Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Matchy Matchy

I knit my second pair of Align Mitts this summer and they turned out exactly as I wanted.  

I made them slightly shorter in the cuff and fingers which suit me better than the longer version.  The yarn I used was Meilenlweit Magico II by Lana Grossa in the overly descriptive colorway 3513.  It's a beautiful yarn to work with although it is a single ply so it can be a bit splitty.  The colours flow like the caribbean - hues of oceans and beaches.

When I finished I realized I had more than enough of this yarn left to make myself a hat.  And since I was in an adventurous mood, the Zigs and Zags Hat was created.  It is my first published pattern ever!

It's a really simple knit, mostly stockinette, with a zig zag pattern in purls.  It worked perfectly with the self-striping yarn by breaking up the texture without messing with the striping.  Who knows, this could be the start of my designing career...only time will tell :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hitchhiker Take 2

I decide I needed another Hitchhiker in my life.  Having knit my first Hitchhiker last year, and having worn it frequently, I decided I needed another for variety sake.  

I had hand-dyed sock yarn earlier in the year in a blue speckled green that screamed garter so off I went.  Based on my first go round with this pattern I knew one skein was not enough for 42 teeth so I decided early on that I would add something on the end to extend.  I debated blues and yellows but the black...ohh the black, it was meant to be.  I added the black in a few lines at a time and finished with a wide stripe.  

I love it!

I'm over my Hitchhiker itch for this year...maybe another for 2017?  

Friday, November 20, 2015


Sorry for the long delay in posts...I've been dealing with some medical issues lately and am finally (FINALLY!) getting back to normal.

How about a look at some hats :)  I had a flurry of hat making at one point in the late summer/early fall and banged out 3 beauties. I did all three as test knits through Ravelry and all came out lovely.

Hat #1: Oak Hat 
This hat is a slouchy beanie with oak leaves and an acorn and knitted up quite fast using a worsted weight yarn and 5.0 mm (US8) needles.

The leaf tips are a little fiddly but it all turned out in the end.  I used Cascade 220, my first time working with this yarn, and it was beautiful to work with.  I foresee many knitted things in the future from this yarn.

The pattern can be purchased on Ravelry and is called Deciduous Hat.

Hat #2: Cresmont Hat
While the Oak hat was for me, my other half also has need of a warm head this winter so I decided to make my second hat in a more manly size.  It looks much more complicated than it actually is and the pattern is well written with very clear and precise instructions.

It uses small cables and twists to create the effect which makes the hat beautifully squishy and warm. And it fits too!

I may need to make this hat again in the smaller size (it has multiple sizes in the pattern) and maybe in more of a blue tone so I can have one too.

I used Patons North America Classic Wool Worsted yarn in colour Mercury

The pattern can be purchased on Ravelry and is called Cresmont Hat.

Hat #3: Crunchy Leaves
With quite a bit of leftover wool from the Cresmont and some of the same yarn in a pink, I decided to do some mosaic knitting and chose this lovely hat which uses a houndstooth pattern.

There is no stranding, you only knit with one colour at a time; slipped stitches create the pattern. This was a really fun pattern to knit but be warned, it takes longer than a traditional hat because of all the slipping.  Not exceptionally longer but it was slower going than usual for me.
I love how the patterning came out though.  I shortened the hat from the pattern because I did not want a slouchy look but a more fitted style.

The pattern can be purchased on Ravelry and is called Crunchy Leaves.

Whoop Whoop for warm heads this winter :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Visual Guide to WPI

I recently discovered this item while reading a Knitty blog post:

It's basically a quick visual reference to check yarn WPI while spinning to ensure your getting the weight you want.  However, I noticed a lot of comments here and there that its a good quick check when determining yarn weight of an unknown yarn rather than actually wrapping and counting. Since I thrift a lot of yarn and a lot of it has no label, this would speed up my identification process. 

As a cheap, quick visual reference card, I just wanted a printable version.  I found one (that's it...only one) that I could print but try as I might, I could not get it to scale.   I then decided to make one myself using Excel, and it turned out great.  I printed it at actual size and it matches up perfectly to sizing.  I added a few things for easy reference based on Ravelry's Standard Weights  and voila...a super handy reference which can be printed and laminated.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Yarn Thrifting: Part 1 - Buying and Prepping

Previously I talked about my second hand yarn obsession and how I prefer to wash my yarn before using.  If your interested, here's the details on that process from bargain bin to finished object.

First, the primary reason I wash thrifted yarn is I don't know where it came from.  Sometimes there is a smoky smell, or a musty smell and those items are first in the wash bin.  There's also a very distinct "thrift store item" smell which seems to permeate everything, be it yarn or clothing or furniture. Maybe they use a deodorizer for items before it goes to the floor...who knows?

At my local Value Village, they store the yarn and miscellaneous bits and bobs for crafting in a bin with half open packages of incontinence products.  True story.  Maybe they think the two go hand in hand?  Old ladies need incontinence products and yarn...why not put them together?  Hilarious.

Here's the bin:

I sort through the random skeins and bags, pick out the ones I think I'd use, usually in a multiple of 6 if I can (there are a LOT of novelty yarns which I don't tend to go for), then head to the counter. Once home, I take everything out and give it a good once over.  I check for obvious stains or defects (I once found a skein that had been sliced by something through the label and a good inch in, the yarn was in short strings...I salvaged about a half skein), then I photograph each skein with its intact label (if it has one) so I can identify it after washing.  If it has no label, no photo until after washing.

A typical haul looks like this:

Next, I get out my beautiful swift and start turning each skein into a hank.  Please note my lovely assistant in the background who much prefers playing fetch over playing with yarn.

Once everything has been turned into a hank, it's ready for the wash basin.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Washing Process.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Web Stumblings - Knitulator

Behold!  The Knitulator!

This handy little tool (brought to us by the uber helpful blog Eskimimi Makes) helps calculate where to place increases and decreases so its evenly spaced.  For example, you select whether you want to increase or decrease, then enter your current total stitch count (i.e. 20), then your total required increases  (i.e. 10).  The calculator then returns this:

Isn't that awesome?  I can see this being very useful in future projects.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Web Stumblings -

As a thrifter and "random yarn" buyer, I rarely have the yarn suggested in a pattern. Often, the suggested yarn is something a bit beyond my payscale or specific to the designers region (i.e. a common UK yarn may not be a common Canada yarn), or I may just not want to spend any more cash on yarn when I already have a room full.  I have searched for advice online for substituting yarn (this blogpost from Tumped Duck was very handy) but there are not a lot of resources that I found which actually show you how yarns compare.  Ravelry has its database of yarn in which you can manually search for a yarn with similar parameters.  You select the parameters, search through each yarn and compare. This is very useful but can be time consuming.

Then I found this site:

Basically, you plug in your yarn name, and they generate a list of yarns which are comparable based on yarn weight or category, texture, fiber content, recommended needle size, gauge, ball weight, yardage/meterage, and care instructions.  Crazy right?

Check this out.  I entered Loops & Threads Charisma.


Is that not awesome?  This is just a sample; there were 22 on the list, each with a description of how it matched.  You can search for comparable yarns that have certain parameters, such as an acrylic free version of Charisma.  For more how-to on that process, see this article.  Try it out; you won't be sorry.

Happy subbing :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer Knitting

Being a newcomer to knitting, I was unaware that summer knitting is viewed by many as an odd thing to do.  Who knew?  Numerous times in the past month or so I've heard the phrase "Shouldn't you wait until its colder to do that?" or "Knitting is for the winter" or "Why are you doing that now?". I'm not sure where people think knit items come from when it get colder, but apparently they magically get knit on the first day of winter for immediate use...

I have noticed that I'm less inclined to knit heavy items (sorry, not sorry Brighton Cowl...we'll have a reunion in October, I promise) and am leaning more towards socks and lightweight pieces.

I'm currently working on a sock test knit.  It's an ankle sock with a really clever pattern on the top which using decreases followed by increases every few rows to create ridges on the top of the sock. This is my first non-vanilla sock pattern and I love it so far.  Here's a sneak peek (from when I was knitting in the Halifax Public Gardens yesterday).

You can see the texture lines to the right of my stitch marker.  

The yarn is Red Heart Heart & Sole in Green Envy.  Its especially fitting for summer knitting with its bright greens, oranges and yellows.  I'll link to the pattern once it goes live You can find the pattern here for purchase :)

Here's to summer knitting!  Cheers!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fingerless Mittens

I'm always of two minds when I look at a fingerless mitten pattern.  They are one of those items that are fun to knit, gratifying in that they don't take long, but I never quite know when I'll wear them.  I live in Canada so if it's cold enough for gloves, you need your fingers covered too.  Wearing them in the house is an option but I find knitting awkward while wearing anything on my hands and I just feel silly wearing them while watching TV...what's a girl to do.  Well, they do make quick and easy gifts.

One of my very first projects after a garter scarf was a pair of fingerless mittens.  They were knit flat and seamed on the side, leaving an opening for the thumb.

I loved them.  I had made them all by myself and they actually fit AND they looked good...I was very proud.  That being said, I never really wore them that much.  They were a cheap scratchy acrylic with no give so they weren't ideal.  Looking at the pattern projects on Ravelry now, the pattern looks so much nicer in a lighter, softer, yarn.  Maybe I'll revisit this pattern in the future with a nicer yarn.


I decided to make a "finer" pair of fingerless mittens.  I saw this pattern from Courtney Spainhower on Very Pink Knits and decided I'd give it a shot.  VeryPink also has a great YouTube video that covers the pattern.

These turned out great.  They're well fitted, colourful, and comfy.  I haven't quite decided if I'll keep or gift but either way, I'm happy with how they turned out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Recent FOs

I am bringing my WIPs total down!

I finished my Strong Heel Socks on July 31st :)

And they were Titan approved!

I also finished the test knit I started after the socks.  Behold the Razzle Dazzle Cowl!

There were two option: a long infinity scarf or a short cowl.  Based on my yarn amounts, I opted for the short and snuggly cowl.  I definitely made the right choice; I think I'll keep this one for myself!

I'll add a link for the pattern once it goes live for purchase.  

Many thanks to Stana (Fifinka on Ravelry) of Stana's Critters Etc. for inviting me to test knit.