Category Archives: hand knitting

Sweater surgery

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Remember the swoncho? I finished it a couple of weeks ago but I wasn’t 100% happy with the collar.

I didn’t incorporate the optional short rows when knitting the pattern. The collar was a little too tight for optimum comfort and a little too long. Because of the funnel neck style, the sweater didn’t lie smoothly at the upper chest.

So I did surgery today.

I took a cable from my interchangeables and some skinny tips and picked up one leg of each stitch around, four rows below the ribbing. Then I snipped the yarn in the round above (I had to unravel upwards as it was top-down construction.) There was much faffing to get all the stitches from one round neatly onto the cable and in the process I ended up losing a couple more rounds.

I knitted a round or two to make sure it was all ok, then tried it on. The front neckline was still a teeny bit higher than I wanted, but the circumference was wider and I decided to go ahead and add the new ribbing. My first attempt at short rows at the back neck was too drastic and it would have looked odd, so I unknitted (tinked) that effort and redid it. By the time I was happy with it, the collar was 12 rows deep at the back and 6 at the front. Then I bound off and called it done. Really done, this time!

This is going to be so much more wearable now and I’m really glad I faffed about with it, because I don’t know if I’d have worn it otherwise.

It’s been a pleasant ‘at home’ day today. Did the vacuuming, plant watering, bathroom and kitchen cleaning, and enjoyed a bit of Outlander on Netflix while I was dealing with my sweater. Then I baked chocolate chip muffins and a dish that’s kind of like lasagna but I stuff the tofu mixture into giant pasta shells, smother it all in tomato sauce, and sprinkle a little vegan cheese (Violife) on top and throw it in the oven for 30 minutes. Add a big green salad and dinner is done.

Tomorrow is all about the errands across the lake.

Joy!

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Joy!

Hello all. I hope you’re enjoying a relaxing weekend doing the things you love.

It’s my turn for a weekend off and Mr Fixit and I have had a good day so far. Just errands around town and grabbing some awesome tea from our favourite place, but so much nicer than being at work!

My featured photo today (above) is the view from my kitchen early yesterday morning. It looked like the trees were on fire! And today when I opened my curtains, I had a treat. Two deer were standing on the vegetable garden, barely moving, looking watchful and alert (probably because of the dog in the neighbour’s yard). I quickly grabbed my phone. They hung around for some time, then bounded effortlessly over the fence and went on their way.

I am always honoured to have a visit from them. I hope they know that they are safe on my property.

Onto yarny pursuits, and I finished some fingerless mitts for Mr Fixit. I used the Cygnet Chunky again. They only took two evenings. Once I had finished the first one, he did say he would have liked longer cuffs like his old pair, but I’m afraid I’m a bad wifey and told him I don’t have much patience for things made in pairs any more and I just wanted them done fast!

I used the basic mitten pattern from Ann Budd’s book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.

Once those were done, I started a new crochet project. A co-worker is scheduled for major back surgery in February and I wanted to make her something. After a browse around Ravelry I decided on the Wishing Well Wrap (link to pattern on her blog here) (link to my project page on Ravelry here)

I’m using Lion Brand Mandala Baby in Echo Caves which is a tasteful combination of blues, greens and cream. It’ll probably take two cakes, though I have five in stash, so could make it bigger if I have time. It’s an easy two-row pattern. Perfectly good for working on while watching The Crown on Netflix!!

Anyone who loves books will appreciate this stack that I brought home from the library today. A few of them were ones I had requested – the rest were ones I found that caught my eye. Three novels, some knitting and other crafts, and a lot of quilt and applique books.

Twenty three to be exact (the maximum number we can borrow at once is 100, and yes, when the boys were small we did manage to hit that amount sometimes). What a warm fuzzy feeling, to be home on the couch on a winter’s afternoon, with yarn to hand, and a pile of books to enjoy, while it’s getting dark outside. Joy!!

FO: Turtle Dove

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It is done! (Link to Ravelry project page.) First FO of 2021.

I haven’t washed this yet, so the stitches are still somewhat uneven in places. It took just over six weeks to complete though if I had been a little more focused it could have taken way less.

I did try it on and I have to say I’m not 100% happy with it. It fits ok but I was anticipating it being more roomy. Guess I should have made the larger size. Could have been a little longer too, and the neck doesn’t sit smoothly probably because it’s a funnel-type neck with no neckline shaping. If I made it again, I would make it bigger and wider, add length below the armholes, work the ribbing without changing to smaller needles and do the short rows at the back neck. Hmmm, that’s a lot of changes!

Ah well, live and learn!!

2020 knitting and crochet – a review

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2020 knitting and crochet – a review

Good morning, Monday! Thanks to the fact I worked Friday/Saturday/Sunday, today is a day off and it feels like my weekend!

I stayed up late last night reading a library book. It was compelling enough that I wanted to finish it, and by the time I crawled into bed it was 1am. That meant that this morning it was nearly 9am when I got up. I really shouldn’t go to bed after 11. My face doesn’t like it 😀

I have a bonus Window on the Weather for you. We have fog today and wet snow and our view has all but disappeared. (I made it the featured photo at the top of this post – I’m sure you can click on it to see it bigger.)

So, what did I knit or crochet in 2020? You’d think that with the seven-week covid closure of my workplace back in the spring and fewer outside activities I would have made more stuff, not less. However that’s not the case. When I looked at my Ravelry project pages for things finished in 2020 there were only 32. Some years I have achieved twice that. I know it’s not a competition, and quality is better than quantity, but I feel a good deal of satisfaction from looking at my Ravelry notebook!

Of course there was a huge amount of sewing in 2020, which took up a lot of the time I could have been playing with yarn, so it’s not that I wasn’t making stuff, it’s just that I was absorbed in a different craft. I sewed masks and bags and journals and cuffs and was really enjoying delving into something bordering on textile art, not just utilitarian sewing. The new Janome sewing machine contributed to that too.

Here are the screenshots from my Ravelry notebook. If you are interested in more info, you can go check out my project pages here.

Even though there are 32 project pages, I actually made more than 32 things, as some projects include multiples of the same thing.

There are 3 shawls, 2 sweaters, 5 pairs mitts, 6 cowls, 1 pumpkin, 1 pompom garland, 1 blanket, 6 hats, 3 bags, 3 earsavers, 5 baskets, 3 hearts.

My one WIP is seeing me into the new year and then I have plans for some knitted fingerless mitts for Mr Fixit as his are wearing out. He is happy to have purple ones so I’ll use the same yarn as the current sweater, but probably at a tighter gauge. I’ll just use the Ann Budd pattern out of the Handy Book of Patterns. It’s easy and written for multiple gauges.

Since tidying up the stash, I am feeling an urge to do some stashbusting crochet projects. The desire to crochet has been a little weak in 2020 but I have that beautiful set of KnitPro Waves hooks just waiting for some attention.

The snowflakes just got bigger out there and I am appreciating the fact I can enjoy them from inside a warm house! Take care, everyone 🙂

Oops, I missed some yarn

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I was feeling pretty accomplished after last night’s stash organisation and today I was reading a thread on Ravelry which someone started called Flash Your Stash 2021. There is a thread like that every year and while I didn’t post my photos in there I did have a realisation that I hadn’t included my WIPs in yesterday’s blog post.

Works in Progress are kinda sorta part of the stash. After all, they aren’t FOs, and there may well be some yarn left over when they are finished that will end up in the stash. So tonight I pulled my two WIPs (yes, only two) out of their bags in the living room next to my end of the sofa and laid them out.

The Turtle Dove sweater is almost done. I bought 10 balls of the Cygnet Chunky from Wool Warehouse especially for this project and I will have over 4 balls left when I’m done.

This colour doesn’t photograph well in artificial light. I have a little bit of ribbing to finish on one cuff and then a second sleeve to knit.

The other WIP is one that has been hibernating for a really long time. Thanks to my Ravelry project page, I can see that I cast on this blanket on October 14th 2019. Yes, you read that right. It’s been hanging around for 15 months. I have a strong suspicion I should unravel it and maybe start a crochet one instead. I’m not loving the colour combination so far.

All of these worsted weight acrylics were intended to go into the blanket but I became less inspired by them as the blanket grew! Maybe one evening I will enjoy some mindless frogging and plan something new.

Window on the weather – Day 2

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As you can see, the snow really built up over the course of the last 24 hours. I think we have a couple more casualties of the heavy weight on the tree branches out there – a branch on one of our hawthorn trees looks to have cracked, and the lilac is bent down to the ground.

There is some blue sky today, and the temperature is hovering around freezing, so most of the snow will probably hang around, except on the roads.

Progress has been made on the Turtle Dove swoncho.

The twisted rib hem has been finished on the front and I have a couple of inches to go on the back. Then I’ll need to add the sleeves, which will be pretty short because of the style of this garment. I think I only need to do 6 inches of stockinette and a couple of inches of ribbing.

Mr Fixit was commenting last night that his fingerless mitts were getting worn out. I have darned them a little in the past. We couldn’t remember how long he’d had them – our guesses were way off – turns out I knitted them in January 2010! The beauty of Ravelry is that I was able to look at the project page and find out that they are 11 years old. No wonder they are wearing out, but I’m impressed that they’ve lasted this long. He uses them every winter around the house. Not sure I feel like knitting him some new ones, but maybe I should just do it anyway!

Happy Friday

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Happy Friday

Hi all

It was a beautiful sunny day today, but cold. Last night we had freezing rain and when I was driving to the dentist to get my tooth prepared for a crown I was sliding a little on the road, despite my new winter tires.

The dentist spent a long time reshaping my tooth and getting a 3D scan of my mouth for the new crown to be made. It wasn’t painful and I wasn’t stressed out but I was glad when she was done. Afterwards I had a walk around the neighbourhood, cosied up in my new winter coat and a crocheted grey beanie with a neon yellow pompom! First hat day of the winter.

Once I’d had my exercise, off I went to my sewing room. I finished the Christmas journal, which I think will probably be the Secret Santa gift for work this year. Below are a few photos of some of the pages.

I called that one done, and started adding pages to the flowery cover I showed you last time. It’s not quite full enough yet so you’ll have to wait to see that one.

I’ve finished two balls of the Cygnet Chunky on my Turtle Dove swoncho now. The yoke is growing bigger and bigger – by the time I split for the sleeves and body I should have about 300 stitches.

It’s definitely good Netflix knitting – or I should I say “Knitflix” (I know, not an original joke)!

What do you like to watch on Netflix? Recently, I burned through five seasons of Lucifer, then watched The Queen’s Gambit, and now I’m on Dark. When you’re knitting, the fact that the voices are dubbed isn’t a big deal because you’re not always looking at the screen anyway. Better than subtitles anyway – you have to watch for those!

Dark is a German series. It has quite a convoluted plot, and without trying to be too spoilery I find that watching people walking/crawling through caves makes me feel very claustrophobic and tense. I shall have to choose something lighter when this show is done.

Whew, feeling tired and it’s not even 9pm. I went to bed really late last night, forgetting I had to be up early for the dentist appointment. And tomorrow and Sunday I have work so need to be well-rested, so I’m going to say ta ta for now. Have a great weekend!

Fun finishes

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I had a fun evening last night making some Christmas-themed masks to wear at work.

We are all thoroughly fed up with covid and mask-wearing and all of that shit but I am cheering myself up with my fun masks. One of the fabrics looks like knit stitches, so you know that appeals to me. The others are just pretty Christmassy ones in non-traditional colours, which again is definitely my thing.

And this morning I experimented with a bit of buffalo plaid flannelette, some faux fur and felt, and made this GNOME mask. The lining is quilting cotton.

I haven’t put it on my own face yet, but it looks good on Sally!

I sent a photo to my sewing friends and they loved it – I’m sure it’ll give my co-workers a good laugh too.

I’ve also finished another journal cover. I spotted a quilt block that someone had made yesterday and they said it was from a video by Darlene Michaud. It’s called Wonky Selvage Christmas Tree and of course I just HAD to make one.

I really like this idea and can see myself making more.

I don’t think I showed you these two journal covers yet, either. I need to tea dye a bunch more paper so I can finish them.

Also, exciting news! My yarn arrived from Wool Warehouse and it looks like this…

Cygnet Chunky in Blackberry

So my swoncho is well underway – the pattern is Turtle Dove and I found it on Ravelry (link to my project page). I have already knitted up one whole ball and started the second.

I swatched with a 10.5US/6.5mm needle because I didn’t have a 7mm in my Knit Picks set, and I liked the fabric I was getting. My gauge is 15 stitches to 4 inches rather than 14, so I am following the instructions for the Large to get a Medium. There is a LOT of ease written into this pattern which makes it less fraught!

I hope that life is going well for all of you. Happy crafting! After all, our creativity and crafting is often our sanity-saver, right?

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!