Saturday, June 16, 2018

These Don't Count

In late spring last year, I got a text from my SIL asking if she bought me a mitten kit would I knit them for her. Of course I would! She was on a road trip in Eastern Canada with her parents and had seen this thrummed mitten kit by Fleece Artist in a store in Nova Scotia.

 Her text said:
 "I may have bought wool with a mitten pattern for my amazing sister in law to make for me. Whatever is left of wool she may keep. There was mittens there for sale at like $60 a pair. But the wool and pattern were only $35. Knowing how talented you are and that they would mean more made by you. I was just hoping...please. (insert prayer hands emoji)".

How could I say no?  She sent a couple pictures of ones there, and I replied:
 "Just like the ones Auntie Pat used to make, but much more colourful!". 

She didn't know Auntie Pat (our favourite aunt) used to make (and sell) thrummed mittens from her own sheep's wool. I made her a pair for her 60th birthday, as it had been a long time since the sheep were gone and she didn't knit anymore. When Cheryl got the kit to me, I was amazed to see that it was almost the exact same kit I had knit for my aunt! How crazy! Cheryl had a variegated yarn though instead of a solid colour, but the colours were all the same.

I got started and had some sizing issues. Cheryl's hands are a little wide for their length. And, she likes her mittens snug. It's hard to know how snug with thrummed mittens though because they are so fluffy when you make them.

 Got started on a road trip one hot and muggy August day, to Kingston.
 And got re-started on that same road trip.
 Made some good progress.
 Had some fun too!
Got lots of progress done while waiting for my son to get his learner's permit, more than a year after he turned 16. It was so hot in there, smelly, and no where to sit. Miserable four hours.

Kept working on them, kept ripping out the top. The proportions just  didn't look right. I think I even took them on the cruise but didn't knit a row. Then all of a sudden we had a frigid spell in November and I madly rushed to finish them, hoping they fit the way she wanted.

 They're so fluffy, I could die!
They still looked a little off to me. However, once they stretch over the hand, the length is reduced. And they're so fluffy it's just a weird thing to size. Anyway, she liked them! Because of her size, there actually was quite a bit of both the yarn and the fleece left over. Not enough for another adult pair, but maybe if I just bought a bit more wool....

Friday, June 15, 2018

When In Doubt, Dishcloth.

Or socks.
You know, for those odd balls of yarn you just don't know what to do with.
Years ago, I had an idea to knit a cotton babywearing pouch sling on my knitting machine. Couldn't be too hard. Short rows form the pouch curve. The hard part was determining the length because you can't try it on, with a baby, until it's sewn together.  Of course, I wanted to graft the seam so it was invisible and comfortable.
This was all a bad idea. Pouch slings are tricky to size anyway.
Don't even remember if I was doing this for my own baby, who is now 12, or another.
I used a giant ball of Handicrafter cotton yarn.
Going through my bins, found it, and decided to rip it apart and make dishcloths. Because nothing else in that yarn ever works.
Did I mention I grafted the open cast on to the last raw row?
Gave up on finding that and just snipped a random row at the shoulder, unpicked it, and went to town.

I assume I did these on my SK155 as that's the only machine set up right now. Don't ask me the tension.
Wait a second. These were handknit. I started with one of the old fashioned ones. I knit them loose so that when they were washed, they'd shrink, but not get stiff. The top right, I got creative but the increases at the centre weren't quite right so it doesn't lay flat. The bottom left ended up being too big for a dishcloth. It's kind of halfway between a dishcloth  and a towel. Won't hang on my stove handle, but is a big soppy mess if used as a dishcloth.

I must have made these while sick/recovering in Feb/March. The two old fashion ones took 25gr each, the funky square was 35gr and the big one was 57gr. All total, 142gr.

Yarn In:     100gr
Yarn Out:      176gr+142gr=318gr
Balance:     218gr OUT
Costs:     $2.53/165 days= $0.015/day

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Red Scarves

I'm really behind on this year's Red Scarves for World AIDS Day. As in, I have only one done. It weighs in at 176gr. Made on the SK155.

Guess I should have cropped my feet out. I'm not even sure where it is right now to tell you more about it.

Yarn In:     100gr
Yarn Out:      176gr
Balance:     24gr OUT
Costs:     $2.53/149 days= $0.02/day

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Quick Mittens

A few years ago, I made a lot of sewn mittens from wool sweaters and other (usually recycled) materials. It was great how fast they were, but I didn't like the pattern design and I didn't like my finishing. Most recycled wool sweater mittens have you use a cuff and some are folded back up so it hides the awkward seam. I didn't want to be like everyone else.

Since then, I've gotten into the world of independent designers. Not people posting a free pattern on their blog, but real companies selling pdf sewing patterns of a professional quality. One of these designers has a mitten pattern that uses the mitten shape/design I like (thumb at the side).  And then it came on sale! Yes, I know, I could trace my hand...but what about all the different kindie kids that wear the spare mittens I bring for lunch supervision? I was going to become a mitten factory! I've got fleece, and wool sweaters, some thinner knits....Surely not every mitten opportunity has to be wool.

 I made this first pair, I don't remember what size. The outside is a fleece scarf from Value Village. I don't remember what the inside is. I think they were a little large for the kindies, but too small for me, so I put them on the mitten tree at the school.
I wanted a pair for myself. I found this black microfleece in my stash awhile ago. I think it was from Wazoodle back when they were Canadian. Not sure if I bought it or got it somewhere else. There's quite a bit of it though. I thought it would make great skating pants for Megan but she thinks they'd be too warm. Perfect for mittens then, right? The wool was a sweater that I had already used part of. I thought there was lots, but then found out there were raglan sleeve seams. In the end, I used it for only one side of the mitten. The inside is also the black microfleece.

These are quite warm. Not good for doing up kids' zippers and putting their own mittens on though. But they look nice with my black coat. You know, the coat for which I also knit bright green flip top mittens. The coat with no buttons so I can't wear it when it's cold, coat. Yeah.

I do want to make more. I think I serged these which was tricky around the thumb. Maybe I did most of it on the serger, but the thumb on the sewing machine. Now that we have the Consew industrial machine, I want to do more, but I need some finer thread.

The one drawback of the pattern is that it's sized by hand measurement, so if you're making for someone else, especially kids, ask around and find out what size kids' hands are.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Campfire Cardigan

This was one of those patterns that went viral. I don't remember where I first saw it--Instagram, Pinterest, blogs...At first, I thought "Ugh...oversized, the loose granny stitch won't make it warm..." etc. But then I started thinking maybe it would make a nice cozy cardigan, especially if I made it a smidge tighter gauge. And especially if I could use my stash. Not use my stash--not going to make it. So I had to find two yarns that would work well together.

I've had this "Highland Wool" for a long time. Back when they still had their awesome site instead of selling on Amazon. I paired it with some Noro "Kuryeon" that felt like a great match. I've had it forever too. Surprise!

 I love the plum colour!
Thumb holes specifically for my short arms!

The fit. Mmmm. Kind of hard to do a FBA on something like this. I know I did something to it so the fronts would be a bit wider. I think there's a link to suggestions in the pattern. And I made it longer. After my Einstein Jacket in 2007, I realized square things don't look good on me. I re-worked the sleeves quite a bit because I was running out of Noro and I wanted them tapered. And thumb holes! Why not? I think I tapered it a bit much but I needed to in order to make it slim enough for the hand.

The issue. It is WARM! But without buttons or a zipper, and because it does still have holes, it can't be worn in actual cold weather. So the days to really wear it seem to be few and far between. Add in the wild colours and the chance that I'm wearing something subdued enough to look okay under it?
I had some challenges with the hood because I had altered the sizing and shape a bit. Doubtful I'll ever use the hood but if I was camping and couldn't grab a hat, I guess I might.

 It is cozy though. And used up some well aged yarn. My yarn cubbies actually looked quite a bit emptier after. Enough so, that I combined a couple cubbies and bins, took one bin, and put all my serger cones in it. And some of the cubbies are still a little bare. I have a lot of odd balls and leftovers, which I keep in bins. I have some yarn that I bought multiple balls of the same colour, but they're in sealed bags, so why open them.  Maybe I'll turn another cubbie into sewing storage. Though I have enough storage for the sewing "extras"; it's the fabric that is filling up my storage space. I'll have to think about it.

Megan didn't like how I had been posing. Since she follows a lot of beauty bloggers on IG, I let her pose. She did pretty good! Thankfully she didn't steal the sweater. Actually, she asks me not to wear it most of time. It is a bit of a challenge to wear but I still like it.

The yarn totals were included in last year's totals. 615gr. I think I had five or six balls of Noro and a seemingly endless supply of the Highland Wool. I have a little bit left of it. Less than a ball, I think.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Green Mittens

I'm not 100% sure why I choose green. I do like the colour, but it means I can only wear them with my black coat, which I don't wear to my lunch supervisor job. They are Rowan Superwash Worsted, I believe, left over from custom Christmas stockings 2016. I made them two at a time on one circular--so that I could do the gusset shaping at the same time and not have to try to figure out what I did on the second one. However. Got to the flap business and apparently forgot that I do not have two right hands.

I fixed up the left one. I wasn't happy with how pointy the tips were, not my usual mitten style. But after re-knitting them a few times, I left it. And the thumbs are a smidge long. They are decent mitts though. We just had strange weather here. If it was really cold, I had to wear my work jacket as my black jacket has lost it's buttons. So I only wear it when it's warmer. When I wouldn't need 100% wool mittens.

I don't seem to have a finished picture. But they look basically the same, just one left and one right mitten. The totals were included in last year's totals even though I realized late on Dec 31 that I had goofed and it took a while to get back to them. I was almost done by the end of the year. They were 84gr.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I needed new swimsuits for the cruise. And I decided, since the average age on this cruise would be about 65, that I would give a bikini a shot again. First I made a one piece using my standard pattern. The colour is rather bland, though quite shiny. I used turquoise thread for the top stitching.
 I sent this to my husband and asked if he still thought the brown was boring. LOL. I don't seem to have a whole body picture. But it's Kwik Sew 3779, the same as these ones. I think I still need to add to the lower width and figure out a straighter curve for the centre edges. And why does it pull funny along the elastic?
 I made some adjustments to the cup portion of the pattern for the bikinis.
 When your beer matches your fabric...
 I learned how to make the fabric covered elastic straps from Ohhh Lulu! The part on the straps is partway through this video though I used info from the other parts too.
 Does this pillow make me look frumpy?

 And yes, I had a bit of an incident with slippage. Luckily it wasn't at the main pool!

 Next, I wanted to replicate a reversible bikini top I saw online, but I had a few other tweaks.
 I couldn't get the lower band to sew on straight so I eventually hand basted it.
 I loved how it was looking, but it just didn't work out. The straight tops across the cups wouldn't lay flat on me (the model had been much smaller and therefor the binding/straps were closer together). I don't have enough height in my bodice to make all the angles work properly.
 I did some fudging, adding the little pink ruffle and an upper portion, gave up on the reversible idea.

Still cute, right? I know I wore it on the cruise, but I don't see a picture.

I thought I had made another top, but maybe not. Even though it was a 10 day cruise, we didn't swim much. The pools were really cold when we got onboard, and the adult only Solarium pool never warmed up.