Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Newfie Mitts

There is some debate on the name of these mittens. Many call them Newfie, or Newfoundland Mitts. Others call thrummed mitts, Newfie mitts. Some call these "bubble knit" or honeycomb. No matter what it is, I have had this particular pattern printed out since 2008. It was time. I wanted more "unisex" mittens for the kindie kids. These yarns are a littler thinner, but I figured this texture would be good. I used an appropriate number of stitches and needle size to get the size I wanted. I was aiming for more of a size 6 since many of the mittens are too small for bigger kids. They ended up a little smaller, and since washing, well...they're a small 4, I think.

The pattern was pretty easy. HOWEVER. Reading the pattern was not. First up, you're working in rounds, not rows. Once you get into the patterned part, you are NOT slipping two with A. You just leave A at the beginning of the round, yarn at the back. You slip those stitches that had been knit with A, but for the five rows you work with B, the other yarn is just hanging out at the start of the round.  This is talked about in the comments, but I wish she would change the pattern!!!

Some kids have commented that the thumb is too small/tight. I'll comment more about that when I post the next pair I made from this pattern. Despite the poor pattern writing, I still recommend these mittens. As I said, I'll write more on the next pair because I did do some adjusting to the thumb. Sure, these have been knit for generations just like they are...but in my True Tracy Way, I had to make adjustments! 

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out:  38gr + 510gr = 548gr
Balance: 994gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:  $37.91/45 days = $0.84 per day

Friday, February 10, 2017

Messy Bun!

Just before Christmas, a picture of a woman wearing a messy bun hat appeared on Facebook. Overnight, it was a viral hit and everyone wanted one. I posted right away on my page that I could not make any for Christmas, but if anyone was interested, I'd look at it after Christmas. There was still quite a bit of interest.

One woman who had ordered mermaid blankets before Christmas was interested in getting one, in blues and greys. Now, you'd think that would be a common colour combination. The original photo going around was a subdued jewelled multicoloured yarn with what seemed like a slight fuzz/texture. It was likely Red Heart "Unforgettable" or Mary Maxim "Studio" (not enough fuzz) or Mary Maxim "Prism" or LionBrand "Amazing". Of all of these, "Studio" was the only one with a blue grey mix but the picture was tiny, and the yarn didn't seem to have the gentle fuzz.  I couldn't believe that I couldn't find a blue grey mix in a slightly fuzzy worsted weight yarn.

I put my thinking hat on and immediately thought of the dye pot. I just happen to have an abundance of Patons "Lace" in Porcelain. All it was missing was the grey. And thickness. I have black dye and have used it to get grey before. I figured I could wind off the yarn and dye the white sections grey, and maybe some of the blue because the colour changes are long.

I should have thought a bit more. I figured I wanted three strands, but I really should have wound them together instead of separately. Anyway, I did get it dyed and was pleased, although I would have liked shorter colour runs and more grey.

I got going and whoa, was I surprised at how long the sideways "crocheted rib" band took!!  I had some concerns with this hat because the other one I made, I started at the elastic, at the opening. This one, I had to make the band, then pick up stitches and work upwards, then decreases and would I be able to crochet over the elastic going in this direction? My first couple attempts at crocheting over the elastic did not allow it to stretch much.  I realized I had decreased too many stitches because I was trying to get it to lay flat at the elastic. So I increased the number of sts over the elastic and while it now stretched nicely, it sits up a bit. I hope the messy bun covers it.   I did end up with several small balls of the yarn as I had to break it a few times to change colours and get more grey in the band part.

 My regular camera is broken so I was experimenting with our waterproof camera. The original picture was a bit hazy and dull, so I used a "filter" in editing. It's interesting. Having grown up learning on a 35mm SLR, I try to do all the editing "in camera".  I'm not a fan of all the filters and "actions" that modern photographers do. You just can't believe any picture is really what the scene actually was, once you learn how photographers are manipulating photographs in digital editing.

She couldn't come get it right away, so I thought it would be nice to use the leftover yarn to make some simple fingerless gloves. Again, I had to cut the yarn to get better colour changes. It became clear though that I would not have enough. So I went down to 2 strands. By now I had a lot of ends that would need to be woven in. It still wasn't enough. So I THREW THE YARN OUT. Yes.

And then two weeks later found another ball (3 strands) of it in the bottom of my bag.

Hat--63gr. Waste--24gr

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out:  87gr + 423gr= 510gr
Balance: 1032gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:$37.91/41 days = $0.92 per day

Friday, February 03, 2017

I Bought Yarn!

I got asked to make two crocheted water bottle holders. I actually needed to go buy the yarn! The best time to go just happened to end up being after Megan was skating on Friday night. We didn't have a whole lot of time, but I didn't know when I'd get there again and there was a 55% off coupon for the day.

I picked out two blues, and a light purple (one was to be two shades of blue, and the other in blue and purple.  I chose one shade of blue for both). Then I walked past the clearance rack, and they had some Loops & Threads "Facets" in some gorgeous colours. Megan picked out one, I picked out one, and we picked out a "manly" colour to make something for the stock bin. Not that I've sold any of the other scarves I've made. Facets weighs 100gr each.

Walking past another bin, they had those bags of "1lb Fashion Yarn Mill Ends". I found a red with glitter that I thought would be cool for the World AIDS Day scarves. It was $7.99 (400gr) and the 55% off coupon was applied to it, so it came to only $3.60 (plus tax).

I worked on the blues water bottle holder first. It kept giving me troubles. Silly things.  Finally, on Wednesday I started the blue/purple one. I did the bottom in blue then started purple on the side. There was a faint scent of soap. Every time I worked on it, I could smell it. I got the body done, and the smell was driving me crazy. I smelled the ball of yarn. It stunk like soap!! WTF?! I looked at the yarn label. It was Handicrafter "Scents"! What?! Who wants to drink out of a water bottle holder that smells like soap?! And it had been going so well :(

Off to Michaels again. I found a non-scented purple. And, I found another bag of red fashion yarn mill ends. This time I had only a 50% coupon. Still a good deal!

 Yarn In:  1342gr + 120gr =1542gr
Yarn Out:  423gr
Balance: 1119gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:$30 + $7.91=$37.91/34 days = $1.12 per day 

Kind of funny that the two Michaels' purchases added up to exactly $30!!  I have a really big item to show shortly that will bring up that "Yarn Out" total quite a bit!

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Last Thing

Many years ago I knit my husband a pair of "tipless" gloves, in charcoal Decor, all in ribbing. He was doubtful at first, but soon fell in love. Last year he let our son use them for his job (time keeping a men's hockey league--he has to be able to write down player's names for the goals).  All was well until this fall when Hugh lost one. And apparently I don't have have anymore charcoal Decor. Since they couldn't really share one pair of gloves anyway, and we bought Hugh two pairs at a store (gasp! Double gasp cause I went back and bought Rob the same two pairs LOL!)....I opted to make Rob a brand new pair, in 100% wool this time. Dark black.

Once they were done, I thought the "cuff" were too short. I got bored and started the thumb gusset too soon. I kept thinking, "I should be doing this on the SK155" but then saying, no, cause then I have to seam them, and it's tedious with the fingers, and actually, it would be difficult to do the fingers. But really, next time, I think I will do up to the base of the pinky on the machine next time. Even after washing, the wool felt a little too "utilitarian".  I picked up stitches from the top row of the higher red band, on the inside, and knit a ribbed cuff in 100% alpaca. It does't extend too far past the bottom of the glove but it's still enough to ensure they're long enough.

See the odometer? 177 529km. His truck is a 2010 (I think, could be 2011). Mine is a 2001 and has only 266 564km. Crazy!

I do not have a weight for these (or at least I can't find it). I think he's afraid to bring them into the house in case they don't go back out LOL.  So, I'm estimating. They weren't entirely done by Dec 31, but the intent was there. If they weren't black, I probably would have had them finished LOL!  Wow, I'm trying to find the original ones on my blog, and I found a pair I made for me, Dec 18, 2006. In the post I saw I made a pair for Rob "a couple years ago". Whoa. I had no idea it was that long ago--pre-blog. Those poor gloves of mine.  Got frozen into a snowbank near where I picked the kids up from school, had to wait till spring to get it out, then I found one in a puddle of slush in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Hadn't even realized I had lost it and incredibly I had parked in the same spot. Unfortunately, there was only one.

These are 2016 totals:

Yarn In:    11 223gr
Yarn Out: 95gr + 11 098gr= 11 193gr
Balance:  30gr more bought than used
Costs:  $507.27 /366 days = $1.38/day

I ended up with a 30gr surplus?!  Not fair! I'll do a more detailed yearly comparison later. I've got work to do.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


I LOVE getting custom orders for unique items. Usually they start out as a question--"Is it possible to make....".  With over 20 years experience, I have a lot of knowledge to draw on.  Crochet vs Knit? Wool? Machine Knit or Hand Knit? Design? Stitches?

One day I saw a post in our local "HomeMADE" Facebook group. A woman had injured her wrist badly and was going to be in various splints for quite a while. She couldn't find anything to keep her hand warm (and it was quite cold that week!). I immediately sprung on it, knowing that making a mitten in ribbing would be awesome. I thought maybe I could even felt the hand portion, leaving the ribbing unfelted. She wanted purple and grey and the only wool that I had both purple and grey in was Moda Dea's "Washable Wool".  Which most likely wouldn't felt due to it's chained structure. Oh well.

I got to work swatching on the SK155. Then, I couldn't find my copy of Ann Budd's calculations for mittens! So, I went with what I knew from my 20 years experience (lady's mitten, worsted yarn, 20st/4", Cast on 40sts).  I used T3 for the ribbing and T2 for the stockinette. And why did I knit the hand flat when I have a ribber and could have knit it in the round? Ummm. Habit? Well, this is a real "D'oh" moment. Especially since I struggled a bit to get the seaming of the stripes looking good!

After I got part way through the first one I remembered that I had scanned the pattern. Well, I couldn't find the pages with the calculations, but I could find the schematic page so I worked out the rest of the numbers from that.

The second mitt, I cast on 50st instead of 40 and kept the ribbing going up to the top of the thumb separation, and on the thumb, because her thumb was strapped down next to her hand, though there was space between the thumb and the hand. I had trouble increasing in the ribbing for the thumb and it doesn't look all that great along the seam.  The seam on the normal mitten is at the non-thumb side, which means I did all the thumb increasing in the middle of the piece and moved all the stitches (one side only) outwards. I just love this type of thumb gusset. I also kept the right thumb in ribbing to stretch easily over the splint.

The mitten feels a bit loose on me but I do prefer snug mittens. And it's not knit as tightly as I would have liked. But she needed it ASAP!  And, as luck would have it, she couldn't pick up for a few days and the weather turned warm. Hopefully, with it hovering around 0C now, she can make use of them.

Yarn In:  120gr
Yarn Out: 96gr + 327gr = 423gr
Balance: 303gr more USED than in
Costs: $7.91/25 days = $0.32 per day

Monday, January 23, 2017


Just after Christmas, there was a post in a Facebook group I'm in, for a woman looking for a satin lined, wool slouchy hat. A few people posted they had slouchy hats but no one said anything about the satin lined part. I asked why she wanted satin lining and mentioned some drawbacks (satin doesn't stretch, it might feel cold). She shared a link about how the satin protects the hair fiber from rubbing on the wool fibers and creating damage.

I thought this was interesting. Sock knitters often say that wearing wool socks on carpet will wear them out quickly. Makes sense. We chatted and I sent her some samples of brown wool yarn, and she picked this random skein of "Topsy Wool" that I had. I don't know where it came from, but I think Value Village. I know I could look back on my blog but I don't even know what year LOL. I also had some brown satin.  I did a swatch on the SK155 and got to work. The first attempt wasn't quite right, shape-wise. So I went even simpler with the crown decreasing.

Then I cut some satin to sew into the inner hat, trying to shape the top a bit so it wouldn't be bunchy inside. Somehow, it didn't fit. So I cut another one. It fit better, but I would have still liked it a bit looser in case her head was bigger than average.  I sewed it on using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine, lining up with the top of the ribbing. I was impressed with how well the wool hid the stitching. I really thought it would look bad!

I like the end result. The ribbed band feels a little loose, but it might just be because the satin feels tight. She says it fits. The wool fluffed up nicely after washing, though it is still a more "rustic" yarn. I'd definitely use it again, especially for mittens.  I used 95gr for the hat, and the skeins are 113gr.  If anyone wants more detail on the pattern, let me know, but basically, I just swatched and worked the numbers :)

Yarn In:  120gr
Yarn Out: 95gr + 232gr = 327gr
Balance: 207gr more USED than in
Costs: $7.91/23 days = $0.34 per day

Thursday, January 19, 2017

They Keep Coming

I was really on a roll over Christmas, finishing up things and creating new things. The kids were in school until just before Christmas, so we had pretty much TWO weeks after Christmas to relax. Lots of knitting time!

I had worked on the two "Work Socks" hats and thought a scarf would be cool. I decided to use up the grey worsted weight yarn I had tried to use for the messy bun version of the hat. I set up for a 2x2 rib. For white, I grabbed some Impeccable and for the red...I saw this red sequined yarn in my stash! Adorable. I was going to do only two rows of red but changed it to four. However, I wish there were more sequins showing. I used up every bit of the grey I had. I've had it a long time, it was a Sears yarn. Really. Back in the old days, Sears had it's own yarn!

It doesn't match the hat exactly, but that's okay. Not every one want to be matchy-matchy. They're available separately.

My husband and I had a movie night in for my birthday (we watched The Hangover. It's all I had recorded that he wanted to see. We hadn't seen it and he thought it was awesome. I somewhat agree LOL). I was having a hard time grafting the ends of the scarf. I knew how to do it but I had that problem with the offset. I gave up and just started grafting. Then, 3/4 of the way across, suddenly, one of the knit columns of 2 sts lined up. I didn't know how I did it, but since it could obviously be done, I had to start over. And over. And over. In the end, one side looks pretty good but the other side has a few blips. Steamed it because there was a bit of edge roll, even with the ribbing.

Yarn In:  120gr
Yarn Out: 80gr + 152gr  = 232gr
Balance: 112gr more USED than in
Costs: $7.91/19 days = $0.40 per day