Friday, 27 November 2015

Winter's Warmth

I finished another pattern and I'm pleased as punch.  It's called Winter's Warmth, and if you're so inclined you can check it out Ravelry here.

It's knit in the round, from the bottom up with the two ear-flaps being knitted first.  I really enjoyed knitting it, I found the cables kept it interesting while not being overly fussy.  If you're new to cabling it's really not as difficult as it looks, you basically just slide a few stitches to a stitch-holder, knit a couple other stitches, then knit the stitches on the stitch-holder.  That's all it is, and patterns for knitting with cables will tell you how many to put on the stitch-holder then how many to knit.

I've always gotten a lot of comments from people who don't knit or new knitters who say cables look hard and I always try to take the time to explain that they're really not because I think they're so stunning and I absolutely love the feeling I get when I try something new and succeed.  Also, I think cables are awesome for new knitter's self-esteem because then, whenever other people see their project they're like "Ooooooh, that looks hard.  You're REALLY talented."

The pattern is written in one size, it fits me (I have an average-sized head for a woman) and my two year old (he likes his hats loose, I don't know why, but it stays put on his head so I'm going to go with that counts as fitting him).

This is also the pattern that I submitted to a magazine in the summer, it was rejected but I really like how it turned out.  I'm also really happy that I went ahead and submitted it, I would really really like to get patterns published.  One of my goals for next year is to put together several proposals for publication next winter and having been through the process once is something I think I'll find really helpful this year.  Even though the process will be slightly different for different magazines I honestly think the biggest hurdle I faced while applying this year was the intimidation of doing something new.  It feels silly, but being able to say "I've tried before and trying again is no big deal" makes things so much easier.  So maybe next year you'll see one of my patterns in print, but at the moment you can find them in my Ravelry store, and I'm happy with that for now.

Monday, 23 November 2015

I can't find my drumsticks

And by drumsticks I really mean by 8mm DPNS, which my son has adopted to play the drums (my pots and pans, pro tip, DPNs are way less noisy than wooden spoons on pots and pans).  He also uses them to play a game he calls golf-burger which is basically hockey (we don't have cable, he has never seen real hockey even though we live in Canada, yes, I know it's sad), the puck is his plastic play food burger, hence the name.

I can find three of the needles.  I want to make a hat but I need all five.  The hat's going to be made out of Cozy-wool, which is a super-bulky half wool half acrylic mix from Michaels.  (I am forever wishing I'd written down the name of yarn I like, I'm planning to start doing it here, I'm pretty sure I can't misplace an entire blog).

I normally don't get yarn from there but a neighbour asked me to knit her something and supplied the yarn and I really like it.  It knits up well, it's super-soft and the weight means it's really good for instant gratification.  I can hardly wait to make it, except I don't want to buy more DPNs to replace the ones that are somewhere in this house.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Izzy Dolls

I am Canadian, and the Canadian military currently has goal to provide children, many of them Syrian refuges, with hand-knit toys called Izzy dolls.

The dolls, which cannot be bought or sold for profit, were inspired by and named after Master Cpl. Mark Isfeld of No. 1 Combat Engineer Regiment who was serving on peacekeeping missions in Kuwait and Croatia in the early 1990s. There, he often came across children with no toys or personal possessions, so his mother, Carol Isfeld, knitted little woollen dolls that he could give away to the kids he met.
There's an article on them from the Ottawa Citizen here and if you'd like more information Shirley O'Connor, the organizer for Ottawa, can be contacted at or (613) 267-3145.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The sweater I'm not knitting

I've been ignoring Caleb's sweater, I just need to sit down and do some math.  It's not even hard math, it's more like checking something then thinking for a moment, but it needs to be a time when the kids are asleep (or quiet and giving me time to do something, but that doesn't happen if they're awake).  So I've been knitting the blanket (it's an ongoing, use up the leftover sock-yarn blanket).  I'm quite happy with it, it's getting bigger and bigger.  Today my mother asked me if I was not going to stop but just keep knitting it forever.  She was completely serious.  I love this blanket project somewhat irrationally and am tempted to keep going forever, but if we're all honest a blanket that's more than five feet square is really big.  A blanket that's in the 7 foot square or larger range is getting to be a bedspread and much after that is just useless.

I have no idea what I'll knit when I'm done it, but thankfully that won't be for quite a while.  A friend just dropped off more yarn today.  I have used up all my own leftover yarn in that weight and other people have generously been providing their leftover yarn, I'm a sucker for thoughtful gifts and so this project is making me all kinds of happy.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Couronne de Noël

A couple years ago I made Christmas stockings for our family.  They're colourwork and they all have a different design within a diamond pattern.  Mine is green, Caleb's in red, and Joshua's is blue.  I think they're stunning (if you can't tell, I'm quite proud of them).  As we've had an addition to our family this year a new Christmas stocking was in order and I started it shortly after Ada was born.  It didn't take a ton of time to knit but getting everything typed up and formatted, then getting the photos actually taken seemed to take forever.  I think it had something to do with me having two kids, I swear it takes me forever to do anything, except change diapers--I'm really fast at changing diapers.

Anyways, I got the photos taken a couple of weeks ago.  This morning did not go well, Caleb's been really dedicated to running off when I'm feeding Ada and stealthily emptying all the liquid soap down the drain.  My mom called, asked me how things were going, and after I explained she asked if I wanted her to take Caleb for the afternoon.  Come to think of it I still have no idea why she called.  But Caleb is at her house, Ada is miraculously sleeping (two hours of napping!) and I formatted the document and have uploaded it to Ravelry.

This one's called Couronne de Noël because the pattern inside the diamonds kind of looks like crowns to me.  I'm thrilled with it (I am also thrilled that my dad is awesome at taking photos).

The pattern costs $5 (and it's a Canadian five dollars, so those of you who are in the States or elsewhere get it for a steal!) and you can find it on Ravelry here.

I have a few more patterns I want to get out this year, so there will be more to come but right now I'm going to go have some tea.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Today we remember the sacrifices of many who worked so that we can live in freedom.  For many those sacrifices meant their lives.  For many others it meant their husbands, that their families were never the same.  As a mom with young kids today I've been thinking about how terrifying it would be if my husband went to war, if he didn't come home ever, or came home but was never really the same again. 

I've also been thinking about the knitters who knit for the war effort.  In the first world war a man was more likely to die from exposure to the elements than enemy fire, often trenchfoot turned to gangrene.  Knitters in the allied countries worked to make socks, and those socks saved lives and limbs.  My grandmother remembers knitting for the soldiers in the second world war, often argyle socks.  (I haven't the faintest idea why argyle ones but there you have it).

Monday, 9 November 2015

"Because it's 2015"

I've been thinking about the new cabinet, and Justin Trudeau's explanation of why it's half women.  My mind keeps circling back to the same thing, I hate that the reason the cabinet is half women is "because it's 2015."

I hate it because it reminds me of all the times in school the teachers told the team captains in gym class that every other person they picked for their teams had to be a girl, because we're fair like that now.  It implies that a rigid quota is needed to have half of the cabinet ministers be women, because somehow we don't qualify on our merits alone.

I really wish the answer had been, "yeah, of the people I had to choose from there were just so many intelligent, passionate, and above all capable women that I had to pick these people to be in my cabinet."  Because I think the women he choose are intelligent, passionate, and capable, and I wish it was those qualities that had been emphasized.  I suppose that wouldn't have been as good a sound bite, though.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

He makes me laugh

I am almost finished the second girl guide hat.  It's been a fun and quick project.  My favourite part was when Caleb saw the yarn for the first time and exclaimed "Mom!  Biiiiig yarn!"

I have to say that hats with chunky yarn are super-fun because you get the thrill of a finished object super fast, I got the yarn three days ago and the second hat will be done tomorrow.  I'd easy get bored if that was all I made but Ada's napping has been bad (and by bad I mean almost nearly non-existant) for the past two weeks and finishing these two hats almost makes up for the fact that I haven't gotten a chance to do a lot of knitting the past two weeks.

Monday, 2 November 2015

So bad

Recently a neighbor a asked if I could help her with something.  There was a knitting pattern her daughter had seen for a toque with the girl guides' logo on it, but the mom couldn't knit.  She was wondering if she bought the yarn if I would make her two of the hats.  I said I'd be delighted to, and drew her attention to the number of stitches per 4" the pattern called for.  I figured her buying yarn wouldn't be too hard especially since I gave her the name of a local yarn shop.

It turns out the daughter's super-sensitive to fibres and it took a while (and several shops) for them to find a yarn that works for her.  It's a stunning blue, it knits up great, I really love it, it's also 9 sts per 4" rather than 18.  I can play with needles a bit but nothing that's going to bridge the gap between those numbers, but it's a toque knit flat with a logo in the middle.  I re-worked the logo on graph paper (the original chart would have taken up half the hat), it looks fine, and I knit the hat.

Before I did though, I realized the originally pattern is absolutely terrible.  It shows the hat in numerous sizes, had written instructions for one, but doesn't specify what size the written instructions are for.  The chart's colours are reversed (the white part on the chart is supposed to be coloured on the hat and visa versa), and has instructions like "do ribbing.  The best is either k2p2 or k1p1 and if you knit the stitch on one side you purl it on the other."  I feel like anyone who can make a hat with just those type of instructions would have done fine with only the picture and a chart and that those who need instructions because they're a bit newer would be lost.

All in all this has given me a real appreciate for well written patterns and emphasized the importance of good technical writing and checking my patterns for errors. I also think it is awesome that this mom went to three different yarn stores.