Knit Mittens!

Writers have NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  Knitters….well, they just pick a month and knit the heck out of things.  I’ve heard of NaKniSweMo (Sweaters), and October usually is dubbed “Socktoberfest”.  January is apparently NaKniMitMo, which translates into mittens.

Mittens!

I’m knitting mittens.  I have two pairs on the needles.  In both cases, the liners are done, I’m just knitting the handsome outer shells.

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Dodgy iPod photo because all the other cameras in the house were hiding from me.

Both pairs are for men.  One of whom has freakishly long hands.  Yes Dad, I’m looking directly at you. (No, those aren’t your mittens. The liners aren’t near long enough).

So, as I have a couple of mitten patterns for sale on Ravelry, in honour of NaKniMitMo, I’m offering 25% off for the month of January on Warmer on the Inside and Magnum: Mittens for Movember. Just use the code NaKniMitMo at checkout.

Because, seriously, who doesn’t want a flying police box or an awesome 80’s moustache on their mittens?

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They’re Warmer on the Inside

I’ve been wanting “TARDIS mittens” for awhile now.  I looked online and found mittens decorated as Tardises (Tardi?), and mittens decorated with Tardises (what is the plural on that, anyhow?). I just didn’t find what I was looking for.  There was one front-runner, but I quickly found myself ripping it back and starting all over from scratch.

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In addition to the notebook I usually carry in my purse, I often try to find ways of sneaking graph paper too. I never know when I’m going to want to doodle something and see how it turns out, whether cables, lace or colourwork.  I had whipped out one of my home-made mitten templates at work one day and started filling in dots, and to my surprise…I had a somewhat roughed-in Dalek shape.  And then a Cyberman-type shape. It wasn’t too hard to come up with an angel.  The Sonic Screwdriver was a bit of a challenge.  After all, whose screwdriver do you choose?  So, I kinda mishmashed one out of a bunch of them.  It’s a hybrid.

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So I present to you: Warmer on the Inside.  Because they are, particularly in the snowbound weather we’re seeing in Calgary at this time. This pair won’t get to stay with me; they’re moving on.  They’re knit at about 8 stitches & rows/inch, using Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in a dark blue and silvery grey. I used 2mm circular needles. They’re rather densely knit because, again, going somewhere very cold. I hope that the recipient will like them. I think the Husbeast will be particularly reluctant to see them leave.

I also included charts and instructions for making handwarmers out of them, so you don’t have to have full mitts if you don’t need them.

As a final incentive, I’m offering the pattern at 25% off until the end of Christmas Day (Mountain Time). Ravelry coupon code is “whovian“. Fantastic, Allons-y, and Geronimo indeed! 🙂

Ramping up for Yule

First things first!  Let’s get the pattern-wise info up & over with so we can get on to the real rambling! 😉

Every year I participate in a Ravelry group called “Super Sock Scarefest”. It starts in September and rolls right on through to October 31st. The goal is to complete as many of the sock designs released to the group within that time period, and to photograph them in the scariest way possible. Sock designs are inspired by some of the great B-movies of all time. The past two years, I’ve shared patterns with the group. The first pattern, “Baskervilles“, is available for free on Ravelry.  The second, “Graboids“, is now available for $6.

Graboids
Graboids in Koigu and Lorna’s Laces

For a limited time (the end of the month), I have extended my offer for Movember to include Graboids.  Sure, you could give me 6 bucks — or you could donate a buck or three to Movember and get Graboids AND Magnum for free with your donation. Just sayin’.

As it stands right now, I’ve made about $46 in donations to myself, and one donation to my team (which was a happy surprise for all of us).  While my team really does appreciate the donation, I don’t know if it triggers the coupon code message. If you want the code, please donate to me personally. You can donate anonymously, but I do like to see who is contributing (and it helps me in case you have problems downloading the pattern(s)).

As always, I’m thankful for everyone who participates and donates. 🙂

Inspira Cowl
I made myself an Inspira cowl. They’re addictive.

I know, I was hoping to write more this month, but I’m right in the middle of knitting for Yule, and I’m never too sure what I should post and what I shouldn’t.  I’m going to be honest and say that I sometimes grumble and mutter over some projects more than others, and I’d hate to have someone think that their gift wasn’t made with all the love and affection that I can muster.  I would be sad to think that someone felt their gift was inferior or substandard, even though I obviously liked it enough to continue knitting on it.

I admit it…I’m a grumbler. Life would be so boring if it were sunshine and bunnies all the time.  Sometimes you need an ill-tempered cat to come along and hiss and swipe at things to remind you that things aren’t always easy all the time.

I’m also a worrier.  I don’t want anyone to compare materials and think that someone else’s gift was more special or precious than theirs because I used a store-bought yarn vs a handspun yarn.  Let’s be honest, my handspun is fun for me to make….but it’s not necessarily the same as some store-bought yarns. I choose yarns mainly for their properties, not the sentimentality.

Noro
I didn’t make this yarn myself and I love it. Madly.

Actually, working with Handspun can cause more problems than it solves. I’m actually knitting a project using my Handspun and I’m worried I won’t have enough yarn to complete it. See?  Definite drawbacks. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen, because I’m really enjoying working with it!

That’s a serious moustache!

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since the last time I wrote anything here.  I have moments where I could have sworn that I had written a full blog post, but then the moment passes and I head back on my way to whatever I was doing. It feels like its been a busy year from my perspective, but maybe not if you’re on the outside looking in.

Hopefully we can change that this year. I just renewed the domains, so we’ll see what happens!

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October passed in a hurry, and now we’re into November — and November means Movember! Just like last year, I’ve done some designing. Unlike last year, it’s only available by donation, at least for the month of November. I’ll be doing some reconsidering once the month is over.

I’m actively participating in Movember this year, you see. You can follow the link to my Movember page if you’re interested in making a donation. The site gives buttons for donations of $25 or more, but there’s a blank for ‘other’ amounts. I’m not going to judge…if you’re only able to donate a dollar, I’ll gladly take it! Movember benefits research and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as men’s (mental) health. As I love the men in my life, I’m very much in favour of the movement.

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So what did I design? Stranded handwarmers and mittens. Because, the way I figure it, Movember is for Mittens. I’m not about to grow a moustache (like the male participants), but I sure can make mittens. If you are a knitter and you would like to get your hands on the pattern, all you have to do is make a donation at my Movember page. As mentioned, you can donate as little or as much as you wish. When you do, you will receive a message with the free coupon code for the pattern on Ravelry. You can then download the pattern and get knitting!

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I knit my test handwarmers with Koigu Premium Merino sock yarn in a lovely dark purple and light grey on size 2.5mm circular needles. They’re nice and roomy on my hands, but a little tight for the husbeast. My test knitter, Sherri (thanks, Sherri!) found them too big for her teeny tiny hands – but her gauge with 2mm needles is about the same as mine with 2.5mms. I’m thinking of making another pair for the Husbeast. So far, 3mm needles with Kroy sock yarn or Blue Moon Mediumweight seem to give the right gauge. The design is pretty unisex, so if your guy doesn’t want to grow a moustache for Movember, you can make mittens with a moustache for him 🙂

…and yes, I named the pattern “Magnum”. My Mum was a big fan of Magnum PI when I was a kid, and my Dad rocked a similar moustache throughout the 80’s. It made an impression. It’s a serious moustache for a serious cause!

Mittens for Movember

I know it’s been ages since my last post…what can I say? Life happens and this time it kicked me in the butt. I’ll be getting back to more regular posting soon, particularly now that we’re on our way to Yule and the mittens I was knitting as presents will hopefully soon be winging their way north.

That’s not what I’m posting about, though. I’m posting about Movember. What is Movember? Well, it’s a movement that happens every November to try and raise awareness about Prostate Cancer and Men’s Health. With the large concentration on talking about women’s issues and breast cancer, the guys often get left behind. That really needs to change.

November at my workplace becomes a somewhat surreal experience. Men who normally sport moustaches and goatees will spontaneously shave their faces clean on November 1st. Before you’re really quite aware of what’s going on, you’re surrounded by a variety of moustache styles including the handlebar, the “Magnum PI”, and even the twirled tips of an evil villain. I think the only moustache I haven’t seen is pencil-thin, a la John Waters.

What are my gentleman co-workers doing? Participating in Movember! Their faces become billboards for the movement.

Prostate cancer & men’s health are very important to me. I have a Dad, a Brother, and a Husbeast. I have a lot of extended family and friends who are men. The world would be a lot less fun and amazing without them around.

My Grandfather passed away from cancer. It spread so fast that the doctors couldn’t be sure where it started. All he knew was that one day he didn’t feel well, so he went to the doctor. Less than a couple of months later, he was  gone.

My Grandfather, Cpl. DA Smith (on the left) and friend in Prince Rupert, BC

Boompa (our name for him) was a WWII vet. From what I recall, he didn’t see action. He was stationed at a base in Western Canada as an MP for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He couldn’t fly due to colour-blindness. When Remembrance Day comes around every November 11th, he’s the one I think of.

This Remembrance Day,  I’m offering a “quick & dirty” mitten pattern in honour of Movember. My hopes are that there will come a time when hard-working men like my Boompa can enjoy a long and healthy retirement, instead of having to keep fighting for their health long after a war is over.

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I’m offering this pattern for free, as I haven’t had a chance to test-knit it. It is basically a chart with some handy tips thrown in. In return, all I ask is that you consider making a donation to the Movember movement (the link to my co-workers’ team is right here). If you do, please leave a message of encouragement for the boys with your donation, and let me know via the comments on the pattern!

(yes, I know Remembrance Day is almost over here in North America.  That’s a whoopsie on my part. Still, you do have until the end of November to donate to a very worthy cause!)

Preliminary Pictures!

Pretty-ish things until I can snag a model and The Good Camera…

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At some point I’m going to put a hand-lettered sign near that angel with the words “Don’t Blink” calligraphed or somehow etched onto it. Between it and the zombie in the back garden, our yard is gaining “character”.

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As an aside: Migraines are not fun. Probably best to steer clear of the trigger foods from now on. Ow. Going to go hide from the sun now…

Don’t Blink (no, really)

I know, I know, I’ve been coy with what I’ve been working on…but I really wanted to get most of the work out of the way before I decided to share. It’s a pattern of Whovian inspiration — the wings of the Weeping Angels in Blink, The Time of Angels, and Flesh and Stone. It’s taken at least 3 tries to get it right.

I’ve tossed the testknit pattern onto Ravelry so that anyone who is interested can give it a look and a try. I’m hoping I’ve knocked out most of the bugs, but it’s possible that I’ve under-explained something, or missed something else…etc.

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I would love to see pictures if anyone gives the pattern a try! I will probably corral one of my friends to do the primary modelling for the final pattern, but am always open to other ideas if a great picture comes along (and of course, you would be asked first, as I’m a big supporter of creative copyright).

One of my biggest worries is that I’ve unknowingly copied someone else’s work, but I think I’ve managed to make the pattern as original as possible. Robin has been watching my progress, from the first attempt to the latest prototypes, and can attest to the fact that I’ve worked on little else for the past month.

Please remember that this is still in testknit phase, and as such, there may be errors in the PDF.

Pictures soon! 🙂

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28:06:42:12…that is when the world will end.

As promised, a pattern release!  You can download it now on Ravelry. I will admit to being rather excited, as it’s the first pattern work I’ve done in quite a long time. It felt good to dig into page layout again, though next time I don’t think I’ll give myself such a tight deadline.

"Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?"

28:06:42:12 is inspired by the movie Donnie Darko, and features evil bunny rabbit motifs as well as the distinctive countdown to the end of the world. I recommend watching the movie, listening to all the old 80’s tunes that I remember with fond nostalgia, and settling in with a good sock.

that is when the world will end

As previously mentioned, 28:06:42:12 will be available free for a full year, then will be available for a reasonable price afterwards. It is also this month’s Skinflint Sock Club pattern for those who might be following along. I thought it might be suitable for this month’s Sock Knitter’s Anonymous KAL on Ravelry, but I was mistaken.  Whoops.

As always, if you see any errors in the pattern, please let me know in the comments (either here or on Ravelry) so that I can correct them!

Many thanks to Robin for being my model for the last-minute “hooray, I finished the first one!” photo shoot!

Update: For those who are a little leery of doing so much beadwork, and have no idea how to get the beads on the sock, check out this youtube video (no, not made by me. It just explains things nicely).  Easysauce!

New Sock Pattern coming soon: 28:06:42:12

"...that is when the world will end..."

I figured I would make this an official post rather than a hint in the sidebar of the website for October’s Skinflint Sock Club project. I’m very close to finishing test sock #1 for my new pattern release, 28:06:42:12. If those numbers sound familiar, it’s because that is when the world will end.

I will have two sizes calculated out, one for medium, and one for large.  As I suspect the large one will fit the husbeast (who may become my (un)willing model for the pattern photo), you should be able to fit this sock on most average width feet. I’m actually pretty surprised at how stretchy the leg is turning out to be. My first draft fit a little tight, which is why I went up a size to begin with. Either way, it should be fairly easy to resize if need be.

What will you need for this little project, should you choose to join in?
100gr grey-blue fingering weight sock yarn
1 to 2 vials of #8 beads in Gunmetal (or, if your yarn is rather dark, try some frosted white beads instead)
Cable Needle.  Maybe. Depends on whether or not you’re adept at cabling without one.

A rather nify sidebar to all this? The husbeast mentioned that the leg design would make a great set of armwarmers for thems who cycle. I’m almost inclined to agree with him.

So, grab some yarn for October, snag a DVD or Blu-Ray of Donnie Darko wherever you buy your movies (or rent it on Netflix) and settle in.  Socktoberfest is coming soon!

WIP Wednesday: Socks and more socks!

Amazingly enough, I actually have a couple of quick pictures to show!  Yay!  I’m surprised, what with a very busy vacation and then schedule crazies at work, but I’ll take my resource photos where I can get ’em.

It doesn’t look like much of anything, but that’s because this is a sorta cast-on picture. I’ve been struggling with a sock design that’s been going through my head for the past few months, and it’s finally coming together.  First it was a matter of having the time and inclination to work on it – I’d gotten stumped by a couple of design features early-on. Then it was just a matter of figuring out the cuff design.  It took a false start and a good 7-inch frogging, but I’m now on the heel flap. I’m writing down the pattern as I go, and it will hopefully be ready for release in about a month or so. It’s been my go-to sock while working on my June socks.

You see, the June socks are a Mystery Sock knitalong for the Solid Socks group on Ravelry.  The pattern is Gush by Yarnissima. The yarn is just a basic solid Regia that I found at Pudding Yarn downtown. I had been considering Koigu, as they have a rather large stock of solid Koigu (and I just love how it knits up!), but even though this sock is toe-up, I wasn’t certain how much I’d get out of the skein. When it comes to Koigu, I generally have very little left over.  The Regia is beautifully saturated colour, and the yarn itself is very sturdy. It’s not the softest merino blend in the world, but it will stand up to some wear, which is always a good thing.

The mystery socks are pictured at the end of clue #1, and clue #2 was just released today.  I’m considering taking them in to the office to work on over supper hour.  Not sure how far I’ll get, but my days off for the week start tomorrow.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make a dent in the pattern and be back to my design socks in no time 🙂