February is a great month to travel to brush away the winter blues. I recently went to visit my daughter who is attending college in Vancouver B.C., and I took the opportunity to check out the yarn shops in this innovative and friendly city. The Canadians have a deeply rooted knitting culture based on tradition and sourced by the many sheep farms with wonderful wool to draw from. I planned the yarn shop visits as a clever way to soothe my heartache of having my sweet pea only for a short visit while spending comforting time with her in the presence of soft colorful yarns and creative inspiration from Vancouver B.C.
I have knitted since I was very young and for the past 10 years, my interest in knitting has become more about the qualities of the yarns and fibers and the creative aspect of knitting than following a pattern. It is an amazing craft that ties together ancient instincts for self sufficiency and modern artistic sensibilities. The use of natural fibers to create amazing knitted garments is something that women of all ages are drawn to and for good reason.
Three Bags Full yarn shop in Vancouver B.C was my favorite, with its positive and creative atmosphere.
Yarns at the Three Bags Full yarn shop were organized according to weight to allow knitters to easily find yarns and to browse and examine different fibers without feeling overwhelmed. I ended up falling in love with a sturdy yellow linen yarn, which I will knit into a short sleeve top to allow me to welcome spring in my own personal way.
At Gina Brown's Yarn shop in the upscale Kitsilano neighborhood, an assistant told me that yarn shopping follows the seasons and that the most popular yarns right now are colorful art yarns for scarves. Baby kits are also very popular.
Saying goodbye to my daughter, I was happy to note that she has at least three of my knits in her possession. A Catskills Merino beanie in her favorite colors that she wears when it is cold, a sweet vintage inspired cardigan of soft alpaca, and a cropped sweater all of which she says make her feel safe and think of me. I taught her how to knit when she was little, and she still remembers even though she has not yet caught the bug. Next time when she visits us back in New York City, I will show her what I made from the bright yellow linen yarn bought in Vancouver B.C.
Who knew that you can knit traditional lace patterns in this exquisite detail? Emeline is modeling the cardigan on the roof top of my building in Harlem. The light sage goes so well with her olive skin tone and the cute summer dress. My next project is knitting this cardigan in a national white Catskill merino/angora blend for early fall.
Juliette Binoche plays a celebrated actress in Olivier Assayas' 2015 movie Clouds of Sills Maria (southeastern Swiss mountain), who goes through a painful realization of her life when she takes part in a revival of the play that launched her career 20 years earlier. Kristen Stewart plays Valentine, her personal assistant. The New York Times had a great review of the movie. Binoche's cardigan which she wears while at Hotel Waldhaus, St. Moritz, is gorgeous.
In the midst of this unreal celebrity world with photo shoots, festivals, dinners and limousines, Valentine is a practical, steady presence who gets Binoche down to earth. Even as the couple go hiking high in the magnificent Swiss Alps and get caught up in bad weather and a ménage a trois. I have never seen Kristen Stewart better.
And the cardigan? Well, it is a sweet Scandinavian-style number in black, white and rich grey, knit in beautiful soft natural yarn. Pattern available on request.
I knitted the sweater with the iconic Icelandic Lopi pattern in Catskills Merino wool from Eugene Wyatts farm in Goshen. The yarn is hand dyed in various shades of indigo which ranges from dark blue to lighter greens. My hands turned blue in the process! The grey is the color of the natural fleece which looks great with these blues and greens. This particular sweater is on sale in the Andes General Store and on luxeknitz.com as a kit. You can order the sweater in the colors you like, sizes S, M, L. If you have questions, contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you want to learn to knit or if you have other questions.
Introducing the Ashokan pillow. Old Scandinavian pattern with intriguing stripes inspired this design which is great for the Catskill farm, knit with Argyle Farm's wonderful sturdy wool. I have kits for sale in the store. It is four natural colors and a beautiful blue. An easy knit which has enough interest to keep the work going while you are watching a movie or a TV show. I watched "The Outlander"! Plenty of sheep in the show and I felt there was a collective subconscious female synergy going on. Not that I am as brave as Claire, the main character who ends up in 1700 Scotland through a fascinating time travel. Yes, you must see this show :-) And then come visit us at the Andes General Store in the Catskills.
I write about my passion for creative knitting with an international vibe. When I am not in the Catskills, I work at the United Nations in New York with people from all over the world. I worship at the altar of natural fleece and bathe in the softest merino and alpaca wool.