Archive for August, 2013


Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Buttons can really change the look of a sweater. I made this wild sweater over the past few days for a roller derby mom to be. It’s a bit wilder than the average baby sweater, but I think that this mom will embrace the vivid colours! The sweater is based on little coffee bean but I changed the colour scheme drastically to suit the proportions in my stash.


My question now is what colour buttons should I use? I’m leaning towards bright red….

Off to the fabric store this afternoon to see what’s available.

Stash busting sweater

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

I’ve been working hard to use up my stash of yarn. Some of the fun ways are to make baby clothes. Many of my friends are expecting new arrivals, and it’s always nice to be able to give them a unique and hand made gift.

This sweater is one that I return to from time to time. Most knitters will recognize it as the “baby surprise sweater” by Elizabeth Zimmerman. It is knit entirely in garter stitch, and after making a few of them, the pattern is pretty easy to follow. The first few times you make one of these, it’s a bit confusing–it’s a bit of origami to put the whole thing together!

What’s really fun about this sweater is the endless possibilities of colours that can be striped together. It’s a great way to use up odds and ends of lots of balls of yarn. Each time I make the sweater it’s a new adventure. This time it was all about the subtle changes in the variegated blue yarn, and the vibrant contrast of the orange. These colours make me happy. I hope they make a baby happy too.


Monday, August 26th, 2013

When an 18 yr old, heading off to college, asks for a knitted ninja turtle to keep his knitted LEGO man company in case it can’t make friends, it’s pretty hard to resist.

Michaelangelo, the party dude, was knit in about 24 hours. (It’s situations like this that make me love having a large yarn stash on hand). After a quick browse through Ravelry I combined two patterns, the body from ninja turtles and the shell from Sheldon

I have a feeling a couple more die hard ninja turtle fans might be getting one in the future. The next time I would incorporate a wire armature so they can stand and be posed. This guy needed assistance to stand up.

These two knitted buddies are now off to college, and lots of adventures!

Black sheep

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Within every group of people there are those that conform, and those that push the boundaries, or live just a bit outside the lines. These black sheep tend to make life more interesting.

To celebrate the retirement of one of my colleagues (who is sometimes a bit of a black sheep) I created these mittens.


They were knit rather quickly, or as quickly as one can knit with fingering weight yarn, to be presented at a retirement party this past week. I did remember to take some notes so I’ll be able to write up a pattern in the near future. The green yarn is extra special as it’s my handspun, hand dyed experiment.


There’s the one black sheep, prominently placed on the back of one hand.

My colleague really loved the mitts. She’s moving to New Zealand soon, and will need a bit of warmth in their winter. I’m excited for the chance to visit her in NZ and explore all of the wild and wooly adventures that I can!

I Caved and Made the Hat Too

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

I went for a nice walk today. I brought my latest knitting with me as I was going to show it to my grandmother before I sent it off to Japan. I took advantage of the nice summer day to take some photos of the set.


I used up the last of my green yarn to make the hat–it’s darling!


I chose to use wooden buttons to finish the sweater. I was pretty impressed that all the materials needed to make the sweater and hat, including the buttons, were sitting on my shelf. My large stash has come to my rescue once more!

I am not done with the sheep theme either. I’m in the midst of creating a sheepie mitten pattern.


It’s an interesting challenge to do stranded knitting and carry 2 contrasting colours. I’m working hard to make sure that the finished fabric is still stretchy. It will be a deceptively warm mitten I think!

Heed the warning!

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

It happened so quickly.  I was browsing through the yarnharlot’s blog and I did not heed her warning.  I was lured in by the sweet images of a baby cardigan with two rows of little sheep around the yoke.  My photo is way down at the end of the post, so you don’t get sucked in without fair warning.

I looked at the pattern on ravelry.  It’s pretty cute adorable and before I knew it I was justifying the purchase price by telling myself that it would be a really versatile pattern–any small graphic could be substituted for sheep.

After making lunch, I ended up looking through my shelf of stash yarn to find some green.  I have some Nob Hill Naturals in Fern which I got on sale ages ago.  It seems pretty comparable to the recommended yarn.  Doubled sock yarn would do for the sheep.

I put a movie on and started knitting into the wee hours…

There is a lack of process pictures because I just kept knitting!  I would knit until a decrease, and then talk myself into knitting 12 more rows to the next decrease…and then starting the arm–it was so tiny that it worked up really quickly.

In the morning, I woke up and worked on sleeve 2.  Before I knew it I was knitting sheep!  How can you stop once you start seeing little sheepies around the neck of the sweater.

While I knit, I figured out that this would probably be the right size to fit one of the babies I met in Japan this summer.  I’m not sure if it will ever be cold enough there to wear such a garment, but maybe by winter she’ll be big enough to wear it.

Here’s the sweater, about 40 hours after I started it…waiting for a soak and then buttons.  (It’s a lot cuter in person–the colours are a bit off here)


I think I may have enough yarn left over to make the hat….

…and I may have ordered some more green to make another set soon!

This is a difficult affliction to beat!

Thrumming in August

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

I’ve been working on a gift for a now-retired colleague since February.  He had asked for a matching set of thrummed mitts for himself and his significant other.

I had started right away, happy for a way to thank him for his friendship and support over the past 10 years, and also eager to use up some of the sheep fleece that I’ve got!


As the weather got warmer my progress soon stalled.  3 mittens were done, and it just seemed too hot and sticky to be thrumming in May/June.

After experiencing the crazy heat in Japan, it felt cool enough this week to get working on these mitts again.


I am very happy to announce that the mitts are now all complete, and will be mailed soon to the maritimes where I hope they will keep hands warm for many years to come.

Latest Finished Projects

Friday, August 16th, 2013

I had quite a vacation this summer in Japan! For details, it’s all blogged here.

With 13 hours in the air, plus hours on the bus and airport, I finished one sock before my feet touched the ground in Narita.


It was way to hot and humid to contemplate knitting unless I was on the well air conditioned Shinkansen (bullet train).

I wore my travelling socks home on the plane, and was glad…the plane was really cold!

While in Japan, I was able to meet a friend who just had another daughter. The night before going to meet him, I decided that his little one needed some bootees.

Thankfully my friend had 4 matching buttons!

The wool was purchased from an interesting little shop in Kurashiki. I seem to have a sixth sense for finding a yarn store when I need one. I had just finished my travelling socks, and had run out of all yarn! It was a bit of a cause for panic actually, there were still another 2 weeks of travel and a long flight home to contend with.

My random explorations led me to a covered shopping street

And when I saw this display I almost jumped for joy. There was no way that I could have asked anyone for directions to a yarn store….so happening upon one was a really great surprise.

I couldn’t really communicate with the saleswoman, but showed her my socks that I had just finished, and explained that I was from Canada, and she took me over to the 100% wool area (it’s too hot to wear wool in Japan, according to my friends). She was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the yarn in a skein, but I mimed about how I could wind it, and with a giggle she sold me 4 balls! I used some of the white for bootees, and then started a pair of mittens with the blue and green balls.

It is a bit strange to knit mitts when it is 35C, in parts of a country that rarely sees snow on the ground. I had a few inquisitive women sitting near me on the train who asked about what I was making.

My mittens are now done! They’re too small for me, but perfect for their intended recipient at Christmas. The pattern is a bit of a happy accident. I was going to make fireweeds socks, but I cast on way too few stitches and didn’t realize it until I did 2 inches of ribbing. Rather than rip it out and start again, I modified the pattern a bit, adding a different small pattern on the palm and keeping the fireweeds pattern on the back of the hand. It’s a striking colour work pattern, and I think I will make some fireweeds socks in the future.