Hats! I knit them!

I knit a couple of hats!

I actually knit them a while ago, but I was waiting until they landed in Yellowknife with their new owners before I posted anything. You see, one of them is an early birthday present and the other is a belated birthday present. Unfortunately, while I have a picture of the duo in their new hats, I do not have permission to post it (it’s pretty informal). If, however, winter action shots of the hats in use come my way with permission to post, I shall happily do so.

Milo's Hat
Milo’s Hat

This is what happens when Auntie Maire sees her niece and nephew wearing commercially knit toques in family pictures. Seriously.

Georgia’s Hat

Georgia’s hat is Baa-ble Hat by Donna Smith, and Milo’s is my own variation on The Force Awakens Hat by Mrs. Luedeke. As always, I can’t help myself from messing with a pattern. I added  a Y-Wing fighter, the Rebel Alliance logo to the first row of icons. I added Boba Fett (because he’s awesome), and Darth Vader to the top, and got rid of the light saber-ish thing. Last, I used “May the force be with you” instead of branding the hat to the movie. Essentially turned it into a general-purpose Star Wars Hat. Because that’s the way I roll.

The back of Milo’s hat

The only things these hats are missing are wonderfully ridiculous pom-poms, and that’s only because I wasn’t sure the kids would want wonderfully ridiculous pom-poms. They’re at an age where pom-poms can be a point of contention.

So I will patiently await a publishable action shot of the hats and the final word as to whether pom-poms are go.

ps: I also made yarn. But that’s a whole other story.

I made yarn! Into The Whirled "Andraste" on English Shetland
Into The Whirled “Andraste” on English Shetland

The Cat’s Pyjamas

The problem with knitting so many things that you eventually give away, is that you wind up not blogging about things until months have gone by and you’ve finally tracked down the person you’re gifting it to. I never want to spoil the surprise.  I’m thinking I’m going to take a leaf from the Yarn Harlot’s personal manifesto and just blog about stuff as it comes up. Not say who it’s for, stick it in the Tickle Trunk until Yule (or other gift-giving time, and let the family/friends wonder who it will eventually find its way to. Play coy, so to speak.

This has been known to backfire. I lost a gorgeous pair of butter yellow socks to my Mum that way. However, I did replace the yarn with more butter yellow sock yarn, and I know the socks will be loved, so I’m not kept up all night with sock angst.

ITW The Cat's Pyjamas

My fiber club shipment from Into the Whirled this past January was a beautiful blue 75/25 BFL/Silk called “The Cat’s Pyjamas”. I gave it a pat, then stashed it away with very little further thought. As much as I love ITW fibre, there has been a lot of blue in it over the past year, so to be honest, it didn’t really “speak to me” loudly enough to jump on the wheel.

Then a shawlette almost was stolen right off my needles by a friend, so I figured she probably deserved one knit Just For Her if she was going to be that discerning.

The blue fluff turned into blue yarn. It shimmers!  Apparently that’s one of the wonderful qualities of BFL.

ITW The Cat's Pyjamas

The blue yarn turned into a shawlette.


Why yes, my piano does have wonderful fashion sense.
The shawlette in question is the smaller version of Ishbel, designed by Ysolda Teague.

The scarf went to its ‘forever home’ this weekend.  My only condition was that we get a picture of her wearing it.  We’ll see if that happens.  She avoids cameras like I do. 😉

All in all, I was happy to see the blue Ishbel going to a place where it would be loved. That’s all I ever really want for my wee little acts of creativity…that they be loved. I suppose it’s easy when the item is a pretty scarf like this.  I think it will bring some happiness and warmth in the upcoming cold season!

I made yarn!

I made yarn! I told you I was working on content!

For reference’s sake, here is what I started with: December 2013 Fiber Club Shipment from FatCatKnits, Mambo and Tango on Polwarth (5oz total). I did not take the photos – they are the inventory shots from Ginny’s website. I’m simply including them as a “before” shot.  To see the club shipment in all it’s glory, check out the listing in her store.

FCK Tango
FCK Tango

FCK Mambo on Polwarth
FCK Mambo on Polwarth


What I did was spin each colourway separately.  I broke each down into 4 strips, and spun them end-to-end. When I was done, I plied the two bobbins together.  This is what I came up with. These photos *are* mine, but taken on an overcast, snowy day with as much light as I could get into my kitchen.

I had been concerned that the Tango was going to overwhelm the Mambo and be too dark, but I was glad to see that they balanced each other out admirably. The Tango actually does the job of a neutral, and stabilizes the Mambo, actually.

Also, the polwarth is really bouncy and squooshy. I’m enjoying just handling the skein. I just keep picking it up and squishing it because it really is that soft. I felt like I was overspinning the singles, and had to overspin the ply a little bit to keep it dynamic, but it appears that’s exactly what the yarn wanted.  Hooray!

Now, after a dunk, a bit of a snap, and some drying time, it’s all ready for its next adventure. I’m thinking of turning it into a Quaker Yarn Stretcher.  We’ll see how that goes 🙂

Christmas Knitting Retrospective

I meant to post before now, but things have been scattered and hectic over the holiday (I consider it ‘the holiday that wasn’t’ because I worked for most of it, but what can you do, right?  It’s the nature of the beast when you knowingly continue a career path that includes features shift work).

So, since I didn’t really post any of the things I was knitting for Yule *as* I was knitting them, I will do so here!

Project #1 began as this lovely combination of fluff from FatCatKnits fiber club. The theme was FairyTales, and the two colourways are “Angry Dwarf” (oranges) and “The Prince” (blues).

Angry Dwarf & The Prince

I turned it into these mittens, which went to my Dad. They’re Jared Flood’s “Strago” pattern, only elongated to account for my Dad’s really long fingers.


Next, I discovered the Inspira Cowl. I went looking for the right yarns, and came up with a ball of Noro Silk Garden that was looking for just the right project, and a ball of Noro Kureyon that I despaired of ever using because it was hard on my fingers while knitting.  Turns out that it was perfect for stranded knitting, as I could carry it a little looser in my left hand (I knit stranded two-handed).  These went to my Other Mum, Sheila (for lack of a better term, my Common-Law Mother-in-Law 😉 )


And because I was still on an Inspira kick (honestly, I’m surprised Robin wasn’t sick of seeing me knit the same thing for weeks), I dug into my stash and found a bit more handspun that would suit my own Mum. She’s the only person I know of who can, and will, wear these colours together. At the same time. And not make it look crazyhorriblebad. If you ask her why this is, she’ll tell you that she’s a “winter”.


My nephew Milo’s mittens were next, but we’ve already seen them. I knit them in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light.


Off the needles next were my niece Georgia’s mittens.  They’re a mishmash of “Wibbly Wobbly Mittley Wittley” by Therese Sharp and the Warmer on the Inside mitts, and knit with Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light and Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport Weight yarn.  There’s a long story of angst and frustration behind them, but I will spare you only to say that they were a work in progress for the better part of the year, including 3 or 4 changes of yarn, pattern, and other things causing the wailing and gnashing of teeth (such as a yarn store owner who insisted on “helping” Robin find what I needed when I’d already given him instructions.  Note to yarn store owners: Don’t do this.  Please).

mosaic originals1

Last but not least, mittens for my Common-Law Father-in-Law, Don.  They’re my Magnum Mitten pattern, only in full mitten form. I knit them out of Paton’s Kroy in Flax and Black, and they came out quite nice and warm.


I really like patterns and projects that give me very little grief.  Seriously.

Speaking of which, at some point I had started Rose Hiver’s Quaternity (actually, during the KAL), and wound up putting it on the back burner while I completed the Yule knitting.  I finished them off as a palate-cleanser after Yule.  Koigu Premium Merino in a nice silvery grey and royal purple. These went to Mum the other day because she had mentioned earlier that she needed a new pair of mittens.  Hint recieved! 😉


And yes, that’s a copy of Mark Danielewski’s “House of Leaves” in the background. My Christmas gifts this year were mostly books, so I have a lot of reading to do!

WIP Wednesday: The Yule Knitting Commences

I know that updates have been sparse lately, but I blame that on the work schedule being a bit wonky. One of the drawbacks of rotating shifts, I guess. When I haven’t been working, though, I’ve been keeping myself busy – and not with my Sims game! I’ve noticed time just slipping right away when I play, so I either need to set a timer, or just concentrate on the other things that need doing. This week I’ve been really good and just concentrating on the knitting.


First, though, I’ve gotten back to the spinning. This has been the one thing that has made the most progress over the course of the week. I had previously finished the bobbin on the left, and over the course of the last week, finished up the bobbin on the right. I’m currently working my way through the third and last bobbin, after which I will start plying. Hooray for making my own yarn!


This, however, was not spun by me. It’s Noro Silk Garden, and it’s being knit into something that I hope will be very warm and snuggly for the recipient. It’s probably the last time the blog will see it before it gets shipped up north to its new home. Hopefully there will be some action shots taken up there 😉


This looks suspiciously like a mitten, but it may not stay that way. I think it’s way too small, and way too thin for a northern winter. And when I say “northern”, I actually DO mean arctic! I’m thinking that this particular yarn will be frogged back and knit into a delightful scarf for a wee fashionista who loves the colour pink. It’s Zauberball Starke 6, so it’s thicker than the Crazy Zauberball, but apparently not by much. I will go on the search for more girly-coloured Noro later on. Possibly on the weekend.

Work on Robin’s sweater is continuing. I’m on the second sleeve, and while I’d show pictures, it’s really a matter of “second verse, same as the first”. Needless to say, the Husbeast is happy to see that the sweater is more than mostly theoretical!

Yarn winding and deck painting

I totally forgot that today is Wednesday. Good thing I remembered in time! So…what’s in progress around here? For starters…I’ve been working away at my spinning:


That’s Crown Mountain Farms Corriedale Pencil Roving in “Stonehenge”, for those who missed the last post on the subject. I’m enjoying spinning this stuff up, even though it’s not as soft as the last couple of skeins I worked on. It’s a change, and change is not a bad thing!

Speaking of skeins, I took myself off to Home Despot yesterday and picked up some PVC pipe, a few T-Joints, and some endcaps. Those supplies combined to form Voltron a new Niddy-Noddy for me!


I’ve been spending a little time reskeining some of my past projects, as my old method resulted in some pretty fat and hard to manage skeins. I can see that using the Niddy Noddy will definitely save me some time and energy when trying to wind plied yarn off bobbins. Also, it winds yarn at 2 yards around, so it’s going to make calculating my yardage a lot easier.

I’m also one bind-off away from finishing the last HitchHiker scarf that I cast on back in April. This means that once I’m done with it, I can consider casting on Zoe’s Shawlette.


I wasn’t certain whether or not I’d be able to squeak out another repetition of the pattern, so I’d put in a lifeline with the black sock yarn I keep in my bag these days for afterthought heels. It looks like I didn’t need to worry, but better safe than sorry! As with any project, it’s a matter of just knuckling down and getting it done. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve been working on it in an air-conditioned building, because as soft as the yarn is, this has definitely been “too warm for knitting” weather.

You may have also noticed something new in these pictures…my deck is blue!


We finally managed to get a stretch of really nice weather over the weekend, and managed to get the basic staining done. The railings are pretty much done, and the surface of the deck itself requires just one more coat. After that, it’s the stairs and any other trim we want to paint. Being almost done with it is a liberating feeling, that’s for sure. This is the first deck refinishing for both of us, and it wasn’t an easy job. The experience was valuable though, so if we have to do it again, we’ll be prepared.

The main thing, though, is that it looks good. It’s an attractive colour, and fairly unique for our neighbourhood – most of the decks we can see from our house are either stained to look like redwood, or match the generically putty-coloured siding on the house. We were somewhat inspired by the fact that our deck is made of pressure-treated wood and thus has a slightly greenish cast. We figured that the blue would cover that nicely and offset nicely against the dark-blue trim around our back door. Interestingly, our patio tiles are somewhat pink in colour, so the pink and blue actually work together quite well. The next job, once we have the second coat on the deck surface, is to move the BBQ up to the deck and get the patio clear.  That way we’ll be able to put up our gazebo next summer.

Lots of things happening around here!

All spun up!

This will be a bit of a quick one, as I didn’t take a heck of a lot of photos of singles or anything as I was going along. Working the night shift this past month, while it has given me more time with the husbeast, has kinda sucked time away from some of the other stuff I would normally do.  Anyhow…remember this?

3 colours of fluff

Well, it’s all spun up now!  The amounts needed for the project, that is. Those are all Louet Merino-Silk 80/20. Somehow I came to be in the possession of 2oz of the Princess Blue (in the middle), and about a pound each of the Black and the Pink stuff (I’m still not sure if the colourway is Fuschia or Garnet). I spun each colourway separately with the intention of doing a 3-ply. The fun part about it is what’s left over…


I started with the blue, and worried that I hadn’t spun it fine enough to get enough yardage. In comparison to the amount of pink & black singles, the blue looked deceptively…sparse. Well, I wound up running out of the pink & had to spin up another small batch of singles (which is why I have such a small amount of singles left over). The black?  I must have gotten pretty proficient with the spinning by that time, because I had weighed out the exact same amounts for the pink and the black. I have a surplus of the black singles, and a little of the pink. I’ll likely wind those off into yarn cakes on cardboard tubes so that I can save them for the next merino-silk project. I’m thinking what I’ll eventually do is spin up the rest of my pink & black and 2-ply them.

Waterfall of Merino-Silk 80/20

Here’s the finished product. Approximately 648 yards in a 3-ply. Absolutely gorgeous. Up close you can see each ply, and how thick/thin the strands are. I love that I can see the black, the blue and the pink.

Merino-Silk 80/20

And then you look at it all skeined up or from a distance, and honestly? It looks more like a blackberry colour. After all, what’s blackberry? Black and blue and pink. Very sweet.

I have an idea of what I’ll use it for, I just don’t know if it will be anytime soon. I guess that if you see it all knit up on the blog again, you’ll know  😉

Little Raincloud

Remember that pretty little raincloud of fluff that I showed off last week?  If not, here’s the picture again for reference.


That’s 100 grams of 100% Merino Top from www.peartreeyarn.com (I bought it through one of the local stores. Gina Brown’s, I think).

This is what it looks like now!

Little Raincloud

Dyelot: 237210
Colourway: Damson
423 yards or 387 meters
2-ply, scotch tension

The coin is an American dime for size reference. That’s a lovely little 2-ply , plied from a center-pull ball (yarn cake!), using a CD spindle to hold onto it, somewhat like this tutorial, but without the bucket bag. I tried using one of my circular drawsting bags, but actually needed to take the spindle out and hold it. The singles were coming from the outside of the ball fast enough that I needed to be able to keep them in check.  With the way that the singles cross over each other coming off the ball, there was a lot of cursing, swearing and a couple of lost yards due to tangled messes. Maybe I’m doing it wrong and need an actual video tutorial on how to handle the single coming off the ball, but I just found it more effective to prop the spindle against my tummy and use my left hand to control the speed of the singles while the right did the main work of moving things along.

This fluff may actually have a purpose. I promised a special someone her choice of socks or a scarf/shawlette for her birthday, and she chose the shawlette. Unless she’d like something more vibrant, I think that this might be perfect.

What do you think, Zwee?  I can find something more vibrant if you prefer something a little wilder 🙂


Friday Five!

I’m going to tack this on at the end, since I don’t think I’ll post twice today 😉
I know, it’s two memes at once, but I rather like the Friday Five… this week’s “category” is Miscategorizations:

What public behavior is not a crime but should be?
Half the things that motorists do behind the wheel are a crime, whether it’s unsafe driving habits or just sheer pigheaded assholishness. We have bylaws against distracted driving, but I don’t think that anyone in our neighbourhood has slowed down or taken their damn phones away from their ears. And we live near a triservices building!*
Most of all, I’m hating hearing about folks who don’t check their mirrors or give a shoulder-check before opening their doors. Contrary to popular belief, bicycles don’t belong on the sidewalks, and there isn’t a multi-user-path everywhere you go. Even if there were, some bikes zip along faster than the allowed limit. YES, the MUP has a speed limit! 20 kph, if I recall. When you’re making good time in your bike, that speed limit is a pain in the arse. And because fast-moving bikes don’t belong on the MUP or the sidewalk, when you open your door without checking first, you put my husband, my friends, and yes…ME in danger. Please don’t make me another “interesting news story out of CityX”, folks. Take the extra two seconds and open your door.  Because so far, I haven’t heard of anyone successfully being put away on criminal charges for this basic bit of roadway negligence.
(Wow, the view is spanky from this here soapbox!)
Oh…and the other thing that should be a crime? The clothes people are letting their teenagers wear these days. Someone teach the “young adult” set how to wear a ball cap properly, people.
I think I just officially became one of “them”.  The “Old People”…(shudder)

What food item doesn’t have a recommended daily allowance but should?
I’m going to veer away from our regularly scheduled paleo/low-carb orthorexia and say…chocolate. Because damn.

What’s not a word but should be?
I’ve been using the word “Pagnostic” lately to describe my faith-based views. I like it. I think I’ll keep it.

What day of the year is not a holiday but should be? (Yes: I’ve used this question before, but I never get tired of it!)
Towel Day. Are you a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is?

What behavior is not generally a professional expectation but should be?
Understanding where “the line” is. In other words, being able to assess the audience that is your co-workers and be able to realize that maybe certain humour might be a little “too much” (conversely, it’s always good to know just what you can get away with!!!) 😉


In an Orange Mood

So I took these


And did this to them…

Planning to spin

And turned them into this

Topknots spun singles

And then finally into this.


That’s approximately 200 grams of top that has been turned into chain-plied yarn. It’s somewhere between fingering and dk weight. I have no idea how many yards, but it’s a lot. The bright orange was a different fibre than the rest of it. You could tell by the texture. I’m using a US dime for reference, as it’s about the same size as a Canadian dime.

I’m thinking it might be socks. And possibly more than that if I have the yardage.

Personally, I’m just glad it’s all spun up. As fun as it was, some of the colours were starting to get to me by the end, as well as the variance in fibre. In comparison, I’m actually rather enjoying my current spinning project, though it’s not as consistently smooth as I’d like. It’s one of the reasons why I’m coming to doubt the words “Wool Top“. Okay, it’s wool.  Okay, it’s prepared as top. Fine, that’s descriptive…but for all I know, it’s scraps from multiple different leftover fibres. And for the amount of money you pay for it, I’d like a little better quality product.

My other criticism is with the Topknots product itself. I had a hard time trying to figure out how to spin the darned thing. Half of the product was one really long, fat strip of that bright orange. The other half was a long strip of the blue-and-red, and the gold, pink and blue-purple. I wound up turning it into a repeating stripe by separating out the most “logical” colour combinations and spinning them in order.  I suppose I could have spun it fractally, but I just didn’t have the fortitude to spin all that orange at once. It’s not that I don’t like orange…I’ve developed a healthy respect for it. It’s just that there was a lot of it – and I didn’t exactly want one whole ply to be orange all the way through. Though that might have been interesting, it just wasn’t what I wanted.

So yeah. Stripey yarn with lots of orange. It may be awhile before I decide to do anything with it, but I figure it will make nice socks someday. When I’m in the mood for orange, that is.

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