Posts Tagged ‘ravelry’

Secret Santa

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

‘Tis the season for giving.  I love this time of year!  The weather gets colder, and it just seems sensible to wrap up in warm woolies.  I’ve been taking advantage of the long evenings to whip through a few gifts for the secret santa exchanges that I’m involved in.

My three high school classes are all exchanging gifts.  Each person is limited to $5 to prepare their project.  These limits have brought up all sorts of discussions generally starting with “you can’t buy ANYTHING for $5″.  I am a firm believer in creating gifts.  For $5 you could bake cookies/cake etc, draw or paint a picture, or in my case, I choose to knit.  I’m curious to see what gifts get exchanged.  Last year my gift was a Christmas tree ornament and a can opener.  I still use the can opener to this day!

Here’s what I’ve made for my secret santa students:  Here’s a slightly modified version of the “End of May” hat (ravelry).  secret santaI knew that I didn’t have time to knit up the hat at the gauge that was specified, so I used heavier yarn (acrylic so it’s not itchy) and worked 3 pattern repeats rather than 4.  I also didn’t work the internal lining, but rather did ribbing for one hat and a Latvian braid for another.secret santa

The yarn is scrap from my stash.  The red is not actually red, but more of a “radioactive salmon” hot pink/orange colour, which seems to be quite fashionable amongst the youngsters these days.  This yarn was rescued from the GAP where it was used as part of a display, but going to be thrown out afterwards (shameful!).  I remember the day when a big bag with many balls of fluorescent yarn appeared in my office–thanks so much to Rachel for giving me some.

secret santaThe third gift I made is a pair of 100% wool mittens (Sean Sheep brand from Walmart, purchased AGES ago). It’s a very cozy softly spun single ply yarn that sometimes didn’t hold together under tension.  I knit these mitts with extra long cuffs, then decorated them with snowflakes embroidered on top.

I hope that my students realize that although their gifts cost me less than $5 to create, they are worth much more.  I invested my time, and my care to create something specially for them.  I have high hopes that teenagers can appreciate these gifts.

Julekuler-Norwegian Knitted Balls

Monday, December 10th, 2012

It’s rainy here these days.  We’ve only had one brief dusting of snow which was quickly washed away by showers.  All the rain is making me remember my experience in Norway.  There is some amazing knitting that originated in Norway, the entire Selbu tradition for instance.

I recall my visit to the Selbu knitting museum where a young boy working there on a summer job told me that the very intricate mittens were knit in a day by Altzheimer’s patients who had forgotten everything but mitten knitting.  I’m a little doubtful as to the truth of that story, but here’s another little bit of Norwegian knitting that could be done in a day.  From my poor translations of the Norwegian websites I’ve discovered that Julekuler are knit balls that are stuffed, and hung as Christmas decorations.

Here’s the pattern for the reindeers in love julekuler shown below. (ravelry)

julekulerI knit this one for my brother and his wife to celebrate their first married Christmas.  He has a thing for moose–reindeer are pretty close.

Two Norwegian guys Arne and Carlos have made many different Julekuler as seen below.

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Their pattern for the snowflake Julekuler is given on their site.  I made this one for my other brother and his wife for their first married Christmas.  snowflake

If you are counting down the days until Christmas and looking for a quick and interesting project, I recommend giving these a try.  They’re knit in the round with a gauge that creates a dense fabric so the stuffing doesn’t show through.  I’m sure there are lots of traditional motifs around, but I’m sure that a creative crafter could invent some non-traditional motifs.

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Happy knitting!

Dragon Baby Set

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

A friend of mine has just had a baby.  This is no ordinary baby, it has been nicknamed a “dragon baby” for the last little while.  I spent this rainy weekend knitting up some lovely warm and “dragony” things to drop off at my friend’s door.dragon babyThe hat is what came up on a ravelry search for “Dragon Baby”.  Here’s the pattern, from the blog SpinKnitUp.  I have knit it with the most dragony green from my stash.  It’s a good quality sport weight acrylic that should be easy to care for, and will last for years!  dragon hatThe pattern really looks like dragon scales!

To complement the hat, and use up the last bit of my yarn, I mashed two patterns together to create some cute dragon booties.  bootiesThe patterns involved are Dino Baby Booties (ravelink) which didn’t have a pattern available–but I loved the picot teeth idea, and the Monster Booties pattern.dragonI am not sure how well the booties will stay on, or how long they will fit a growing baby, but they certainly will be a cute addition to the dragon set.

If you are curious, here are my instructions:

Follow the monster bootie pattern for the sole of the foot. I used garter stitch rather than stockinette stitch.

When picking up for the top of the foot, pick up in “tooth colour” the number of stitches required for the rest of the bootie.  Knit a round, then work a picot edge (YO, K2tog) around.  Knit a round.

Join in main colour and knit the round, joining the edges of the picot together by knitting the live stitch with a loop from inside, several rows down–the first loop in “tooth colour”.

Continue working the monster bootie.

I hope that these will keep the little dragon baby warm and cozy this winter.

A Question of Colour

Monday, July 9th, 2012

This little sweater has been on the go for about 2 weeks.  It’s Elizabeth Zimmerman’s pattern for a garter stitch hooded sweater called Tomten.  The tomten is a very interesting pattern, written so that there are always the same number of stitches in the sweater, but it can be sized up for a small adult (using very chunky yarn and big needles) or sized down for a very small baby using small needles and baby or fingering yarn.  Others on ravelry have reworked the pattern to fit an adult better, and some have changed the pattern to stockinette stitch.tomtenThe question that I have is this:  What should I do to close this sweater?  There are a few different options.

  1. zipper: I’ve put zippers in the other tomten sweaters I’ve made and that has worked really well.  I like zippers because you can add a stripe of colour.  I’m leaning towards a bright red zipper at present, but I’m open to other ideas.
  2. button band: I can knit a button band and button hole band, but that includes a whole lot of picking up stitches.  I’m not sure what colour buttons to use either–large wooden buttons?  metal buttons?  contrasting colour?  varying colours?
  3. buttons with applied i-cord button holes.  This is a method where i-cord is applied to the button hole edge.  Loops are worked to act as floating button holes.  I’m not sure what kind of buttons to use though.
  4. ties at the neck: I’m a bit leary of having a strangulation hazard with things tied at the neck…but i-cord could be used to tie the sweater together.
  5. does it need to be closed at all?  I don’t know the answer.  I haven’t had much experience with wriggling babies between the ages of 6 months and a year.  Would they squirm right out of this?

Suggestions are welcome!  What would you do?

Sunnyside for Baby Fiona

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

A long time friend of mine has just had a baby, and I left a special delivery at their door tonight.  Baby Fiona is going to have plenty of woolies to wear as she gets bigger–my mother and grandmother have also knit a sweater and a bonnet–that’s 3 generations of knitters who love this baby before they even meet her.  A quick ravelry search led me to this darling little sweater (Sunnyside) and I knew that it would be just the thing to knit.  What’s best was that I had yarn in my stash that was just waiting to be turned into such a cute little sweater.

sunnyside sweaterSunnyside has all the criteria of a great project.

  1. It has no seams to sew up: top down raglan sweaters are great for this!  The sleeves are knit afterwards on DPNs, and the button band is knit into the body of the sweater not as an afterthought.
  2. It is a useful garment: cardigans are easy to put onto babies, and for a new mom this will probably be important!
  3. It is interesting to knit: the cables down the front and along the raglan, keep things fun.  It makes the sweater look unique too.
  4. There is no ribbing: I hate ribbing!  Substantial garter stitch borders at the neck, button band, bottom edge and sleeves make fine edging that doesn’t roll.
  5. This sweater necessitates an excursion to select the perfect buttons.  I brought the sweater to Fabricland and spent a good 30 minutes trying different button combinations
  6. It is a free pattern! (available here)

sunnysideThere are two options presented in the pattern.  This one has cables–the other one has a picot edging and lace detail where the cables are.

My only modification to the pattern is something that I always do on button up sweaters.  I have always worked button holes on each side of the sweater.  Some people have asked me if I sew buttons on one side if its for a girl or the other if its for a boy.  My answer is much more simple than that.  It doesn’t really matter to me (or to the baby for that matter) which side the buttons are on.  I use the holes as guides for sewing the buttons in place so that they’ll line up with the holes properly!

With the current heat wave, it’s hard to imagine that anyone will ever wear wool again!  I’m sure though that in 6-9 months little Fiona will grow into this sweater and it will keep her warm and cozy in the winter.

Ringing in the New Year

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Happy new year to everyone!  I’m hoping that 2012 is full of as much excitement as 2011 was.  In our family, we gather to play silly games to ring in the new year.  Last year we had a moustache-themed murder mystery party.  This year we played the classic board game “Rat Race” the social climbing game where you strive to buy fur coats, artwork and cars to “keep up with the Jones'”.


We ended up laughing and carrying on until 12:03 before we realized that we missed the ball drop!  Luckily it was on youtube shortly afterwards.  Hopefully we wont be 15 minutes late for EVERYTHING in the new year.

During all of the fun I was working away on my latest pair of mittens.  I’m knitting “Avo’s Mittens” a pattern from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush.  {Ravelink}  It’s been a while since I’ve knit anything using a pattern book.  I think I’ll knit a few more pairs before the year’s done.  The yarn I’m using is Nob Hill Naturals which I’m really pleased with.  It’s 100% wool and is much softer than I’d imagined.mittens

At the end of the evening, as per family tradition, we each lit a candle as we made a new year’s wish.  There are a few more of us this year in our family….It’s going to be an exciting 2012.


How did you celebrate this year?




For A Baby Girl

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Many of my friends are having babies these days, so I’ve started knitting some baby clothes to give them.  It’s a great way to use up some of my sock yarn/baby yarn stash.  The yarn is generally superwash wool or acrylic, which is suitable for baby clothes that tend to need quite a lot of washing.  This particular pattern is my new favourite.  It is the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi by Jennifer.  The pattern is so easy to follow, and is knit in one piece with absolutely no seams to sew up at the end.

To go with the cute sweater I knit up a “Top Down Bonnet” by Adrian Bizilia of Hello Yarn .  It is such a nice pattern that fits babies so well.  I just need to add some ties and it will be all done.

The combination will be packaged up, ready for the first girl to be born.

All Thirty Hats In One Place

Monday, November 15th, 2010

It’s hard to believe I’ve made 30 hats.  It’s amazing what these hats have done for our robotics team (K-Botics).  We’ve set ourselves apart and created an identity–we certainly stand out in a crowd.

Each hat is unique, but bonds our group together–some have even said the hats are helping to make us such a tight knit group!

It’s not just me knitting…students and mentors are getting into it too. Some of the Knitters Anonymous have now started building robots. Some of the robotics team members have learned to knit specifically so they can make a robot hat!  The smile on a kid’s face, when they get a hat–made just for them–is priceless.  That’s why I keep knitting!

Here’s a free pattern, so you can make some too.

This hat making enterprise would not be possible without the generous donation of K-Botics coloured yarn from one of the team’s families.  If you’d like to help us purchase yarn, please donate. For $5 you could sponsor a hat!

And here are the hats that I’ve made….All 30 of them!  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

It all began in the spring of 2009, on a very long bus ride to Atlanta for the World Championships of FIRST robotics.  I needed something to do on the bus for 24 hours.  Robot knitting, inspired by hats I’d seen on Ravelry, seemed to be the right choice.

First to get hats were our drive team and some mentors

Some hats were quite plain, while others had huge pompoms, and curlicues coming out of the tops, for added flair.  This was a sign of things to come!

Spring 2010: Hat making began at the kick-off of our season in January.  Hats had horns knit with copper wire, or were reversible “transformer” hats (ravelink).

Preparation for our Chairman’s Award presentation required more hats!  They are kind of a trademark of our team now.

Hats now had holes for hair (ponytails or many curls) to show through.  We even made a hat for the MC of our competition to wear.  His team colours included red, so we added red just for him.

There was a sad tale…the first version of this hat went missing on a ski trip, so the second version was created–note the pink tentacles…that’s why they’re there!

Head bands are preferred by some…

Others don’t mind the more unique aspects like tassels and beads.

Sometimes the hat needs only one robot.

Fall 2010: It’s not yet kick-off for this season, and hats are being made at an astonishing pace.  Some of these hats include glow in the dark yarn.  If you want some, you can order it from Seed Stitch Fine Yarn in Salem MA.

Glow In The Dark Yarn

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

So, a friend of mine has been going on and on all summer about “glow in the dark minions”, and how much he wants one.  This was long before I had seen Despicable Me, and I really had no idea what he was talking about, so I smiled and nodded, and went on with my day.

However, after my crazy road trip this summer, a few things lined up that allowed me to make his dreams come true.

1:  I saw Despicable Me at the drive in theatre in Wellfleet Massachusetts, and saw the minions in context.  I get it now!

2:  I saw a knitting pattern for minions! (ravelink) So cute.

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3:  I bought glow in the dark yarn in Salem at Seed Stitch Fine Yarn.

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It really does glow…

Anyway, I got to knitting up a little minion for my buddy.  It is a quick project.  I spent a few minutes over a few evenings, and ended up with this cute little guy.

I decided against the button eyes to make goggles because I didn’t have any buttons, and also because I wanted the eye parts to glow in the dark like the rest of the little guy.  I embroidered the goggles along with the rest of the face.

The overalls are knit in light blue sock yarn, and the hands and feet are knit in black sock yarn.  You can use anything though, as long as the yarn weight matches that of the body.

Here’s proof that he glows!  (It’s hard to take a picture of things glowing in the dark…it looks way better in person)

What would you make with glow in the dark yarn??

P.S.  If you are looking for this yarn, Seed Stitch Fine Yarn does accept online orders!

Pay It Forward #2

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

This afternoon I delivered my second pay it forward handmade gift.  I signed up back in November to do a pay it forward challenge, where I had a year to make 3 gifts and send them to the first three people that signed up on my blog, provided that they also promise to make 3 gifts, and pay it forward to other people.

Since November, I have sent a pair of mittens to Lisa

…and I have received a lovely package from the sweet sheep

…and today I delivered a package to Noor–the very first pair of butterfly mittens made from my handspun yarn.

These are the mittens that are inside the package.

When I arrived, she was in the midst of applying henna, so I got to watch and learn.

It’s neat to get a glimpse into other cultures, and their traditions.  Henna is applied to decorate women’s hands during celebrations.

This weekend is Eid, a celebration which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

This is the colour that the henna stains the skin, after the paste dries and comes off.

Thanks for the tea, goodies, and interesting lesson today Noor!

How have you payed it forward today?