Archive for Knitting

From indigodragonfly and my secret knitting friend… look what I got in the mail

Last month I participated in the indigodragongly’s HOLIDAY GIFTAPALOOZA 2011. This is the package I received from talented and creative Kim and Ron, the owners, who organized this gift exchange. Check out their website to know what they are up to and go buy her wonderful dyed yarn and other knitting related stuff!

And this is what I got:

– A beautiful and very soft skein of exclusive indigodragonfly MCN Sock (75% sw merino/15% cashmere/10% silk) in colour ‘Driving under the influence of Muppets’.

– An intricate pattern for a pair of gorgeous mittens, ‘Preposterous’, by talented Torontonian designer Natalie Selles.

– Two very cute magnets that are already on my fridge, with 2 of Kim’s exclusive and beautiful colours.

– A pretty and very convenient knitting bag from the tireless ‘Cute & Cuddly Mutant Zombie Squirrels’.

– A ‘Gauge rage-o-meter’ tape measure with ‘indigodragonfly’ printed on it, also in blue!

– And last but not least, a recipe sent by my secret knitting friend, Lindsay to make delicious ‘Toblerone Chunk Cookies’, which I am planning to make this coming weekend, since I’ve started doing a lot baking this past weeks, and can’t wait to try them! Thank you so much!!!

Take a good look at my wonderful gift, and go run get Kim’s yarn… quick… just go!

(Pictures were taken with a new lens we are trying – and loving-, the Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX, AF 11-16mm f/2,8)

Look! Otis is on the holiday card!


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:: On Victoria Day… a little bit of this and that ::

Today is Victoria Day, which “is a federal Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the last Monday on or before May 24, in honour of both Queen Victoria’s birthday and the current reigning Canadian sovereign’s official birthday. It is sometimes informally considered as marking the beginning of the summer season in Canada” (from Wikipedia, if you would like to know a bit more about it).

Since we went out to do stuff over the weekend, I decided to stay today and … well… relax and do a bit of this and that. The results:

1. A pretty small project: a fully lined zippered fabric cuff, to hold money and any other little thing I might need when I go out for lunch at work, and don’t want to carry my purse. I’ve used 2 of the same Amy Butler’s fabrics I had used to make this lunch bag.

2. Reading: I started Audrey Niffenegger’s second book (after her successful first novel, ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’) ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ yesterday. Strange novel about siblings rivalry, love in its different forms, a ghost, London’s Highgate Cemetery, and a London flat inherited by a pair of 20-year-old twins, which will be theirs, only if they move in from the US -where they live with their parents-, live in there for at least 1 year, and -second condition- if their mum and dad do not set foot into it!

There’s a lot of history behind London’s Highgate Cemetery. Lots of notable gravesites, and apparently lots of people touring the place as if it was a historic site. In fact, the author of the book worked as a guide of the cemetery during her research for the book! It is interesting to know that some critics have also pointed out a potential verbal pun in the novel’s title, since in a standard British accent “symmetry” and “cemetery” are almost homophonous.

3. Knitting: what’s in my ‘jumping sheep’ project bag?

I’ve started another shrug about a week ago, this time using Malabrigo Silky Merino in colour ‘Raspberry’. Am I crazy about shrugs these days? Yes, I am!

I am using Laura Chau’s ‘Dew Point’ pattern for the body, which I’ve knitted a while ago… remember? But I’ve decided to do a different ribbing, probably a plain 2 knit, 2 purl, so it is a bit stretchy. I have just finished picking up the stitches all over it to start the ribbing, so it looks a bit cramped right now…

4. Cooking: one of the simplest and also one of my favourite dishes, ‘Tortilla de papas‘. Instead of cutting up whole potatoes, I usually make it using frozen hash brown fried potato cubes, which makes it an even quicker preparation. This time I’ve added some red onions and bella mushrooms. Yummy…

And there is going to be some TV watching tonight! It’s ‘House’ season finale -which is getting darker and darker, I’m afraid to say-, as well as ‘The Chicago Code’s’, the latter, one of our favourite series lately!

Have a great week you all!

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::Steeking is next, but there will also be some sewing::

I’ve finally finished knitting my sweater-soon-to-be-cardigan, that I will be steeking to do the conversion.

You can be honest: what do you see is kind of odd, when you look at it?

Yeah… it is really tight! This Létt-Lopi yarn is so warm, that the sweater is really cozy, but even though I’ve knitted it to my size, it turned out to be a bit small. I washed it and left it for a few hours in water and Eucalan, then the yarn is a lot softer!

It is a good thing that I had plan this to be my first ‘steek’ project, so what I am planning to do next is, after I cut it in the middle front, I will be adding 2 strips of fabric on either side of the zipper and the edges. At least the body will be a bit more comfortable, and I will have to live with the sleeves turning tight… oh well…

This is a detail of the colourwork on the yoke, which as I said before, is a bit dull, as the green kind of looses itself in the surrounding grey:

But anyway… I am happy with the idea of having a grey cardigan that will be the result of steeking a sweater with colourwork. Now I am off to find a pretty fabric that matches to sew on the front!

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Needed some mindless knitting

Remember this super wash merino fibre I got at the Black Lamb?

Super wash merino
Super wash merino

Super wash merino winded

I had this yarn in my stash and as I wanted to start an easy ‘mindless knitting’ project, I decided to make a pair of ‘Mitered Mittens’ by Elizabeth Zimmermann. You can find the pattern on her ‘Knitter’s Almanac‘.

I like the simplicity of the design. I did the i-cord cast-on using 4mm double pointed needles, and will continue the mittens using 5 mm needles:

I-cord cast-on for Mitered Mittens using handspun yarn

Detail of the handspun yarn

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Some progress on my Hela cardi

News on my knitting world are that with the freezing temperatures in Toronto this days -yeah… I know it’s winter after all-, I’ve been progressing on my Hela cardigan. Here is a picture and some comments:

Knitting the yoke of my Hela cardigan

I think I should have used a different colour for the yoke, other than the green, a more contrasting colour, I mean. Even though I love that green, when used on a small part of the yoke, it looses itself into the gray.

What you see under the armpits are stitch holders, not some kind of crazy ornament…

I am excited though about knitting a very warm gray cardigan, which will most probably have a zipper after I steek it! This yarn, Létt Loppi is supposed to be one of the warmest wool yarns in the world.

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One knitting set back and a new WIP (work in progress)

I had started knitting Laura Chau’s ‘Monday Morning Cardigan‘ and got to the point where I stopped knitting the body, which has a bottom up construction, to start the sleeves. I was half way the first sleeve when I doubted my memory and went to see how much yarn I had left.

I should have done that before! The pattern calls for about 1,320 yards in size 3 (out of 8 different sizes) and I discovered I only had about 1,210 (11 skeins of Knit Picks ‘Wool of the Andes’ which comes in 110 yards per skein)… darn! The thing is that I wanted this cardigan to have full length sleeves, so I could not cut down in the size of the sleeves to make it up for the lack of yarn.

For some reason I thought I had 14 skeins, but I never checked to realize the bag only contained 11… what a silly mistake…

On the positive side -probably the only one I see- I am thinking of restarting this cardigan going 2 sizes down, as I found it comes really big, larger than I had planned if using the measurements of the sizes described in the pattern, and I think that after blocking it, it will stretch a bit because of the yarn. Also, if I do that, I should be able to use less than the 1,100 yards that are called for size 1, as I want to make the sleeves narrower, the pattern is written in a way that makes the sleeves really big. I would still like to have full length sleeves though.

Oh well… I need to remember to re-check how much yarn I have BEFORE starting any large project!

I had this, before ‘I saw the light’:

Now that I finished unraveling it, I have this:

Right now I think I will leave this project aside for a while, as I’ve started what will be my first ‘steek’ project -I had been wanting to try this technique, where you knit the piece in the round, then use a sewing machine and do a good 2 rows of straight stitch on both sides of what will become your cut, then do the actual cut in the front, turning it from a sweater into a cardigan. My knitting readers will most probably know what ‘steeking’ is, but if you are not a knitter and would like to know what I am talking about, check out this video from YouTube. In this case, the cutting of the sweater is very impressive, because the whole piece is done in colourwork, using several different yarns… yikes! Also, the knitter says that instead of using a sewing machine to ‘reinforce’ the stitches before doing the cutting so the sweater does not unravel later, she did a crochet reinforcement.

I’ve chosen the ‘Héla – 2 and 3 colour Cardigan’ from ‘Ístex Online Patterns‘, a website specialized in patterns for Icelandic yarn. I had some Létt-Lopi yarn remaining from my ‘Owls’, remember?

The finished Héla cardi might look a bit similar to my Owls, because I still have more gray than green, and I am planning to do the colourwork in the yoke following the pattern, but that is not an issue, as I want to have a gray cardigan anyway.

This is what I have so far:

I am now in the not-so-exciting part of plain stockinette stitch for the whole body, which is bottom up until you reach the sleeves. Then, after knitting the sleeves separately, there is where the fun part begins, the 2 colour yoke and then the steek/cut.

I’ve always found this yarn a bit harsh to the skin, but as it happened when I knitted ‘Owls’, after washing the sweater in Eucalan, leaving it for a few hours in the water, and a good blocking, it turns to be pretty soft and the yarn is indeed very warm.

Stay tuned for more as this WIP progresses!

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Random Sunday

I’ve finished knitting ‘Dew Point’, Laura Chau’s latest beautiful shrug design , and could not be happier.

Loved the design, how it is written with a matrix to pick up the sizes and stitch numbers, so you fill in the blanks within the pattern, following your own size. Very smart! I wish all knitting patterns in different sizes were written this way… good job Laura!

I also loved the yarn, 60% Merino, 40% Bamboo, from indigoDragonFly in colourway ‘Oh Glenna And Her Lemongrass Martinis’, a very soft dreamy yarn to knit with. I almost used a whole skein, which comes in a generous 650 yds, 225g per skein. I love your yarn Kim!

Here are a few pictures I took today, after blocking the shrug:

Dew Point

Dew Point - detail of the sleeve twisted ribbing and the Italian lace edge

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