Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Fossetta Cowl and Hat

April28

Close up of Fossetta Cowl in Verdant Gryphon Mondegreen
Fossetta means “dimple” in Italian and this stitch pattern really reminds me of dimples in fabric. It may be late for winter in some parts of the world, but really, can one with ever go wrong with a cozy cowl or hat?

The red-brown cowl is knit with Verdant Gryphon’s beautiful Mondegreen worsted yarn, a divine concoction of Blue Faced Leicester, Silk and Camel. (A mondegreen is a misheard phrase, especially a song lyric and this colourway is “I Like Smoking Ice Cream”) Mondegreen is a seasonal yarn for Verdant Gryphon – carried only in the fall and winter – and they have good stock levels at the moment. Once you knit with this yarn, you’ll want more of it so this is the time to stock up. The cowl uses two skeins and the hat one.

Fossetta Cowl and Hat in Lang Yarns Yak
The blue set is knit with Lang Yarns’ Yak, another luscious yarn made up of 50% merino and 50% yak. Seriously cuddly stuff (and if you want mittens to go with it, I recommend this pattern knit in this yarn).

Get all the details of the Fossetta set here.

Jump into Intentional Pooling at the Frolic!

April9

Knitter's Frolic ad
One of the signs of spring for me is the annual Knitter’s Frolic held by the Downtown Knit Collective in Toronto – April 26 & 27, 2014 at The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (map of location). So many great vendors, including many of my favourites!

I’m so excited about teaching this year at the Frolic! So if you’re attending, why not take my class on Intentional Pooling on Saturday afternoon (1-4 p.m.)? There’s still space and, as an added bonus, you’ll have a chance to buy some of the new Indigodragonfly colours in the class. Kim and Ron’s new colours work exceptionally well for intentional pooling (colours such as Beige) and, since the class runs until 4 p.m. and the market closes at 4:30, I was worried that people may not be able to get to her booth to buy yarn after the class finishes. So there will be a selection of these yarns for sale in the class!

If you are attending, just a reminder that the Gardiner Expressway will be closed in both directions for the weekend so you may need to adjust your transportation plans accordingly.

See you at the Frolic!

Red Leather Booth featured interview

March14

Somehow, in the rush to get ready for my trip to Haiti, I missed posting here about the interview I did with Red Leather Booth – although I did manage to get it posted on Facebook and Twitter. Yikes!

I was so thrilled when Jude Doble asked if I would be willing to be interviewed. I’m so pleased with the result and the promotion she has done. If you have the time, read some of her older posts. She’s interviewed fascinating people and I’m thrilled to be counted amongst the “arts and culture superstars in Waterloo Region!”

Sargaço Shawl

February2

Sargaco Shawl
Despite the winter deep-freeze here in Ontario, I’m dreaming of the sun, blue waters and airy shawls. Sargaço Shawl is a perfect fit for dreams of tropical warmth.

Sargaço is the Portuguese word for sargasso, the type of seaweed for which the Sargasso Sea is famous. The Sargasso Sea sits in a still part of the ocean, providing the plants a place to grow and develop “a central point at which the floating bodies unite.” (from chapter 11 of Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys) The central panel of this shawl provides the point of stillness, while around it swirls the foam of the ocean. Slowly one begins to see the stems of seaweed emerging until the plants fully form along the bottom edge. Sparkling among the fronds are beads, highlighting the movement of the seaweed among the waves.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

Whitman Hat

January14

Whitman Hat
I’m so very pleased to announce the release of Whitman Hat, designed to match the Whitman Cowl, which was released in November 2012. With one skein of Indigodragonfly Polwarth Silk, you can make both and have enough left over for the matching fingerless mitts that will be released in April/May 2014.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

Gothic Forest Scarf

December19

Gothic Forest Scarf
Tabi Ferguson runs Sericin Silkworks, a small business selling hand-dyed luxury fibers. She produces skeins that have an astonishing depth of colour and luster, that beg your fingers to fondle. Many of us buy single skeins of precious fibers because we can’t resist, but then wonder what to make. Inspired by a skein of Sericin Silkworks 100% cashmere, I designed Gothic Forest Scarf, a scarf that uses up every yard of that special skein.

The stitch pattern used for the body of this scarf reminds me of a forest of trees, their branches forming high, mysterious arches. The shape of those arches are gothic in nature and that, plus the muted yet rich tones of Sericin Silkworks’ beautiful cashmere, led to the name for this decadent scarf.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

P.S. Tabi was recently interviewed by Robin Hunter on her blog. You can find the interview here.

Every Which Way Cowl

December19

Every Which Way Cowl, Hat and Fingerless Gloves
I’m pleased to introduce the Every Which Way Cowl, so named for the lines of eyelets pointing in various directions.

The cowl (and the set) were inspired by Bare Naked Wools ‘Confection’. The natural colours of the yarn made it so difficult to choose just one and so I selected two shades of grey and the natural figuring on deciding on a pattern later. A few days later this cowl sprang fully designed into my dreams and quickly flew off my needles.

Also released today were the Hat and Fingerless Gloves. An eBook featuring the entire set is also available for purchase – buy now.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

Valencia Scarf

October27

Valencia Wrap in Shibui Linen and Staccato
Three patterns released in one month, I’m on a roll! I’m pleased to introduce the Valencia Scarf, a pattern that can be knit in fingering weight linen for summer or using the linen held together with a merino sock yarn for fall and worn as a wrap.

I originally called this the “zig zag scarf” because of the geometric nature of the lace pattern. Then I saw a photo of some roofs from the corner of Valencia Street and 24th Street in the Mission District of San Francisco and changed the name of the pattern to Valencia.

Read all about it here or head on over to Ravelry to buy it now.

Yarn Store Crawl, day 6

October26

Today is the last full day I’ll spend in Maine and there is only one yarn shop on the agenda today. I traveled to Blue Hill, ME to visit String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn. Knit and chats are held on Saturday mornings and I timed my visit to be able to join them to work on my unfinished Rhinebeck sweater. Tanis Williams and the Saturday morning knitters were very welcoming and I ended up joining them for their regular sandwich lunch and part of the afternoon.

Flower Bell Stole in Caper Sock, cactus colourway

Flower Bell Stole

If you’re ever in the area you should definitely visit the shop. Not only is it housed in a beautiful, historic house (Eben Mayo House) with many fabulous hardware details, but it may be the only opportunity you have to see some of the yarns in person. String Theory only wholesales a few of their lines to other yarn shops. Some, like Caper Lace, are only available online or at their shop in Blue Hill – and this is one yarn that has to be touched to truly be appreciated.

The other reason to visit is their sale section in the seating area and the “fusion” colourways. Fusions are one of a kind colourways that won’t be repeated or are test dyes. Some of them are absolutely stunning. I picked up an Autumn Fusion in the Bluefaced Leicester wool base that is absolutely stunning.

I forgot to pull out my camera to take shots of the shop so instead I’ve included a photo of my Flower Bell Stole, size large, knit in Caper Sock in the Cactus colourway.

Yarn Shop Crawl, day 5

October25

My day started with a visit to One Lupine Fiber Arts, a gallery featuring local artisans’ work on the main floor and with a yarn shop on the lower level. While they carry a few commercial yarns, the main feature is their line of hand-dyed yarns and fibers.

Swans Island, Northport, ME

The natural colours of Swans Island yarns

I headed south out of Bangor to my next stop, a visit to Swans Island Company’s showroom and weaving studios. Swans Island’s yarns are dyed with all natural dyes resulting in soft, variegated hues. Visitors to their heritage farmhouse (c. 1780) have the option to rummage through the yarns on the sun porch. These treasures are experimental dye batches or colours that didn’t end up exactly right, and are available at a reduced price. I was lucky enough to grab some of a blue batch that turned out a bit too purple, along with several other treasures. While tempted by the entire shelf of Bittersweet, I managed to walk away with only a few skeins in fingering weight.

Summer weight blankets at Swans Island

Summer weight blankets

One of the weavers kindly provided information on the weaving processes used in their blankets and I got to experience one of the looms up close. Their exquisite summer and winter weight blankets have been added to my wish list.

The Cashmere Goat, Camden, ME

The Cashmere Goat

A number of knitters had told me that I had to pay The Cashmere Goat in Camden, ME a visit. The large shop is in one of the few wooden buildings in downtown that survived the Great Fire in November 1892. Barbara (owner) and Misty were both in the shop when I arrived and were very welcoming and responded warmly to my designs. Misty eagerly introduced me to one of their favourite fastenings – the Jul leather closures that screw into place. I was immediately drawn to the French Curve Leather Closure. It attaches to your garment with 2 pedestals on either side and closes your garment with a button like movement in the leather. No marring your garment, no need to make buttonholes. It’s a fantastic afterthought closure.

Sea Buttons

Sea Buttons

The Cashmere Goat has a variety of buttons but I was drawn to Laura Pierce’s Sea Buttons, made from items found on the beach. I was torn between these stone ones and some made from white china with green patterns but in the end decided on the stone ones.

Over the Rainbow Yarn, Rockland, ME

Fabulous local Maine yarns at Over the Rainbow

After I tore myself away from the friendly atmosphere of The Cashmere Goat, I moved on to Over the Rainbow Yarn in Rockland, ME. This is a bright, welcoming shop just off the main street; however, what impressed me the most was the display of local yarns just steps inside the front door. By the way, if you’re in the area on November 2, my fellow Ontarian, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee will be at shop. She’s a great speaker!

The last stop of the day was in Belfast, ME at Heavenly Socks Yarn. Tucked away in a basement on Main Street, this store stocks more than just sock yarn – despite the name. Their shelf of Peace Fleece had been just been restocked the day before I visited. Is it just me or has this yarn become softer than it was 10 years ago or so? After seeing the beautiful sweater worn by the staff person on duty, some Wild Mustard ended up in my knitting bag.

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My Knitting Patterns


Audrey II



Angular Path Scarf



Cartouche Stole



Fossetta Cowl



Fossetta Hat



Sargaço Shawl



Whitman Hat



Every Which Way Cowl



Every Which Way Hat



Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts



Gothic Forest Scarf



Valencia Scarf



Branching Path Cowl



Flower Bell Stole



Whitman Cowl



New Tech Cowl



Vieux Carré Stole



Stacks Socks



Anna Perenna Shawlette



Taming of the Fox


Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves



Amplification Stole



Combs Cowl



Mindfulness Cowl



Tipsy Scarf



Gridwork Scarf
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