Thursday, 31 December 2015

Doing it Right

I've got most of the old sweater undone, I still have a sleeve to go but it was an annoying job and I have more than enough to start.  So I swatched for the new sweater and quickly determined I didn't have the right needles, I did some math and figured I could fudge it by knitting the numbers of stitches of one of the smaller sizes with the needles I did have and if I did the math right it would end up my size.

Then I had a moment of wisdom where I realized it would look better at the gauge suggested and it would be worth waiting until I had time to go to the store.  So I waited and managed to pick up the needles yesterday.  It is so much faster doing errands when you leave the kids in the car!  (Don't worry, my husband was also in the car.)  It meant I spent less than five minutes in the yarn shop, has to be a record.

I have cast on and am on the ribbing, but I'm in no rush.  This project with have miles of stockinette so I'll take the ribbing while it's here.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The great undoing

Close to a decade ago I bought some beautiful yarn, it was the brightest beautiful blue and it was to be a sweater.  It was around eighty dollars, I remember it being a lot especially since I was in school but it was good quality and I was in love with it.   I knit the sweater, a stunning lace pattern that I still think is breathtaking.  

The sweater was too small.  It was meant to be fitted but it didn't close and the arms were too tight and I couldn't bear to re-knit it since at the time it was rather challenging.  I just couldn't face doing it again.  I also couldn't face throwing it out or giving it away so it has stayed with me, through four moves, getting married, and having children.  Last year I knit some of the leftovers into a shawl but I didn't really love that, so the shawl joined the sweater and the still-leftover yarn in its bag and they sat there together and waited.

On Christmas Day Tin Can Knits released a new sweater pattern, Flax Light.  It's made of sock yarn, and I love it.  I sat looking at it while thinking about the fact that I have a lot of yarn and that I even have yarn for a top from Tin Can Knits waiting to be knit (but that's Bonny which is a summer top), and that I didn't really need to go and buy yarn.

Then I had an epiphany.  I had a sweater's worth of yarn in the right weight in a colour I love, the yarn is just in a sweater.  So today I have been sitting unpicking the seams then winding the yarn (my ball winder makes it go much faster than it would have otherwise).  I just need to do the two sleeves.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Oh right

I finished the knitting for the Christmas ornaments I'm working on, I just need to do a little blocking to even the stitches out a bit (they look fine, but blocking generally makes everything look better) and I also finished the mittens I've been working on last night.  (Need to take a picture and post it just haven't yet).

I was wondering what I should knit, I always have the never-ending blanket (it uses left over sock yarn and is pretty simple so it's my go-to between projects), and then I remembered.

I am knitting a sweater for Caleb.  Sweaters tend to get finished faster if you actually work on them.  It's funny how often I seem to forget that.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Such a great feeling

So apparently it's not allowed to sell patterns on Ravelry that are comprised of other patterns also on Ravelry unless the compilation is sold as an eBook.  I guess I missed that when I originally added the group of Christmas stockings, and a completely lovely volunteer editor has been helping me sort it out.  

Can I just say that volunteer editors are awesome?  It boggles my mind that this lovely person is spending their free time helping to maintain Ravelry which is such a blessing to me.

That being said sorting the entire process out has been somewhat frustrating because the process of adding and selling an eBook has been (at least to me) completely unintuitive.  But I figured it out and I am so happy and so satisfied that I did a little dance here in the office all by myself.  

This last thing means that every single one of the goals I set for myself at the start of the year has been completed, which is  such a great feeling.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Free Patterns

I absolutely love the patterns by Tin Can Knits, and they're giving away one of their patterns each day between now and Christmas!  If you haven't already I suggest you head over to and pick up yours.  You'll see a picture of the free pattern right away.  Click on the picture, click on "buy now" then a window will come up and you'll see the total is $0.00, it will be in your Ravelry library.


Thursday, 17 December 2015


I bought some very colourful yarn on my trip to Vermont this fall and have been working on a pair of mittens.  They're very plain mittens in terms of the actual knitting.  Stockinette stitch with a peasant thumb.  I'm knitting them top-down, it's my favourite way to make mittens since the thumbs are first instead of last but other than that they're what you'd expect.  I'm really enjoying them, I love how the yarn is knitting there's just so much colour condensed into one place, really saturated colour and I'm loving them.

I'm also really enjoying the fact that I'm knitting and not needing to write up a pattern and focus on being really clear, it's a nice mental break.  

The other thing I'm making are these Christmas ornaments which are turning out great.  That pattern will need to be photographed and written up because I'm so in love with how they look, and they're a perfect gift for a knitter at Christmas and a great  (and quick) way to incorporate knitting into holiday decor that I want to make that pattern available.  I need to finish the knitting before my parents take their tree down (we only have a mini tree because I can put it away from where little hands can reach it and my dad does my photos for me).  I originally thought it would be tight but I'm on the sixth and last one, then I just need to weave in ends which is easy.  

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Little Christmas Ornament

I saw somewhere (probably on Pinterest) a picture of a little bit of knitting on toothpicks in a glass Christmas ornament.  I loved the idea and I made one but it was a bit boring.  I thought it would be better if it had a little colourwork motif but since it was going to be in a glass ball I didn't really want to have the wrong side there.  I'd seen knit fabric where both sides were the right side but didn't know how to make it.  So I got out my harmony guides (a great knitting series, by the way, I got them for Christmas one year and use them often), and found the page that explained how to make reversible squares and then extrapolated to make a snowflake chart.

A wiser person might have actually spent some time practising on the squares before spending an hour tearing out her hair while attempting to figure out how to chart something she'd never done before but for the life of me I can't seem to get over my habit of doing things the hard way.  Anyways I now have this:

I am very pleased.  So pleased that I've charted out five other designs and am planning on making a set of six.  I've already gotten another knitted (but not stuffed into the ball), and am so very happy with it.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

For fun

The other day I was going through my knitting notebook and reading old entries, from when I knew I wanted to sell patterns but hadn't started yet.  I came across an entry where I mentioned that I could that "work knitting" and "fun knitting" weren't exactly the same in terms of satisfaction and relaxation.  It's not that the knitting I do for my patterns isn't satisfying but it's like it scratches a different itch.  I'd totally forgotten that I'd written that but it's totally what I needed to hear this week. I've been working so hard on some of the things for my knitting work that I hadn't had a lot of knits that were just good fun in a while.

There's a Christmas ornament that I'm making for a friend that I need to have done by the end of the week but I've decided that after that I'm going to spend a week just knitting some fun things.  I bought some ridiculously fun yarn when I was in Vermont in the fall and it is going to be mittens and a cowl (and possibly a hat depending on how much yarn I have leftover).  The pattern for the mittens is going to be a plain as it gets (in other words, I'm not going to sell it), and I plan on using someone else's pattern for the cowl.  I haven't decided what it will be yet, or even looked but I want it to be somewhat interesting and I don't want to make it up myself.  I'm really looking forward to just bein refreshed.  Caleb and I wound the yarn together yesterday (he discovered the swift, I explained it was a tool, he was sold) and the colours are just delicious.

Monday, 7 December 2015

My little knitter

I'm almost done the front of Caleb's sweater, it's going pretty well.  I should have it done in another day or two.  This morning Caleb got his hands on it and was sitting there "knitting" saying "in, out, through, in, out, through, in, out..."  it was really cute, he's starting to really understand things and that's cool to see.  I also love that he's interested in knitting and will wear the stuff I make him.  I think he's going to love his airplane sweater and am really excited to give it to him.  I'm past the part that requires a chart so it's gotten more portable again which means the pace should pick up.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

A Toque For Anyone

This is my latest knitting pattern, A Toque for Anyone.  It's  available in five different sizes; toddler, little kid, big kid, ladies' and men's.

I'm really proud of this pattern for a couple reasons.  It's the first pattern I've published with different sizes listed and it took me a while to figure out how to write it out without the multiple instructions getting awkward.  Patterns in books are usually quite streamlined despite the amount of sizes listed and I wanted the sizes to be done well.  I had a breakthrough while I was working on this earlier in the week and the pattern is quite clear and the math works.  I'm really happy with that.

I also absolutely love how the earflaps worked out.  I've made a few hats with earflaps over the years and sometimes I find them too wide, or too narrow, or too short and these are exactly how I wanted them.

The other thing that I love about this is the border.  I have barely done any crochet but I was envisioning a contrasting border and though the pompoms and ties could be a great way to tie everything together but I was a bit intimidated because my attempts at crochet have been thus far very rudimentary, but I figured it was only yarn and worse case scenario I could rip it out.  The border is just double-crocheted all around so I only had to learn one stitch and it really tidied up the border and makes the entire thing look really polished.  I'm so happy I went that route.  The entire thing ended up jut how I pictured it which makes for an incredibly satisfying project.

It's on Ravelry here.

Firsts Can Be Hard

I've been working on some knitting patterns that I want to sell but I need to size them.  All of the patterns I've published already are things like ladies' mittens or Christmas stockings, things that can be sold in just one size.  That doesn't work for sweaters though, which is fine.  I have a sweater and a dress pattern for Ada that I'd like to publish and I had planned to have the sweater pattern be the fourth pattern I release this year (my goal for the year was four).  I'm just finding it somewhat...I don't know what.  Intimidating or difficult aren't quite the right words.  I'm used to writing out the instructions for one size and it's almost like the style I've written my patterns in up to this point doesn't translate very well.

Anyways, I also had a hat pattern I wanted to sell in multiple sizes.  I figured the hat would be easier to write out in multiple sizes than a sweater so I decided to put off publishing the sweater pattern until next year and do the hat, I've been sitting down to figure it out and up to last night have had a lot of trouble.  Part of it is the fact that I want the increases to be spaced evenly along the hat but the different sizes I was making didn't end up having stitch counts that divided neatly into the number of increases per round.

Last night I sat down and figured I'd do things one step at a time.  I made a chart with the names of the sizes I needed and the head circumference for each size.  Then I added a column with the number of stitches each size needed to go up to.  Then I added a column where I listed the factors of those numbers.  That was really a breakthrough for me, because I realized by having the original number of stitches cast on be different by one or two I could end up with the increases evenly divided on each of the rows for each of the sizes.  An hour later and I had everything written out on paper.  I feel so good about that.  I also feel really good that the magazine submission I made this year was rejected, it really helped that I got to work this out without a looming deadline.  And I think the sweater pattern will go a lot easier now that I've worked this one out.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

I think I've found a solution

I'm not really in love with how Caleb's sweater is coming along an that's part of the reason I've been avoiding it a bit.  It's supposed to be an airplane and clouds, and I wanted it to be subtle, so I did it as reverse stockinette on a stockinette background.  It's too subtle.  You can't really see it.

I've been thinking about what I should do, just rip it out?  I really  like the chart and just wish it was clearer in the knitting.  Then I remembered a suggestion from Debbie Bliss' Design it; Knit it Babies which is to use embroidery to compliment textured stitches.  This isn't quite what she meant but I think the idea could work, and I'm really excited about it again.  (It's still at an awkward place to take to knitting group today so it will be the blanket again, but I'm all right with that).  I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do, and will likely need to start by researching some different embrodery stitches but I think the solution could make it fun as opposed to a sweater where there's random patches in reverse stockinette which is totally the look that it has now.