Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Knitting Parade

I was going to try and get a picture of everyone in their holiday gifts this year but .... yeah, that didn't happen. They weren't going to be good pics anyway since the gift opening took place at night or at day break. 

My family celebrates both Channukah and Christmas, but I don't have it in me to make everyone two gifts. Everyone gets one handknit on the holiday of the religion they were born into. The exception I'm willing to make is my niece Lucy, who is presently very, very cute, and technically was also born into two faiths.  But mostly because she's cute and I luuuuuuv her. :-)

So lets start the parade .....

Let's lead with the best, shall we?  This is Irving, a cabled hat pattern by Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed, made for my new beau.  Meeting someone new right before the holidays is a tricky thing. You don't really know them well, you want to show them you are into them, but you can't overdo the gift or they'll feel pressured. It's a balancing act, and I've gotta say, I'm really glad I'm a knitter because it makes choosing a gift much easier. I went straight to BT, I knew he would have a man hat with some masculine but knitterly detail.  

I used Abuelita Merino Worsted and it turned out smashingly!  I made a few mods, especially since my yarn was thinner than the pattern, so if you want to do the same check my project notes on Ravelry. 

The hat fit, it was well received, and I have been updated that it is being well used (the new beau hails from outside of TO, where they get snow and weather and stuff). 

I am not pleased with how this pic came out, but I was very satisfied how this Cabled Neckwarmer did. I made it for my dad (the man who wants hand knits, but never wears them). It was a great gift knit, super fast and easy! I especially recommend for a last minute/running out of time gig. I used the Abuelita Mysterious Blend Chunky (why do they call it that?! It's no mystery, it is 95% Merino and 5% Silk) and it knit up beautifully!  BTW, the Mysterious softens up substantially after winding and loosening up with handling/knitting.  Anyway, dad seemed to like it, I have no idea if he'll ever use it, but mom can. 

I actually was really pleased with this one, it's a Cabled Neckwarmer for my sister-in-law, Katie. Katie is a casual, athletic dresser, and has a small, active child. I thought a close fitting neckwarmer would be the kind of think that would come in really handy this winter. The yarn is Abuelita Thick & Thin, held double and LURV it!  It is sooooooo soft!  I made up the pattern on the fly, I'll publish it for you soon. I think the gift was well received. I don't know if it is being used - you send them off into the world and hope for the best. 

I made this for Lucy, it was a follow-up to the first version that was too big. I've already blogged about the ongoing saga of the ill fitting pussy cat hats, read it here. Suffice it to say, this one came out WAY too small. I didn't even give it to her. BTW, loved this colour and really enjoyed knitting the Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, especially the heathered for some reason.

This is the third incarnation, which I did give to Lucy, and which still did not fit properly. It was well received, regardless.  I'm taking a short break from these, but I'll get back to version 3.0, possibly in red. 

This one was simple pattern, it's called A Hat Fit for a Boyfriend, but I made it for my brother (as per my sister-in-law's suggestion). I used Malbrigo Rios, which was lovely, in the colour Paris Night, which was also lovely. My brother is a little colour blind, he has a hard time distinguishing blues from purples, so I figured a bluey-greyey-purpley colour would be perfect for him - it can be anything he wants it to be. Plus it's dark and neutral enough a colour to be ok for men. It was well received, it fits (most important part), and he uses it when walking the dog. 

I made this Bulky Mobius Cowl for my mom. I hate the way it looks in the picture and off in general, but it looks amazing on! It is made with a combination of a yarn I bought in Italy in 1995 that she frogged from a garment I made for her ages ago, held with dark blue mohair (she put in a request for something scarfy with the mystery yarn). I made the cowl to perk up a winter coat she bought last year that is the dullest shade of navy blue I've ever seen. It was extremely well received, which was not surprising because my mom always wears my hand knits. 

As always, you can find us at!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Malabrigo Mitts

Silly me! I forgot to blog my Quick Mitts!  I made them because I thought they would be a great, fast little Holiday Gift, and also because I felt the Malabrigo Rasta would look great on hands. I was right on both counts. I wrote up the pattern and it's free, you can download it right HERE.

As always, you can find us at!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Note to self - never leave a project to be finished next year. Yup, I did that with my Christmas tree decoration, and when it was time to excavate the holiday decorations it was a bit of a denoument to find a half finished work. On the upside, the ornaments are needle felted, so it was pretty easy to pick up where I left off. 

Do you recognize the ornaments? They are Hannukah dreidels, and on top is a Star of David.  What can I say, I'm incapable of doing things like a normal person.  But it is a Christmas tree, just my take on it. :-)  

As always, you can find us at!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Finished Tuzo!

Liane finished our Tuzo cardigan last week, and it turned out beautifully! The pattern is from Berroco #293 Vintage Family, and we used the prescribed Berroco Vintage.  I had some reservations about this kind of blended fiber, but we really needed to work with the yarn to get the feel for how it behaves, and this little cardie was a perfect experiment.  

I am glad to report back that the Vintage behaves really beautifully. It is easy and nice to knit with, and knits up lovely. It has a soft sheen that a pure wool like Cascade 220 (comparable price) does not, which lends the final product a slightly more polished air. It is very soft and gives off a slight aura or halo when knit. The heathered colours also have a beautiful depth when knit (we used 5182 Black Currant). 

As always, you can find us at!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pussy Cat Ballaclava A-La Baby

I know I said that my niece would not be making her knit wear modelling debut in her new Pussy Cat Ballaclava, but I was wrong. Over the long weekend I was babysitting, the hat was there, and I dove at the opportunity. The hat is clearly waayyyyyy too big for her, but maybe it'll fit next year. I wish the picture was a higher resolution so you can get a better look at her scrumptious little arms - they are so yummy. 

As always, you can find us at!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Thinking about Halloween

This year, I am finally going to make a Hallowig! No, the picture is not of me, that's the one from the pattern. I am only just casting on for my tension swatch.  I have a small head, so I thought it might be a wise thing to do. Right now I am swatching with 4.5mm needles, but I suspect I might have to go down to 4mm. 

I'm using Berroco Vintage in Dewberry 5167. I figured it is soft, hopefully not too-too warm, and the colour is so pretty (if you see it in person it has a glow to it). Glowy magenta knit wig! :-)

As always, you can find us at!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Pussy Cat Ballaclava

This is the only time you are going to see me in a kitty hat. Well, it's on the internet, so i guess you can look as long as you like, but this is the only kitty hat you will see me in!

I finished the Pussy Cat Hat (balaclava) that I was making for my niece, but the sizing is not quite right. It's not the pattern's fault, before I embarked I reviewed the notes on the projects on Ravelry and they tended to say that the sizing was small. But the pattern has be republished several times over the years and my version must have been updated and corrected. So I'll give it another try, this time with a thinner yarn (sport weight I think).

I'm also not sure if the Dream in Color Classy is soft enough. My 8 month old niece is practically bald, and this hat is going to be covering a lot of exposed skin. I'll wash it in Eucalan and see. 

This is the front ......

And this is the back.

As always, you can find us at!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pussy Cat Hat and Sundry

Hi!  Five big boxes just came through the door, so I will have to make this a quickie update kind of blog post. 

I have ween working on little bits and bobs projects, nothing very distinct and nothing with new pictures. :-(

I just cast on for a Pussy Cat Hat for my niece, Lucy.  I think little kids are obligated to wear cute hats with ears, it's only fair. Anyway, this one is more of a balaclava, and hopefully it will keep her toasty and all of her adults entertained.  I'm using Dream in Color Classy in the pale pink, Petal Shower.

It is a vintage pattern from an old Beehive booklet, and I think the pattern changed depending on the edition of the book. My version calls for 4.5mm needles and a worsted weight yarn. Regardless, I have of course already started making modifications. the 1x1 ribbing is becoming 2x2 ribbing, and not as wide. Similarly, the neck will be a 2x2 rib, and I'll knit it in the round if possible, rather than flat and seamed. 

I suppose once the hat is done Lucy will get to start her knitwear modeling carreer!  Lucky you, she's pretty cute :-)

1. I pulled my Hourglass Sweater out of storage and lengthened the arms and body.  Lucky for me I knit it from the top-down!  I originally had anticipated the yarn would drape because of the alpaca content, but the Berroco Ultra Alpaca is actually extremely stable. It stretches remarkably in the width and holds it shape, but it does not stretch down in length. If anything, I thing it might have sprung up a little.  

The picture above is the old one, but I don't know if it would make a difference. I'll have to take a new one with the sweater on me, it really looks better with a real, live body inside of it. 

My Evaluation of Berroco Ultra Alpaca:

  • does not drape lengthwise
  • elastic possiblities widthwise
  • good for all kinds of projects that require a yarn with body
  • especially suitable for garments the require zero or negative ease
  • hand wash in Eucalan
  • knit top-down, or cast on provisionally with scrap yarn and finish ribbing/bands/cuffs last.
Look at how much I have written!  I guess I must be procrastinating a bit ... ;-)

As always, you can find us at

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mohair Cowl

I have a finished project to show off in these first days of fall - yay me!  Over the weekend I finished off my Mohair Cowl.  I loved working with the mohair so much I immediately wound up another skein in grey for a new project. Then the weather got warm and I lost my mohair mojo. Now it's raining and I feel the mo-mojo creeping back. 

 I was originally thinking about a capelet with a cowl neck, but now I don't know. I wonder if mohair legwarmers would look strange?  They could be wild, the fuzziness could create a funky furry quality around the ankles.  They may not wear well, though ..... just thinking out loud. ;-)

Anyway, the trinity stitch is beautiful, I love it and it was easy to knit!  I felt the ribbing was too wide and narrowed it a bit because it'll stretch with time. I also knit quite a bit more of the pattern stitch, lengthening the cowl. My modifications are in the project notes on Ravelry.

As always, you can find us at!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shout-Out to Mohair

The aptly named Mohair is Better cowl, in progress.

Hey Mohaiiiiiiiiiiir!

It's been a long time and it's so great to work with you again!  I'm actually really crushin' on you right now. You've gotten a bad reputation as being 'itchy', but I know that you don't need to be like that all the time. I love your fibres Mohair! They're so light and fluffy, and you make my knits so effortlessly airy. You just have so much body, you're like the bouffant of yarns! Plus I love your aura, that hazy halo is just so romantic. And you're practical too - I can knit you up fast and on big needles, and you're very affordable date. And then there's that weird but cool thing you do where your yardage seems to stretch twice as far as other yarns. 

I bumped into you in H&M yesterday, and I'm totally going to knit up the scarf I saw you in. By the way, I know you weren't looking your best - they mixed you with a LOT of acrylic, but I can see through it. 

 Yay Mohair! I'm so glad you're back! 

Clearly I'm really enjoying you in my Mohair is Better cowl. It's really easy, just a trinity stitch (worked wrong side out) sandwiched between 2 beds 1x1 ribbing. But I feel that the pattern could use some shaping (the ribbing is going to stretch out), so I jotted down my proposed modifications in my Ravelry project notes. 

I am using Kid Luxe (78% Kid Mohair, 13% Wool, 9% Nylon) in colour 501013 (close to Pantone's Deep Teal). It's a distributor brand yarn, so it's kind of like a store brand product at the super market - it's a great product and they keep the price down by not spending a ton of money on branding, marketing and advertising. At eight bucks a skein I'm smiling.  :-)

Addenda Sept. 16, 2011
Knittingdaily published a little article today about knitting with mohair!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Holiday

How I Spent My Summer Holiday
by Haley Waxberg

Most of my summer was spent here, with you, but for one fleeting week I escaped and ran away to California.  I went to visit friends who live in Oakland, and celebrate my friend Richard`s 40th birthday.  The party was awesome, I have no photos - I`m sure you understand, they would be incriminate any number of people. 

Above is my gift to Richard, a little installation in his yard.  You can see all of the pictures HERE. It's made of the same flowers I used for the Bicycle.  I think Rich liked it. 

We took a road trip up to Monterey to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, you can see me above with my new friend Mr. Seahorse.  The aquarium has some amazing exhibits including seahorses, jelly fish, and a kelp forest.  I got to pet a Ray too - it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be, it was slimy, cold and indifferent. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that a fish would be slimy and cold. Somewhere in the back of my mind I must have been expecting it to be like other petting zoos with docile, wide eyed animals eager to make your acquaintance for the price of a little feed. 

After the Aquarium closed we took a stroll up the "boardwalk" on Cannery Row. It's not a real boardwalk, just highly polished kitsch, but entertainment was there if you looked closely. While on the hunt for an awesomely tacky fridge magnet, I came across something even better ... kitsch-wear. Above I model the Burger Hat. It was so awesome it had to come home. Maybe I'll try and render it as a knit pattern?

And here's the runner up, Mr. Krabs!  He also made it back to Canada. As an aside, this beanie is really, really comfy. 

The sea life and the kitsch were awesome, but the best part of this road trip was the drive. We took two cars up, and I was in the girls car (named as such because it was only Jessica and me - 2 girls, one car). Almost as soon as the engine turned over I started rooting through the box of CDs, which was full of I don't know what, when I came across a hand written CD titled Amy's Answering Machine.  Me-  "WHAT is Amy's Answering Machine?" Jessica - "Oh my God! You've *never* heard  Amy's Answering Machine?!" OMG, it's roll on the ground, snarf your latte funny! (listen to some of it yourself).  It's the answering machine messages left by a neurotic mother for her only daughter. And by neurotic, I mean  she makes Woody Allen look like a dilettante. Jessica and I spent the next two hours listening to the disc over and over and over, trying to figure out who these people where, where they were from, and if it real?  In the end, we decided that we wanted it to be real, so it is. 

The next day (or maybe the day before?) we went to Berkeley. Above is some Yarn Bombing I came across. No, it is not as exciting as Amy's Answering Machine. Nothing is as fabulous as Amy's Answering Machine.

Here's my knitting listening to Big Audio Dynamite on the first day of the Outside Lands music festival in Panhandle Park in San Francisco. My knitting had lots of fun there. I had to figure out how to do a tubular cast-on in the middle of a field, without internet or books. I'm very impressed with the amount of knowledge crammed up in the corners of my brain, I didn't even know it was all up there. 

In the end, I had an awesome time and will be going back to California some time when the weather sucks here.  :-)

As always, you can find me at!

Friday, September 09, 2011

New FREE Boboli Cowl Patterns

Brand spankin' new from us, 2 patterns for simple, easy, elegant cowls using Berroco Boboli, a new yarn for Fall 2011. The yarn is beautiful, prismatic, and does most of the work for you. The rest of the pattern is in the beginner skill spectrum. It's also a non-thinker, a great project for those times when brain no work good. And of course, both patterns are Free!

This sweet little thing is the Boboli Cowl Worsted Version. It's a beautiful weight for fall, moving into  winter, and early spring. It's a straightforward knit and made with 2 skeins of Boboli and 4.5mm circular needles. The yarn knits quickly, and you'll be done before you know it! I made this version second and had no idea I would love it's delicate drape so much!

Here's the Boboli Cowl Bulky Version.  It's made on larger, 7mm needles, holding 2 strands together. Besides creating  a faster knit, it's also a thicker fabric, perfect for when the weather starts getting chill and carrying you into real winter.  It also has more body than the worsted version, and the colour takes on a tweedy quality that transcends the yarn's inherent variegation.

By the way, don't forget to follow the instructions and block your cowl in a bath of white vinegar and Eucalan - it softens up beautifully!

As always, you can find us at!  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In Progress: Betty Shrug

This is just a quick update on my in-progress. I've been working on this crochet shrug called Betty for a little bit. It's a freebie from Berroco, and I've subbed the Misti Tonos Pima Silk in grey. I was originally going to wear it to my friend's 40th birthday party on Aug 6, but clearly that didn't happen.  It's using up a decent amount of yarn, I'm predicting 5 skeins in the end. I think it would probably look really good made with a kid mohair :-)

This is the original pattern Betty

As always, you can find us at!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finito! Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket

We FINALLY finished our summer project!  It is the Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. We used Cascade 220 Superwash and it is definitely an heirloom. The colours worked out great, and I think that you could use heathered charcoal grey (colour 900) as a substitute for the dark mossy green (860). 

The blanket came out nice and big, 34" x 48", and used up a good amount of yarn (garter stitch will do that). If you want to make it a for a bit less money I think it would also look nice using Berroco Vintage:
  • 3 skeins of 5101 mochi (cream)
  • 3 skeins of 5107 cracked pepper (grey)
  • 2 skeins of 51190 cerulean (blue)
  • 2 skeins of 5175 fennel (green)

As always, you can find us at!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sexy Hexagon Pillow

My Sexy Hexy Pillow - Recto

Verso of Sexy Hexy Pillow

I'm just blocking the Sexy Hexagon Pillow I made with Noro Silk Garden.  I had a few underappreciated skeins kicking around the sale bin and put them to good use!  More deets to come!   

The Sexy Hexy Pillow in progress

As always, you can find us at!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Prism Shawl

Finito! Here's the Prism Shawl I made with Noro Silk Garden Sock. It only took one skein of each colour, so two balls, and knitted up fairly quickly, considering it's a sock yarn.  I'm not sure, but I think the off-white colourway (269) is discontinued, so if you want to make this it's a good idea to pick up a skein before they all disappear. I  think we have 4 or 5 left at the store. 

My only caveat about the pattern is that what they call a 'M1' increase is actually a backwards loop cast on. They give you a link in the pattern, I advise following it to confirm the technique. 

As always, you can find us at!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Projects in Progress Update

I didn't think I'd get a chance to blog today, but so far it's pretty quiet, so it'll be a stealth post today!  Above is my Prism Shawl I'm making with Noro Silk Garden Sock.  It looks amazing and it's stupidly easy. The only caveat is that in the pattern they tell you to use an "M1" increase, which they give you a web address for instructions. The caveat is that it is not actually an "M1" increase they want you to do - if you follow the link you'll see that they want you to make a backwards loop cast on!  Otherwise, easy peasy. 

I don't know if I've shown you this one yet. This is a Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket we're making for the store with Cascade 220 Superwash.  Another easy peasy project!

A always, you can find us at!

Friday, June 17, 2011

An Un-update that's Actually an Update

I have been working away at organizing the upcoming Stitch 'N Pitch in Toronto, so today will be a "look at all the cool projects" update. Also,  it is overcast today, so the the light is bad for photography. And I haven't finished anything lately - except my Crochet Log Cabin Blanket, but I don't recall if I already told you about that. 

Looks pretty good!  I am very happy with it. 

By the way, the plans for Stitch 'N Pitch are coming along swimmingly! This year there are 28 retailers across Ontario selling tickets!  Additionally, I sent out the request for prizes this morning and received 3 positive responses withing an hour!  Not bad for a Friday in the summer. 

So I guess I did have a blog posting after all! :-)

As always, you can find us at!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Prism Pour Moi

I finished my Crochet Log Cabin Blanket (on display in store until I need it at home) and found myself missing the Noro Silk Garden Sock. It must be the influence of Aunt Tallulah, because I cast on a kerchief shaped shawl named Prism (I initially saw the Silk Kerchief, but the pattern is no longer available). I'm using colour 269 as the base colour shade and 322 as the contast. So far, soooooo good!

I don't know if the project is actually for me, it's more about keeping my hands singing. 

As always, you can find us at!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Almost Finished! Crochet Log Cabin Blanket

La, la, la, la la!  It's almost finished!  My Crochet Log Cabin Blanket is almost DONE!  It is also sewn up, and now all that is left to be done is a border. I actually started the border last night, but I don't think you can see it yet, I've only accomplished one round. I'll try and take a great picture when it's done, I just need a day off when I'm at home in the afternoon when the light is good. 

As always, you can find us at!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Sexy Hexes

Ok, I'm feeling a little guilty. I haven't finished my Crochet Log Cabin Blanket, and I've already started a new crochet blanket project - a Hexagon Throw in Cloud Cotton. My excuses are as follows:
  • The log cabin blanket just needs to be seamed and it's too big to carry around. 
  • It's too hot at home to seam a big thing, It needs to be done at work. 
  • The Log Cabin won't match my new sheets, the new sheets really *need* the hexagon blanket. 
  • When I make stuff it helps *you* visualize what's possible.
See, it's for you, I did it for you.  :-)  That's my story and I'm sticking with it.  

Anyway, summer has arrived and I need me some crochet. If you aren't already familiar, crochet is made for summer because it's easy, fast, mindless, creative, much easier to seam than knitting, and can be made in small sections and is therefore portable.  It also only even has one live stitch, so should be taking part in some summer activities, ahem, like drinking beer on a patio, it's much harder to accidentally lose any of your work, and if you should need to rip it's easy-peasy. 

So, in conclusion: summer - good, crochet - good, patio drinking - good. Oh yeah, I almost forgot!  the Cloud Cotton is also good! It is super soft, easy to work with, and super pretty.  We also made a Summer Shrug with it! Plus it is organically grown, which is all good since cotton is apparently a very eco-frowney crop.  It's a loose cotton, so it's got some body and isn't hard, tight, or ropey. 

I forgot more stuff, AGAIN! I'm planning on making the blanket throw size, to fit on the end of my queen sized bed, so I figure I'll make it 14 hexagons by 12 hexagons (each hex measuring about 4"/10cm - to gauge). That's a total of 168 hexagons, and since I've worked out 28 colour combinations (I'm not into the 2 greens together), that'll be about 6 of each. Why do I do this to myself? I don't know, I guess I just jump in feet first, without looking, and probably without thinking much either. Anyway, it's summer, I've got more time, and the hexagons are really going fast - I've already finished about 50!

As always, you can find us at!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blankie Update

I've been fumbling around a bit over the last week or two. The yarns are inspiring, but the projects have been fizzling out. So I went back to the Crochet Log Cabin Blanket I started last summer, which is need of some finishing.  I don't know why I always put it off, it always goes so fast once I'm going. Anyway, I've sewn the squares into strips, then I'll sew the strips into a blanket, then I'll pick up and crochet the edge. 

Currently, the blanket is 5 squares by 4 squares, each 14 inches, so approx 70" x 56".  Buuuuut .... now I want it larger. ;-)  I'm going to start by adding 5 more blocks, which should bring it closer to a Queen size (depending on the sizing, duvets seem to vary in size).  So lets talk math: if I add a 3" border, that gets me to 76"x76". That should be good for a bed cover, or a 2 person snuggle?

As always, you can find us at!