Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sneaking Them In

I've been working on some small items and while they're not all quite finished, they won't take long tonight/tomorrow.  So, I'm including them!

White Kitty 24gr
Abby Gloves 39gr
Allie Gloves 34gr
Boot Laces 30gr
Lisa Gloves 61gr
Sideways Mittens 68gr
Kroy Gloves 46gr
Lisa Trial Gloves 67gr
Blue Kroy Gloves 34gr
Pom Pom 30gr
Donated Yarn 33gr

Total: 466gr

Yarn In: 9989gr
Yarn Out: 466gr + 8806gr = 9272gr
Balance:  717gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:   $430.10 /365 days = $1.18/day

I think those are pretty reasonable totals.  The two mermaid blankets I'm working on now will use about 1500gr, and the hat and scarf set will use 300-400gr.  And all that is yarn I just bought recently.  So, I would say this year has a 0 net gain of yarn into the stash :) I just wish it looked like a 0 net gain LOL!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

One Last Time

I had hoped I could do the two new mermaid cocoons with what I had left over.  At least, I thought it would do for half of each cocoon.  After all, she did want them smaller and when I told her the light blue was probably not available, she said the dark blue was fine and I had two balls left over.

Then she tells me she wants them as big as the smaller one I made.  Oh, and wider towards the bottom.  And a bigger fin.

And then I get to Michaels and they have the Delft blue again.

So, I ended up with 5 balls Delft, 2 balls Waterfall, 1 ball Lagoon, and one ball Woollike in White.  A bit more than I wanted, but based on the weight of the other one, hopefully this all gets used up!  170gr x 8= 1360gr, + 100gr=1460gr.  $57.30

Yarn In: 1460gr + 8529gr = 9989gr
Yarn Out: 8806gr
Balance:  1183gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:  $57.30 + $372.80 = $430.10 /364 days = $1.18/day

I have some finished mittens and gloves to show, but I know they won't bring me up to 1183gr.  If Michaels' hadn't been having their big yarn sale, I wouldn't have bought the Mermaid yarns until after New Year's.  And, the annoying thing is, the sale price wasn't any better than any other time it's on sale, but who knows when the next time will be.  Perhaps, since this yarn was bought for a specific project, ordered before the end of the year, I should count the finished weight against this year's totals.  Along with Marianne's hat and scarf.  Or would that be cheating?  It is always nice to start the new year with a negative balance with the first project LOL.  I've been in a yarn deficit for much of this year, so I should be proud of that anyway!

Monday, December 28, 2015


I've written before about a wool I picked up at Wal-Mart, called "Georga", which said it is "mercerized".  That's a term that's used with cotton fibres, but not usually with wool.  Some people feel that means it's been treated to be superwash, however, at least one person has used it to make felted slippers.  Anyway, I was at "Giant Tiger" (better and bigger than a dollar store, but not huge like Wal-Mart), and they had some of this same yarn, but not called "Georga", just "100% Mercerized Wool".  One colour would be perfect for two projects I'm working on, so I grabbed it and a black and soft white.  $6 a 100gr ball.  Not the best deal, but it's wool, and beautiful colours!

I was hoping that would be the last of the yarn shopping this year, but the lady that bought the two mermaid blankets wants two more, and Michaels is having another big yarn sale this week.  Maybe they won't have any in stock and I'll have to go back NEXT year LOL.

Yarn In: 300gr + 8229gr= 8529gr
Yarn Out: 8806gr
Balance:  277gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $20.34 + $352.46=$372.80 /362 days = $1.03/day

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Two Mermaids

I received a second order for mermaid blankets, but these ones were to be totally different than the first.  She wanted the thicker, textured pattern that's out there...and for her girls that are 4'8" and 5'1" and done as cocoons.  In pastel green and blue.

I knew I would probably use LionBrand Homespun, depending on what was available, because I wanted both to be the same yarn.  When I went yarn shopping, there wasn't much selection in pastel colours!  I did pick out some Waterfall and Delft, three skeins of each.

What was I thinking?  No way would three balls be enough!

I started with the green one first, since it was going to be biggest.  I based the size on the pattern but it seemed huge.  And it went through the first skein of yarn very quickly.   I decided it would be much skinnier--closer to how a mermaid would be, I guess.  It is stretchy.

I did a lot of crocheting (2 strands, and the big blue hook--don't know the size), and a lot of uncrocheting.  Laying it out to measure was very different than putting it on and checking the length.  Plus I realized the feet needed some room too!

I went back to get more yarn, and I had an idea of starting off white two strands white, then one white, one colour, then two of the colour, then one of the colour and one darker, and then two of the darker.  But there was NO white Homespun!  And...there was no more Delft.  Not even a space on the shelf for it!!  I picked up a darker blue and figured I could do some blending towards the bottom.  And I picked up a darker blue-green for the fin.

Crochet.  Uncrochet.  Repeat.

I wasn't happy.  It was okay, but not spectacular.  What to do?!  And then I got sick.  And hubby wanted to go to Toronto to get a gift.  I made him stop at a Michaels on the way back and they had lots of Delft!  I grabbed ONE skein and got back to work.  And uncrocheting.  I was NOT going to get more, and I had to make sure there was enough for the tail, so I finished it then went back to the cocoon.

In the end, I'm glad I persevered.  There were some little things I would do differently, but they're pretty insignificant in the end.  The client wants two more for other grandchildren--I told her no more Delft though, LOL!

They look really long and skinny, but once on and the width is stretched, the length is shorter.  Green one was 770gr and the blue one was 764gr.  

Yarn In: 8229gr
Yarn Out: 1534gr + 7272gr = 8806gr
Balance:  577gr more USED than bought
Costs:  $352.46 /361 days = $0.98/day

Back in the "more used" side...but I did pick up three balls just before Christmas...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ummm. Yah.

Things did improve as far as the poor timing I was having in the past couple weeks.  But you know what happened instead?  I got sick.  And my son got sick (he's pretty solitary so he self-isolates LOL), and now my middle child is sick.  Ugh.

Kept working on those mermaid cocoons...many alterations.  Came to the realization that I just would not have enough of the blue, tried to introduce graduating stripes (AA, AB, AA, AB, AA, AB, BB, etc) but it wasn't good.  My husband insisted on going to Toronto on Sunday for a gift, and taking me along.  I realized that there was a Michaels in Pickering--half way between Toronto and home, but further than I would usually go to shop on a normal basis.  So, he nicely made the long detour off the highway and we found it, and indeed, they had quite a bit of Delft blue Homespun left!  I got just one skein.  When we finally got home (OMG, traffic in Pickering is crazy), I plowed ahead full steam.

As full steam as I could.

Monday I went to my doctor and got the diagnosis of "very very sick" and about five or six meds.  But stayed up late (I'm not really sleeping anyway, so why not stay up when it's quiet) and got them finished last night.  Photos taken this morning, and then they were picked up.  They are quite nice!   I also helped my youngest make a pair of the 4 Way Reversible Fingerless Gloves to give to her skating coach, but my lack of brain function meant I just couldn't get them finished.

Yarn In: 170gr + 8059gr =  8229gr
Yarn Out: 7272gr
Balance:  957gr more brought in then used
Costs:  $5.64 + $346.82 =$352.46 /356 days = $0.99/day

Thursday, December 17, 2015


I've been dreading this post.  I had to go back to Michaels to get more LionBrand "Homespun" in Delft and another colour because for some reason, I thought 3 skeins would be enough for a nearly adult size mermaid cocoon. Duh.  Just before I went, I had an idea that I could actually start with two strands white, work a bit, change to one strand white, one Delft, work a bit, two Delft, work a bit, one Delft, one darker blue, work a bit, then two darker blue--if  they didn't have any Delft left.

Well, they didn't have any Delft.  They didn't even have a spot for it.  What?!  It was about two weeks since I had bought it!

And.  They had no white.  None.  Nowhere.  I could however get three more of the light greenish colour I was also using, and three of a darker blue to go with the Delft I already had, with vision of either using one strand of each for the whole thing, or graduating as I got further down the cocoon (6x170gr)

I also searched each and every yarn for a fuchsia that was interesting, but not "blingy".  There were some gorgeous ones I eliminated because they were shiny, had sequins, or were mixed with other odd colours.  I settled on the lovely Loops & Threads "Charisma" (100gr x 3,  which comes in a nice solid and a variegated mix that actually matches the fuchsia (so many yarns don't match a solid colour) and the other colours in it are gray and charcoal, which is the other colours in the project.

And then I found the discount rack.  Oh dear.  A yarn I've never tried before, Loops & Threads "Mirage".  So soft, a thick and thin single ply.  Nice neutral colours.  I picked up 2 black, 2 white, 2 tan, 2 dark grey, 2 light grey (10x100gr=1000gr!).  Also, one ball of Loops & Threads "2nd Kiss" in black (85gr).  All these yarns I can when I work on the fuchsia project, and any similar multi-yarn textured infinity scarf/hat sets.

So...2405gr of new yarn!  Yikes!  Some is being used right away.  But still.  And then...I got sent some ladder ribbon yarn!

I can't find the Michaels' receipt at this moment, but it was $78.98 according to my credit card statement.  If I find the receipt I can probably return some of the LionBrand Homespun.  Or not.  LOL.

Yarn In: 2405gr + 5654gr = 8059gr
Yarn Out: 7272gr
Balance:  787gr more brought in then used
Costs:  $78.98 + $267.84 = $346.82 /351 days = $0.99/day

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

4 Way Fingerless Gloves Tutorial

Last post, I wrote about the development of these 4 Way Reversible Gloves.  Now, I'll share a bit more on how to make your own, with any yarn.

The most important tool is going to be your swatch.  The second most important thing is a schematic with all the important measurements.  For this, I highly recommend Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns".  I get a copy from my public library.
It has all the important measurements, for sizes from toddler to XL Man.  I don't usually look at the pattern as my gauge always seems to be something like 4.5st/inch and she includes only full stitch/inch (4 st/inch and 5st/inch).  I just take the measurements and my gauge and figure my own numbers, remembering to add 1 or two stitches if needed for seaming.  I recommend to use yarn that is not too thick.  Two layers of DK add up to worsted weight, but even using one worsted weight and one DK makes the gloves quite thick.  

Start with an open cast on with the required number of stitches for the wrist.  Using a tension a little bit tighter than your main tension (about MT-3), knit the length indicated by the pattern for the cuff. Change to the main tension, knit a row, and mark both edges.  Knit the height needed for the thumb gusset (make sure to use the right measurement from the schematic.  I have used the thumb length measurement before!), and place markers at the edge again.  

Look at your calculation for how many total rows you need.  For this, I look at the length needed before starting the mitten shaping.  I figure the tighter tension at the cuff and the top edge shortens it up a bit, and then I round down a row or too.  I like my fingerless gloves long, but other people like them shorter.  For charity, there is no right or wrong.  Depending on the size, take the last two inches of the mitten and tighten up the tension so it will be snug around the fingers.  If the mitten gives flipped upside down to wear, this will still give a nice cuff.

I tried two different ways to make the turning row.  The men's pair has a converted row, creating a ridge.  The lady's pair has an eyelet row (move 1 stitch over, place empty needle in work; repeat across).  When I did the converted row, I realized that it has to be one colour or the other, so take your pick.

Now, you're going to do all this again, but in reverse.  Using the gauge of your inside yarn and your measurements, knit about two inches at a tighter tension, then loosen up to the main tension and knit to the top of the thumb gusset.  Mark it, knit the gusset length, place another marker at the edges.  Knit 1 row and knit the required length of the cuff in the tighter tension.

If there is 1st/inch difference, or more, between the two yarns, you need to account for this.  I would recommend starting with the finer yarn, and then decreasing after the turning row.  Then you will need to increase on the last row of the cuff, so you have the same number of stitches as what you started with at the very beginning, to make for easier grafting.

Take it off on waste yarn, and make a second one.  Or, better yet, knit the waste yarn for about 8 rows, do a row of ravel cord, then knit 8 rows in waste yarn again.  Once off the machine, separate the two by the ravel cord.

Seam up the long side first, leaving the thumbs open between each set of markers.  Weave in any ends.  Then, tuck the one layer inside the other, matching up the open cast on with the open cast off and the thumb holes.  I found it helped to put each colour on a circular needle before grafting.  Pick one colour, and graft the cast on to the cast off.  Then, stitch the layers together around the thumb openings, so they don't shift.

The key to making them 4 way reversible, instead of just inside out reversible, is to make sure the thumb opening is not perfectly centred.  The amount of the cuff should be either a little bit more, or a little less than the amount above the thumb opening.  Having the thumb off centre means that when they're worn one way, they will be long over the fingers, and when they're worn the other way, they will be shorter over the fingers.

Over Christmas, I'll knit another pair and take pictures of this process :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Stay Warm

Late one night, I had this idea.  I love using my LK150, but it doesn't have a ribber and converting ribbing gets tedious.  I wanted to make some fingerless gloves.  I want to make a lot of fingerless, to sell, to donate, to have at school for the kids I supervise who come with those cheap stretchy gloves.  But if I just make a stockinette tube, it will curl at the top and bottom.

I've posted the tutorial at and it's also on Ravelry now!  If you try it, please post your project on Ravlery!

If I made a tube though, and turned half of it to the inside, and grafted the cast on and cast offs together, then they wouldn't curl and wouldn't need ribbing, would be really warm, and could be reversible!!  I love reversible things!

It took a while before I could put this idea into action.  One night, I just had to start.  I did a swatch and let it rest.  Did the math the next day, and knit the first tube.  I planned to use tighter tension at the wrist and top..slightly longer at the wrist.

Well....of course, it wasn't a tube, LOL.  It was a long rectangle.  I put markers where I wanted the thumb gussets to be, and convert the turning row to garter stitch.  Did the second one.  Sat down to sew them up.

Which to do first?  Sew the side, or graft the bottom?  I started off by grafting the bottom, so my rectangle was folded cast off to cast on, purl sides together.  No problem grafting that.

Then I realized, I wouldn't be able to put it on the machine to knit the thumb gussets!

So, I tried sewing the second one with the side seam first.  No, I wouldn't be able to put that back on the machine for the gusset either.  Well, I might have, I"m not sure, but I didn't pursue it because I was not unstitching the first one, so these ones would be thumbless.  Then I realized I really needed to stitch the sides together around the thumb opening.

I had Rob try them on.  He felt that with the longer snug section at the wrist, that they were too long over the fingers.  He flipped them around and because the thumb opening was not centered, now the portion over the fingers was shorter.  He liked them that way.  I realized that now they could be worn FOUR different ways!

I also had to make a pair for women, as part of a gift exchange game.  I had intended to use similar yarn as the green pair (I think they are Zara (the charcoal) and Georga ) but I really wanted to do a reflective yarn.  Which is much thicker.  I pulled out this Moda Dea "Washable Wool" which is also thick.

Immediately, trying to swatch the Reflective on the LK150, I knew it wasn't going to work.  So, I dug out the SK155 which was on the backside of the table and they swapped places.  I still had to get the tension up to T8 for it to feel smooth.  The reflective strand in this yarn has NO stretch, so it's not really well suited for the knitting machine.  I left the swatch over night.

I did the numbers.  There was definitely a gauge difference between the yarns.  I wanted an eyelet turning row this time, but if I  started with  the Reflective, then I would need to increase after the eyelets when I switch to the beige.  No problem.

I got the first one done.  Ho hum.  Beige.  Yawn.  I knew I had to spice it up.  I tried a Fair Isle punch card with the second one, but between trying to figure out which row to put the dark brown, and a child talking to me, and figuring which row I was on for changing the tension...I messed it up.  It did show me though that I was on the right track.  I ripped back both of them and simplified the Fair Isle, which just happened to fit exactly in the 11 row section now.  I also realized that because I had increased stitches for the beige, I would need to decrease back down to the original number in the purple half, so I wouldn't have to do the decreases while grafting.  I was really proud of myself for figuring that one out before I was actually trying to do the  grafting!

This time, I decided to do the thumb gussets right away, before seaming.  A few false starts since I haven't done this in a while.  However, once I had the first one sewn up, I realized that the two layers of worsted yarn were just too thick around the thumb, especially with having a seam on each thumb.  I ripped all the thumbs out!  Again, being thumbless, they can now be worn four ways!

 It's so hard to capture the reflective nature of this yarn!  Will this catch your eye at the edge of the road at night?  I see too many people out in the dark, wearing dark clothes!

I have been a little envious when I see other knitters selling items with a nice wrapper.  My computer skills are not all that great (and my computer is very outdated now), but I really wanted to give it a try.  It went surprisingly well, and my daughter had a couple tips too.  Printed "landscape" mode, these fit perfectly around the gloves.  I did forget however to include the yarn content.

You might not be able to see it, so click for a larger version.

My cousin opened this during the game and commented that he didn't know I had my own business selling things--he saw how nice they were wrapped and thought they were store bought!  Awesome!  Mission accomplished!  He said they will be very handy but might get caulking on them.  I said that's fine!  I want my knit items to be used and appreciated, not put on display.  I can always make more!

Green/charcoal ones are 114gr and the beige/purple ones are 133gr

Yarn In: 5654gr
Yarn Out: 247gr + 7025gr = 7272gr
Balance:  1618gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $267.84 /348 days = $0.77/day

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I Hate Weeks Like These

The past two weeks have just been one annoyance after another.  Timing errors mainly.  And some, not errors, but just bad timing not in my control.

On Tuesday  I was waiting for a package to be delivered.  I'm SO excited about this package, but it should have it's own post.  I also had to go out.  So I checked my phone and my emails, saw nothing from the shipper, and went out.  It took longer than I expected and when I got home...yup.  A notice saying I had missed the delivery.  But I could pick it up at a gas station, 6km from my home, approximately 11 minutes according to Google.  But at a "bad" intersection, the type of location that you can get into from only certain directions unless you make radical lane changes and cut someone off...At least 15 minutes.  The notice said after 12pm the next day.

So, Wednesday, I went straight from my lunch supervision job (get out at 12:10).  First I stopped at my physiotherapist and paid a bill, then I headed on to the gas station.  Got there at 12:30.  They had had their shipment drop off for the day--and my package wasn't there!

Today, my daughter wanted to go to the walk-in clinic because her ear has been hurting.  It is in a mall next to this gas station (but you can't get from one to the other!).  Got to the walk-in clinic.  They were having a staff lunch party and would be closed for another 45 minutes.  Drove over to the gas station and got gas (4 cents a litre more than yesterday!) and went in for the package.

It wasn't there again!!

Came home, had all the after school madness, searched my email for a tracking number (came up with three numbers), tried to track it online, but it said I was not home for the delivery on Tuesday and there was no further tracking.  Had to try a couple times but finally got through to customer service who was very helpful, though she could not tell me where the package was, she said it was in the system to be delivered to my door tomorrow.

We'll see.

And yes, the package is knitting related!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


Mermaid blankets have been the hot ticket on the internet this fall.  I had put my hand up a few times when I'd seen inquiries, but without one already completed, most people passed me by.  Finally, I hooked (get it?) someone!

She wanted one like but in pinks and purples and maybe a little glittery white.  No problem!  I love making girly items!  I was surprised though at how little plain worsted weight yarn I have in pinks and purples, that actually looked good together...and was in large enough quantities!  I started out, made a few tries...too wide...the white with silver thread didn't look right (too harsh!)...not enough of the dark purple I had, etc.

I had hoped to carry the yarns up the sides, but I had chosen an odd number of colours/pattern, and with each colour being just one row, it wasn't working out.  Tangles, too much extra yarn to carry around, etc.  So, I cut the yarn for each row!

I love the photographer's secret technique I used to suspend the tail so I didn't have to photograph it entirely flat!

The final colour pattern I settled on was a 7 row repeat.  Long enough to make it look almost random.  There are actually two different pinks used, one matte and one shiny but almost identical in colour.
I got carried away with crocheting, and totally forgot to decrease for the bottom area!  The good thing was that by tapering it down, the yarn went further than before and the length ended up even better.
I was worried about it being too skinny so to tidy up the side edges, I did a few rows of the shell stitch up the sides, before sewing up the back bottom for about 10".  I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of that!  It seems some mermaid tail patterns create a sort of sleeping bag design, and others are flat like a blanket.  This pattern is a blanket style (it was supposed to be 50" wide!), and then stitched together at the bottom back to taper it in and create a cozy pocket for the feet.  Then the tail is sewn to the bottom, closing off the pocket at the same time.
I gave it a good steaming to relax the shell stitches and soften the acrylic yarns.
 I think the fin took two attempts, the first one being too big and only getting a row or so in.  However, the second half of the fin--the increasing half on the right, took several attempts.  I just couldn't get it increasing enough to match the decrease half and I was 10 stitches short by the time I got back to the dark purple!
I ran a piece of yarn through the top of the tail to gather it in, and folded the sides over a bit before sewing it on the bottom.
To add a little dimension, I did every right side row around the post of the DC of the stitch below.  Back to front? to create a chain ridge.  I like how when I changed colours it created a neat effect.

If I ever make this again, I will limit the number of yarns/colour repeat.   I actually had only four yarns in the body, which is good.  The pattern called for three, I think, and odd numbered repeats are usually more eye pleasing.
I am working on some more, but this time as a tube style, using two strands of LionBrand Homespun, one colour only!  So much faster!!

Yarn In: 5654gr
Yarn Out: 364gr + 6661gr = 7025gr
Balance:  1371gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $267.84 /342 days = $0.78/day

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Next Generation

All three of my kids have tried knitting.  My oldest, Hugh, did a bit and said "nah".  Lucy learned, made a simple scarf, then did a couple fun fur scarves (that still need to be sold), her cat, and a hippo.  She started another cat but hasn't gotten very far.  She learned the purl stitch, short rows, increasing, decreasing, and figured out for herself that holding the yarn in the left hand made the most sense.  She's used circular needles, and I think she used them to do magic loop when she made the hippo.

Megan.  She is a dreamer, a creator, an inventor...but also was about 5 points below the cutoff for ADHD.  Her planning skills are weak.  She loves to start, and has a great mental picture...but lacks the stamina and skills to work it through.  She started knitting and I thought a dishcloth would be it.  Then she wanted to make mittens last winter, and I was a little worried.  I knew she couldn't handle the purl stitch yet, so I got her going on the garter stitch, sideways mittens.  She really did great, but well, making two identical mittens can be a challenge for even experienced knitters.  I did end up finishing them for her.

It's winter again.  She wants a new scarf/neckwarmer/cowl.  So she went to the basement and rooted through and came up with this really thick grey yarn and another yarn that I didn't really think she'd like.  Another search and she chose this bright blue.  Not really what I would have picked to go with her coat, but she liked it.  I wish I had looked for the yarn she used for the mitts but I figured this was just going to be a passing interest LOL.

I casted on and she started and after a couple rows we decided she should be using larger needles, so we did that gradually over a couple rows.

I think we were both surprised when she had it finished really quickly.  Like, less than two weeks!

 The grey is called "Pow Wow Machine Washable Indian Type Yarn", I think the brand is Kinsie.  It was made in Canada and has 25% wool.  The blue was a cheap acrylic.  It weighed in at 77gr.  Which is no where enough to make a dent at what I bought at Michaels last week!  I think I might be over what I've used up now.  But the year isn't finished!!

Yarn In: 5654gr
Yarn Out: 77gr + 6584gr = 6661gr
Balance:  1007gr more used UP than brought in
Costs:  $267.84 /340 days = $0.79/day