Friday, January 31, 2014


Yesterday I got a comment about my machine knit longies pattern/tutorial.  I answered, and wanted to include a link to a  brown newborn soaker I made for a give away/charity auction.  However, in scrolling through my blog, I can't find the post.  I know it's just a small little thing, plain old brown, not very exciting...but still, I like to post about everything I make!

Yup.  Not much too it.  Unfortunately, I never heard back from the winner, to see if it fit, or if she even got it.  I sent another email last month, but no response to that one either :(

This is in Patons Classic Wool, and is based on the Dandelion Dreamer pattern that I've shown before.  I think I handknit this; it's really quick and a nice portable project.  The icord I made on the machine though :)  It is a really easy pattern to adapt to the machine though, the biggest key is figuring out which part of the crotch you're working on, I think on the machine you do the opposite direction on the gusset (and you have to work out how many rows you need for the measurement given in the flap).  Any interest in a more detailed tutorial?

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  57gr + 16 655gr = 16 712gr
Balance: 559gr more sent OUT than IN
Costs: $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Epic" in Purples

Ever since I made the first Epic hat, in beiges, I had been hoping for a chance to make one in purples.  I finally got the call for one as a Christmas present,  for a four year old girl.  Super excited!

I started with going through my stash.  I plucked out anything in pure white, lilac, lavender, purple and plum.  I didn't have as much as I had hoped.  So, I headed off to Michaels' to stock up.  It takes a lot of yarn to make these hats--not actually for the individual hat (less than 200gr), but a large variety is needed, though only a few yards for each colour (at the start of the hat, about 60" per row, or just under 2 yards, but I usually do more than one row of a yarn).  Each of these hats has been a financial loss, though each one has enriched my stash tremendously, LOL!!

 I got them out and organized them, I used a black backdrop to even out the background and make the yarns stand out more.
 As I played with them (and this wasn't all the yarns I ended up using), I noticed that there were two types of purple.  A bright purple, and a more plum type purple.  I wasn't sure which way to go!  I decided to throw caution to the wind.  The hat is for a four year old who loves purple.  So, all purples shall be in it!
 Got off to a great start, though I didn't have as many bright whites as I would have liked (having used up some on those Santa hats!).  I was trying to be mindful to not have a long white section, but once again, I think I should have shortened it.
 I blended in some grey as I went up, hoping to soften the transitions between colours, and to tie the two shades of purple together.

 Reminds me of snow and ice.  Don't know if you can see it, but there are some tiny little sequins in there!
A little bit of tuck for texture in the plain yarns.  One difficulty with this hat is the frequently changing gauge of the different yarns.  I didn't get it right in the transition between the tuck and the bulky lilac.  Blocking helps somewhat, as does remembering that this was going to a four year old non-knitter :)

 In the end, I quite liked it!  Always love the tassels.  This time, I made it so there was only a little bit of the lighter colours in the inner part, and dark on the outer, to continue the darkness of the tip of the hat.
If anyone is interested in their own Epic hat, I have a stockpile of beiges, browns, greens, pinks, and purples now.  I do have quite a bit of blues too.

Yarn In: 16 153gr
Yarn Out:  122gr + 16 533gr = 16 655gr

Balance:  502gr more sent OUT than IN
Costs: $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Next Up

Thanks for the feedback on my last post.  I DO love blogging, and won't stop :)  And I really do appreciate my readers, it really brightens my day when I see the stats.  I just need to know that my readers appreciate my writing and that it's meeting their needs.  It's like being a make a great meal, everyone eats it up, but no one says anything.  So you don't make it again, or just not often.  Then someone says "Why don't you ever make that awesome dinner again?".  LOL.

I've still got a little to catch up on from last year, before I launch into this year's projects.  On a bummer note, it appears I left a water bottle and it's holder on the cruise ship Sunday.  It was a blue wool one, with an appliqued medallion, one of the first ones I made :(

Was just browsing through my photos, and forgot! about a striped long toque I made as a rush before Christmas!

Pretty much identical to one I made last winter for newborn photography, but this one was for a 4 year old.  I added the flower cause it's been in my drawer for a long time, and I thought it softened it up a little.  Made this on the LK150.  If anyone wants more info, let me know :)

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  126gr + 16 407gr = 16 533gr
Balance:  380gr more sent OUT than IN
Costs:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Still need to show purple Epic hat, flip top felted mitts and a sewn mei tai (from August LOL).  New this year, Cheryl's mitts, April's hat/cowl...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I know I get about 10-15 views for my "average" pages, and quite a few more for pages that I have patterns (especially linked to Ravelry).  But I have 59 "followers".  Why do people follow a blog if they don't read it?  One-sixth of my "followers" read my blog regularly.  I haven't had a comment since Oct 29.  My most "commeted" month was January, and my post with the most comments?  NO knitting/crocheting content at all :(  All total, last year, I had 24 comments (including at least 4 that had nothing to do with knitting).

I write because I like to share knowledge and writing is an easy way to do that.  It's a great record of what I've created, and hopefully inspires others.

But when you have very little confirmation that others find what you have to say to be of any's really hard to keep going.  At least, with my facebook page, I can get thumbs up (although pictures don't often show up in newsfeeds, and again, the number of real fans is quite low compared to how many likes you have).  Maybe I need one of those little bars under the posts, where readers can click "like/funny/agree/learned something" etc.  How do I do that?

On a positive note, my husband found a missing ball of sock yarn!  I thought it might be in a suitcase pocket, but I guess I checked the wrong suitcase.  I was so down about losing it since I had already started the socks, toe up, and was at the heels when I ran out.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Simple Santa

Shortly after making the Christmas hats for Jennifer, she wanted a simple Santa hat to go with a red basket she turned into a Santa suit. No problem, though the picture she sent had very plush fur for the trim. She didn't want that expense, but she did have the leftovers from a dollar store scarf that she had used to trim the basket. Okay, I can work with that. Then, it really matches! She also suggested instead of a pompom to cover a Styrofoam ball with the yarn.

Is that not the sweetest thing?!
How about this:
Good grief, Jennifer slays me with her beautiful shots. How can 60gr of yarn turn into something so awesome? It's the babies, I tell ya. I need to borrow a few.

Yarn In: 16 153gr
Yarn Out: 60gr + 16 347gr = 16 407gr
Balance: 254gr more used up than brought in
Costs: $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Friday, January 10, 2014

Santa Turban?

The lady that ordered the pink and brown dress and hat set, also wanted a red and white Santa hat that could also double as a winter hat.  I had just seen a picture of a little red turban style hat, done in a fine mohair, with a white picot trim.  I knew the mohair wouldn't work as a winter hat, so I went with a thicker red, and found some red Lionbrand Homespun in my stash.

I don't have good pictures of it on it's own; red is hard to photograph and I was in a rush.
 For something so simple, I actually had to start and restart a few times.  The first time I had it going the wrong way and I just couldn't wrap my brain around it.  Then it was too large one time, then too long...basically, cast on for the length you need to go from one earlobe up and over to the other.  Or, cast on half this number of stitches, and double them over the first couple rows.  Knit almost the length you need, then decrease down over a few rows, draw the yarn through the live stitches to cinch up, same with cast on (except it's not live stitches unless you start with an open cast on).  Then I used a fuzzy white to do the picot edge.  I would have liked to use a finer white, but ran out of time.
Here's the precious one wearing it.  Apparently, she was rather fidgety and kept moving the hat around so it ended up sideways.  Cute from the front, but I'm not sure that it would keep her ears warm.  This would be a nice cancer hat, or done in a terry yarn, it could even be a hair towel hat!  It's a very classic style/shape that you don't see very often anymore, but creates a great impact with minimal work.  I would like to do more, perhaps in a soft, fine mohair, and maybe on the knitting machine.  It's pretty much a rectangle after all :)

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  50gr + 16 297gr = 16 347gr
Balance:  194gr more sent OUT than IN
Costs:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day
I just discovered I have one itty bitty Santa hat to show, as well as the purple Epic hat.  I also made another pair of felted mitts for myself, but I'm not sure when I finished them...were they last year or this year? 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A Tale of Two Santa Hats

I'm almost done blogging my 2013 projects!  Looks like I might meet the Yarn In = Yarn Out goal (although, some of the things I've made have not actually left the house, LOL).

One day I got an email from Jennifer saying she just had a client, Heather, who might be contacting me about getting a hat made for her granddaughter.  I LOVE referrals!  Indeed, Heather got in touch with me, wanting  a Santa hat, in dark red, for her granddaughter to wear with striped pajamas at a breakfast with Santa.  No problem, I said, and got right to work. 
I used up the very last of the white I had from the Frosty hat, and for the pompom, since it's not a very stable yarn when you cut it in small bits, I combined it with a plain white worsted.  I like the effect.  Then I started second-guessing the darkness of the red.  It's darker than in this picture.  Not quite "wine", but I wasn't sure...
 So, I made up a second one!  Still not a bright red, it was indeed lighter.  This time I used a strand of white worsted with the eyelash in the brim and the pompom.  When I trimmed the pompom, I tried to trim just the worsted yarn, so that the eyelash would stand out.  I quite liked this one too.
I took both for Heather to pick one....and she picked both!  I love what I do!  AND, she requested two other hats!!
Both these two hats, and the next two, were done on the LK150.

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  100gr + 92gr + 16 105 = 16 297gr
Balance:  144gr more USED up than brought IN!
Costs:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Monday, January 06, 2014

Felted Clogs

I have loved making felted clogs for a long time, and every time I make another pair after a hiatus, I always say "I need to make these more often!".  The first pair after a break often feels like the very first pair ever, LOL, but then the next pair  goes better!

Back in August, I was asked to take part in another business's 400 Likes fan give away.  Sure, business was really slow for me, and giving away something for free is pretty much the same as advertising.  I offered a knit to order wool diaper cover, though the winner didn't have a baby, so I said anything up to a $20 value...she really liked the felted clogs, which I list for $40.  I said okay, but then they'd be $20, and she was fine with that.

Well, before we got it all settled, I went camping for a week, and then there was the start of school craziness, and then wham!  I got several orders from past clients....the slippers kept getting put off, and I finally finished them the end of October  Nov 7. They really don't take long, but sometimes life gets in the way.  And the inability to read a pattern you know too well :)

She liked mauve, but I didn't have much mauve, so she also picked blues.  I used the mauve as an accent, and inside.  It's fun to do the inner sole with a fun colour!

 It's always a hoot when people see the clogs before felting!
I think I forgot to take an after picture, but the winner was kind enough to.  And, since it took so long, I didn't charge her the extra $20 :)  These ones were made with two strands of Patons Classic Wool.

Christmas rolled around and I had no orders once I delivered a couple things on the 23rd.  I knew I wanted to make something for myself, but what?!  SO many things I wanted to make, but my sensible side won out and I started a pair of clogs for myself.  I was rather hasty in my yarn selection, since we were heading out on the road.  I picked a mint Lopi for the sole, and some Patons SWS for the body.

Problem.  The pattern calls for worsted weight held double.  The Lopi was almost bulky, but not 2-stands-worsted bulky.  The SWS is actually considered worsted, but feels a little thick.  I opted for one strand of each, thinking the thick yarn for the sole would be good.

We had a nasty, nasty drive, and I didn't get much of the first sole done, lost over an hour of knitting time LOL.  But once we were on the main highway I sailed through the pattern this time.

 When I felted them, the Lopi was not felting down as much as the SWS and they were too big.  I kept felting until there seemed to be a bit of a compromise, and the soles weren't bulging compared to the tops.  Then as they dried, I put bags on my feet and wore them, switching back and forth to round out the toes (that bottom one started out really pointy but is much rounder now).
Love the texture of the SWS!
They were snug at first, but have stretched nicely now.  It's wonderful to have warm feet again!!

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  265gr + 207gr + 15 633gr = 16 105gr
Balance:  48gr more brought IN than out!
Costs:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Purple Passion

I wanted to give a pair of purple mitts to a little girl that just got a purple "Epic" hat.  I compared the regular lady's pattern to the felted mitten pattern, and adapted that to my size 4 pattern.   I added two rows of fun fur to tie it in with the hat.  After finishing, I found the schematic of a mitt from Ann Budd's Book of Handy Patterns.  The wrist portion, and thumb gusset height on mine seemed a little short, so I stretched it out.  He hand part might be too long (but the over all length is good).

 Of course, I'm on the iPad mini and can't seem to move the photos around.  Below is the pre-felted size.

They are delightful, but I hope the thumb is big enough!

Would you like a pair of felted knit clog slippers or recycled wool sewn mittens?  Head over to my Facebook page to see how you can win!

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  44gr + 15 589 = 15 633gr
Balance:  520 gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Friday, January 03, 2014

Simple and Sweet!

One of the very first items I sold as TracyKM Designs was a simple, sideways machine-knit hat with very large crocheted flower. 

It was a newborn size, but seemed small to me.  Jennifer used it a few times, also check out her Pinterest page!  One such time was with a tiny little girl with giant blue eyes.  The hat was barely visible as the shot was about those eyes!

The mother contacted me and wanted a dress and hat to celebrate that baby's first birthday/cake smash photo session.  She loved the yarn in the original hat  so we went with that.  I made a similar hat though it came out slightly too large.  To fix that (the design of it didn't really allow to be made "slightly" smaller), I did a couple rows of single crochet around the bottom.  This made it into a sort of slouchy, not-quite-a-tam hat.

 I made the hat with leftovers from the original hat.  Then I went shopping for yarn for the dress.  Well.  There were at least SEVEN different dye lots, several of those had only one ball, one lot had three balls, and three lots had two balls.  And the lots were all very different.  Some had definite colour differences (much more chocolate brown, a different shade of cream), and some had a different sheen, and some had a different texture--they felt wimpy and thin!  I couldn't decide if I wanted two or three balls, and I didn't really like the lot with three balls, but felt it was better to be safe with enough yarn, even if it wasn't exactly what I wanted.  If the hat isn't right next to it, you can't tell anyway.

I met the little imp for a trial fitting and decided to work the dress a smidge bigger so she could get more wear out of it in warmer weather.  I haven't seen the results of the photo shoot yet, but I'm sure she was adorable.  She'd be adorable in a paper sack!!

The yarn did a funny thing on the skirt portion.  At first, I tried to fight it...then gave in, LOL.  I figured she'd be on the move and it'll just be a blur :)

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  46gr (hat) + 232gr (dress) + 15 311gr= 15 589gr
Balance:  564gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Mittens Again!

Did you get tired of all my mitten posts last winter?  Well, I'm back at it this year!  Especially since my favourite pair seems to be misplaced at my aunt's house (I hope that's where!).  My SIL also asked for a pair of warm mitts, so I'm trying out ideas.

In the past, I had seen felted mitten patterns, for e knitting machine, but they seemed too bulky.  Then I was reading a blog and she had made felted mittens from worsted weight yarn and they didn't have a bulky look, from what I could tell.  I thought I'd give them a go.

Of course, I wasn't going to do a swatch.  I measured after, and yes, my tension was a bit off, but hey.  They're being felted!  The big mistake I made was that after the ribbing, I missed going from T6 to T8 before the thumb gusset.  I noticed after taking off the thumbs, and just moved it right up to T8.  In the end, I liked the tighter wrist area but the thumb gussets needed stretching.
They went very quickly and even sewing up didn't take too long. 

I was surprised at how long the Patons Classic Wool took to felt this time.  It used to felt very easily!  I know they changed it from 100% merino and maybe this was new stock.

I'm quite pleased with them.  In the T6 area, there is still some stitch definition.  I like my mitts fairly snug fitting, and these fit my smallish hands fine.  I do think the green is a bit bright, LOL, especially against this black background.  They might be for my SIL, or they might be for me....I wish I liked doing embroidery, cause I think these need some details.  I don't really like buttons, though maybe I could find a decorative button.  I do have some sew on patches, like hearts, stars, snowflakes, skulls...maybe there's one in there.  Doing any of these things though means they become hand specific.

Yarn In:  16 153gr
Yarn Out:  77gr + 15 234gr = 15 311gr
Balance:  842gr more brought IN than out
Costs:  $378.91/365 days = $1.04/day