2016 projects, Completed (with project notes), General, Uncategorized

Spats Complete

20160907_074409
Sassy!

What a weird little project but honestly? I love them. They are a bit funny and my husband “doesn’t understand” but I think they are great. I also know I’ll be using them because I have some shoes, two pairs in fact, that are extremely comfortable and fine but are slip-ons/backless. That doesn’t work for me because I basically exist in leggings and skirts all fall, winter, and spring. I need booties, not backless shoes. These little spats make those shoes totally wearable with leggings now. I actually think they make the shoes look better in general.

 

As always, I have some notes:

20160907_074307
A poorly photographed heel loop
  • I used Red Heart Super Saver in black. I used this for two reasons. 1) it is cheap acrylic I had kicking around and would have no problem tossing them in the bin if they didn’t work out 2) it is cheap, hard wearing acrylic that I can toss in the washer when they inevitably get dirty.
  • I knit them in a 2×2 rib. When I did my increases I added to the first knit ridge until I added 4 (on each side), which then allowed me to break it off into 2×2 ribbing again.
  • They JUUUUUUST fit to the top of my ankle but frankly I should have knit them to be longer. What can I say, I was impatient. Future spats (of which there shall be many) will be taller, perhaps even with enough length for a folded over cuff.
  • I had heels in mind when I knit these, especially my two pairs of slip on heels, and I wanted to make sure the spats would stay in place. I crocheted a loop into the back of each spat large enough to slip over the heel and slide (snugly) to the top of the heel. This works brilliantly.

 

20160907_074254
SPATS!
2015 projects, Completed (with project notes), General, projects, Uncategorized

I finally did that thing that every other knitter does when they are learning to knit

megasock
Behold the glory that is Mega-Sock

For so many people a knitted cotton dishcloth was their first project. but me, I’m special. I sort of skipped all that rite of passage. My first project was actually a sock. Not a pair of socks, just one sock. I had this idea in my head that if I could knit a sock I could knit anything so that is what I started with, which in retrospect was not a super brilliant choice. For one, I had no sense of gauge (just bought size 4US DPNs without any particular reason or explanation other than that they “looked good”), no sense of appropriate yarn (I used dishcloth cotton yarn, mostly because it was cheap and pretty colours), and basically had no idea what the hell I was doing. I did finish the sock, which my husband calls “Mega Sock” because it is MASSIVE. It was good I suppose because I did learn to knit on the round using DPNs, and hey, I made a SOCK. Yes, I knew it was an utterly ridiculous and terminally flawed sock, but it was a SOCK. I had a whole lot of pride over the fact that my first project was a sock rather than a silly dishcloth or boring scarf. And since I “successfully” made a sock I felt comfortable having my second project be something more complicated and challenging, so as it turned out I never actually made a dishcloth.

Until now.

On Sunday I made not one but THREE dishcloths! 20150531_171600I did each one a different way, just trying out different techniques. I like them all, but I think I like the k2p2 checker board one the most. And boy, those dishcloths resemble mega-sock, eh? Yep! I used my leftover yarn from my first project to finally make what perhaps SHOULD have been my first project! Ha! Oh, how these things work out. Circle of life and all that.

Anyway, I did three. One is a simple knit purl type checkerboard, one is more traditional diagonally knit with eyelets around the edge, and one is in a pseudo log-cabin type thing that I sorta winged. I actually winged all of them, just guessed at how they should be made, and they all turned out okay.. ish. The diagonal one pretty crappy if I’m going to be honest, but hey! It was my first dishcloth! Your first dishcloth isn’t supposed to be perfect. 🙂

2015 projects, Completed (with project notes), Free, My Patterns, Uncategorized

PATTERN: Kitty Bonnet

Want to make your cat the happiest cat in all the world? If you do then you probably aren’t the kind of person who makes their cat wear silly hats, and if so then move along because this is all about how to make your cat a simple (but oh so fabulous) knitted bonnet! This is basically the slightly improved version of Chickpea’s Toque. I’ve made it so that the ear holes sit flatter, made the hat more shallow so that it sits better on the kitty’s head, and I made the ties to use an icord rather than a weird garter strip. 20150514_162718

 

 

Kitty Bonnet

Pattern features holes for the kitty’s ears, and under-the-chin ties to ensure the kitty’s hat doesn’t fall off.

 

Yarn: DK weight, 10g (scrap yarn, basically)

Needles: US 6 – 4.0mm circular needles

DPNs (optional, but highly helpful for the 3 needle bind off and the icord)

 

  1. CO 40 on circular needles.
  2. Join on the round being careful not to twist.
  3. K four rounds
  4. Count out 25 stitches. From now until step 16 you will be working back and forth on ONLY these 25 stitches. The remaining 15 stitches will be left unworked until later.
  5. K 25 stitches, turn.
  6. P 25 stitches, turn.
  7. Repeat 4 and 5 four times
  8. K2tog, K 21, SSK. Turn. (23 stitches)
  9. P 23. Turn
  10. K2tog, K2tog, K until four stitches remain, SSK, SSK, turn (19 stitches)
  11. P19. Turn
  12. K2tog, K2tog, K until four stitches remain, SSK, SSK, turn (15 stitches)
  13. P15
  14. K 15
  15. Repeat 13 and 14 five times. At this point you will have something similar to what is pictured here to the right.
  16. You will now have 15 stitches that you have been working, and the 15 that you haven’t worked. Convenient, huh? Put the worked 15 stitches on one side of your circular, and the unworked 15 on your other side. Align them so that the right sides are together.
  17. Using a third needle (a DPN works great) do a 3 needle bind off (or do a Kitchener seam, or just join the two sides however you like.)
  18. Pick up and knit 3 stitches below the left ear hole. Make a simple icord that is approx 6 inches long. Repeat on right side.
  19. Clean up your ends and you’re done!

 

Add a sassy pompom to the top to make it extra fancy for the feline recipient. Or hey, you could crochet a frilly edge in a contrasting colour along the brim, because everyone knows cats LOVE frilly edges.

download the PDF of this pattern by clicking here

2015 projects, General, projects, Uncategorized

Behold the joy my knitting has brought Chickpea the cat…

This is possibly the most hilarious and proudest moment of my knitting career.

2015-05-07 17.50.36

Holy hell, it was completely worth it to knit that hat just for this picture. That cat is so unimpressed, it is just fantastic. There is something so funny about a murderous cat. So yeah, mission accomplished for this project. I am super happy that my sister and her partner are happy with the hat. On top of that they have requested matching hats, and which I may have to do…

 

 

 

General, projects, Uncategorized

Sock yarn blankets and insane looking hats

My sunny knitting spot for today

You know that whole thing about how it is always cold in Canada? Yeah, not so much. Today, on May 4th, 2015, it is 28° Celsius. And it isn’t like we’re in Vancouver or something – This is New Brunswick, and our weather is FAR from temperate and nice. We had meters and meters of snow this winter, and just a month ago we still had well over a meter of snow on the ground. For it to be this warm right now is just sort of magical. This is downright hot weather by pretty much any standard. The weather is actually so nice that my husband and I decided to use one of our vacations days to be able to enjoy this weather. So very very worth it. Blue sky, nice breeze, no bugs (but they’re coming… or lord they’re coming…), cold refreshing margarita in the glass beside me… Yup, it is awesome.

I’m over halfway through the Aragorn section in my Fellowship of the Shawl, but man…I needed a break! Lacework requires THINKING and BRAIN USAGE, two things I can’t be bothered to engage, so I have gone back to my Sock Yarn Blanket. Weirdly relieving to get back to this super simple mindless knit after all that lacework. The very reasons why I needed a break from it (ex. the super repetitive nature of it, endless garter stitch, super simplicity, etc) are exactly the things that are making is so nice to knit right now. Those stupid little squares are like candy for god’s sake, each one a quick little treat to satisfy some hedonistic part of me.

I don’t know how many blocks there are now. 135ish? Hold on I’ll count…. Holy crap, I’m at 151 blocks! WOOOOO! That is awesome!!

053

It really is looking great, right? You don’t have to say anything, I know it is awesome. 😉 I’m really impressed/surprised I am over 150 blocks. That feels like a benchmark. And you know, the more I look at this stupid thing the more I love it. And finishing a couple squares has really rekindled my love of this project. I really can’t wait to get it done, I think if I can just make it to the end this will end up being one of my all time favourite projects.

 

On an unrelated note, I had a sober hit of reality today. I have this ENORMOUS floppy summer hat that I love so hard I can hardly breathe. It is ridiculous in how large it is, and the brim was long since crumpled and broken, so when I wear it it is all crumply and every which way. This amazing hat of mine has been mocked many a time by people (usually my best friend who thinks I should burn it to rid the world of its fashion sins) but I just loved it too much. I genuinely love wearing this hat. I feel sassy and fun wearing my hat.

Then there is the other reality… I am the whitest white girl that ever whited (ie. super pale) and I burn intensely easily. I never tan, just burn. And burn badly. I have had a bunch of truly severe sunburns, and I usually have at least one “so badly sunburned that I blister” burn a year. This hat of mine is so big that it protects my head, chest, shoulders, neck, and top of my back! Amazing protection!

I took a picture of me wearing my hat today and I was all “Look! That is totally cute! What a great hat!!” and then my husband showed me the picture he took of me knitting on the deck yesterday wearing my hat…. You can see both below…

 

 045  
 SASSY! FANCY! Paris, here I come! Woo!  Maximum Dork Achieved (+2pts for knitting while wearing this hat)

Yeah, maybe my hat is a sassy piece of cuteness when I pose, but in reality… oh god, I look insane…

I refuse to retire my enormous hat. I just may wear it out in public a little less….

 

 

2015 projects, Completed (with project notes), projects, Uncategorized

Chickpea the cat has been knit a hat

Chickpea - The soon-to-be hat recipient!
Chickpea – The soon-to-be hat recipient!

My sister put a link on my Facebook wall to a story about knitted hats for cats, and then said she was “putting in an order” for me to make one for her cat, Chickpea.

Well, wish granted!

Chickpea's Cat ToqueStill not sure the original request was sincere, but it is too late for that now! LOL I could have purchased the patterns that were done up by the person in the article, but frankly it is a hat for a cat… It doesn’t need to be perfect. God knows the cat isn’t going to care and will probably hate it no matter what I do! LOL Anyway, I felt pretty confident I could wing it, and I was right! I think I was actually fairly ingenious in how I constructed it. (Not going to get in to it now, I have plans to do up a pattern in the near future.) I wanted to make sure that there would be holes for Chickpea’s ears to go through, but I also didn’t want a ton of seaming or weird boxy edges. Success on both fronts. Also, hello scrap yarn! I used gradient King Cole Riot DK yarn (remnants from my Shawl En Mousse et Vagues) because it is frankly really pretty and a good weight for this type of thing. It is actually 100% wool and fairly nice yarn that I used on this hat. The yarn also made a pretty fantastic looking pompom thanks to the colour transition.  And finally, I knit it at a relatively loose gauge so that it would have a lot of stretch. The cat in question lives a couple provinces away so I tried to make it a size that would fit any cat’s head. It has been a while since I owned a cat so most of this was just guessing.

Anyway, I’m pretty damned proud of this stupid thing. Yes, it is a toque for a cat, and yes I know full well that it is likely to go unused apart from the couple of pictures taken of her wearing it when it first arrives. It only took me a couple hours, so even getting one or two hilarious pictures of Chickpea wearing the hat will make it worth it!

ETA: I have been sent a picture and holy crap is it awesome!

projects, Uncategorized

Flowers aren’t the only things that grow in the springtime

My sock yarn blanket is really starting to take on a blanket-y appearance! It keeps growing and growing and growing. I can see the progress and that makes me want to keep working on it, which is good because damn this is going to take a lot of work to finish.

People’s reaction to this project continues to amuse me. This is actually an incredibly easy project to do in terms of skill required to knit it. It is just garter stitch with a decrease, nothing at all fancy going on here. The only “hard” part is just the sheer volume of knitting required. It apparently looks like some sort of knitting rocket science because people generally react with awe and make “I could never do that!” type comments. I keep saying “You could! It is actually really easy!” because seriously, it is REALLY EASY, but no one believes me. I fear I may come off as being falsely modest or something along those lines.

Aside from that I have some notes…

  • My poor worn out needles.

    I’m at ~92 blocks now (still counting the big blocks as four) and inching ever closer to the 100 block mark. I know that this blanket is going to be a LOT more than 100 blocks (probably closer to 600) but the first hundred feels like a benchmark. I feel like if I can cross the 100 blocks mark I will have gotten far enough into the project to have to finish it.

  • I know last update I said how I was doing my decreases by slipping the two stitches purlwise and that the difference was negligible. Yeah,… changed my mind. I have switched to slipping the stitches correctly knitwise and yeah, alright, the “spine” of each block is more snug and defined now. It just looks a bit tidier, especially with the lighter weight yarns. So that is twice now that I have deviated from the pattern and twice that I have learned that it was that way in the pattern for a reason. Lesson learned (I hope).
  • My needles are in rough damn shape. This project is the only thing I ever used these needles on and already I have worn the coating right off of them, mostly from where the needles rub against my palm of my right hand. Don’t quite know what to do about that.
  • This is a scrap blanket. It is supposed to look scrappy and chaotic and a bit rustic (a word I hate, but it applies). I really really don’t think fussing about and edging the blanket or (worse) knitting the little triangles to square up the blanket honours the spirit of the blanket. Bygones to people who have done a clean edge on their scrap blankets, I understand why people would want to, but it just doesn’t follow what I envision for my version of this blanket. I have every intention of leaving it all saw-toothed and the edge “unfinished”. However, I still want the edge to be… tidy. I have found that using some of the heavier weight sockyarns that I have for the edge blocks give me the snappiest and cleanest edge while still maintaining the spirit of the blanket. I wish I had done this for the initial bottom edge because a couple of the blocks at the bottom are in some of the lighter yarns and are a bit looser and floppier than I’d like for an edge. Very tempted to knit a new bottom row of blocks.
  • I am getting really obsessive about block randomization. Before starting a new block I take time to inspect the blanket and make sure I don’t make a block using a yarn that occurred too close to the intended new block. I don’t have a set rule, I don’t enforce something strict like “blocks of the same yarn cannot be closer than 4 blocks away”, it is entirely just my eyeballing it. But I am getting pretty obsessive about it. I am also getting really obsessive about colour variance. I keep ending up with little pockets of similarly coloured blocks which drives me bonkers. Part of the problem is that I feel like I don’t have enough variety of sock yarns right now, which is hard to believe since I have an entire bucket of different sock yarns!
  • I still really love this project. I have basically set aside every other project I had in the works (including my Stripes Gone Crazy sweater) and am working exclusively on this. This may not be so smart. 20150323_074540
projects, Uncategorized

Mulligans count in knitting too, right?

I am a (very amature) golfer. My husband and I golf during the warmer months and enjoy it quite a bit. We aren’t awesome but we aren’t terrible, and frankly we just golf for fun. Because of that, I am a firm believer in mulligans. Being able to pretend like a poorly hit ball never happened is key to my enjoyment of the game. Plus, I always make a point of saying loudly, “MULLIGAN!” whenever I want to pretend a hit never happened. (Yes, I know that yelling about a bad hit and drawing attention to it is somewhat counterproductive in the attempt to pretend it never happened.)

Sock Yarn Justification Blanket 2.0

 

I’m yelling “MULLIGAN!” at the top of my lungs for my Sock Yarn Justification blanket. Scrap blanket yarn bag thing

I had made some good progress on it but I kept feeling like something was amiss. I looked at pictures from completed projects of this pattern on Ravelry and it hit me what my problem was… my squares were pointing in all different directions. At first I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that I would like it just fine with my squares all whackadoo, but the more correctly oriented project pictures I saw the more I started to doubt whether I would like it all whackadoo. I posted on Ravelry to try to get other people’s opinions and suggestions on what I should do. The consensus was that I should start over, that if I’m not happy with it now I will probably not like it later either. No point in spending hundreds of hours on a project that isn’t exactly what I wanted. So I decided to restart and actually follow the damn instructions this time.

Unfortunately this did leave me with the question of what to do with the chunk I had knit so far. Frogging and reusing the yarn was sort of out of the question because of how they are attached. After sitting with it, folding it this way and that, I discovered I could seam it together and have it be a pretty well lined up little bag thing. Granted, it is extremely odd looking, especially with its little feet, but it amuses me. Maybe I will use it as a gift bag for someone. No idea. I just know I am going to use it, one way or another.

projects, Uncategorized

Where the hell did all this sock yarn come from?

017Work continues on my Sock Yarn Justification blanket. The little squares (31 stitch) are very satisfying to do and take very little time. I can do one small square in about twenty minutes. I’ve also started making big squares (61 stitches), in part because I wanted some variety, but also to try to better show off the longer colour shifts of some of my yarns. I still really don’t like the DROPS Delight that I have, I still think it is crap yarn, but I am hoping maybe done in larger blocks at least the colour shift will look better.

I dug a little deeper into my yarn stash and found some more sock yarns for the project. The yarns I have are:

  • Garnstudio DROPS Delight (ugh)
  • Patons Kroy Sock yarn
  • Lang Yarns Mille Colori Socks and Lace
  • Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania Colour
  • Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball
  • Mystery Self-striping sock yarn that I used in these socks but I can’t remember what make the yarn is
  • Neon Pink Fingering (leftover from Sonar Shawl)
  • Black Fingering (leftover from Sonar Shawl)

This is more than I thought I had. I’m pretty surprised at how much fingering yarn I have unearthed but it definitely isn’t enough to be able to complete the blanket. I do have the problem that pretty much all of the yarns are pink/red/purple/orange colour heavy with not a lot of blue or green, so  when I went and purchased some extra balls of Kroy sock yarn the other day at Michael’s  I made a point of having some be in more blues and greens.

Speaking of which, the selection of sock yarns here is beyond pathetic, and the few options there are cost a pretty ridiculous amount considering what you’re getting. I made a post on the Ravelry boards sending out a general call for any sock yarn people didn’t want and would be willing to donate to this project. I quite honestly didn’t expect to get any offers but damn if I didn’t get multiple offers! I’m floored! The first offer was from a woman in Wisconsin, IL, offering me ~12 different sock yarns that she would mail to me, no cost. She wouldn’t even let me pay for shipping, which is beyond generous. Such kindness and generosity is pretty refreshing and surprising, and I feel strongly that I want to pay it forward and do something like this for someone else some day.

Now, I know I had planned to knit all the individual squares separately and seam them together afterwards, with the thought that I would be able to get the most random and even colour distribution that way. This was a brilliant plan until last night I actually bothered seaming together 4 small squares to make 1 larger block. What a pain in the ass that was! So to hell with that idea, I am going to do the picking up stitches seam as you go technique laid out in the pattern. I did one square like that so far and it was pretty slick so I have continued in that way. I think it is going to be a pain in the ass as the blanket gets bigger, but probably still better than seaming everything after the fact.

Completed (with project notes), projects, Uncategorized

Gear shift knob cosy! Possibly my favourite project of the year!

20150316_165718Remember THIS post? Well, I wasn’t kidding. After I finished my Zig-a-zig Ahh socks and got them off the needles I started thinking about what to do for my car.

Behold the envy of all gear shift knobs!
Behold the envy of all gear shift knobs!

Last night I just went for it and did up a simple gear shift knob cosy. Super simple, super basic. Just used some scrap yarn (left over from this shawl) and it only took an hour or so.

The end result? MAGICAL! Holy hell, this is fantastic. One, I love how it looks. It pretties up my car tremendously. Two, I love how it feels. I love the feel of knit and having a knit gear shift is such a treat. Three, No freezing hand this morning! My gear shift sucked for either burning my hand in the summertime or freezing my hand in the wintertime. This has made it temperature neutral which is a relief.

 

The only not awesome part of this project is that it was an absolute beast to get on. I should have used a stretchier cast on because holy mercy it was a fight to get it to slide over. Once I got that part over it was smooth sailing though.

 

Up next…. head rest covers, maybe? We shall see. 🙂