Staying Cozy in the Cold

This was one of those weekends where Candian stereotypes held up – it was cold, it was snowy. My car termperature this morning was reading -20C. Very cold indeed.

Needless today, besides shovelling my sidewalk, I did very little this weekend.  Books were read, Netflix was binged (I’ve watched too much Schitt’s Creek), and knitting happened. A lot of knitting.  Selfishly, I’m happily working on two cowls: Lace Eyelet Cowl by Stefanie Canich, and I started Anguli Cowl by Hilary Smith Callis. Unsurprisingly, these are two cowls that look like shawls when worn.  I’m also fixing a pair of socks I initially made for my co-worker’s daughter.  I THOUGHT I made it to the measurements she gave, but either I messed up (which could happen) or her daughter’s feet grew (which does happen), so I’ve been trying to fix the mistakes.  One sock down, one to go. 

The pattern is the lovely Hermione sock, but because the yarn is self striping, I’ve made it with an afterthought heel, a technique I hate.  I was bemoaning about this a few months ago at a knitting group when one of the women said something that has changed my outlook. 

To make an afterthought heel, you knit the leg to the length you want, then knit half of the stitches with waste yarn , then continue knitting the same stitches with the working yarn. The idea is, you remove the waste yarn and have the right amount of live stitches with which you can work the heel, leaving the self striping yarn’s pattern uninterrupted.  Simple enough concept, but removing that waste yarn and putting the stitches on needles is a process that usually leaves me using lots of creative curse words. Then Vickie said: you should knit more than one row with the waste yarn. Lightbulb went off. Really, the waste yarn is just keeping the heel stitches live for later. It doesn’t matter how many rows with the waste yarn you knit. By knitting MORE THAN ONE ROW, you are making it easier to pick up those stitches and remove the yarn.  There’s very little room when only one row is knit, but the angles are easier to work with when there’s, say, three rows of waste yarn used.

Sorry it’s a little blurry – but as you can (maybe) see, there’s three rows of white waste yarn used which are holding the heel stitches for an afterthought heel.

I tried her advice with the Hermione sock, take two. It was so much easier than any other time I’ve tried this technique. Seriously. If you haven’t been doing this for afterthought heels, try it. Mind blown. 

Happy knitting, and if anyone is living through these temperatures or anything close, stay warm!

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She carried a watermelon

A friend is expecting her first daughter and may give birth anytime soon.  Her baby shower was this past weekend, so naturally I’ve been knitting away for her gift.  The mom to be loves Dirty Dancing and has been making jokes that through the pregnancy has been feeling like she’s carrying a watermelon. The gift for the baby:

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There were two patterns for this set:

Watermelon Baby Cardigan by Stitchylinda Designs
Watermelon Baby Hat by Stitchylinda Designs

I knit a few more rounds than the hat recommended, and I think I knit an extra two rows to the length of the cardigan. Otherwise, these were really sweet patterns to follow.

The pattern technically calls for DK weight yarn, however, in the pattern notes, the design remarked that her yarn worked up like a worsted.  I had the green Cascade 220 Superwash in my stash, so I bought two balls of white, one of which was dyed pink in my slowcooker. I’ll never get tired of home dyeing yarn!

Sock Yarn Memory Blanket – An update

Is there a knitter out there that doesn’t have some sort of scrap yarn/left over yarn memory blanket forever on the go? It is something that gets picked up and put down so very frequently, where you only work on a square or two at a time, with perhaps many weeks in between. It’s a comfort, knowing you’ll always have something familiar to turn to, and yet perhaps a test of patience knowing that it is a long term friend who may stay a UFO for quite some time.

I started mine in May 2016, and It will only have one square made from each skein of sock yarn I use, because a girl’s gotta have some rules! The squares get added after the project the yarn was initially used for or is complete, and, because of my Type A personality, I try to save the tag that came with the skein and a small sample of the yarn in a binder, where I might write some notes about the yarn, where I bought it, what it was used for, truly making it a memory blanket, attaching these memories to the pages.

I first blogged about this blanket in late May 2016, and uploaded this picture.

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I provided a blanket update in August 2017:

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And I’m really excited to compare that picture with this one:

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For a project that feels forever going, seeing the progress is really a happy thing.

Decorating my Christmas Tree

I found a new favourite pattern. It has a silly-ish name, but it’s well written and works up quickly: Balls Up ! by General Hogbuffer.  I’m always on the mission to use up those left over bits and bobs of yarn; a few endevours have been my sock yarn memory blanket, the Ex-Boyfriends shawl, and socks that I’ve lovingly referred to as my ‘ugly’ socks, an inappropriate moniker because they are one of my favourite pairs to wear.  Why ugly socks?

There are four different remnants of Opal sock yarn being used in these socks, all joined together with the Russian join method.  It’s a little bit of a colour cacophony, but I kinda love them.

With the holiday season in full force, I wanted to expand on my knitted ornament collection, which is where I found the ‘Balls Up!’ pattern, and my goodness is addictive!  It’s especially satisfying when using self striping yarn, because you get the pattern without any effort. Also, when I say it’s a quick knit, boy is it ever! I can get one knit throughout an evening.  It is a wee bit finicky, specifically the beginning when you’re knitting in the round with only eight stitches, and it’s awkward knitting at the end after you’ve inserted your ball form. 

Something about these make me really happy.

All The Hats

I’ve been radio silent here on this blog for the past few weeks, completely unintentionally. Life, as does happen, got busy, and while the knitting hasn’t stopped, writing about it did.

We’re only a few weeks away from Christmas, and I’m certainly feeling the pressure to keep knitting, but like I’ve written about in my last few posts, hats have been the flavour of the month(s?).  Such a simple, quick and satisfying project!

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I may have a slight addiction to the Barley Light pattern by tincanknits. I’ve knit five of these hats in the last six months! What isn’t there to love? It’s knit in fingering (although a worsted version is available too), it’s so simple yet the garter panel adds interest, and it’s super chic.  Written with lots of size options, these have made excellent baby gifts which can come together rather quickly – one of the five I was able to knit during a Sunday afternoon.

I’m also working on a super fun, slouchy hat for my friend’s daughter; she’s a super trendy little girl, and a slouchy bulky hat will fit her personality, in my humble opinion.  AI’m hoping to make a hat for her brother as well, but am waiting on inspiration to strike for that.  I started a different hat for friend’s daughter – I had some fun pink and white Cascade 220 in the stash that I thought would be good to knit down, but then, common sense kicked in and I realized MAYBE an 8 year old needs a hat made with something super wash… Just a hunch.

As the countdown to the holidays continues (or maybe is coming to an end for those who celebrate Hanukkah), I am hoping the odds are ever in your favour for finishing those projects you just need to get done!