Blog Tour: CanaryKnits’s Ghost eBook

I was beyond flattered to be approached by Teresa Gregorio of CanaryKnits to host a stop on her blog tour in support of her newest pattern collection, Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they’ve inspired. Teresa has gone above and beyond the basic duties of a pattern designer—this eBook collection includes 11 patterns as well as richly detailed and exquisitely researched information about the cultural histories and manifestations of the idea of “ghosts” throughout the ages.

As a recreational history nerd as well as a general fan of the supernatural in various incarnations (though not in really scary movies—I like the idea of supernatural things, I just don’t want them to jump out at me, okay?), I admire the amount of time Teresa dedicated to the subject, as well as her engaging writing style.

As a knitter, I love that Teresa has transformed these ideas into stylish designs that look fun and relatively easy to knit. Feathers is a lightweight and lacy scarf that blooms at each end and harkens to the Sumerian belief that souls are “clothed like birds in wings for garments.”

Athenodorus is a simply shaped skirt with wide bow detail, named after what might be the original ghost hunter of ancient Greece.

Calavera Catrina is a lovely bonnet with marigold-inspired flowers attached.

That’s only three of the eleven patterns included in the Ghosts eBook, which Teresa is selling for CAD$18. But you can win a copy here! Not only can you win a copy of the entire eBook, but as an added bonus, I’m ponying up a skein of yarn in the Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage so you can knit your own Calavera Catrina!

That’s right. A copy of the Ghosts eBook and a skein of Tosh Vintage in the colorway of your choosing, and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post letting me know which of Teresa’s eleven ghostly patterns you’d like to knit (you can totally say more than one pattern, but please only respond once for this entry). Want more chances to win? Like Threadpanda on Facebook and leave an additional comment. If you’re already a fan on Facebook, leave a comment too! And be sure to visit Teresa’s blog and join the Canary Knits Ravelry Group to visit all the blogs on the Ghosts blog tour!

My giveaway ends at 12 am (midnight) Mountain time on Saturday, October 20—that means any comments posted after 12:01 in the morning on Saturday will not be counted. Best of luck to everyone!


Travel Knitting: What to do?!

I’m heading home to my parents’ house for a long weekend tomorrow, and I kind of just realized that I’ll be on a plane for about 8 hours altogether (it’s been an adventurous week). Now, I have plenty of projects on the needles to knit while on a plane, but let’s look at the facts:

  • The Loki Scarf is coming along nicely, but it involves intarsia and stranded knitting and four balls of yarn dangling from the project. Now imagine trying to knit that on an airplane. Exactly. This project is definitely coming with me (I’m having a separate crisis about how much yarn to wind off the cones), but I don’t think it’s very good for on-the-plane knitting.
  • My Pontos cardigan is also zipping along, being that it’s bulky and lace knitting and I’ve got the sleeves joined and everything. But it’s bulky and the sleeves are joined, making it a kind of chunky project to take on a plane. I mean, I have to wrestle it into the little child-sized duffle bag I’ve been using to carry it. It takes up too much room to fit in a carry-on, and I would feel a little ridiculous paying to check a bag so I can take this project with me. This does mean it won’t be finished by closing ceremonies, but that’s okay. It’s not far off.


  • Folded has been sitting in time out while I was working on the scarf and Pontos, and is a smaller project (fingering weight yarn takes up less space than bulky yarn). So it is a contender for on-the-plane knitting.

But then there’s a little bit of starteritis threatening to set in. “Maybe I should start a pair of socks, I haven’t knit socks in a while, and my queue is full of sock patterns with yarns matched up.”

Bex by Cookie A

“Or maybe a shawl! I’ve got a few options there.” (see also: Holden Shawlette.)

Age of Brass and Steam, photo by Sketchbook

“Maybe I’ll crochet something! I haven’t crocheted in a while.”

Alpine Frost Scarf

…though I am extremely, stupidly, thinking about casting on another pullover. It’s lace weight! On big needles!

Cecilia, photo by Oby

…don’t look at me like that.

Alternate plans

The more I think about the sweaterdress, the more I think that this is just not the time for it. I really need to be able to sit and think and actually work on it in at a dedicated rate, and I just don’t have the time or energy for that right now. I do want to attempt another cardigan or pullover by the end of the year—I’ve only finished the one so far.

I turned to my queue and my favorites and made a short list of projects I think I would love in my purple Chickadee. Since I already have a GIANT knitted gauge swatch (that’s even been washed!), I figure I’ve already started on any of these. I have MORE than enough yarn for all of these, so that’s not an issue.

Delphine is from a Verena issue. I’m not sure that I have this issue, so that would be the first step (I’m pretty sure I do). I love the wide boatneck, the button detail, the fun mistake-rib (I think) detail on the body. I am trying to knit the queue (as part of Maria’s Queue-A-Long Project) and this is not in my queue, so that’s a quasi-strike against it.

Melissa Wehrle’s Carnaby Street Pullover has been a favorite of mine since her collection was published two years ago. Again, this one’s not in my queue, and as much as I love it, I wonder about the overall fit for larger sizes (though I could see this being super cute if it was a bit slouchy and super long, kind of like …a sweaterdress), and I’m worried the dark purple would kill the stitch definition.

Another one that’s not in the queue (I think I had an aversion to the idea of sportweight sweaters at some point?), Elinor Brown’s Summer Russet pullover is a sweet scoop necked sweater with a lace body. I think I was also worried about styling this over other clothes, but I looked through the finished projects (god, I love Ravelry), and I’ve seen it styled over t-shirts in ways that looked cute!

The only pattern that is in the queue is Amy Christoffer’s Larch Cardigan. I’ve loved this cardigan since I first saw it, and purchased it during Amy’s donation drive a few weeks ago. The drawback to this plan, though, is that I a) already have one store-bought purple cardigan and b) already have enough Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in another shade of purple to knit the Essential Cardigan (some day), so do I really need MORE purple cardigans?

I could literally sit here and ponder over this for hours. The first thing to do is to measure the gauge of the washed body of the sweater dress, then see how that matches to any of these patterns. And then to frog the body of the dress and let the yarn relax a bit. But I’m curious: If you were me, which pattern would you strongly consider?

Or I could just hide it all away and knit Chambourcin, Essential Cardigan, Tilted Duster, Featherweight, Molly Ringwald, Nymph Tee, Lucky (also by Melissa Wehrle), Candy Stripe Jacket, that one DROPS jacket, or Bergen Street Cardigan—all patterns for which I already have yarn.

I’m ridiculous.

Giving more than thanks

I hope everyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving today is having a wonderful day. While today is a day for giving thanks for the people in our lives and what things we might have that enrich our lives in whatever way, today should also be a day to think about people who could maybe use a little more than gratitude.

I truly believe in trying to give back as much as possible, and I don’t necessarily mean monetarily (though that is probably the easiest way, if one’s checkbook is agreeable). One of the things I really am truly thankful for is to be a part of a community of crafters who do what they can to give back to those suffering setbacks. Earlier this year, when an enormous earthquake struck off the coast of Haiti and demolished many structures on that island, an overwhelming number of designers on Ravelry pledged to give a portion—in some instances, all—of their pattern-sale proceeds to Doctors Without Borders and other organizations working to help the people of Haiti begin to recover from this event.

While I don’t want to distract anyone too long from their family time (okay, for most of us, it’s really eating time), I wanted to thank all of you for stopping by and reading my blog and commenting and becoming part of my internet family. And while we’re here, being thankful, I’ve got a few links to share, in case the spirit of giving thanks and giving back are strong with you today.

A young girl named Taylor has organized the Tête-à-Tête organization to knit hats that will be donated to chemotherapy patients, hospitalized infants and children, and others who are in need of head coverings. I know there are many groups like this, but I’m incredibly proud of this young lady for organizing this on her own.

Through the rest of 2010, 10% of the proceeds of Ashley Knowlton’s Neolithic shawl are going to Doctors Without Borders. This is a beautiful shawl, with contrasting yarn for part of the body, would also make an excellent holiday gift.

Lion Brand has a list full of charity knitting groups on their website.

There’s even a Ravelry group devoted to charity knitting.

This adorable children’s cardigan pattern, called Hearts for Haiti donates 50% of proceeds to helping provide relief to Haiti. As of this publication, there’s no time limit for purchasing noted.

Rosemary Hill’s Brandywine Shawl is another pattern for sale, and more than 75% of the proceeds are being sent to Doctors Without Borders. Rosemary’s even been updating the pattern page with the total amount donated, and as of Monday, she’d sent over $15,000 to the organization.

Holiday crafting

Christmas is just a few weeks away, and if you’re not quite into the Christmas spirit, well I can’t blame you. We still have Thanksgiving to go, and if your job is like mine, you might be a little overwhelmed with all the stuff that has to happen before the end of the year.

That said, I’ve seen a bunch of patterns popping up lately that make me more excited about the holiday season.

This Victorian-inspired scarflette is the perfect accessory for these cold nights. Keep your neck warm without having to muss up your hair by pulling a cowl over your head.

I’m tickled pink by the colorwork sleigh ride in the Sleigh Ride Tammy. I start hearing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” when I look at the picture, and thinking of the classic movie White Christmas.

These crocheted snowmen are super cute! Makes me wish that our snow out here was the heavy, wet kind, so I could make snowmen.

A sweet and simple holly-themed throw. I want to cuddle under it.

Another tam, this time with prancing reindeer leaping around the crown.

I think I have a thing for colorwork.

Have you made holiday decorations or accessories for yourself? If so, what? Share your stories in the comments!

Ice is still cold

So last October, at the beginning of my first real winter, I discovered that ice is cold and hand coverings are (theoretically) very good things. At that point, I shared with you all some fabulous mitten and glove patterns that I was coveting, and hatched this great idea to make some mittens for myself.

One year later and this panda still doesn’t have any mittens.

I could cite numerous reasons why this hasn’t happened, but who cares? Let’s just look at some more mitten patterns to hopefully spark my mitten-knitting mojo (keeping in mind the idea that I have to finish a cardigan for my mother in two months; totally doable).

All pattern links lead to Ravelry!

Odessa Riechel’s Cuckoo Mittens (free on are simply marvelous interpretations of a traditional grandfather clock worked in yarn.

Decadence, Pints, Cupcakes, oh my! Any discussion about colorwork mittens MUST include a discussion of the brilliant SpillyJane and her fabulous motif-riddled mittens.

These adorable Alice in Wonderland mittens are worth a trip down the rabbit hole.

Because we can can can have Moulin Rouge Mittens, complete with a gorgeous stranded mill and little can-can dancers.

These beautiful Holly Jean mittens are part of a larger pattern collection, full of hat and mitten sets, which is self-published by designer Mandy Powers.

Inspired by those cut-out snowflakes, Nanette Blanchard uses four colors to create these stunning Tijeras Mittens.

Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (and the movie of the same name) inspired these Coraline mittens. All that’s missing are some creepy button eyes, a la Other Mother.

I know I’ve said it before, but it holds true: so much to knit, so little time.

The bee’s knees

I don’t know about your knitting group, but the gals in my group are a bit, shall we say, rambunctious. Not in a physical way, we’re all pretty sedate (well, we are when we have our knitting in front of us; considering three of us are new roller derby dolls, I don’t know if we can still apply the term “sedate” to the group as a whole). But we have gotten shushed frequently at the library and attract numerous double-takes when we congregate at other places, and not just because we’re playing with string and pointy sticks or curvy hooks. By “rambunctious”, I guess I mean that we like to make rather odd declarative statements and tell “inappropriate” stories.

Anyway, the lovely Nicole, pictured here, declared one day that Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fleece was to be her Yarn Life Partner. It’s her go-to yarn, her main squeeze, the yarn she cannot turn down when presented with a skein. That set most of us to pondering whether we had deep, committed relationships with any particular yarn. Maybe we just need to be committed, period. But I couldn’t think of a yarn to which I had that strong of an attachment.

Sure, I love Cascade 220 to little bitty bits, but it’s a worsted weight. And worsted weight has many, many uses, but I like to knit socks. And worsted weight socks don’t fit into shoes so well. They make fabulous slippers, for sure, but not so much with socks. (Disclaimer: I say this having never knit socks out of worsted weight, only slippers, but I really cannot imagine wearing worsted weight socks.) And so I was hesitant to name Cascade 220 as my Yarn Life Partner.

And then, yesterday, I discovered Cascade 220’s little brother, Cascade 220 Sport. All the fabulous yardage, brilliant colors, and price point ($3.75 a skein!) of Cascade 220 in a compact, sport weight, sock-knitting variety. And me on a much-needed yarn diet. Still I say, come to momma!

Ahem. This discovery serendipitously coincided with a bit of a trend-report post I wanted to make. I mentioned in the previous post that I was getting gung-ho about knitting knee socks, and that there were patterns popping up all around the knitting ‘verse, so I figured I’d share some of my favorite knee sock patterns, which I will hopefully become more acquainted with in the near future.

The majority of the knee sock patterns out there (or at least that I found through my queue and a quick Ravelry glance) are ooh la la lacy. And I love them.

Bettie’s Lace Stockings by Hana Jason, Interweave Knits Spring 2009 (Rav link)
I have coveted these stockings since I first picked up this magazine and the longing has not gone away.

Södera Socks by Vilma Vuori, free download (Rav link)
I love these elongated versions of Cookie A’s Hedera socks.

Spiral Boot Socks by Veronik Avery, Interweave Knits Summer 2007 (Rav link)
Super sweet, super simple, super must-be-knit-ASAP.

Rapunzel Stockings by Ysolda Teague, Knit.1 Fall/Winter 2008 (Rav link)
The color of these sassy stockings caught my at first, and I’m itching to find the perfect shade for my own pair.

Bintje-Socks by Jatta Sauko, free download (Rav link)
These are just TOO DARLING for words. Just looking at them makes me feel all Elizabeth Bennett-like.

Highland Schottische Kilt Hose

Highland Shcottische Kilt Hose by Nancy Bush, Folk Socks (Interweave 1994; Rav link)
This pair was knit by mustaavillaa on Ravelry, but look how amazing they are!

Johanna and Strausserl (respectively) by Julia Riede, (Rav link)
The detail work on the calves of these socks is so beautiful it kind of hurts to look at them. ‘Scuse me while I pick myself up from my swoon.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Socks by Aimee Skeers, free Ravelry download
Sweet and simple and oh so cute. Also, trés schoolgirl.

Lace Stockings by Barb Brown, Vogue Knitting Fall 2010 (Rav link)
Gorgeous combinations of lace patterns in these socks.

Fishnet Knee Highs by Joan McGowan-Michael, Knitting Lingerie Style (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang 20070;Rav link)
I borrowed this photo from PaperDollyGirl’s finished project page on Ravelry because the actual pattern page photo was a bit blurry, but these are just sassy and sweet at the same time.

Cabled knee socks bring to mind the image of kilts and kilt hose and frankly, I’m okay with that.

Clessidra by Gabriella Chiarenza, Knitty Spring 2007 (Rav link)
This is perhaps one of the more out-there associations I’ve made, but these are sort of like a mullet-esque style of knee high—simple seed stitch on the front, party cables on the back.

German Stockings

Lissajous, Millicent, Rhiannon, and German Stocking by Cookie A., Cookie A Knitwear Designs
The German Stocking photo comes from Allinred on Ravelry, but leave it to the brilliant mind of Cookie A to churn out a slew of knee high sock patterns. (Technically Millicent really belongs with the lacy category, but I didn’t want to separate them.)

Stranded colorwork is also great for knee high socks, adding a bit of pop to an outfit.

Stranded Knee Highs by Barb Brown, Vogue Knitting Fall 2010 (Rav link)
These colorwork knee highs would be great in muted, tone-on-tone colors (think charcoal and dove gray, or two shades of blue) as well as two contrasting colors.

Embroidered Stocking by Joan McGowan-Michael, Knitting Lingerie Style (Rav link)
I love the little detail added to these knee highs. What a fabulous way to do some serious personalization. (JMM also has a great looking Basic Stocking pattern in her book, but I had trouble finding pictures that really showed off the pattern.)

I so very badly want to cast on for about five pairs of knee highs right this minute, but I think I should finish my Loop tank first. I’m about 2/3 through the right front panel, having finished both straps AND the left front panel this past weekend (I’d started on the straps earlier).

Maybe you should cast on for a pair of knee highs, so I can knit vicariously.

A quick edit: @grendelsmother decided to add to my torture by sharing some more pattern links with me (all of these are Ravelry links): Lakeside, The Thigh’s the Limit, and Ann Marie. I especially want to note that last one, as the suggested yarn for the pattern is Lorna’s Laces (one of my faves) and 20% of the proceeds from that particular colorway are (were? I think they’re still doing this) donated to breast cancer charities. Thanks Gmama!