New Contest- Margaret’s Gift

If you have been knitting in this country for any amount of time, you will be well familiar with the name Sally Melville.

An accomplished designer, a sought after teacher, a prolific author, (not to mention- a Canadian!), this woman is known around the world for her work in the hand knitting industry.

One of her more recent patterns, Margaret’s Gift, has a special story to accompany it, and is the subject of our latest contest. So read on to learn the story of the sweater, and how you have a chance to win everything that you need to knit one.

Sally’s friend Susanna is the owner of the gorgeous painting that you see pictured below. While Sally was admiring it one day, she said to her friend “We should knit that sweater!” Susanna agreed to the challenge, but it was when the yarn shop 88 Stitches, in Langley BC sent out a note on Ravelry, challenging knitters to knit something by a Canadian designer, Sally immediately thought of the painting.

© Copyright Steven Rhude, 2016

Upon studying the painting, Sally noted how clear the details of the sweater pictured were. Such perfect stitch definition! She concluded that the artist either had to have been a knitter, or the sweater actually existed in real life- or both!

In order to get the full story (and permission to write a pattern for the sweater), Sally emailed the painter, Steven Rhude, and inquired. Turns out, the sweater did in fact exist. Steven’s mother Margaret knit it for his father in the 50’s. Steven wore it while attending art school in Florence, then lent it to a friend who was hitchhiking through Germany. It was then brought back to Canada, where his wife wore it so that he could paint the evocative image that you see above. The sweater was eventually lost in a clothing drive, but Steven has hopes that whoever owns it now, is warm!

Photos courtesy of Sally Melville

Sally searched for a pattern, but was unable to find one, and Steven seemed to feel as though his mother “Just went for it” while knitting. Given that Canada did not even have it’s official flag at the time the sweater was knit, this was a truly impressive feat, if in fact it were true! Steven suggested to Sally that she do the same, which is exactly what she did; ‘actualizing’ the pattern that you see today- the product of her Canada 150 Challenge!

And while this could be considered a very happy ending, the story continues! (Hint: it gets happier!) Once Sally had posted the completed pattern onto Ravelry, a woman contacted her to to tell her that her mother had also knit the sweater for her father. Her father’s version had a hood, but it was seemingly the same sweater. So perhaps there was a pattern after all? The woman was so thrilled to discover that someone had re-released the pattern! Which leaves us wondering, has she knit an updated version yet?

For a chance to win the pattern Margaret’s Gift, the appropriate needles, and the Cascade Eco Yarn required to complete an adult large version of the sweater, simply tell us on our Facebook post about a fond memory you have of a sweater from your past. And it doesn’t have to be hand knit! (But it certainly doesn’t hurt if it is). On Monday, August 14th we will randomly select two lucky winners, and contact them through our Facebook page. Contest open to Canadian residents only please.

Wishing you all the best of luck!

Happy knitting everyone.

Canucklehead Contest Winners!

Back in June, we announced our latest contest on the blog. For a chance to win a copy of the appropriately named cowl and hat pattern ‘Canucklehead’ by Jessie McKitrick, all that was asked of you, was to tell us what it is that you love about Canada on our Facebook post.

So simple! Right?

 

Well, we are pleased to announce that the winners have been drawn, and they are as follows: Carol Proctor-McGavin, Cheryl Van Viet-Brown, Linda Dueck Sigsworth, Valerie McInall and Gabriella Irving. Each of the winners has been contacted through Facebook, but if you happen to see your name here, and haven’t received a note from us, please contact us by email at support@estelledesigns.ca.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your entries. We truly loved reading each and every one of your posts! It’s pretty hard not feel like an incredibly proud Canadian after scrolling through each one!

And on that note… we are off to cast on our very own Canucklehead!

Stay tuned for our next contest, to be announced sometime next week!

Free Pattern- Knitted Sunseeker Beach Bag by Lin Damrell

Summer is in full swing, and trips to the beach and the pool are (hopefully) happening on the regular for you by now. And what’s the one thing that every beach goer and pool partier needs? Why, a beach bag- of course!

Using only two skeins of Cascade Yarns Sunseeker, and two sizes of circular needles, you too could have a gorgeous beach bag of your very own! Composed of a durable combination of 48% Acrylic, 47% Cotton and 5% Metallic, Sunseeker is available in thirty nine shades, all with a subtle coordinating sparkle spun directly into the yarn. A beach bag seems like the perfect project for this yarn! Besides, who doesn’t love a little bling with their Summer accessories?

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This beach bag begins at the bottom with a garter stitch rectangle. Stitches are then picked up around each of the sides, and then continued with a simple lace pattern knit on a larger sized needle. Given the combination of the lacy pattern and the larger needle, this bag will stretch to easily accommodate your beach towel, bathing suit, sun screen and trashy magazine- no problem!

With the wide range of shades that Sunseeker is available in, you may find yourself itching to knit one for yourself, one for your sister, one for your mother… Once you have worked your way through the family, you will need to be sure to get a Beach Day on the calendar together!

However, should one of you want something a little more ‘flashy’ than what any of the thirty nine solid Sunseeker shades can offer, be sure to check out the sixteen variegated shades of Sunseeker Multis!

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To get your hands on this free pattern, courtesy of Cascade Yarns, please click here. And to pick up a few skeins of Sunseeker from a local yarn shop near you, please click here to check out our directory of Canadian retailers.

Happy knitting everyone!

Ravelry Spotlight- Estelle Eco Andean Projects

Our Estelle Eco Andean DK is a yarn that has been a part of the Estelle Yarns range for a few years now. Available in a range of eight, warm, natural tones, and more recently in fifteen Heather shades (known as Andean DK Heathers), this non-superwash, DK weight, 100% wool is wonderful for those of us who love the feeling of working with (and wearing!) real wool. Softly spun, but durable enough for hard wearing garments and accessories, the Eco Andean DK is available in a 100 gram skein, with a whopping 350 meters worth of yardage.

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As we tend to do from time to time, we recently did a search on Ravelry to see what people have been making with this yarn. It should come as no surprise to you all, that what we found knocked our socks off! You people are an incredibly talented bunch! And you certainly know how to make our yarn sing. After contacting a few talented knitters and crocheters, all of whom had put the Eco Andean DK to good use, we requested their permission to share their work with you. Without a doubt, these ladies and their work are an inspiration, and we hope that you enjoy admiring their finished projects as much as we have!

Upon our initial Ravelry search, we came across the talented crocheter,  Gemma, otherwise known as imgonnastitch on Ravelry. Gemma crocheted her Acute Sweater using just four skeins of Eco Andean Wool DK in the colourway Dark Grey.

 

This sweater is simply gorgeous! We love the ultra flattering lines, in particular, the subtle textured V that is worked into the waistline. The cozy funnel neck is perfect for staying warm, but is not so restrictive, that one could not easily wrap a scarf around their neck. And finally, crocheting an adult sized sweater in only four skeins of yarn is incredible value if you ask us. No matter the yarn!

Laurie V knit her project titled Gansey Hoodie using five skeins of our Eco Andean DK wool, in the shade Light Grey. While we are all about embracing the warmer weather that is slowly coming upon us in this part of the country, this sweater is enough to make us almost find ourselves actually craving the cooler months once again. With a gorgeous textured pattern running down the front of the sweater, flanked by some pure and simple stocking stitch, the stitchwork can take centre stage.

 

With a handy kangaroo pocket, allowing for the stealthy storage of tissues, lip balm and a cell phone, this sweater would be a very difficult one to peel off, once on! And to top it all off- it has a hood! Who doesn’t love pulling on a hood while curled up on the couch, binge watching their favourite series on TV?

Josée knit her own design, Monica (named after the neurotic but oh-so-stylish character on the hit TV series Friends), using our Eco Adean DK in the Natural colourway. Classic, timeless, absolutely gorgeous, this sweater would look perfect with your favourite pair of jeans, or even dressed up with a pencil skirt and heels! Monica certainly wouldn’t hesitate to switch it up, so why should you?

 

As it happens, Josée is a rather prolific pattern designer, and we strongly encourage you to check out her full collection of designs on her Ravelry pattern page. Thank you for using our yarn to create this design Josée! It truly is a classic.

Amy Jane/thejasperpatch knit her Portland Pullover using only 3 skeins of Eco Andean DK Wool in shade 8, Milk Chocolate.

A couple of modifications were made to the pattern by Amy Jane, such as adding a faux seam along the sides by adding a single purl stitch, along with some subtle waist shaping. She added some garter repeats on the hemline, in order to match the cuffs, and knit the neck just until she ran out of yarn. Take any sweater pattern, add some subtle tweaks, and it becomes uniquely yours! And Amy has done just that. It looks fantastic on her! And we love that she took it out for a spin on the snowshoes, to put it to the ultimate test.

 

Since hand knitting or crocheting a DK weight pullover is not something that generally takes place over a weekend, you may be looking to cast on one of these sweaters as your Summer project!  That way, you will have something to keep you cozy from the crisp Fall air when it finally arrives. Our hope that these sweaters have served as a bit of inspiration to you all, much as they did for us.

We would like to thank each one of the talented ladies who gave us permission to use their photos, and gush over their work with you today. Be sure to check out their Ravelry pages, leave comments and ask questions about their work! They really are a truly talented bunch.

Happy knitting and crocheting everyone!

Lang Yarns- Celebrating 150 Years

As it just so happens, world renowned yarn company Lang Yarns is celebrating a very noteworthy birthday this year! Based out of Reiden, Switzerland at 150 years young, Lang Yarns, has been a key player in the yarn industry for as long as our country has been… well, a country!

While knitwear styles, habits of handknitters/crocheters and technology may shift as the years march on, one thing is certain- Lang’s commitment to quality in their products has not swayed. From the very beginning until present day, knitters and crocheters can be certain that when they pick up a ball of Lang Yarn to work with, they will be working with the highest of quality standards.

Something that makes Lang Yarns so outstanding, aside from how smoothly the company has transitioned with the times, is that it continues to remain a family business, even after six generations. According Forbes, less than one third of family businesses survive the transition from first to second generation, and another 50% don’t survive the transition from second to third. The Lang family however, has been a wildly exceptional exception to that rule.

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Jakob Lang

Operating under it’s sixth generation, Jakob Lang is the family member presently at the helm. Founder Bernhardt Lang is Jakob’s Great Great Great Grandfather, who began producing yarns in 1867, working from of the historic buildings in Reiden, Switzerland where Lang continues it’s operations to this day.

Throughout the 1920’s, Lang’s hand knitting yarns began production at a mill that was originally powered by water from the Wigger River. While this mill continues to operate to this day, the technology has evolved. Since the turn of the millennium, Lang Yarns has kept a keen focus on the development of new yarns and knitting designs. While their facilities and technologies have moved forward with the times, one thing is certain- their attention to quality remains unwavered.

In honor of their 150th anniversary, Lang chose a handful of their most popular yarns to showcase in a publication that was distributed at their 150th anniversary event. We felt that if Lang thought these yarns were worthy of being mentioned to all of their closest friends, family and business associates, then they were certainly worth mentioning to you!

Merino +
This yarn is made from extra-fine merino fibres, and is first combed, and then finely spun. Given the long staple length of this fibre, this yarn is soft, even to the most sensitive of knitters. The palette of colours is intense, and the yarn produces knitting that pops- perfect for cables and stitch patterns!

 

Mohair Luxe
It seems as though people either love mohair, or hate it. But for those of us that love it- this is a mohair that should not be missed. It is the ultimate in luxury! The mohair fibres are twisted with a shiny thread of pure silk into a boucle style yarn, which is then brushed out to create a soft, gorgeous halo.

Malou Light
This yarn is truly light as air. Composed of 78% Baby Alpaca, 16% Nylon and 12% Wool, this yarn is incredibly soft and warm. The nylon and wool are blended together with the dyed fibres to create a knitted tube, and the baby alpaca is then blown into the tubing and fixed. The end result is unlike any other yarn on the market, providing fantastic yardage, and an amazing colour palette.

Cashmere Premium
The name of this yarn really does say it all. Fine fibres are combed from the undercoat of cashmere goats to achieve the softest yarn possible, and the spinning technology ensures that it won’t pill immediately upon wearing. Cable twisted with two and three strands, this yarn is the ultimate in both luxury, and durability.

Nova
The undercoat of camels and extrafine Merino is what makes up this irresistable yarn, but it is not spun like traditional yarns are. Rather, it is knitted into a mesh yarn, and the fine fibers are blown into the centre of the knitted mesh, partially fixed by a sturdy polyester strand. This allows the soft halo and natural luxury of the camel/wool blend to escape.

To get your hands on any of these gorgeous Lang Yarns, please click here to locate a local yarn shop near you. If you have any questions about locating a particular Lang Yarn, do not hesitate to get in touch with us! We will be happy to connect you with a retail establishment that can provide you with whatever yarn it is that you may be looking for.

And finally, from all of us at Estelle Yarns, to everyone at Lang Yarns, we wish you many more years of continued success. All the best, from all of us!

And to all of the rest of you- Happy Knitting!

New Contest- Canucklehead by Jessie McKitrick

With our ChiaoGoo contest now behind us (Congratulations once again to all of our winners!), we are excited to announce the launch of our next contest, which kicks off TODAY!

But before we announce the next contest, allow us to introduce you to Jessie McKitrick, a knitting enthusiast and designer, based out of Edmonton, Alberta.

Jessie lives with her husband, and two daughters, all of whom are very supportive of her knitting habit. And why wouldn’t they be? Alberta is a province where hand knits come in VERY handy, as Jack Frost is commonly found overstaying his welcome in those parts. With a fierce love of stranded colourwork, Jessie can boast a timeless, and technically sound pattern repertoire, all of which can be found on her Ravelry page. With classic colourwork, rich cables and intriguing stitch combinations, Jessie has patterns that are suitable for enthusiastic beginners, as well as ones that will challenge even the most seasoned of knitters.

In celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday, Jessie has designed a tuque and cowl set specially for Pam’s Woolly Shoppe, located in Stoney Plain, Alberta. Appropriately naming her design the ‘Canucklehead Tuque and Cowl‘, this pattern is the perfect addition to any proud Canadian’s Winter wardrobe.

While designing this pattern, much sweating and swatching was required in order to create a leaf image that was unmistakably that of the Canadian flag. Wanting to provide a ‘rest’ between those long floats that the leaves require, Jessie opted for a satisfying checkered pattern band between each of the motifs.

Using our popular acrylic/wool/nylon yarn, Estelle Worsted, this hat and cowl combo washes fantastically well, and will suit even those who are prone to itching in their knits. With such a broad palette, the Estelle Worsted is available in four different shades of red, and both white and ecru, making the seemingly straightforward colour options open to interpretation!

Should you find yourself to be one of those die hard Toronto Maple Leaf fans however (we know that you’re out there!), you may even want to consider swapping out the red and white for your favourite shade of “Maple Leaf blue”! Who are we to stop you?

CONTEST DETAILS- Are you interested in winning a copy of the Canucklehead Pattern, a skein of Estelle Worsted in both the Ecru and the Red as well as a set of needles to make your own Canuckle Set? Then simply head on over to our Facebook page, like our post that features this blog post, and then leave a comment, telling us what it is you love about living in Canada. Just like that… and you’re entered!

This contest will close on Friday, July 14th, and we will announce FIVE lucky winners on Monday, July 17th. This contest is open to Canadian residents only.

Wishing you all the best of luck!

Happy knitting everyone!

New Yarns for Estelle- Fall 2017

It has been said before, but we will certainly say it again- with each new season, comes new yarn, and what could possibly be more exciting than new yarn? We are so thrilled to introduce to you two of our new Estelle Yarns, both of which are scheduled to arrive in our warehouse, just in time for the Fall 2017 season.

First up, we have Atlantis. Gorgeous, rich jewel tones, available in a chunky weight, with a hint of glimmer tossed in for good measure, this yarn is softly spun out of 54% Superwash Wool, 42% Acrylic, 2% Nylon and 2% Metallic Polyester. This yarn will be perfect for big cozy cowls, slouchy hats and perfectly playful (but of course, tough wearing) mittens.

Available in four tonal shades, as well as one colourway that incorporates all the colours of the rainbow (which has been appropriately named “Prism”), the temptation to cast on a project in each of these shades is a fierce temptation, indeed.

Perfect for gift knitting, and for dressing up an otherwise plain (but practical!) winter coat, a ball or two of Atlantis are certain to get your creative knitting juices flowing. One ball of this new yarn is not a huge commitment of either time or money, so buying a ball of it simply for the sake of inspiration might be something that you should consider doing. You just never know what might fall off of your needles!

Next up is a yarn called Lumiere. Knitting at a worsted weight gauge, this yarn has fantastic yardage at 200 meters per 100 gram ball. Composed of 50% Acrylic and 50% Wool, this yarn is warm, washable, and economical. Knit a pair of mittens for your sister, add a few rows into a throw for your mom, or whip up a slouchy hat for yourself. With washable, worsted weight yarn, the possibilities are truly endless!

With new yarns from Estelle, often you will find that new patterns are not too far too behind, and Lumiere is no exception! We are pleased to give you a sneak peek of this stunning shawl, designed by Robbie Laughlin, which is made using just two balls of Lumiere. Knit from point to point, Robbie had fun with the striping nature of the yarn, by straying from the traditional shawl construction of working from the neck down. This pattern is knit mainly in stocking stitch, with the occasional vertical stretch of eyelets, making it a fairly easy project, all while maintaining a touch of interest. A great knit for those lazy days of late Summer, this pattern is perfect for getting a head start on holiday knits- or planning your cooler weather wardrobe!

This pattern will be available to you for free on our website, and on Ravelry later. We promise to alert you when it is available for download.

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Both Atlantis and Lumiere will start appearing on the shelves of a local yarn shop near you, as of late-July, 2017. So be sure to check in with your local shop owner, to see when you can expect their shipment to arrive.

Happy knitting everyone!