I've been loving the boot cuff trend... It looks like everyone's walking around with cozy knit cabled socks on! Then I found some 2 colour boot cuffs on Etsy... What a brilliant idea! 2 cuffs for the price of one! The pattern I found on Ravelry is a reversible cable pattern, which adds even MORE diversity in how they can be worn, because they can be folded over your boots, or left up. I'm in LOVE with this idea! Inspired, I also made a neck warmer for my niece, that can be folded and worn as an ear warmer (I haven't pinned Lauren down to get photos of that one yet!). I'm inspired to see what other knit items I can make more versatile...
Free Knitting Pattern
Broken Rib Cowl
Finding a pattern for a chunky infinity cowl, with no seams is difficult. Strangely difficult. I hate seams. They're difficult to do, and even when done well, they're kinda ugly. So, I made my own pattern yesterday... and it turned out really well. So I've decided to share it with you (and If you're not a knitter I'd be happy to make one for you)! It's called a broken rib cowl because of the stitch it's made of, and it makes it textured and fully reversible... with NO SEAMS!!!
Broken Rib Infinity Cowl Pattern
You will need:
2 skeins of extra bulky yarn
15mm circular needles
Using long tail cast on method, cast on 70 stitches onto your circular needles. Normally you would ensure the yarn is not twisted when joining... (If you want a loop cowl not an infinity cowl this is what you would do). Join with a single twist in the yarn (take the end of the joining side, the side with no yarn ends, and turn it up and over the needle one time). Place marker, knit all the way around. Second round, Knit one, Purl one the entire way around. Row 3 knit all the way around, Row 4 Knit one, purl one all the way around. etc... Just repeat row one and row two until you've used up almost 2 balls of yarn or until it's the desired width (This one, for reference, is 14 inches wide). Bind off and weave in ends. Taa-daa!!!
Knits for the Cold
Should I Start an Etsy Shop?
I've been working on making my own patterns. I just haven't found the right patterns lately (as in, the past week). So, I made the coordinating mittens to the snowflake cable beret without a pattern. I think they turned out beautifully, and not so matchy-matchy that they look silly. Because they, and the hat, are made from high-end local alpaca, the hat is $75, and the mittens are $50. If purchased together, I will apply a 15% discount. I also made a chunky grey cowl out of acrylic yarn (soft and machine washable), which is $35 (also made without a pattern). I made a pair of short cabled, multi-coloured boot cuffs, which are also $35. I will post them in my shop soon, but I am debating just starting an Etsy shop. I would love to hear everyones feedback about which you would prefer: the shop as currently attached to my website, or a separate Etsy shop. Thanks for your feedback, and support!
Pumpkin Carving... for Squirrels
Every year we have made it a family tradition to carve special Halloween pumpkins. This year Lauren picked out two spooky Zombie Pumpkins (the website the patterns are from). Cody and I painstakingly carved these pumpkins last night, and let Lauren stay up late to take pictures with them. I then put them on the front porch to keep them fresh and cold... and found them brutally dismembered this morning. Our fuzzy squirrel friend (who Lauren has named Nutty) has eaten and stashed pumpkin chunks all over our yard. So apparently all of our hard work was to feed a hungry little squirrel. Happy Halloween all!
Snowflake Cable Hat
The challenge of matching the perfect yarn (colour, weight, and fibre) with the perfect pattern, can sometimes make me crazy... Not this time! I found this pattern for free on Ravelry, and although a challenging cabling project, it was MADE for the hand-dyed pure alpaca yarn that I had stashed away. The pattern is called 'Cable Top Cap' by Susan Mills, and the yarn is called Tranquil Waters by A to Z Alpacas. I think might sell this hat, but I feel like I should make a coordinating pair of mittens or fingerless gloves to go with it first. If you might be interested in this item, with or without matching mitts, please let me know!
Little Fawn Costume
Lauren wanted to be a fawn for Halloween this year. Halloween in Northern Canada is really tricky, and usually involves a costume being covered by (or squished on top of) snowpants and parkas. I vowed that Lauren's costumes would always be designed for these cold Halloween nights, and keep her toasty warm while still looking great. So $20 in polar fleece later, we have a cozy fawn costume, including wide headband ear-warmers with deer ears sewn on! The pants were a version of a free pattern for children's pyjama pants. Lauren cut out all the circles for the pants one Saturday morning... she did a great job! The jacket was a bit more involved, and I drafted it all on the fly... so I'll probably never be able to make another one! I really should have documented the process to make a tutorial... Maybe next time!
Oh the Irony
Moose Hunting Beanie
I understand that it is perhaps hard to understand why a vegetarian would make a hunting hat. I actually have no problem at all with hunting. My husband, his family, and most of my friends are all hunters. It's not something I am personally capable of doing, but I respect the idea of living off the land. Organic, free range animals, that have lived healthy lives in the wild... I certainly think its the way to go if you are going to eat meat. SO, in honour of all those hunters heading out this fall, and for my husbands strong family tradition of Moose meat and macaroni suppers, I knitted up this hat. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone!
Holiday season is upon us, and I'm starting to think warm cozy thoughts. I've been knitting like a crazy person, and have nearly completed all of my knitted gifts already! I am now accepting requests for small custom items like hats, mittens, leg warmers, cowls, and fingerless gloves. I have a very solid stash of pure local alpaca yarn to pick from, or you can go to A to Z Alpacas and pick out your favourite skein for me to create with. I LOVE knitting with the alpaca yarn, it's incredibly soft (think baby bunnies in a cloud), and comes in the most beautiful hand dyed or natural colours. That being said, I can source out whatever it is you need with plenty of time to spare for the holidays. This is going to be a first come first serve thing, so please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your requests and we can start designing that perfect custom piece.
Knitstravaganza: 3rd Installment
I have a confession... since starting to knit with natural fibres last year I have become obsessed with high quality natural yarns. I prefer locally sourced, but it's not easy to find. My favourite is A to Z Alpaca's Hand dyed chunky weight yarns. They are a small family run farm located in Southern Alberta, and the yarn is 100% Canadian made. The skeins are soft, supple, and a massive 200 grams. I have, however, begun looking into other sources for other fibers, like Merino wool and Silk. I have found the Malabrigo yarns to be amazing to knit, with beautifully soft Merino wool. They are a small family owned company from Uruguay, that works with a cooperative of women to produce these stunning yarns. So not local, but certainly a small business worth supporting. So my latest batch of items is dedicated to experimenting with new fibres, and sources. FUN!
This hat is made using Malabrigo Rasta yarn in Plomo. The pattern is free on Ravelry, and is called 'An Unoriginal Hat'. It's soft, thick, and super warm.
This hat is a pattern that is a modification of a YouTube tutorial that I used to first learn how to crochet. After crocheting most of the beanie, I picked up all of the stitches with 4mm circular needles (92st) and knit in a 2x2 rib to get the brim. The yarn is Noro Haniwa (50% silk, 20% wool, 20% nylon) which knit more closely to a cotton than a wool fabric.
I named these mittens my Utility Mitts. I needed to accomplish a couple of things with these: 1. I wanted to use some of the handspun yarn my Grandma gave me when she quit knitting (arthritis is evil). 2. I needed a pair of wool mitts for managing the cool, crisp fall weather. So I cast on 24 to a pair of size 8 circular needles, and after a 2x2 rib cuff, stockinette the rest of the way. I didn't have enough handspun to do both mitts, so I added in the teal stripe (Patons wool) to extend the length. I always do an afterthought thumb, because I find Gusset thumbs to be a little ugly. Overall the mitts are thick and warm, but a little snug, I would cast on more the next time, but they will grow with wear being a natural fibre, so I'm not too worried.
Kids Fall Knitted Projects
With the weather cooling, and the leaves changing colour, it was time to go through our stash of mittens and hats. A fair number of last years knits will not fit Lauren this year, so it's time to knit up some cold weather items for the kid. After trolling through Ravelry, I decided to just go with what I had already knew worked (didn't feel like experimenting with new patterns). So Lauren got a 'Pony Hat' which was the 'My Mohawk Hat' pattern with modifications to make it more pony-esque. She also got another set of spring/fall mittens, made out of random scraps of my gorgeous alpaca yarn (pattern based on the 'Stashbuster Charity Kids Mittens'). Two tried and true patterns, and now the kid is ready for sn.... hmmm let's not say the word yet. Ready to play!