Archive for February, 2010

Pattern: Eirinn

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Knit in the round from crown to brim with two contrasting worsted weight yarns, this celtic inspired hat would be perfect to wear on St. Patrick’s day.

Buy Eirinn for $4.00 CAD

The Gaelic word Eirinn (pronounced air-en) is a poetic name for Ireland often used in songs.  The celtic patterning of the braid represents the continuum of life, love and faith, and the circle motif represents eternity.

As the final hours of the Ravelympics, knitting olympics and sporting olympics wind down, I am extremely proud to present a second pattern.  This is like an unexpected medal win for me as I thought it would be a big enough challenge to spin and knit and publish one pattern!  Watching all of the fantastic performances of our Canadian athletes I felt inspired to go for the double gold.

Skills: cast on, knitting in the round, purl, cables, kfb increase, stranded knitting, chart reading
Needles:   4 size 4.0mm DPNs, cable needle, darning needle
Yarn:  Worsted weight in 2 contrasting colours
Gauge:  4.5 sts per inch, 7 rows per inch in stockinette stitch

This pair of hat and mitts is perfect for someone interested in a little colourwork and a little bit of cable knitting.

If you like Eirinn, you may also like to knit Ceilidh mittens to match!

Download the .pdf pattern for Eirinn (hat) only  $4.00 CAD

Download the .pdf pattern for Ceilidh (mittens) only $4.00 CAD

Download the .pdf pattern for Eirinn and Ceilidh together for $6.00 CAD

Check out my other patterns here.

For Double Gold-A Hat To Match!

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

With the extra yarn that I’d spun, I decided to create a hat based on the charts and patterning in the Ceilidh mittens published yesterday.  This could bring me a double gold medal in the Ravelympics/knitting Olympics.  I’m up for the challenge.

This much of the hat was knit through a fabulous evening of improvisational theatre.  I have been a fan of the highschool improv since I was first introduced to it about 5 years ago.  If you’ve never been to an improv event before, you should check it out!  Here’s the national link, and the local link too.

It is great to see these teenagers working together, trusting each other, taking risks, and producing some moving, some hilarious, and some very interesting pieces of spontaneous theatre.  Audience participation is encouraged, and it’s the audience suggestions that form the backbone of the sketches performed.

I was inspired by them to improvise a little on this hat design.  Fingers crossed it works out!

This lovely celtic inspired hat is looking for a name!  Any ideas?

Pattern: Ceilidh

Friday, February 26th, 2010

$4.00 CAD

A ceilidh (pronounced Kaylee) is a traditional Gaelic social dance originating in Ireland and Scotland.  In days gone by, there were ceilidhs in most town and village halls on Friday or Saturday nights.  The cheerful and lively ceilidh music is provided by fiddles, flutes, tin whistles, accordions, and the bodhran drum.

This pattern is the results of my Ravelympic challenge: to design and publish a pattern during the Olympic games, and to knit a pair of mittens from sheep fleece that I carded, dyed and spun during the span of the games.

The green was inspired by my 4 leaf clover, and was created using orange and green kool-aid.  The fleece was spun and Navajo plied to form a worsted weight 3-ply yarn.

The celtic patterning of the braid represents the continuum of life, love and faith, and the circle motif represents eternity.

Knit in the round with two contrasting worsted weight yarns, these celtic inspired mittens would be perfect to wear to a St. Patrick’s day ceilidh.

Skills: cast on, knitting in the round, purl, cables, M1 increase, decrease (ssk and k2tog), stranded knitting, chart reading, kitchener stitch
Needles:   4 size 4mm DPN, cable needle, darning needle
Yarn:  Worsted weight in 2 contrasting colours
Gauge:  4.5 sts per inch, 7 rows per inch in stockinette stitch

These mittens would be great for a beginner who is ready to try cable knitting and colourwork in small doses.

EDIT:  Ceilidh now has a matching hat called Eirinn.

Download the .pdf pattern for Celildh (mittens) only for $4.00 CAD

Download the .pdf pattern for Ceilidh & Eirinn for $6.00 CAD

If you like these patterns, check out my others!

KnitPicks Inspiration in the Mail

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

It seems robot knitting is ALL the rage these days!  I got the Knitpicks catalogue in the mail today and saw this on the back cover.

I’m a bit tempted to make something similar….but have to focus on robot hats first.

I have to say that I am very impressed with this month’s catalogue.  There is such variation.  Gorgeous socks…I particularly like the “boyfriend socks” [Ravelink] by Mary Jane Mucklestone found in “The Joy of Sox”

image from

There are great kilt socks in kit form, and a set of Japanese inspired socks and leggings textured with lace and cables from “Knitted Socks East and West” by Judy Summer.

There are some whimsical purses on a fruit and veggie theme that incorporate beaded knitting, stranded colourwork, and a whole lot of fun.  I’m not sure if I could pull off using one of these, but I bet they would be a hit among some hip teenagers somewhere!

What really got me was the next section of Amigurumi Knits based on the book by Hansi Singh [Ravelink]

Knitted insects (ants, praying mantis, spiders) hermit crabs and even a jackalope!  Check them out if you have an urge to knit something unconventional.

image from

image from

And….for those of you with little ones to knit for, the Barnyard Buddies kits look adorable!  It wouldn’t be a far stretch to adapt other bonnet and shorties/longies patterns to create more animals for your baby.

There’s a cute piggy pattern with a curlicue tail…so adorable!

Good job Knitpicks on the great package of inspiration.  Usually I get upset by paper catalogues in my mailbox, but the one this month is not a disappointment!

Pattern: Robot Hats

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

To celebrate the completion of the FIRST robotics build season (meet the team! see our blog!) I have charted and written up the pattern for our unique and delightful robot hats.

Download the hat pattern in .pdf form (full colour charts, photos and instructions)

We wear these hats to competitions, and other events, and they are also regular winter hats to some.  They help unite us as a team, and show our Canadian spirit when we are competing in the USA.  The first hats were knit on the way to the International competition in Atlanta Georgia, on our 22 hour bus ride.

The pattern is based on the Robot Hat pattern that I found on Ravelry last year.  It is knit with any worsted weight acrylic yarn, and 5.0mm needles.  My pattern is fully customizable to fit large and small heads alike based on a small swatch.

Our hats are each unique; the variations have included different stripes, different colours of robots, having a rolled up brim, having pompoms, curlicues, or horns.  We’ve even made headbands too!  Our team challenges each other to come up with more wild and wacky hat ideas, and figure out how to make them.  Each hat has robots on it, and is made from our team colours, and has 2809 (our team number) on it.

Some Math:  We recognize that team members, and mentors and younger supporters all have different sized heads.  It is a good idea to do a gauge swatch and a bit of math to make sure your hat will fit.

Measure the circumference of the head:________________inches.

Make a swatch in stockinette stitch (knit 1 row, purl 1 row) that is at least 2 inches x 2 inches.

Lay the swatch out flat (but do not stretch it), put a ruler on top of it and count how many stitches fit in one inch.  It may be easier to count how many stitches fit in two inches, then divide by 2.

Stitch gauge: ______________stitches per inch.

Generally hats stretch to fit around your head.  Subtract about an inch from the head circumference so the hat will stretch to fit around the head.

Hat circumference = Head circumference – 1.

Hat circumference =_____________

Cast on = Hat circumference  x  stitch gauge

Cast on = ___________________

Cast On the appropriate number of stitches for your hat. Join in the round being careful not to twist.
Work an inch or two in K2, P2 ribbing (more if you are going to flip the brim over)

Change colours as desired.

Knit an inch or two before starting the robot and team number motif.

It is highly recommended to use a spreadsheet or several pieces of graph paper to chart out the entire hat to be sure that everything is centered, and that the robots and team number can all be incorporated.  You can graph out team logos and other different robots if you’d like.


ROBOTS (source)  click for larger image

Try on the hat from time to time to be sure that it is long enough before you start decreasing.  Knit until the hat is long enough.

Decreases: Divide the number of stitches by 4, place markers at each division.  Each round, decrease by knitting together the two stitches that precede the marker.  Each round the total number of stitches will decrease by 4.  Continue until there are about 8 stitches left.  Cut the yarn, draw the yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tight.

Headband Option – Knit in the round.
Round 3 start robots leaving space for team numbers
Round 7 start team logo close to the top
Knit 1 round after robot complete then purl one round, then knit the lining for the headband (same number of rows that you knit for the outside.
Cast off.  Fold headband along purl line.  Sew Cast On and Cast Off edge together


Antenna–instead of decreasing so rapidly, decrease every 3 rows or so, to create a spike at the back of the hat.

Pompom–cut out two circles from cardboard.  Cut out a circle (1 inch diameter) in the centre of each circle.  Hold the two circles together, and wrap yarn around through the middle and around the outside over and over again.  When the circle is full, cut around the outside edge and separate the two cardboard circles a little.  Tie a long piece of yarn around and fasten it tightly around the middle bundle of strings.  Remove the cardboard, and trim the pompom.

Curlicues (source)
Cast on 20 stitches. (The final length of your curlicue will be the same as the length of your cast on row.)  Knit into the front and back of each stitch loosely, ending up with 40 stitches. Bind off purlwise. Here you see the curlicue already curling on the bind off row.  Take your finished curlicue and twist it in the direction it is already curling.

Horns and other structural knitting
Knit with wool and one strand of copper from a copper scrubbie (which is actually knit, so you can unravel it really easily).  You are limited only by your imagination.

Bracelets From Badminton Strings

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Today I was given a challenge to make a bracelet out of some odds and ends of badminton racket strings.  I am no badminton expert.  I had never even considered that racket strings could be so bright and colourful, of different gauges, and so easily turned into a neat bracelet.

I cut lengths of racket string that are about double one arm’s length in 5 different colours.  I tied all the ends together, and started making a 5-finger weaving bracelet.

The finished product looks kinda cool.


I don’t know the best way to close these bracelets.  The strings appear to be some kind of plastic (they melt when burned).  They are also really strong, so it is unsafe to bond both ends of the bracelet together.

What is the most unusual arts and craft material you’ve used lately?

And Now For Something Totally Different…

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I was asked today if it was possible to make a rather interesting balaclava for a robotics competition… (meet our robotics team)

The guy was serious too…promised to wear it….in public……

I know the hat is crocheted, but I betcha I could knit something similar.  I know the curlicues are possible (tutorial courtesy of “Knitting In Colour”).

This will have to be one of my post-ravelympic challenges.  I wonder if the hat ends at the mouth area, or if it continues down around the neck.

Would you wear a crazy hat like this in public?

Weaving In The Ends

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

It’s a satisfying thing to weave in the ends on a project, specially when it is completed ahead of schedule!

This past 10 days of carding, spinning, dyeing, and knitting has happened in fits and spurts….mostly late into the night.  The Olympic coverage is played late into the night too so it has kept me company as these mittens grew.  I have started to chart and write the pattern, and will attempt the impossible: test knit another pair of mittens in a commercially available yarn to double check my instructions before publishing the pattern.

As I examine the almost finished product a few things come to mind:

1.  The wonderful thing about handspun, or at least about my handspun, is that each bobbin is different.  One mitten is thus a little bit bigger than the other due to the thicker wool.  I don’t know that it is all that noticeable.

2.  This wool is still greasy.  My hands have never been smoother!  As I spin, and knit this wool, the lanolin has been conditioning my skin.  I think I will wash the mittens though, to remove some of it.  Maybe the bits of straw will be removed with a good washing too. (Note to self: Card wool 3 times as many times as you think you need to…I thought I removed all of the straw but boy was I wrong!)

3.  I have also learned that cables on a cuff are not stretchy at all…maybe knit with larger needles it would be better.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics, and that Knitting Olympics and Ravelympic projects are going strong.

My test knitting begins during the Canada-USA hockey game tonight.  GO CANADA!!!

How to repair Olympic Red Mittens

Friday, February 19th, 2010

It seems that these mittens are starting to come apart with a bit of wear.  I guess I have developed quite a reputation as a knitter, because people at work have started to bring me their mittens to fix.  Since I do have a soft spot for red mittens, even if they are machine knit from an inexpensive loosely spun acrylic fiber, I agreed to do what I could.  I fixed two different pairs of mittens today!

The most common issue seems to be stitches that are not knit into the next row, or stitches that break because the yarn has worn thin, or ends that were once woven in that are now coming loose.  To fix the problem of a loose stitch, sew a thread through the stitch, and tie a knot leaving a long tail at each end.

The thread will hold on to the stitch to make sure that it wont run.  Examine the stitches around the area.  Determine where the stitch “should” go, and insert the needle there.  Since the mitten is lined, the needle needs to stay between the knitted layer and the lining layer.  Bring the needle back up through the knitted layer a few inches away.  Pulling on the thread should tug on the loose stitch, which might need some gentle coaxing or directing with a knitting needle to fall into place.

Work in the ends of the thread as you’d usually work in the ends of your yarn when you knit.

You can hardly tell which mitten was fixed!

Are your red mittens falling apart?

Past the $1000 mark!

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

thanks for the cupcakes mom!

The Olympics have started, and red mittens became the must-have of the season!  Orders have been rolling in and the dollars have been adding up for the Penguins Can Fly swim team.  We’re now at $1110, and that will only go up over the course of the next week.

Thank you to all the generous knitters who have purchased patterns, and spread the word about the mittens, and the Penguins.  So many children will benefit as a result of your purchases.

In Olympic Knitting News….

Today I was made aware (from an NBC Olympics news story) that German Olympic Gold Medalist in the Biathlon, Magdalena Neuner is a knitter.  Knitting and rifles and skis…sounds interesting!  She has a knitting blog which is in German….which I’ve had very little luck reading (since I know no German).

As for my own Olympic knitting…I carded and spun enough white yarn to knit the second mitten, and today I started the cuff of mitten #2.  It’s slow going as I’m writing out pattern notes as I go, just in case anyone wants to make their own pair to match!