Monday, April 30, 2007

stripe madness

a boy's own jacket

I solved the hood dilemma! After much calculating and pondering of the pictures in Nursery Knits I decided to follow the row increases as indicated for the smallest size. I used the same number of stitches as for the larger size. So the end result was increasing every four rows from 62 stitches to 80 stitches. I then followed the pattern as it is written. The result is perfect!

Now for weaving in the ends. I will have to think twice about doing stripes again! Although I have found Aija's website that details how to weave in ends while knitting. She credits Jennifer "JP" Pett-Ridge for teaching her this technique. This tutorial is very image intensive, so beware if you are currently on a slower server. Here is the direct link to the tutorial So if I do stripes again (I am sure I will succumb, I love the clean crisp geometry of stripes) I will try this method, or I will develop my own way of carrying the yarn along with the new stripe within the salvage edge (I am sure I can figure this out).

My next step for this project is sizing and sewing the zipper in.

Sorry, no knitting pictures today - instead I'll share a beautiful picture of my first Betta Raja.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

happy post?

Click to enlargeThis was going to be such a happy post! I have almost completed all of the pieces for the a boy's own jacket. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it? The only problem is the height of the hood is almost equal to the height of the jacket body!? Now that can't be right. So I searched for errata on Zoe Mellor's book Nursery Knits and found this link on Unfortunately, it doesn't list any corrections for my project. Someone else posted pictures of their work in progress here. The hood looks much better. I think s/he is making a smaller size.

The hood instructions are a little ambiguous but I did my best to decipher them. Maybe you can point out my error.

The pattern reads:

Click to enlarge The decreases worked okay. It is the increases where I had my problem. There are 3 sizes for this pattern (6-12 months, 1-2 years, 2-3 years), and differences in size are usually noted like so: Cast on 62 (66:70) sts. Since I am making the largest size I followed the last number between the brackets and after the colon. For the increases I interpreted the and as a colon.

I think I will try using the first number within the brackets for my increase rows. Any other ideas/suggestions?

Monday, April 23, 2007

sweater day

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sweater 1

sweater 2

final sweater

Tiny of Tots TV

I completed a sweater in less than 24 hours! Of course it helps that the sweater is for a 12" toy. The toy is my version of Tiny from Tots TV on BBC. When I decided to make Tiny I didn't know anything about Tots TV, I just thought Alan Dart had created a very cute boy doll pattern. So this doll is named Twinkle rather than Tiny.

Twinkle has been one of those projects that took me a long time to decide that it is completed. That is why I made three sweaters for him! The first sweater (see sweater 1) was too small. It fit, but was too short and tight. The yarn was marked as DK but was more likely Sport weight. The second sweater fit (one of my first attempts at converting a pattern based on tension - this yarn is chunky weight) did not please the recipient of the toy - too dark, not blue enough! So I decided to do another sweater with the sport weight yarn. As you can see (final sweater) it fits and is blue! The buttons are snaps in navy and red. Sigh, I think Twinkle is complete!

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front page

back page

Sunday, April 22, 2007

left overs

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Click on pictures to enlarge

Here is the pillow that I completed to go with my Easy Granny Quilt Afghan. I had some left over yarn that I could not imagine using again and thought I would see what I could come up with for a throw cushion.

The throw cushion is so easy - a simple garter stitch rectangle.

Easy Granny Throw Cushion
(just in case you wanted to know exactly what I did)

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun or similar weight yarn
Tension: 14 st
sts and 20 rows = 4" (10cm) on size 10 (6mm) needles
Finished dimensions: 16.5" x 33"

Cast-on: 58 stitches
Row 1: K1 to end
Repeat rows 2 - 164
Bind off last row.

Change colours as desired. Consider that there are two sides. Side one is 16.5" (~82 rows); you may wish to change the pattern at this point.

When completed the rectangle fold to make a 16.5" square and mattress stitch the two sides.

Insert a 16" x 16" square cushion form (machine washable), then close the remaining end with a mattress stitch.

I considered placing a button in the middle of the cushion (on each side). The button I chose was too pale and drew too much attention to the centre, therefore I decided to do without a button.

I am so happy to have used up this yarn! And it adds to the gift to my brother.

Friday, April 20, 2007

special delivery

Click to enlargeThe other day I received the most beautiful yarn. It is spun & dyed by Claudia Holl-Wellmann. My picture (above) does not do the yarn justice. You really should take a look at Claudia's website just for the pleasure of looking at her yarns.

I purchased her super wash wool in Rittersporn (larkspur); Rosenrot (rose's red); Brombeere (blackberry). I can hardly wait to start a project with these stunning wools. You are sure to see them in upcoming posts.
Click to visit Claudia
Claudia's logo

Thursday, April 19, 2007

things to come

I have lots to post, but have very little time. So I will leave this little fellow with you for now. Sweet dreams!

Monday, April 16, 2007

on a snowy day

The Easy Granny Quilt Afghan is done. The finished size is 37" x 54.5". It was supposed to be 39" x 59".

I did do a mini kill of the acrylic (see blocking acrylic). I used an ironing board, an plant spray bottle filled with tap water, an iron set on medium high, a cotton ironing cloth. The completed afghan was bumpy and had curled edges. Here is what I did:

  1. Preset the iron temperature to medium high without steam;
  2. I soaked the cotton cloth and then wrung it out;
  3. Measured the width I wanted the afghan to be on the ironing board;
  4. Started at a narrow side of the afghan and sprayed it damp with water. I did not soak it;
  5. Stretched the afghan to the desired shape;
  6. Covered a section of the afghan with the pressing cloth and gently pressed until the cloth was almost dry;
  7. The rest of the afghan was done in the same manner until completed;
  8. I found that I did not have to press for as long as I did at the start (this may be different if you are using acrylic to make a lace project);
  9. The end result is more well behaved, but a little less lofty;
  10. It can be machine washed & dried and this process does not need to be repeated.

I am still working on the pillow covering. I will post a picture of it once it is completed.

I have a little of the completed project blues. It's done. I am quite happy with the finished product. But now I don't have any granny squares to work on. I have to let go of the perfect dream of the imagined finished afghan. Don't get me wrong, I am happy, but I do have a wee bittersweet feeling underneath it all after deciding it's done.

sunday funnies

Over time I am going to post some pictures of my previous projects. Today is the first of this series. This Sailor Sleeping Bag is from Pingouin No. 103, page 8. I started this project for my nephew in 1989, and finished it in 2006! Needless to say, he never got a chance to wear the thing. I got stuck when I had to join the pieces. I learned to knit using a book, and it took me a long time to figure out what was meant by a mattress stitch. Not knowing how to proceed, I took a hiatus from my knitting for many years.

The actual pattern instructed me to close the bottom, and although I do not have any children, I didn't think that this would be a very good idea. As you can see, I fashioned a way to put snaps on the bottom. The buttons were a challenge to find - I finally found ones I was happy with on eBay. When I finished the project I noticed that I had made a miscalculation on the stripe pattern (see the shoulder picture). Well, after all of that work I am leaving it as it is. It gives the garment character, right? Now, I just have to find a suitable baby who would benefit from such a gift!

The Easy Granny Quilt Afghan is sewn together and the border completed. Tomorrow I will block it using the method described below. To finish off all of this acrylic yarn I am making a garter stitch throw cushion.

Help anyone?
I am practicing my continental knitting method daily. While my movements are getting more fluid, I am having a lot of trouble with yarn tension. I would love to read any of your comments on improving my yarn tension using this method. To get the same tension, do you need to use a smaller sized needle for the Continental method compared to the English Method?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

slow going

I don't think I will be killing any acrylic this weekend. I am still under the weather. We think it is pertussis, or also known as the 100 day cough (lovely). True, I have been vaccinated against this bacteria, but in adulthood one's immunity can wain, and there you are, whooping away. Enough said about this. It's just that my hopes for finishing the Easy Granny Quilt Afghan this weekend will not be fulfilled. I am still at the joining phase, and can only do it in small bursts.
Initial Post: long overdue

I stopped off at Jane's Yarnstorm again today and left a short note. So if you're coming by to check out pictures of my Red Rose Tea box, here here they are.

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Happy tea time!

Friday, April 13, 2007

practice - 1

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I did it! I finally got it and did a Twisted German Long Tail Cast On. It actually flowed, with a little practice. It made me smile.

I also have been practicing my German / Continental style knitting. Now this is challenging! After feeling fairly competent, knitting almost any where, fixing problems with relative ease, this new way of doing things feels uncomfortable. Still, I am committed to learning how do this. I just have to feel okay about being so clumsy again. Above is the picture of my progress - a little garter stitch.

"aw how cute, some baby steps"
The tension is all over the place. It reminds me of when I was 8 years old and trying to learn how to knit from a book. I used this horrid unspun plastic Phentex yarn (slipper & craft yarn?). My stitches were so tight. The yarn kept squeaking. And the result was atrocious. But I learned, and I will learn this too. Perhaps next week I will venture on to purling :o)

Today was a gray rainy day and too chilly to be considered spring. Fortunately my Phalaenopsis orchid is still in bloom & budding. I love the contrast between the vibrant flowers and the gray scene outside my window. Enjoy.

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Here are a few more pics...

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

guessing game

(as I understand it, amigurumi, translated from Japanese, means knitted or crocheted doll)

Ta da! Here we have a blue crocheted ball. It was going to be a Crochet Cat (Amineko)* designed by Nekoyama. However, I won't have enough of this left over yarn to complete the cat. So I am pondering other options for this future amigurumi. Or perhaps it will remain a large and oddly shaped hacky sack. I'll keep you posted.

ISBN 4391130122
You can see more pictures of amigurumi books at Clementine's Shoes Photos.

*Nekoyama's website contains this pattern in English as well as Japanese.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

killing acrylic

wooden blocks
Have you ever heard of blocking acrylic? I was under the impression that it was unblockable until I found this post.

Here Donna Druchunas, author of Arctic Lace, discusses killing acrylic. Now I know some of you would never dream of using such a -shall we use the f word - fiber. But for those of us who appreciate the value of being able to wash and dry a project without worry and who don't want to break the bank, here is what she says:

Blocking Acrylic

You need: Blocking wires and/or rust proof pins, a cotton dish towel or a piece of cotton fabric, and an iron.

Here's [Pat Stevens'] technique for "killing" acrylic yarn to give it a gorgeous drape.

Wet your knitting, spin it out in a washer. Lay a sheet on the carpet. Pin the piece exactly the size you want. (I stretch my lace shoulder warmers pretty hard.) Lay a wet cotton dish towel or piece of fabric over it. With a hot iron press down all over the thing. Don't iron just press. I press until the top cloth is very dry. Then I leave it overnight to finish drying. It's that easy. I really press it a lot, it's the steam heat that makes the acrylic look and drape like rayon. You may want to knit a large swatch and test it out.

Edited to add this note in response to a question a reader sent me in email: Acrylic yarn gets "killed" by the application of the heat and it will remain dead after future washings and retain its new shape. You should only have to do this treatment once, as far as I can tell, whereas you normally have to reblock lace knitted in wool or other natural fibers after each washing.

Here's another tip that just arrived in my email from Renee Wells*: This can also be done dry. Sometimes I place the item on a towel with a wet cloth above. Press and then gently stretch the item into the new shape. You can pick up the cloth between wettings and see where more pressing is needed to even it out. The advantage to this method is greater stretch. You must be careful not to let the item hang over the ironing board it you are trying it there. The weight will skew the shape. I often kill acrylic baby blankets, they morph into lovely exotic feeling fibers! No longer just acrylic! And the mums that receive them use them over and over because they do hold their new drape.

*Renee teaches some great classes on Japanese knitting.

So, this weekend I am going to try this method with my Easy Granny Quilt Afghan. I'll keep you posted.

Note: In her post Donna also outlines how to block natural fibers. I haven't done much of this. She assures us that it is easy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

colour seduction

I have been unwell for the past few days; miserable, but not deathly ill. I wake up in the wee hours of the a.m. and cannot fall back to sleep. What to do? Surf! And look at what I found...

(click on the pictures below to go on your own mini surf)

babette blanketyarnstorm's ripplelynn's ripple
kim's ripple scarfalicia paulson's mellow squaresfrom jane's yarnstorm blog
jane's english rosejane's chocolate box quiltjane's pineapple

These colours are so exciting. Don't they remind you of Gustav Klimt's art?

Virgin by Gustav Klimt You must check out Jane's pictures from her trip to Paris. They can be found here at colours of paris.

As if I needed more inspiration; but what fun! Ah, so many projects, so little time!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

one step forward

A boy's own jacket
The ShineSport (in River & Sky) arrived on Thursday from Knitpicks. It feels wonderful. I knit up a swatch using 4 mm (instead of 5 mm as indicated for Rowan's Calmer) and the tension matched! The problem is that I think the swatch is too limp for a jacket. So I broke down and purchased the required amount of Calmer in Slosh & Calmer colours! So now what to do with the ShineSport? Since the Knitpicks yarn is fairly inexpensive I don't think it is worth while to return the yarn. I don't like the idea of paying shipping twice and having nothing to show for it! The swatch made me think, this would make a luscious camisole. So I am considering Interweave Knits Lace Nightie (Spring 2007) or a version of Erika Knight's cotton camisole (Classic Knits, p. 83). Still, the colours River and Sky are not what I would have chosen if I had planned to make these projects. Perhaps I will exchange these balls for something else. I hope the Calmer arrives soon - I don't want to cut it too close to the wee one's birthday!

Initial Post: baby boy blue

Easy Granny Quilt Afghan
I have tried both a chain stitch and an invisible stitch to join the squares. I really prefer the invisible stitch - it looks more classic. The chain stitch created a more rustic look. Some may have liked it, but it's not for me. I am about 1/4 through piecing it together. So far I am quite happy with the the result. Pictures will follow.

Initial Post: long overdue
Related Post(s): squares are done , memories of colour

Hunter V-neck Sweater
I am about 2/3 done the back. That's a lot of stocking stitch, for sure. But I don't mind, I find it soothing at the end of the day.

Intial Post: something my love will wear


Twisted German Long Tail Cast On

This is the German Twisted Cast On that sandeleh has been raving about for socks. It makes a VERY elastic edge that does not look at all sloppy. She has used 2 colors of yarn in these photos to make the steps easier to follow.

Knit Tip - Twisted German CastOn from sandeleh on

  1. Set up step is the same as the 'regular' long tail cast on. Pink strand goes to free end, blue strand to the ball.
  2. Put needle under both loops of the pink yarn, pointing towards the index finger.
  3. Another shot of the first step.
  4. Now come backwards into the pink loop with the needle pointed towards you.
  5. Shove your thumb towards the index finger, twisting the loop with the needle thru it open so you can scoop the blue yarn back thru the pink loop.
  6. Scooping the blue yarn back thru the twisted loop (that you have opened by bending the thumb)
  7. Another shot of grabbing the blue yarn
  8. The actual scoop of the blue yarn thru the pink loop
  9. Scooping the blue yarn thru the pink loop
  10. Dropping the pink loop off the thumb. Then you snug the yarns up against the needle, just like in the other long tail cast on..
  11. You can see the neat double twist of the pink yarn under the needle. The blue loops on the needle will be twisted or not, depending on which way you picked up the blue yarn. If they are wrong, merely knit that first row thru the back loop. Leave them twisted for a snugger edge.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

memories of colour

It's strange how I recall colours. As I have been working on the Easy Granny Quilt Afghan I keep thinking of blue bottle flies. Their colour amazes.

Photo Credit: Vicky Adams, 2005

Initial Post: long overdue
Related Post(s):
squares are done, slow going

squares are done

I have completed the squares for my Easy Granny Quilt Afghan. It sure feels good! The excitement of nearing completion woke me up 2 hours before my alarm. Now I have to figure out how I am going to connect them together. I have been thinking of a chain stitch that would be visible from both sides. My preference is usually to have an invisible stitch. I'll try them both and then make my decision.

The colour is off in the above pictures - especially the blue. It is more muted and is blue, purple, with a slight hint of green. It reminds me of the colour of blue bottle flies. (I hope this doesn't offend your sensibilities too much - but I have spent many a hot summer afternoon admiring the colour(s) of blue bottle flies. In principle I am not so fond of flies, but when hanging out on my grandmother's farm I accepted them as inescapable.)

Initial Post: long overdue
Related Post(s): memories of colour, slow going

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

sales, sales, sales!

How dangerous it is to read of yarn sales! Often it is more than I can do to resist...

I thought I would torture the rest of you with some of my finds. Can you resist?

  1. Have you checked out Yarn by the Bag? They always have some inventory clearance of yarns (by the bag) for $10 - 15! I was lucky enough to purchase some Dream Yarn by Marks & Kattens (Swedish) and Cotton BIG Sport Yarn by Idena (Swedish). The store is located in Victoria, BC. Lucky Canadians; the prices listed in US dollars are at PAR for our dollar. Shipping is free if you purchase $100+ of their regularly priced items! Their customer service is very friendly and responsive.
  2. Jimmy Bean's Wool has some Rowan Cashsoft ($6.36) and Rowan Plaid ($10.17) on sale. I found the customer service representative so helpful. I wasn't sure about a colour; she went, got a sample, phoned me back and gave me an accurate description of the yarn! What service!
  3. Little Knits has some tremendous sales on now. They have this luxurious Peru Luxury DK yarn composed of 70% Merino, 20% Alpaca and 10% Silk. It looks like it will have terrific stitch definition and be very soft next to the skin. A bag of 10 skeins is 57% off! (I blame Gabriella of g.bella knits for posting the link to this site.)
  4. Now for those of you who are eBay addicted I would suggest you stay away from The Cucumber Patch UK eStore. (I should stay away too!) She has some amazing sales on now. Rowan Plaid is available for $7.51 Canadian. And shipping is free! I also found an amazing deal on bamboo DPNs. "skyridersince2005" sells all types of bamboo knitting needles and crochet hooks.
  5. And I accuse My Merino Mantra of posting triggering photos. Who wouldn't what to knit up an her Entrelac Lady Eleanor Stole? And then, right under this post she had to post about Rowan Tapestry yarn. Now I am obsessed with getting my own stash! (Gorgeous photos, by the way).

Ah, such delicious desire for these dreamy fibers! And the wonderful ache of anticipation for the mail carrier to deliver me.