Wednesday, March 30, 2016


It's no secret I love turquoise and teal.  They remind me of warm Caribbean beaches.  Sigh.  So when I found this yarn in a clearance bin at The Wool Queen,  I had to have it.  Even though it wasn't on my shopping list.  And, I had to have every ball in this colour.  And a few balls in a different colourway.  What's not to love?  Gradual shading, an easy to use gauge, and a gentle machine wash 51% wool (49% acrylic).  Sirdar "Escape DK" .  This colour has the unfortunate name of "SH193".

My first stop was mittens.  Particularly the sideways mittens that my daughter had been knitting.  This would be an attempt to refine the pattern, perhaps for publication.  Well,  while sideways mittens are not common, there are a few patterns out there. And I'm not 100% satisfied with them.

 The original pattern had you pick up around the cuff and knit a garter stitch band, perpendicular.  Pbssst.  Why do that?  As a result, the thumb gusset shaping is now part of the cuff, and given the stretchiness of the garter stitch, while the mittens "fit", they slip off too easily.  Making the pattern (or just the thumb gusset) an inch shorter would change the gusset shaping a LOT and require much engineering. Or might not.  It might be worth it, it might not.
 The other thing I did was start with waste yarn so I could graft the first and last rows.  Or, I might have done a three needle bind off.  I don't remember now!  It's tricky to graft in garter stitch.  It seems while one side looks good, the inside has a ridge.  You can see below on the left mitten, there is a line on the hand just before the thumb.
I also cast on double the stitches, and did the shaping that should have been at the finger tip ends, in the middle, rather than having to sew up the tops.
The white line going up the center point was a marker to mark where the centre was for the shaping.  I like using a long piece of yarn as it doesn't go sproing off the needles, and I can see where the marker has been, not just the row it's on. 

The mittens are nice.  Warm, but not crazy warm because while the garter stitch adds a bit more thickness to the fabric, they are still just knitted and not felted, so they are not windproof.  The fit is decent but could be better.  And of course, they got stuck to the velcro on my safety vest at work a few times, so there is a lot of pilling.

Next up, a hat.  I thought a simple square hat, like in my profile picture here, but knit sideways like the mittens.  I'm not sure why I chose garter stitch though.  I was going to do one of those sideways knit garter stitch hats that I've done a few of but again, they always had a bit of a fit issue (a little stump at the top) and I was heading out and didn't have time to find the pattern.  So I went with square.  I knit and knit and knit until it would go around my head.  And realized that it was totally not the look I wanted.  Perhaps if  I added a ribbed cuff, but to get the negative ease to keep the hat on, the body was oddly misshaped on my head.  Sigh. 

I played with it, and thought, if I sew it closed anyway, but keep both edges open, it could be a super wide headband, or a neck warmer!  But it was too much as a headband. I folded it in thirds, and while that worked, it wouldn't stay tidy on my head.  So I knit a band to wrap around it (knit it a few times to get it right. Sigh.).  Was this the answer?

It was cute, it was trendy.  I thought being able to still open it up wider at the back would be great.  But, it was very thick and maybe too warm.  Eventually I cut off the band, and found a crochet headband pattern I liked.  Although I had to do two attempts to get the sizing right. 
 You don't see all that much change in the shading, it looks more like it was striped.  The kids say the narrow part needs a button or something, but I don't have anything I thought looked right.  It's working out pretty well.  I can pop it on over my hair and feel trendy, or under my hair.  Again, not windproof. And the girls also pointed out that the one edge of the headband pulls in more at that narrow section than the other edge.  I don't know why.
I had a bit of yarn left, in some small balls.  Even though the girls said I can not wear three pieces of matching yarn, I went ahead and made an infinity scarf with my new SK155 and ribber set up.  The SK155 is not new, but the ribber is!  I used the tuck ribbed lace in the ribber manual.  I could have used a few more stitches on the edges.  I didn't want to over steam because there is really nice texture, but the sides do roll.  Maybe I should pin it and steam.  It's quite narrow, but I figured long and narrow gets wrapped around the neck and becomes just as warm as a single wide loop.  Plus, what if I made it wide, and it turned into that awkward length of not short enough to be warm, but not long enough for two wraps?

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out: 155gr + 3628gr = 3783gr
Balance:  2197gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/90days = $0.83/day

Friday, March 25, 2016

Last Pair?

This is probably the last pair of mittens for the kindergarten kids.  I did start another, slightly larger pair, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I'm trying some on my new bulky machine set up, but I haven't gotten the gauge right yet.  Or worked out all the possible mistakes.  Stay tuned.

These are from the Briggs & Little kit I got from  I started the second mitten to be a reverse pattern of the first one but I made some mistakes so by the time I was halfway up, I gave up.  I wanted to make another pair with maybe less striping, so that all four would "go" together but not be identical.  Not that most of the kids care.  Most just want warm hands.  There is one girl that usually loves her fleece gloves but then after trying a pair of my spare mittens, she keeps insisting her hands are cold.  She wore this pair earlier this week and they totally matched her coat and scarf.  Usually she's good about bringing  them back to me before the bell, but I see they're not in the box now :) 

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out: 35gr + 3593gr = 3628gr
Balance:  2042gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/85days = $0.88/day

Monday, March 21, 2016


When it was time to pass on baby items, my husband wanted everything gone.  I'm a little more sentimental and kept a few things, though I wish I had kept more.  Or at least made sure to get better pictures.  You always think "I'll take a picture next time" but that doesn't always happen.

I'm still not knitting/crocheting much so here's a little pre-blog flashback of my oldest and some hats I had made for him.

My aunt had started to knit a little dino sweater and hat set for her son, but she wasn't a knitter and he was long past the size so she gave it to me.  I gave the sweater away as a raffle prize when I did my first craft sale (each booth had to donate an item for a raffle), and I knit the hat for Hugh.  I was still pretty new to hat knitting, and I don't know if it was a design issue or a size issue, but it did nothing to keep his ears warm.  He wore it though because he loved dinosaurs.  I knit several other hats using this same shape.  I don't know what happened to this hat.  Probably gave it away with the coat.  I still have the pattern.  It's "Dinos and Daisies" from Patons' "Dinosaur Days" booklet 695, copyrigght 1993.

Another hat I made for him I loved SO much.  It's a vintage pattern, from Patons' Book 98, "Family Headwear and Scarves by Beehive".  There are some classics in this book.  The book was reprinted in 2001 using more "modern" yarns (I don't ever recall seeing Patons Canadiana Superwash Wool!), and one size instead of the DK yarn and three sizes that are in the original book (date unknown).  I think there must have been a printing in between the original and the 2001 booklet, because the models do NOT look like 2001! LOL.

The hat is called the "Ali Baba" and I challenge you to not smile!

 It's a little small on my adult wig  head but too big on my 6month baby head.

This was a great hat for keeping the ears warm!  Here he is, playing in the dog's frozen outside water dish.  The hat of course can not keep fingers warm LOL!  It was a verigated yarn and quite fun to see it work up in stripes!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


I posted on my FB and Instagram pages about my wrist injury.  Yes.  It's happened.  I spent so much time mending (mainly duplicate stitching large areas) my handknit socks that I have ended up with a repetitve motion injury in my right wrist.  Even more technical, it appears to be a "ganglion".  Often, those aren't painful, but this one is.

It sucks.

I've tried anti-imflamatory drops, like Voltaren, but stronger.  Can't say if they helped.  Tried naproxen, not sure if it helped or if I just finally fell asleep.  I can't use much anti-imflamatories so only when I'm desparate.  My youngest wrapped it up in a tensor bandage so I couldn't twist, and that did help, but is SO impractical since I'm right handed.  I've cut down on knitting and crocheting.  I don't mind that, but it's the simple, daily things that make it hurt--lifting my water bottle, pulling up my blankets, steering into parking spaces, etc.

It's unlikely I can see my doctor until Monday/Tuesday (she used to be in a walk in clinic on the weekends, but not lately).  Who knows what will happen then.  This week is "March Break" which means no work for me (kindie lunch supervisor), but I'm not looking forward to next week--opening Thermoses, zipping zippers, etc.  I'm quite annoyed with myself!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Yes, There's More!

The mitten knitting continues!  Even though it's now above freezing, I'm still working on mittens.  When you're out playing for 30 minutes, 7C becomes pretty chilly, especially if you fall, or play in the water.  The kindie yard is on the north side of the school, and we've just started getting a sliver of sun back.  We have poor drainage so there are a lot of puddles.  And with 80 kids running around, there are often falls.  Many kids are not bringing mittens to school now, so it's nice having the spare mitten box.  Plus, some of the mittens have disappeared already!  At lunch, I try to keep track, and remind them to throw them back in the box, but what happens is some kids get a pair at morning recess when I'm not there.  They don't put them on at lunch, or keep them in their pockets, and they end up going home.  And it's not like mittens will spoil over the summer. 

This is the first pair I made from the Briggs & Little kit I bought from Grand River Yarns.  This is not the softest wool to knit with and I worried that the kids might think they're too rough, so I washed them.  Just put them in a mesh bag, in with a warm load, and then into the dryer.  They fluffed up and feel much better, though this isn't merino!  I still used 4mm needles, but increased stitches to 32 and the thumb went to 13 sts, I think.  Which is too big. 
Immediately one boy fell in love with these.  He now ditches his big "waterproof" ski style gloves and grabs these from the box.  Makes a knitter's heart swell :)

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out: 35gr + 3558gr = 3593gr
Balance:  2007gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/70days = $1.07/day

Friday, March 04, 2016


About 20 years ago, I made my boyfriend a fancy long stocking cap.  I'm not sure exactly when I made it, but it appears in a photo from Feb 1997.  I think I gave it to him for Christmas 1996.

I was still pretty new at knitting.  I had learned as a child, but never successfully made anything until fall/winter 93/94.  More about this hat can be seen in an earlier Timeless Tuesday post. On one hand, I'm quite proud of this hat.  On the other hand...oy!  It was a long time ago!

A couple of winters ago, I washed a bunch of our winter stuff.  I had washed it before, but I think this time we were in this house with a different washing machine....and it ate, shrank, and destroyed a lot of items!  The hat and mitts in my profile picture?  Felted.  A favourite hat of Hugh's from when he was little?  Pompoms gone!  And this hat?  The machine destroyed the pompom!

I always planned to redo the pompom.  The hat got moved around and moved around and just wasn't on my radar, especially once I started knitting for hire.  Finally, this Christmas, I decided to make a new pompom.  This time, I even got to add some reflective yarn!  Wish I had used more!

I included the pompom weight in my yarn totals just before the year ended, so I can't claim it today.  I think it was 60gr.  It's BIG!  Rob says it's a little heavy now LOL.  He's loving having it back, but the kids are not thrilled to be seen with him when he wears it!