Friday, 2 December 2016

Top Down Inside Out hats

It's December and it's trying to be winter here but one day winter, one day fall (rain) isn't really doing it. The odd day of snow is still getting me in the holiday mood. I'm coming down to the end of my Christmas knitting. Wow. Just a couple of things left on my list. Pat, pat, pat on my back.

I finished an experimental hat. It's black
 so of course, it's not so great to photograph but I'm really happy with it. This started with a photo of a hat from Pinterest that my daughter sent me saying "I want this, I want this". So here I am doing the mom thing. I looked all over Ravelry and couldn't find a pattern exactly like it. So I bought some yarn from the odd ball bin at a yarn store and started. I hadn't used this yarn before and I was changing the needle size and I didn't want to do a swatch first (shhh, did I say that out loud?!) so I started at the top.
I cast on 8 sts, so awkward at first but once I had about 24 sts on my needles I was good to go. I did check my gauge once I had some fabric and then went to the Need A Hat bible book to find the number of stitches I needed for my gauge. Good thing I have a copy or two around.

The only difficulty with knitting from the top is the cast off. I'm a really, really tight caster offer. A tight line at the brim is soooo not nice. I also wanted that "store bought" look where the ribbing appears to go around the edge. I trolled around the internet and found a sewn-off tubular bind off. It's a Kitchener Stitch variation so if you don't mind Kitchener stitch this might work for you too. It's a bit of a pain to begin with because you need to have 6 times the width of the cast off amount of yarn on your sewing up needle (that's 6 x 22" hat, that's a lot of yarn). Pulling the yarn through each stitch at the beginning made me wonder if this was worth it but it totally was. I love it. It's stretchy and has the proper look I wanted. I will definitely do this again.
 Experiment was successful and is in the Christmas present pile. Now to the real deal. This hat is in fingering weight. I love a light weight hat. This is the fun part, I'm knitting it inside out.
 This is the correct "look" of the hat. B who wants to do all that purling? Inside out means more knits than purls and is working perfectly.
Now it's my carry around project , The pattern is set and now I know I have a great cast off that will work when I get to the slouch hat length. Makes me a little giddy.

Friday, 25 November 2016

The disappearing week

I missed blogging last week. I don't even know where the week went. But I have been doing lots of knitting and got a few things done.

More Stash Buster Socks finished. Yay. Add them to the Christmas pile.
I worked on my class for the Yarn Over Sleep Over Retreat in April. Seems like it's so far away but it will be here before we know it. One of my classes is Shaping Lace so I made up a scarf where you have to decrease away on the sides of the lace pattern and then increase. This gives practise for when you need to shape armholes and necklines in a lace pattern. This is what we'll get started on and then the knitters can continue to work the scarf (or not). Maybe I could call it Waving Leaves. Do you have a better name?
I'm also working on a scarf with triangles. They are my obsession at the moment. This scarf starts at one end and works to the other, attaching each new triangle to the next. The triangles get bigger and bigger to the centre and then get smaller. I was trying for an exact depth in the centre. It took a couple of tries. It turns out that that's quite a bit of knitting on a 3.5mm/US3 needle. But I really enjoyed it. And might just start another one.
I tried knitting a new scarf off the old scarf. Not a good idea. The garter stitch really puts permanent kinks in the wool that knit up unevenly. I know this, I was just so excited to keep going. I ended up ripping back the old scarf, dumping it in water and waiting impatiently for it to dry. Hovering over the wool and checking every 5 minutes does not quicken the process. Now there is much less wiggle in the strands.
I guess that answers the question of where my week went.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Retreat Mittens

Last weekend was another Retreat weekend. Yes, it's a hard life but someone (this time that would be me) has to do it. I was at the Eastern Ontario Needlers Retreat in Gananaque, ON teaching Gauge-Free mittens. Mittens you can knit to any size with any yarn. Here are some of the many results.
Thanks to Devon, Norma, Christine (who added stripes) and Nancy (who did 2 pairs). Great mittens. A lovely weekend with knitters.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Cowl with different sides

Our Cabin Fever Retreat was a great success. We knit a fabulous cowl with lots of join-as-you-go techniques.
Once it's joined together using a 3-needle bind off, it makes a cowl that looks different every time you put it on depending on which side is showing on the front. Cool, eh?

This cowl was designed by Elizabeth Fallone and the pattern will be posted soon in fingering weight yarn with gradient shaded colours. This cowl keeps you busy all the way through.

Off now to Gananoque to the Eastern Needlers Retreat to introduce them to Gauge-Free Mittens. Lots of fun.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Cowl and Scarf back to the Yukon

It's snowing. Yeah!! I love the first snow. The air is so crisp and clear. I don't think it's going to last so whoo, hoo another cheer.

I mentioned that in the summer I knit a chimney cowl for my friend Jo in lace weight wool.

 Did I tell you the story? At the Sticks, String and Stewardship Retreat I won a special draw prize of hand painted wool which Jo brought from the Yukon where she lives. All the wool was from Yukon dyers. I thought some of this wool should go back to the Yukon so I knit Jo a cowl and a scarf.
There it is. She's worn the Chimney Cowl several times already. YAY.
And the Graduated Triangle Scarf has been worn too. She is obviously a knitworthy friend.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Retreating Soon

One more week before the Cabin Fever Retreat. I'm working on the project every day. Our focus this year is join-as-you-go. We think we have a wonderful cowl for our attendees to knit. Here are some highlights:
Steps with Stripes
Or Steps horizontally

Mitred Corners
All joined together all the time. The knitters will be choosing which they use where so all the cowls should come out slightly different. Should be lots of fun.


Friday, 14 October 2016

Yes, they're plastic

Do you find yourself apologizing for your knitting? "It's only a dishcloth." "It's only a plain sweater." "I'm only a beginner."

I do this with my sock needles. I'm working on my latest (3rd) pair of StashBuster Socks and my double pointed needles are plastic. I like them. A lot! They are the cheapest needles I can buy but I really, really like them. They're bendy and I'm hard on my double pointed needles that way. They're warm in my hands while I'm using them. They are slightly tacky so the stitches stay put.

OK, this is the kicker, they're coloured! My current set of dpn's are blue. I have a set of larger needles that are yellow and red. How cheerful is that.
They are not the slickest, fastest, most super duper pointed needles. But they're blue! I rest my case.