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December 2012
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February 2013

Posts from January 2013

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.


Owls at 14

On January 14th, my baby turned 14.  Champagne birthday.  Full-on teenager. 


She's now taller than me, growing up to be a great person and she's a riot.  

To celebrate she had her two best friends over for movies (Dirty Dancing, Perfect Pitch and Strictly Ballroom), music (from A-ha to Florence & the Machine), boy chat (the cast of The Outsiders and boys in popular culture that I have no idea about) and not-much sleep.

Emma, may your life have lots of moments like these:


Happy Birthday Em!


In a nice coincidence, I also finished the sweater I was making for her in the wee hours before her actual birthday.  It wasn't a surprise, but it was still a nice gift.

It's Owls with some modifications.  Emma wanted a loose sweater so I made the 38" size with no waist shaping.  By request, I also made the extra long cuffs with thumbholes.  It's two colours of Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed chunky because that's what I had in the stash.  I rather like it.


My silly teen-model likes it too:


It still needs to be blocked and Emma decided she wants all the owls to have button eyes. 38 buttons.


Good thing I love her so much.


(and the sweater fits me too!)

New Toes

Generally I subscribe to the Yarn Harlot's "oh darn" method of sock repair, whereby one holds worn through, thin, hole ridden socks over a waste receptacle, says "oh darn" in a clear voice, and drops the socks in the waste bin. I figure I have lots of sock yarn in the stash and I like knitting socks, and sometimes the holes are just too big to deal with any other way.

Not my Monkey socks. I like them a lot. They fit right and the yarn (Oak Grove) is pretty. I properly darned the toes on these a few times, switched the foot I wore them on to wear out another spot and I even babied them a bit.

This winter when I went to wear them, I noticed another hole in the toe and that there really wasn't much left to darn. I decided to rip out the toe and add a brand new one.

This is relatively easy on a cuff-down sock.

First, snip the yarn below the lowest hole. Grab a dpn and start unravelling the yarn.

I found I sometimes had to unravel a couple of rows because some of the darning yarn was in the lower rows. When I was done I had a little toe cup full of holes off the sock.

Then all you have to do is put the live stitches back on the needles and work a new toe. I used Kate Atherley's method so I don't even have to graft. And, I found a teeny little bit of the original yarn so my toes match.

Now my socks are good as new.


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