Sunday, March 15, 2015

Huzzah for the shopkeep!

I want to knit all of the baby things.  When I search around on Ravelry for projects, I'm drawn to the itty bitty little baby things, and the cute little stuffed animals and dolls.  I'm really into these crochet dolls right now:

They're by lalylala designs and there's a whole series of them.  I'd like to get one of these under my belt before nugget is born so I can hopefully make a whole fleet of them.

Enough of that pie in the sky knitting stuff.  Let's get down to brass tacks.  I made a trip to Shall We Knit? at the beginning of the month to buy yarn for baby soaker pants, knitted pants, and also to support my hexipuff addiction:

Mostly Sirdar Snuggly (with a Wendy Peter Pan thrown in for colour variation) for some baby pants:

 The ol' standby, Cascade 220, for diaper covers:


And a little something pretty for me, some Madeline Tosh Light Unicorn Tails for hexipuffs:

I whipped up my first diaper cover in a couple nights of knitting.  This will be an easy and mindless knit to plug away at.

These are Milo Soakers by Kristen Rengren from Vintage Baby Knits.  They are knit flat and then sewn at the side seams.  Easy peasy, and a very satisfying little knit.  I have enough leftover from this green pair to hopefully combine it with another colour for a striped one.

What do you think, blue and red for one and yellow and green for another?  I'm trying to keep the colour combinations as baby gender neutral as possible.  I chose bright primary colours instead of blah and boring "baby" pastels.  One, because they're more fun for me to knit, and two, because they are meant to soak up "liquid", which we all know is not bottled spring water.  I can only imagine how disgusting a light-coloured pair of these would be after one wearing.  Gross.

I have to hunt around for lanolin to lanolize these puppies.  That will be a fun adventure, I'm sure it will be sticky or greasy too.  I'll bring you along for the ride when I get to that point.

I also made some baby pants.  As of this morning, I bound off that second leg and grafted the crotch hole.  I still need to weave in all the ends from my colour changes and stitch on the monster face.

The red mouth on the bum is soon to be a monster face, with eyes and teeth and everything!  These are Das Monster by Hronn Jonsdottir, to fit a baby who is 9-18 months.  I have no concept of baby sizes, so I will present these to Tam Tam and she can put them on nugget when s/he is the right size for them.

These were a quick knit too, nice and mindless once you got passed the monster mouth.  I totally have enough yarn in each colour to make another one.  A friend of mine from college just announced that she's expecting a baby in August, and I think she would really love these.  She might get a pair too.

Aside from finishing up these projects, I'm getting back in to spinning.  The speaker at the Guild meeting on Tuesday was telling us all about natural dyes for yarn, which she happens to use almost exclusively on her own hand spun yarns.  When she passed around sample of her yarns, it tickled the spinning itch inside me and I immediately went home and dug out my wheel for a little action. 

I haven't touched my wheel in almost two years, ever since we moved and my flyer got knocked against something and a piece of it snapped off.  It was still hanging on by a tread, so I very gingerly clued it back in place this week, and it worked like a charm!  To be extra safe, I also contacted Gemini Fibres (they're north of Toronto, I've seen them many times at the KW Knitters Fair as a vendor) to ask if a replacement piece can be ordered.  My wheel is my mom's, which she purchased in the 80's.  It's an Ashford wheel, but the ones Ashford sells now aren't a perfect match (the closest one looks to be the Ashford Traveller).  I sent a picture of my flyer to the kind folks at Gemini and told them all I know so they can hopefully make a recommendation. 

In the meantime, I spun some yarn yesterday!  I took a 50g hank of roving that I bought on a knitting field trip years ago and finally turned it into something.

I spun it, plied it, niddy noddy'ed it, washed it, and hung it to dry (weighted down by a Star Wars coffee mug). 

Isn't it pretty!?!?

I think this may get turned into some delicate and pretty fingerless mitts for Tam Tam.  She loves pink more than life itself.

And also while I was at the Guild meeting, I borrowed a book for my next project.  Doesn't everyone need a knitted cat?  Spoiler: these may or may not be your Christmas gift from me.

Did you know yesterday was Pi Day?  I made butter tarts to celebrate.  You better hurry up and ask for one, they're getting all cold and eaten.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sardines on toast

First of all, news: my sister is having a baby.  There's a petit nugget proofing inside her as I type this, and my future niece/nephew is going to get ALL of the knitted things.  I already spoke of this in my previous post, but there were no names named.  Well, now there are.  Tam Tam, you have been called out as someone who is slow-roasting a person inside of her.  The news hit facebook officially this week, so now I can share with whomever I please. 

Back to the knits.  I took my double knitting striped set idea and made it into a thing, but I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out. 

I bought yarn at Shall We Knit? in January, and I was pleased as punch to find clearance baby yarn in exactly the colours I was looking for.  Mega score!  When I took my purchases to the counter, I was informed that the yarns were on clearance because some people experienced bleeding in the dyes after washing.  I took the chance, and I was diligent about making a swatch and test washing it.  I had no bleeding colours at all, and I set out on my adventure to make the pieces. 

I started with the little baby mitts, following some rough pattern guidelines from a few different patterns.  I cast on 24 stitches, worked ribbing for 8 rows, and then began my double knitting.  The mitts were quick. and I worked a simple heart chart into the mix beginning in the second stripe.

The hat was a similar story, where I followed a basic baby hat pattern and adjusted for my double knitting gauge (which is a whole lot looser than my usual gauge).  I used the same heart chart and also started the chart in the second stripe of colour to keep it consistent with the mitts.

After finishing both of those, I had a ton of yarn leftover, but not enough for the blanket I first envisioned as part of the set.  I went with a striped sweater instead, not double knitted, and added a heart detail later with duplicate stitch.  The pattern I followed for the sweater was DROPS Design "Rubin", which had a sweet stranded colourwork thing going on that I chose to completely ignore.  I liked the shape and construction of the sweater, and I followed the general knitting directions without following any of the charts, I just did mine with stripes. 

Behold!  The finished set, modeled by Ms. Bear:

They look lovely!  From a distance...

The red lining the inside of the double knitting heart bled like crazy.  So much for swatching and testing.  I'm really not happy with it, so I will re-knit the hat and do the heart in duplicate stitch like the sweater.  There was no bleeding on the sweater at all, and just the tiniest bit on the mitts, but not enough to care.  It's for a baby after all, he/she doesn't care and won't notice.

I have also produced some newborn baby hats and the teeniest tiniest little baby booties you ever did see.

A simple, uncomplicated baby hat, knit in some baby yarn I bought YEARS ago.  These were some of the first yarns I wound when I got my ball winder too, and of course I didn't keep the ball bands, so I have no idea what yarn this is.

Same goes for hat number two, which I'm quite certain is made from the same yarn in a different colour.  This is a basic ribbed baby hat.  Ooooo, the variety!

And a pair of chaussons mignons:

The little slipper/booties will only be appropriate for, like, a day, when the baby is first born.  Anything older than the newest of newborns won't fit into them.  These are made from Estelle 100% silk, which I bought at the same time as the other yarns and wound without keeping the ball band, except I remembered what the yarn was. 

I also made a baby coat.  This is Latte Baby Coat in Cascade Ecological Wool (these pictures are before I blocked it):


This one features a delightful basketweave button band, and can be made with or without the hood.  I have yet to buy buttons for it, and I'm still deciding if I want to add the optional pockets to the front.

I will also use this opportunity to share my fun with my new yarn salad spinner.  Yes, that's right. The box says so.

No longer do I need to squeeze excess water of my blocked knits by hand!  I can spin them dry!  I added this to my listed of knitting wants late last year, and on a birthday shopping outing with my mom, came across one and remembered I wanted to get one of those.  I got an OXO brand salad spinner with spinning top/pump action, rather than the handle you have to turn.  The handle pops out when slide the little black latch on the right.

I soaked my little coat in the sink, drained the water, and squeezed out some by hand, so it wasn't dripping anymore.  I moved the coat into the spinner and arranged it carefully in the colander portion. 

 Let the spinning begin!

This was an action shot, but even if you can't see that, appreciate all the water pouring out of that sweater!

I spun it three times, and got about this much water out of it each time before it was dry enough to take out. 

 I highly recommend it for your blocking, or even just to speed up your weekly hand washing of knitted socks. 

And one more quick one while I have your attention.  I finished my Hermione socks and tried them on today.  Oscar approves.   

I'm diving into the work of knitted diaper covers/soakers next.  And also maybe knitted baby pants?

Monday, December 22, 2014

We've got a hot crustacean band

I'm winding down another year of knitting, readers, and I'm planning for a knit-filled 2015.  There are babies in my future (not my future, someone else's future, but this directly impacts me) and little babies need little knits to keep their little bodies warm and cozy.  I've been favouriting baby things like a mad person on Ravelry, and I'm full to the brim with baby knits lust.

More on that shortly, but let's kick this off with a final tally of 2014 knitting projects completed, because it makes my heart feel good to write things down and see my accomplishments:

Nordic Mittens


Polar Bear Earflap Hat

It's a Guy Thing Socks

Octopus Socks

Cat Paw Socks (gifted last week, and very well received)

Rockefeller Shawl

Big Chunky Rib Hat

Northman Mittens

Reindeer Legwarmers

Fall Mystery Socks

Fox Cowl Hood

Ninja Bike Mask

Grey Gardens Headband

Out of Darkness Shawl

Kevin McCallister Moose Hat (my very first published pattern)

Honey Cowl (also gifted last week and very well received)

Phew!  It's quite a pile of knitting when you line it all up like this.  I'm still clicking away at Hermione's Everyday Socks, but they're my go-to car knitting or knit night project.  I'm about halfway done the second sock, and they might be finished by New Years.  We'll see.

You're probably wondering about those One Row Per Day socks, yes?  The one row per day part was an abysmal failure, and I wouldn't recommend it for someone who likes to knit in blocks of time while watching TV (which is essentially the only way I knit).  I found it so difficult to find the motivation to pick up that project, knowing that I would just be putting it down after a row.  The socks will be finished, they are on my list of socks to keep handy after Hermione's socks are done.  They will be a good simple project, and I think Fuzzyhead will definitely appreciate them as a nice boy-appropriate sock.

My list of baby project to come includes making an adorable set with a blanket, hat, and little mitts.  I saw something I love at Chapters, but being a good little knitter, I couldn't justify buying it when I could make my own.  Here's the set:

Warm Knits Gift Set - Heart

It's adorable, and appears to be double knitted??  I've only ever done double knitting once and it turned out terribly (RIP, LOST scarf for Fuzzyhead that will never be...).  However, I really enjoy the clean look on the back of the blanket, and inside the hat and mitts.  I know I don't appreciate catching my thumb on floats inside a colourwork mitten, and I'm sure a little baby doesn't either.  The project seems simple enough, I'm sure I can whip something up using a basic pattern and mapping out a heart chart.  

I also have two other baby blankets in mind, because who doesn't need more baby blankets!

I LOVE the Baby Blanket Snowflakes pattern and think it would be a perfect stroller blanket for a little winter baby.  I also love that it is knitted in the round and then steeked, which would give me the chance to try out steeking.


And then a more traditional looking heirloom piece, which the mother-to-be would appreciate more than the baby would, I think.  The Shale Baby Blanket by Brooklyn Tweed has been on my queue for a long time, waiting for the perfect baby-having opportunity.


As for more adorable outfits, sweaters and little jackets are fun to make, and I've got two such items in mind.

This is Anders by Sorren Kerr, and I love it and want one for myself as well.


There's actually a whole set of pattern for sweet little Noridic style garments, including baby leg warmers, a little jumper dress, and an adorable kerchief.

The jacket I have in mind is the Latte Baby Coat by Lisa Chemery.


And then of course there's the baby sweater I made and finished years ago that's waiting for the gifted to this particular baby-to-be:

This is Jasper Diamond Hoodie by Kristen Rengren, and I finished this sweater almost 5 years ago.  It's been sitting in a Ziploc bag in my stash waiting patiently to be a sweater for a baby.  It still needs buttons, but that's a quick and easy fix.  This sweater is for the 9-12 month old size, so I've got plenty of time to finish it and gift it before the baby finishes baking.

There may be a small knitting field trip in my future, since I don't have anything on hand that would be appropriate for the baby projects I'm going to make.  I'm just about ready to be starved for new projects since I only have socks on the go.  That will just not do, readers.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kevin McCallister's Moose Hat

Kevin McCallister’s Moose Hat

Copyright Vrock Knits 2014   |   Pattern is for personal use only.  Please do not reproduce or sell this pattern, or items made from this pattern.  For questions please contact vrockknits AT gmail DOT com 

This pattern is the closest recreation of the hat that Kevin McCallister wears in the Home Alone movie that I could make.  The chart for this pattern was created by staring intently at a screen shot of the hat while I counted stitches and translated it into an Excel spreadsheet. 

The hat is a slouchy, colourwork toque with a large pom pom.  It is worked in the round with two colours, and features sections of long floats.  The pattern calls for knitting a partial lining to tuck up inside the hat for extra warmth, and to provide a smooth edge for the hat.

This hat requires two contrasting colours in a DK weight yarn.  Knitters must be able to confidently knit in the round, cast on with a provisional crochet cast on, and knit two-colour stranded colourwork.

Difficultly Level

Intermediate - not recommended as a first colourwork project, but knitting skill level required is advanced beginner. 

Size and Finished Measurements

Finished item is approximately 21 inches around, to fit a head with a circumference of 22 inches.


Berroco Vintage DK | 52% acrylic, 40% wool, 8% nylon, 290 yards /260 metres| colour 2105 (Main Colour) | 1 skein
Berroco Vintage DK | 52% acrylic, 40% wool, 8% nylon, 290 yards /260 metres| colour 2134 (Contrast Colour) | 1 skein

Recommended needle size
One set of 3.5mm double pointed needles OR one 16 inch 3.5mm circular needle
One set of 3.75mm double pointed needles
One 16 inch 3.75mm circular needle (optional)


22 stitches and 32 rows per 4 inches, in stockinette stitch in the round with 3.5 mm needles
24 stitches and 24 rows per 4 inches, in colourwork in the round with 3.75mm needles

Crochet hook (3.5-4.0mm) and waste yarn for provisional crochet cast on
Stitch markers, 5
Darning needle
Pom pom maker, 3.5” (optional)

Using a crochet hook and waste yarn, provisionally cast on 110 stitches onto smaller needles.  With MC, knit one row, and join for working in the round.  Place marker for beginning of round.

Increase 10 sts evenly around - *k10, m1, repeat from * to end of round (120 sts). 

K 11 rounds, then change to larger needles.

Begin chart.  Repeat the chart five times across each round, placing a marker between each chart repeat.

If working on circular needles, on round 57 of the chart, change to double pointed needles for the crown decreases.

Crown Decreases

Rnd 1 – Using MC, *k2 k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  30 sts decreased, 90 sts remain.
Rnd 2-5 – k
Rnd 6 - *k1 k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  30 sts decreased, 60 sts remain.
Rnd 7 – k
Rnd 8 - *k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  30 sts decreased, 30 sts remain.
Rnd 9 – k
Rnd 10 - *k2tog, repeat from * to end of round.  15 sts remain.

Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.  Thread tail onto a darning needle and draw through remaining stitches.  Pull tight to cinch remaining stitches, and secure tail, weaving in the end. 


Remove waste yarn from provisional cast on and place sts onto smaller needles – 110 sts. 

K 5 rounds in MC.  Change to CC and k 35 rounds, or until lining reaches desired length.  Bind off.

Pom Pom

Make one 3.5 inch pom pom using both yarn colours.  When securing the pom pom, leave the tails long enough to use for sewing it onto the hat.


Weave in ends. 

Tuck the lining inside the hat, and pin in place evenly around the edge of the hat.  Turn hat inside-out and sew lining in place, using loose stitches.

Block and let air dry.  Sew pom pom to the top of the hat.  Wear and enjoy.