Note to self: textured yarns are evil

Lured by the beautiful color and interesting texture, I caved in and splurged on a sweater’s worth of a very interesting bobbled yarn. Knitting the sweater was not bad at all, but as I am getting closer to finish, the sudden realization that I would need to seam pieces together using the textured, bobbled yarn, hit me like a bucket of cold water.

After failing miserably to put together front and back, decided that I should instead use a “normal” yarn with matching color. Of course, since it was the unique color that drew me to it, it took quite a few visits to an assortment of stores to find a match.

And here it is, the beautiful culprit.

Spring is in the air

This has been an unusually mild winter in Calgary.  Besides of a snow storm that caught us off guard in December, temperatures were not as cold as usual, and we have been snow free since March.  April has started, and the forecast looks encouraging, but winter can’t be over yet.  I know the moment I bring out the flip flops, we will have another freak storm that will make us wish we had left the snow tires in. Winter is sneaky like that.  Plus, it is not really Spring until you can smell the lilacs.

Since Winter is not truly over, I decided to tackle a pair of mittens, using alpaca and a super thin mohair strand, held together.  The mittens are delicious, and were super easy to make, with very little shaping (most of the shaping is due to changing needles and adding the second strand of yarn). I like the result, they are pretty eh?IMG_9913

However, I will have to keep  a couple of  things in mind:

  1. Alpaca/mohair mittens are a little too warm for the balmy Spring we are enjoying.
  2. I must learn a stretchy bind off at some point.

Warmth

Lovely ad for natural gas

I keep telling my dearie that there is nothing like a house full of yarn to keep the chill out.

Christmas in February

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to visit my family during last Christmas. Asides from missing them lost, I put off buying Christmas presents (going to overcrowded malls is not my idea of fun), with the idea of hand delivering presents on my next visit.

Circumstances change, and one night, I am impulse-buying a plane ticket home. And then realize I have a week to get the presents ready.   And I decided to make a pair of fingerless mittens for my mother, since she complains how cold it is  to drive in the morning. Of course, I am a slow knitter, but did my best effort, and  made a really cute pair of mittens for her.

Mitts

Not bad, eh. The pattern was pretty easy to follow (“Maine Morning Mitts”, by Clara Parkes), and the yarn (Elann Peruvian Highland Donegal) was very nice, not particularly scratchy, and beautifully tweedy. My mom loved it!

The Booties

It all started innocently. One of our friends had a lovely baby girl last summer. And with the thought that winter was coming, and a pair of booties would make her stay warm, I decided to knit a pair of booties for her. The pattern was lovely, and babies are small, so what could go wrong.

The booties

Fast forward a few months. Christmas is getting closer. I struggle to finish one bootie, but it ended up so big, that you could use it as a boat to cross the Atlantic Ocean.  Sweet BF insisted that she could grow into it, but due to my sloppy seams, I fear she would get blisters out of it. 

So, attempt number 2 to the rescue. Swatched again, and went down a needle size. And decided to adapt the pattern for circular needles, to avoid the seam. So far so good, except that I forgot about the jog when doing garter stitch on circular needles. And for a baby item, those are a lot of stitches. 

And since I have the attention span of a chipmunk (plus, figured that knitting baby items while spending the holidays with BF’s family was just asking for awkward conversation topics), I moved on to quicker knits.

A lovely alpaca scarf, my first serious lace project, blocked on a Dora the Explorer mat…

Falling leaves

A bulky cabled hat, which was a super quick knit, has a third of the stitches than a single baby bootie, and only required cabling in a handful of rows…

Cabled hat

A waffle scarf, that curls like the Canadian Olympic team, but also is very warm and wind proof, and has brought me so much joy when wind chill is involved…

Roving scarf

A gorgeous drop stitch scarf, mixing shiny bamboo and fuzzy mohair. Yummy. And easy enough to knit while on a road trip…

Scarf A simple bulky cowl (still on the fence on whether I like the color or not)…

Cowl

And the booties?  Well, they are sitting in the same bag they were before the holidays. In my defence, we did just move, and spent all of January looking for a place and other trivial stuff like furniture and dishes.  We have spent all of February furnishing and trying to figure where our socks are in the sea of boxes. And I can not procrastinate Christmas presents for my family any longer (visiting them next week!), so it is time to knit something for my mother.

Will the booties ever be finished?  I bet they will make a lovely sweet 16 present.

Ground Squirrel

Ooh, walnuts…

Wind, wind, wind

One thing I had never been concerned about while living in Mexico was wind chill.  Frozen cheeks have now taught me that if you are going to spend any significant time outside, -20°C without wind is not quite the same as -20°C with wind blowing at 7m/s.  So, lacy hats are not generally a good idea  for outdoor use in a windy city during winter.

I stumbled through this pattern in the latest issue of the Debbie Bliss Magazine, and thought it could be a better option for colder days.  The suggested yarn, bulky merino and cashmere blend,  sounded like a warm option (and when I touched it in the yarn store, its buttery softness won me over).  And it looks rather cute, right?

 db_como_hat

 

However, the more I looked at the picture, the more I realized that without the long wavy locks and the ultra bulky scarf, this hat would be quite unbalanced and would make me look like a little mushroom.  I do like mushrooms (and BF is crazy for them!), but not that much.  The scarf requires 8 balls of  expensive yarn, so I would rather not go that way. And the luscious locks are not going to happen anytime soon.  So I knit the section of the pattern using the daisy stitch with a tighter gauge than required, both to make the hat a bit smaller and more wind proof.  I knit one less repetition  before decreasing as well, to keep the hat from being too long.

The daisy stitch was quite fiddly (specially with super bulky yarn and huge size 13 needles), but I am happy with the results.  Knitting with such large needles is very reassuring, it is always handy to be prepared for vampire attacks while enjoying a creative activity (hint: use wooden needles).  But the best part is that I got more wind resilience  than I was expecting: the hat was field tested successfully during our recent snow storm with –34°C wind chill.  And it is also quite nice and stylish, a little bit slouchy, but not too much. The other big advantage of using smaller needles is that the hat required less than 3 skeins, one less than called for the pattern.

 Daisy stitch hat

The one thing I did not like is that it was not knit in the round, so if I were to try this pattern again, I would certainly modify it  for that. Did I mention I do not like seaming?

The rain in Spain is better with lace

As the days keep getting colder, and work and life grow more and more hectic, I am finding that an afternoon of knitting while watching a movie every now and then is a great way to unwind while creating something neat.  The most recent movie of choice was “My Fair Lady”, which reminded me how much I like the music of the movie, and how much I dislike Professor Higgins.

My latest visit to Zellers got me a few balls of a roving yarn. I intended to use it for a particular pattern, but the one in the band of the ball caught my eye, and I gave it a try. And without realizing it, I did my first lace item! As my knitting style is a little different, I had to be extra careful with the lace pattern, to ensure I was achieving the effect the pattern asked for, rather than the particular stitch to do it.  So, for example, a SKP typically slants to the left,  but in my case,  a K2Tog would do this.  Similarly, my yarn overs have to be slightly different to avoid twisting the stitch.

 Yarn Over 

And after a couple of afternoons, my very first lacey hat:

Roving hat

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