Category Archives: Knitting

Film : Shoplifters

I have been wanting to knit a “big” project for a while. This summer I went to the Fibre Festival and finally purchased a large sweater worth of yarn. This was a very fancy yarn and I want to make a “serious sweater” with it but before I can do that, I needed to a) get through some of my existing yarn lest I get into hoarding mode with all the yarn that will never get knit b) get all the “silly” out of my system. The idea to make a “silly sweater” as a preparation for “serious sweater” was born.

I found a neat pattern perfect for all the combination of yarn I had in my stash since I got back into knitting over a decade ago and purchased good quality wool in bulk. This stash had many skeins of beautiful red that just isn’t “my” colour and several different shades of blue which is is “my” colour but there wasn’t enough of any particular one to make a large garment.

Work in progress

I liked the idea of a dress more than the sweater, and the pattern had instructions for a dress version, but I ended up going off script once I got to the bottom of the rib cage. I modified the red by adding rows of pink to it making it more friendly to my skin tone. The seven different shades of blue including some mohair that had both blue and pink in it made up the rest.

At the vernissage

The original idea was to only wear this dress to movies since it was really a fun experiment not intended to be worn in public. Over the course of the process, I got to like it too much and friends convinced me that it is nice enough to wear outside.

Having completed the “silly dress” I was ready to make a “serious sweater” thus fulfilling one of my requirements. I still have enough yarn in my stash to make 4 more of these dresses so there might be more silly projects in the future. Can’t wait!

Film – We are the best!

Here are some things I used to be afraid of and my kids probably aren’t:

Police

While my own parents never threatened me with the Police, being arrested for various odd infractions was the standard threat from pretty much everyone else. One time the police were responding to some kind of domestic disturbance in my grandmother’s building and she told us, with a perfectly straight face evidently not wanting to inform us of juicy gossip, that the police were called in because the neighbours were wasting energy by leaving the lights on during the day.

Old people we didn’t know

No matter what you were doing as a kid as long as you were in public, or semi-public, you were pretty much guaranteed that some old person will crawl out of somewhere and start yelling at you for disturbing the peace, making a mess or leaving the lights on during the day. One time I accidentally kicked the ball into a courtyard two houses down whose door we could not open with one of my smaller keys. We had to ask for the ball from an old man who was reportedly “Grumpier than most old people”. That required the most courage I ever had to scrounge up. He did give us the ball back, but not until a few days later.

Wasting resources

Energy and resource conservation was a really big thing when I was growing up and everyone had to be extremely conscientious about using resources. You only got one piece of paper for each art project and if you accidentally chose bumpy paper to draw with markers, you were in big trouble a few weeks later when we used watercolour; it was your own fault if the water did not soak into shiny paper – you were certainly not getting a replacement! I only had one ball of yarn so my Barbie could have a business suit or full length dress, but not both at the same time. I am still afraid of cutting yarn, less I decide to make something else out of it later and get stuck with a knot. One time in school, someone accidentally turned the light on in the classroom and the Principal Himself came over to see what the commotion was all about. This is the only time I ever saw the Principal in the three years I was at that school.

Five years of documented knits

RavelrySnapshot

It is my five year anniversary of signing in to Ravelry! By now I have forty something projects listed on my Ravelry page. Let’s see how some of these stood up to time.

Christmas Chickens

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Well, they are a bit plucked, particularly those missing the hanging string, but they still make it onto the tree every year. No hanging string? They just sit on top of the branch and hold on with their tiny pipecleaner legs.

Grade: Yay!

Green socks and fur socks
(See second row fourth picture and fourth row first picture on top of the page, also below)

My first two attempts at socks went miserably wrong. The second green sock never got made and, though the fur socks were technically well executed, I was not sorry to see holes in them within weeks of commission. I understand why people make sweaters from the fur of their beloved dog, but as I have never met the possum that donated this fur, I can only say thanks but no thanks and I’ll stick to wool for now.

Grade: Fail.

Fog socks
(Third row fourth picture)

These were my first truly successful socks. I love the pattern and the yarn was lovely. I would go to parties and show off my socks. That might have been a faux-pas with non kniters but whatever. Eventually though the yarn got a bit too fuzzy and, with exception of the bottom of the feet which are still nice and shiny, you can’t see either the tidy slanted stitches or beautifully subtle colour variations. I don’t really wear these any more, they piled so much they actually look like I’m walking in fog, and they are not half as comfortable, easily washable or even easily replaceable as commercial merino socks.

Grade: Meh.

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Hot hot socks, Forest balaclava and May hat

Hot hot socks
(First row seventh picture and above)

If for no other reason I love these because they remind me of the mat leave with Markus. I used the same yarn as the Fog socks but you would not know it from the behaviour thereof. Unlike the Fog socks, this yarn never shrunk making the socks too big. In the end they worked out really well as boot liners which is perfect for handmade specialty yarn socks. I neither put too much wear and tear on them, nor do I have to wash them as often because I only wear them for a small portion of the day over another pair of socks. They keep me warm and comfortable, especially when wearing those rubber and neoprene boots that are all the rage with the kids these days. Finally, they add a splash of fun colour over drab but functional commercial socks

Grade: Yay!

Hockey sweater and green sweater
(Fourth row sixth picture and first row third picture)

If I learned anything from my failed knitting experiments, of which these two sweaters are perfect examples, is that you really have to go all out. I was intimidated of making a sweater so I picked boring patterns and cheap yarn. How I managed to forget that I dislike anything boring and cheap is beyond me. Anyhow, both sweaters have been worn less than half a dozen times and then put away for good.

Grade: Fail.

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Trev’s cardigan and one fur sock

Trev’s green cardigan
(First row second picture and above)

One good thing that came out of the green sweater debacle is that I made a sweater for Trev with leftover yarn. Technically the sweater is sucky because I could not be bothered to tear back and fix small mistakes which I would have done if I was not fed up with the crummy yarn, but it still looks cute on any of the kids that wear it. It is warm and snug fitting making it the best choice for camping or skiing when baggy cotton sweaters they usually wear do not cut it.

Grade: Meh.

Ribbon scarf
(Second row third picture)

I like lace, but this particular pattern with this particular yarn just did not work. I wore this scarf for a couple of months before I lost it. I don’t even feel particularly bad for losing it.

Grade: Meh.

May hat
(First row fifth picture and above)

I used one pattern for the shape of the hat and another for the colour work. It took some recalculating and some luck but I just love how this hat turned out. I like that it is thin enough to wear under helmet and that it does not take up too much room in my pocket or purse. When it is colder I can match it with an exercise cap or even balaclava for extra warmth. The yarn piles a little, enough to give the hat a cozy look but not enough to spoil the pattern.

Grade: Yay!

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Urchin mitts, pocket hat and Fish hat

Fish hat and pocket hat
(First row, eight and tenth picture and above)

I am very pleased with both of these hats. Trevor wore the fish hat for the whole season. It is not the warmest hat so I am glad that he wears padded fleece hats instead. He still wears the fish hat now and then. It looks great after all these years.

Markus’ pocket hat is too small now, but it did get quite a bit of use both by Markus and the little girl down the street after we’ve misplaced it at their place and her mom though it was one of theirs.

Grade: Yay!

Urchin mitts
(First row, ninth picture and above)

The in-between season in Ottawa is really short but the Urchin mittens get used every year. They are simple and cute and it always make me smile to see the kids wearing them.

Grade: Yay!

Jayne hat
(Second row second picture)

For a joke hat this thing gets worn occasionally.

Grade: Yay!

Kiwi and Pumpkin hats

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These were super easy and fun to make and they look good even after all these years. They are not very warm so they are not full time hats but they do get some love particularly when Chris goes out to shovel snow.

Grade Yay!

Swatching

After completing the green sweaters for Trevor and myself last year I have been knitted out. It really did not help that the sweaters did not turn out particularly good though Trev likes his and Markus has stolen it now and refuses to take it off. I love my kids and they love me but that does not mean I am not down in the dumps as a kniter. Time to pick that stitch back up…

You might remember how after the sweater marathon I decided to only do accessories and only use stash yarn? Well that is kind of hard. Doable though…

Step 1: Pattern: I picked this one. It’s simple and it makes a shawl – something I have not made before.
Step 2: Pick yarn: I have a lot of yarn but not a lot of yarn of the same colour. I tried swatting a few different combinations…

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some of which were terrible!

I finally decided on this combination of colours,
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but not in that order.

I have some ambitions of adding pink.
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If I do it will not be until the edge.

So, what do you think? Worth it or another dead end?

Hats!

Remember how in a post a few months ago I was saying how I would really like to improve my sewing skills, possibly by taking a course? Also remember how once I am done working, sleeping, managing the household, playing with my boys, keeping in decent enough shape and maintaining some contact with likeminded individuals outside of my immediate family I have no time for anything whatsoever? So, no sewing courses for me. I do have a project that is complicated enough satisfactorily completing it would involve acquiring those elusive skills. The challenge: make a cycling cap I would not be embarrassed to sport in public.

Luckily, I suffer from occasional insomnia which gives me that extra 6 to 8 hours a day I would have otherwise spent sleeping. Last March, while my dad and sister were visiting, I used one of these opportune “white nights” to practice my sewing skills in making a hat.

It is supposed to be a cold weather cycling cap functionality list of which would include hiding helmet hair, soaking up sweat and keeping my ears warm (super important, I have very sensitive ears).

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The hat was obviously absolutely terrible. The only reason I did not immediately trash it is because it might be a good prop if the kids ever do “Bob and Doug McKenzie” style skit for a school talent show.

My dad, not wanting to say anything about the hat in question, changed the subject by asking me to replace the liner in his winter hat.

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Sure I can replace the liner, but in the process I have borrowed his hat for indeterminate period of time to attempt to reverse engineer the design and make a similar hat for myself. No, I have no desire to dress like a man of my dad’s generation, but the hat itself has excellent shaping and with lighter fabric and a single seam added between the forehead and the visor, this would make an amazing cycling cap.

Then for a while I did nothing due to actually sleeping at night. I did purchase a real cycling cap (summer version, no earflaps) to compare and contrast.

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So today I was so sick I could neither go to work nor get anything done at home. It is just a cold I think, but it has got the best of me. I watched about four hours of television at which point I needed to do something more constructive or I would go crazy. It was time to do the first prototype of my dad’s hat.

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Yes, that is a shopping bag that got ripped earlier this week when I attempted to carry milk from Costco’s cart to my bike. I put it in the recycling bin, but pulled it out when I was looking for strawberry container I could make the hat’s visor out of.

Anyhow, the point of this post is to take down notes on the prototype hat so I can fix it in the next edition as I am highly unlikely to remember the details without writing them down.

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– The back of the hat should not end in a little triangle
– The central seam should only go up to the top of the head
– Side seams should be much more slacked
– Both top and bottom line of the central panel are slightly curved

Let’s hope that the next prototype turns out a resounding success.

Spring cleaning

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Ever since the days started getting longer I have been so excited about spring. I don’t mind the occasional snow storm because April is supposed to be snowy, but I can feel the weather getting warmer. And when these little friends start showing up for the party you know it is going to get better.

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I’ve looked through my Ravelry page and realised I’ve only knitted three items this year. Admittedly, two of them were sweaters and as such a lot of work, but still. This year only accessories and only stash yarn. I challenge myself!

I also have another little challenge on the go. I want to do Costco run on the bike. Partially because I’ve never done it and thought it almost impossible and partially because it just sounds crazy and who does not want crazy??? So yes, 20kg of milk, 10kg of flour or other grains, and five kilos of fruits and vegetables. Maybe a little of meat and fish to make things interesting… Can I make it home or will I be calling Chris from the bottom of Palladium drive to pick me up with the minivan? Tune in to find out.