Category Archives: Stash

Holiday Knits

It happens every year right around this time. School’s out, the weather is lovely, wool is on sale, and my imagination turns to how we might best enjoy the holidays. The Christmas holidays that is. I’ll explain.
Each summer my family spends a week or so on Martha’s Vineyard with my husband’s parents and as many of his siblings and in-laws as possible. We’re very fortunate to be able to reunite with family in such a beautiful place and with the superb and gracious hospitality that his parents extend.

Here’s a fun collage that captures some of the fun and sun we had this year.

Martha's Vineyard 2015

Vineyard Highlights 2015

Oh you noticed that lovely grey addition to my stash. Here’s a close up:


Summer Stash Enhancement: Linen/Cotton/Silk blend with enough yardage for a small shawl


I found it at a yarn store in Vineyard Haven called Vineyard Knit Works which only coincidentally shares a name similar to this blog. Alas, I was in and out with barely enough time to browse their stock but it certainly seemed worthy of another visit. Next year!

I do get distracted by yarn! You too? Tell me about it ! Seriously – leave me a story in the comments. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

Back to the point: Christmas knitting —  because after all, it’s July already!

Each year as we make the long drive back to New York, it’s always a little sad to reflect on how long it will be before we have a chance to see family again. Perhaps we’ll see them at Thanksgiving, but it may be Christmas before we have another chance. And thinking of Christmas, means thinking of gifts, which means thinking of knitting, and then — *BAM* —suddenly the sadness gives way to the obsessive hunt for the perfect projects and companion yarns for all the potential recipients. I can spend hours crafting elaborate spreadsheets refining my plans for thoughtfully planned and lovingly handmade giving. Well my intentions are in the right place.

Alas, my husband reminds me that not everyone appreciates the homemade (imagine that ) and time dictates that I edit my ambitions. Still, there will be some hand-knits to wrap come the holidays and after many years thinking about Christmas as we drive along the Merit Parkway in the middle of July that I’ve learned to pack an appropriate project to work on to be sure of that.

This year a pair of Pixie Farts designed by the brilliant Canadian designer Barbara Gregory saw some mileage:

Mittens in progress

Handy work

I finished them this morning:

Pixie Farts / Hand knit mittens

Pixie Farts: Pattern by Barbara Gregory knit with Tosh Merino Light / colours Flashdance and Poprocks

These were begun with optimism late last year and abandoned when it was clear they would be too small for the intended recipient. My eldest daughter has however, admired them and though I may have to send them for a tumble in the dryer to see if I can shrink them a bit, I think she’ll like them.

As much as I love the colours and the subtle variegations  I’m not convinced the Tosh Merino Light yarn I used was the right choice for this project. I think my next pair of stranded mittens will be in a plied yarn with a tighter twist.

Most importantly, they were a tremendous learning experience. I’ve never done such ambitious color work and though my technique clearly needs more practice, I think at least a couple people on my gift list will find Gregory designed mittens under the tree.

These are in my favorites all from Twist collective:





Horatio and Oren

Now, how can it possibly be that this designer doesn’t have a fan group established on Ravelry?



Mad for Madtosh

I confess I’m one of those people whose knitting ambitions far exceed the number of available hours in the day. I’m also too easily pulled by the promise of a few skeins of gorgeous hand dyed yarn . As a result I’ve often got several projects on my needles at the same time.

These are all sweaters presently in the works:

clockwise from upper left: Grandpa Cardiagan by Joji Locatelli in DK Twist, Tuck by Veronica Avery in Tosh Sock, Beatnik by Nora Gaughan in Vintage

clockwise from upper left: Grandpa Cardiagan by Joji Locatelli in DK Twist, Tuck by Veronica Avery in Tosh Sock, Beatnik by Nora Gaughan in Vintage

There’s a pretty nice range of projects on the go: each uses a different yarn weight, there are a couple of pullovers and a cardigan, and the styles range from casual to more tailored. At the same time they share a couple of things in common. Most obvious of these is that each of these three projects are being knit in a Madeleinetosh yarn:  Grandpa Cardigan in DK Twist,  Tuck in Tosh Sock, and Beatnik in Vintage.

While there isn’t a Tosh yarn base that I haven’t loved, it’s the colour that always pulls me in. I’m especially fond of the glazed solids with their subtle variegation’s that add a richness to the knitted textile fabric that seems I’ve only ever seen with hand-dyed yarns, and which to me are one of the subtle and very elegant distinctions of a beautifully hand-knit garment.

Madeleinetosh offers so many enviable colourways that I couldn’t choose without the help of serendipity. Knitty City, one of my favorite NYC yarn stores, just happens to be a hop, skip, and a jump from my daughters’ pediatrician and my hair stylist. While this is dangerous for my pocket book it is most advantageous for a little creative inspiration. Their Madeleinetosh stock must move quickly because they seldom have a sweater’s worth of a single colour but on a few occasions I’ve lucked out and found enough yarn in a single, to-die for colourway to make myself a sweater. The Vintage in Candlewick and Tosh Sock in Filigree I’ve currently got on my needles are two such hauls.

The DK Twist in Lolita was part of a particularly optimistic binge at the online shop that also included sweater quantities of DK Twist in Baltic and 80/10/10 Fingering in Seaglass, and Twist Light in Thistle:

Madeleinetosh Sweater Stash

Madeleinetosh Sweater Stash

Given the enormous distribution and popularity of Madeleinetosh yarn it’s clear that the founder and owner Amy Hendrix must be at the helm of a substantial enterprise. Nevertheless, the company has the feel of a small, woman-led, artisanal operation and that’s just the kind of business I’d like my retail therapy to support.