Category Archives: hand knitting

The short version

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I have a friend who needs cheering up at the moment so after I finished the long armwarmers for myself I decided to knit some shorter ones for her. (I doubt she reads my blog.) These are all Scheepjes River Washed XL colours out of the pack of minis.

After the sweater and longer mitts were made, this is what I had left from the 50 x 15g mini skeins and 5 x 50g balls of Moonstone.

Rather than mix the Stone Washed and River Washed in such a small project, I went for the latter, and even though I didn’t think I liked this yarn as much as the Stone Washed I really like the look of these mitts.

Rather than start with 42 stitches and decrease down from forearm to wrist, I just started with 32 stitches, which is the number of stitches at the wrist in my pattern (posted a few days ago). Total length is about 7 inches, instead of 11.

Elemental armwarmers

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ELEMENTAL  ARMWARMERS 

A new pattern based on an old design of mine (Elements armwarmers), these fingerless mitts have been re-knitted and updated almost ten years after I published the pattern. 

I have used Scheepjes Stone Washed XL which is 70% cotton, 30% acrylic. I bought a box of 50 mini skeins, along with five 50g balls of the cream, and after I finished crocheting a sweater I had lots left over. The original mitts were made with a colour-changing yarn, so there were way fewer tails to weave in. Of course you can use whatever aran weight yarn you like. 

The weight of these when finished is 80 grams so you could just use one 100g skein of yarn. Or you can go nuts with colour, like I did!

What you’ll need:

100g aran weight yarn, either all one colour or a combination

5mm/US8 needles, either a long circular for magic loop or dpns

Sizing:

Designed to fit a 7.75” hand, measured around the palm above the thumb, a 6” wrist and 10.5” forearm. 

Finished dimensions 6.5” around hand, 7” at wrist, 9” at forearm. Total length 11”.

The first rendition of the pattern stretched out considerably around my hand, so I’ve remade it with less ease. Once you know your gauge, it’s a simple case of adjusting the numbers to fit your own arms.

Gauge:

13sts/3” (4.33sts/inch) and 7 rows/inch. 

No need to knit a gauge swatch – this project is small enough that you can start knitting and measure your stitch gauge after the first inch of stockinette/stocking stitch. Row gauge is not crucial as you are knitting to measurements. And you can try on as you go.

Abbreviations:

K knit

P purl

St/sts stitch/stitches

CO cast on

BO bind off

Rnd round

K2tog knit 2 together (decrease)

Dec decrease

Beg beginning

dpns double pointed needles

How to:

Cast on 42 stitches and either divide them between your dpns or set up your circular needle for magic loop. (Pro tip – make sure each needle starts with a knit stitch, not a purl stitch.) Join in the round. Work K1, P1 ribbing for 5 rounds. (42 sts)

Change to stockinette (knit all stitches) and work 7 rounds. (42 sts)

Next round: dec by K2tog in two places while working this round (I positioned my decs randomly, just trying to make sure they weren’t stacking above each other in subsequent rounds. If you’d rather do all decs at beg and end of round, then feel free to do so.) (40 sts)

**K 7 rounds, work dec round; repeat from ** four times. (32 sts)

K straight until your work measures 10”, or desired length to base of thumb, from cast on edge. 

Thumb:

(My original design made two identical mitts – this time I positioned the thumbholes differently so that the colour jogs were not running along the top of my hand – it’s your choice as to what you do here.)

Left mitt: BO 8 sts, K to end of round. (24 sts)

Right mitt: K to 8 sts from end of round, BO 8 sts (24 sts)

Next round: K around, use knitted cast on method to CO 6 or 7 sts over the gap created by the BO in the last round. (I did 6, it was pretty snug, again it depends on the fit you want.)

The thumbhole rounds may need some finagling on your needles. You may need to shift stitches around on your dpns/circs to make it easier to BO and CO these stitches. 

K 5 rounds, or more for more coverage. (The original design had ribbing at the hand – I ended up ripping and redoing three times because it looked messy and went with continuing the stockinette instead.)

Bind off. Weave in ends (or knot and trim if you’re lazy like me).

Notes on colour: I chose to work the initial ribbing in one colour, then do 3 row stripes of each colour, and then the thumbhole and last 5 rows in one colour. I couldn’t tell you what the names of these colours are as the labels came off when I made the sweater. And  my mitts are fraternal rather than identical twins!

Sewing party

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Sewing party

Yesterday was a great day! Three of my friends came over and brought their sewing machines, tools and fabric so we could make bags. We had decided to make the Continuous Zipper bag from the tutorial by Lorrie Nunemaker and the Easy One-piece purse with popper by Lizzy Curtis.

There was a lot of chat, a lot of sharing of tips and techniques, lots of good food, and fun was had by all.

My makes:

I just love the fabrics I used from my stash. The first purse was the maple leaf one and started out with a 6.5 inch wide piece of fabric. The second one used an 8 inch wide piece and I think it is more practical as you can fit bank notes into it. I am sold on the snaps and now want to get myself a kit so I can make more purses.

Today is a public holiday – Family Day – and is a quiet day Chez Nicolaknits. All five of us are home and are going out for supper later. My sewing machine called to me again so I made another continuous zipper bag using some batting inside instead of interfacing.

I’ve had this fabric for years. It’s cute!

Another idea I wanted to play with, because it was keeping me awake last night when I should have been falling asleep, is a bag with a front made up entirely of zippers. I had a few lying around, so I seamed them together, cut a piece of jeans leg to add to the top, bottom, and back, and added belt loops.

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The front bows out because of the zippers, but that’s not a bad thing. You can access the bag using any of the zippers. I was thinking that if I used a long zipper, I could use any trimmed lengths as well, even if they didn’t have a pull. But in this case they were all short.

In yarny news, I finished the mindless crochet project, which is a yarn cake holder for a friend who just bought a ballwinder. Having the cake corralled makes things much easier.

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And the double knitting project has grown a little. It’s slow going, and there are many mistakes because I’m still learning, but when I manage to get in the flow I enjoy it.

As you can see, the back is a mirror image of the front. It’s double thick. Ampersand Dragon

Hopefully your Monday was a good one. Talk to you again soon.

Thankful

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I am grateful for my job. It’s only three days a week but it gives me a challenge and  money to go on vacation and interaction with lots of people who have similar interests. And having that job makes me more grateful for the days when I don’t have a shift and I can get other stuff done. Yes, that means housework, laundry, grocery shopping and other mundane things, but it also means I have time for my hobbies and my friends.

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The six remaining bags

The set of 12 animal bags is done <<cheers>> and not only that but six are sold already. I was hoping that when I cut up that panel from work and turned it into project bags that I wouldn’t be left with a lot of things I couldn’t sell. However, thanks to friends, they are disappearing out of the door. Each bag is $24 and I am going to donate 75% of that to a farm sanctuary here in the valley. They don’t know that yet, but I’ll be passing on the funds soon, I expect.

It took me a while to get the job done as I kept distracting myself with other fun things. In fact, after I had finished the Hey Ewe bag this afternoon, I went on to make another thing.

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This is made from a jeans leg, which I fused with Heat ‘n Bond to some quilting cotton, and then I constructed a simple zipper bag with a zipper and button from the stash. So easy to make. I’ve watched so darn many YouTube videos on bag construction I think I could make some of them in my sleep. Well, except for the zipper – I still need Wonder tape for that.

I mentioned in my last post that I was planning to play with double knitting and I have started on the dragon square. I have made a few mistakes but I am being gentle with myself and leaving them, because it is a learning process. I have discovered I prefer to do it while holding both yarns in my right hand, rather than in the left, or one in each hand, and it is something that you really have to  FOCUS on because you have to knit and purl the correct stitches in the correct colour and then just as you’re getting used to it you have to switch the colours to make the design. Yikes!

When my friends came over last night, I didn’t even bother to pick up the needles, choosing to start something simple in crochet instead.

It’s dinnertime, and I’m off to scoff chili and rice. Have a great day!

 

Nuts for bags

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Good morning! It’s a very foggy start to the day here. We still have snow on the garden, though most of the roads are clear as we haven’t seen any snowfall for a week now. Yesterday felt really warm – I think it reached double digits. My car’s thermometer said 10 degrees Celsius, parked in the carport.

Last time I posted, I had five project bags made. I now have five more.

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Still two to go to finish the set and then I’ll make more of a concerted effort to get them sold for CritterAid.

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In between making these bags, I made a denim one for a change of pace.

Same technique, no batting.

Much as I love my animal bags, I’ll be glad when they’re done. I did finish a child size beanie this week using Caron Cupcakes yarn…

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…which then led me to getting my swift and ball winder out and going through my yarns and tidying some up and turning some from hanks into cakes. I haven’t used any of my newest yarns, purchased last year. I suppose I’m thinking I should use up the older stuff first, but that could take a long time, especially at my current rate of production.

One technique I’d like to play with this year is double knitting, where you knit two layers at once using two colours and end up with a pattern on one side and the reverse pattern on the back. Like this Ampersand Dragon on Ravelry. I have printed the pattern and I think this will be my next knitting challenge. I have watched a few videos for cast ons and dealing with edges. Should be fun!

It’s a work day today so I’ll sign off here. Hope your day is wonderful, and happy crafting.

 

 

Last chance!

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This is the last day for entering my giveaway for the Alpaca Lunch Bag, as I will be drawing a name at random tomorrow and will announce the winner. Good luck!

Above is a photo from my happy place, my favourite tea shop (yesterday I chose a raspberry matcha latte) where of course I took my crochet. (I wish there was a crochet-themed fabric at work, but the knitting one will have to suffice for now.)

I did finish up the skein of jumbo pink yarn and made another cowl, this time knitted, and whilst I only had to cast on 6 stitches for this monster I could probably have gone with 4 or 5.

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It washed up well (there were some dirty streaks on it from the store which is why I was able to bring it home for free).

The current WIP, pictured with the tea, is another cabled headband, this time with only one strand of the Bernat Pop. Gotta run, work today!

WIPing in the New Year!

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WIPing in the New Year!

Happy 2020!

I have three WIPs that I’m bringing with me into 2020. I frogged the Party Cardi (granny square type cardigan) because I couldn’t see myself wearing it, so that was one off the list. And I finished the granny square blanket just after Christmas, and that felt good. Three Works in Progress are manageable, and what I feel comfortable with. Any more than that and it bugs me.

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WIP #1: Moe of Change with Lion Brand Mandala

I added a teeny bit to this last night. I was bored. Didn’t want to look at my computer screen. Didn’t want to sew. So I pulled this out and just focused on the one thing. I had put it down mid-round 21, so I had to work out where I was. It’s going to be pretty. Must keep at it!

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WIP #2: stashbuster blanket with various worsted weight yarns

Not pretty, but useful and will be very warm. I knitted a bit on this yesterday. It was nice to reacquaint myself with my WIPs. It’s only about 12″ of work so far, but there’s no deadline. It would be good to have it done before the weather gets too warm to have it on my lap though.

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WIP #3: no-pattern shawl, using Cascade Sunseeker

I started out with just a few stitches, used half double crochet, and increased every other row. When there wasn’t much left of the pink, I striped in the grey using single crochet rows.  I didn’t want to do that for long because it meant stranding the yarn up the side which means I’ll have to add some sort of edge treatment later. Carried on with hdc and grey, until I figured I should start decreasing. Changed to double crochet and decreasing on every row. (The dcs are taller stitches, but I wanted the decreasing to happen faster than the first part of the shawl.)

I am hoping that the grey will last until I get back to 3 or 4 stitches and that I then have enough of the pink left to go around once with sc.

And now for some exciting news! I had posted a request on Ravelry for anyone who might have been willing to part with a swift, as I now have quite a few hanks of yarn which have not been wound into balls. My initial method was to place a hank over the back of a chair and wind by hand, because I only needed to do it occasionally. I do have a yarn cake winder, but tend to use it with commercial skeins. Someone sent me a link to an online photo tutorial, and I asked Tai Chi Man if he was willing to make me a swift. He seemed amenable, I sent him the link, and in his usual way (Mr Fixit, very handy) he decided he could do better.

Using some scrap wood he had, plus a lazy susan from Lee Valley (the metal spinning part) and a dowel from Home Depot, he created an Amish-style yarn swift for me.

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Of course, as soon as he said it was ready, I had to test it out. I wound up the two cakes you can see in the above photo, and then tried a small one from a 25 gram hank.

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Because the pegs are movable, it can fit just about any size of hank, though I probably wouldn’t bother trying to cake something smaller than 25g.

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And I have spare pegs in case any get lost. It works great, all for less than $10!

Thanks, Mr Fixit!

Ravelry review

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One of my favourite makes this year

I love to look back at my year’s knitting and crochet projects on Ravelry every December. Even when I don’t think it’s been a very productive year, I am usually surprised at how many Finished Objects I made.

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One of my few yarn purchases

This year was a good year for using stash. I signed up with the British Banter group on Ravelry to join their Bash the Stash 2019 challenge. The plan was not to go Cold Turkey and buy no yarn at all. My goal was more Lukewarm Sheep. Curb the acquisition of 100% synthetic yarn. Allow myself to mindfully purchase yarn which had at least some plant fibre content.

And, you know, I did pretty well. In January, I bought that pack of Scheepjes Stonewashed and Riverwashed mini skeins. It’s so pretty and I still haven’t found the perfect project for it. But it is on display in my sewing room and I know I will really enjoy using those amazing colours some time in the future. An LYS was going out of business in a nearby town and I bought some cotton yarns from them too. And then…nothing until November, when I went into Michaels and fell for some clearance yarn.

My totals at the end of the year, as posted in the British Banter group, are;

Total out this year: 8115 grams (knitted or crocheted into finished objects or given away)
Total in this year: 3700 grams (purchases and a few gifts)
Net output: 4415 grams (stash reduction)

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I love the finished item even though the garter stitch got tiresome!

Ravelry tells me I made 56 projects this year, but in fact some project pages include more than one item, so it was more like 77.

The summary:

18 hats, 16 dishcloths, 13 decorations/ornaments, 7 cowls/scarves, 7 bags, 6 shawls/wraps, 4 blankets/loveys, 3 toys, 2 headbands, 1 pr socks

and a partridge in a pear tree!!

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My favourite blanket of the year

I have four Works in Progress right now. The pink and grey sparkly shawl which I started in Maui. The Moe of Change blanket which I started in October and then neglected because it requires careful attention to the pattern. The scrap blanket that I’m knitting in the round on a huge number of stitches, which I think will get more attention now that the granny blanket is done. And finally, the cardigan, which was being made from a Secret Yarnery YouTube tutorial and which I had high hopes for. But even though I still like the colourway of the yarn (Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves) and even though I actually ordered more yarn to get this cardigan finished, I think it’s going to be frogged. I can’t see myself wearing it and being happy in it. So officially that leaves me with three WIPs to carry me into 2020.

Considering my enthusiasm for sewing right now, three yarn WIPs is plenty. (Perhaps we should talk about my fabric purchases….or maybe not!) I really need to keep a good notebook for my sewing projects the way I do on Ravelry for yarn projects. Past notes tend to be scattered throughout various small notebooks and loose bits of paper, which means that if I want to make another version of a bag, for example, and want to know what size pieces I had to cut, it can be challenging to remember or remind myself what I did.

So that’s my year. What are your crafty highlights of 2019? Did you knit or crochet or sew something you were particularly proud of? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

Throwback Thursday

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A bittersweet memory from July 2010.

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This prayer shawl was made from James C Brett Marble Chunky in a lovely raspberry shade. My project page on Ravelry is here from which you will see that the reason for that particular stitch pattern is explained.

This is inspired by the Original Prayer Shawl which uses a K3P3 repeat to make a textured pattern. My LYS owner has been making one. However mine will have a 4 st repeat so that I can use as my mantra,
“I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you” which is the Ho’oponopono blessing.

On July 10th, I wrote this blog post in which I explained further the meaning of the blessing.

My view of the meaning of this blessing is as follows:

  • myself to myself (I am healing hurts against myself)
  • myself to others (I am healing my relationships with other people)
  • myself to the Earth and the Universe (I am healing any transgressions against nature)
  • on behalf of all humans to the Earth and the Universe

In this way, good karma is being created, which will benefit us all. My belief is that we are all connected. Anything that affects one person affects us all. Anything that harms Mother Earth affects us all. We are all part of one organism.

And the finished shawl appeared in this blog post at the end of July.

I’m going to give this to my friend Anne, who has had inflammatory breast cancer for two and a half years. Her health has gone up and down since her diagnosis, she’s tried various cures from allopathic to alternative, and she’s currently on morphine and steroids which are helping with the inflammation and pain. We’ve been friends for 11 years, having met through the homeschool support group. Despite the heat, I hope she will get some use from the shawl.

I did not realise at the time I started this shawl that it would end up going to my best friend, Anne, who had been suffering from inflammatory breast cancer for over two years. But she was sleeping on the couch because lying down was too painful and I was moved to give it to her, to help her keep warm and hopefully offer comfort. She died five weeks later. I still miss her.

Throwback Thursday

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Today I’m looking back at 2009. There are finally some crochet projects in my Ravelry notebook, and also quite a few pairs of socks and fingerless mittens.

These two projects, though, are two of my favourites for the year. I don’t think I have the beanie any more, but I do have the mittens as they are warm. I even mended the end of one once when a stitch came loose from catching it on a keyring.

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My Ravelry project page is here. The pattern for this beanie is called the Fake Isle Hat and by using a variegated or self-striping yarn for the background it looks more complicated than it really is. It only took me two days to knit. This was, again, James C Brett Marble DK (the blue/pink) along with some Marks & Kattens Carolina (now discontinued).

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This pair of mittens took 10 days. Same yarns as the hat, but no pattern this time. I made up the Fair Isle patterns based on the way they divided into the number of stitches around the hand. I really like this sort of thumb. It’s easy, because when you’re knitting the tube for the hand you just place some waste yarn in the spot for the thumb (within the palm stitches) and then go back and pick up the stitches and knit the thumb later. I prefer the look and the fit better than a thumb gusset.

OK, that’s enough for this Thursday. Talk to you again soon.