Happy National Sweater Day!

Coincidentally, right on the heels of my last post on John Watson’s jumpers, today is National Sweater Day in Canada. It’s also the opening day of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the Olympics this year, but I think, in the spirit of international cooperation with which the Olympics began (as the legend goes), that we can all agree that Canada is pretty darn great. Our neighbors to the north are also big fans of knitting; if you haven’t already checked out the blog of Canada’s most popular blogger, the amazing (and supernaturally fast) Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (a.k.a. the Yarn Harlot), you’re really missing something. Her knitting blog has, off and on, been the most popular blog in all of Canada. Yes, a knitting blog. I kid you not. She’s a national treasure right up there with hockey and publicly-funded health care.

Here are three great Canadian-inspired patterns to celebrate America’s best friend; all patterns are, of course, available via Ravelry:

Maple Leaf Knit Shawl by Natalia @ Elfmoda
This “Maple Leaf Knit Shawl” by Natalia @ Elfmoda is gorgeous, and there’s a crochet version as well.
"O Canada Mittens"
These “O Canada Mittens” by Vicky Taylor-Hood even have an Olympic-ring-styled design near the cuff, and I love the Latvian braid detail
"O Canada! Maple Leaves Hat" by Cheryl Andrews
This “O Canada! Maple Leaves Hat” by Cheryl Andrews also has a cute Latvian braid detail

Knitty Gritty (the former Vickie Howell-hosted television show, not to be confused with the current Vickie Howell-hosted television show, Knitting Daily) also has a pattern for fingerless gloves and a slouch hat with the maple leaf design.

On an only tangentially related note…. While knitting isn’t a sport (yet), this article by Katherine Martinko from Treehugger.com explains how knitting can help keep you healthy.

And, finally, last week’s episode of Sherlock, “His Last Vow,” was the last of series/season three, so as part of my increasingly futile efforts to stave off withdrawal, I’ve been trolling the internet for knitting references to the episode. While an excellent episode in many ways, there weren’t any blogworthy knitting references. However, Annie Modesitt’s latest colorway in her 221B series is, like all the others, gorgeous. In this case, “Straighten Your Knocker” a blend of “Deep browns, bronze yellows, black and a hint of scarlet; all wrapped up in a rich palette that would please any gift recipient who only wants “brown” (while also satisfying the knitting partner who wants a bit more excitement!).” The name is a reference to Mycroft Holmes’s compulsive habit of straightening the doorknocker whenever he comes to visit little brother Sherlock.

Well, that’s all the knitting news for today — tomorrow, my knitting and stitching goals for the year.

WIP: Baby Kimono for Niece

Ever since I found out this past February that I’m going to be an aunt, all I can think about is what I’m going to make for the little tyke. OK, yeah, yeah, I hope the baby’s healthy and all that… And, yeah, I hope my sister-in-law has a healthy and relatively uneventful pregnancy… But the real questions are: what to knit? what to stitch?

I’m particularly excited since this is my first outing as an aunt, and, since I’m the family spinster and I have only one sibling (brother Bill), I’m not likely to have a lot of children in my life to shower with painstakingly crafted handmade gifts. We found out recently that the baby’s going to be a little girl due at the end of September/early October. My SIL put it perfectly: “I can’t wait to meet her!”

Baby Kimono WIP To the left, we have the latest WIP: “Baby Kimono” by Kristin Spurkland from the Summer 2005 Interweave Knits “Baby Gifts” section (the pattern is also available for free from Knitting Daily). Although I don’t usually like to repeat patterns, you can see another version I made for my cousin’s baby here.

The yarn I used is ivory Suss Love, an incredibly soft 100% tactel nylon yarn that feels like cashmere (I swear!) but is washable. The pattern is worked all in one piece and I only have two halves of the two sleeves left to work. The pink stitch holder is holding the stitches for the right sleeve and my circular needles (Size 4, if you’re curious, and Size 4 if you’re not) are holding the stitches for the left. Since the entire piece is worked in garter stitch, the safety pin is marking the “wrong side” (the inside of the garment).

Update 01/25/11: Sadly, Suss Love has now been discontinued.

A Kimono Jacket for Brooke

Baby Kimono for Brooke As a follow-up to my previous posts about catching up on knitting for the family, I present these slightly murky photos of the kimono jacket I made for my new first-cousin-once-removed, Brooke Ellen Same-Last-Name-as-Yours-Truly. She was born last December 28th, but last weekend’s wedding was the first chance I got to see her father since her birth so I gave it to him then. Here’s a super-cute picture of my cousin, his son, and Brooke when she was just born.

Pardon the poor quality of the photos. I took them on my cell phone while propping up the jacket on a suitcase in the back of my car.

I used ivory Suss Cotton for the main color and trimmed it with a single crochet edging in willow Suss Cotton. I love sage green for baby clothes. The original Kristin Spurkland pattern, from the Summer 2005 Interweave Knits “Baby Gifts” section, didn’t call for any edging, but I really think it adds the perfect finish. Here’s a detailed look at the matching sage green ribbon closure:

Kimono for Brooke Close-upThe ribbon is a simple grosgrain with an ivory dashed stripe woven through the middle. This was a very simple pattern to follow (all garter stitch and all in one piece!) with very little seaming. Highly recommended for those of us knitters who dislike sewing.

Update, June 2009: an online version of “Baby Kimono” by Kristin Spurkland is available through Knitting Daily as part of their “7 Free Baby Knitting Patterns.”