversibility. If there is any chance that you will see the other side of your knitting, it also needs to look beautiful.

From her blog 5 Things I Love and Hate About Knit Designs, this quote was first on the list:

  • For me, reversibility is essential for shawls, scarves, cowls, and shawl collars, anywhere the wrong side will show. Knitters are not on the fence about this issue. We fall into, “I love shawls, therefore I’m OK with the wrong side showing sometimes” or “No way, I don’t want to be fiddling with what I’m wearing or what’s on the sofa.”

I agree. I’m also not on the fence. So when my daughter asked me to knit her a wrap for her winter wedding, first I was thrilled and second, I thought immediately that it needed to be reversible.

I checked out the book that Gayle recently recommended. Reversible Knitting Stitches, Knits From The Woodlot

I swatched several cables. I am new to reversible cables so it was fun.



My decisions made, I knit a scarf. This is now a New Cabin Fever Pattern called Three Cable Reversible Scarf.  It’s a charted pattern.

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This is the right side when you are knitting (just because it’s easier to follow the pattern if we call one side the right side).
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The wrong side which some of my family love better. No problem because both sides are beautiful.

Then, the saga continues, Gayle sent me her latest design for tech editing. You guessed it, very similar. Great minds and all that. Out of 200 stitch patterns from the Reversible Knitting Stitches book we chose the same central cable. It’s obviously the best looking cable in the book, ha, ha.

The Marksbury Wrap   Check it out.

Gayle's reversible scarf

And how is the winter wedding wrap coming along? So far, so good.


My daugher wanted a very wide wrap so this is approximately the Three Cable Reversible Scarf x 3.  I’m about half way done, OK maybe not quite half but it’s moving along. I might need some cheering from the sidelines for the last couple of feet.

FOLLOW ME for more knitting adventures.   Thanks for reading,


Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry

Purlin’ J’s Roving Yarn Co.

Imagine if your local yarn shop came to you. OK it’s not like the ice cream truck cruising your neighbourhood but if you see this truck, STOP, there is yarn.

purlin j's truck

Purlin’ J’s Joan Sharpe, roves around to various fibre festivals in the Kingston, Ontario area bringing yarn to the masses. That would be us.

purlin j

Joan came to the Sticks, Strings and Stewardship Retreat I was at last weekend. She is very engaging and has a great story of how she got here inside a roving truck: Purlin’ J is me, Joan Sharpe, and I have years of knitting expertise to share with Purlin’ J’s customers. My late mother, Dorothy, taught me to knit when I was eight years old. (It took a few tries for me to get the hang of it!) My mother encouraged me to work at my local yarn shop when I was still a teenager. This part-time job helped pay my way through a two-year Fashion Design Diploma program at Sheridan College, where I majored in knit clothing. I was hired straight out of college to join the hand-knit pattern design team for the Bouquet brand of yarns manufactured by Spinrite Yarns. As part of the design team, I worked on turning design concepts into written patterns and finally into completed garments.

Since 2013 her 1982 fire service rescue truck has been packed with goodies.


I think this is even better than the ice cream truck. Don’t you?

Thanks for reading and Happy Thanksgiving,


Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry

Apres Retreat

I retreated last weekend …


with my favourite people, Knitters! At the Sticks, Strings and Stewardship Retreat in Sudbury, ON, we knit, laughed, learned some new skills, ate, laughed some more and knit. I feel refreshed and the best part is that I feel right in the world about my knitting obsession.

I exposed some knitters to the wonders of I-Cord (much of it “unvented” by the wonderful Elizabeth Zimmermann). It was wonderful to see the light go on as we discussed all the ways I-Cord can be used:

  1. free standing I-cord (here’s an i-cord photo tutorial)
  2. built-in i-cord,
  3. applied aftermarket,
  4. worked as a cast on & cast off,
  5. different styles of buttonholes
  6. decoration (putting i-cord worms on a sweater being my all time favourite).

I’m going to do The Magic of I-Cord again at our next retreat: Cabin Fever Retreat on October 26-28, 2018 at the Fern Resort in Orillia. We’re going to tackle all things I-cord in a little project that you’ll have finished by the end of the weekend. There will be great food, lots of laughs, new skills and lots and lots of knitting. I’m primed now and can’t wait to get started.

I did a little stroll through my Cabin Fever designs where I used the Magic of I-Cord. I was surprised by the number. Here are just a few of my favourites.

YOSO 2016 Mosaic Knitting
Mosaic Tiles hat, I-cord brim and tail at crown.
kimono vest
Kimono Vest, all edges worked as built-in I-cord. No finishing, just sew on the button.
Swing Coat
Swing Coat, I-cord front edge, mock I-cord details (vertical lines) and hidden buttonholes.
Top Down Ridges P1040401 - Copy
Top Down Ridges with the front edge worked in built-in I-cord.

My first retreat of the season convinces me that this is the most wonderful way to spend a weekend. I wonder why it’s called a retreat? I can only think that it is a retreat from our normal lives where people don’t get our devotion to knitting.

Thanks for reading,


Cabin Fever pattern on ravelry


Knit to Fit and Fade

My first fade is finished. I love it. I knit it in Dragon Strings,   Fairy Wrap (worsted weight) in Dirty Hippy colourway with 4 colours. The Fade stripes were easy to work and it’s so much fun getting to see the next colour blend in. I would totally do another sweater this way.



KNIT TO FIT:    Usually your Top Down pullover will have a specific number of stitches to reach for the bottom of the yoke. That was the case here but I still wanted to have extra width across the Front for 2 obvious reasons. The easiest way to do this was to work the increases that would normally be worked on the Back, on the Front as extra increases. The stitch count remains as it should and there would then be extra width on the Front where I needed it.

Continue reading “Knit to Fit and Fade”

Obsessed with the Fade

Have you done one of these? What did you think of it?

The title says it all. I’m having so much fun I don’t want to put my pullover down. I started another Any Gauge Raglan 6 days ago and it’s almost done (OK, no sleeves makes it pretty fast). This is worsted wool from Dragon Strings, wonderful to knit with which is  more than half the pleasure, with colours that go around the colour wheel: red, gold, green/blue, blue. I am just into the blue now.


The blending is interesting for a newbie. I did [2 rounds new colour, 2 rounds old colour] twice between the red and gold. I think I could have done more blending here.


When I went from the gold to the green/blue I worked the set of 4 blending rounds 3 times. I thought that worked better. It just meant starting to blend when I had more yarn left in the colour I was working on. It’s definitely a bit of a guessing game.


The blue/green to blue hardly needed any blending at all but I did some anyway.


And now I’m working with the blue alone.


I looked up what other people recommend. Here’s a short list:

  1.  Stephen West (youtube video) recommends working 2 row stripes with the old and new colours for as long as you like. You have to love that relaxed attitude.
  2.  Fruity Knitting (youtube podcast) did a lovely interview with Andrea Mowry , one of the most popular fade designers. The interview starts at 46 minutes into the program.
  3.  The Unique Sheep (blog post) recommends  2 rows New; 4 rows Old; 4 rows New; 2 rows Old.
  4.  For an analysis of the Fade trend read Grading the Fade by Stichcraft Marketing.

I will be doing another one for sure. All those lonely balls of yarn in my stash will get some friends. It’s really a community project for my stash. How can I resist that?

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you’ve tried this and how you liked it.


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Cabin Fever Patterns on Ravelry

Cable Trick, for spectators

The season has started. The spectating/knitting curling season for us as fans of our daughter’s curling team began last weekend. Spectating from behind the glass while knitting this weekend was a reminder of  what an emotional roller coaster ride it is to watch your child (even when they’re grown up) do what they love to do, win or lose.


Team Harrison (playing China here).  With a newly constituted team we didn’t know what to expect but 5 wins and 2 loses put them into the playoff quarter finals where they lost to the team that won it all. Yay Team.

I knit so I don’t chew my finger nails to bits. I’ve been doing this for years so I am aware of some of the pitfalls in choosing the wrong project. Is tense knitting going to show because there will be some. Can I do most of it while still  watching? Can I sit in a chair and not disturb any people around me because it is often a tight squeeze which I realized the time I took straight needles. Imagine needles ends waving around in front of my neighbours. Yeah you get the picture.

This was a good project choice. Thick wool which will not show when things got tense. It’s worked on a circular needle. Cable Trick (see below) meant I could keep track of cable crosses easily. No cable needle needed so it can’t fall on the floor and get lost. Straight forward knitting between cable crossings.


Preparation is everything. I spent the day before getting my project ready. I cast on and then with removable markers, set up where I wanted the cables to go. The thin metal markers are the raglan markers and the coloured plastic markers indicate my cable locations: a small cable on both sleeves and a larger cable down the front and back.


I did the first set up round, increasing stitches between the cable markers. Cables suck your fabric in so you need to increase stitches before working the first cable cross. I decided to do it right away. This is the sleeve cable.


The set up started with 4 sts: 1 border st, 2 cable sts, 1 border stitch. I want to have a 4 st cable so I will increase 2 sts in these 2 cable sts in the next round.

I used a new to me increase which I thought worked quite well. This is a variation of the Kf&b:  Knit into the front of the stitch and without taking the stitch off the needle, insert right needle into back of  the same stitch and slip it. Take stitch off left needle. You have increased one stitch. One of the stitches is knit and the second stitch was slipped.


Once I was set up like this and worked the first cable crossing, this project was ready to go.

You may be wondering if crossing cables is a good choice for a project where your mind is partly occupied. Keeping track of when to cross is the trick to working good cables.

Here’s the TRACKING WHEN TO CROSS CABLES Trick. Every time you cross a cable you create a hole right where the cross took place.


When you are close to working the next crossing stick a needle tip, pencil or your cable needle into the hole of the last crossing and run it up behind your work, popping it out right below the working needle, between the edge of the cable and the next purl border stitch. All the bars between these two stitches will be on top and you can count them.


I’m crossing this 4 stitch cable every 4th round as follows:  The first bottom bar showing is the round where I did the last cross (Round 1 cross cable). The next 3 bars indicate the next 3 rounds (Rounds 2, 3 & 4 work as set). Cross cable again on the next round (Round 1 cross cable).


You can keep checking to make sure you on the correct round to make the next crossing. It makes cables in this nice thick wool the perfect project.

Thanks for reading,


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Cabin Fever Patterns on Ravelry