Monday, September 27, 2010

Twist Collective Challenge and Fiona Ellis!

This Wednesday September 29th officially kicks off the "Twist Collective Challenge" at Stitchers' Night from 7 - 9pm at Passionknit (3355 Yonge St. 416-322-0688). For those who don't know, we are asking people to check out the wonderful online knitting pattern shop Twist Collective, choose and purchase one of the amazing-ly designed patterns, bring it in to Passionknit and one of us will help make yarn substitutions. Then we can all be working on our projects at Stitchers' Night and we'll have a show-and-tell at the first Stitchers' Night in January! I'll be documenting my progress as well as Tamaralda and Jaqual's joint progress....

We have been super duper lucky to have had some of Fiona Ellis' wonderful samples on display at the shop for the past month. We are also lucky to be having her pay a little visit to this Wednesday's Stitchers' Night!

I'm going to be working on the Aran Waistcoat by Megan Rogers. The original pattern calls for a DK weight yarn but I've done some swatching and I'll be using the lovely, soft Malabrigo Twist in Burgundy.

Tamaralda and Jaqual are going to be colaborating on Chartres by Fiona Ellis. They are excited because they both work at very different tensions so they have had to swatch, swatch, swatch! They are working at the same tension on different size needles! They have substituted Louisa Harding's Mullberry Silk for the original yarn the pattern called for (which was a cotton/steel mix - very interesting).

Here are some pictures of the shop and Fiona's samples. I apologize because the pictures didn't turn out as good as I had hoped...

Here are a few of the widow area:






Monday, September 20, 2010

October Teaching Schedule

I will be teaching a beginner crochet class at Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph on Monday October 25, 6 - 8pm. We will be making a fish-shaped wash cloth that teaches the basic crochet stitches as well as increasing and decreasing. Please check out Greenwood's website for more info! It's a lovely shop too full of amazing fabrics and yarns!

October Classes at Passionknit
3355 Yonge St. 416-322-0688

Short Rows – The Ruffle Scarf
The Ruffle Scarf is a fun scarf to make! It can be made out of a funky variegated Noro yarn or a seductive solid colour like the new Royal Alpaca. The whole pattern is done in short rows. Short rows are very important for shaping of garments and turning heels in socks. Fun and funky – The Ruffle Scarf! Please know how to cast-on/off, knit, purl and follow a pattern. (Pinchy)
Tues. Oct. 5, 7 – 9pm OR Wed. Oct. 13, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.

Reversible Cable Scarf – “My Pet Scarf”
Knitting using cables is very popular this season! “My Pet Scarf” is a luxurious, lofty scarf made out of wonderfully soft baby alpaca yarn and because the cable is reversible – there’s no right or wrong side. You will want one in every colour! Please know how to cast-on/off, knit, purl and follow a pattern. (Peachy)
Mon. Oct. 4, noon – 2pm OR Thurs. Oct. 21, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.

Continental Knitting – Brioche Stitch Scarf
The Brioche Stitch is a wonderfully lofty and stretchy stitch. It is especially fun and fast using the Continental way of knitting. If you are interested in learning how to knit continentally, this is the class for you! Please know how to cast-on/off, knit, purl and follow a pattern. (Peachy)
Wed. Oct. 6, 7 – 9pm OR Thurs. Oct. 28, 7 – 9pm. $30 plus materials.

Passionknit Stitchers’ Night
This is a special night out for our Passionknit customers to come and socialize. Come join us to “unwind” the last Wed. evening of every month for a fun knitting night. Here at Passionknit we have been promoting and Fiona Ellis. We are proposing the “Twist Collective Challenge”; bring in your purchased Twist Collective pattern, we’ll help you make yarn substitutions, then we will all work on our projects during Stitchers’ Night! We will have a fashion show-and–tell of our progress at the first Stitchers’ Night in January! Participation is not mandatory to attend Stitchers’ Night.
Wed. Oct. 27, 7 – 9pm (Free)

Twist Collective Challenge:

We have been displaying local knitwear designer Fiona Ellis’ wonderful sample garments in the shop for the month of September. She’s renowned for her Fair Isle and Cable designs and is famous the world over!

We have been super excited to have these samples and have access to her lovely patterns through Twist Collective is an online knitting magazine and pattern shop that was created to showcase the work of independent designers. It offers a generous variety of specially created patterns at very fair prices. The wonderful thing about these types of sites is that a large percentage of the money goes directly to the designers. Electronically formatted patterns are very detailed because they are not limited by printable space. All you need is a PayPal account and you’re good to go!

Here’s what the “Twist Collective Challenge” is all about: We are encouraging Passionknit customers to purchase a lovely Twist pattern online, bring it into the shop and we will help you make yarn substitutions from our gorgeous new yarn selection. We would love to have participants then attend our Stitchers’ Nights to work on their projects. We will have a fashion show-and-tell of our projects at the first Stitchers’ Night in the New Year! A fun way to try online pattern shopping, getting creative with yarn selection AND have a fun group of knitters to work on your project with!

Registration Information:
We keep classes small in order to be able to spend one-on-one time with each student. Please register in advance either by coming into the shop or calling us at (416) 322-0688. Payment in full for the class is due upon registration, please check your schedule and class description carefully, registration fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. We also do not offer make up classes.

If you must cancel a class you have registered for, please notify us at least 48 hours in advance, we will issue you a credit toward another class.

Two-hour classes are $30, which is for the class only. Materials and applicable taxes will be in addition unless otherwise noted. If a class does not run due to low registration or extenuating circumstances, you will be refunded in full.

A 10% reduction on materials costs is offered once you are registered. You may select your materials anytime after registration.

Doors will open 15 minutes before class and class will start promptly. Please be on time.

We also welcome suggestions for class ideas – just send us an email or give us a call!

For up-dates on Passionknit events and classes please join our mailing list by calling or emailing us.

Class Rating:
Peachy = All Levels
Pinchy = Medium
Persnickety = Difficult

Alisa McRonald, Fibre Arts Teacher

Alisa McRonald has been teaching fibre arts techniques classes and curating textile related gallery shows since 1998. Her own work has been shown in shops and galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Montreal.

She continually augments her experience through attending hands-on workshops and lectures on various techniques including dyeing, handspinning and other yarn arts. She recently worked with the Textile Museum of Canada on a “Yarn Bombing” project.

Since moving to Toronto from Los Angeles in 2008 to take a job at Wellington Fibres Yarn Mill, she has maintained memberships with the Downtown Knit Collective, the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Guild and the Textile Museum of Canada. Says McRonald, “Being a part of the fibre community energizes me! I like to challenge people’s preconceptions of the yarn arts and love talking about the various processes of these crafts. I even take my holidays specifically to attend fibre related events!”

Her personal artwork has been featured in various magazines and publications such as “Harper’s Bazaar Japan”, “Giant Robot”, “Nyoln” and “Time Out New York” as well as a featured artist in “By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art” and colour forecasting publication, “View on Colour”.

In 2001 she had the honour of being invited to be a guest lecturer and critic at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

In addition to teaching at Passionknit, she currently she maintains her own blog: and her new online venture, “Fibre Person” will be launching later this year.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lace Sampler Plus +

Since Tamaralda took a class with Orenburg lace knitter extraordinaire Galina Khmeleva which also co-insided with Piecework Magazine having an issue on samplers (one of which was an Orenburg Lace sampler). Orenburg and Estonian lace have been an obsession of mine. First the Orenburg because of above, then, Estonian because a close friend of my family is Estonian and has shown me some lovely shawls that her sister-in-law has made.

I did a little research on the difference between the two types of laces and from what I can tell, the women who knit Orenburg shawls were paid by the shawl so they wanted to use little material and be able to knit them a little faster. The Estonian women were paid by weight of the shawl so they used more material by incorporating lots of nupps (little bumps that are created by knitting 5 together and not my favorite thing to do!). The Estonian shawls were made out of sheep's wool (the Estonian sheep are dual coated and their fleece is quite coarse. They come in three colours: white, grey and dark brown). The Orenburg shawls are made out of goat hair (cashmere). Both Estonian and Orenburg shawls were knit through co-ops.

So, the beautiful Estonian shawls that I have been lent by my friend Mare, were made by here sister-in-law Erna. She is from Hiiumah which is an island and part of Estonia. She lives in the country and during Soviet times worked on a government run farm. She also has her own land and sheep. She knit for family and friends using the wool from her own sheep that she spun herself! The shawls that I have pictures of were made in the 1960s and are not necessarily traditional Estonian designs, she also made socks and sweaters. All out of the natural colours. I forgot to ask Mare but I bet she still knits!

Here are some pictures! The first shows off nupps very nicely! It is about 24" x 60":

This one is my favorite because it's made of "hugs and kisses" you can't see in the picture, but the border is made of tiny hearts. It's also about 24" x 60":

This is the biggest one. It is a leaf pattern and is quite a big piece about 60" x 60":

They are all quite soft and you can feel the lanolin in them still.... ahhh.....

Now for my tiny, tiny sampler. All done. I'm going to crochet a border around it. I enjoyed doing the sampler and the lace. I think I would do a bigger piece (I don't think Tamaralda will):

As an aside, during Soviet times, the local farmers were only allowed to keep so much of what their farm produced so, and I don't know if this was the case for Erna, some people would have to give up their wool (for example) then buy it back to make things from it.