Little flowers

March 14th, 2014 by swatchless

I really wish that we were starting to see little flowers popping up in gardens but this year we’ve just got snow. We have had snow since early December, and I am not the only one who is done with winter.

My latest spring project is this little beauty!

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It’s a top down raglan sweater with a flower motif all over it. The end goal is to have a cardigan, but that much colourwork done flat would have been too much for me to handle. I knit it in the round, adding a few extra stitches in the middle of the front for a *gulp* steek. This is something I’ve heard about, read about, but never actually tried. You fasten the stitches by sewing or crocheting, and then you cut right down the middle, pick up stitches and keep going on the button band. It sounds interesting, but at this point it makes me a little nervous.

For now I’ll give it a bit of a soak, block it, weave in the ends, and admire the pretty flowers. Steeking can come later.

Knitting club

March 13th, 2014 by swatchless

Today I’m at knitting club. These are the benefits of March break…time to knit during the day!
I’m knitting with my aunt and her friends who are all at different stages in their knitting careers. Some are looking for projects to do

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Others are mid project. This is going to be a boys sweater.

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This is sleeve number one for a baby sweater. She knit the back twice, but hopes to knit the sleeves once each.

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This little sweater is getting a zipper.

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These are fingerless mitts that are just getting started.

We’re having lots of fun and enjoying tea, and avoiding the snow outside.

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At least my knitting looks like spring!

Knitting For Babies

February 23rd, 2014 by swatchless

Now that I have some time to breathe and relax a bit after the robotics build season is over, I have been knitting a lot. It all started with a trip to Michael’s to get stickers to bedazzle safety glasses. After getting lots of cool stickers I wandered down to check out the yarn sales. What I beheld was rather astonishing, a sale on superwash wool, with a savings of 5-7 dollars a ball (price was 1.99$ for 50 grams). Knowing I’d have some time to watch the end of the Olympics, and veg a bit, I splurged and got quite a bag full. The friends that were with me had never seen such epic yarn consumption, and I am a bit nervous to tell them that in the span of a week I’ve gone through almost 600 grams of it!

It’s great to knit for wee ones since the projects are so cute, and they are finished relatively quickly!

Once I get ends sewn in and buttons on them I’ll take them out for a real photo shoot.

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Above is a “garter yoke baby cardi” knit in LionBrand Baby Wool in the Alpine Meadow colourway. I think my gauge is off, and the sweater is a bit wider than anticipated, so I made it a bit longer to compensate.

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The blue one is a “baby sophisticate” knit before really looking at the comments on Ravelry…the pattern is really narrow, and the next time I knit it, I’ll be sure to increase all the way to the arm openings. I added a bit of colourwork to keep things interesting. It’s long for the width, but maybe that’s fine.

The pink sweater, which is now complete is my first attempt at the “5 hour sweater”. I did the boy version, but in pink. I wanted to make some colourwork at the bottom, and thought that extra eyelets would detract from the wee hearts that I added to the bottom of the sweater and on the cuffs too.
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If that’s not enough, I have cast on for another garment. I have been imagining something with an offset cable up the side. It may or may not end up with sleeves….that’s yet to be determined. I’m having a hard enough time following a pattern…maybe it will be less stressful to just let the yarn decide!

Sweater Surgery

January 24th, 2014 by swatchless

There comes a time in the life of a sweater where it needs a little help. Sometimes it’s the cuffs that start to wear, sometimes it’s the seams, and like this sweater, sometimes it’s the elbows that go.

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I was asked by the sweater owner if it was fixable.

Most knitted garments can be repaired. For me, I’ll choose to repair things that I’ve knit and that I love. I darn my socks, often in crazy colours….I’ll re-knit thumbs on well worn mittens, but this is the first time that I’ve done any major repairs on a machine knit “made in China” sweater.

I tackled it because it is the owner’s favourite sweater, and also, I was curious if I could repair it without darning it.

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Not bad eh?

My technique involved catching all stitches that were causing runs, and using a crochet hook, I brought them back to the edge of the hole. The next step was to work duplicate stitch over the stitches that were wearing thin. I included 2 extra stitches on each row, just for added security. At the edge of the hole I used a technique sort of like using a lifeline in lace work. I worked duplicate stitch on the row below, but could not stitch into the row above, so I wrapped the yarn around a contrasting scrap to preserve the loop. I worked this way, building row upon row until I had completely re-knit the elbow patch, and could join with the thinning stitches on the top of e hole.

After working patches on both elbows, I noted that the yarn was wearing thin in a few other places as well. Underarms where there is a lot of friction wear, showed more fraying and thinning yarn. I worked duplicate stitch where needed, using a mix of my handspun, and acrylic. (This is why we have stash yarn….there’s always something on hand!) I didn’t have the exact same colour yarn, but it’s close enough, and I think that the elbows now add to the story of the sweater.

Hopefully my surgical attempts can extend the life of this favourite sweater for years to come.

Custom Mitts

January 9th, 2014 by swatchless

There are certain situations that inspire me to knit.

A little while ago I met a woman who has suffered a stroke and has lost the use of one hand. She was braving the cold, and needed mitts on to stay warm, but also needed use of her one hand to wipe her nose or to get a good grip on handrails.

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She told me that her favourite colours are red and black. Her son told me that it’s hard to keep track of her mitts, so strings would be helpful.

After a bit of searching I found some black and red acrylic in my stash. The stranded pattern comes from Robin Hansen’s “spruce” mitten pattern. The cuff has a Latvian braid, and that technique is also used to finish the finger edge and thumb hole on the fingerless mitten. The high contrast in these mitts make me smile!

Projects like this make me really glad I have such a yarn stash….from idea to finished mitts within a very busy week!

Christmas knitting

January 4th, 2014 by swatchless

This year I knit some of my Christmas gifts, and have kept them secret for quite a while!

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These are elephant mitts for my mom. She has a bit of a thing for pink elephants! The stranded pattern was inspired by my Ravelry searches, but the mitten pattern is my own. They’re a bit delicate for the frigid temperatures we’ve had since Christmas, but they will be good in the spring and fall, or they’d make a good liner mitt. Yup, it’s that cold that we’ve been layering mitts around here.

Here are some other mitts that got finished in the nick of time to be given on Boxing day. Better late than never!

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The yarn is my handspun from the Spunky Eclectic fiber club. It’s a DK weight yarn that is soft and really wearable. These mitts are for my sister in law, and they pass my brother’s test. He said he’d hold her hand if she’s wearing them. He’s got such a sensitivity to any slightly coarse wool, that it’s high praise for this fiber club offering.

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The mittens are improvised, and rather plain in construction. The simplicity of the pattern really lets the colours in the yarn shine through.

The last pair of mitts are based on Robin Hansen’s Fox and Geese pattern. I combined the remainder of the green yarn from the previous mittens and paired it with a DK weight acrylic brown yarn.

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The brown really makes the green pop.

I love knitting with handspun and watching the colours change and interact with each other. I hope that these mitts will get lots of wear for years to come!

Bowties are apparently cool!

December 30th, 2013 by swatchless

I’ve been enjoying a bit of time over the holidays to knit a bit. My goal lately has been to reduce the yarn stash, as it is getting a bit out of hand. These mittens are made out of yarn which I believe is wool.

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It’s a bit strange as it is multi-ply, but they are not twisted together. It is a bit tricky to manage, you’ve got to make sure that each little thread is knit up properly. And if the yarn comes unwound in a bag, good luck getting it untangled!

In any case, it is a very soft and warm yarn, and surprisingly thick. In a change from my traditional fox and geese mittens, I took inspiration from SpillyJane’s “bow tie mittens are cool” pattern, and made these.

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I’m not into anything Doctor Who related, but I know someone that is, and who already has a pair of TARDIS socks to match.
If you also know this person, keep it a secret. Mittens will not be given until the new year.

A new needle craft

December 24th, 2013 by swatchless

I learned something new when I was in Japan this summer. I purchased a needle felting kit from their local Dollar store, ”Daiso”. I started fooling around with felting some ornaments this Christmas.

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This little guy is hanging out with me until he can get to his new home. The massive ice storm we had has hampered his delivery.

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That’s a picture of my friend Aki who is visiting from Japan to experience a Canadian winter! What a year to come visit. We had a big weekend…almost getting evacuated due to a fire on a construction site

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Ad then this intense ice storm. Luckily we kept power for most of the time, so we could stay indoors and bake and do crafts.

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This is the second needle felted ornament that I made. It’s a pretty accurate representation of the human heart, presented to an anatomy student that I know. He thought it was pretty cool!
I anticipate a brain, liver or lungs next year. He will have a morbid tree if I have anything to do with it.

Elephant knitting

December 17th, 2013 by swatchless

I’ve been keeping a few knitting projects secret for Christmas, but this one is not one of them.

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I made these mittens for the Environment Club Silent Auction held at school.

The design was heavily inspired by a student request for grey mittens with pink elephants on them. I only knit for students for secret santa gifts, and so I came up with a plan to knit the mittens that this girl wanted, and donate them to the club’s sale, and then she could bid on them.

After a lot of drama (I may have told lots of other people to make a big deal of bidding on the mittens), she was the successful bidder. I hope they are comfy and that she is happy!

Robot hats 63-69

December 9th, 2013 by swatchless

The season for robot knitting is here. This year we have a team of more than 70 youngsters, and that means a lot of new hat ideas are required.
Here are the 7 hats that I’ve made so far this year.

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Here are some that I’ve modified, either to make bigger or smaller (and pinker)
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There will be more to come, but Christmas knitting is starting to become more important!