Hagrid Was A Knitter

I have read the Harry Potter series more times than I can count. I’m always at some point in the series as it’s a series I can pick up and return to at any point. There is something so comforting about a familiar book. Ultimately I know Harry will win, but I follow the heroes along, laugh with them and mourn with them.

Case in point, a few days ago, I finished Deathly Hallow and immediately started Philosopher’s Stone.  Even having read PS countless times, and it is arguably the simplest book in the series, I will still notice little details that I may have skimmed past in previous readings, like this one:

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“People stared more than ever on the train.  Hagrid took up two seats and sat knitting what looked like a canary-yellow circus tent.”

Yes, Hagrid was a knitter.  How this detail escaped me before, I’m not sure, but it jumped out at me this time!

This isn’t the only instance of knitting being mentioned through the series.  Mrs Weasley was infamous for knitting the Weasley jumpers, sweaters gifted to the Weasley children, and Harry also, every Christmas, much to Ron’s chagrin.  In Order of the Phoenix, Hermione was using magic to speed up her knitting of hats in an attempt to free the Hogwarts House Elves, and perhaps my favourite mention of knitting in the Harry Potter series was Dumbledore’s proclamation of his love for knitting patterns in Half-Blood Prince.

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My love for this book series has understandably crept into my knitting.  A few years ago, my co-worker commissioned two House scarfs, and I happy obliged.

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Year 1-2, left, and Year 3-4, right

I used the basic pattern structure of the Year 3-4 scarf to improvise my own Hogwarts House Hand Warmers. Yes, I’m Hufflepuff and Proud!

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As well, I’ve long proclaimed my love for Erica Lueder’s Harry Potter inspired patterns on my blog.  Her Hermione Every Day Socks are well known and often top the ‘Hot Right Now’ search on Ravelry, but I highly encourage you to check out her other patterns, most of which were inspired in one way or another by a Harry Potter character.

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Left to right: Hermione’s Every Day Sock; Weasley Rib; Devil Snare Sock

I have another Erica Lueder pattern on my needles right now, and I’m a few rounds plus the toe away from being finished the pair.  I can’t wait to show pictures of the finished socks.  The pattern was tedious to follow, but my goodness the finished fabric is beautiful. Totally worth it.

Also on my needles is the Time Turner Shawl by Elizabeth Saxton.  Saxton describes the lace as being reminiscent of Hermione’s time turner from Prisoner of Azkaban, and when looking for a pattern to truly highlight my stunning Manos yarn, I knew this was the one.

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Are you a Harry Potter fan? Can you add any Harry Potter inspired patterns to this (working) list?

A Few Finished Objects

Last week, I wrote how I had a major case of start-itis – symptoms of which include being unable to stop casting on new projects, despite how many WIPs a person has on the go. This start-itis isn’t showing signs of being cured, having started three new projects last week.  Seriously, I can’t stop finding new patterns and going through my stash to see what I can use.

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The good thing about so many projects on the go is that I was able to finish three objects last week.  The first were these Cableship socks.  I started them in October as a knit-a-long by KnitPurl Hunter.  The first sock was finished early November, but this second one was put into hibernation until after Christmas knitting was complete.  In the week after Christmas, I struggled my way through Judy’s Magic Cast-on and a few weeks later, I was able to wear the newly finished pair of socks.

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Also finished was a slouchy hat for my dad. Fun story -the wool is 100% Peruvian Alpaca, and we ventured to a local Alpaca farm to by the yarn. My goodness, alpacas must be some of the freaking cutest animals around. When we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by a herd (is that right, herd?) of Border Collies who were obviously working dogs, and we also got a peak at their pigs. They had to be the fattest pigs I’ve ever seen in my life. So that’s the story of they yarn for this hat.  Dad received it yesterday. It fits and he’s happy.

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Finally, on Friday, I bought yarn and cast on a Pussyhat.  Have you heard of this? If not, I HIGHLY recommend heading over to their website and reading more about this movement. In a nutshell, there will be a women’s march on Washington on January 21, and marchers are encouraged to wear these knit hats, the name taken as both a play on on the word pussycat and as reference to how the US President-Elect brags about sexually assaulting women. As stated on their Ravelry page:

The PussyHat Project aims to:

  1. Provide the people of the Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard.
  2. Provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent them- selves and support women’s rights.

A Facebook friend of my sister’s asked for a hat to be made, and I happily obliged.  It knit up VERY quickly; I cast on Friday evening and by Sunday I had it finished and ready for my sister to give to the recipient.

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Please visit their website and read more about this initiative.

 

Knit all the projects!

I have a major case of start-itis.  I can’t stop casting on. This is very unusual for me, because as a product knitter, I usually have no more than three projects on the go, determined to see them through to the end. But after the holidays ended, I can’t stop looking at patterns and starting new projects.


Considering all things, I was fairly on top of my holiday knitting this year.  I made three things for three recipients, the first was a sweater for my mother, which was finished early October.  Grandma received a Sontag, and this was finished early November. The knitting crunch hit in late November when I decided to make my Grandad a pair of socks.  I made the Harvest Festival pattern which created this lovely pattern texture to the fabric, but it was certainly more fiddly than a pair of vanilla socks. For just shy of a month, my knitting energy was dedicated exclusively to these socks.  I hit my goal and finished them three days before Christmas.

Perhaps these socks are the reason for my knitting enthusiasm.  Most of December was spent on one pair of socks, so now I’m itching to try new patterns, to use yarn that’s been stashed for months and newly purchased yarn (because it was just so pretty and wanted to come home with me). Despite having six projects actively on the go, I can’t stop thinking of other patterns, looking for the right one to use on my new Manos del Uruguay or my stashed IndigoDragonfly. I also want to make new gloves for me and gloves as a gift (because it’s Canada, and ’tis the season), and I know a few people who are expecting little ones this year and who doesn’t love knitting for babies! Long story short, I want to knit all the things. A few rows here, an odd round there, and sure enough they’ll all get done.

On How I Grew to Love Charts

A number of years back, I was very intimidated by knitting charts. My first introduction to charts was when I downloaded the afghan pattern for my travel afghan.  It was a pattern provided by Rowan yarns, and there are eight different squares which comprise the completed blanket. Half the patterns were available as written and charts, and half were charts only.  At the time, I saved only the written patterns when they were given and begrudgingly saved the charts when there was no alternative provided. This afghan is a project I pick up every so often, and now that time has passed and I’ve learned how easy it is to follow a chart, I’ve gone back and added the charts to the patterns where they are missing.

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The trick with charts is learning how to read them.  When you’re first shown a chart with lots of little symbols and repeats, it can admittedly be intimidating.  There is no need to be scared of charts! Your fear and hesitation is something all knitters go through, before they learn how to read them.

Let’s break charts down.

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The above is a charted lace pattern that I have improvised.

Each square on the chart represents a stitch on your needle, and there is usually a key which explains what each symbol means.  Many of these symbols are universal.

When reading a chart, it’s opposite to how we would read a page of written words.  Charts are designed to be read from the bottom up, and you read them from right to left for the right side and left to right for the wrong side.

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Charts make the most intricate lace pattern simpler, can add ease to a pattern with lots of cables, and for the visual person that I am, they are much simpler for working a row of any pattern because you can see what the stitches are going to be, rather than reading through them.  A tip that I’ll pass along from the Yarn Harlot: Have sticky notes as a staple in your knitter’s bag. Having a sticky note marking your progress through a chart is a lifesaver for me.

These tips may be well known to seasoned knitters, but hopefully they will come in handy if you’re faced with your first charted pattern.

Happy knitting!

Warm Woolen Wonderfulness

A number of months ago, I completed my Woolen Undersleeves.  The pattern is from 1862 from Godey’s Ladies Book, and like with other historical patterns, I had to muddle my way through the historic lingo when creating my own undersleeves. I created these undersleeves to wear with my historic costume for work, knowing they would come in handy during any outreach I have to do in the cold weather.

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This weekend, I had my first opportunity to use the undersleeves.  My co-workers and amazing volunteers and I got dressed in our Victorian finest and marched in our local Santa Claus Parade.  After a very warm Friday, the temperatures dipped on Saturday, much more appropriate for Christmas weather. Undersleeves were a necessity.

I am very happy to report that I was able to 5+ kilometres in the chilly weather, and thanks to my woolen undersleeves, I was very toasty warm.  I can happily report, the undersleeves were a success.

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Victorian finest, complete with my Sontag and undersleeves.

The pattern I used was from Godey’s Ladies Book, 1862

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For the modern interpretation of the pattern, please read my original post.