Posts Tagged ‘handknits’

What a stunningly beautiful February day. The sun is shining like crazy and there is snow piled high on tree branches and fence rails. The birds even look happy. They flit about with joy and a spring in their step.

Just 2 more days until Valentines day and the anticipated arrival of our newest little family member. We are just so excited.

I’ve spent the last few weeks on custom work for a few of my customers.

Becky was looking for a luxury baby gift with a difference. We decided on a hand spun Angora and silk handknit baby shrug and matching hat. I call it Whisper. I searched through some of my vintage pattern books and online at vintage knitting site. Inspired by some of the vintage looks and a piece that I did a few years ago I came up with Whisper. The yarn is an amazing mixture of Angora fiber and Silk. They are so different in texture and appearance but come together to make a truly one-of-a-kind yarn with the best of both worlds. The fabric is fluffy and soft with a gorgeous halo but also has the added strength and unmistakable shine of the silk, not to mention the crispy feel that crunches like footsteps on very cold snow. It is tied at the neckline with a delicate pure silk ribbon. The hat is loosely based on a beret style hat from an old SRK pattern that I have loved over the years. It is the sweetest little cardigan and hat set in Marble. I looked for the pattern for days and days and I just couldn’t find it anywhere. Finally a wonderful friend on Ravelry sent me a scanned copy of it and saved the day. I promise we didn’t infringe on any copyrights as I really do own this one, just can’t seem to remember where I put it. The lace edging and the rose are hand crocheted from some very fine 100% handspun silk.

I knit a pair of casual socks for Carolyn. They were to have a casual look and go with her jeans. I am thrilled to report that she was very happy with the resulting socks.

Richard wanted the Turn a Square hat by Jared Flood (one of my own personal favorite designers). This project was a treat to knit and I was finished the first one in just a few days so we decided to knit another one with the colours reversed and it turns out that 2 of these hats can be knit with 2 x 50 gram balls but don’t do any extra rows as I only had about 1 yard left over.

Jamie asked me to spin some camel and silk yarn for her to knit a jacket for her brand new grandson in size 2. Congratulations Jamie and family!

I finally finished the Nube Garter Stitch socks and the Alpacalicious slippers with the leather soles and they have already been gifted.

Love one another

Winter Weather

It’s often cold in Southern Ontario, Canada in winter and it does snow here but this winter has been a winter to remember. We’ve had lots of days with record breaking low temperature and snowfalls, an ice storm with power outages to tell the grandchildren about and enough snow days to keep the kids really happy. Even though we spent our life savings on propane just to stay warm, and I didn’t really enjoy having my gall bladder removed, I really have enjoyed this winter overall. It’s so pretty to look outside at all that snow.  We’ve been feeding the birds and they’re just such a joy to watch and to get to know, especially exciting are the multitude of Cardinals we’ve welcomed in the last 2 years. As a knitter I didn’t have to feel guilty to just hunker down and knit and spin to my heart’s content. Nobody was going anywhere and it was nice and cosy warm in my home studio.

The Designs

I do have a few designs on the drawing board. The adult size “Top Down Hoodie” and another summer top called Wheat Fields as well as a couple of vests. “Frank’s Vest” is going to be a favorite, not to mention a few smaller things like the shrug I am doing for a customer, some socks that I am spinning and knitting for myself and the baby hat I just designed for my soon to be grandson :-))) Getting these written out and polished are a challenge for me because they involve a lot of thinking and computer time and, well, I’d rather be knitting…. so they get put on the back burner. I really need to give myself a big pat on the back for keeping track of all of my spinning and knitting project on Ravelry. At least, this way, I won’t forget – where’s my knitting at? I’ve had lots of custom work this winter too. I’ll post about that in February when I get them all photographed and shipped, or check out my progress on Ravelry.  The New Baby

One of the most exciting thing about this winter is the anticipation of the birth of our newest family member. As you can imagine this is always the most important and fun time to cast on and just be creative. I found this sweater and pants pattern at Drops Designs and improvise a hat to go with it. It was pure pleasure to knit this in Malabrigo Sock a luxurious pure merino wool yarn dyed to perfection. This yarn is a superwash (machine washable) which is very important for socks and new babies!

 

When a customer requested a custom knit sweater vest with a round neck I quickly found out why it had to be custom-made as well as custom designed. It is surprisingly difficult to find a vest without a v neckline in ready-to-wear or even in a knitting pattern.

There were a few measurements that I felt were critical to fit. I had my customer email me the finished width (1/2 circumference) of the vest as well as the desired length and finished width at shoulders. I usually suggest that if they have a sweater that fits well this is the most reliable way to get out new one to feel good on. This left the depth at the underarms, the band widths and the neck width and depth up to me as the designer.

I started with a drawing and a swatch. We decided on a fairly unknown yarn from a very well-known shop. The Blarney Woollen Mill is in Ireland at the same location as the famous Blarney Stone. They have lots of wonderful knitwear but only one yarn for sale and that in only 3 colours. Fortunately one of them was exactly what we wanted for the vest so I ordered the yarn at a very good price and the shipping was free as a nice little bonus.

I did a bunch of swatches and I am very glad I washed them before I cast on because the knitting gauge before and after washing was significantly different and I had to rely on my post-wash swatch gauge for not only sts to cast on, increase and decrease but also for the length as I used row counts instead of inches. I got a little nervous a few times but I kept going, believing in my swatch and was rewarded with a finished vest that measured exactly what I was aiming for.

I have the knitting instructions all written out and sized in men’s sizes from 32″ to 60″ chest. I will probably knit it again in a more common yarn, at least a yarn with a more common gauge and tweak the numbers. It should be available to download as soon as I can get it finished and edited.

They started life as a lesson in preparing and spinning a raw fleece for worsted spun yarn. You can find that post here “Hand Spinning a Worsted Sock Yarn – Slow Cloth” so I though you might like to see the finished product.

The socks are a slightly modified version of Gladysby General Hogbuffer. This pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

I had a bit of difficulty keeping the yarn consistent. This was probably because I was spinning too many other projects at the same time. I do find I can be completely consistent to the point where I can match yards per ounce in skein after skein but this is almost impossible if I am working on more than one project at a time.  It seems to be my “crocodile” brain that takes over when I am spinning. I blame the crocodile but perhaps if I took better notes and more complete records I could do a little better?

Here are the pictures of my finished socks. So warm and I am sure they will last a very long time.

Stunning Polwarth raw New Zealand wool fleece

Meredith has just sent me a few pictures of the sweater vest she created with the last of the Mango Merino Wool and Silk that I spun up into a yarn for her.

She’s amazing. When I spin for Meredith she doesn’t ask for yardage or WPI and I don’t have to match a gauge. She lets the yarn do the talking and doesn’t even decide what it will be until she’s had it in her hands for a while. This is creative freedom at it’s best.

Meredith has also generously sent me a testimony for our testimonials section.

Here’s what she says about the yarn and a few pictures. Thanks Meredith

” I ordered the merino wool and silk in “mango” and the baby camel and silk custom made yarns from Nancy Elizabeth Designs. Never having used hand-spun yarn, when it arrived the color and texture took my breath away. As an intuitive knitter, I let the yarn carry my thoughts and garment design and was excited by the results. For an unschooled knitter, this extraordinarily high quality yarn allowed me to a one-of-a-kind artsy original to suit my taste.”

Gaywool Colourful Merino and Silk Yarn

 

A few months ago I shared the pattern for the Hat my guys like and now here is the sweater that falls into that same category. With lots of input from DH, the eventual wearer of this pullover, I designed another sweater to match the one I knit him almost 30 years ago. Not only did the original sweater last for 30 years, but hardly a day went by that it was not called into service (except those hot summer days, of course) and it’s still all in one piece even if it is showing a little wear now.

As you can imagine, I’ve knit him a few sweaters over the years and some he wears a little and some he wears a lot. This is the one he hardly ever takes off! When the boys come in and see his newest sweater they want one too. I’m going to have lots of opportunity to knit this one in several sizes and variations and will keep you posted.

Here is the story of  spinning the yarn for Jacob from a Jacob fleece and another short post with a few more pictures. Pattern coming asap. I will have to knit it at least one more time as I want to show the body with a simple rib instead of the colour variegation.

I thought it was time to post an update to “Spinning the Spotted Fleece”.

The sweater now has a name. It will be called Jacob. I will probably do a pattern for it after I’ve knit it in another colour pattern for variety.

I’ve had quite a few orders for handspun yarns so the knitting is coming along rather slowly. I’m at the neck shaping. We tried it on and it’s within an inch of exact measurements which makes me very happy. That can definitely be worked out with washing and blocking.

I am working really hard to get some of my special hand knits listed here on the web site and in the Etsy store.

Today I got 2 more really special Angora garments listed that would be perfect for baby gifts. One for a baby boy and one for a baby girl.

These are both one of a kind garments. There is no pattern available yet and I have not knit them again in any other form. Each was designed specifically for that particular special garment. They are both luxury items  which would be perfect heirloom gift.

Ok, enough talk, lets see the pictures!

Little Boy Blue

Whisper Angora and Silk Baby Shrug

It ended up taking me far too long but I managed to get 2 new luxury items posted for sale here, on Etsy and in all of my Social Media pages as well as new projects posted in Craftsy and Ravelry.

Handknit Lace Wrap Bison and Cashmere

Peru Baby Alpaca – Baby Surprise Jacket in Newborn size

Enough talk, here are the images

Sneak Peek Angora baby sweater coming next week for sale here in the shop and on Etsy.

Angora Rabbit Fiber: Spun, Dyed, and knit by hand

Now Available to order

One of a kind Angora rabbit baby sweater handknit in the softest and finest handspun and hand dyed angora yarn. This is definitely next to the skin soft! An original design that I created just for this cardigan so it is truely a One of a Kind (OAK) garment. The front band features 5 handmade buttons. A very special little sweater that would make a wonderful heirloom quality gift.

SIZE: The sweater will fit a baby or toddler of approximately 6-12 months. It measures 21 inches around and 11 inches in length. weighs 144 grams or 5.1 ounces

order here