Cloths

I’ve been laid up a bit lately, and I had to do something with my hands before I lost my mind. To that end, I picked up a bunch of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Yarn in a variety of colours so that I could make some cloths. I love to make these to give away at Christmas; I figure that while they’re not terribly fancy, they’re a very practical gift — and you can never have too many.

I started with Bella Coco’s How To Crochet the Waffle Stitch tutorial. I cast on 34 stitches and worked the waffle pattern from there. I used, top to bottom in the photo above, Lemon Swirl Ombre, Poppy Ombre, Pale Yellow, and then Poppy Ombre again. I haven’t crocheted for years, but I found the tutorial laid everything out very clearly. The waffle pattern makes a nice, scrubby texture in this yarn that will be great for cleaning dishes.

I also knit some cloths using the free pattern on the back of the yarn ball band that’s also available for free online: the Brick Stitch Dishcloth. I’d never done this pattern before either, but I loved how it turned out. Now that the leaves are starting to change, I thought it would be fun to make some cloths in Halloween colours. They’ll probably be Christmas gifts too, but many of my friends would prefer these combinations anyway. I used Black Licorice with (from top to bottom) Hot Green, Hot Orange, Hot Purple, and Red.

At The Park

There are a lot of public parks in the Ottawa area; a lot of them even have splash pads and water features. This means that if you’re looking to do something with the kids (or even just to get outside yourself), there is always somewhere to go and something to do — so long as it’s not pouring rain. I take advantage of this on a regular basis. My kids are old enough now to pop off together to the closest park for an hour or two. However, their range is pretty small (they only just learned to ride bikes without training wheels earlier this summer), and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with them going much further or crossing major roads alone in any case. So whenever it’s nice out and the girls are getting restless, I head out to a park.


Brewer Park


Knitting at Cardinal Creek Community Park. That day I was working on the start of an adult sock in Araucania Yars Huasco 100% extra-fine Merino wool (colour 101, dye lot 74403) on 3.5mm circular knitting needles.

We alternate between parks, sometimes staying close to home, sometimes packing a lunch and driving downtown or even across town to check out some new scenery. I stuff a novel, a knitting project, and my phone into my purse, which is enough to keep me entertained for hours. No matter where we go, I also have to bring about a tonne of sunscreen. It probably hasn’t escaped anyone that I’m a blonde and my kids are redheads, so sunscreen is not an option, it’s a necessity. The kids invariably come home soaking wet, exhausted, and happy. To me, that’s a successful summer day.

Janeway / Sisko Baby Sweater Pattern

As this week is the lead-up to ComicCon, I thought it appropriate that I re-post my pattern from my old blog for a Star-Trek-inspired baby sweater. Back in June of 2013, friends of mine were expecting their first child at any time, so I wanted to knit them an appropriately-geeky baby gift. The couple was particularly fond of Star Trek, specifically The Next Generation (TNG) and Deep Space Nine (DS9). I knew what I wanted to knit, but I couldn’t find an appropriate pattern online, so I had to come up with one myself. We didn’t know if the baby would be a boy or a girl, so I thought that a sweater based on a uniform would be most appropriate. Most notably, I used photos of Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway and Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko as references.


Sweater modeled by Thing 2, who was 18 months old at the time, and who comfortably wore a size 2. The sweater is a bit too short in the arms and body, as well as being snug. I would say it’s actually about a 12-18 month size, but as you can see, it does have some stretch.

I used Fringe Association’s tutorial for how to improvise a top-down sweater — which is full of invaluable information — as a basis for my pattern. I really needed the help, especially since at the time I’d only ever knit two other baby sweaters, and that was years prior. I had some difficulties with getting the sizing right, to start. The first two tries were disasters, the first yielding a neck that wouldn’t fit a preemie, and the second one that was too big for my four-and-a-half-year-old. Try three gave me the size I wanted: 12-18 months, with a nice stretchy neck and short collar to accommodate a baby’s big head and short neck.

Without further ado, here’s the pattern for a 12-18 month size for the sweater:

Janeway / Sisko Baby Sweater
Size 12-18 months

Materials
– 25g (half a 50g/125m (1.76oz/137yds) ball) of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in colour 340034 (cherry)
– 140g (just under three 50g/125m (1.76oz/137yds) balls) of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in colour 340300 (black)
– one set of 3.25mm (US 3, UK 10) circular knitting needles in a length comfortable for the magic loop method (I recommend 75cm/31.5″ or longer)
– 10 stitch markers

Gauge
– 29 stitches and 44 rows = 10cm x 10cm (4″ x 4″) worked in stockinette stitch

Instructions

Neck:

– Using the cherry yarn and the stretchiest cast on you know, cast on 80 stitches. Tillybuddy’s Very Stretchy Cast-On for Double and Single Ribbing is the best cast-on I’ve found for this.

– Divide the stitches so that there are 40 stitches on each needle.

– Being careful not to twist, join for working in the round.

– Work in K2, P2 ribbing for 2.5cm (1″).

Yoke:

– On each needle, place stitch markers as follows, with “|” representing a stitch marker, and the numbers enumerating the stitches:

4 | 2 | 28 | 2 | 4

– Additionally, add a different coloured stitch marker at the end of each row.

– Round 1: Knit until last stitch before first marker, KFB, knit until first stitch after second marker, KFB, knit until last stitch before third marker, KFB, knit until first stitch after fourth marker, KFB, knit to end of needle. Repeat for second needle.

– Round 2: Knit. This pattern will increase the number of stitches on each needle by four every two rounds.

– Repeat Round 1 and Round 2 until the sweater measures 9cm (3.5″) from the very start of the neck. Switch the yarn to black yarn in the middle of the back of the next Round 2.

– Continue repeating Round 1 and Round 2 until the stitches on each needle are divided as:

21 | 2 | 62 | 2 | 21

Separate the Body and Sleeves:

– Knit until you reach the first marker, remove the marker, and then knit one more stitch. Place a marker. Remove the next marker.

– Knit until you reach the next marker, remove the marker, and then knit one more stitch.

– Place the next 44 stitches on waste yarn, removing the markers as you go. (These will be for one sleeve.)

– Cast on 4 stitches, place a marker, cast on another 4 stitches.

– Knit until you reach the next stitch marker. Remove the marker, the knit one more stitch.

– Place the next 44 stitches on waste yarn, removing the markers as you go. (These will be for the other sleeve.)

– Cast on 4 stitches, place a marker, cast on another 4 stitches.

– Your stitch count should be as follows: 44 stitches on each piece of waste yarn for the sleeves, and 72 stitches on each side of what will now be the body.

Body:

– Knit until the piece measures 27cm (10.5″) from the very top of the neck.

– Work in K2, P2 rib for an additional 2.5cm (1″).

– Cast off loosely, but not too loosely. I like Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, but to keep the rib from flaring I only used it on the purl stitches, and I did a straight cast off on the knit stitches.

Sleeves:

– *Pick up the 44 stitches that were set aside for one sleeve on waste yarn, then divide them in half, putting half on each needle. Put a stitch marker between the halves.

– Pick up and knit 8 stitches in the armpit of the sleeve (where you cast on the extra 8 stitches for the body earlier).

– Place a marker halfway. This should yield you 52 stitches total (26 on each needle) on the sleeve.

– Knit the sleeve in the round until it reaches 14cm (5.5″) measured from the armpit.

– At the start and end of each needle, K2tog for one round. You should now have 48 stitches total (24 on each needle).

– Work in K2, P2 ribbing for 2.5cm (1″).

– Bind off in the same fashion as you bound off the body.**

– Repeat from * to ** for the second sleeve.

Finishing:

– Sew in ends.

– Give the whole sweater a hand wash and a good wet blocking.

Simple Wrist Warmers Pattern

I’ve had another request to re-publish an entry from my old blog. This time it’s the pattern very simple wrist warmers. The difficulty level is extremely low; all you have to know is how to cast on, cast off, knit in the round, knit, and purl. The look of the wrist warmers is reminiscent of the Ribbed For Her Pleasure Sock Pattern, and that is by design, since they are often made out of yarn left over after knitting these socks (and can be included as a set with the socks when given as a gift).

I originally wrote this pattern back in 2011, and my notes regarding gauge have been lost. However, I have knit them many times since then, and in my experience most sock yarn (i.e. fingering weight) works equally well. The ribbed knit makes the finished project quite stretchy and hence forgiving of slight differences in gauge.


Simple Wrist Warmers (Toddler/Preschooler Size) knit out of Not In Kansas yarn by Three By Hand.

Simple Wrist Warmers
Toddler/Preschooler Size

Materials
– Approximately 50 yards (46m) of sock-weight yarn
– One set of US size 3 (3.25mm, UK 10) circular needles in a comfortable length for the magic loop method OR four 3mm (3.25mm, UK 10) double-pointed needles

Instructions
– Loosely cast on 36 sts.
– Divide into 18 sts on 2 needles using the magic loop method OR divide into 12 sts on 3 needles on DPNs.
– Join and work (K2, P2) ribbing in the round for 2.5″ (6.4cm).
– Switch to knitting flat for 1″ (2.5cm). In other words, knit (K2, P2) when working on the right side and (P2, K2) when working on the wrong side of the piece. This will give you your thumb hole.
– Return to working (K2, P2) ribbing in the round for an additional 0.75″ (1.9cm).
– Loosely cast off. Sew in ends.


Simple Wrist Warmers (Adult Size) knit out of Misti Alpaca (50% alpaca, 30% merino wool, 10% silk, 10% nylon) hand-painted sock yarn in colour
19 (Reggaeton).

Simple Wrist Warmers
Adult Size

Materials
– approximately 175 yards (160m) of sock-weight yarn
– One set of US size 3 (3.25mm, UK 10) circular needles in a comfortable length for the magic loop method OR four 3mm (3.25mm, UK 10) double-pointed needles

Instructions
– Loosely cast on 60 sts.
– Divide into 30 sts on 2 needles using the magic loop method OR divide into 20 sts on 3 needles on DPNs.
– Join and work (K2, P2) ribbing in the round for 6″ (15.25cm).
– Switch to knitting flat for 2″ (5.1cm). In other words, knit (K2, P2) when working on the right side and (P2, K2) when working on the wrong side of the piece. This will give you your thumb hole.
– Return to working (K2, P2) ribbing in the round for an additional 1.75″ (4.4cm).
– Loosely cast off. Sew in ends.

Ribbed For Her Pleasure Sock Pattern

As with my Minecraft Creeper Blanket Pattern, I wrote this pattern years ago — July of 2007, to be precise. It is actually the first knitting pattern I ever wrote. When I took down my old blog, the patterns went with it, and since then I have had request to re-publish some of my old work.

My Ribbed For Her Pleasure Sock Pattern is a very simple sock that, due to its repetitive nature, is great for working on in front of the TV, while on the bus, or while watching small children. It works well with most sock-weight yarns and showcases self-striping yarns beautifully. This is the updated version from 2011, when I fixed an error in the heel.

Ribbed For Her Pleasure Socks
Adult Women’s Size

Materials
– Two 50g (1.764oz) 152m (166yrd) balls of sock yarn, size 1 super fine
– One set of four size US 3 (3.25mm, UK 10) double point needles

Gauge
– Sock Yarn: 28 stitches and 36 rows = 4″ x 4″ (10cm x10cm) square on US 3 (3.25mm, UK 10) needles

Instructions
– Loosely cast on 60 sts. Divide into 20 sts on 3 needles. Join and work in (K2, P2) ribbing for 1.5″ (3.81cm).

– Work in (P2, K2) for an additional 3.5″ (more or less if taller or shorter socks are desired; make sure you have additional wool if you want taller socks).

Arrange heel sts:

– Slip 6 sts from end of 1st needle onto beginning of 2nd needle, and slip 6 sts from beginning of 3rd needle onto end of 2nd needle. This should give you 14 sts on the 1st needle, 32 sts on the 2nd needle, and 14 sts on the 3rd needle.

– Divide the 32 sts on the 2nd needle onto two needles of 16 sts each and leave for the instep.

– (P2, K2) the 14sts off the first needle onto the 3rd needle. Working on these 28 sts proceed as follows:

– Next row: (WS) K1. P12. P2tog. P12. K1. (27 sts on needle)

Make heel:

– 1st row: (RS) K1. Slip 1. Repeat across row ending row with K1.
– 2nd row: K1. Purl to last stitch. K1.
– Repeat these two rows for 2 inches, ending with 1st row.

Shape heel:

– 1st row: (WS) Slip 1. P14. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 2nd row: (RS) Slip 1. K5. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 3rd row: Slip 1. P6. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 4th row: Slip 1. K7. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 5th row: Slip 1. P8. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 6th row: Slip 1. K9. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 7th row: Slip 1. P10. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 8th row: Slip 1. K11. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 9th row: Slip 1. P12. P2tog. P1. Turn.
– 10th row: Slip 1. K13. SL1. K1. PSSO. K1. Turn.
– 11th row: Slip 1. P14. P2tog. Turn.
– 12th row: Knit. (16 stitches remaining in heel)

Make instep:

– Slip 32 sts for instep onto one needle.

– 1st needle: With RS of work facing and using the heel needle, pick up 13sts. Knit 11 of these sts, then purl 2 of these sts.
– 2nd needle: Slip the two purled stitches from the end of the 1st needle to the beginning of the 2nd needle. (K2, P2) the rest of the way across instep sts.
– 3rd needle: Pick up and knit 13 sts along other side of heel.

– Sts are now divided as: 27-34-13

– Knit 7 sts from beginning of first needle onto end of 3rd needle.

– Sts are now divided as: 20-34-20

– 1st round:
– 1st needle: Knit to last 3 sts. K2 tog. K1.
– 2nd needle: (P2, K2) to the end of needle, ending with P2.
– 3rd needle: K1. Slip 1. K1. psso. Knit to end.

– 2nd round:
– 1st needle: Knit.
– 2nd needle: (P2, K2) to the end of needle, ending with P2.
– 3rd needle: Knit.

– Repeat these two rounds to 13sts on 1st needle, 34 sts on 2nd needle, and 13 sts on 3rd needle (60 sts total).

– Continue knitting as in 2nd round until foot, from picked up sts at heel, measures 5″ (12.7cm). (Alternately, continue knitting until the needles sit at the first knuckle of the big toe when this sock is tried on the foot on which it will be worn.)

Shape toe:

– Slip 2 sts from start of 2nd needle onto end of 1st needle, and slip 2 sts from end of of 2nd needle onto start of 3rd needle. This should give you 15 sts on the 1st needle, 30 sts on the 2nd needle, and 15 sts on the 3rd needle.

– 1st round:
– 1st needle: Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1.
– 2nd needle: K1. Slip 1. K1. psso. Knit to last 3 sts. K2tog. K1.
– 3rd needle: K1. Slip 1. K1. psso. Knit to end.

– 2nd round: Knit.

– Repeat these two rounds until 28 sts remain (divided 7-14-7). Break yarn and graft 2 sets of 14 sts.

Souvenir Yarn

My husband returned last night from a business trip to Den Haag in the Netherlands. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to accompany him, but I was there about ten years ago for a job interview, and I don’t feel as badly about missing out as I would have if it was a place I’d never visited.

When we found out that my husband would be traveling to Den Haag, he asked what I would like him to bring back. “Yarn,” I answered. I’m not a great fan of souvenirs, at least not the kind that will sit on a shelf and collect dust. Practical items are another matter, and I like to think fondly back on my trips whenever I use them. Yarn, for me, is also a great souvenir, especially if I can find something local that is hard-to-get back home. It’s also a great thing to have someone bring back as a gift. I think of the the person who gave the yarn to me when I knit it, as well as when I see the final project worn.


Malabrigo Mechita in 227 Volcan

Now, my husband isn’t a knitter, and he for the most part could care less about nice yarn — although, through exposure to me, he is learning. I am trying to convince him that it’s a good idea to go to a yarn shop employee and say, “My wife is a knitter, I have a budget of $X, she likes local wool and knits a lot of socks, could you please help me find her some yarn as a gift?” Although the employee may have a few more questions to help narrow things down, this will save him an inordinate amount of time wandering through the shelves. Unless his whole plan is to browse because, deep in his heart of hearts, he actually really likes yarn and this is a deeply satisfying experience for him — but I sadly don’t think that’s it.

Before he left, I Googled for a nice shop that was within a reasonable distance of his hotel. He ended up going to Cross & Woods Crafting Parlour. He tells me that he knew I’d like the place as soon as he stepped inside. Not only was it filled with lovely crafting supplies, but there was a table where ladies were sitting and knitting. He overheard them discussing the different ways one could hold one’s needles, how awkward it is to try a different style, and complaining that everyone else’s style is just inherently wrong. Since I’m pretty sure that I’ve had this exact conversation with my knitter friends (indeed, my grandmother and my grandmother-in-law couldn’t watch me knit because it made them want so badly to correct how I was holding my needles), I think I would have fit right in.

Unable to find a yarn that had been produced, spun, or dyed locally that he thought I’d like, my husband instead brought me back Malabrigo Mechita in 227 Volcan. (Malabrigo’s actually from Uruguay.) It is a beautiful soft yarn, although it’s not tough enough for socks, which is my general go-to for thinner yarns. Their website recommends this yarn for “shawls, scarves, garments, accessories, baby and kids items, lace, cables, [and] textured stitches.” I will have to spend some time browsing Ravelry for ideas and that, with a mug of hot cocoa in hand, is my way to spend a perfect winter evening.

Minecraft Creeper Blanket

I originally posted about my Minecraft Creeper Blanket on my old blog back in 2013. I written anything new for that blog for years, and I just assumed nobody had looked at it in equally as long. As it turns out, someone had been trying to follow the pattern I’d posted — and then I took it down! So I am re-posting my old entry. I plan on doing this with more of my old work, subject to requests, so if there’s an old post you’d like to see, just ask.

On July 16th, 2012, I almost lost my little brother to a house fire. The fire started in the room where he was trying to sleep away a flu, and he was lucky to get out alive and relatvely unhurt; he suffered some mild burns and smoke inhalaton. My parents, of course, threw a couple of things in a suitcase and started the drive to Halifax to take care of my brother in the hospital (he was there for almost a week) and then help him once he was out. With two young children at home, I couldn’t manage a 16-hour drive and indefinite hotel stay on practially no notice, but it didn’t mean that I didn’t want to be there. He’s my baby brother, man. I couldn’t just sit on my hands and do nothing. As it became more and more obvious that, between the fire damage and the water damage from puttng the fire out, my brother had lost just about everything, I started to wonder if there was anything I could make for him. Sure, the insurance should pay to replace most of the essentials, but what about those personal touches? That’s where the idea for this blanket was born.

For those not into such things, the blanket pattern is based on the face of a Creeper, which is a bad guy in the game Minecraft. I chose the design simply because I know that my brother loves the game. Perhaps I should have played the game before I knit the blanket, because I found out that the whole point of this villain isn’t so much that it kills your character (there is minimal penalty in this game for dying), but that it destroys the creations that you’ve spent a long time building. You know, like a house. I swear I didn’t know this before I knit the blanket. This doesn’t seem to bother my brother much, or maybe he takes it as ironic. At least I hope so…

This is what a Creeper looks like in game:


Source: D+PAD

It took me six months of knitting to finish the blanket. At first I thought it would be ready for my brother’s birthday, then Christmas… In the end, it was a delayed Christmas present that I gave him in February. I swear I tried to make the Christmas deadline, but I still had at least 25 squares to go by the time December 25th rolled around. I mean, it took me almost a month to sew all 100 squares together. I now have a HUGE respect for anyone who undertakes this kind of project on a regular basis. My hat is off to you, sir or madam.


It’s amazing how all that work folds up into such a small package.

Here is the pattern that I designed if you’d like to try to knit the blanket yourself. I knit it as simple stockinette stitch squares, cast on 25 stitches and knit until they were square. This makes a blanket that is big enough to generously cover a single bed, or barely cover a double. I’d give you exact dimensions, but the blanket is already with my brother in Halifax. I tried to find an acrylic yarn (brother has pets, it has to be easily washable) with as many shades of green as possible to make the Creeper appear authentic. This is the best selection I could find.

The legend as follows:

Minecraft Creeper Blanket

Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn from Michaels
Needle Size: 5 mm (8 US)
BL = Black (01040), 20 squares (2 balls)
TG = True Grey (01044), 11 squares (1 ball)
F = Fern (01222), 17 squares (2 balls)
FO = Forest (01243), 20 squares (2 balls)
G = Grass (01223), 10 squares (1 ball)
DF = Deep Forest (01242), 10 squares (1 ball)
SF = Soft Fern, (01221), 12 squares (2 balls)
Square Total: 100 squares, approx. 1200g
Border: 2 rows of single crochet around edge in Forest (01243), approx. 50g (1 ball)
Total yarn required: 11 balls

If you try this pattern yourself or if you need more information before you give it a shot, please let me know!