Post Christmas Round Up: Burberry Inspired Cowl

After my own Burberry Inspired Cowl, my mother not so subtly suggested that she would like one for Christmas. I stuck with the same yarn – Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Bulky, but a different colourway – one because I thought the blue would suit her better, and two: so we don’t get ours mixed up!

This cowl is a marvel to me, because half way through I just DON’T GET IT. It looks like a lumpy, bunched up bit of nothing. After two pattern repeats, it reminds me of a scrunched napkin and the first time I made one, I almost gave up on it at this point.

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Look at that. What on earth is THAT supposed to be?!

Luckily I knit on and after four pattern repeats and a little blocking, it’s clear that this pattern is actually gorgeous. It sits so nicely, either down around the neck or bunched up to cover noses and ears depending on the weather.

Finished well in time for Christmas, gifted, and she loves it (she better, she practically gave me the specifications…)

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The photos above really doesn’t do the yarn justice. This would be more accurate:

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I think it’s the perfect colour for Mum, because it goes so nicely with her eyes. It’s already gotten a LOT of wear this winter – and now we sort of match!

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I feel like that image needs a #AwkwardMotherDaughterSelfies….clearly we need to up our game…

Final Specs:

PatternBurberry Inspired Cowl Neck Scarf by Julianne Smith

YarnKnit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky, in Delft Heather. ~ 70 yards.

Needles: 6 mm circulars, knit flat.

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Post Christmas Round Up: Holland Cowl

This marks the beginning of my post-Christmas knitting posts – delayed a month or so by health issues, but never mind. Here they are!

So usually “bulky” and “lace” are not two words I like putting together in one project, but this is the exception. Knit for my boyfriend’s mother, this little neck warmer was surprisingly tricky, but once I got the stitch pattern finally understood (charts would make this pattern so much easier for me) all was well.

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The yarn blocked much better than I expected, and lay flat with minimal use of my “piling on textbooks” technique. I added an extra 8 stitches to the round to make sure it went comfortably over her head (without mussing hair, bonus feature!). The bind off was done using size 8 mm needles to make sure there was lots of stretch in the edge. Overall I’m quite pleased with it.

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FO: Kilbourne Hat

My first Ravelry Gift-A-Long project is complete! One Kilbourne Hat:

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Modeled here, begrudgingly, by Colin in its unblocked form. I really loved the pattern – it was intuitive and interesting, and not the least bit fiddly. The project was certainly one I was a little sorry to see off my needles. But look at those charmingly clever decreased along the top:

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I do love a clever pattern. Full credit to the designer Cassie Castillo. I’ll have to check out her other designs, because this one was great. Hopefully the hat’s recipient will enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it!

Final Specs:
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted in Umber. 200 yards.
Pattern: Kilbourne Hat by Cassie Castillo
Skills Required: working in the round, twisted stitches, ssk, k2tog.
Pattern Modifications: 22 rounds of ribbing instead of the specified 7 to ensure proper ear coverage. Done entirely on 4mm needles instead of using 3.5 mm needles for the brim (a mistake, but not a disastrous one.)

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FO: Gram’s Dawyck Purple Vest

I finally finished knitting up Gram’s vest, and let me tell you…this thing is HUGE.

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So huge, I could barely get it all in one shot. I’m a big fan of the shawl collar – the end product, not the knitting 30 rows of 4×4 rib with yarn that was giving me an allergy attack. This vest was truly a labour of love by the end, seeing as every time I picked it up it felt like it was trying to kill me. No more mohair, not even 10% ever again, let alone in gigantic vest form.

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I’m really impressed with how the yarn never pooled or striped awkwardly. I thought I might have to work from two balls to avoid too much dark or light in one area but it did really well. I don’t think I’d recommend the yarn to anyone for anything (speaking of which, would anyone like two left over skeins of Patons Misty in Purple Fog…?? Anyone?), but for this project it was pretty stellar.

The pictures make it seem more blue than it really is – there’s more purple to it, but we’ve had nothing except fog and cloud cover here for days, so this is all the light I really have to work with in my apartment. More pictures to come after Christmas when she receives it. In the mean-*achoo*-time, I’m going to go spend some time with some nice 100% merino wool.

Final Specs: 

Yarn: Patons North America Misty, in Purple Fog.  715 yards. 

Pattern: Sequoia by Alegria DaSilva

Needles: 6 mm circulars with 32″ and 60″ cable, worked flat.

Skills Required: 3 needle-bind-off, picking up stitches, cables. Low difficulty and a very well written pattern.

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FO: Leaf Cozy

With so little of my bulky yarn in mineral heather left, I thought I better measure it before committing to a pattern. 18.01 meters exactly. I decided to keep with the leaf theme I’ve got going with the blue leaf headband and the lacefield mitts and finish off the ball with a leaf cozy:

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Now I knew this project would be cutting it close. But I stuck to the pattern and began the leaves. Each one requires you to pick up stitches along the side of the previous on, with the idea that it will eventually be seamed back to itself. Starting the third leaf, my supply of yarn was looking dangerously low…

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It was clear I didn’t have enough to make a full sized fourth leaf, but I wasn’t about to turn back. In order for the pattern to work there must be an even number of leaves. For the fourth one, I picked up five stitches (instead of the required nine) and only did three increase rows instead of four. Here it is as I was decreasing – look how little yarn I have left!IMG_20141104_124215

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That was a close one! Literally mere centimetres left. After all the loose pieces were woven in (but before blocking, so it still looks a little wonky) I had this: IMG_20141105_082605

Luckily I left a 4″ tail at the beginning for seaming as instructed. Once seamed up, I took the opportunity presented by the smaller leaf to seam it to both the first leaf and part of the second leaf, making the cozy decidedly asymmetrical. I could go back, eliminate the final increase and decrease on each leaf and then all four might be more even, but I kind of like that it’s asymmetrical. I think it works.

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I blocked this guy in two stages. First, soaking wet in cold water, covered in a towel and flattened by a few textbooks. Then, when it was still slightly damp, I shaped it around a travel mug and left it to finish drying, so that it was the exact shape I wanted it to be. Because my gauge was larger than the pattern specified – due to using bulky yarn instead of the called for worsted weight – the final circumference is correct for a standard (large) cup of tea, despite the smaller final leaf.

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky in Mineral Heather, exactly 18.01 meters.

Pattern: Leaf Cup Cuddler by Knit ‘n Kaboodle. A+ pattern. The picture tutorial on how to pick up stitches between each leaf was very clear and saved what I’m sure would have been much frustration.

Needles: 6 mm, worked flat.

Skills Required: Knit, Purl, cast-on, bind-off, yo, ssk, k2tog, picking up stitches. Moderate difficulty, but very well presented instructions.

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Poppies

The minute Hallowe’en is over, poppies spring up everywhere around here – no, not from the ground, but rather on the coats of everyone I pass on the street. The red remembrance poppy is the emblem of of Remembrance Day, inspired by the poem In Flanders Field’s by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He composed the poem at the battlefront on May 3rd 1915, during the second battle of Ypres.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Every year Canadians wear the poppy through November to commemorate those that died in the two World Wars. Unfortunately for me the poppy sold by the Canadian Royal Legion is a straight pin, which is extra hazardous to me this year, what with my unsteady hands.

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The traditional red poppy of remembrance (x)

Laura Chau created a wonderful poppy pattern that I have knit before, but I seem to have misplaced my poppy so another one was cast on.

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The pattern is excellent, but I was not ready to graduate back down to sock-sized needles. Too much co-ordination was required to stab every stitch. The gauge worked against me here – it was all very tight due to the worsted weight yarn, making knitting even harder. I managed it in the end, but only because it was 20 rounds and any more would have been too frustrating.

Pattern-wise, it’s fairly straightforward and the cinching with the tail of the red yarn is the most difficult part. Made even more difficult because because I did it with tweezers instead of a proper tapestry needle, an item I apparently do not own.

Anyhow. Post-cinching, I blocked it and shaped it with some cold water. Then when I was happy with the shape I used hot water to ever so slightly felt it so that it kept it’s shape. Below is the final product:

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I’m pleased with the outcome. Despite messing up the increases, all the petals look about the same size and it fastens securely to my coat with a safety pin. Despite not wearing the poppy that they provide, I’ll be sure to make a small donation to the Canadian Royal Legion along with everyone else.

Yarn: The black is Knitpick Palette in Asphalt Heather, 2 ply yarn held triple. The red is Patons 100% wool in worsted weight.

Pattern: Poppy, by Laura Chau

Needles: 2.5 mm dpns.

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FO: Heathered Headband & Matching Lacefield Mitts

After successful completion of my Burberry Inspired Cowl in Mineral Heather I was left over with about 100 yards of yarn and nothing to do with it. Eventually I settled on a bulky lace headband entitled Blue Leaf Headband from Neeka Knits. It promised a quick and easy project, but also one that was also cute and very functional.

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I absolutely LOVE it. It’s warm and interesting and it knit up surprisingly fast. Possibly best of all it’s washable thanks to the 100% superwash wool. In these two pictures you really get a sense of the variation in the yarn, which was surprisingly difficult to photograph. It is a very subtle mix of blues and purples and grey.

I repeated the lace pattern 11 times and then started the decrease rows, adding a button hole before casting off. Then all it needed was a leaf-inspired button!

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It won’t stand up to serious -20 degree weather, but it will do for a while. It also took up very little yarn, which was actually a downside this time…I was trying to use UP the yarn I had left over.

Final Specs for Heathered Headband:

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky in Mineral Heather, approximately 50 meters.

Pattern: Blue Leaf Headband from Neeka Knits. 5/5 stars for excellent, clear instructions.

Needles: 6 mm, circular but knit flat

So that is all well and good, but what of the yarn remaining? Almost half a ball, which I couldn’t let it go to waste! Fortunately this headband has a sister pattern: Lacefield Mitts. They, too, are worked flat and then bound off using a three needle bind off that leaves a gap for the thumb holes

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Just before binding off!

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The leaf lace pattern is worked so that the leaves flow inwards or outwards depending on which one you put on which hand. They barely cover my knuckles, but they are pretty warm for working indoors. I’m cold all the time now, so these might see some use.

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Even if that use is primarily tea consumption. (Can you spot the cowl?)

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Better than no gloves at all!

Final Specs for Lacefield Mitts

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky in Mineral Heather, approximately 32 yards for the pair.

Pattern: Lacefield Mitts from Neeka Knits. 5/5 stars again for excellent, clear instructions.

Needles: 6 mm circular, but knit flat

After the cowl, the headband and the mitts I had a tiny bit of yarn left. Just 18 meters total.

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Now what could one make with just 18 m of bulky yarn…time to search the Ravelry Database…

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FO: Fetching Gloves

The aggressive blocking seems to have worked!

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Pictured above: The result after twenty-four hours of aggressive squishing.

The gloves seem be relatively well behaved, curling at the bottom only very slightly. They’ve been taken out and about (by which I mean to the coffee shop. They went to the coffee shop.) and still hold their shape quite nicely.

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Modelled by Pia – thanks Pia!

The bottom still curls up a bit, which is likely a result of my cast-on/knitting a round before joining. Next time I’ll be sure to do a cast on that naturally lies flatter.

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Time to update the project page…

In the end the pattern won me over. They are fetching, and I probably will knit them again as these ones are to be raffled off. Notes for next time: flatter cast on and add a thumb gusset for better fit.

Final Specs:

Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath (Knitty Summer 2007)

Yarn: Approximately 100 meters of King Cole Fashion Aran in 368 Purple.

Needles: 4mm dpns

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Burberry Inspired Cowl in Mineral Heather

Oh hello, blog I have neglected for four years (whose password I’d long forgotten…).

University kind of took it’s toll on my knitting time/life in general. But now I’m graduated and I’m back! And what better way to be back that with a brand new finished project. My Burberry Inspired Cowl in Mineral Heather:

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YarnKnit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky, in Mineral Heather. Approximately 1.2 skeins, so now I have a fair bit left over. The yarn was much more blue/purple than the grey I expected, but I liked it all the same. Very soft and the finished product has a nice feel to it.

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PatternBurberry Inspired Cowl Neck Scarf by Julianne Smith. Brilliant pattern. I skipped the kitchener stitch at the end and substituted for a three needle bind off, because I didn’t mind the seam. Took me about two weeks, but I have hand tremors and spontaneous myoclonic jerking in my shoulders, which necessitated a lot of slow knitting, and a lot of re-knitting. For an experienced knitter, I think it could be done in a day or two.

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While I was knitting it, I totally didn’t see the potential of the finished project. An eight stitch cable ever 14 rows? It just looked like a mess! And then when it was seamed together it dawned on me that it’s actually gorgeous.

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And just in time, because it’s dropped below freezing here and scarves/cowls are certainly needed. I’m already getting lots of use out of it. It even covers my nose! (And remarkably, doesn’t fall down…)

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All the benefits of a cozy scarf, none of the self strangulation. It’s especially good because when I take it off and tuck it beside me, it doesn’t have the potential to get caught in the wheels of my wheelchair. It’s warm, squishy and a pretty easy knit. I highly recommend.

And before I forget: Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

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FO: The Auction Hat!

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Thanks to Nicole C. for modeling

This hat has been a long time in the making. It started back in the summer at the campership auction when I auctioned off 1 pair of hand knit arm warmers. For those of you unfamiliar with a campership auction the staff put up various items and services up for auction and the staff bid on them. All of the money raised goes to the campership fund that helps send kids to camp. This year it went for $56 and because it sold for so much I decided that Jess (the winner of said lot) could pick whatever knitting item she wanted. A hat is was to be!

I started knitting selbu modern on circular needles with a funny blue acrylic and some white sock yarn held double. I only had one ball of the white sock yarn so I worked the outside and in the inside string at the same time. You see where this is going.

It was TERRIBLE. I hated it. But I had to make it so I kept at it long after I should have quit. The pattern itself is fantastic and with the right yarn and needles I hope to make it one day. Might be a little while- it’s going to take some time for me to be able to look at the chart without feeling the need to curse and/or throw something.

Eventually I had the sense to rip it out and start again fresh. I picked another one of Kate Gagnon Osborn’s patterns- Opus Spicatum. I found 100% wool in white and light blue and started again.

You may have noticed that my finished object is a hat and not the beret in Kate’s pattern. I decided against going up a needle sizes after the ribbing thinking that I would just knit at a little bit looser gauge. I overlooked the fact that “looser gauge” and “starting fair isle” really don’t belong in the same sentence for me and it resulted in a hat. I like it anyways so I left it.

It’s off to it’s intended recipient- several months late mind- but at least done properly with my sanity still intact.

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