The North

Iceland has always at the top of my 'must' destination list for a while now. It's always seemed to be this idyllic dreamland thats oozing with knitting traditions. This January I finally got to escape London and venture to the land of volcanoes. After visitingIceland, the really of the place still felt like another world. The weekend was't long enough it take it all in. I got a taste of the scenery and yarn they offer but I would still go back in a heart beat. 

Blue Lagoon Clinic

Blue Lagoon Clinic

I ventured to Iceland with my housemate, Abigail. Our weekend started with totally indulging in what the Blue Lagoon Clinic had to offer. The complete silence around the place was slightly haunting at first. Watching the sunrise for their thermal spas was unlike anything even my most relaxed dreams could muster up. 

After a night at the Clinic, we traveled in to Reykjavik for the remainder of the weekend. Reykjavik's modern and geometric architecture against some unbelievable colours was completely inspiring. 

Their natural landscape is astonishing as well. Abigail and I spent the entire Sunday with Reykjavik Excursions on their South Shore Tour. Sights of glaciers, waterfalls and black sand beaches took our breath away. It was the perfect trip to really put some of my knitted accessory to the test. I played up in both my Ketch Harbour and Martinique Beach. I also took a new pair of mittens that I had made from the leftover yarn from my cowl. 

Black Sand Beaches near  Vík.

Black Sand Beaches near Vík.

Mittens from my  Uncommon Thread, Lush, leftovers. 

Mittens from my  Uncommon Thread, Lush, leftovers. 

Loft Hostel in Reykjavik. 

Loft Hostel in Reykjavik. 

During the last day in Reykjavik, we stayed close to our hostel and explored some of the local shops. I'd highly recommend Loft, our hostel, for the inviting atmosphere and friendly staff.  One shop that I had on my 'must visit' list was Storkurinn. This quaint yarn shop in the city centre doubles as a haberdashery store and has amazing fabrics and notions alongside their massive selection of yarn. Of course I was interested in browsing their Iceland brands. I'm no strange to Lopi since LK Yarns, the shop where I worked in Halifax, stocked it. However, I was delighted with a new Icelandic yarn discovery, Gilitrutt, by Hélène Magnusson. It's an 100% Icelandic Lambswool 2ply yarn. I picked up a few balls for some future stranded knitting projects. I settled on a handful of colours that will continue to remind me of the colours I kept seeing in the Icelandic landscapes over the weekend. 

Till next time Iceland.

Storkurinn.

Storkurinn.

Reykjavik.

Reykjavik.

Gilitrutt.

Gilitrutt.

Loft.

Loft.

Grafting Martinique Beach

Since I just finished making Martinique Beach for myself, I thought it would be a good idea to put together some notes and photos about the grafting required in this piece. This is the second cowl I've designed, where it is knit as a tube and then grafted together for a seamless finish. My first project like this was the Selsey Cowl for Pom Pom's blog. 

So far, the cowl has been finished and all the ends have been woven in.  Make sure to leave enough yarn in the particular colour required for grafting this piece together. I placed my live stitches onto waste yarn before washing it. I let it soak for about an hour and then reshaped it to the finished measurements before letting it dry. I didn't do a Provisional Cast On this time, since I was traveling and found myself without a crochet hook. Instead, I used a basic Cast On and will have to cut out  my waste yarn in order to pick up the live stitches. You'll need two small circular needles, roughly the same size, a darning needle and scissors. Hopefully by the end of this you'll have a seamless finish, try to recreate roughly the same gauge as the knitted fabric as you graft the two ends together.

1: Start by placing your live stitches back onto a circular needle and remove waste yarn.

1: Start by placing your live stitches back onto a circular needle and remove waste yarn.

2: With your second circular needle, pick up the stitches just above your Provisional Cast On by sliding the needle into the right side of the stitch, moving right to left. Once all stitches are picked up, remove waste yarn.

2: With your second circular needle, pick up the stitches just above your Provisional Cast On by sliding the needle into the right side of the stitch, moving right to left. Once all stitches are picked up, remove waste yarn.

The live stitches on the closest needle towards you will be your Bottom Needle (BN). The stitches picked up from the Provisional Cast On will be your Top Needle (TN). 

The live stitches on the closest needle towards you will be your Bottom Needle (BN). The stitches picked up from the Provisional Cast On will be your Top Needle (TN). 

4: Thread darning needle and slide it into the first stitch, as if to purl, on BN. Leave stitch on needle and pull thread through. You'll want to pull your thread snug but not too tight. 

4: Thread darning needle and slide it into the first stitch, as if to purl, on BN. Leave stitch on needle and pull thread through. You'll want to pull your thread snug but not too tight. 

5. Now insert the darning needle as if to knit, into the first stitch on TN. Continue to gently pull your thread snug as you work across the stitches. 

5. Now insert the darning needle as if to knit, into the first stitch on TN. Continue to gently pull your thread snug as you work across the stitches. 

6. Insert the needle into the first stitch again, on BN, as if to knit. Slide this stitch off the circular needle. 

6. Insert the needle into the first stitch again, on BN, as if to knit. Slide this stitch off the circular needle. 

7. Insert the needle into the next stitch on BN, as if to purl. Leave this stitch on needle. 

7. Insert the needle into the next stitch on BN, as if to purl. Leave this stitch on needle. 

8. Insert the needle into the first stitch again on TN, as if to purl. Slide this stitch off. Now Insert the needle into the next stitch on TN, as if to knit. Keep this stitch on. 

8. Insert the needle into the first stitch again on TN, as if to purl. Slide this stitch off. Now Insert the needle into the next stitch on TN, as if to knit. Keep this stitch on. 

Repeat Steps 6 to 8 as you work across the stitches. Once you are finished, carefully weave in your end on the inside of the cowl. Now your seam should be nearly impossible to spot, as long as you mimic the same gauge as the knitted fabric. I'll try to post more tutorials as I continue to knit my way through Take Heart. Hope this helps! 


Caswell Bay, Ketch Harbour, Martinique Beach

Over this recent holiday break, I indulged in some long awaited personal knitting. I only just spent the summer knitting these items as samples for Take Heart. However, since I had some time, I decided on these pieces because I eagerly wanted them for my own winter wardrobe. 

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This first design to be finished was the Caswell Bay Fingerless Mitts. I chose Eden Cottage's Bowland DK which is 100% Blue Faced Leicester. I recently had the opportunity to knit with other BFL blends for the book and enjoyed each one immensely. This particular colour has been staring at me from the shelves at Loop for a while now. I find Bowland knits up as a light DK, so it was a perfect substitute for Handmaiden's Lady Godiva. I may just have to pick up another skein for the hat to complete this set. 

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I've always wanted to use Orkney Angora's St Magnus DK that we stock at Loop. Plus I have been craving a black shawl for awhile now and I felt this angora blend would be perfect since it is warm and very lightweight. It's been an accessory I've had a hard time removing since I started to wear it. I picked the colour, London's Dark Evening, for Ketch Harbour. London's Dark Evening is one of the seven exclusive colours only available at Loop. I want to start picking very special yarns as I'm using them to eventually remind me of my time in London once I leave. 

Last but not least, is Martinique Beach. I'll use anything as an excuse to knit with any colour grey by The Uncommon Thread. Olive Leaf, Toast and Grit are the three greys used, plus I chose Tea Smoked to partner with them. I love the difference in the look you get by using a much more subtle colour palette. For my Christmas knitting projects, I picked out these four skeins of Uncommon's Lush Worsted. They came with me to Sicily for the holidays. I was able to cast on over Christmas surrounded by some of the best food and wine I've ever had. 

I've also been enjoying my new stitch markers, sent to me by my mom at Christmas. Winter is coming! They are by Winemakerssister on Etsy. My antler necklace is by Damara Mossman from Lunenburg, NS. It was a treat I picked up from a local Halifax shop, Big Pony, when I was home visiting in the fall!

Photos by The Line Girl, Leanza May.