Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

With special greetings from Mr. Skelly:

(he's not mine - I spotted him while I was out walking one afternoon.  Wouldn't I love to have a house with a cedar shake roof and a cosy Juliet balcony??)

By the time Halloween rolls around where I live, you know it is fall.

For one thing, it's dark dark dark in the morning, and for another, kids show up at the door in costumes that cheerfully integrate coats or long underwear.

It's the moment you look around you and think: dang, I could really stand to be wearing that _____ (cowl, pair of handwarmers, hat, etc.) I didn't quite finish.

So I had an idea.  How about we forget those monster masks and glow in the dark bats hanging from the front of your porch - this year, why not open the door with a bowl of candy in one hand and a gruesomely terrifying lump of yarn and needles in the other? 

However you spend the evening, I hope it is a memorable holiday, and I will see you tomorrow (probably much the worse for wear with consumption of surplus candy.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Discovered knits part 2, and audiobook titles

Audiobooks may have led me astray from knitting, but they did lead me straight into finding forgotten knits as I cleared up odds and ends for an excuse to go on listening.

And not just any forgotten knits, but the almost-finished kind.

I mean, honestly.  What was I thinking?  This sock is gorgeous.

I remember now why it got put aside - I lost the pattern.  Then I found it again about a year later (it was in the tote bag I cart to and from the cottage) but couldn't find the sock.  Then I found the sock and put the pattern with it but I must have separated them again a subsequent tidy-up because the pattern that's sitting beside them now is the one I was mocking up for the fingerless gloves I'm still not finished.


Fortunately the pattern is my own - I'd been drooling over a lace pattern in a Japanese stitch book - and at last it occurred to me that I can reprint it and get going.  The bigger question was: what is the status of Sock #2?  I mean, after yesterday's sad discovery of a whole cake of yarn where stitches should be, I was not hoping for much.

And yet...

WOW.  Not just finished, bu the toe grafted shut and all the ends woven in.  I so need to push through that almost-done sock.

Okay, time for some audiobook titles you might like.

With audiobooks - for me, at least - it's sadly not just about the story or the writing, but about the voice of the reader.  Ever since I accepted that my bookshelf space is now not only rare but practically extinct, a lot of decision-making between audio and electronic edition happens based on voice.  These books all do good voice.

Audiobooks I've Liked

Millions Like Us - this nonfiction book includes first-person accounts of the British women who lived through World War II.  Some of their stories were really inspiring and happy, and others were incredibly sad, like the young woman who lived as a drudge with an emotionally abusive mother and distant father until magically, she met and fell in love with a good man who absolutely wanted to marry her.  Almost immediately after they made their plans, his submarine was torpedoed.  She met another man later in the war and: same story.  Yet she carried on. There are a variety of narrators for the different women and overall, I just found it super interesting.  Long though!

You're A Bad Man Mr. Gum - this one is not long, at just 1 hour +, and it's a children's book.  What it also is: screamingly funny and narrated most awesomely by Kate Winslet.  There are more in the series and you will want them.

Me Before You - this is a romance novel that pairs a young woman with a quadriplegic man a few years older than her.  It's been pretty popular so you may have heard of it or even read it already - I found it very well written and not-put-downable, but also: the voice work was fabulous.The house got really clean in the three days I zoomed through the recording.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman narrates his own novels and since he has a terrific voice and performance talent, that is a good thing (some writers really shouldn't give in to that urge.)  In fact his voice is so great, I can cheerfully do all sorts of boring things and not even notice that what he's talking about is creepy, scary, sad, or downright disturbing.  This one is definitely a horror, but even though I'm not much into that I enjoyed it very much.  (I also enjoyed The Graveyard Book and Coraline, so there you go.)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - this is another novel, and technically I can't say much about it because I only just started it.  But I'm recommending it anyway because it's narrated by Jim Broadbent who is perfect, and the story is immensely human and well-written.

Hope some of this is useful to you, and that you have an exceedingly good day till I see you again tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Audiobooks: the forgotten knitting tool

If you're not already using audiobooks as a knitting aid, you should seriously look into it, because they can be pretty fabulous.

I've been a bit slow to get going on them but some knitters swear by them, especially for times when you want to be entertained but can't be looking up from complex work to view a TV screen or a game or something.  Others love them for long commutes.

What got me moving was my loom, because OMIGOSH: weaving.  Such a great idea, so incredibly boring to do for hours at a time, unless - maybe, I couldn't say from experience - you're doing an interesting pattern or have a really good chair such that your back doesn't ache.  

Sadly, the system never really took, because the technology I was using to play them was kind of ill-suited to pausing the story two seconds after the password lock kicked in, which seemed to be every time I wanted to pause the story.  Also, the maximum volume would have been ideal only for somebody sitting in a corner of a library hoping not to be noticed.

Now I'm using a tablet and it is fabulous for audiobooks.  I can hit pause and play and up the volume, which is actually loud enough to hear from the counter while I make supper or from the table as I work, without having to type in the password at all.  YUM. 

The upshot:  I haven't been knitting a lot, but my house is tidier than it's been since I moved in.  As it turns out, when somebody's reading to me it turns out I'm quite happy to clean and organize and not read endless websites or sneak off to watch movies.

And at a certain point of housekeeping, you are going to Find Things.

Thinks like...

Discovered Knits

There has been a bag of knitting sitting at my desk for about two years now.  I keep moving it without opening it.  Guess what was inside?

almost a whole sock!  And not just any sock - a Viola-yarn sock.  It's in the 'gnarled' colourway I mentioned the other day, and it's so soft you would put it on and wear it even with the needles sticking out of your shoe. 

I remember now what the problem was with these socks.  I was knitting them on 2.25mm square needles - they must have been the first pair I knit on squares, and this is how I discovered I am one of the knitters who has to go up a size when using them.  This sock was a tiny bit snugger around the bend than I like, and I guess at the time I was debating whether to rip back and make the heel flap longer.  The other resulting problem was that they were going to be too short if I knit my usual number of rounds between gusset and toe, but I wasn't sure how many rounds to add in.

So I stopped.

Now of course I have enough emotional distance to commit to measuring everything out and moving forward.  Yay!  I can't wait to wear these babies.  Speaking of plural, coming to this conclusion led me to track down sock #2.

Oh dear.  I guess I knit these before I figured out I should always knit both socks concurrently?

Hope your knitting goes without any hitches today and I'll see you tomorrow with another Discovered Knit, and some audiobook recommendations.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pink stripey socks: knits on the brink

For some reason - possibly unrelated to all the other stuff I've been showing you lately, ahem - I am still working on these socks.

Does this happen to you much - projects that linger and cling and never quite make it into the hibernation zone even though they're not getting finished already?  (to say nothing of things that do stray into hibernation for no good reason at all - but more on that as the week unfolds.)

I love these socks very much, and I love knitting them, and it's quite surprising to me that they are still on my needles.  Also a little frustrating, because I now want these needles for Christmas gift knitting.  Why oh why I didn't buy eight dozen pairs of my favourite square needles before the company switched over to a different metal and unfriendlier tips, I do not know.   False economy, my old nemesis.

Seriously, these needles are practically the only thing that makes me wish time travel was actually possible.  Them, and awesome 1950s kitchen accessories, because Priorities.

Meanwhile: you're reading one seriously motivated knitter, because we had frost the other day and I am pretty sure I saw snowflakes, and these are Stoddart socks (aka wool and mohair and insanely warm.)  And they really aren't going to take that much longer to knit...

especially if I sit down and knit them.

Hope you get to sit down and knit today.  See you tomorrow!

Friday, October 25, 2013

SockMonster socks

Okay, this will hopefully be the last post but one (the one with the finished-object pictures) about socks for the SockZombie children I created when I foolishly knit socks for two small, but growing, people last winter.

It turns out it is really, really fortunate that my shift back to round sock needles resulted in socks that are a little narrower through the leg and foot than I like, because I got almost all the way through two more socks - without going as far as toe decreases - before I realized it.

It's also lucky that I had the attention span of a gnat this summer and made tons of progress on an awful lot of things that I then left unfinished.
As a result of these two small peculiarities, I have two sock 'blanks' in the ideal leg size, which just need their feet carried on to the ideal length and then decreased and grafted before they are contributing members of the local sock population.  Actually all I have to do is make sure they fit my foot, and they will fit the SockZombies.  Who will then let me go back about the important work of knitting for myself.  And, um, Christmas.  Yikes.

SockZombie One favours these:

and SockZombie Two agreed to these John Deere-esque socks, though there was some small concern expressed about whether or not the purple is really a boy colour.

Apparently Donny Osmond doesn't have the same traction with the younger set that he did in my youth, but Whatever: wear them at home or for sledding, at least you have handknit socks that fit.

There's probably only six hours left in these things.  What are the odds I can finish them off before the snow flies?

(don't answer that, I'm not sure I want to know.)

Any fortunate rescues come out of your knitting disasters lately?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Progress report: the fingerless gloves

Today I am writing about yarn so precious and special and important you almost can't bear to knit with it, in case you make a mistake and ruin it.  Do you have yarn like that?

The only project I have on the go that fits this particular bill is the fingerless gloves I've been making up as I go along, knit with Viola yarn in the 'orchard' colourway which I'm pretty sure (unless I'm mixing them up with 'gnarled') Emily told me was the result of a mistake in the dye bath.  Mistake, you say?  Make more of them please.

Other than my complete fear of failure and lack of concrete pattern I don't know why these little gloves are taking so long, unless it's because I started too many things at once and then insisted on working on each of them in turn.  But that can't be right, surely.

They're both up past the thumb holes now, and one is almost ready for some fingers.  Yay!

Except that you can really tell which one I had to rip out and reknit three times, can't you.

Think all those bumps and gnarlies will block right out?

Think I'll care much, once I have two cute handwarmers on me?

There are two good reasons why getting those two cute handwarmers on me is important:

1/ once I have the kinks worked out, I want to make a second pair for somebody's Christmas gift.

2/ I need these needles back for socks.

And then of course there's the elephant in the room, reason #3: 

We're well into fingerless glove weather now; pretty soon I'll need actual mitts and these colours aren't nearly as cute for spring as they are for fall.

Plus if I can I get them ready in time, I bet these things will be awesome to wear while raking leaves.

And super plus, I can stop worrying about this yarn I can never replace, and just enjoy looking at it every day.

Wish me luck, and have a great day, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Things that look like yarn

You know how sculptors sometimes say that their job is to carve away the excess in a rock or branch that obscures a beautiful piece of art?

Well, sometimes a yarn stash can kinda be the opposite.

For example...

Take a look at this gorgeous pair of wool socks destined for a winter-camping neighbour down the street.  I think using the deep purple for cuff, heel, and toe is a great way to stretch out the stripey yarn (her feet are a little bigger than mine, so I'm glad I can be on the safe side.)

These socks were going to be a woven scarf until I remembered how fast DK knits up.  These ones are for another friend whose feet (YAY) are the same size as mine.

In another case of early misdirection, this woven scarf was going to be a knitted shawl.  But then part of the companion yarn got assigned to the other scarf I'm weaving, so I decided to switch this over too.

This is another cowl for Heather, this time designed to fit snugly around her chin so she can tuck her head down and warm her breath on cold days.  Don't you love it when you have a friend who's not only knitworthy, but also actually needs your knits?

And - yep, another woven scarf.  I was thinking socks for this yarn, but I am pretty sure there's enough left over to make a pair of those too.  Yay!

Looking at these gorgeous pictures, two thoughts are running through my head:

1/ CRIMINY do I have a lot of Christmas makes to cram into the next few weeks (because Emperor's New Clothes vision only carries you so far, have you noticed?) and

2/ What does your yarn stash look like today?

Hope your day is lovely (and maybe even features a bit of Halloween decorating) and I'll see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chemo cap knitting

Today I want to do a rundown on the free chemo-friendly hat patterns here at Hugs: I'm hearing a lot from people knitting one for friends or family about to go through treatment, and because there are so many options (here and elsewhere), sometimes they're not sure which hat to try.

Chemo caps have a few unique qualities over regular hats.

1. They have to be soft, because even hardy wool-wearers may find their skin is more sensitive when they're undergoing treatment and have no hair as an intervening party.

2. It's good if they can come down low in the back, to hide a missing hairline.  For the same reason, a really open lace should be considered carefully for its revealing properties... it's going to be a matter of style, I think, how much of that quality is appealing to someone who's just lost his or her hair.

3. Cosmetically, it's nice too if they have some extra details somewhere - something to add the bulk that went missing with the wearer's hair.

4. And technically - from the knitter's point of view - it matters whether or not they are complicated to make.  Because let's face it: when somebody you love is going through cancer treatment, you may not have the focus required for a lot of stitch counting.  Alternatively, you may want something completely absorbing and distracting so that the knitting is an escape from your worries.

A note on yarn substitution:

If you opt for non-wool to knit a pattern designed for wool, check this post on yarn substitution before you get going.  You can definitely sub in other yarns, but a little planning will help make your hat a success!

Since I keep being inspired by new hat designs, my library of free chemo patterns will probably go on growing, so I'll update this list as I needed.  For now, here are the main patterns people seem to like and my recommendations to help you choose which to try.  (or you can scroll to the bottom for a simple charty thing.)

Asymmetrical Cloche

This hat is very straightforward with a low-fitting asymmetrical brim achieved through simple increases, knits, and purls.  I designed it as a day hat for a friend in treatment who didn't mind wool, and in that version I used an incredibly soft sport weight superwash merino.  But I also did a version in heavier-weight cotton, for warmer days, and the pattern includes sizing for that.

Best on women, and an excellent choice for the distracted knitter.


Bobcap is essentially a toque, with a little detail over one eye to make it interesting.  It's that plain because it's designed to serve as a sleep cap - your head gets so cold at night when you don't have hair!  I designed it with the same sport weight superwash wool I used for the Asymmetrical Cloche, but if you lean toward generosity in your sizing choice, you could knit it in acrylic for someone who is too sensitive for wool.

Possibly unisex, but definitely cute on women, and another excellent choice for the distracted knitter.  (if the detail part is too advanced for you, you can leave it out.)

Double Double Cloche

This cloche uses a rolled brim to add bulk at the ends, and can tuck down low over the ears and neck, but the front has bonus detail with reverse-stockinette stripes and a button accent.  It looks interesting, but it's incredibly simple to knit - again, easy increases, and knits and purls.

Best on women, and an excellent choice for the distracted knitter.

Graduated Ribs Hat

This toque's simple shape is the ultimate in mindless knitting, especially once you have the ribbing started and can just keep knitting the same stitch again as the one below it.  There is a crown detail to make it interesting, and actually - this isn't in the pattern but you could make this modification with enough yarn - if you knit it longer than called for it would work as a slouchy hat that shows off said crown.  It's designed to fit a little loosely, in superwash wool, so if you need to use acrylic just be a little generous in your sizing choice.

Completely unisex, and an excellent choice for the distracted knitter.

Not Just For Chemo Reversible Cloche

Hands down, this is the most popular of all of my patterns.  It's also the most complicated to knit, because the linen stitch I chose to force the underspun Malabrigo yarn into a stiff-enough shape for the brim requires a ton of counting to keep in line.  Once the brim is done it's as plain as knitting can be, but you have to be able to get through that hurdle first.  The yarn I used is an incredibly soft wool that sags out as you wear it, so if you're using acrylic, do a good gauge swatch and plan to go up a size.

Best on women, and a not-so-great choice for the distracted knitter.

UpCountry Hat

This toque uses a DK weight superwash wool, a checkerboard of knits and purls, and a fold-under band of ribbing to add bulk as well as warmth.  I love this hat - it's so simple to knit and looks so interesting, without being too busy to compete with a self-striping yarn, and mine is so comfortable to wear.  I saw a version made for a man once, and it looks fantastic.

Completely unisex, and an excellent choice for the distracted knitter.

The recap charty thing:

Knitting for a man?

Go for either Graduated Ribs or UpCountry - both are super simple.  You might also look at Bobcap, for a sleep option.

Knitting for a woman and have no capacity for concentration?

For a day cap, try the Asymmetrical Cloche, the Double Double Cloche, or the UpCountry Hat.  For night, look at Bobcap.

Knitting for a woman and looking for something to absorb your attention?

Not Just For Chemo Reversible Cloche, no question.

Knitting for your local hospital's chemo cap stash?

You'll get the most flexible sizing and unisex qualities with Bobcap, Graduated Ribs, and UpCountry.

And that's my chemo cap library for now.  Happy knitting!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some finished socks

It's been months since I could say this, but Yay! I've actually finished a pair of socks.

Aren't they lovely colours?

And take a look at the stripes.  They match up perfectly.

These are socks I knit on real, round, 2.25mm needles, which I haven't done since last winter when I started to think my square-needle socks were a bit too loose for resisting holes.  As you may recall, I started knitting three different pairs of socks on four different kinds of round dpns, by way of auditioning permanent replacements for the squares.  Now, I still need to write a post comparing all these different needles, but today's news is that I have just made a discovery that applies to all of them:

Round needles are smaller than square needles a size larger.  

I know: shocking.  And even more shocking, if you knit socks with round needles without adjusting the pattern you were using for squares, those socks will also be smaller.  This is a fact that applies especially to foot length.

If you can believe it - and if you've been reading Hugs for a while I'm sure you will - I didn't notice this until it was too late because I not only finished knitting both socks but actually grafted the first toe shut and ran in the ends before I bothered to try one on.

Surprise!  They are too short for me.

As I mentioned the other day I have a problem with a pair of SockZombie children clawing at me whenever they're within range, but they are SockZombie boys, and neither would bite for socks with pink stripes.  (I guessed as much but asked anyway.)  Besides which their feet are my size now too so I would still have had to rip out and reknit and all that stuff.

Fortunately, I have a knitworthy neighbour whose feet are very small.  In fact, when I asked her to humour me and measure her foot length, she came back with exactly the same number of centimeters as these socks are.

So it would seem that all along they were meant to go live at Beth's house where I know they will be very happy and deeply appreciated.


This whole strategy I came up with for less guilt about knitting for myself all the time - the one where I mess up socks that turn out to fit other people perfectly - is paying off already.  Am I lucky or what?  and even luckier: I came up with a solution for the SockZombies that doesn't involve putting my hands over my ears and chanting LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU, which I will show you another day.

For now: go have fun and do something nice for yourself, and I will too!

Friday, October 18, 2013

It's that magical time of the (yarn) year

Hello, countdown to holiday gift knitting!  Maybe you start earlier but around about now - when I have Halloween mostly sorted (and an embarrassing amount of Halloween candy ingested) - is when I start noticing that Christmas is next and I've done nothing crafty to prep for it.


Time to get out the loom.

In fact, 'Set up the loom' has been on my to-do list every day for the past two or so weeks.  I consider it a triumph to be writing this post today, all things considered.

The weaving itself: not such a triumph.  The plan was to use this skein of Twisted Fiber Art Arial, purchased from somebody else's stash, for a scarf - the whole skein, for both warp and weft.  Then I noticed this:

I put a lot of length into it.

After I calmed down enough I did the math, which goes like this:

36" = 1 yard.

Each row of weaving takes at least 10" of yarn.

There are 6,912" of yarn left over from setting up the loom.

That means about 691 rows of yarn.

It takes 20 rows of Arial to get 1" of scarf.

Bottom line: after setting up the loom, I am going to have enough matching yarn left over for a 34" scarf.


Fortunately, I found some similar-weight black cashmere blend yarn that's meant to go with another colourway and may yet do so, if this scarf works out and there's enough left.

I'm alternating stripes, doing 15 rows of each colour, and starting and finishing with black because I have more of it.

Now that I've figured out how to change colours neatly I must say that stripes are a brilliant solution to the boredom problem that trails along behind my loom: I'm just so motivated to get to the next stripe, I've done the first foot or two without wanting to stop.  And I find my thoughts drifting to the sock yarn I may never get time to knit with, because I think a solid stripe would look better than this variegated one.

(but not my Vesper sock, Leslie!  I'm hoarding that.)

What do you think? Does the variegated striping work?

And now that we know what I'm doing this weekend, let's focus on you having a great weekend yourself.  Do something fun, and I'll see you back here Monday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why it's unwise to knit socks for children

The short answer to the question: why not knit socks for children? is because they might like them.

There's your pre-Halloween chill for the day.  Is there anything more terrifying than the relentless approach of sock-ravenous children, their mouths gaping with pleas for more socks, when you are already knitting as fast as you can?

To say nothing of the fact that their feet grow.

That's right.  You can spend all those hours knitting socks for those children, only to find them back at your door the next winter holding up the socks you already knit them and looking all plaintive.


And finally, really the ultimate doom:  handknit socks look so cute on small people, it's hard not to fall in love with the idea of being responsible for some.

I know all these things and yet I foolishly knit socks for children last winter - four pairs in total - and thereby unleashed a pair of sock monsters whose feet are a size or so bigger now than they were then.  So much so, that even the ankles are a bit narrow for them now, so I can't just snip off the toes of the socks and knit them longer (my original escape route should they turn out to like wearing handknit wool.)

Turns out if I knit new socks for these kids this winter I'll be knitting them in my exact size, but with skinny-friendly ribbing all down the leg (which means I can't just gift them a pair I've been knitting already).  Based on my track record that means I'll be tied up with socks for a month minimum for just one pair.  And next winter?  Yikes.  We're probably looking at a repeat of Man Socks.

So: cautionary tale of the day.  Knitting socks for children is a slippery slope!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Casting on for matching stripes

Today I thought I'd share my trick for getting the stripes to line up on two socks knit from one skein of self striping yarn.  The same trick would work for gloves, or any other project that comes in pairs.

After I took this picture, I realized that the stripes don't look matchy here, because the sock on the right got nudged down just a bit more than the one on the left, but honestly this trick does work very well. Assuming you can spare a few yards of yarn to scrap and still have socks that are long enough.  Another factor is how consistent the dyeing is - I have the greatest success with Knitterly Things' Vesper Sock, myself.

First off, you need two cakes with the striping moving in the same direction.  For example, if the colour sequence is Blue, Orange, Green, Yellow, you want both cakes following it rather than one doing Yellow, Green, Orange, Blue.  (That would make a pretty cool pair of socks actually, but it's not the style we're talking about today.)

When you wind cakes from one skein of yarn and divide them in two by weight, you usually get a little bit more colour on one than the other.  In the case of this yarn, there is some red on Cake One that didn't make it into Cake Two.  So bearing that in mind:

Choose the first colour both cakes have in common.

In this case, the winner is dark blue.

Now, move up the yarn to the shift between the first colour in common, and the one that comes afterward.  I use a longtail cast on for this trick, and the key step is to ensure the first stitch for each sock (or glove) falls on the gap between those two colours.

When you use the longtail cast on with striped yarn, especially at the break in colours, it's important to make sure you have the tail in front.

Otherwise you end up with a weird colour shift.  In this example it would be a brown edge, then a layer of blue, and then a cuff in brown.  H'mmmm.  That would look pretty cool too, but if you're going for matchy you'd have to remember to do it twice.

Here's an extra trick I do, just to make it easier to cast onto four needles:

I cast on two or so stitches more than I need for the first needle, then slip those extras on to a second needle and cast on a total of two or so more than I need for it, and so on until I have four needles each with the right amount of stitches.  It makes the counting go a lot quicker and the tension stays even on the cast on edge, too.

When all the stitches are cast on, I usually work the first round plus one needle's worth of ribbing, just to be sure everything is secure before I pack it away for travel knitting.  Then I draw off about 10" from the tail - that's the most you'll need later for running in the end - and snip off the excess for tying up parcels or darning a hole.

And... you're done! Except for all that delicious* knitting, of course.

(unless you are Trish, in which case it would be delicious only if you were knitting gloves or mitts.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When the knitting takes over

You know how sometimes you make lists of what absolutely must get done in the next 12 hours and what you end up with is something like this?

Yeah.  That's why you're getting a short post today.

In other random news:

I just bought three pumpkins to not carve for Halloween (because drawing faces on and maybe hollowing out just enough nasal cavity to ram a carrot into the hole is so much faster.)  This is news because usually I wait till a few days before, hoping to avoid a raccoon rampage like that one dreadful year when my scary decorations were pumpkin guts all over the yard.  The downside: it's awfully hard to find a decent pumpkin that close to Halloween.  This year I am ready, and the pumpkins are safely stowed in the garage.

I also bought a ton of leaf bags.  Those things are coming off the trees in droves now!

Knitting the garter stitch hat, I am obsessing about coordinating handwarmers to slip over my gloves for brightening up all the black that will be on me when any remaining leaves are tucked up under snow.

The writing workshop is starting in a couple of weeks.  I had a crazy idea about having a new pair of socks ready just for it, but then the stripey garter stitching happened, and on top of that there's the list I'm still ignoring.  Probably it is crazy to think about those socks.   And... I'm doing it anyway because sometimes knitting makes you stubborn.  Just thinking though.  Not really knitting, except for the times when I am knitting.  ahem.

What are you doing instead of being sensible today I wonder - or am I the only one?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving knitting

Once again, it's Thanksgiving here in Canada, which is why I'm posting midafternoon on a weekday with a slice of pumpkin pie at my side.  Life: so awesome.

There isn't time to go up and stay at the cottage on Thanksgiving weekend these days, but there is time to visit for a few hours, which is delightful when you get fabulous weather like we did.  Or even if you don't, as long as you don't mind three hours of in-car knitting.

I started the garter stitch hat I've been dreaming of, but made myself stop here and switch to something else because I couldn't remember how the stripes should work.  Gah!  So hard to resist going on, because the Debbie Bliss Blue Face Leicester yarn I'm using is so bouncy and soft.  I'm really excited about this hat.

The cottage itself offered all the colour I'd had to miss out on though.

We have so many trees there... mostly hemlock, with some cedar and pine and enough other trees that change colour to make a striking display in the fall.

The leaves were past their peak, but still good enough for us.

The inside of the cottage was basically an ice cube carved to look like the inside of the cottage, but outside, a sun patch on the deck made a cosy spot for lunch on the picnic table I insisted was such a good idea to buy last spring, and which went unused all summer long because of the bugs.  In October: no bugs.  Yay!

This is the view from the picnic table, in case you were wondering what's the big deal.

And then there's 'up'.

Our dock was still in, so I wandered down to the lake to take some pictures there.

It was hard to believe we couldn't just jump in and swim, but Pete checked the temperature and said we probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as we did in July.  I decided to let my memories stay fond.

Finally it was time to go... back up the slope from the dock,

Up to the stairs of the deck,

And off again home.  With another three hours of knitting time as consolation.

Hope your weekend was as lovely,  however you spent it!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Spin Cycle Hat - a free pattern

In honour of I Love Yarn Day, let's hear it for Noro!  What's not to love about amazing colour shifts in yarns that include wool, mohair, silk, and all sort of other goodies?

The problem is loving it too much to leave the store with just one skein, and then not knowing what to do with it.

And for Noro's bulky Odori yarn at least, here is the solution: the Spin Cycle Hat.

Well, you know I had to show the back first or you'd think I made a hat with laundry stuck all over it, right?  Here's the front:

I have to say, I am feeling pretty crazy about this hat.  I was aiming for some positive ease, which I got because Odori has silk in it (remember how silk stretches, from my post on yarn substitution?), and it's just warm as I thought it would be in spite of all those holes, because the bulky yarn is so very, very bulky. The holes and that extra ease just kind of trap heat.  I'm sitting in front of an open window with it on as I type this, and even though my nose is cold, the rest of my head is toasty.

Go Odori!

And go you - find some bulky yarn in your stash, and transform it into somebody's present, heh.

Spin Cycle Hat

Noro, Odori, (40% Silk, 25% Wool, 25% Angora, 10% Mohair, 109yds/100g), 1 skein
6 mm/US 10 - 1 set double pointed needles or size to obtain gauge.
Stitch marker.
Darning needle.

13 sts, 16 rows = 4" in stocking stitch

Finished Dimensions
S (M, L): S (17.75", 20", 22.25") circumference; 7.75"(8", 8.25") high. Shown in M, worn very comfortably over a 22" head.

Level of Difficulty
Moderately Easy: advanced stitches include K2tog, yo, and Kfb (knit into the front and back of a stitch.  Worked in the round.

Click here for .pdf of Spin Cycle Hat