Archive for October, 2010


Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Hallowe’en is a really big deal at my house.  We’ve become the scary house in the neighbourhood, so our pumpkin carving has to be pretty good.  These are the pumpkins that will scare all the ghosts and goblins that come to our door tomorrow.

Robot Hat

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The tessellation toque now has been completed.  Ends are woven in, ribbing was added around the edge to finish things off and make sure the brim didn’t roll too much.

I enjoyed adding the finishing details of our team number, and our robot to some of the less intricate hexagons.

All of the embroidery skills I learned in Brownies has come in handy with these robotics hats.  French knots and chain stitch are my friends!

Our team has been keeping me busy these days, so there hasn’t been much other knitting going on.  If you want to read about what’s going on in the wonderful world of high school robotics, have a look at our blog.

I’m looking for inspiration for some more creative and different hats. 

What is the most ridiculous hat you’ve ever seen?

Tessellation Toque

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I’m rather struck by hexagons these days.

They are fun to knit, and can be made with many intricate designs, or stripes.  What’s really cool is that they can be joined together to form a flat surface.

Do you want to use up your yarn stash and make some hexagons too?  Here are my steps.

1. Cast on 6 stitches (this is what makes it a hexagon).

2. Increase one stitch in every stitch (I knit into the front and back of each stitch to do this) [12 stitches]

3. Kfb, K1 around [18 stitches]

4. Kfb, K2 around [24 stitches]

5. Kfb, K3 around [30 stitches]

Keep going, and you can make a really big hexagon!  I’ve made mine with 10 stitches per side [60 stitches around].

I’ve joined them up as I go to form a tube (it’s taken 12 hexagons so far).  Now I’m trying to figure out how to make hexagons curve into a dome shape to form the top of the hat.  I think some hexagons are going to be slightly misshapen to make this happen.

This project is fun because I can sit down and make a hexagon or two at a time, and see great progress being made.  Sometimes if you sit down and knit 6 rows on a hat, you don’t really see the difference.  The one thing I’m not looking forward to is the number of ends I’ll have to sew in to finish this hat, but I think the end result will be worth it!

Hard to believe

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

It’s been a year since I’ve been blogging.  In the past year I’ve written 286 blog posts and 19 knitting patterns.  I’ve explored natural dyeing, handspinning, and lots of knitting.  This site has been seen by 19342 unique visitors from 110 countries.

I’ve made friends both near and far…I’ve tweeted, and joined up with several interesting blogging challenges (art every day month, best of 2009, tour de fleece, ravelympics).

And, what I’m most proud of is that I’ve been able to use this site to do some good, and donate $1600 (proceeds from the sales of Olympic Mitten Patterns)to the Penguins Can Fly swim team for disabled youth at our local YMCA.

As winter approaches, think about knitting a pair of Olympic mittens for yourself.

Glittery Mittens Have Been Captured….

Monday, October 25th, 2010

I guess this means it is officially winter.  My colleague’s son has been spotted with the glittery mittens.


Monday, October 25th, 2010

Polls are open Monday October 25th 2010 for municipal elections across Ontario.  Between the hours of 10AM and 8PM bring your ID to your polling station [Kingston poll finder], and VOTE!  In Kingston last time, less than 40% of eligible voters actually voted.

If you still are looking for information, check out the following sites.
Local Candidates for Mayor John Last, Kevin Lavalley, Nathan Wilson from Run This Town, Mark Gerretsen, Barrie Chalmers, and Rob Matheson

ETA:  I voted at 5:00 PM tonight.  I was impressed to see a line up all the way out the door at my poling station.  I was disappointed that there were no “I VOTED” stickers….I had seen some people wearing them today.  Maybe you need to vote early to get them….maybe it was just on campus..

Maybe if people get stickers for voting more of them will show up at the polls on election day.  Stickers certainly motivated people to study hard for tests in grade school.

Robot Hat Fit For A Bus Rave

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

I help mentor a FIRST Robotics team, and we’ve developed quite an interesting fashion trend.  This is one special hat, for one of our more outgoing team members. [general pattern]

I’ve never made a jester hat before.  It wasn’t all that difficult to do.  I made a regular hat (90 sts in circumference), and worked until the hat was ready for decreases.  I divided the 90 stitches into three groups of 30.  Working on one section at a time, and with double pointed needles, I knit the 30 stitches and cast on 10 more stitches to complete the circle.

I decreased stitches as I went along, 5 stitches per round every 6 rounds to start.  Decreasing became more gradual toward each point.

To make the second point to this hat, use the 30 stitches that are on a stitch holder, then pick up 5 stitches from the first point, and cast on 5 more stitches (40 sts total).  To make the third point to this hat, use the 30 stitches on the stitch holder and pick up 5 stitches from the first point, and 5 stitches from the second point to get the 40 stitches total in the round.

I added stripes to make it more interesting, and then to top it off, I put very special pompoms on the ends.  The pompoms add weight, and make the points flop over nicely.  They also GLOW IN THE DARK!

These pompoms are made with the glow in the dark yarn that I picked up this summer from Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem MA.  This hat will be great on our late night bus trips to and from competitions.  It will enhance our Bus Raves (dance parties on the bus with glow sticks and loud music)

Bus Raves are fun!

What’s In The Box?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Tonight I took my knitting to the high school improv show.  Have you been to improv before?  It’s fun!

Teams of students compete in games and scenarios that are made up on the spot based on audience suggestions.  These kids are amazingly quick minded, and brave.  I don’t have that kind of confidence now, and I know for sure that I would not have been able to perform on stage as a teenager.

Hippo is one of those improv kids….remember Hippo?  She has a particularly lovely hat.  I haven’t seen it yet this year, but I’m waiting.  She has the confidence to wear that hat, and she has the confidence to be very dramatic.  I think the two qualities are related.

Tonight, the games began with The Improv Oath, several balls of yarn, and a hat in its infancy.  After three rounds of play, an intermission, and presentation of What’s In The Box,  I have an almost completed hat.  That’s almost 2 hats in 2 days!

So….gather your knitting, and go to the improv.  Only there can you find out “What’s In The Box”. I know you are dying to find out!

You Can’t Knit In Question Period

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Today I went to Ottawa with a group of high school students.  On the way I started knitting a robot hat.  It is our goal that each member of the robotics team I mentor will have a one-of-a-kind hat knit in our team colours.  They are quite a conversation piece at competitions and also around the halls at school.

By the time our bus got to the Ottawa War Museum, I had finished the robot stranded knitting section, and was moving on to improvise the rest of the hat.

War Museum

We toured the War Museum, seeing artifacts from many different wars, including Hitler’s car.

We met several veterans and heard many stories of their life on the front lines.  This man was telling us that as an airman he needed to wear three pairs of mittens.  The inner pair was silk, the next was wool, and the last was some kind of animal hide.  He said that it was very cold, but he needed to use his fingers, so by removing one or two layers he could do what he needed to do and still keep his hands warm.  It was touching to see how the students enjoyed chatting with the veterans, and how much the veterans wanted to share their stories with this young generation, so far removed from war.

In the World War I section of the museum, it showed how women used to knit socks for soldiers fighting overseas.  It is common for knitters nowadays to knit helmet liners for the troops.

I was surprised when I came across a display of knitted and crocheted dolls called Izzy Dolls (pattern, and information on how to send your completed dolls).  Each doll is given to a child in a war torn area by soldiers and peace keepers.  Each doll has a card attached with the following message:

“IZZY DOLL”, Made for you with love, in memory of MARK ISFELD,
killed near Kakma, Croatia 21 Jun 1994, removing landmines
serving with 1 Combat engineer Regiment, Canadian Engineers.

After the war museum, we headed to Parliament to get a tour, and then attend Question Period in the House of Commons.

The details of our Parliament buildings always astonish me.  Today I was fascinated by the carved unicorn at the entrance.

I knit outside while waiting for our group tour to begin.  People were taking bets on whether my needles would be confiscated when we went through the initial security screening.  Lucky for me, they were allowed!  So, I was able to knit in line to the top of the Peace Tower, and I was able to knit through lunch too.

Here’s what I had done by the time we got into the Senate chambers.  Later on in the afternoon we were able to attend Question Period, where the Opposition members questioned the Government about all manner of current events.  To get into the House of Commons Gallery, you need to pass through another layer of security, where cameras, phones, pens/pencils, big belt buckles, bags, and…yes…knitting gets confiscated and kept in safe keeping until you exit.  I had never seen our Government in session before, and although the Prime Minister was not there, the other party leaders were, and there was a very lively debate.

I kept knitting on the bus as we left Ottawa.  By the time we stopped for an emergency snack/washroom break the hat was complete!

Here’s Joy wearing her hat.  I love the fact that it is almost like a wizard hat, a little crumpled, but with definite character.

Basic Stats (mostly for my own recall later):  Cast On 100 sts, work K2P2 ribbing with stripes.  Work team number and robot chart.  Work stripes again.  Begin to decrease (K8, K2tog).  Every 5th row work decreases.  Alternate stripes as desired.

Our bus ran into a lot of slow traffic on our way home.  I’m already done 1.5 inches of hat number 2.  It certainly was a productive, and interesting day.

Game On!

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Remember the war of the glittery mittens last year?  It’s begun again.  This time my colleague is winning.

the glittery mittens appear at work!

Her son claims it is not cold enough for mittens yet.

Is it mitten season yet where you live?