Posts categorized "Quick knits"

Spinning Spa

Last month I had some time alone.  Craig was away on business, Emma and Xander were away at camps and I had a whole week alone at home.  

(I'm just going to let that sink for those of you who never get a moment to yourself.)

I had to work, but was absolved of the responsibilities for life at home.  I managed to stave off malnutrition (seriously, there is no motivation to cook for one; I ate a lot of popcorn), watch far too many episodes of The Good Wife, went on a bit of a running binge (I ran seven days in a row) and got my fibre groove back.

I started a sweater (which just needs a zipper to be finished), finished Xander's socks AND took some fibre out for a spin.  I had no plan for the fibre except for it to join me on a relaxation exercise.

This is a Grafton Batt from the deep stash.   


Check out the colours (I could already feel myself getting calmer as I rolled out the fibre for the photos). 


There are so many colours in there. 


I sat at the wheel and made a soft, fat single.  Slow spinning.  Watching the colours.  


I was thinking it would be a lovely single, but it was a bit too loose and fat, so I decided to ply it (but not too tight).  I've been very wound up for a number of reasons and I was trying to make this yarn be what I needed to be: relaxed, calm, soft and a bit bouncy. 


I think I got it. 




Once it was dry I started on a cowl.  A relaxing project for a relaxing spinning project.  



Since I last Blogged

Work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work...

Attended lots of year end school things for the kids including Emma's fabulous school dance night:


And Xander's music night and honour roll night and volunteer recognition event:



Work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work.  

Then Emma performed in her musical theatre show.  She was Maisy from Suessical (here she is with her besties--she did all their makeup):


Then more work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work until I started to get grumpy.  

I did sneak in some knitting, but sometimes not for days at a time which makes me kinda sad because knitting is a thing that makes me happy and when I'm really busy, it slows me down.

The good news is, on my birthday I unpinned this scarf from the blocking board.  It was a treat for me purchased at the Toronto Knitter's Frolic (after a week of 15 hour days!).  The yarn is from Shirley Brian and it comes in a plastic take out tub.  It's a four ply cotton and at intervals, one thread is swapped out for the next colour giving it the nice striped effect.  I knit the pattern that came with it--Mariner--and it was just detailed enough to keep me awake after all the work work work work work.



Perfect for summer (I'm on a navy kick so it works with my wardrobe nicely).


Will work be less crazy this month?  Hopefully.  It's summer and I want to enjoy it.

Knit Worthy

Last weekend the whole family got together to surprise my cousin France for her 50th birthday. It really was the whole family. France is one of eight kids and she has lots of nieces and nephews, aunts, cousins, in-laws etc.

It was a great weekend, she was totally surprised and it was fantastic to see my extended family.

France is totally knit worthy. And 50 is a knit worthy birthday.

France took me to see my first concert, Corey Hart. I was 14 and she was 19. Even though she lived in Cochrane and I lived in Thunder Bay (the big city) she was pretty cool. We hung out and she didn't treat me like a lousy kid.

Now, when five years doesn't matter, we always have fun together. She is easy going, loves to do anything, laughs easily and enjoys life. She doesn't knit and probably couldn't sit still long enough to learn, but she appreciates the craft and knows that it's a skill that requires time to master. She often covets my knitting, so this year was time to make her something.

I found the perfect yarn at the Knitter's Frolic. A gorgeous chameleon sock gradient box from Indigodragonfly.

I decided Unicorn Stripes would be an easy to knit, yet lovely pattern to show off the gradients. And I got to knitting a few hours after the Frolic.

The knitting was fun and easy. The yarn is delicious.

The finished cowl is gorgeous. This one was hard to give away.

The box and lovely poem from Ron of Indigodragonfly (a five line poem for each 5-colour set) make for pretty packaging.

France's reaction: totally knit worthy.


More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  


I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.


And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.


It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.


I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  


While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.


So maybe I can knit nice things

I'm happy to report two finished objects that I am rather pleased with.

I finally finished the Willow and Oz knee socks I started in October.

Randomly striped knee socks are definitely nifty, but these were a slog. I think it was the knitting with two balls of yarn. Not portable and a bit fiddly.

Emma loves them and that makes me happy. The colours are fantastic: Indigodragonfly merino sock in My world is all askew and Hootenanny: Well it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.

And yesterday I finished something nice for me:

Sweetums fingerless mitts in beautiful Indigodragonfly merino silk. This is not a colour I would pick for myself. That the nice thing about clubs. They push you outside of your normal boundaries. Now that they're done I love them. The colour is so pretty (top photo is more accurate; it's hard to photograph your own hands).

These were the ones I stumbled on a few weeks back. Once I got over that it was smooth sailing and for a little bit I felt like I had my knitting groove back.

They're very warm and cozy. And sadly, still needed. Actually, it was too cold to wear them today.

I think I'm going to stick with some small things, it feels good to finish some pieces that I'm happy with.


Maybe I should just give up knitting (not really)

This winter has not been a great one for me knitting-wise.  I've made a few accessories that were just okay, but not much else, and I haven't had a project that really grabbed me.  

Well, I shouldn't say that because working on Oshima was pretty great.  Until it wasn't.  

I think I need a knitting win.

Knocking off a quick WIP was the plan last week.  The kids were at my Mom's for the March Break (and yes, it was fantastic), I had all of season two of House of Cards to watch and plenty of Indiodragonfly Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination one skein projects to choose from.  I got back to the Caulking arm/leg warmers and got to it.  

I finished the first one and dove into the second one.  Then I took a little break and started the Sweetums fingerless mitts.  All was good.

Until it wasn't.

Apparently I can't read.  I missed an entire line in the Sweetums pattern and didn't notice until 48 rows later when I couldn't figure out where to put the thumb.  I was silly enough to write to the designer and it wasn't until she explained it that I noticed I missed the line in the pattern.

While Sweetums was working itself out I finished both House of Cards and the second armwarmer.  Tried them on, did the photo shoot and then noticed something wasn't quite right.  


The second armwarmer was a full repeat (8 sts) bigger than the first one.  (No I didn't write down what size I was making, who does that?!).

I actually turned off the tv and counted the repeats on the first one twice to confirm the number: 56.  When I was casting on, I distinctly remember doing the math in my head as I distributed the stitches on the dpns.  16 per needle.  Because 16x4 is totally 56.

Except it's 64.

Twelve inches, ripped out.  I casted it on properly and it's in the travel knitting pouch.  I'll get back to it.

Sweetums is coming along very nicely.  Almost done the first one.   


I hope this goes smoothly now.  I'm tired of so many mess ups of the easy things that I've been doing most of my life like reading and counting.


Book Review: Knit Accessories

I have a healthy stash of oddballs and am genetically programmed to really feel the winter cold. I like hand knit accessories, to knit and to wear and am happy to see that Kate Atherley has written an excellent book filled with simple patterns and great tips.

Knitted Accessories: Essentials and Variations, the follow up to Kate's must have guide Beyond Knit & Purl, again uses her no-nonsense, easy to understand style guiding the knitter through projects to create useful accessories like scarves, cowls, hats, mitts, socks and legwarmers. A cold-weather intolerant person like me, she knows the importance of bundling up and offers all the patterns in various yarn weights, shows how each pattern looks in solid vs variegated yarns and provides tables and advice on creating one's own accessories using different yarn weights.

Throughout, Kate provides advice on how to tackle things like knitting in the round, getting the correct fit and how to knit for someone else when you might be unsure of her size.

These patterns are also a great starting point for a lazy person like me who doesn't want to think too much before diving in, but who might want to improvise a bit along the way. I can choose a basic pattern and add a different stitch or throw in a cable and make something pretty.

Knit accessories is a great edition to my library. I have it on my iPad which means its always with me. I highly recommend this book for both new and experienced knitters.


Christmas Knitting Round Up

December was sort of busy.  I got into a big fun groove of Christmas knitting.  I didn't really plan to make things for everyone but since I wasn't running I had all this TIME, so I just started making stuff.

(And I want to say a big thanks to everyone who commented about my back and my decision to take a break from running.  It's been 6 weeks and I'm still cranky about it.  Having your stories of finding new physical activities and of recovery really helped me).


A hat for Craig


He picked the yarn when we were visiting Kim and Ron of Indigodragonfly this summer.  It's hard to say no when your sweetie chooses a bright yarn and asks for you to knit something.

Simple watch cap.  A lot of ribbing.  Craig asked for it to be longer and it ended up too long.  It's pretty silly, but fine with the hem folded over. Seriously, I don't let him out like that.  

Pattern: Pismo Hat

Yarn: Indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Zen and the Art of Clown Disposal

A hat for Emma


She chose the pattern and the inner liner colour.  I didn't have anything suitable in the stash, so I picked up this stripey yarn.  Emma has a yellow pea coat, so it's a good match.

Pattern: Brimley

Yarn: Biscotte and Cie Gobelin and Tosh Dk

Mittens for Xander

He asked for mittens.  That's a quick and easy project.  I tried Elizabeth Zimmerman's mitred mittens. Very fun.  All from leftovers.


Socks for Mom


By request.  I've made my mother socks before and she's only really liked plain socks in a commercially spun wool/nylon yarn.  So that's what she got.

I used Kate Atherley's pattern from her new book: Beyond Knit and Purl.  I do better with a pattern than when I wing it.  This way I have some numbers written down!

Pattern: Classic Top Down Sock

Yarn: Opal Feelings

A Scarf for my Memere


It's hard to buy a gift for your 86 year old grandmother.  A handknit cashmere scarf really does seem like the most appropriate thing.

She doesn't knit so it's extra special (and she brags about me to her friends!)

Pattern: Miss Otis Regrets (fabulous 1 skein project)

Yarn: Handmaiden Cashmere

Something for Charity


This was a totally last minute crazy idea.  We have a charity auction at the President's holiday party to benefit a mental health initiative on campus.  This year donations were down and when the call came out, I decided to knit up a scarf.  In a weekend.

It's not so hard when you have a yummy 50/50 merino silk single in the stash.  It sold for enough money to make me feel good about the donation (I would have bought it myself if needed) and someone has something pretty.

I confess I'm not keen on the colours, but the knitting was lots of fun.

Pattern: Noro bias lace scarf 

Yarn: Schaeffer Helene

Someone loves his new sweater


Alexander has been asking me to knit him a sweater pretty much since he grew out of this one I made when he was about 2.


The kid has good taste.  He would pull Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting off the shelf and suggest patterns to me.  Complicated ones.  At 11 he's not a little kid at 5ft 3inches with feet bigger than my size 9.5 shoe size and since I suspect he's not done growing, I wasn't ready to jump into a full on aran sweater.  

So we negotiated.  I went through Ravelry and chose sweaters I was willing to knit and we narrowed it down.  Smart cookie I am, I went with aran to chunky weight yarn so it would be done fast.  He chose this pattern and I chose the Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky (on sale at Elann).  

A month later, a sweater for my baby.


He loves it.  I love him for loving it.  

The only modifications were to sleeve and overall length.  

Back of sweater

The sweater is a man's small, and I think my gauge was a bit tight.  It fits me (in a sweater girl tight way) so when he outgrows it I will still have it for myself!


Since I last blogged...

I caught a craptastically craptastic cold (I actually had it in the pictures of my finished Amused--hence the hat and pale face) and spent most of last week sick at home.

That wasn't all bad because a) I re-watched the complete two seasons and Christmas special of Downton Abbey (which I ADORE) and b) I knit a whole big bunch.

For example, I completed weeks 5and  6 of my Ella Reinvented coat, the cuffs and the collar.  I'm loving these ruffles! -even if they take FOREVER to bind off.  (It's a picot bind off, cast on 2, bind off 3, on a ruffle of a gabillion sts).

Ella with collar

And I finished my Grand Central Cowl (sorry about the crappy photos, sickness makes me lazy). 


The yarn is super squooshy Briar Rose Pilgrim. I love the deep jeweled colours.  Natalie's pattern is easy and fun and fast. I want to make another one.


I also got started on something new, Flavia from the Indigodragonfly Smartass Knitters/World Domination Club. The yarn is extra yummy Polwarth Silk. This stuff could become my desert island yarn. The pattern is a whole lot of moss stitch which suits me fine--I wanted some easy couch knitting.

This is my progress as of this morning. I got a whole lot of knitting done this weekend, but that's another post.