Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Yarn

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that some knitting needles and yarn found its way under your Christmas tree this year!  I was lucky enough to receive this BEAUTIFUL skein of fingering weight alpaca. 



I did a little yarn shopping for me too :)


Some random balls of yarn and beads that were on sale,

 
some lace weight merino and silk to make a sweater from the Malabrigo pattern book,
 


 
while out Christmas shopping I fell in love with this book and just had to have it!
 
 

But not to worry, along with all the shopping there has been some knitting done too.  This 1x1 rib hat is almost finished for a new charity that our Monday night knitting group is knitting for.

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One more gift finished!

This knitted gift is as easy as they can get.  These fingerless mitts knit up in just hours in simple garter st.  I blogged about them here which tells you my "pattern".
 

 
These are a gift for my Son who insists on texting no matter what the weather is like. The Mom in me is feeling a little bit better knowing that at least 3/4 of his hand will be warm :)


They were quick to wrap too!  I hope everyone else's Christmas knitting is on schedule!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

First Family Christmas

Today was our first family Christmas.  This year it was held at my Aunt and Uncle's farm.  We had a great day visiting, enjoying wonderful food and playing games.  The highlight of being at Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken's is always the wagon ride through the woods. 

 
This ride was perfect; just like out of a movie.  We had snow so the wagon was replaced with the sleigh,  the horse's harnesses had sleigh bells attached and we all sang Christmas Carols.  This is definitely what making memories is all about.


 
Since it was snowing like crazy, everyone was bundled up in hats, mitts, scarves and blankets.  Below is my Mom and daughter toasty warm in handknits.
 
 


 I hope everyone had a great weekend filled with family time and knitting like I did!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rosie Hat

My sock knitting got interrupted by this hat.  Now it is back to my Christmas sock knitting!
 
 
 
 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy December!

I love December!  It is filled with so much fun; shopping, baking, decorating and gift knitting.

My Mom and I have started a tradition of making our own outdoor Christmas pots.  It is a great way to spend an afternoon together in her garage with tons of greenery, pots, bows and Christmas music!




All this Christmas prep has seriously cut into my knitting time but I did manage to knit a few rounds on this hat tonight.


Just a reminder that Kim from DyeNamic Yarn is offering my blog readers a discount on her items in  Etsy shop until Dec 8. Stop by and check out her amazing hand dyed yarns!  The discount code is DYERSDREAM happy shopping!

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Yarn For Me!!

I am quite proud of myself for having most of my Christmas shopping finished and it isn't even December yet!  Along the way I have picked up a few things for me too and one of them was a skein of sock yarn.

While tweeting with BevKnits, she posted a picture of the sock she was knitting and I loved the yarn. When I asked about the yarn she said she had ordered it from a dyer here in Ontario through her Etsy shop DyeNamic Yarn.  So in a span of about 5 mins or less I had looked her up on Twitter, clicked on her Etsy link, scrolled through the skeins in her shop, added one to my shopping cart, clicked on paypal and presto I was the proud owner of this skein of sock yarn. Aren't the colours great?



I think I am going to knit it into a pair of mitts for me.  Thanks DyeNamic Yarn!!

Edited:  DyeNamic Yarns has added a discount coupon for her Esty shop for all my blog readers until Dec 8.  The code is in the comments.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another Fun Paton's Pattern!!

Here it is.....the Crazy For Color hat! Isn't it great?!

 
Yarn - Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash using pumpkin, mallard teal, apple green, aran and eggplant
Needles - 4mm and 4.5mm 
 
Way back in January when I decided I was going to knit my way through all the patterns in The Next Steps Eight Fair Isle Knitting pattern book my initial excitement was because of the patterns themselves; but once I sat down and really read through the pattern book I discovered how wonderfully it was laid out.  Not only do the patterns start out very simple and progress in difficulty as you follow the book you learn how to knit fair isle on circular needles, straight needles and double pointed needles.  All my previous fair isle knitting had always been done in the round on a circular needle so this was an exciting chance to expand my knitting horizons and try something different. 
 
You can see my first attempt at knitting fair isle on straight needles here.

One of the "rules" that I set for myself when knitting these projects was to knit using the method the pattern called for. In this case it was in the round with double pointed needles.  As you can see in the picture below I cast on and started the pattern using the called for dpn's but that was about as far as I got.
 
 
Not long after this picture was taken I realized that this was also the first hat I had ever knit completely on dpn's and you know what.......I really was not having any fun knitting with the dpn's and I have no idea why.  I love knitting socks on dpn's and I know that some hat Knitters (yes, Rose I am thinking of you!) only do hats on dpn's. But, for me, hat knitting and dpn's just didn't click.  So, after thinking about it for a while I decided that I had given dpn's a try, had followed the instructions and had gotten the hang of how to carry the yarns where the old and new needles meet and that I wanted to enjoy knitting the rest of the hat.  So I switched to a 16" circular needle and I was immediately a happy Knitter!  My advice to you is to be open to trying a new technique but in the end choose what you enjoy the most. 
 
Once I was happily knitting along on my circular needle the hat was finished in no time.  The chart was easy to follow,  most rows were easily memorized and the colours changed often enough that you didn't have to worry about carrying the non working yarn across your work. This really was a quick fun knit (once I got my needles sorted out!)  and then it was time to deal with the unavoidable tail ends that result from multi colour knitting. 


 
 It looks like a lot of ends to deal with and it is but it really doesn't take that long to weave them all in
 
 
and the finished hat is well worth the time and effort.
 


If you have been reading this blog for anytime at all I am sure that it didn't take you long to figure out that I am the biggest Patons Classic Wool fan :)  This hat was knit in the DK superwash version of Classic Wool and it was wonderful to knit with.  If you haven't tried it yet and have been thinking about it the Patons website is offering free shipping on orders over $40 right now.....it is very tempting!!

 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You know you are a Knitter when....

On the weekend I attended a fundraiser for Autism Ontario and won this raffle prize from Thirty One.



A tablet cover and a flat iron holder.  Since I don't own either a tablet or flat iron I had to find other uses for them.

 
The tablet cover holds my sock pattern book perfectly and the flat iron case holds 14" straight needles :)
 
 






Monday, November 11, 2013

It's A Sock Knitting Month!

 
Thursday nights at the East Lions Artisans Center we are knitting socks for the month of November.  Heather and I are having a friendly sock knitting competition :)
 
She is knitting her socks two at a time and is knitting them toe up.
 

After a rip out and a restart to get the stripes to match she was on her way.

 
I, on the other hand am knitting my socks one at a time and working them cuff down.


The one thing that we do agree on is the sock yarn.  We are both knitting with Patons Kroy sock yarn.  If you are looking for sock yarn, check out the Patons website, their yarn is on sale right now!!

So, Thursday night we will be able to see who has gotten the most knitting time in this week.  No pressure Heather but I have turned the heel ;)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Meet Marilyn :)

Our Monday night knitting group has certainly changed over the six years since it began with me teaching knitting classes at Carrie's Quilting and Knitting shop in Aylmer.  When Carrie closed her shop we moved the knitting to my house and our Monday nights continued on.  Last year, I ended up moving and again knitting was relocated.  This time to Terrace Lodge in Aylmer and it has proven to have been a great move.  Not only do we have a much larger room with excellent lighting we get to share our knitting time with the ladies who live at Terrace Lodge.

Meet Marilyn, she is the only Knitter I know of so far this year to have all of her Christmas knitting finished! Last Monday night we did a little photo shoot with Marilyn and most of the dishcloths she has knit.  Not only has she finished knitting in record time, some have already been sent off so they can be included in loved one's Christmas gifts.  In total, Marilyn has knit 50 dishcloths in less than a year. That is more that one a week! 

I remember months ago Marilyn saying that she had a bag with 50 balls of dishcloth cotton and was going to work away at knitting them up for her family.  Well, here they are all finished!!


She has already cast on for her next project - a scarf.  I don't think there will be another dishcloth on her needles for a while!


Please feel free to leave your comments for Marilyn and I will pass them on to her Monday night.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Charity Knitting

With the cold weather fast approaching it is the perfect time to start thinking about knitting a few items for charity.  The Thursday afternoon knitting group that I belong to is knitting for a charity that supports the Children's Aid Society.

These are the start of my contribution.


These wrist warmers are knit sideways and are so simple.  Here is my pattern - all 4 rows of it.

Yarn - 100g worsted weight yarn
Needle - 4.5mm (US 7)

Cast on 30 sts
Knit in Garter Stitch for 7"
Cast off
Sew side seam leaving an opening for the thumb



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thorndale Knitters - Learn to Knit Info

This afternoon was the second Learn to Knit class at Ziraldo Alpacas.  It is always fun to be greeted by the alpacas when I arrive!  I know that the grey alpaca is Rosemary but I am not sure who her friend is but she was very friendly.
 

 
We went through a lot of new techniques today so as promised here are some pictures along with a description that will hopefully help if you get stuck along the way this week while knitting at home.
 
 
Garter Stitch (see picture below)
When you knit every stitch of every row (no purling in Garter Stitch) you get these ridges. This is what you all knit last week.  Garter stitch works great for an edging so your work doesn't curl.

 
 
Stocking Stitch
When you knit on the right side of your work (where the stitches make a "V") and when you turn your work you purl on the wrong side (the side with the bumps).  Remember to "do what you see".  When you have your needles all set to start working the next stitch; look at your stitches.  What do you see?  If you see V's you knit, if you see bumps you purl.
 
 
 
Increasing
Knit into the front of the stitch - needle into the stitch, wrap it and scoop it under leaving the old st on the left needle.
 
 
Pull the right needle a tiny bit towards you, then swing it behind the left needle, then pick up the back of the stitch on the left needle needle tip to needle tip. Continue knitting this st by wrapping the back needle, pull/scoop it back through the st on the left needle and let the st fall off the left needle.
 

You will see a wrap around the bottom of the increased stitch
 

 
Purling
With the yarn in front of your work, insert the right needle from right to left in front of the left needle, wrap the front needle counter clockwise, scoop the right needle under the leg of the st on the left needle, slide the old st off the left needle.
 
 
 
 Casting Off
Knit 2 sts onto the right needle,
 


 pick up the back stitch needle tip to needle tip,
 
 
and lift it up, over and off the right needle, pull the left needle out.  Knit one more st so that you are back to 2 sts on the right needle and continue to the end of the row.
 
 
I hope this helps!  Good luck with your stocking stitch and increases for the top of your mitten.  If you get stuck please email me and we will get you back on track.
Happy Knitting!!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Patons Next Steps Eight Fair Isle Knitting - Another Finished Project!

As with all the projects in Next Steps Eight Fair Isle Knitting this was a lot of fun to knit.  If you have been following my posts over the last year you will see how the patterns have become more intricate with each project.
 
This is the back of the pillow in progress.  The back was knit with only two colours of Patons Classic Wool and was the full size of the pillow.  This knit up fine.

Then, I do have to admit that I did experience an extreme case of "Knitters Block" when starting the blocks for the front side of this pillow.  I had the worst time picking the third colour and getting started.  I would get as far as swatching and not be happy with it and set it aside for days then try again.

 
This was my first try.  I used Flagstone with the Lemongrass and didn't think there was enough contrast so I tried Winter White.  It was better but still not what I was looking for.
 

 
Then on a whim I tried the aquarmarine.  I wasn't sure what it was going to look like with Lemongrass but as soon as I started knitting this colour combination I loved it!  Once the four square were knit them I blocked them before sewing everything together.
 
 
 
Here is the finished pillow. As you might notice right in the center of the pillow the stripes didn't quite line up.  After 3 tries at seaming and reseaming I still couldn't get them to look perfect so I improvised a bit......



 with duplicate stitch right in the center where all four blocks join.  What do you think of the result?  I am know really happy with the finished pillow.
 

 The next project is now on the needles. Another finished blog post will be here soon!  If you have a minute take a look at Patons new website!! http://www.yarnspirations.com

Happy Knitting!!





Sunday, October 20, 2013

Today was a Teaching Day

 Today was the first afternoon of the Learn to Knit class that I was asked to teach at Ziraldo Alpacas.  Debbie offered a farm tour to the students before the class started so everyone had a chance to see the alpacas up close.  This girl is definitely proving that the grass IS greener on the other side!

 
 
I met five new knitters and we had a great class learning the long tail cast on, the knit stitch, how to pick up a dropped stitch and the benefits of using a life line.
 


I decided to knit along with the students so here is the start of my mitten.  Everyone did amazing today and picked everything up quickly.  Have fun knitting this week!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Store Bought vs Hand Knit Quality

 
The last time I saw my daughter wearing one of her favourite store bought cardigans I noticed a huge hole in the sleeve with stitches dropping in every direction. It was a Knitter's nightmare!  So of course I offered to fix the hole for her.  

I picked up the live stitches on the top and bottom of the hole, picked up as many dropped stitches as I could and graphed the 2 rows of stitches back together. 


 
When I actually straightened out the sleeve to look at my handy work (where the needle is pointing in top pic) I was pleased with my "patch" job but was shocked to see the quality of the seam on the outside of the sleeve (where needle is pointing in bottom pic). This is the right side of the sweater!?!?!? 

 
I'm a pretty easy going Knitter and don't always pull out all of my mistakes if they really can't be noticed but THIS I would be fixing for sure.  Maybe I should reknit the whole sweater....or maybe I should contact the manufacturer and let them know that I offer knitting classes focusing on finishing techniques such as the mattress stitch!!!