Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas morning and all my house is still asleep (I have no little ones under this roof, only grown children and a beloved Aunt visiting, as well as the resident Hubby. Before I start the routine of preparing the meals for the steady stream of visitors today, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and thank you for the feedback through the year and for the reason to continue this blog.

I thought, when I started, that this would be about me. Keeping all my knitting ideas and patterns in one easy place so that I could find them and remember them. But it has changed into a two way conversation, with comments and emails and that drive me to continue. I get so much back from those tiny comments (and complicated questions in the emails) and I love them all. Also I am humbled by the stats that show my blog gets hits of over 1500 most days! So thank you and keep the feedback coming and hopefully I never run out of inspiration and ideas for all things yarny!
A parting shot of the trees at the end of our yard as cars drove by last night.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Really Tweet Texting Mittens

With all the cell phones out in the fresh air these days, I am surprised I have not seen a pattern for these.... Mittens that will allow the user to text, tweet, twitter and well, make a phone call while keeping as many parts of the hands as possible under cover. Sure there are fingerless mittens, and hand warmers, but these expose just the essential tips of one finger and thumb on each hand! They are knit with sock yarn on small needles, and could be made in stripes with leftover sock yarns!

Yarn: standard sock yarn, about 75 grams.
Needles: 2.25mm (US 1) double pointed set of 4
Markers: one for start of row, and two different ones for thumb increases.
Stitch holders (you could use a darning needle and pass contrasting yarn through the stitches to hold them)
Gauge: 28 sts = 4 inches in 3 X 1 ribbing pattern.

3 X 1 ribbing pattern: [Knit 3, Purl1] repeat

Size: to fit ladies or teens hands. Watch length of open finger and thumb and adjust for shorter fingers... you want to leave exposed from the final knuckle.

Right Hand: Cast on 52. Divide onto 3 needles and join carefully, begin cuff pattern: [Knit2, Purl2]repeat. Place a marker to show start of row. Working in 2 x 2 ribbing, continue until 4 inches are done, moving start of row marker with each new row.

Change to 3 x 1 ribbing pattern, and work that for 1 inch.

At start of new row: work 2 stitches, place 2nd marker, knit in the front and back and front again in the next stitch, place 3rd marker, and continue in 3 x 1 ribbing as established for the rest of the row.

*for next 2 rows, knit the knits and purl the purls, making the stitches between the 2nd and 3rd markers (the thumb markers) all knit stitches.

Increase thumb row: knit 2, move marker, knit in front and back of next stitch, knit to last stitch before end of thumb marker and knit in front and back of that stitch, move marker, and work the rest of row as established.**

Repeat between * and ** until there are 13 stitches between the thumb markers.
Work 2 more rows as established.
Nest row: Knit 2, place next 13 stitches onto a holder, and remove the thumb markers, then cast one stitch on needle, and continue to work the 3 x 1 ribbing from the other side of the thumb, pulling the gap closed and letting the thumb stitches hold in front of your mitten.

Work the 3 x 1 ribbing for the rest of the hand for about 1.5 inches or until the palm of hand in completely covered (you can try it on as you go to check!).

You should still have a start of row marker that is moving up with you, so starting there make the index finger as follows: place next 7 stitches on a needle, place next 38 on a holder, and place last 7 stitches on a needle. (you have not knit any stitches while doing this)

At start of row: knit 7 from first needle, cast on two more and split these 9 more evenly onto two needles, then join the circle by knitting a third needle from the last 7 stitches. You have a small closed circle of 16 stitches. Work around this in all knit stitches for 1.75 inches or desired length for the index finger, then cast all off loosely. Leave a 5 inch end to weave in later.

Put the 38 stitches from a holder onto needles like this.... first 20 on the first needle, next 10 on second, then 8 on third needle. As you knit around these from the start, end with casting on 2 more stitches on the last needle, then join in a circle and knit the rest of the mitten top.

Work even for one inch. Decrease row: Knit 2 together at start AND end of needle 1, and knit 2 together at start only of needle 2 and end only of needle 3 (Decreases are on the outside edges of the mitten only - like a sock toe).... Now here is the tricky part. You will continue to decrease stitches at the end of needle 1 and start of needle 2 every other row (more tapered on the pinky finger side) BUT will only decrease every SIXTH row on the middle finger side.... you can do it, it's only for a couple of inches! When the whole mitten top is about 3 inches long and you have about 16 stitches left you can stop and use a weaving (kitchener stitch) to close the top like a sock...
Thumb: Place 13 stitches from holder onto 2 needles, attach yarn and knit across them both, then with a third needles, pick up 5 stitches evenly from the top side of the thumb hole. Join and work evenly for 1.5 inches for thumb, then bind of loosely all stitches.

Left Mitten: Cast on 52 and work the same as right, placing start of row marker, work until 1 inch of 3 x 1 ribbing is done.
Placement of thumb markers: Work around the mitten until 3 stitches remain BEFORE start of row marker: place thumb marker, knit in front and back and front again of next stitch, place second thumb marker.

Continue to work in the same manner as right mitten until 13 sts on the thumb, and place on holder as before. Cast one more on the needle over the thumb and continue to work the same way as the right mitten right through to the finish. Pick up and work the thumb the same.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Funky Chunky Teapot Cozy

This pattern should fit most 4 - 6 cup teapots. It stretches easily and hugs almost any shape of pot.
Yarn: Wool-Ease thick and quick (less than one ball)
Needles: 9mm (US 13) Straight needles are ok, but you need double points for the I-cord detail.

Cast on 40 stitches. work in K2 P2 ribbing for 3 inches.
Work 18 stitches, cast off 4 stitches and rib to end of row. Working on one half only (put other 18 on a holder) work in ribbing until top edge of teapot (about 3 - 4 inches). Put those 18 on a holder and rejoin the other side and work second side to the same length as first side.
Now join sides again by ribbing from one side right across other side (36 stitches on the needle now). Work 4 more rows of 2 by 2 ribbing. Next row, [K2, Purl 2 together] repeat across the row. Work 4 more rows in K2, purl ONE ribbing (as established).
Finishing: Cast off 2 stitches, knit 3 and put last 4 stitches on a holder, cast off 4 stitches, knit 3 and put last 4 stitches on a holder. Cast off 4 stitches, knit 3, and put last 4 stitches on a holder... then cast off all the rest. This leaves only 12 stitches divided on 3 holders to make the three I-cord details. With double pointed needles, knit 4 stitch I-cords on all the remaining stitches, working about 4 inches, or until it's the perfect length for you.

Stitch back seam for about 2 inches to sit below the handle of the teapot, leave an opening for the handle and stitch again above the handle. Stitch the top of the pot, leaving the I-cords dangling freely.
Now put the kettle on and put your feet up!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Felt like Felting

The new books have inspired and as usual I jump in the deep end, and here are the first two attempts at cobweb scarves.
The first is very whispy and surprisingly sturdy light and warm....

The second is a bit more merino to add a sturdier hand, and was also more agressively felted, so I got more holes and spikes and ridges. I was surprised and pleased with the results....
Not bad for first tries and now I can't wait to do more!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I thought I could take some time to tell you about some books. The first two are fibre art delights!
1000 Artisan Textiles shows photos and credits the artist, of 1000 garments, accessories, quilts and art pieces, made of felt, weaving, quilting and mixed textiles. The whole book is so inspirational and beautiful, it makes any crafty person drool. There is no instruction, just photos and credits, and I have only flipped quickly through it so far. I expect I will be able to find websites from many artists and look at even more pieces on the web! A perfect way to while away a winter afternoon. The second is Felting Fashion, by Lizzie Houghton. This one has beautiful felted and nuno-felted garments and accessories with some basic instructions and wonderful photos. This lady is a talented artist and will inspire everyone. The third book is a personal gift.... a memoir of my father's life. He took the time to think and write and re-write and edit and created a lovely book that follows his life through his eyes, from childhood to present time. This is extraordinary because most people do not sit down the compile these thoughts into one place, much less be willing to share it with others. It opens up a truly personal story and allows me to see the man (not just the Dad). This sort of book is not terribly overwhelming to produce. Software and computers make self-publishing fairly easy (I have done so with my blog and with my travel books). The challenge is to gather the thoughts and stories and present them in a fluid, entertaining way.

Thanks, Dad!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Tree, and Christmas Knitting

No photos for the last few days, because I am in Christmas knitting marathon phase. I do have some photos of the break I took from knitting to put up my Christmas Tree...
testing the lights and building the tree (yes it's fake, but perfect)
some of my favourite ornaments... notice LOTS of nutcrackers...
hi Charlie...
This white fuzzy thing is a knit fun fur ball, in sparkly white, and with glass beads strung below, and white ribbon above. I love it and want to make more for my tree....

Tree is done, but I still have a few other decorations to get up. Keep knitting!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Finished Photos

Several projects are done and photo-worthy!

The first is the cashmere ruffled scarf from Paris. After translating from french, I managed to really enjoy knitting the tri-coloured ruffle ended scarf. I added a couple of colour blocks to the midde of the long part and made the scarf as long as it could be using ALL the yarn in the kit.... it is now long enough to wrap around the neck once and have the ruffles lie nicely under the chin.
The second is the felted scarf from our Nuno-felting afternoon at Susan's house. I added a bit of needle felted embelishment in multi-grey tones, and it is very long and can be wrapped several times around the neck or hang long to the knee. Very soft, very lightweight and very warm.
Notice the sparkly mesh fabric that is the base of the scarf, peaking through holes in the felt!

The third is an attempt to create "texting gloves". I will not be posting a pattern, as I used a published one.... but you can make these using any glove pattern, and binding off the thumb and first finger at the first knuckle! Lots of glove patterns are at knitting pattern central.
This yarn is Noro Silk Garden, a thick yarn for gloves, but cute and warm. It would work even better in sock yarn and finer needles!
They work!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


My knitting posse had a great day at Susan's trying Nuno-felting for the first time. What fun to learn something new, and have a cool scarf to show for it. Pop over to the other side (my sewing blog) to read about this new fun with fibre.... -------)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Echarpe Cashmere a volants [Ruffled Cashmere Scarf]

From Paris, via Susan, came a lovely little package... three small balls of cashmere yarn and a scarf pattern. This cute kit makes the ruffled scarf in the photo....

and the colours are olive green and two lighter shades. It is not a particularly difficult pattern, but it is written in French. Having studied basic french in school from grade 6 to 9, I was able to actually read about every fifth word of the pattern. But I have even more skill in reading KNITTING, and was pleased to realise that the numbers meant stitches, and rows, and repeats... and "3 m, 2 m ens" probably meant "knit 3, knit 2 together" because it resulted in one fifth reduction in the total number of stitches! Although I am not very multi-lingual, I think I can claim to be an international knitter now!

It is a sweet project and the feel of the fabric is lush. Thank you Susan!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Noro Beret (felted Tam)

This hat is lightly felted to make the fabric fuzzier and a bit thicker. I like the self striping design, and every hat will be different!

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, 2 balls
Needles: 4.5mm ( US 7) double pointed needles, and short circular needles (also 4.5mm).

Starting at the center top of the hat, using the double point needles, cast on 4 sts. Round 1: knit into the front and back of each stitch. (8 sts). Place markers between each of the eight stitches * making the end of row marker different from the rest*. Round 2: Knit front and back of each stitch (24 sts)
Round 3: [Knit front and back of next stitch, knit one] repeat to end of round.
Round 4: Knit every stitch.
Round 5: [Knit front and back of next stitch, knit to marker] repeat to end of round.

Continue with round 4 & 5 increasing every other row, until work measures about 11 inches in diameter. (switch to circular needle when double points get too full) ( I found measuring from the center to the edge and reaching 5.5 inches was easier - it can be tough to smooth the knitted fabric enough to measure)
Work even for 6 rows.
Start decreases, by alternating the decrease row: [knit 2 together, knit to marker] repeat to end of round... with a plain knit row.
Continue to decrease every other row until 3 inches of decrease have been worked.

Removing all markers except the end of row one, [K2, p2] across row (increase or decrease at end of row if stitches do not divide by 4) and continue to work 2 by 2 ribbing for 6 rows. Bind off in ribbing loosely.
Felting: Before washing, find some all acrylic yarn in your stash and measure your head size (mine was 21 inches) Cut acrylic yarn about 23 inches and using a darning needle, weave it through the ribbing about every 2 stitches, join by tying together securely so that the ribbed band is securely 21 inches around. *** this is important so that the band does not stretch out of shape during felting.
Put through one full hot - regular wash, (it's good to throw a couple of old towels in with the hat - but put the hat in a mesh delicates bag). If not shrunk enough to fit, try one more round in the wash. Hand shape and allow to dry then carefully pick out the acrylic yarn stay.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Felted Tam

When last we spoke (blogged) I was working on a felted hat - beret - tam. I got the first model knitted in 50% larger than the target and started felting (washing in hot - high agitation - cycle in the machine).... and I washed and washed and washed...

And I discovered that Silk Garden gets softer and thicker but not that much smaller... so I ended up with a perfect, soft, pretty hat that is still too big to wear.

So back to the beginning, and I re-knit the hat, only a bit bigger than required, and felted through one wash only, and it is perfect. A bit thicker, and a bit smaller and a perfect fit!

I will post the complete pattern this weekend, but for now here is the photo!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cashmere and Tams

I received an amazing gift of yarn from Susan... straight from Paris. She spent some time in a Parisian Yarn Shop, and brought the gift of cashmere!

The pattern is a lovely ruffled scarf from a local pattern maker.... Cosmicpluto (Laura Chau)

The second project on the go is a felted Tam (beret)... I got my head all wrapped around the circular pattern, and how to felt it, so I am plunging ahead with the prototype. A Noro Silk Garden circular knit beret in a 50% larger size, with the intention of throwing it into the washing machine and holding my breath through a cycle or two of HOT.... stay tuned. If it works, I will be posting the whole pattern here for you to try too!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giant Slippers + magic = Perfect Slippers!

I finished the to-be-felted slippers this morning, and took this photo...

The Slipper next to it is a perfect size 8.5 ladies moccasin that I have been wearing for about 15 years. It is really a leap of faith to continue knitting something so mammothly huge, and believe that would EVER be a prefect fit.
Then I washed them. Hot full cycle, twice, in the washing machine and I actually was concerned that they became TOO small. But as suggested, I put a plastic bag on each foot, and molded the still damp slippers over my feet. I stretched them out a bit and molded them to a better foot shape, then left them to dry.....
They are SO cute and SO thick... I am sure they will be really warm and comfy. I have some ultra suede fabric that I think I will hand sew as a non-slip layer on the bottom of the sole. They are a bit slippery on the hardwood floor. The pattern is Fiber Trends Alpine Boot Slippers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hat and Cowl and Monster Boots

I finished the hat and cowl from Noro Silk Garden.

Love these!
And I started the felted slippers....
Right now they look like they would fit a giant. I love the magic of felting. It is a leap of faith to knit something so big and ugly and trust that the washing machine will magically turn them into warm, fuzzy and perfectly fitted slippers!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Postman Brought Goodies!

I just LOVE it when boxes come in the mail....
I sent for some yummy plain black merino. It was an Elann feature, and I have been wanting and needing a simple black ribbed sweater to go with my winter skirts and my new black dress booties. I will apologize in advance because the photos posted here won't be good. It is difficult to show stitch detail of black knitting. But I really need this one.

I also got some felting wool and a great slipper pattern and hope to make a pair soon, because my feet are cold around the house. I have never made the tall style of slipper and think they should suit me just fine....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What's on the Needles?


One pair is a lovely multi-green with a mild pattern. Can't remember the yarn, but I got it a the Needle Emporium tent sale. The second is Patons Kroy Socks FX in muted greys and greens. This yarn feels GREAT on the feet, and the pattern of colours make "sibling" socks - not identical but definately a pair...

I have a bagful of Noro Silk Garden. I have decided to make a bunch of hats and scarves and mittens... maybe Christmas presents???

The Sugar Cane scarf is almost done... the pattern is really easy. Cast on 25 stitches, and work in stocking stitch (knit the right side and purl the wrong side) for 6 rows, then work in reverse stocking stitch (purl the right side, knit the wrong side) for 6 rows. Repeat this 12 row pattern over and over until the yarn is gone... or the scarf is as long as you want. The yarn is a sport weight (recommended 4mm needles -US 6) but I knit it on 5mm, to allow a bit more drape. You can use any yarnyou want, just knit on a bit bigger needle than recommended and use about 100grams.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vogue Coat, and Sugar Cane Scarf!

I finished the coat, and decided that it needed buttons to finish the front. I made leather buttons from the left over warrior princess leather, and a button covering kit. You cut circles from fabric and lay them over the button, and press the backing down to hold the fabric in place.

Looks great! I sewed them on one side and crocheted loops on the other side.

I am also beginning a simple scarf from some amazing hand dyed yarn called Araucania Ruca Multy. This yarn is 100% sugar cane! It feels like silk, very soft and slippery, and I will make a simple 25 stitch wide scarf on 4mm needles.