Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Perfect Knitting Weather

So, I wrote that I'd post a picture of the latest hat creation. Let's just jump right in, shall we? First, the hat on my head, just so you can see how it fits.

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There's one thing wrong with this picture; the colour is totally wrong. It should look more like this:

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The yarn is Paton's Classic Wool. I lost the label, so I can't tell you the colour number, but it's kind of an olivey-appley green. The hat turned out well. I knitted this one from the top down as well. I did mention that I love knitting hats this way, didn't I? And no, it's not the knitter that's upside down, just the knitting!

The only thing I don't like is that you can see the division between the dpns when I purled. That will even out in the wash, I'm sure. Hand wash, as it's 100% wool, not superwash (great for felting). I've been wearing this hat for the last couple of days; it's nice and warm and comes down quite nicely over the ears, except when the collar of my jacket pushes the hat up in the back of my neck. Oh well, it won't be this cold forever.

Then, there's some yarn to show you.

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This, along with the other 15 balls of the denimy blue, will become a sweater for John. I'm going to be working it from the top down, a la Barbara Walker, in "Knitting from the Top". Another day, I'll post a picture of the drawing I made to show John what his sweater will look like.

The intention is that there will be a band of fair isle across the chest; that's because I'm not sure I have quite enough of the blue yarn for the entire sweater. Now, all I need is a design for the fair isle band. I'm not to that point yet, so I have some time to find just the right one. I might even copy the pattern from a sweater he already owns (that's almost nothing but threads at this point, but he refuses to get rid of because it's wool and it keeps his shoulders warm).

Now, we need to go and deal with a frozen drain in the kitchen sink. It's well and truly winter here with temperatures going down to -23 C at night. The pipes for the kitchen sink are on an outside wall on the north side of the house. The winds have been coming from the north. You do the math. *sigh*

Monday, November 27, 2006

Just a Quickie

I really need to be getting ready for work, but I just wanted to write a quick post, no pics. I finished another hat this morning. I could have finished it last night, but it was midnight, John was trying to sleep, and well... I'm just that considerate, I suppose. I had 6 rounds left to finish the hat. I did them this morning. Will post pictures another time.

All I really wanted to write is that I really, really, really like knitting hats upside down. I can see all sorts of possibilities. It's something of an epiphany, really. Hats are just the beginning.

Now, how do I go about convincing people that knitting upside down is a good thing???

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Knitting Content Galore

It's snowing here. I don't think there's anything better to do when it's snowing than to sit by the fire and knit. Well, there's one other thing, but we won't talk about that here.

I finished another hat. Just a little one. Thing is, I'm not going to show you a picture; at least, not a picture of me wearing it. It's just a tad too big, so I'm going to try to felt it... slightly. It fits John very well and looks good on him, but his reaction was, "Purple? Ummm, I don't know." I can understand that. It's a great colour for me, a woman, but not so great a colour for him. Not to say that men can't, or don't, wear purple. It's just not a "him" colour. Yanno?

Anyway, I'm rambling. Well darn it all anyway! I had a post almost finished and my computer decided to send me an error message and shut down my browser. It all disappeared. Here we go... second try.

This is where I spend my knitting time. You can see my copy of the winter 2006 Interweave Knits. If you look closely, you can see a bit of purple near the bottom of the page. The yarn I used is Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed in colour #281108, a gorgous, deep, eggplanty purple. The colour in the following picture does not show the colour very well; it's a much deeper purple, very hard to capture with the camera.

Here's a picture of the crown of the hat.

The pattern starts the hat from the top down, which is a great way of knitting a hat. It starts with a cast on of 8 stitches, joined in the round. I didn't do that; I used Emily Ocker's circular cast on, which is basically a crochet cast on. Google it, I'm sure you'll find the directions for it somewhere. It's a good cast on to know. The pattern also uses the standard M1 increase, which is made by picking up the bar between two stitches and knitting it, making sure the stitch is twisted so you don't get a row of holes. I didn't do that. I used an increase commonly used by Elsebeth Lavold, and, as I discovered, also described by Barbara G. Walker.

I'll get back to that increase in a moment. This past week, we received two shipments of books at the store. Two of the books in those shipments had my name on them. They were sold before they even hit the shelves.

The first, "Shawls and Scarves", I had borrowed from the library earlier this year and decided I wanted. It makes a good addition to my library. Another great addition is Barbara G. Walker's "Knitting from the Top". I love this book and I think I will end up using it quite a bit. Back to the increases. It's all relevant, trust me, I'm not rambling this time.

On page 21 of BWG's book, she describes 10 (yes, 10!) methods of making a double increase. Obviously, for the hat, I didn't make a double increase, but the method (halved) is what I used. As she writes, "knit into the back of the stitch in the row below the seam stitch (inserting needle downward into the purled head of this stitch on the wrong side), then knit into the back of the seam stitch itself..." It's a nice increase that leaves no holes at all. It's also simple to work, unless you're using blunt needles.

Now, before I forget... Yesterday, I commented that I needed some input as to what to make with some laceweight yarn I have in my stash. It's gorgeous. It's Handmaiden Yarns, 100% laceweight silk. And I have no idea what to do with it. The colours are amazing. The pictures, as good as they are, do the yarn no justice.

What does this yarn say to you? I'm looking for ideas. If you've worked with this yarn before, or know someone who has, what pattern did you (or they) use? What's the yarn like to work with? Triangular shawl? Faroese Shawl? Rectangular Shawl? I keep picking this yarn up and it has yet to tell me what it wants to be.

Well, John's been tending the fire while I've been up here in the bedroom blogging. There's no fire up here. I think I'll head back down to where the fire is. Wherever you are, I hope you stay warm.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's Really Winter Now

One of the roomies has gone snowboarding. The other's gone jobhunting. John's putting in a few hours of work. I'm home alone!

Here's the scene from our bedroom window...

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Winter's finally (really) here. It's hovering around the freezing point today (0C up here above the 49th parallel) and is forecasted to go down to about -13C by Monday. We'll be using up some of the firewood this weekend, for sure! All the knitting I've been doing lately will be put to good use. And speaking of knitting, there's this stitch pattern that's been floating around the back of my mind for a long time. I've drawn out a sweater pattern that incorporates it, but there's also been an idea for a hat swimming around in the depths, occasionally surfacing. This week, it moved from the depths to the surface again.

It made the leap to the needles. It's not perfect; it's a little smaller than I'd like (I was running low on patience and the fight with the circular needle I was using didn't help the patience levels at all), but I like the general idea. It needs some tweaking. Yes, I'll show you.

My model (very patient, reliable and always at hand) doesn't look the greatest this morning. It is, after all, Saturday morning and little attention has been given to appearance. The hat is meant to be the true star (*cough*) of the shots.

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I'm thinking of calling it the Diagonal Rib hat, as the rib pattern is.... wait for it.... a diagonal rib! At least, it is on one side. The top picture shows the diagonal rib side, more commonly known as the right side. The inside of the hat, though, is also quite presentable. That's the second picture. I tried to make the hat completely reversible. As I said, though, it needs some fine tuning, including more depth. As well, I'm not really happy with the bottom edge. It's a rolled edge, but it looks better on the inside of the hat. If you have some constructive criticism, please feel free. Constructive criticism, please. No comments on the model.

For those of you wanting details, the pattern is my own, not yet on paper (and won't be until I can get it right). The yarn is one ball (100 grams) of Paton's Decor, worked on 4.5 (US7) circular needles, moving to dpns for the top.

Tomorrow, I'm going to post a picture of some yarn I have in my stash. Laceweight. Silk. Gorgeous. I've had it for about two years now; it's been languishing in my stash; now and then I take it out and fondle it, admire it, ask it what it wants to be. I have no answer yet. I want input. Details tomorrow. For now, I think I'll take the camera for a walk and then I'm going to attempt to finish John's wristwarmers. He wants a pair just like mine, in black. Now, there's another story!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Me and my camera

The title of this post should be sung to the tune of "Me & My Shadow". I was playing, obviously, with the camera and the earflap hat. It's a fun hat; I had some fun with the camera. That's all I have to say.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

For Aase

Surprised to see your name there, Aase? Aase is one of the customers at the yarn store I work in and has, in the 2 1/2 years we've been open, become someone I consider a friend. Now and then, she gets me to finish up little projects for her; the ruffles are done, Aase. Finally. That's another story, though. She's become a blog reader, too.

Aase was in yesterday and bought some sock yarn. She needs a basic pattern for a man's sock, though. For her, I've just posted the (very) basic pattern I use for John's socks. It's in the sidebar, under "My Patterns", entitled "Generic Sock Pattern".

Knitting the ruffles on her sweater has been just about all I've been able to accomplish this morning. I watched House last night, but made the mistake of watching it in bed. Now, my neck is out and I'm in a lot of pain. The knitting has helped a bit, as did a hot shower, but..... *sigh*

Other than bringing in some firewood a little later and starting a fire, I'll be doing a whole lot of nothing today. For those of my internet friends in the US, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your families, good food and good company.

Edited to add: I've just found out that the Patons book I got the earflap hat pattern from (#945, Family Accessories) is no longer in print. My apologies. I didn't realize that when I posted (or knit, for that matter) the pictures. If you really, desperately want the pattern, email me at stringsnthings at shaw dot ca (you know how that works). - Ev -

Monday, November 20, 2006

One more FO and a Cuteness Alert

The Earflap hat is finished. It was a fun knit once I actually got it going. I think I started the flaps 3 separate times and the cast on for the body of the hat 3 times, too. But once I got going, it went fairly quickly. Normally, a hat doesn't take me three days to knit, but I did make a few moderations that took a little figuring.

First, the pattern is written for two needles. I knitted it in the round. That meant I had to adjust the stitch count. Second, I didn't like the pattern on the earflaps; it didn't match either of the patterns in the body of the hat. I charted the earflap and worked them from my chart. Then, the top shaping, being written for two needles, didn't work in the round. My brain was too tired to think about that at night, so I worked it out on Sunday morning and finished the hat within an hour of putting in the markers for the decreases. All in all, I'm happy with it.

Here are two pictures. The first picture is pre-blocking, the second is post-blocking.

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For anyone interested, I've posted a file of the changes I made to the original pattern. It only contains the changes. Don't ask me for the original pattern; it's from a copyrighted booklet. Again, the posted file only contains the changes I made to the pattern, including the chart for the earflaps.

This third picture is really sweet. Meet Landon, the baby boy who was supposed to have been a baby girl. And he's wearing the little hat I gave him!

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How cute is that?!? It's been a while since I held a two-week old baby. He's sooooooo tiny! And the hat fits him perfectly.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

For Kate in Massachusetts

Hey Kate,

The pattern is from a Patons booklet, in their Patons Classics line. It's book #945, Family Accessories. I never gave the booklet a second look, really, because I think the plaid berets on the cover are just plain ugly. This week, though, a customer was flipping through it when I caught a glimpse of the ear flap hat and decided to buy the book. There's at least one other pattern I'd make, a cable-ish hat with a drawstring top that also has two styles of matching bags.

I've re-designed the flaps with part of the design from the hat itself. I think it's going to look much better.

There ya go!

Friday, November 17, 2006

One done, Another on the Needles

Yup, you read that right. One small project done. Of course, I HAD to start another one, right?

Here's the finished project...

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...and a not so close up shot...

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This is the Scarf Around scarf. Lisa was working on one of these at the SnB I went to (haven't been since last year) last week and I fell in love with it. The pattern is intended for the Red Scarf project, written by Maia at Maia Spins. It's a great pattern, a quick knit and you get to cut your knitting! Yes, you cut it! That's really the reason I wanted to knit it; I've never cut my knitting before. It just seems so...... rebellious. The entire scarf is knitted in the round and then cut. The cut edges are unravelled and tied to make the fringe.

The scarf is made with one skein of recycled sari silk yarn from Nepal and 2 balls of Paton's Classic Wool, in black. It turned out fairly long; I estimate it to be close to six feet long. I love it! I have one more skein of the sari silk yarn, so I may just make another one as a Christmas gift for someone. Don't know who yet. Just someone.

And, yes, I started something else. I don't have enough unfinished projects. Ha!

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I've started the hat with the earflaps. I've chosen different colours, obviously. The yarn is Paton's Decor, a good basic yarn, eminently washable, a bit of wool content for warmth and memory. I'm changing the pattern somewhat, though. Hey, you can't just follow the pattern as written, you know!

It's almost impossible to see on that picture, but the picture with the pattern shows a pattern on the ear flap that simply doesn't match anything else on the hat. It's a completely different style of pattern and I didn't like it. So... I graphed out the ear flap and designed my own pattern. Well, sort of. All I did, really, was take the diamond pattern from the top of the hat and worked it, along with half of the "X", on either side of it. I like it much better. I'll post pictures when I get the hat done. Once I get past the ear flaps, I think it will be a fairly quick knit. It's been a while since I've done any kind of colourwork, so it's a nice change of pace.

That's it for posting today. Now, I need to install a router so the roomies can have internet, too. And, I need to bring in firewood. It's just that kind of day.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Pattern for You

Or, make that two patterns for you. I've written up two reversible scarf patterns and have posted them in my pattern section. There's a pattern for the Brioche Stitch Scarf and one for a Baby Cable Rib scarf. As the name intimates, both patterns are completely reversible. Feel free to download the pattern (it's in .pdf) and if you do knit either, or both, of the scarves, send me a picture. I'd love to see how the scarves turn out. Oh, both patterns are on the same sheet; just making that clear.

I haven't included pictures on the pattern sheet as I haven't actually knit them up. Well, I'm in the process of knitting the Brioche Scarf; I've swatched the Baby Cable Rib scarf. It would, incidentally, be a great go-along with the Baby Cable Wrist Warmers.

Also not included in the pattern is the yardage required. That's a fairly individual thing. Obviously, the longer you want the scarf, the more yarn it will take. If you only have 50 grams of yarn, it's pretty apparent that you won't have enough for a decent length of scarf. It's kind of a common sense thing, you know?

Enjoy the pattern; send pictures!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Knucks... or is that K-nucks?

John's Knucks (from Knitty) are done. He's going to be cutting wood today and will, in all likelihood, be wearing his new knucks. He was pretty happy to get them.

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Again, I knit these according to the pattern, but using a slightly heavier yarn than called for, giving the fabric a little more weight and solidity. They should be just right for work-related duty, don't you think?

Today's post will be a short one, but I did want to leave you with this picture:

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I went for a short walk yesterday, while John was at work. I like having my camera with me on my walks. This time, though, the batteries died right after three pictures of this squirrel. I swear he was posing!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Second post for Saturday

Well, I don't know if I've done something utterly stupid or not, but I've switched my blog to Blogger beta. Now, I can't access it through my preferred browser (Netscape). I CAN access it through Internet Explorer, but I've never really liked IE much. Don't ask why; I have no real reason that I can remember.

Anyway, that's not the reason for the second post. The real reason for this post is that I forgot to wish my baby sister Happy Birthday! You have not been forgotten, Gloria, and I will be calling you sometime today. She's the sister with a blog.... Capricious Cogitation*. Why not hop over and inundate her with birthday wishes???

If I had an embarassing picture of her, I'd post it, but I really don't. At least, not one that I can find. Sorry about that, Glor! ;)


Today is November 11, Remembrance Day in Canada, Veterans' Day in the US. I hope we all take some time today to remember those who have fought to ensure we have our freedom today. As well, I hope we all take some time to remember those who are fighting wars in the world today, whether we agree with our country's involvement in those wars or not. The men and women fighting those wars are doing what their government has ordered them to do and they deserve our thoughts and prayers.


I'm home again today; John's working today, by choice. That means I have time to knit and time to blog. Always a good thing. Even though it's a pattern for sale, I thought I would, at least, show you the Baby Cable wrist warmers completed.

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In my humble opinion, the look good; they certainly feel good. The 2x2 ribbing pulls in very nicely on the wrists and the back of the hand. And, now that I have the pattern down, they're a pretty quick knit.

Now, I'm working on a pair of fingerless gloves for John. I have one completed and the second one is down to the ribbing on the cuffs.

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Details? The pattern is Knitty's Knucks. The yarn is Louet Gems... um.... I forget which gem it is, but it's the light/worsted weight, worked on 3.5 mm (US 4) dpns. It's a tighter knit than it should be. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, but I chose to work it in a light worsted because John plans on using these at work. After having knit my own set of Knucks, these seem huge to me. They fit him fairly well, though. The only critique he made was that they could have been a little tighter where the hand and wrist meet. Personally, I think the size is just not quite right for his hand, but he's happy with them the way they are and I'm not about to frog anything to make them fit him perfectly. I'll have the second one finished by the time he gets home from work today.

I think I mentioned, did I not, that I'm also working on a couple of scarf patterns? I don't think I'm really designing anything new and exciting, but I know there are people out there always looking for scarf patterns that look good on both sides. These designs qualify. So far, I only have a picture of one of the two scarves (the second one hasn't even been cast on yet, but will be a good match for the Baby Cable wrist warmers). Here's the Brioche Scarf.... well, part of it, anyway.

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The brioche stitch is a simple one to work and produces a reversible scarf that's fluffy, warm and cozy. The yarn I'm using is, again, the Luxury Fine Merino Superwash DK. Normally, you'd use a 4.0 mm needle on DK weight yarn, but for scarves, I generally go up a minimum of one size, usually two. In this case, 5.0 mm made a fabric that was just a bit too loose, so I moved down to 4.5 mm. I think it's perfect. The resulting fabric is soft and cushy and will, I'm sure, be nice and warm around the neck. This yarn, incidentally, is very soft against the skin. I think I've said it before, but this is my new favourite yarn for basic knitting.

The pattern for the scarf is a very simple one. I will type it up and put it in the sidebar for the sake of ease (and will include the second scarf pattern on the same sheet), but for now, here's how it's done.

Materials: a nice soft dk weight yarn (yardage yet to be determined), 4.5 mm (US 7)
Using cast on of choice (I really like the crochet cast on for scarves), cast on 30 stitches.

Set up row: *yo, slip 1, k1; repeat from * to end of row
Row 2: *yo, slip 1, k2tog; repeat from * to end of row

Repeat row 2 only until scarf is the length desired. Cast off.

Note: when working yo, bring the yarn forward between the needles as if to purl

And there you have it. The reason I like the crochet cast on for scarves is that it gives you a cast on edge that looks just like the cast off edge. If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see the cast on edge. Looks good, if I say so myself.

What's that? You'd like to know how it's done? Ah, I can do that. The Keyboard Biologist explains it better than I ever could on her blog in this post... (crochet provisional cast on). Instead of using waste yarn, use the yarn you intend to use throughout your project. Cast on one stitch less than the pattern calls for; when you have the stitches required (minus 1), place the loop from the crochet hook on to your needle, giving you the required number of stitches. Doing that locks the cast on; it is no longer a provisional cast on. Continue with your pattern.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


When I wrote the pattern for the Bubble Head Hat, Kat graciously offered to test knit it for me. Test knitters are a good thing; I can write a pattern, but sometimes things get by me. She made a couple of good suggestions and sent me pictures of the two hats she's knitted so far. Am I pleased?

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You bet! The hats look great! Thanks so much, Kat!!

On to other things.... the Baby Cable Wrist Warmer pattern is almost complete. I finished the right one yesterday and have the left one ready to begin the thumb gusset. The pattern for the right wrister has been written and today will see the rest of the pattern written up. Pictures later this week.

I've also started another scarf. I'm doing it in a brioche stitch, very simple, really. I'm doing it in dk weight yarn on 5.0 mm (8US) needles on 30 stitches. Once I have enough knitted to take a picture, I'll show you. And I'll write up the pattern for you, too.

Now, on to more writing and knitting. I think I'm having a productive couple of days; it feels good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bits and Pieces, This and That

I have time to blog today. I've been a little busy the past week. This week, I have some time for me... and knitting.
There's stuff to show you today; where do I start?

Oh, the little things I posted about before... you know, the little hat and booties? They've gone to the cousin of one of the roomies. Stacy gave birth last weekend; she was having a girl. All the ultrasounds said so. HA! She had a boy. She had no "boy clothes". I decided to give her the little hat and booties because they'd be great on a little boy. They were simple to make, so I'll just make another set... to go along with this:

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And just what might that be? Just the fourth (and final, hopefully) start of a baby sweater. I wanted the sweater to have a garter stitch band. Did you realize just how much bigger garter stitch is than stocking stitch? I started out with 95 stitches on 4.0 mm needles. Two pattern repeats into the sweater, I realized that the garter stitch band was flaring. I took it out, cast on 90 stitches, same needle size, increased 5 stitches on the last row, worked one pattern repeat and..... still flaring. Tried it again with 90 stitches on 3.5 mm needles, increased to 95 stitches on the last row. There was less flare, but there was still flaring. I frogged again, cast on 94 stitches on 4.0 mm needles and I'm working it in k1, p1 rib, increasing one stitch on the final row. I'm sure it won't flare anymore; it had better not!

We've decided that, at some point this month, we'll be driving out to the coast (weather and road conditions permitting) to visit parents and family. To that end, I've started a couple of small projects (did I mention this already?). Both our fathers will be getting a new pair of socks from us and my mom will be getting a new scarf. I think she likes the fuzzy, novelty yarn kind of scarf, but I refuse to knit another one. I can't stand the yarn or the scarves made with it.

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These are the socks for my dad. The yarn is Trekking XXL in colour #108. They're being done in a simple k2, p2 rib with a stocking stitch foot. I like to carry the ribbing down the top of the foot usually, but for the sake of speed, I'm going with a plain foot this time. I haven't cast on for John's dad's socks yet but will soon.

Most of my knitting time has been spent on these:

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They shouldn't be taking as long as they are. These are the Baby Cable Wrist Warmers. For some reason, I'm having a problem with placing the thumb gusset in just the right spot and getting the two wrist warmers to match, patternwise. This should not be as difficult as it's being. It's not rocket science. I've come to the conclusion that the best way to make it work is to increase one stitch where I want the thumb gusset. That way, I can maintain the continuity of the pattern. It seems to be working now. The rust coloured one is supposed be the mate to the one I posted a picture of previously. The blue one will be the "test-the-pattern" pair. I've shown the finished rust wrist warmer (try saying that three times real fast) to a few customers at the store and they want, want, want the pattern. That's my priority for today. I want this pattern done and off my plate.

To that end, I'm off to knit, write and generally enjoy my day.