Posts Tagged ‘stash’

Custom Mitts

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

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.


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!

Bowties are apparently cool!

Monday, December 30th, 2013

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.

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.


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.

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!

The Fastest Pair Of Socks…EVER!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Welcome to 2013!!


Owen, my brother and sister in law’s cat, ringing in the new year in style!

Some projects seem to just fly off the needles, as if the yarn has been sitting and waiting to be turned into something useful.  This pair of socks that I’ve just finished is one such project.  I started the first sock 2 days ago while waiting for my freshly dyed fleece to dry.  Craving the variagation and uniqueness of handspun yarn, I knitted up some of my stash handspun with Kroy yarn.  I was feeling rather smart when I divided up the handspun into two equal portions before I started.  It worked out really well!  I really like how the stripes break up the handspun’s long and unpredictable colour changes.  The blue also join the pair nicely together by virtue of the contrast socksFor me, socks, and particularly striped socks hold a particular memory for when and where they were knit.  I will be able to recall with each change of colour what was going on at the time, who I was with, and those memories stay lovingly locked away in those stitches.

These particular socks have wrapped up the last moments of 2012, and the first of 2013.  They knit together moments spent with friends and family; moments spent listening, and helping, celebrating and being together.  These moments of connection will be cherished as I wear these cheery socks through the cold winter days.

new sock

Here’s my recipe (as much for my own reference as for anyone else)

These are toe up socks, Toe: I started with a figure of 8 cast on 20 stitches in blue, increase on alternating rows to 60 sts.

Foot: 7 rows handspun, 4 rows blue.  I did not do any heel gusset increases.

My feet are pretty big, so I worked 6 stripes of handspun before the heel.

Heel Placement: knit 2 rows of blue (of the 4 rows expected), knit 30 sts in waste yarn for an afterthought heel, knit remaining 2 rows of blue.

Leg: I continued the striped pattern until my handspun ran out, the socks are a bit shorter than I’d like, but that’s ok.  I worked 2.5 inches of K2P2 ribbing and cast off loosely.

Afterthought Heel: Carefully take out the waste yarn, keeping the 60 sts on 3 needles.  Knit a toe (decrease 4 sts every 2 rounds to a total of 20 sts, graft with kitchener st)


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.

Tis The Season For Elf Slippers

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

December brings twinkle lights, snow, and best of all….it’s the only time where it is perfectly acceptable to wear elf slippers.  I made a pair for my dad a few Christmasses ago, and was so intrigued by the process that I have knit up some Cascade 220 from my stash into some child and infant sized slippers.  The free pattern from Flint Knits blog explains the entire process, from knitting the oversized slippers to felting them.beforeThey go really quickly since they’re worked on 6.5mm needles….child size…the pointy toes are a clever addition…infant size…as are the pointy additions to the cuffs.  With a quick trip through the wash (twice through worked really well), they are felted and drying stuffed with paper towel to keep their shape.afterI’m pretty pleased with the sizing of the child’s pair, but the infant pair seems to be really large.  If they don’t fit for this Christmas, they’ll fit for next year for sure!

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?

New Baby Cardigan

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

It’s been such a hot dry summer so far.  Since I’m sticking around town this summer I’m doing my best to grow a garden on my balcony.  I’ve got peas, beans and cherry tomato plants on the go.  My plants are drinking up a lot of water, and growing quickly.peasHere are the peas, starting to wind themselves up the trellis….tomatoHere are my tomato plants that are growing so fast I have to buy longer stakes for them!  They are blossoming daily, and there are two little fruits that are getting bigger and bigger but are still green.tomato

My beans are growing too.  I’ll have to tie them up soon!  I’ve just finished adding buttons to this little cardigan that I made out of scrap yarn.  I’ve been cleaning up a bit these days, consolidating stash, shredding papers, and regaining control over my long neglected apartment.

baby cardiganIt’s a top down raglan cardigan that I made up as I went along.  I knit the button band on 5 stitches in pink along  each edge of the the sweater since I hate picking up stitches and knitting it later.  the stripe pattern is 5 rows of light blue, 1 row of white, 5 rows of teal, 1 row white, 5 rows of dark blue, 1 row white, 5 rows teal, 1 row white. I am really pleased by how well this turned out!  The bottom didn’t roll on this sweater, maybe that’s because it is 4 ridges–longer than the last sweater I made.

I’ve got a few friends who are expecting….this little sweater will go into the “waiting” pile for the next little girl that is born.

Bright Colours for Baby Deacon

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Now that this sweater has been delivered to Deacon’s dad it can officially be blogged about.  This has been one of the most fun sweaters to knit.  I love playing with colours, and it is such a treat to have complete freedom to try some interesting combinations.  I was out shopping for orange yarn when baby Deacon was born, but I couldn’t find the exact orange I was looking for.  I came across the yarn for this sweater on a colleague’s desk actually!   She’s not a knitter, and just needed some string to bundle things together.  She accepted the trade of some green yarn from my stash.

for DeaconThe stripes are all odds and ends which I think worked really nicely to break up the large chunks of orange, and add more vibrancy to the sweater, and I think the raglan sleeve shaping really stands out with the stripes.

for Deacon

It’s a top down, raglan sleeved, placket necked sweater, based off of my instructions for Laila, but mostly made up as I went along.  The edging is all done in garter stitch (2 ridges) and I cast off purlwise on the cuffs and the bottom of the sweater–the cuffs didn’t roll but the bottom did.  I’m puzzled by that–garter stitch isn’t supposed to roll up.  Maybe I didn’t have enough garter stitch.  I will have to experiment on another sweater or two this summer for the many more babies that will be arriving soon.

Baby Deacon’s big brother Otis got some orange knitting a while ago.  I knit him a set of soakers–“orange underpants“.  Today Otis was running around, on the lookout at the window for passing trucks, and enjoying a game of peekaboo from inside a laundry hamper.  It was a fun visit.  I hope to see them again soon, and get a chance to meet Deacon.