Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Pillowcase Tutorial

I have made a couple of pillowcases for a young friend but realized the other day I'd never made one for my own boy. I spent over an hour at Fabricland the day of its big Boxing Day sale but couldn't find the right fabric for my project. It was either too girlish, too cute, too juvenile, too basketball or baseball-ish and nary a manly plaid was to be found. I had made Scooter a pair of flannel pyjama pants for Christmas but forgot to buy enough fabric to make a matching pillowcase.

I tried a different Fabricland on Sunday and actually found some acceptable fabric. I washed it that day and finally had some time today to sit down an make the pillowcase. I referred to this video and this tutorial.

I made the cuff too long (I forgot to trim it to the correct length).
But I really liked the lettered fabric. Very à propos for a university student, n'est-ce pas?

In retrospect, I would omit the narrow trim piece. With flannel fabric, it make it a tad too thick.

His bed sheets are light green. This should look quite spiffy with them.
I hope he likes it. 

Monday, 30 December 2013

My Knitting Year 2013 in Review

This year I completed: (pattern names below each photo)

- 2 pairs of felted clogs - here's one pair:
Felted Clogs - Bev Galeskas
- 3 hats,
Evvvie's Pom Pom Hat


Declan's Hat
- 6 dishcloths,
Petal Dishcloth
Ballband Dishcloth
- 2 washcloths
Bee Stitch Washcloths

- 7 shawls/scarves (top centre is with my handspun),
Clockwise from top left: Crescent Over Lothlorien - Cordula Surmann-Schmitt, Orchid Thief - Ysolda Teague, Holden - Mindy Wilkes, Cresent Over Lothlorien, Holden, Spectra - Stephen West, Happenstance - Jen Lucas
- 1 custom pair of mittens (my own design),

- 3 11/12 Christmas coasters,
Felted Peppermint Coasters - Julie H. Rose
- 2 lap blankets,
Rams and Yowes - Kate Davies
Lehe Square Shawl - Nancy Bush
- 2 hot pads (the other one is aqua and white),
- 2 cowls,
Inspira Cowl - graphica
Honey Cowl - Madelinetosh
- 1 pillow cover (my design),
- a teddy bear sweater (my design),
and 11 pairs of socks.
Clockwise from top left: Intertwined - Maureen Foulds, Brigit - Monkey Toes, Escher - Lorna Miser, Intertwined, Socks with Lace Edging - Regia, Ribbed Sock - my design, Ribbed Sock, Kandhar - Alice Yu,  Ribbed Sock, Ribbed Sock, Pavillion Socks (centre) - Maureen Foulds
Whew! That's a lot of knitting!

I also created 105 blog posts (as of today), cross-stitched a few projects, spun several hanks of handspun yarn, make two guild presentations on knitting, bought a 4-shaft table-top loom, dyed 8 skeins of yarn and travelled to Ireland on a knitting tour and took 3 knitting workshops - one with Carol Feller.

And people wonder how retirees fill their idle hours!

Having Fun Practicing

I have a little stuffed bear for which I have knit a couple of seasonal sweaters.
Jack O'Lantern for Hallowe'en
Nordic Star for Christmas
Inspired by a recent visit to Hudson's Bay (the store, not the body of water), I thought I'd knit him a little Hudson's Bay sweater. For you non-Canadians, pictured below is the trademarked Hudson's Bay blanket with its points (black lines which indicate the blanket size) and 4 colours. The HBC Collection has a whole department in the store and seems to be quite popular with stylishly-dressed Canadians.
Always liking to learn and practice knitting techniques, I decided to knit a top-down raglan sweater. As I wanted a moderately stretchy ribbed cast-on I used the 'Alternating Cable Cast On' on p. 47 of Leslie Ann Bestor's handy book, "Cast On, Bind Off".

For the raglan sleeves, I did a m1 on each side of a centre 'corner' stitch. I also started the new colour after this centre stitch employing the jogless stripe technique, slipping the first stitch of the new colour in the 2nd round.
With this stitch just after 'turning the corner', it really doesn't show at all.
Once at the armpit, I left the live sleeve sts (including the centre st of the raglan increase) on a holders (contrasting yarn) and knit the rest of the body down to the bottom ribbing.

I used the 'Invisible Ribbed' bind off (a sewn bind off) to create an nice, rolled edge to the ribbing, snugging the yarn quite tightly. In addition to looking very tidy, there is still a moderate amount of stretch.
I then picked up the live sleeve stitches and maintaining the pattern, knit down to the cuffs and bound off using the same sewn bind off. This tubular bind off would also work very nicely. Basically, you put all the knit stitches of the ribbing on one needle and all the purl sts on another and hold them parallel to each other with the points to the right. Then just use the Kitchener stitch.
It was great fun knitting this and I was pleased to be able to learn and practice some knitting techniques. I now know why people like knitting top-down, raglan sweaters. They're seamless and can be tried on for fit all along the way.

Hmm, I don't wear pullovers as I'm 'hormonally and thermally challenged' at this stage in my life, but one could certainly 'cardiganize' one of these pullovers by simply steeking the front and adding button bands.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Ice Storm 2013

It continued to drizzle all day yesterday and overnight. We lost power this morning from 3am to 6am, according to Skip (I slept through it).

This is what it looked like out our front door this morning.
There was even more ice on the bird feeder.
The birds were quite desperate so Skip got the top off, filled it to the brim and re-installed the pie pan as a squirrel baffle.

I like this shot along the fence.
There is so little colour outside anymore. I just had to capture this shot with the thick ice completely encasing the berries.
Our neighbour's birch tree is hanging over both our driveways.
Here's a shot through the metal structure of our gazebo that we leave up all winter.
We lost power again at 3pm. I wrapped Christmas gifts in semi-darkness. We then prepared for the night without electric light or heat. I amassed many candles, lighters, matches and candlesticks. Skip brought up the two kerosene lamps we've had in the basement for years and had never used. I brought in a bunch of firewood as the temperature in the house was dropping.

I built a nice fire for warmth more than the cozy factor. (I really had to lighten this photo)
It did take the chill off. We never really felt cold as the temperature only got down to about 16C (61F) - only a couple of degrees below where we normally set the thermostat during the day.

Scooter's train was on time after several earlier delayed trains. The power at his mother's has been out since 7 this morning.

Just as we were getting ready to go out for dinner at 5:30 the lights came back on. Yay! I insisted we still go out for dinner. Lots of people in line at the restaurant had been without power since 1am. We were pretty lucky by comparison.

Not much knitting done today...

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Winter Images and New Slippers

Last night we got some freezing rain.
It has made everything quite slick around here.
Fortunately, the temperature right now is right around freezing so any increase at all will melt the slippery stuff. We are hunkering down today.
I made these wreaths a few years ago based on some nifty Starbucks Christmas wreaths the year before that sported yarn balls. I like how they look on our new front doors.

And on a yarnly note...

A hole wore through the soles of my felted slippers last week as well as another pair of non-felted slippers. While at Romni Wools last week I bought some Briggs and Little Country Roving to knit and felt another pair. I use Bev Galeskas' Felted Clog pattern. Isn't it interesting that the length [141m/155verges (yards)] only appears on the French side of the package? I can't tell you how handy it is to be able to check Ravelry on my smart phone (iPhone 4S) when I'm shopping for yarn.
Previously I used bulky wool rather than doubled worsted weight as called for in the pattern. The Country Roving consists of 5 strands of roving and is ultra-bulky. I knit most of the first one last night. I will knit 2 outer soles in hopes they'll last longer.

They look like Shrek shoes right now but they will felt down to about half the length and about 2/3 the width.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Brigit Socks

I finally finished these socks - Brigit by Monkey Toes.
I know the yarn colour is a busy pattern but some photographs show the cable pattern.
I also got another chance to practice my newly preferred short-row heel - the shadow wrap heel.  I couldn't decide which background looked the best so I've posted all three.
I had to finish them so I could free up the needles for the next project.

And Then There Were Mitts - Part II

I have been working on Mo's very clever And Then There Were Mitts mitts. I have the left one done except for the thumb. I did a shortened version - only 4" before starting the thumb gusset.
The ribbing hugs the hand and makes it suitable for any hand. My handspun is a bit thicker than fingering weight so I could probably have gone up a needle size. I don't mind the snug fit on the hand. I will further modify the thumb from the pattern and will just knit stocking stitch with some ribbing before binding off. Right now the stitches are being held by dental floss - the only thing I had available whilst riding the GO train this week.

This shows the cool feature of this design. The 'turtleneck' folds out and covers the fingers nicely.
The right one is on the needles. Hopefully I'll get it finished this weekend.