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My Great Toronto Yarn Hop 2020 (virtual) Haul

The Great Toronto Yarn Hop is an annual event that takes fibre artists on a tour of Toronto’s yarn stores. In a usual year, you buy a ticket to be part of a certain tour group and take the TTC around the city to a handful of stores – each group is a different tour route. And at the end everyone congregates at a restaurant to socialize.

I always want to attend, but I never have because I feel a little shy about not knowing anyone. This year The Great Toronto Yarn Hop went virtual, which was the perfect opportunity to dip my toes in!

I bought my “passport” ticket and some extra raffle tickets and eagerly awaiting the event. This year passport had one week to shop from the participating stores and take advantage of the discounts they were offering.

This event was so great because I’ve only ever visited one local yarn store before even though we have so many here in Toronto. It was a great opportunity to get to know them, at least through their online sites.

Now that you know all about the event, we’ll get to the reason we’re here. My Yarn Hop Haul. It’s pretty modest I didn’t want to go overboard, especially because I’m supposed to be stashing down this year. So, I made just three purchases.

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

#1

I have had my eye on this Cocoknits stitch marker set for ages! I knew that The Purple Purl carried them so I fully intended to order them for my birthday. But The Great Toronto Yarn Hop came along and so I got my birthday gift early!

I put these to use right away on my current WIP the Simone Pullover I’ve been using one for my beginning of round and I LOVE the little spiral ones for progress keepers and to track measurements.

#2

A sweater’s quantity of Berroco Vintage DK from Knit-o-matic. This yarn is for the For Fox Sake sweater by Maxim Cyr. It’s been on my queue since it came out!

This was one of the sweaters I had in mind when I put doing more colourwork, and more colourful knitting, on my 2020 goals list. I knew I wanted to do a purple body on this sweater, but I was initially thinking a darker plum colour. But this fuchsia caught my eye.

It’s definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I can’t wait to see how it works up.

#3

This purchase is a two-in-one I ordered two skeins of sock yarns from The Knitting Loft!

I knew that I wanted to add some self-striping to my stash so I picked up this Biscotte Yarns skein of Bis-sock in the colourway Lighthouse. I love it!! This is definitely going to be a pair of a socks with a fun contrasting heel.

I also grabbed this hot pink skein of Artfil Belle sock yarn, this colour is called Bubblegum.

If you don’t know I absolutely love pink, especially hot pink. I have been wanted to knit a pair of hot pink Shag Carpet Shorties, so I’m going to hold this double to make them.

That’s it for my purchases, I showed a lot of self-restraint – LOL!

I did look at all of the participating stores, so these three purchases are just the beginning! I took note of all the yarns and notions that I would go back and purchase later. I really loved participating in this event, especially because it was an opportunity to support our local Toronto yarn shops during this challenging time.

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Musings

Knitting Goals 2020 Check-in

I can’t believe that we’re already in July of 2020! I wanted to take this opportunity halfway through the year to post an update on the knitting goals that I posted about earlier in January. I’ve made some good progress, but there are definitely areas where I need to step it up.

Warning, please read: Some of the links in this post are to Ravelry. If you have experienced negative effects from their new webdesign or you are at risk of negative effects from the new webdesign, please exercise caution following these links.

I didn’t include this in my January blog, but I just passed a knitting milestone for 2020!

At the beginning of the year, I set my project goal at 23 projects. In 2019 I completed 22 projects, so 23 was a one project increase. Well, halfway through the year and I’ve completed 25 projects. WOW!

I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have any plans for a few months. I still have quite a few projects in the queue for 2020 so who knows how many I will end up completing. 

Here is an update on the goals I wrote about earlier this year:

Colours

One of the goals I set was around colours, specifically doing more colourwork projects and using more bright colours in my knitting. I love bright pinks and teals, but I have tended to lean towards a lot of navy blue in my knit wardrobe. 

I recently completed my Sonya Tee which is the most complicated colourwork project that I have done so far and I love how it turned out. 

I purchased the blue/purple colour which is Magician from Sweet Georgia back in 2018 and then it took me a while to choose a contrast colour. I have a terrible time choosing contrasting colours and I was going to use a neutral like a grey colour, but I wanted something that was going to be a bit more dramatic. 

So I used a colour wheel and picked orange as a contrast colour and then found this beautiful soft orange called Peachy which is also from Sweet Georgia. I will definitely use a colour wheel next time I’m having trouble picking colours!

I also recently finished my Campside Cardi in this pomegranate red which is a colour that is way outside of my comfort zone, this is one of only two red items in my closet!

And I haven’t just been using bright colours I’ve been reaching into some lighter coloured neutrals as well. I’ve just started swatching for my Simone Pullover and I’m using a taupe-y grey colour which is a colour I have never used before. 

Scrappy Projects

Another one of my goals was to knit more scrappy projects to use up the bits and pieces I have leftover from other projects. 

I have a Coziest Memories Blanket that I started in August of 2019 to use up leftovers from socks. But I wanted something a bit more because I only use about half a 100g skein to make socks so that leaves quite a bit leftover for scrappy knitting. 

Near the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown Jessie Mae launched a free KAL for the My Little Secret Crop. I finished two of these using leftover fingering weight held double. 

For the first one I did a marled fade starting with two yarns held double, fading into the second colour held double and then fading into a third colour at the top. 

The second one I used some leftover self-striping sock yarn from Nomadic Yarns held double with another fingering weight yarn. I love the way this one turned out and the striping became almost a variegated colour over the full circumference of the top.

I cleaned up my yarn and realized that I have quite a bit of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick scraps. So I’ve been brainstorming ways to use these up, you may have seen my Free Scrappy Knit Coasters Pattern. Stay tuned for more patterns and ideas for using up super bulky scraps. 

Stashbusting

This is one of the most challenging goals that I set – not buying yarn!! And I think I did pretty good, but not perfect. 

I’ve used up a lot of scraps in the projects I mentioned above and I stashed down in about 11 projects this year and I have purchased two sweater quantities of yarn and some other single skeins here and there. 

I still have quite a few projects to knit from stash before I go too wild buying more yarn!

Designing and Pattern Releases

I’m doing pretty well on this goal, between paid-for and free patterns I’ve released five patterns in 2020. You can view all my designs here on Ravelry.

I have two sock designs in the works, one of which I’ve been sitting on for about a month trying to build the confidence to send it out for testing! I am hoping to get out these sock patterns this Summer, I’m planning to seek a tech editor to make sure that my sock formatting is up to snuff. 

Here’s a sneak peek at the two designs:

I have quite a few ideas floating around so stay tuned as the colder weather comes because I’ll likely have a couple of patterns out this Fall!

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Musings

How to Style a Cropped Sweater

Hi friends!

You’ve probably noticed that cropped style tops are one of the latest fashion trends. And fashion trends in knitting are no exception, Ravelry and Instagram are full of cropped knit sweaters.

Before we get into it, here’s a bit about the sweater I’ll be showing off. My Ursa sweater is one of my favourite knits, it’s so cozy and the brioche details are stunning. The pattern is by Jacqueline Cieslak and you should definitely check out her work if you’re not already a fan.

A young Caucasian woman wearing a purple knit sweater poses in front of cherry blossom trees
Me rocking my Ursa sweater on its first public outing last spring

Before knitting my Ursa sweater I had never worn a cropped style before. And I was a bit unsure of how to style it. But since then I have found a few great looks that I absolutely love.

Here are four ways I’ve found to wear my Ursa sweater – I hope you find them helpful for rocking your own cropped styles!

Business Casual

This is a favourite outfit for me on a day when I want to look professional, but be super comfy cozy.

For this look, I’ve layered a cropped sweater over a classic white collared shirt, paired with a pair of simple dress pants and black heels. This is a perfect outfit to wear around the office to integrate cropped styles into your workwear.

You could also pair this look with a skirt instead of pants or try a collared shirt in a fun colour, maybe even denim, instead of the white.

Casual Friday

A different take on a workplace outfit, this look sees my Ursa sweater layered with a simple tank top, jeans and a pair of boots. The perfect look for a Fall Friday that you can wear to work and then to drinks after!

Weekend Brunch

This is one of my favourite looks because it’s easy and comfy! That’s why I’ve called it Weekend Brunch because it’s perfect for heading out to brunch or whatever else your weekend has in store. I’ve partnered my cropped sweater with leggings and a pair of sneakers.

Date Night

This look a little more dressed up, I’ve paired my Ursa sweater with a simple black dress and tights and finished the outfit off with a pair of black ankle boots. This look is nice, but still comfortable enough that you can wear it all day and then out to dinner.

There you have it four easy ways you can style a cropped sweater for day to day wear!

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Musings

2020 Knitting Goals

Hi Friends! 

As we just entered a new year (and a new decade – I can’t believe it), I wanted to share my 2020 knitting goals. 

I know that a lot of people create a Make 9 for their knitting goals, but the Make 9 isn’t really my thing. I tried it last year and I found that it felt restrictive and it left me feeling guilty if I made something that wasn’t part of the 9. So I tossed the whole thing out the window.

This year, I’m focusing on broader goals like certain colours, techniques and types of projects, with some specific projects included as well. And I have some goals relating to my own designs.

I think I’ll do a follow-up post – maybe a video so I can show off the yarn – about the specific patterns and yarns I want to knit up in 2020!

So here we go:

Colours

This year is going to be a big year of colour work for me, I have a few stranded colourwork sweaters in my Ravelry queue. And I have a few faded projects in mind as well, I’ve never knit a fade before so I’m excited about that!

Last year I feel like I knit a lot of darker colours and neutrals. I’ve started some projects recently that have pinks, and nice teals – I’m really into the dark grey and greens/blues combination in my Overlander Shawl.

A grey and green knit shawl in progress with the fingers from a hand holding a new ball ready to be joined
A progress pic of my Overlander Shawl with the third colour ready to be added

These are the types of colours I’d like to keep working with this year. And I think that at the end of the year they’d all work nicely together in a scrappy project like an AquaMarline, pattern by Park Williams. Which brings be to my next goal…

Scrappy projects

Last summer I started a Coziest Memory Blanket to use up the scraps from my sock knitting, I knit a lot of socks last year! And I really loved the opportunity to use up those leftovers in a fun way. 

A Caucasian hand holds two knitting needles working on a patchwork blanket
The most recent progress photo of my Coziest Memory Blanket

This year I’d like to do something similar with my scraps that aren’t sock weight, like the AquaMarline or the Home Sweet Home Formula by Tina Tse, maybe both. It depends on how much knitting I get done!

Stash busting

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having a large stash! But for me, having a lot of yarn and projects on my queue is a source of anxiety. I look at all of the yarn and I just see the projects unfinished and it’s overwhelming. 

An orange cat curled up on a comforter with a pink skein of yarn in front of it
This pretty skein from Hello Stella is one of my last yarn purchases of 2019

This year I want to clean up my stash and complete the projects that I already have yarn for first. Then I’ll move onto pattern stash busting and knit through the things on my Ravelry queue that I don’t have yarn for yet.

The goal here is to enter 2021 without an overwhelming yarn stash and Rav queue! Is it too soon to be talking about 2021?!

Designing and pattern releases 

I have so many ideas for designs that I just need to sit down and knit up. As well as a couple that I’ve fully written and just didn’t have the confidence to put through testing and release. 

So my goal is to get through some of these. I’m not going to put a number on how many I’m going to release or put too much pressure on myself, but there are 5 or 6 patterns that I hope to release in 2020. And I have yarn for all of these! So that’s also stash busting.

Some of these new designs will be free on the blog and others will go up in my Ravelry store

Young Caucasian woman wearing a blush pink knit infinity scarf
The Luxurious Velvet Infinity Scarf can be found free on the blog

 

So there they are, those are my knit goals for 2020. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I’ll be focusing on this year, and maybe took some inspiration for your own goals.