Making the Grade-ient

I always seem to be drawn to multi-coloured projects not only because I can never make up my mind on a single colour but I love experimenting with all kinds of colour combinations.There is a downfall  to using a rainbow of colours all at once Рthere are ends, many many ends to weave in! Those who know me are more than aware that this is my least favourite aspect of knitting. After 11 years, when Joe reaches into his Christmas stocking he is immediately entangled in the dozens of neglected ends and tells me I should finish it before he gets injured! (All those ends do help fill up his stocking though!)

So, of course, the perfect solution was to make a gradient colour of several of my favourite colours – I could knit with many colours at once guilt free. I chose to use Grape, Indigo, Pine, Pear and Rosemary and called it ” Irises in Crayon”.

These 2 skeins of Irises in Crayon were exactly the same but looked totally different depending on how they were wound.

I had an idea for a sleeveless summer top in a fingering weight yarn that I wanted to try with my new colour. I decided to start with the grape colour.

 

It was very exciting to see how it was knitting up – I couldn’t put it down because I was so curious how it would turn out!

It was at this point in my knitting that I thought it looked like I had coloured the wool with crayons (hence the name “Irises in Crayon”) – not what I planned but I did liked it.

Almost done and in record time…….

Introducing¬† “Top of the Heat”. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out – not only were there just a few ends to weave in, but I decided to knit the armhole bands in with the main pieces to speed up the process even more. A perfect summer top that knits up quickly!

(I made size 2 of Top of the Heat which takes 2 – 100gm skeins of Irises in Crayon. For sizes 3 and 4, you will need 25 – 50 grams of the Rosemary colour (same as the last colour of the Irises in Crayon ). I would suggest starting with the gradient colour and when the skein runs out, switch to the Rosemary colour for the top of the Back and Front pieces and the neckband for a seamless transition.)

Curve Your Enthusiasm

Ryan Yarn would like to present two new patterns, a camisole and a cardigan called “Curve Appeal”. Both are made in Ryan Yarn’s Sock yarn which is a light weight superwash merino – perfect for spring and summer knitting. The cardigan also features a new tone on tone variegated colour aptly called “Spring”.

 

Wrap Stitch

A nice detail in both designs is the curved edging bordered in seed stitch. In order to achieve a smooth,seamless curve a wrap stitch technique was used on the bottom edge and to shape neckline.

Blocking

Also, whenever incorporating shaping of any kind in a knitting project, blocking is essential. Not only will it smooth out any bulging, curling and uneven stitches, it will improve the overall look and bring out the natural beauty of the wool.

To block knitted wool pieces you will need a padded surface(can be blocking boards or towels), t-pins, measuring tape and a spray bottle filled with water.

Step 1: Prepare surface. I just lay 2 towels on the carpet of my office(mostly so I can close the door and it won’t be disturbed). If you are worried about water soaking through, place a layer of plastic(like a garbage bag) between towels and carpet. If you have blocking boards assemble them to the size you need.

Step 2: Lay dry knitted pieces on surface. I like to start with dry wool because it is easier to handle and no danger of it being damaged or stretched. Pin in place with t-pins starting at top of piece. Use measuring tape to make sure piece is correct size and shape and pin around entire piece.

Step 3: Use spray bottle and spritz with water. When piece is sufficiently wet (but not dripping wet) leave to dry. You can repeat Step 3 over until the desired results are achieved.

Step 4: Remove pins and assemble garment.

Note: Colour difference in the before and after pictures is due to photos being taken at different times of the day and not as result of blocking.

Sightings

You never know what will show up in a picture when you take them deep in the woods(or beside your cottage). What woodland creature is lurking in the background? It’s small stature suggests it could be the offspring of that elusive furry apelike animal that wears big socks!

We need to take a closer look….

Uhmmm, actually I recognize that offspring(I’m admitting nothing) but he is supposed to be doing spring cleaning in the cottage! I’ll have to set a trap, perhaps baited with a chocolate chip cookie – I hear that is their favourite.

 

Summer Fair Isle

I still find it hard to believe that people I don’t know and have never even met like what I design , let alone, go to the trouble of actually knitting them. Your family and friends are suppose to pat you on the head and say, “That’s nice”, but I do suspect that even they are crossing their fingers behind their backs on occasion.

My new friend from Ravelry, Katie, decided that she would take the plunge and knit up the Kaleido-Yoke sweater pattern. She made it in a sky blue with some lovely summery colours and named her version “Summer Fair Isle”.

Katie said it was the first Fair Isle sweater she has ever knit and one of her favourite parts was the fact that you never work with more than two colours at one time. She had no problems with the easy to follow graphs and the step by step instructions. Katie liked it so much that she is already planning a second one using purples, lilacs, plums and pinks! (Oh nice!)

Thank you Katie for sharing pictures of your beautiful sweater – I can hardly wait to see the next one!

You can read more about Katie’s Summer Fair Isle Sweater on Ravelry here!

 

 

 

 

 

Suz’s Ideal Day

While the snow in the last couple of weeks has been somewhat unexpected (especially after believing the predictions of a certain rodent), it has not been unwelcome. I have actually been secretly pleased because it is one of the main ingredients in my ideal day!

Let me set the scene … The house is uncharacteristically quiet (like when Joe hides behind the door waiting to pounce). All other inhabitants have gone to school/work not to return for hours. I will, of course, tell them how much I missed them at the end of the day, but until then – delicious solitude. The snow outside casts an unmistakable glow from the light reflecting off its pristine surface causing me to immediately go into cozy mode. I make sure I’m wearing my softest fleece jammies (hopefully they’re clean-ish) and my favourite wool socks. Before I settle into my over stuffed armchair, I stoke the fire (i.e. turn on the gas fireplace). As I do so, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and notice I’m having a good hair day. I also notice that the house has managed to stay clean from yesterday’s frenzied cleaning session. For the first time ever, people have figured out how to put their breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.

Finally I nestle into that chair and notice there is a classic old movie marathon on TV. I reach for the steaming mug of coffee/tea and a piece of cake or pie (please let it be my mother’s rhubarb pie!) that is conveniently located on the table beside me. I’m thinking that I must have been exercising to excess lately because my clothes seem very loose fitting – nothing a second piece of pie won’t fix.

I then excitedly reach into my knitting basket and notice I have disturbed some chocolate Easter eggs that the Easter bunny stashed there so as not to be caught red handed. I quickly get rid of the evidence(the only way one would take care of anything made of chocolate). At last…. the main event, my latest knitting project. As I begin to work the colourful, decadently soft merino, I notice that I have not had to use that familiar phrase, “I’m in the middle of the row!” and I am overwhelmed with a deep sense of satisfaction. I can’t seem to wipe the smile off my face (although I should wipe off the pie from the corner of my mouth). I just keep thinking ……I hope it snows again tomorrow!

Note: Once the temperature rises above freezing, all bets are off! The snow can’t melt fast enough setting the scene for my second favourite ideal day. Hint – It involves warmth, people, a lake, something stronger than tea and, of course, knitting!

*Joe thought a pot of gold would be a nice additon to anyone's ideal day!

 

What’s in a Name?

For as long as I can remember, the thought of creating something from only a scrap of yarn and some needles has always been irresistible and extremely exciting. I have always joked that I was born to knit because my last name “Ryan” was just a mixed up version of yaRn! So it seemed only natural that a yarn company my sister Kathalee and I created would be called Ryan Yarn. Try typing that three times fast!

Also, growing up in a family of knitters, the expression “I’m in the middle of a row” was often heard when your immediate attention was requested. It was universally understood by all that you were exempt from complying until you had completed your knitting. So I hope you will pause occasionally to check out this aptly named “Middle of the Row” blog to see what project I’m in the middle of(that allows me to avoid real work!).

 

 

Sadly, this is true – at least you’ll be cozy in your handmade sweater while you eat your mac and cheese from a box!

 

Finally, there are many clever, funny people in the Ryan family (lucky me!) and our large get togethers are always filled with lots of laughter. So when it came to naming our patterns it was definitely a family affair. We hope you will have as much fun looking through our catalogue and knitting up some projects as we did creating them!

Thanks for stopping by,

Suz

P.S. Thank you Joe unidentified person for your suggestion of “Suz’s chunky potatoes and fish” for a yarn colour. Unfortunately, we are unable to use it at this time. Please feel free to submit other ideas in the future.