I sometimes find myself hesitant to use my favourite skeins of yarn, as if they are too precious to replace. Silly, I know. Especially when I confront my Ravelry stash page. There is no need to hold back…I have 70 skeins of sock yarn?? Good grief.
I can never have enough grey in my wardrobe, and the same goes for my socks! The pattern we are knitting is a free pattern from Tanis Fiber Arts called Business Casual, a great faux argyle sock pattern. You should join! There are prizes
Speaking of Tanis, I am once again a member of the Year in Colour Club and our first installment for 2013 arrived a couple of weeks ago.
A beautiful skein of 100% mulberry silk in a fingering weight. Gorgeous!
I also have a couple of FOs to share:
A Shalder for me, in Cascade 200.
A Magical for my daughter in some old DK wool I had in my stash.
A Scrollwork hat made with my first skein of Plucky Primo Worsted in the Starling colourway. What beautiful yarn! Now that is truly knitting with the good stuff!
Truth be told I have had this mitten pattern completed for over a year. I had a mitten knitted up but I wasn’t loving my colours. You know how stash works…you have tons of yarn and yet none of the colours look good or contrast enough then I tried again with some earth tones, and it was pretty enough, yet underwhelming. So after a good hibernation, I started fresh. Red and white, another pair in pale blue and red, an improved thumb design and since I really couldn’t help myself, an optional laceweight liner for a touch of luxury. Here is a link to my Ravelry project page: Ardour mittens. I added a 2 colour icord and a little tassel to make them extra special.
It is worked in worsted weight yarn, knit at a tight gauge for warmth and wind resistance. The lace weight liner is knit with the same needle size as the outer mitten to provide a delicate gauzy liner that adds a surprising amount of warmth to the mitten. To make this mitten, required skills are colourwork and reading from a chart. Don’t be intimidated, though. Colourwork is easier than it looks and great fun.
The mittens can be made with or without the liner. The colour runs are short (the longest being only 4 stitches) so nothing to snag fingers on, and the mitten may be made with a ribbed cuff, or an icord cast-on and a colourwork cuff. I trimmed the red and white pair with a 2 colour finger knit cord and a tassel; a little pom pom would be lovely as well.
The palm is patterned differently than the top of the mitten, with the thumb gore placed to the side and slightly underneath the top of the mitten for a comfortable fit.
I hope to make some more for Christmas gifts this year. I find homemade mittens are usually very well received. I need to cast on some more! I also would like to thank my test knitters; Kelly, Meredith, my Ravelry pals Michele, Lesley, Debbie and Julie. Thanks for testing and all your feedback!
After my dog passed away last month, I threw myself into knitting Aidez, as part of CelticCastOn’s knit along, and it really did help. To be able to focus on something not too difficult, while knitting with a lovely soft yarn, was indeed knitting therapy for me. Initially, I was so daunted by this pattern as I frequently am when looking at a cabled pattern, but it really was so simple to make. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! My Ravelry project page is here. As people say, time heals all wounds, and I am missing my old friend, but I am also getting to the point where I can think about him without crying, but instead smile to myself and remember all the good days we had together.
I am really pleased with it. It really is a beautiful pattern.
I also completed another vest. This pattern is called Angostura by Ysolda Teague and I can’t overstate what a wonderful pattern it is. Fun to knit, minimal finishing, a perfect fit. I made it with less than 3 skeins of Cascade 220 to boot.
I also had the pleasure of test knitting Kelly’s (of CelticCastOn fame) first design, Stormont, a unisex cabled hat. I used Cascade 220 for mine, or rather, my daughter’s. It is super sweet on her! Congrats on your first pattern, Kelly!
I also used some of my leftover yarn from Aidez to make a Sideways Grande Cloche. It turned out really well, and was fun to make, but as with most hats and short hair….well…see for yourself:
Maybe some make up would help? Short hair and winter hats…yikes. The answer may be to grow my hair longer!
Orbit came to us on Canada Day, July 1, 1999. We already had our hands full with a 65 pound terrier we had adopted from the SPCA the previous year, and I was not looking for a second dog. Orbit was found wandering around on the train bridge downtown trying to follow people home. we searched for his owners, called the vet clinics and the SPCA, but no one claimed him. He had had a rough start and was significantly underweight, not neutered, and had not received any kind of training but he was a quick study. He was terrified of men and brooms for quite some time, but he came around fairly quickly. Our vet said Orbit was between 3 and 5 years of age (in 1999!).
So he stayed, and worked his way into our lives, and into our hearts very deeply. He became my biggest fan, and I his. Orbit was that dog who never really needed a leash, he listened so well, and was extremely well behaved in the house, too. I can take no credit for his behaviour. He just came that way. Quiet, laid back and sometimes a bit reserved, Orbit was always easy to please. Cross country skiing, at the beach, out for a long hike or having a lazy day on the couch. As long as he was with his family, he was happy and satisfied. That is one of the wonderful things about pets; they remind us that the best things in life aren’t things. Orbit had a nice long life that was healthy until about 6 months ago. He was fed table scraps daily, and slept on my bed. No regrets. He was great company. Thanks for all the wonderful years and memories, Orbit. You are missed!
Summer has come and gone, and if I am to be completely honest, I was not sorry to see it go. It was very hot and dry this summer, as it was many areas in North America, but I am just not a lover of hot weather. I endured it more than I enjoyed it, yet I tried to plaster a smile on my face…for the kids sake! Of course knitting helps
I was a busy knitter this summer, and have a few FOs to share:
Amiga by Mags Kandis, a free pattern from Knitty: I used the yarn the pattern specifies; Americo Cotton Flamme and I really enjoyed knitting with it. It’s a light, easy to wear cardigan.
Next, I attempted a fingering weight cotton top-down cardi called Capricious. I used some Rowan 4 ply cotton, and although the resulting garment is really great, I found the colour really difficult to photograph. It has some nice cabling detail down the sleeve, but I just couldn’t get a good pic!
So a quick vacation to New Hampshire and Massachusetts reslted in another top-down cardi, again from Knitty. This is the Shapely Boyfriend by Stefanie Japel and it was fantastic vacation knitting. I used some Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed for this one.
The last FO I have to share is one that I had been wanting to knit for a long time, but I felt a little intimidated by it, to be honest. I know I can knit charty things, but I don’t always like being chained to a chart if you know what i mean. I couldn’t believe how simple this one was. It’s the Wood Hollow Vest by Kirsten Kapur and it really couldn’t be simpler. After about 6 rows I put the pattern down and just knit away on it. It’s so intuitive. I would make another in a heart beat. I used some Cascade 220 Heathers for this one and I’m super happy with it.
OK, so you can see I have been productive!
So, I ran into some great yarn on sale this summer. Does that ever happen to you? Before I knew it 10 skeins had leaped into my hands of some soft and lovely Rowan RYC soft tweed. I was immediately thinking of Aidez. So when my dear friend and knitter extraordinaire, Kelly aka CelticCastOn suggested an Aidez KAL starting today (!) I thought YES! So my gauge swatch is drying. Fingers crossed I get gauge first try. So if you’re up for it, head on over to Kelly’s beautiful blog and join in on the fun. (www.celticcaston.com)
I am happy to say that I have finally accomplished my first successful cotton garment ever! I have tried and failed numerous times to make a cotton sweater, and they normally end up sack-like, laying in the back of my closet. They all too often weigh in at what seems like 10 pounds as well
I decided to try and make a Gemini, by Jane Richmond. A simple top down tee from Knitty. I had some Knitpicks Cotlin in my stash, and went to work. Since I had already knit a sweater with Cotlin (a very unsuccessful Buttercup), I knew what my gauge was. Wrong! Once again, the knitting Gods smote/smited me for not making enough gauge swatch sacrifices. I ended up just past the arm holes, tried it on, and it was way too big. I frogged it and started again, this time using a 3.5 mm needle for the lace portion and a 3.75 mm for the rest. Jane’s advice on fit and the behaviour of cotton yarns was extremely valuable and also explains why my other cotton garments have ended up in a time out at the back of my closet.
Jane is a genius! My second successful garment that I have made by her this year. I’m hooked The other cool thing I learned is how to join in a new ball of yarn when knitting with cotton : It’s the overlap join shown at the bottom of the post…it really works!
A couple of more FOs: I made another Ann Hanson shawlette called Leafprints Shawlette. This one in my Tanis Fibre Arts March 2012 colourway, Sprout. It was a new base from Tanis, comprising of 75% merino and 25% silk in a fingering weight yarn. What a drape!
Speaking of Tanis, here is the club offering for May 2012:
It’s a very pretty purple, and I am totally thinking of making some socks with it. I got Hunter Hammersen’s new Book, the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet for my birthday, and given the floral theme of the book, I think some of the patterns would be perfect with this yarn.
A couple more FOs to share:
My first beaded knitting project, and I loved it! The pattern is Restless and the yarn is Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn in Farm Fresh.
Yes, more striped socks. I used two lonely 50 gram balls of Regia socks yarn I had kicking around. The pattern is Laurelhurst.
I have a couple more projects on the go; I try and keep it to 2 or 3 or I lose focus. Hope everyone is having a wonderful spring!
I thought I would start off with some FOs that I have completed recently. I made a sweater! and it fits!! and I actually gauge swatched….and…wait for it…washed my gauge swatch!!! I know, right? I think that statement totally needed to have 3 exclamation points.
The sweater I made is the Classic Raglan by Jane Richmond, which is a really well-written clear pattern. I heartily recommend it. I used Lion Brand’s Fishermen’s Wool (less than 2 skeins) as inspired by Kelly (CelticCaston). Incidentally, the folks over at Canadian Living are doing a Knitalong this month with this pattern.
It totally works with my plaid and gingham shirt collection (at least in my fashion-backward mind it does). I have the child’s version of this pattern as well and plan to knit one for my daughter soon. I think it would be great in a Cascade superwash.
I also completed these really fun socks from a Woolgirl kit that a friend gifted to me….these were soooo fun to make:
The toe and heel yarn (red) is Zen Yarn Garden sock yarn…not sure which type but OMG YUM!! The dark grey and white striped yarn is by Bellwether Sock by Studio Avenue Six, also delightful. I just made my own toe-up socks on 2.25 needles, 60 stitches around. I could definitely get used to those adorable Woolgirl kits!
In another first for me…I made a baby sweater for a neighbour. I’ve made hats and booties…but never a baby sweater. I used Tanis’ pattern called Sunnyside and it was just so fun to make. Very simple, too. I used some bright and cheery pink yarn I had in my stash and it worked out very well.
I was lucky enough to receive Tanis Fiber Arts Year in Colour Club for Christmas, and I thought I would share January’s shipment, which I am quite partial to:
The colour is called Truffle, and is on her Blue Label sock yarn…love!
I also ordered the February Hazel Knits sock club, on her Artisan sock base:
The top colour is called Salted caramel and the bottom is called Big Red. Swoon! The package also came with some delicious salted caramels. I’m really looking forward to knitting with these yarns.
2012 has been fairly productive in a knitting sense so far. I have a few FOs to share but before I do, I want to share my latest favourite cake recipe. This is another gem from my sister in law, and it is definitely one of those cakes that you make for friends or family. It’s casual, it’s simple, it’s rustic and delicious. Believe me, I’ve been making banana chocolate chip cakes for years and years but there is something really great about the texture of this cake. I normally ice this cake with a cream cheese icing which works really well with it. The tartness of the cream cheese plays off the sweetness of the bananas and chocolate so nicely, but my daughter doesn’t love cream cheese icing (if I hadn’t seen her being born myself I might have considered a hospital mix-up…cream cheese icing rejected by someone related to me?? wha??) soooo I took some whipping cream and chocolate and made a quick ganache. So here is the recipe. Trust me, this very unassuming cake in a square pan packs a serious flavour wallop. Plus it is super easy….
Anna’s Chocolate Chip Banana Cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat overn to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 ” square pan, or an 8 ” square pan will do, too.
2. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and stir.
3. In a separate bowl combine bananas, eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter.
4. Stir banana mixture into flour mix. Do not over mix or cake will be tough.
5. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let cool then frost as you like. For the ganache above, I used 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat cream in a small sauce pan until it begins to simmer, then pour over the chocolate chips in a small metal or glass bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and glossy.
OK…now for some FOs to share:
And I am proud to say I started and completed a project in January that I had been wanting to knit for a long time. The pattern is called Meeting St. mittens, and I used Berroco Sox Metallics. I also bit the bullet hard and knit some liners with a fingering weight yarn. Worth it, but such a PITA. I was getting 10 stitches to the inch on the liners…good grief. But I love them!
I finished my red socks in time for Christmas…they turned out great:
The yarn is Boneshaker sock BFL by Little Red Bicycle and the pattern is called caret + chevron by Chrissy Gardiner from Fall 2011 sockupied. Awesome yarn, awesome pattern…sock knitting heaven! Link to my Ravelry page here.
I also got some baking done…I really waited until the last minute this year, since I am the biggest sweet sneaking culprit in the house…I kind of wanted to minimize the time the sweets were around, yet still have enough to share with neighbours and friends, so I took some super quick and simple recipes and made some Christmas the other afternoon.
OK, clockwise from the top are caramel chocolate slices, almond and apricot dark chocolate bark, Oreo cream fudge and red velvet cake balls. I have no recipe for the bark…you simply toast blanched almonds in your oven until they smell divine and combine them with some nice chopped apricots. melt about 2 or 3 cups of dark chocolate (chips or chunks) in the microwave. Stirring every 25 seconds until melted. Put the almonds and apricots of a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and pour the chocolate over top. Spread with the back of a spoon, refrigerate than crack into pieces. In no time I had 7 containers of sweets made up to give. Nice! I must admit I totally got frazzled dipping the cake balls into white chocolate…I just couldn’t get a good consistency. I covered my culinary mishap with some piped semi-sweet chocolate. All the while I was humming “Making Christmas” from A Nightmare Before Christmas….I admit somewhat maniacally! Watch the clip from the movie here…I love it! Merry Christmas everyone!