Knitknacks.ca

Monthly Archives: June 2014

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Bloomers!

Most of the pieces I do are custom requests, but I also enjoy doing a few pieces as Ready To Ship. These bloomers are the latest.

Pink Shells

They’re knit with soft baby pink merino and a darker pink merino-blend. I tried a different striping technique on these with a staggered transition. The legs have a loose rib and a crochet shell edging.

I made the bloomers to match a cute little t-shirt (3 mos) I picked up at Carter’s on clearance (the tshirt is included). They’re a size small. The measurements are:

Hip: 16″ unstretched
Rise: 15.5″
Inseam: 1.75″

You can find these listed in the catalogue. Or on Etsy.

They have been washed in Eucalan, and I can lanolize these for you at no extra charge before shipping out!

Pink Shells 3

With t-shirt

Shell edging

The shell edging

Dye Job

I’ve been dyeing yarn in the crock pot for a couple of years now, on and off. I enjoy it, and I love the tie-dyed effect, but new skills are great, and I knew that hand-painting would give me a more predictable result in terms of colour placement. Also, it gives me the flexibility to dye more than one skein at a time, which is tricky in the crock pot.

Here’s my first attempt. There are plenty of tutorials out there; I used this one.

I used Easter Egg tablets – they’re typically on sale the day after Easter so I grabbed a box.

The Dye

The yarn was a single skein of natural Cascade 220 – a decent 100% wool. I soaked it in a vinegar/water solution for a while and then laid it in my pyrex dish.

Yarn Blank

I dissolved the tablets in vinegar per the dye instructions and then put them in squeezy bottles (I forgot to take a picture of this step). I picked up a set of three barbecue condiment bottles last year for that purpose. I squeezed the dye solution on three areas of the yarn and squished it in with gloved hands to make sure that it was saturated. Then I transferred the yarn to a smaller microwaveable dish with a lid and zapped it.

Ready for heating

Zap

After it was cool (it was REALLY hard to wait to take the lid off!) it looked really vibrant and I love that the colours are so defined.

Hank_Dry

Hank_Skeined1

Wound

I’ll definitely be doing this again with new colour combinations. I will try some food colouring next, and then I think I’ll take the plunge and buy some commercial dyes. This skein is enough for a skirtie, shorties, newborn longies, a hat…

Edited to add! Here’s the skirtie that I made with this yarn… it’s available now in the shop:

Pink Lemonade

The Woolly Wormhead Mystery Knit-a-Long

Originally posted on November 6, 2013

This year I’m participating in the Woolly Wormhead mystery knit-a-long for the first time. I’ve never done a KAL before – they’re generally projects I’m just not that interested in – but I’ve made several WW hats (my first hat was a WW design) and they always come out really well.

The deal is that you buy the pattern at a reduced price and it comes to you in instalments throughout the month. You are given hints about the design and yarn suggestions before you commit, but you don’t get to see the final design before you start. This is what makes it fun! There’s a discussion forum on Ravelry set up for support, you know, just in case…

I’m going to post my progress here as I move along. I’m doing 5 rows a day so I don’t interfere with customer work. This hat is for me – I don’t get a chance to knit for myself much!

So the first instalment has come out. It calls for Double Knitting (DK)-weight yarn and after going through my stash, I’ve decided on some vintage DK that I inherited from my Nana. I’m guessing they’re left-overs from a sweater – need to check with Mum. I’m pretty sure that there will be enough left over to make a pair of wrist-warmers too – bonus!

Yarn balls!

Yarn balls!

The yarn is a brown base with blue and orange mixed in – loving the colours. This poor yarn (no idea what it is, but it feels like pure wool) has been wound into tight balls for ages, so first step is to rewind on my ball-winder to let it relax.

Close-up

Ok, but of course I can’t WAIT. So I’ve started knitting with one of the tight balls. Gauge swatches are for the weak, so I’m crossing my fingers I’ll hit gauge – I always have with her patterns, so what could go wrong? ;)

There was a choice between doing a peaked brim or just a regular ribbed brim. I was tempted to do the peaked just to learn a new technique, but decided in the end the rib will suit me better. I’ve done a few rows over the past couple of days – nothing much to look at yet but it’s a start! Stitch marker was made by my lovely sister-in-law Em :)

So far... so good!

 

JUNE 2014 UPDATE: Yeah, well, it’s sitting in a bag… I think I’ll take it on vacation with me and see if I can finish it!!

Sweet Sweater

Originally posted on October 9, 2013

Waaay back, I posted a “find” that I’d discovered at my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) Wool-Tyme. In their warehouse sale, there was a bin with this pretty pink and grey-shaded yarn. The muted pastels caught me at once, but when I realized it was Fleece Artist BFL (Blue-Faced Leicester) it had to be mine! Fleece Artist is a Canadian luxury yarn producer – usually the yarns are financially way out of reach for me – to find an older colourway at an affordable price was a score!

 

Fleece Artist BFL DK

Then the question was what to make with it. At a double-knitting weight, it’s thinner than I generally work with for longies, although it could work. When I posted it on my Facebook page though, my sister-in-law jumped on it and asked me to make something for my sweet little niece. After going back and forth on patterns, we decided on this attractive but not too saccharine hoodie from Sirdar.

The project has been slow going… it started with disaster when my ball-winder broke halfway through winding the first ball. That was a lot of yarn to wind by hand. I’ve missed changing needle sizes and had to pull back.. I read the wrong size and knit one front panel 2 inches too long… I had a last minute panic about the fact the back was shorter than the front panels (thankfully my Mum could talk me down and point out that the seams don’t hit at the top of the shoulder…).

I’ve been bringing parts of the sweater with me all summer trying to fit it in between other custom projects. It’s been to Nova Scotia, the local Science and Technology museum, on my front deck almost constantly… and now finally it’s done and on its way to the West Coast. It reminded me again why I stick generally with small items… I would dearly love to wear a sweater I’d knit myself but I just don’t have the patience!

Sweet Sweater

A Thank You to a Wonderful Teacher – Musica Mitts

Originally posted on June 23, 2013

My daughter has had a marvelous year this year in school. Her Grade 2 teacher has been so wonderful. She is so involved with the children, and relishes the chance to work with different personalities and learning styles for the challenge of it. I have seen my girl blossom this year both academically and socially. This teacher believes that reading and the occasional math game are the only homework that children need at this level, because children need to have fun, and have outside activities, and be, well, children. In addition to her classroom, she is at every extra-curricular night at the school and she volunteers with the Girl Guides as a leader. I have no idea where she finds the time!

Not only is this teacher wonderful overall, but she is also highly musical – with a fellow teacher she runs the primary choir, and has a song for every concept – singing in math and science classes – what a wonderful idea! It was a perfect fit for my daughter, who sings, well, constantly.

I wanted to do something special for this teacher – to do something that required a commitment on my part to show her how appreciated she is for going the extra mile for her kids. My daughter picked these stranded colourwork mitts with a music theme (pattern here). I have been doing a few rows here and there over the past few weeks. Hopefully they will come in handy for Mme. L on yard duty!

(Click on the pictures for a larger version.)

musica 001

musica 002 (Small)

musica 3
Thank you, Mme. L., for a wonderful year!

The Delightful Behaviour of Multi-Coloured Yarn

Originally posted on May 16, 2013

I post a bunch of the yarns that I have in my stash on my Facebook page to give customers some colour choices (you can find the album here). Customers sometimes ask how a particular yarn will look when it’s knit up.

How will this look knit up? No idea!

How will this look knit up? No idea!

Unfortunately, my answer is usually “it depends!”. Sometimes, the results are predictable. Some of the yarn is dyed to be self-striping, so it’s always going to end up in stripes – the only variability is how thick those stripes will be. That depends on the width of the garment and how long the repeats of colour are.

Self-striping yarn by Munchkin Knitworks on etsy.

Self-striping yarn from Munchkin Knitworks on etsy.

Most of the yarns I have, though, are variegated or tonal, and these yarns behave quite differently depending on what I’m knitting, and the size of garment. Sometimes you’ll get stripes, sometimes splotches of colour, and sometimes some really cool swirls of pooling yarn.

The yarn that I have below here is a great example. The wool is organic 3-ply Merino from Purewool – the colourway is Praia.

Praia, skeined up

Praia, skeined up

Last year, I knit up a pair of shorties in size extra-large. The colours pooled into large waves at the top of the body. This pattern (Ultimate Longies on Ravelry) has increases through the body to make it fit nicely – it also means that as you get down the body, there are more stitches in each round, using up more yarn per round, changing the size of the swirls, eventually changing them into stripes.

Extra-large Praia shorties

Extra-large Praia shorties

This year, I’ve just finished up another pair of Praia shorties – this time in size large. Same pattern. Check out how the yarn behaved – totally differently!

Praia Size large

Praia Size large

But then… here’s another pair of shorties, for the same customer, same size, same pattern, but in a different yarn – lots of pooling in this one!

Shorties in Knitpicks Bulky WOTA "Juicy"

Shorties in Knitpicks Bulky WOTA “Juicy”

So… my answer’s going to always have to be “it depends”. It’s one of the most interesting parts of hand-knitting – everything’s one of a kind. If you pick a yarn, I knit it up, and you absolutely despise the way the colours come out, let me know – it’s important to me that you’re happy with the result!

You can see more examples of the delightful and unpredictable behaviour of multi-coloured yarn in my Completed Projects album on Facebook.

Sugaring Season

This post was originally published March 2013.

Just about the time even *I*, who loves winter, am getting kind of sick of bulky sweaters and snowsuits, my husband starts spending every single evening ramping up for this week – the week we start tapping. He buys more buckets every year – he’s up to 150 buckets this year. He put in the first spiles at the end of last week, and while it’s been slow to start (which is good because there was lots of preparation left to do), we’ve got full buckets ready to collect today.

The past few days have been busy tapping days – the last of the buckets went in this morning, with some help from our son. Some of the trees were dripping as soon as the spile went in.

Last year was a terrible syrup season, especially for low-volume producers who rely on the buckets rather than plastic tubing. This is year looks fantastic. Temperatures ideally need to stick within 5 degrees of freezing (celcius) for the sap to run well, and the next couple of weeks look ideal. We should get a bumper “crop” if things go well.

It’s an intense few weeks, but for a couple who grew up mostly in the suburbs, living out here is incredibly rewarding. My involvement in the process is mainly taking pictures, watching with amazement and pride, keeping suppers warm when he’s out there in the late evenings, and consuming the delicious end-product. Lucky me!

Click the pictures to see them full-size.

DSC_0413 (Medium)

DSC_0395 (Medium)

 

DSC_0398 (Medium)

DSC_0410 (Medium)

DSC_0417 (Medium)

DSC_0434 (Medium)

DSC_0449 (Medium)