Tuesday, December 29, 2009

babette blanket part deux

At the end of my foray into needle felting I was left twiddling my thumbs. My arms have been getting stronger, but knitting & crochet are still out. So, I went down to the basement and pulled out a UFO that's been waiting to be sewn together, the Babette Blanket # 2. I started the project in 2006 and made enough squares for 2 lap blankets. I split up the squares and the large ones became their own blanket, which is mostly finished, but was a little damaged in the wash (blush, I am so ashamed, I committed fibre abuse).  The second, the one above, consists of the small & medium sized squares. So I've been seaming away for the last week, joining the squares into little strips of 4 units. There are enough squares to make a blanket 8 units by 10 units, so not a bad size. The strips have been put together in no particular order for photography.

Needle Felted X-Mas Lights for Wreath

Hi!  long time no see! My arms are on the mend, but I still can't knit. Needle felting was the first thing I could do with my hands and I went at it with gusto! I started with some applique and moved on to more sculptural projects, including  Needle Felted X-Mas Lights for Wreath. I was supposed to make a braided Challah Bread for my mom for Hanuka but I've had problems working out how to make a base for it and it did not happen in time. I think I can use pantyhose stuffed with fiber-fill as the initial form to build on.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FREE Pattern: Quick & Easy Christmas Stocking

stocking by you.

Quick + Easy Christmas Stocking

by Haley Waxberg

This pattern is basically an oversized, easy-peasy, toe-up sock.

Back Story
Requests have been coming in for my Christmas Stocking pattern ever since I took a tumble 2 and a half weeks ago and was unable to type it up. Well, my poor little broken arms are on the mend and now that I've weaned myself off the narcotics (strictly for medical use) and I've got mental faculties back - for the most part.

A number of people have very discretely inquired about my motivations on this project, since I'm Jewish and all. Last year I celebrated Christmas with my boyfriend and his family, I got my very own stocking and I thought it was the cat's meow! The only thing that didn't appeal to me was the aesthetic, which seems to involve an unusual level of kitsch for WASPs (especially for my boyfriend's ultra fashionable mom). Before we even sat down for dinner I was planning a stocking for myself.

Now, this story isn't just about me and my secret and taboo jewy desire to carve out a piece of Christmas for myself.  After my brother got married this summer my parents started socializing with his in-laws (better know as the 'outlaws'). Anticipating that Christmas would on their calendar this winter, I thought it would be very nice for them arrive to a warm reception with their very own, personalized stockings. All of this was easy, until I started researching what a stocking should look like. Everyone had a different description and each was Canonical (as in written in blood, sweat, tears, and then etched stone). So this is a Jewish girl's take on how she thinks a Christmas stocking can look great. It's like a big version of the Whos's stockings from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." If you find it too big you can either make it shorter or stuff the toe with tissue paper.  That said, I think that my stocking is so nice that you are going to want to replace your mungy old things, or convert. ;-)

7" wide
22" long

10mm-16" circular needles (or 5 double pointed needles or a 36" long circular needle for magic loop)
1 skein Cascade Magnum or Brown Sheep Burly Spun
3 Jumbo Locking Stitch markers
10mm crochet hook (for cast on)
scrap yarn, super bulky
jumbo tapestry needle

Optional Materials for Applique
Felting needles
Felting mat or dense sponge
Lamb's Pride Bulky, Creme
Straight pins

10 sts & 12 rows = 4"/10cm

k             knit
k2tog       knit 2 sts together
M1           make 1: lifted stitch increase
p             purl
p2tog       purl 2 sts together
PM           place marker on the needle
R             row or round
sl            slip (the stitch)
sl m         slip marker
st/s         stitch/es
w & t       wrap & turn (short rows)

Provisional Cast-on

Short Rows

Short Row Heel Tutorial (how to make the sts pretty)

M1 Increase


Needle Felting



Using scrap yarn and a provisional cast-on technique, cast on 12 sts.
R1: P 1 row.
R2: K until 1 st remains, w & t.
R3: P until 1 st remains, w& t.
R4: K until 2 sts remain, w & t.
R5: P until 2 sts remain, w& t.
R6: K until 3 sts remain, w & t.
R7: P until 3 sts remain, w& t.
R8: K until 3 sts remain, unwrap next st & knit the wrap together with the st, w & t next st. (to make the decrease look prettier you should manually switch the position of the stitch and the wrap/s so that the stitch is closer to the exterior of the stocking and then work them together)
R9: P until 3 sts remain, unwrap next st & purl the wrap together with the st, w & t next st.
R10: K until 2 sts remain, unwrap next st & knit the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R11: P until 2 sts remain, unwrap next st & purl the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R12: K until 1 st remains, unwrap next st & knit the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R13: Sl 1st st, p until 1 s remains, unwrap next st & purl the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R14: Sl 1st st, k to end of row, pm #2,pick up & knit st. s from provisional cast-on, pm #1.  Marker # 1 is the start of the round.
R15: knit.
R16: M1, k to next marker, sl m, M1, k to next marker. (26 sts)
R17: knit.
R18: K to marker, M1 sl m, k to marker, M1, sl m. (28 sts)
R19: K7, place marker #3, knit to end of round. Change colours at marker #3, Marker # 3 is beginning and end of round.

Continue to knit in the round until piece measures 8" from edge of toe.

R1: K to 1 st before marker #2, w & t.
R2: P to 1 st before marker #1, w & t.
R3: K to 2 sts before marker #2, w & t.
R4: P to 2 sts before marker #1, w & t.
R5: K to 3 sts before marker #2, w & t.
R6: P to 3 sts before marker #1, w & t.
R7: K to 3 sts before marker #2, unwrap next st & knit the wrap together with the st, w & t next st.
R8: P to 3 sts before marker #1, unwrap next st & knit the wrap together with the st, w & t next st.
R9: K to 2 sts before marker #2, unwrap next st & knit the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R10: P to 2 sts before marker #1, unwrap next st & knit the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R11: K to 1 st before marker #2, unwrap next st & knit the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.
R12: Sl 1st st, P to 1 st before marker #1, unwrap next st & knit the wraps together with the st, w & t next st.

Heel Gusset
R13: Sl 1st st, k to marker #2, remove marker, pick up & knit 2 sts in the gap, pm, k to marker #1, pick up & knit 2 sts in the gap, k to marker #3.

Knit until leg measures 17" from base of heel (measured from 1" in).
Next Row: Shift marker #3 1 st to left, then cast off until 3 sts remain, k the 3 sts.
Working on the 3 remaining sts, make an I-Cord for 5".
Next Row: k2tog, k1, lift 1st st over 2nd st. Cut yarn, leaving about 8" for seaming.

Wave in ends.
Sew I-cord to cast off edge of stocking to form a loop.

To add applique, pin yarn bulky weight yarn in place, the way you want it. Place felting mat in place inside the stocking. Poke the yarn in place with the felting needle (only into the section covered by the mat). Move the mat around as needed.

x-mas stocking stripes by you.
Materials for Striped Stocking A

Cascade Magnum in:
  • Red 9431

Brown Sheep Burly Spun in:
  • BS23 Fuchsia
  • BS120 Limeade
  • BS78 Aztec turquoise
  • BS38 Lotus Pink

Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky:
  • M145 Spice
  • M187 Turquoise Depths

stocking pink by you.
Materials for Striped Stocking B

Brown Sheep Burly Spun in:
  • BS23 Fuchsia
  • BS05 Black
  • BS38 Lotus Pink
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky:
  • M145 Spice
  • M81 Red Baron
stripey yellow stocking by you.
Materials for Striped Stocking C

Cascade Magnum in:
  • Red 9431
Brown Sheep Burly Spun in:
  • BS23 Fuchsia
  • BS120 Limeade
  • BS78 Aztec turquoise
  • BS38 Lotus Pink
  • BS10 Creme
  • BS155 Lemon Drop
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky:
  • Spruce (discontinued, sub M16 Seafoam)
  • M105 RPM Pink
stripey stocking orange by you.
Materials for Striped Stocking D

Brown Sheep Burly Spun in:
  • BS180 Ruby Red
  • BS05 Black
  • Bs10 Creme
  • BS191 Kiwi
Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky:
  • M105 RPM Pink
  • M187 Turquoise Depths
  • M28 Chianti
  • M22 Autumn Harvest
  • M34 Victorian Pink
Copyright © 2009 Knit-O-Matic, all rights reserved. No pattern of other material may be reproduced or distributed - mechanically, electronically, or by other means, including photocopying - without written permission of Knit-O-Matic. Pattern is for personal use only and not to be used to create items for commercial sale. Author Haley Waxberg. For pattern corrections see our website at www.knitomatic.com.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Tuesday, December 08, 2009

    A quick snack before bed; here is a list of Stitch Diva's Top 10 Last Minute Chirstmas Gifts to knit and crochet (from last year). 

    i would knit comfy socks (& update on my progress)

    if i could knit i would be making Comfy Socks on 8mm needles with 2 skeins of Malabrigo Aquarella or Fleece Artist Slubby Blue ....

    .... or Clafoutis Bed Socks on 5.5mm or 6mm needles in:
    And a quick update about my poor little arms ... they are doing quite well!

    the wrappings on the right arm were getting loose and i was curious so i got sneaky and took them off to inspect the damage. there really isn't much, a pristine incision and some steri strips. pretty remarkable, eh?! the right arm really does not look orthopedic surgery-esqe. it just has a big band-aid on it now to protect the incision, hardly looks broken at all. 

    the left wrist is more interesting. the cast was getting loose so i went back to th fracture clinic this morning and it was a sight when they took it off. it's swollen & bruised, as expected, but the sight was 3 hooks sticking out of the skin!  i sure did not expect to see that. i wonder how they will be extracted in the end?  will i need more surgery or will they just be yanked out with a pair of pliers?  i am getting the impression that orthopedic surgery is a field indirectly related to construction. 

    anyway, when i saw my wrist i almost passed out.i don't know if it was from the sight or the rush of pain. in retrospect i suspect it was the pain, but at the time i just kept trying to envision grosser things than my limp, iron-maiden hand. i grew up next door to a reconstructive surgeon and the pictures in the trade magazines lying around his house were always a strong incentive to stay out of trouble.  after a few seconds of evaluating my proximity to fainting i gave up and the very nice casting tech, Phil, suggested i lie down. so in the end i did not faint at the sight of my hideous appendage. i guess this story only has a modest amount of value. 

    anyway, i have to get back at it!  i'll be back at work tomorrow, wednesday, on my normal schedule until sunday. so see ya later gator!  ;-)

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Saturday, December 05, 2009

    if my hands could knit i would make for the holidays

    i would make another Urchin  .....

    or an Unoriginal Hat ....

    using the new Fleece Artist Slubby Blue
    • 100% Blue Face Leicester Wool
    • 100m/109yds

    stripey blue x-mas stocking

    stripey blue x-mas stocking

    today was my first day back at work since i went humpty-dumpty down the stairs a week ago. things went pretty well with my lovely assistants rosie and john. i came in this morning to a gorgeous get-well gift basket from hans & eden over at scratch. ohh lala, it was huge, i'm still afraid to open it for fear that i'll be crushed in the avalanche of cookies, bon-bons, and chocolate covered nuts. i tried a little knitting but my left wrist isn't strong enough yet. i tired doing some knitting on my little addi knitting machine but it kept dropping stitches and i gave it a rest. i'm seriously jonesig to knit. it was so hard coming in this morning, looking at the wall of yarn, thinking of all the things i'd like to make to show you, but not being able to execute. i'm so jealous of you! ;-)

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    stripey yellow x-mas stocking with sock monkey bum

    stripey yellow x-mas stocking with sock monkey bum. 

    i'm going to stretch out last week's x-mas stocking production because i've been out of commission this week. this one turned out especially, i just used 'scrap' yarn for it. of course, using up the bits & bobs inevitably leads to buying more to fill in the gaps. now my 'srap' bag is overflowing more than ever before. ;-)

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    x-mas spirit

    this is my designey coloured x-mas stocking. before i fell and banged myself up i was deep into x-mas stockings. they are fast, easy, fun to make and so very pretty!  they only take me a few hours, i make them on 10mm-16" circular needles just like a short row, toe-up sock (start with 12 sts).

    i did it!

    P1010016 by you.

    i can still knit!  i came in to work today to hang out and finally gave in and gave it a try. it's slow going, but i did it in a cast and with 2 broken arms!  go me!  tomorrow i go in for surgery, maybe my new bionic arms will knit even better and faster than before?

    i look like total dreck, but i managed to feed AND wash myself today. the coif has everything left to be desired and i do not photograph well without makeup - this is what i looked like in jr. high. but i made it in, went out to buy a chai, and sat around laughing for 3 and a half hours. go me!

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    Knit-O-Matis is OPEN!

    Hi all!

    As you may or may not have heard i took a little spill last Saturday and broke both of my arms. I am scheduled for a minor operation on Thursday and will be back at work on Saturday with a few helpers. I'll likely be back to mostly normal in 2 weeks. In the interim the store is OPEN for business as usual, Liane is there to help you out and if there is anything she needs help with she can reach me by phone.

    Thanks for sticking by us in our time of need and happy holiday knitting!

    ~ Haley

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Old Fashioned Cabled Stole

    I finished my Old Fashioned Cabled Stole last night!  It really did not take too much time at all. I will publish the pattern as soon as my little fingers can muster the energy. It's a take on a keyhole scarf, except that both the ends have a little tunnel, that you thread the opposite end through. Pretty cool if I don't say so myself.

    The mannequin is a size 6, but the thing stretches and is a very malleable garment that can be worn around your neck or shoulders in all kinds of flattering ways. I am a size 10 and my shoulders are proportionally small in relation to my boobies, so I am inclined to wear it a bit higher up around my neck & shoulders. Of course, if you are plus sized it is very easy to add extra inches to the circumference by adding a few inches to the main section while you are knitting. If you want it longer, add some extra stitches to the sections on either side of the cable.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Jacket With No Name

    The Jacket with No Name is finished and looks great in the Malabrigo Chunky! If i was to do it again i would skip the double seed stitch and either work the textured parts in seed stitch, reverse stocking stitch or garter stitch. also, i'd do the collar by picking up all the neck sts and doing short rows (if you do it you'll see what i mean) - garter stitch would definitely be helpful.

    An Abundance of Hats

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Sockhead Alert!

    Check out Matt's (from manspun yarns) Sockhead Hat! he is using Misti Baby Alpaca Handpainted Sock Yarn in the colour 'bird of paradise' (I'm waiting for more of it to come in, it's back-ordered).  You can follow his progress on Ravelry, and the free pattern is HERE.

    I Love Only Gold!

    Finito! The Solid Gold Beret!  It is way too big for my poor little head, but it looks good and I've sized the pattern down.  The yarn is soft, pretty, comfortable, and you should see how it sparkles in the light at night!

    Actually, what I really love is Black!  This is  a version of the above in a smaller size (S) and the black on black Lanalux.  It is my black bullion beret. Strangely, the black was a thicker yarn than the gold, so I made it on slightly larger needles. bizzarre!

    I think that this hat might be a good archetype to display different yarns, so I'm planning on making one in the Lana Grossa Pashmina Cashmere, Noro Silk Garden, Dream in Color Classy and Malabrigo Worsted. The pattern is/will be available in the store and when I'm sure that I've worked out the kinks I'll put it up for sale as a PDF download online through Ravelry.

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Solid Gold!

    I bought gold yarn!  And Silver Yarn too!  But I know that most of you judge blingy yarns and that my choice needs an explanation.  Kristen and I were visiting the distributor last weekend and while we were there she spied a display of new yarn and fell in love. I probably would not have even noticed the stuff, since I'm usually considering the needs & desires of the majority (plus their sample was knit up in a really ugly colourway, black on metallic purple - it looked like a disco vomited). Kristen has a good eye for nice yarn and GREAT taste in clothes, so I looked at it more seriously.  It has a metallic chainette core which is surrounded in a dusting of soft, fuzzy stuff. The effect is a muted magpie, just enough glitter, but you don't feel like you are staring directly at the sun.

    The stuff is called Lang Lanalux and I'm making a gold beret for the store, inspired by the metalic berets that have been swimming around the fashion pages for the last 3 years or so. You may not have noticed it, it's not a dominant trend, but it's interesting enough to file itself away in my memory. See below, a gold beret from Burbery Prorsum's Spring 2006 show.

    Burbery Prorsum Spring 2006 RTW

    But what really comes to mind when I think of gold is a show I used to watch when I was a kid, a music show called Solid Gold from the early 80s. The premise of the show  was to choreograph dancers (the solid gold dancers, see below) in skimpy, skin-tight costumes to snippets of pop music, from the billboard hits of the week. I'd say I endured the show more than liked it, I was a lazy kid, but I have a vivid memory of a group of women in tight, gold satin pants gyrating around a feature on the set and then writhing on the floor. This hat is dedicated to slinky, big-haired women of Solid Gold. The yarn isn't exactly 'solid' gold, but it's my Solid Gold Beret. http://theblogbloglog.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/solid-gold.jpg
    The Solid Gold Dancers, decked out in their solid gold regalia.

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    beret city

    This is my Parisian Beanie Beret (raspberry beret) from Stitch Diva Designs - almost finished except for another round or two of decreases  and some ends woven in. I was working on it while in line at the flu clinic on Monday (don't go to the one at Yonge & Eglinton, what a mess). I made some good progress on it, almost finished except I RAN OUT OF YARN! I finished it yesterday, it is drying right now. It looks really big!  I think it may have been a mistake to knit it in a superwash yarn. After you wash a superwash it can often loosen up a bit, and I think that because this hat is knit on 6mm needles that a yarn that has a more consistent body would be a good idea. Maybe a Malabrigo Worsted or Lamb's Pride Bulky. Otherwise, i think it would be a good idea to change the needle size and use 5.5mm or maybe even 5mm. But I'll get back to you with the final pics and how I feel about it.

    Hey, by the way, I taught myself how to knit with gloves on! The trick is to wear those thin, lycra stretchy one size mini-gloves. The ones at H&M are pretty good.

    Poppies for Remembrance Day

    I've been knitting Poppies for my family. Sorry about the lame picture, I've lost my light for the day and I'll try and take a better picture when the sun comes back (Red is also always hard to shoot). The picture above is one I made with some scrap Mission Falls 1824 Wool in 29 Raspberry (which I could have used in my hat above!). The mission falls was OK, but I really preferred the ones I made with Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Worsted. I'll get some pics of those too. The Lamb's Pride held it's shape better, the colour was better too and it's slightly fuzzy quality is appealing after it's finished.  Oh, one thing about the poppies: use 3.75/5" double pointed needles! The pattern calls for 2.75mm and I found it impossible.  And by the way, I beaded the centre, just cause I like pretty things. ;-) Anyway, the things are small, fast, and satisfying. Plus, you won't lose your poppy or stick yourself! Just be sure to make a donation to the Veterans who are selling the poppies, the little plastic flower are a form of fundraising for them.

    Cute Baby Update

    There's nothin' like a little bit o' cute on a grey day! Here are the pictures I promised you of the Little Devil Hat I made for Harlow. The hat is so cute that I might make one for my Sister-in-law's nephew, Liam, who is 17 months old. Liam is one of those really fun kids that everyone loves because they're so easygoing and interact with everyone. He's got 2 words right now, 'this' and 'that', and I was charmed when he asked me to take a ride in his little plastic car by pointing at it and saying "this!". I also developed some affection because he was perfectly ok with my only being able to get my head and right arm into the vehicle. Crazy Kids.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    new projects

    OK, first off, you may enjoy a new podcast called MustStashYo (pronounced 'moustachio') from Cindy & Mat, the creative forces behind Studioloo and Manspun yarns. It's about fibre arts (Kniting & Spinning), moustaches, and telling stories. Cindy & Matt's perspective on fibre arts and their weekly projects and product pics are great, but what i really love are their stories! It's hard for them to suppress their rich inner lives and their podcast is exactly what it's like to hang out with them - which is fun, interesting and entertaining. I took them to the gym with me last night

    i am feeling a little uninspired, but that's ok, everyone has flat moments. i've been keeping busy, working on things for the store and myself.

    Finished Project: Candy Corn Hat in Malabrigo Chunky
    first off, it is supposed to be whimsical, oversized and silly, so don't be jumpin' on me with all your pessimistic naysaying.  if you want a practical, normal fitting candy corn hat work 2.25" in yellow, 2.25" in orange and the rest in cream.

    Finished Project: Lil' Devil Baby Hat
    i made this for harlow, my little freind next door at Scratch. i don't often make stuff for people because i don't have tons of time but Harlow's lucky and caught me in the creative blahs. i was also thinking about halloween projects. i will try to get a pic of her  wearing the hat.

    Ongoing Project 1: Rocketry in boy colours for the store
    you must be so tired of looking at these, but i have to do them to make kits. Aside from that, they are fast & satisfying little projects.

    parisian beret by you.

    Ongoing Project 2: Parisian Beanie Beret (raspberry beret) for me
    I don't know if this one is going to be a happy story. the ribbing is ok work, not really fun, but it's short. , the increase row between the ribbing and the body of the hat had me counting down the number of stitches left because my hands hurt. the following row (1st row of the chart) is also brutal to work. hopefully this is because i am changing from a 4mm to a 6mm needle and the following rows with cable twists will be easier. Thus far i'm recommending the pattern for the hard core knitter with great dexterity.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    high profile

    just a quickie update, i a due at the dentist soon, but i made the paper today!


    refers to my late Wychwood Beautification Project

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    finished objects

    why do they call them 'finished objects'? is it objectification? any why do knitters personalize their work by giving it a name and referring to it with a pronoun, 'her' & 'him'? deeeep thoughts ...... ;-) my stupid but valuable printer is not talking to my computer, i am in printer hell, i need a Valium, or at least a chamomile tea. definitely a chai latte.

    i finished the rusty tulips this week. i'm really happy with the colours, it's looking super cute and not predictable.

    Saturday, October 10, 2009


    i'm thinking about halloween projects for the store, but i'm really not sure what suits my mood. there is a store-front down the street that has a bunch of super-cute little needle felted gosties haunting a dead tree.

    ghosties by you.

    ghosties 4 by you.

    Here are a few ideas i'm throwing around for the store ..... i'm not really sure how i feel about this stuff. the things i've always liked about halloween are the candy and the opportunity to dress up like a sleaze.

    i love a good voodoo doll for sure!

    Gruesome Eyeballs
    eyeballs are ok, but i prefer the drama of the spirit world over gore. still, quick & dirty.

    Felted Skull
    skulls are ok, memento mori and all. i could re-use them every year, and lynne would probably enjoy decorating her christmas tree with them in the off season.

    who doesn't want a sqiud hat? i might just make one for my parents, just for the hell of it. it is guaranteed to be used, it'll be pulled out of the closet every time they have a friend over to their place for dinner, just like that dumb bob marley hat they got in morocco (it's a crocheted cap in rasta colours with straggly braids attached around the periphery) ... maybe i should make them an improved bob marey hat, with a big, full craneum and lots of luscious, crocheted dreads?