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!

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!

Long weekends are for knitting

It’s hard to believe September is already one-third over! The long weekend came, and so did the the falling leaves decor and pumpkin spice everything.  This past weekend was exceptionally busy for me at work, as one of our biggest vents, that I’m responsible for co-ordinating, took place.  This meant that I took full advantage of the Labour Day weekend, spending my time knitting, reading, cooking, and very little else.

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Just before the long weekend, I finished a pair of fingerless gloves.  The pattern is Cross My Palm by Kate Atherley; it’s a paid pattern, was very fun and fast to make, and would certainly recommend spending the $5 on it!  I received the pattern as part of my Great Toronto Yarn Hop registration, and the yarn, Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) was another Yarn Hop acquisition. I loved the colours of this skein and am waiting for the weather to get just a touch cooler before getting good use out of these mittens.

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Over the long weekend, I also started a hat, one which I’ve been itching to make for months.  The pattern is Grandifolia Head by Vickie Hartog, part of her Grandifolia series of shawls, cowls, and other accessories. I’ve put it off in the past, largely because it has an i-cord cast on, and being frank, I just didn’t have the attention span to work almost 150 rows of an i-cord; over the long weekend I had nothing but time, so cast on I did.  The yarn I’m using is Stitch Please Amethyst Label in their Men in Tights colourway, a vivid and beautiful shade of emerald green. The yarn was bought at the 2016 Knitters Frolic and has sat patiently while I gathered my patience to start.

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The picture doesn’t do justice to the colour.

With the days creeping along, as they inevitably do, I will need to switch gears and start thinking of holiday knitting.

Skimmer Socks

The desire to knit down my sock yarn ends continues in a very fun way.  Meet the Skimmer Socks:

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Okay, Simmer SOCK, singular, because Sock #2 is still in progress. But, please allow me to rave about this pattern for a few minutes.

The pattern I used was Skimmer Socks Revisited by Sheila Toy Stromberg (revisited as she revamped a popular pattern of hers written a number of years ago).  This pattern popped up onto Ravelry’s Hot Right Now around the beginning of May, and when I saw my purple and blue left overs together, they were just destined to become these socks.

The pattern was VERY clearly written, and if anything was unclear, like my confidence in doing short rows, she has a corresponding tutorial on YouTube. To make it even better, Stromberg has marked the timestamps when that particular technique is shown in the video.  While the tutorial is around an hour, I fast-forwarded to the parts I needed clarification on and then happily resumed my knitting.

For my high-arched feet, I made size large which required around 140 metres of yarn, and the fit is great. I can certainly see myself making more of these socklets in the future, with my only major mod would be making the insole shorter so that they’ll be slightly more no-show when I wear flats.

To everyone in Canada, I hope you are having a fantastic Victoria Day long weekend! To everyone else, Happy Monday!