Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Raffle Notice

Wendy's Raffle Draw takes place on Saturday, June 9th, 2007.
Raffle supports Breakthrough Breast Cancer Care.
Each ticket is ~ $2 per ticket (via PayPal if you wish)
Check out the amazing prizes at Wendy's Raffle!
(Contributors: Posh Yarn; The Yarn Yard; Celtic Memory Yarns; Thank Ewe; Hip Knits; Art of Yarn; Natural Dye Studio; Get Knitted; Bright Dyes; Noni Patterns; shelbyB; and of course from Wendy.)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Craft in America

Craft in America
New three part series to air on PBS. (Thank you Jennifer for posting about this!)

First-run Airdates:
Memory - May 30, 2007; 8p EDT/PDT
Landscape - May 30, 2007; 9p EDT/PDT
Community - May 30, 2007; 10p EDT/PDT

Check your local listings - sigh, I have to wait. It is not available in Canada yet. Let me know if you find out when it will be on in Canada, okay?

For the love of crafts, pass it on!

From the press release:

  • Life Becomes Art: CRAFT IN AMERICA Celebrates the Rich Legacy of An American Artform
  • Landmark project comprises 3-part PBS series, national touring exhibition and major publication.

Soft Drawstring Pouch

Click to enlarge

I made one too (large size).

It is fun to check out how others have made this project (Last Minute Knitted Gifts, p. 85). Mine is a little different as I didn't want to make it in a pastel colour. This is part of a birthday gift for a friend. She is not a girlie-girl and I thought an ultra femme pastel pouch would be a tad over the top for her. For me, my inner princess (known to very few) wouldn't mind a pastel pouch - in softest bamboo of course!
Unfortunately the colours are all wrong in this photo. I blame the flash. To see the true colours of the Estelle Mystik DK I have uploaded the swatches for you to check out below.
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

Emerald Green 066

Salmon - 005

Estelle Mystik DK is 54% Egyptian Cotton and 46% Viscose. It has a lovely sheen and an elegant drape. In general it is a pleasure to knit with. Two things that made my work a little more challenging than usual: the slipperiness of the yarn, and how easily it separates into its separate threads. Still, the finished result is worth these minor irritations.

I found this project that is also made with Estelle Mystik DK. It is simply lovely. This Sizzle pattern (designed by Wendy Bernard at Knit and Tonic, and available here) is knit up by the extraordinarily talented Felicia Lo (she is modeling her work). I think she used Rich Wine 062 or Berry 050. Felicia's blog is called Sweet Georgia, and although she is taking a hiatus for 6 - 12 months, her blog is definitely worth a read!

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

Adding beads to knitting
How do you like the beads on this bag? It was fun and easy to do. There a few ways to add beads to a project - I followed the hooking as you go directions from the Knitty.com article: Seduced by Beads written by Sivia Harding. Sivia's diagram is found here. The trick is having a crochet hook small enough to fit through the bead! I used an antique hook that was passed down to me (previously used for making lace). I think it is about 1.5 mm in diameter. I took my stitches off of the knitting needle to place the bead. Sivia is right, once the bead is in place you will not lose / drop the stitch. After seating the bead I put the loop back on the left hand needle and knit as usual. My beads are 4mm and wooden (very inexpensive).

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ottawa Knit & Crochet Group

I have found an Ottawa Knitting & Crochet Group! I am nervous about attending but I am determined to go.

Here is the information for those of you, dear reader, who may happen to be in Ottawa too.

When: Every 3rd Friday of the month after 6 pm (next meeting will be June 15th - I don't think I can go this date, but I will go on July 20th)
Where: Arrow & Loon Pub 99 Fifth Avenue (at Bank Street, in the Glebe.
Show up for dinner and drinks, bring your work with you.
Apparently there is a core group of about 6 people and they are happy to have others join.

The group was formed out of a local yarn store, Yarn Forward & Sew On at 581 Bank Street. Their telephone number is (613) 237-8008.

Perhaps we'll meet there!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mangoes for Breakfast

Click to enlarge
Crochet Hooks: 9 mm (N) & 5 mm(H)
Yarn: (Main Colour = MC; Contrast Colour = CC)
  • MC 1: Cotton BIG Sport by Idena - Mango, 20 balls, 65% Cotton/35% Acrylic, 100 gm, 80 m, Needle: 7 mm, Tension: 12 sts = 10 cm (4”)

  • MC 2 (or CC): Melody by Patons - Sunny Yellow, 20 balls, 68% Acrylic/32% Nylon, 100 gm, 78 m, Needle : 10mm, Tension: 9sts = 10cm (4")

  • CC: Big Point by Gedifra - Cherry, 1 ball, 60% Cotton/40% Acrylic, 33 m, 50 gm, Needle: 10 mm, Tension: 9 sts x 10 rows

  • CC: Luisa by Gedifra - Cantaloupe, 1 ball, 55% Cotton/ 45% Acrylic, 60 m, 50 gm, Needle: 6 mm; Tension: 14 sts x 18 rows

  • CC: Luisa by Gedifra - Lime, 1 ball, 55% Cotton/ 45% Acrylic, 60 m, 50 gm, Needle: 6 mm; Tension: 14 sts x 18 rows

  • CC: Melissa by Austermann - Tapenade, 4 balls, 33% Acrylic Microfibre/ 33% Cotton/ 28% Nylon/ 6% Polyester, 45 m, 50g, Needle: 5.5-6.0 mm, Tension: 10 st/10 cm

  • CC: Melissa by Austermann - Burgundy Lights, 4 balls, 33% Acrylic Microfibre/ 33% Cotton/ 28% Nylon/ 6% Polyester, 45 m, 50g, Needle: 5.5-6.0 mm, Tension: 10 st/10 cm

Afghan size: 8" squares, Double bed, 8 x 10 = 80 squares

Pattern: (makes one 8" x 8" square)

  • Start using 9 mm crochet hook

  • Foundation chain: Using CC, ch 4, join with Sl st to form ring

  • Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as DC now and throughout), DC2 in ring, ch 2, *DC 3 in ring, ch 2, repeat from * 3 times, join with Sl st to top of beginning ch 3

  • Round 2: Ch 3, 1 DC in next st x 2, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 2, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, *1 DC in next st x 3, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 2, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, repeat from * 3 times, join with Sl st to top of beginning ch 3.

  • Round 3: Change to MC 1. Ch 3, 1 DC in next st x 4, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 2, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, *1 DC in next st x 7, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 2, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, repeat from * 3 times, 1 DC in next st x 2, join with Sl st to top of beginning ch 3.

  • Round 4: Ch 3, 1 DC in next st x 6, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 2, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, *1 DC in next st x 11, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 2, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, repeat from * 3 times, 1 DC in next st x 4, join with Sl st to top of beginning ch 3.

  • Round 5: Change to 5 mm crochet hook and MC 2. Ch 3, 1 DC in next st x 8, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 3, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, *1 DC in next st x 15, then DC 2 in ch 2 corner, ch 3, and DC 2 in same ch 2 corner, repeat from * 3 times, 1 DC in next st x 6, join with Sl st to top of beginning ch 3.

  • Round 6: Ch 2, 1 sc in next st x 10, then sc 2 in ch 3 corner, ch 3, and sc 2 in same ch 3 corner, *1 sc in next st x 19, then sc 2 in ch 3 corner, ch 3, and sc 3 in same ch 3 corner, repeat from * 3 times, 1 sc in next st x 8, join with Sl st to top of beginning ch 2. Fasten off.

Join the squares using a thin yarn of similar colour to MC 2 using a mattress stitch.

I will join my squares in random order using this List Randomizer.

The stitches used in this pattern are easy to learn. If you wish to read a tutorial on these stitches go here (left hand & right hand).

Abbreviations: ch = chain, DC = double crochet, sc = single crochet, sl st = slip stitch

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Check out the Catalina Shawl

Catalina Shawl
I read the weblogs on my blog roll (see sidebar) regularly. One on the list is g.bella knits - a truly enjoyable blog of an up and coming knitting designer. Weaved through her blog are discussions of her trials and triumphs with each knitted project and useful reviews of various yarns. Recently she has developed a few patterns. One is her Clessidra Socks published this spring in Knitty.com (free). Her most recent pattern is the Catalina Shawl. It is lovely and available in PDF for $6.00 (USD). I am going to knit this pattern as soon as my yarn comes from Sundara Yarn (see below). I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Cinnamon Over Bronze Silk

I highly recommend checking out Gabriella's patterns and her blog.

Mad Hatter

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

Picture 1

Picture 2

I have fallen in love with making crocheted hats. It is so much fun and so fast!

This all started with an odd ball yarn (Clara by Filatura Di Crosa in Melon) . It is a lovely braided 100% wool yarn that is so soft and stretchy. I thought it would make a terrific hat, but for whom? (I confess, my lovely large head does not sport hats well.) Then I realized, I have a very good friend who is trying to grow her natural black hair. She feels it is at an awkward stage right now and loves to wear hats. I now had a project with a purpose!

I started with the Headhuggers There Are Holes In My Hat -- Skully Version pattern. The Clara turned out to be too bulky for this pattern. So, what to do? Go check out the LYS of course! (Note: I made the large adult size of this pattern - 16 rounds)

I came home with Lang Tosca in 059 (gold, orange, rust) and 095 (brown, red). It was so lovely to crochet with and so much fun with the changing colours.

I was having such a great time and couldn't stop there. I went out and got some cotton - Bernat Handcrafter Cotton in Potpourri Ombre. (I also got Sunkissed Ombre and Country Sage Ombre - at less than $1.50 a ball I couldn't resist.)

I learned how to make a Reverse Single Crochet border (see below)

Click to enlargeReverse Singe Crochet Border - At the end of your crochet row chain 1. Do not turn your work (or if you are working in the round, go in the counter clockwise direction). Insert your hook in the previous stitch. Wrap the yarn over the hook. Draw the yarn through the stitch. You will now have 2 loops on your hook. Wrap the yarn over your hook again and draw the yarn through both loops. Continue in this fashion to create a lovely border.

Picture 1: (L to R) Tam (variation on Skully) in Tosca 095 , Skully in Tosca 059, Skully in Potpourri Ombre, Mesh Cap (Hooked Hats, 20 Easy Crochet Projects p. 29) in Clara with some Cotton and Tosca.

Picture 2: Side view of the Tam in Tosca 095 (the brim is in Lily Cotton Sugar'n Spice Worsted Warm Brown)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ravelry is cool

I think. I'm not a member so I don't know for sure.

This is a new group (the developers call it a knit and crochet community) that is starting up. Right now, since it under development (beta), one can't sign up without an invitation. But sometime, hopefully soon, the rest of us will be able to join.

Check it out!

Ravelry Logo

ETA (2007-JUN-05): Ravelry is still in its beta form. They have had a greater request for membership than they anticipated. So those of us on the waiting list, don't despair, read this instead. (An explanation by one of the developers, Casey)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Masters in Knitting?

I am so excited! I just stumbled onto the The Knitting Guild Association's website. I didn't know such an organization existed!? And then I found out that they have correspondence programs and a Master's Program that evaluates knitters. I want to sign up immediately. But, I have to say, my knitting expenses have skyrocketed recently (not that I regret my recent stash and library additions) and I just can't do it. Well, this is definitely on my "To Do" list.

Good, one burning question answered. Now I know how Lily Chin earned the title Master Knitter.

Here are a few links that will answer your questions about the correspondence courses and the Master's Knitting Program.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Afghan

I have started on a new crocheted afghan. I am calling it Mangoes for Breakfast.

I don't think my pictures do justice to the colors; the yellow is more sunny. This all started with the purchase of a yarn on sale called Cotton Big Sport - Mango. This bright colour is much zestier than my usual preference. Understandably, it made me think of mangoes and their golden yellow flesh. My thoughts then took me to memories of a dear friend who has moved halfway across the continent. She loves yellow. Every time she moves she paints her kitchen a glorious yellow colour. Then the idea came to me; why not make her a bright, sunny, glorious afghan that pays tribute to mangoes everywhere and their sunshine yellowness?

I have been inspired by posts elsewhere that celebrate these bright colours. Here are some for you to visit:

There are actually many more places and people that inspire this project. There are too many to list (and I have lost some of their links - sorry).

I planned to knit these squares. I considered intarsia squares, centre-out mitered squares, and outside-in mitered squares. Unfortunately the yarn I am using is moslty discontinued and of slightly varied weights. I find that crochet is more forgiving of this and that's how I returned to my standard granny square pattern.

Question 17 0507

Question 17 logo
I am trying something different. On the 17th of each month I will post a question for you. I am hoping this will generate some interest and help promote our craft. Please answer by clicking on the comment link at the bottom of this post. Thanks a bunch! (Feel free to grab the Question 17 button for your blog.)


Question 17 (0507):

What is your favourite free pattern found on the web? (Please supply the link.) Have you made this pattern yet?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


a boy's own jacket - finished!

The ribbon arrived! I am so excited to finish this project.

Two jacquard ribbons (eBay) - The darker ribbon seemed to have a green tinge to the background and I thought the simple Greek Square Key design suited the stripes better.

Here I attached one side with blue and white ribbon. You can see some nylon threads in the close-up, but IRL the tread is invisible.

The jacket is finished and ready to wrap!

The jacket is in a plain white box tied with the Greek Square Key jacquard ribbon.

What a great feeling! I am quite happy with the finished project. I learned a lot and enjoyed the process. AND the jacket is ready for our friend's first birthday.

I had the tremendous pleasure of giving this to his parents. They were thrilled. And the jacket fit perfectly! There is even a little room to grow.

Sometimes, I think it is a bit overwhelming for people to receive a knitted gift, especially if they are kith rather than kin. Creating something like this is a labour of love. The amount of effort required to complete it is a more than often goes into purchasing a birthday gift. For me though, my greatest pleasure is giving something special that is appreciated and useful. So, really, I am the one that is receiving! So now, how do you interpret "It is more blessed to give than to receive"?

pattern contest(s)

Dear Reader;
Have you ever thought of designing a pattern? Are you a secret designer (you make things of your own design, don't write the pattern down, or tell others about your work)? Are you a developing designer? Here are some opportunities that you should consider. Go for it! Share your talent and creativity! You have nothing to lose. (I'll post the contests as I find them.)


click for details
Click for details!


Create a Knitty.com Submission


Simply Knitting Pattern Challenge

13 publications per year

Send your pattern and photos of the item and yourself (or you can send them the actual item) to:

Pattern Challenge, Simply Knitting, Future, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW

or email the details and your photos to simplyknitting@futurenet.co.uk

e.g., Spring 2007 Winner - Simple Knit Hat made with 1 x 50 gm DK yarn (self-patterning)


Friday, May 4, 2007

zipper story

a boy's own jacket - zipper sizing and placement


Step 1I generally followed the instructions on Stan's Sewing Supply website. Measure the zipper to fit the garment. Mark the zipper at the top of the garment (M1) and 2.5 cm above M1 (makes M2). Clip the teeth between these two marks. I used a zipper shortening tool (see picture). You could also use toenail clippers.

Step 2Cut the excess zipper at the M2 marks. Sear the ends with a candle flame (much more precise than using a match) to prevent fraying.

Step 3The picture shows the antique brass zipper stops and a pair of flat nosed pliers (I also use them for beading). But before I can attach the zipper stops I need to peel away the remaining "roots" of the teeth I clipped.

Step 4You can see the "roots" have been removed and the zipper stops have been crimped in place just above the top tooth on each side.

Step 5Here is a close up. Just above the zipper stops fold the zipper tape backwards and slightly off to the side of the zipper. Pin and then stitch it in place to secure the folded edge. Now you are ready to attach the zipper.

Step 6I followed Nancie M. Wiseman's The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques (p. 100). The zipper is pinned in place. Note that the zipper is closed during this procedure.

Step 7I am basting the zipper in with white thread. There a are few other steps that are outlined here on My Knitting Life. Scroll down to November 17 & 19, 2004.

Full viewLook, the zipper is in place! I took lots of breaks with this detail work because once I became tired the quality of my work really deteriorated.

End viewHere is a close up of the zipper end. I chose a 2-way #5 plastic bottom separating zipper. If I were to do this again, I would chose a coil jacket bottom separating zipper. Since this is a child's jacket there is less need for a 2-way zipper. Also, the lighter weight of a coil zipper would be better for this cotton mix yarn (Rowan Calmer).

Top viewZipper top. The selvage edge is (right side) K1, P1, and (wrong side) P1, K1. This creates a garter edge along side a column of reverse stockinette. (This is a modification from the original pattern.)

HoodRemember my hood troubles? Well, here is a side view of the finished hood. I think it looks fine - I am much happier with this than with my first attempt.

I am not quite finished with this project. I am going to attach a jacquard ribbon to the back of the zipper tape to create a more finished look. My Knitting Life has a picture of this technique here. I'll show you how it looks when I am all done. I am so happy that this jacket is going to be ready for his birthday!