Thursday, December 05, 2013

I Will Have One In Every Colour Please

The world of knitters/crocheters/makers is divided. There are those who partake in their craft because they love the process, and those who do it for the finished product. While I would argue that everyone who "makes" likely enjoys both aspects of their art (who the heck knits socks because they NEED socks, but HATES knitting?!?!?!?!), it tends to be one or the other that really motivates us each to the finish line- or not.

I am most definitely a "process person". I tend to only blog about the rare thing that I finish... which explains why my posts are so sporadic. I practically cast on something new everyday! I love trying out new techniques and new yarns, getting familiar with the process... then as soon as I come across something else that strikes my fancy, I am onto the next thing.

Inspiration and access to yarn at any given hour are just a few of the perks of working at a yarn shop. But it is exactly these two things that do little to keep me focused on only one project at a time.

For those of you who have been keeping track of the gorgeous handmade blankets that I have acquired over the past year or so, you will know that I really do not need to be making myself anymore.

However, when a box arrived at the shop a few months back, and I loved every colour of yarn that was in it... my wise mother suggested to me that I just crochet a blanket using one of each shade.

Oh! The enabling that goes on between is ridiculous.

Trust me... I know.

Buried under THREE crocheted blankets- one in progress
But I had been wanting to tackle "Granny Stripes" for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Clearly, I do not "need" a blanket, but that's not why I made this.

What I "needed", was to try out some Granny striping!

A "process person", indeed.

Cushion- Jenna Rose
Then, by some kind of miracle... I actually made it to the finish line.

Something warm, something soft, something washable and something with almost every colour that I love.

Which is all the colours.



Pattern- I sort of mashed together both Attic 24's tutorial on "Granny Stripes", as well as another one that helped clarify for me the edge- which OF COURSE I cannot find for you now. This one however, seems to be pretty decent.
Yarn- I used A LOT of Fibra Natura's "Inca". About 35 balls total. While Mary's Yarns does not stock the entire range of shades available in this yarn (there just isn't room in our tiny shop!), I included all of the colours that we do. Which include- 2 "Tangerine", 13 "Nile Green", 14 "Dark Teal", 20 "Fandango", 31 "Taupe", 33 "Dark Grey", 34 "Ecru", 35 "Black", 22 "Dusty Pink", 27 "Chocolate", and 7 "Corn Yellow". I used three balls of each, but four of the Dark Teal and the Black.
Hook- 8mm, which makes this giant blanket actually FLY off the hook (likely the real reason why I actually finished this beast of a blanket in the first place).

So there you have it. I finished something, and I satisfied my "sweet tooth", in the crocheting sense of the term.

And all just in time for the first snow to fall.

Friday, November 29, 2013

One Year

On Sunday, November 17th, my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Could someone please tell me where that year went? Whoa.

Flowers courtesy of Blush and Bloom|
Photography by Pear Studios

While we didn't do much in the way of celebrating aside from some burgers from Harvey's on the couch, I did feel the need to nod to one particular aspect of our wedding day.

If you will recall, there were some socks.


So it only seemed fit that for our first anniversary, there should be another pair of socks.

Yarn- Two Balls of Estelle "Sock It To Me"
Needles- 2.5 mm, 80 cm Addi Turbos
Is this a "thing" now, you ask? I'm not sure. Because while taking the leap to commit to this lovely man took not a second of hesitation... Agreeing to a plain pair of grey size 12 men's socks every year certainly does.

I assure you that it is no coincidence that this post is twelve days post anniversary... Big grey socks are just such a bore to knit. Even for the man you love.

However, he adores his hand knit socks. And he wears them a lot. Like... he wears them OUT. Those wedding socks of his are absolutely threadbare. Totally beyond repair. (Trust me! I tried!) And while the year certainly did seem to fly by on us, the state of those grey wedding socks would lead me to believe that a lot has happened in this first year of marriage.

It has been an exciting and productive year, even if it does feel like a blur.

I really cannot wait to see what exciting adventures continue to be in store for us...

And how many more pairs of hand knitted socks we wear through.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Some Cozy With Some Cashmere

My dad has a friend who used to host a morning TV show here in the Toronto area. This led to him having to get up at some ungodly hour each and every weekday so that he was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to greet the city with a smile on his face when the show went live to air at 5:30 am. (All of a sudden... the time that your alarm clock is set at doesn't seem so gross now, does it?)

While he never complained about the hours he had to keep, he did comment on one occassion that November was always the most difficult month of all to drag himself out of bed.

Are you finding that these days?

Because despite our warmer than average November temperatures this year... I know that I certainly am.

Lucky for me... I just cast off these super-luxe fingerless gloves this week, and somehow, having these on my hands makes walking out the front door and into the frost covered universe just a little easier to bear.

Don't believe me?

If I told you that the yarn I used contained alpaca, camel, silk AND cashmere, then would you???

I thought so.

Polish- OPI "Cuckoo For This Color" from the Switzerland collection
Pretty AND cozy.

Like... cozy beyond your wildest dreams.

The ultimate in luxury.

You know... just pullin' some weeds in my cashmere gloves. NBD.

Imagine wearing these while sipping your first cup of coffee in the morning... Now that is what I call getting your engine revving in style!

Early Morning Info 

Yarn- The Fiber Company "Road to China Light" in the shade "Smoky Quartz", 2 skeins (BUT BARELY! Had I cut back on the arm length just a bit, I would have easily gotten the pair out of one skein)
Needles- 3.75mm double pointed
Pattern- Susie Roger's Reading Mitts by Susie Rogers- FREE on Ravelry

So for all of you who are looking to treat yourself a little in this otherwise rather dreary month... then get on it. Cast on and see what the fuss is all about.

Your boss will surely notice how brightly you are shining in the midst of a month where your co-workers are surely all asleep at their desk.

An oldie... but a goodie.
Whether or not you care to share the news with your co-workers that your knitting is the secret to your success... is entirely up to you.

Friday, November 01, 2013

So Fast, So Warm

Hallowe'en is behind us, the weather is getting chilly, and "quick knits' is something that I have been thinking about as of late as the countdown to Christmas is now in full effect (54 days- FYI).

I thought I would kick off this stretch of holiday knitting by churning through something super quick and easy. You know? Something that will help me convince myself that I CAN actually make it through the long list of gifts that I intend to conquer. (Pfft...)


So there you have it. Another chunky cowl that knits up faster than the speed of light. This baby was born in only a few short hours.

Not all that different from the ones I have churned through in the past... but different enough to keep it interesting.

Make one for you, make one for under the tree. 

Rather similar to how I was handing out candy last night, I must admit...


So, if you are also looking to update someone's winter wardrobe... here is what you need to know.

Pattern- Marshmallow Fluff by Sarah Kraly
Yarn- Cascade Magnum in shade 8236
Needles- 15mm (they're like broom handles!!!)
Mods- The pattern says to cast on 15 stitches, but I went for a whopping 25 and one skein was still enough. If you don't want your cowl as deep, then do what you're told and follow the pattern. (What a concept!)

It's Go-Time my friends.

Time to wrap yourself and your loved ones in all the wool you can find.

 Snow has already blanketed a large part of this fine country, so you had better be prepared!

You just might be next...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thirteen Buttons For Baby

One of the absolute delights (among many) of working at a yarn shop, is having the pleasure of dealing with a handful of the "Grandparents-To-Be" of the world. There is truly NO ONE happier than someone who has just found out that they are about to become a Grandparent- even if it IS for the 39th time! The novelty appears to just never wear off...

So "baby stuff" is always a GO at Mary's Yarns. We could simply never have enough samples of baby knitting, so when people start requesting certain tiny garments, we do our best to listen up.

Which brings me to... this sleep sack, or "snuggle bag" as the pattern so aptly refers to it as.

Word on the street is that lots of babies are no longer taking their "blankies" to bed with them for safety reasons. I know that our nephew who is almost a year and a half now crawls into his sleep sack each night to cuddle down, and that kid sleeps like a log. His parents might very well argue otherwise... but I suspect that if he does kick up a fuss, it's not his "snuggle bag" that's the reason for it.

Snuggle bags? They're cute! A miniature sleeping bag with straps! Even the coldest of hearts out there will warm at the thought of such a thing... I know it!

When we knit anything for baby, for some reason we just assume that it's going to fly right off our needles. And while this is often the case... we neglect to take into account that there is usually a good deal of finishing involved. In this particular instance, lots of buttons and seams.

Thirteen buttons in total.

Not only am I superstitious... I don't particularly love sewing on buttons.

But I did.

Because I knew that the end effect would be so worthwhile.

But if buttons on a baby makes you sort of uneasy, you go right ahead and sew a zipper along that bottom curve. I just suggest that you don't turn to me for advice on how it's done however... As I will surely lead you astray.

I know that this is something that would get used again and again and again- (had it been knit for an actual baby, and not just the shop). Every night, in fact! It would fit a child from right out of the womb into the early days of toddler-dom.

So it's worth it. Totally and 100% worth each one of those thirteen buttons.

Details for all of you happy Grandparents-To-Be out there

Yarn- 6 balls of Peter Pan Merino Baby is shade 3035. SUCH good stuff. Well priced, washable, and 100% merino! That about nails it... 
Needles- 4mm, 80 cm Addi Turbo
Pattern- Baby Snuggle Bag from Peter Pan Baby Merino book 355

So stay warm knitters.

And a very happy and safe Hallowe'en to you all.

May your "treat" today, be a good block of time to do nothing other than...


Thursday, October 24, 2013

House = Warmed

 A good reason for my less-than-chatty ways on this blog as of late, is that we are still living out of boxes and I am feeling completely and utterly disorganized. As my mom put it not too long ago "It's like we're camping". And she's right.

We're totally camping.

Except that... our roof doesn't leak and we have a thermostat to control these chilly nights that have recently come upon us. Thank goodness for that!

We are still in the process of trying to sell our old place, so we have the minimum amount of furniture with us in our new one. And I mean... MINIMUM. People came over this past Saturday evening, and we actually sat on the living room floor. We have one table, two kitchen chairs, two Ikea Poang chairs, our TV, a bed... and that's pretty much it. LIVING ROOM FLOOR. Such terrible hosts...

The thing about a house with no furniture- particularly an old house- is that it can be pretty chilly. Especially as the cooler months make their imminent presence more apparent to us.

Back in late September, my long time friend Carolyn came over to check out our new digs and... sit on the floor with me for a visit. It was one of the first REALLY cold nights of Fall and just so happened to be the night that I turned on the heat for the very first time.

She showed up at our place, not only with a bottle of wine and a beautiful handmade card in tow, but also with a STUNNING handmade blanket. A housewarming gift, in the most literal sense of the term.

Thick, chunky, 100% wool.

And it is without a doubt, 100% beautiful.

We wasted no time putting it to VERY good use, that very night. Such great timing!

While I had been informed that this blanket was going to happen, she picked the colour all on her own. And it's perfect. A rich teal that will keep us cozy on the coldest of days.

And a beautiful lace pattern that will be a pleasure to look at, no matter what the weather.

Don't believe me that someone could love us this much?

I don't blame you... I'm having a hard time believing it myself!

But here you have it.

This blanket makes me feel less like we're camping, and more like we're "glamping"
So now, I would say that we are fully 'covered' (pun intended), should you decide to pay us a visit in our new/old house.

I am warning you beforehand that you just might get chilly- so wear your woolens.

But should you forget... I am sure that between this, this and now this... you will be able to find yourself something cozy to curl up under.

Even if it is on the living room floor...

Warm and Knitterly Details For All

Yarn- 13 balls of Cascade Lana Grande in shade 6049 (I think...)
Pattern- Jared Flood's Umaro
Needles- Hm... not so sure. 10mm I'm guessing??
Mods- My buddy ran out of yarn just shy of two repeats. I told her just to do the border, and cast off. It's the perfect size, and continuing to knit onwards, just because the pattern told her to seemed silly.

So thank you Carolyn!

Our house and our hearts are now warm to the max.

No matter what our old thermostat says...

Stay warm friends!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And... Onto The Next Pair

 Have you ever finished a project not because you actually wanted to finish the project... not because you actually needed whatever that project was (in this case... a pair of socks)... and not even because you have a deadline looming (even if you actually do!) but you finish simply because you find yourself REALLY wanting to use the needles and project bag for something else?

For example... this week, I decided to pull out my #1 fave project bag that my good buddy Tara made me when I got engaged back in May of 2012. Hidden within that project bag, was a pair of socks that I had started in the Spring that I have been chipping away very slowly at. Don't some socks seem to feel like they take FOREVER to knit, while others just fall off the needles??? No matter how amazing the yarn is? Or is that just me?

I had a new ball of yarn in hand that I was all keen to get rolling with, but this roadblock stopped me right in my tracks. I couldn't very well evict the perfectly good socks that were SO close to completion, just because I had the urge to cast on something else!

As for the needles- let's be real. I have access to a yarn shop at any hour of the day, but in a way to try and tame that wild woman within me that wants to grab a new pair of needles for every project that I ever make... I have been trying my hand at just FINISHING the odd project so that I can use those needles, rather than always reach for a new pair. This certainly doesn't always work, but it's a start.

So, after a few terse words with myself (when a girl wants to cast on, a girl wants to cast on!), I sat down for a few good hours, finished these socks and promptly turned around and got rolling with what was next on my "TO KNIT" list.

I sort of love when yarn pools all crazy-like on a pair of socks
 It was worth it. Right? A black and white pair of socks for yours truly with little pops of pink. 

I love it.

And while I grumbled at the thought of having to finish them (so ridiculous), I'm pretty pleased that I did. 

While there is nothing fancy about these puppies... There is also NOTHING better than a freshly knit pair of socks.

Info For All of You Nosey Sock Knitters  

Yarn- Manos Allegria in shade 8105 "Cabaret" (Set to land at Mary's Yarns sometime in the next few weeks!)
Needles- 2.5mm 80cm Addi Turbo- I made the switch! I think I'm an official "Magic Looper" now! (Who AM I!??!?!)
Pattern- The one that I keep stored in my head where I should really be keeping other useful information.

As for the project bag... You're with me, right?

Cutest. Bag. EVER!

Happy Fall to you all!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We Heart You, Baby

My mom has had a baby blanket knit up in the shop as a sample since the beginning of Mary's Yarns time. It was knit by our very talented friend, the late Ellen Matheson and this blanket has been lovingly draped over the chair in the baby room for years.

While the blanket holds fond, fond memories for both my mom and I, I suspect that many customers have wondered why we have held onto it for so long. Our sample was knit out of an off white, sorta-scratchy, hand wash only, 100% wool, and I love it. In my perfect world, that's just what all babies would be swaddled in. There is simply nothing warmer! But... I realize that I am in the vast minority who think this way.

So, I felt as though it was time for an "update".

A "re-do".

But certainly not a "replacement".

So quite spontaneously, I cast on.

And much faster than I thought I would...

I then cast off.

I must confess that over the years, I have had my moments when I have thought this particular pattern to be a little bit "cheesy". Like... "Hearts? Really? Cutesy much?"

Those of you who have been to the shop and have seen my "heart scribbles" all over our handwritten signs, know that I love hearts just as much (if not more!) as the next person. But knitting hearts into a baby blanket seemed to be pushing it juuuuust a little.

But as more and more people around me start to have babies, I realize the significance of both this blanket, and this motif.

We knit blankets for new babies because we want to welcome them into this world with loads of warmth, and loads of love.

And what better way to do that, than with little knitted hearts?

Sometimes there are just no words to express how much you love someone.

So instead, you knit.

Some Lovey-Dovey Project Info

Pattern- Fiber Trends "The Heart Blanket" CH24 (we have copies at the shop)
Yarn- Four skeins of Butterfly Super 10 in shade 3925 "Lavender Ice", 100% mercerized cotton (we have this in the shop too)
Needles- 4.5mm, 80 cm Knitters Pride Symphonie Dreamz Interchangeable (which I LOVE, especially for someone who tends to only knit with Addi's!)
Mods- None whatsoever. I did JUST as the pattern told me to for the smaller of the two sizes. Had I shaved off one row of hearts however, I might have gotten away with a mere three skeins of yarn. But this time, I thought I would follow the rules.

Sorry. I should have smoothed out that wrinkle. This is sort of a terrible photo.
So while this blanket has no plans to go to any baby in particular, for the time being it will live nicely with the "original"- the one that has inspired countless knitters who have come into the shop to knit a little "love" into their project.

Happy end of summer knitters.

Whether you are thrilled to bid the hot, hot heat farewell, or are feeling rather down trodden about it all...

We inherited two apple trees with our new house. Apple sauce anyone?

 Remember that crisp nights means crisp apples! (And an excuse to pull out the hand knit socks again!)

So, dig in.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer Has Almost Slipped By

Greetings long lost friends. I swear to you, that I think of you everyday. And everyday I think to myself "I really want to check in with those guys- see how summer is treating everybody." And then... the day slips away.

Agh, who am I kidding??? This entire summer has slipped away! Am I right?

While I find people who answer the question "How are you???" with "I have been SO busy" (who isn't busy!?!?!?) to be terribly boring, I must confess... that has been my answer as of late.

Things have been busy.

But in all of the best ways possible.

We bought an old house.

Closing Day
We are enjoying summer.

Echinacea at it's best

And I am trying my best to get in as much knitting as possible.

Knitting content coming soon.

Scout's honour.

But until then, I hope all of you have also been VERY busy this summer... with your knitting, of course.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Snuggle Up, Baby

When my mom and I were down at TNNA together in June (the bi-annual trade show for yarn shop owners much like ourselves), we mosied on into the Appalachian Baby Knits booth, much like we do every year.

Each year we go into the booth, each year we hum and we haw over all of the beautiful kits and each year we decide to "leave it until next year".

But this year...we took the bait.

And we ordered.

A lot.

Maybe not as much as we could have... but enough to fill a few big boxes that arrived on our doorstep about a week ago.

As is often the case with buying at this show, we sometimes find ourselves getting SUPER excited about something on the show floor, but as soon we tear into the box once it arrives, it is something entirely different in that box that we simply cannot resist.

Funny how us knitters can change our tune as quickly as Mother Nature has been changing hers as of late. Isn't it?

I surprised myself however when I tore into those huge boxes, and went right to the exact same thing that drew me into their booth at the show.

The 'Snuggle Baby'.

Don't ask me why... but this baby spoke to me.

Was I possibly anticipating the arrival of my buddy Prince George when I cast this guy on???

There was simply no question in my mind that I had to make this baby a part of the hustle and bustle at the shop. Having the kits simply lovingly displayed simply wouldn't do.

We needed 'Baby' herself.

And as for the sad look on her face... it makes me smile.

So that's what I went for.

Should you be interested in welcoming a 'Snuggle Baby' into your family however, you can turn that frown upside down all you like.

Heck, you can even make it look like she's whistling for all I care! (Kudos to you if you manage that BTW... making a doll face is no easy task!)

Sweet, Sad, Snuggle Baby

Wee Babe Details
Pattern- Snuggle Baby by Chris de Longpre
Yarn- Brown Sheep Nature Spun
Needles- 4mm double pointed needles

But since we like to keep things as simple as possible during the hot, hot heat of July... why don't I just tell you that we have kits at the shop.


And speaking of shop...

Check out these hydrangeas that have been showing off at Mary's Yarns as of late.


To you, to the hydrangeas, and of course... to Baby.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Short and Sweet

It has been hot lately. And it seems as though everyone has little patience for much else other than iced tea and swimming pools.

So I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

I knit a baby bonnet. (This is the 'sweet' part)

And I love it.

Yarn- Canopy Worsted by the Fibre Company- 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool, 20% viscose in the shade "River Dolphin"
Needles- 4mm

Lilies in front of the shop

And this is the 'short' part.

Stay cool!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Knit Tags Anyone?

I recently went a little crazy with the crafting and starting stamping and punching out a ka-billion of these little tags for my hand knits.

Since it is no secret that this girl simply does not get through the amount of knitting she likes to pretend she does, there is no way on this God given green earth that she is going to use even a fraction of these tags on her own.

Not in this lifetime...

Not in fourteen of these lifetimes put together.

These photos confirm that I need to get a camera that is better than my stupid phone...
So I'm going to sell them. With the money going to a good place.

$8.00 for a package of 12 and 100% of the money goes to the Unionville Home Society- a place that has supported many individuals and families that have all supported our dear shop over the years.

Thanks for the mad photo taking skills sister!

So if you're interested, we have them available at Mary's Yarns, or you can purchase them right on this here darned blog. I will even throw in the shipping.

My wish for you is that you work your way through a package of these little tags far faster than I could ever dream.

Now, if you will all excuse me.

My knitting beckons.