30 January 2012

Dad's Fair Isle Mittens

Finished Mittens

During the holidays, I managed to knit and delivery a couple of Christmas presents. I had planned to make my dad some Fair Isle gloves for sometime now. I've had the yarn hanging around for a few years now but somehow never got around to it. But this was the year! I had kind of been waiting for Elliphantom to release a pattern for these Snorri gloves she knit back in 2010. Instead I grabbed some chart paper, zoomed in on the few pictures available and made a chart of the main motif for my own use.

I've been knitting my own mittens since I was a kid. I've been a process knitter from a very early age. Most of my projects were grabbing yarn my mom had lying around, some needles and a pattern that I found intriguing. Making it for someone to actually use was beside the point. Except when it came to mittens. Nearly every winter, I'd end up knitting myself a new pair of mittens. In high school, I even knit some for my classmates. Mittens are fun, fast & practical.

My mom had an old Patons toddler's mitten pattern book I used to follow every time. Though I'd have to invent some numbers so they'd fit my hands. I would figure out the next set of numbers in the series of sizes to end up with something big enough for my hands. Maybe not the most precise method, but store bought mittens never fit very well either. The mittens in this book were pretty basic and all were seamed. I found out about knitting in the round when I discovered a pattern for socks in my mom's collection in grade 6. Once I had a handle on that, all subsequent mittens were adapted to knit in the round.

1. Snowflake Pattern, 2. Top Decreases, 3. Mitten Side, 4. Mitten Texture

All this is to say that I'm pretty comfortable with how mitten knitting works. And pretty comfortable with gloves too. I ended up inventing my own pattern based on the measurements I had of my dad's hands and the Snorri glove chart. Since I was knitting on the fly, I wrote a pseudo-pattern for myself so that I'd know what'd I'd done once it came time to start the second mitten. It's a new habit I've developed for the past few sweater patterns that I've heavily adapted.

I started knitting these mittens a week or so before leaving on holiday. I ended up making the switch from gloves to mittens as a time saver. I like them better as mittens (always a better choice for a prairie winter). I had the almost one complete mitten done. (Probably should have taken a picture at this stage).

The mitten seemed too long to me and I wasn't super thrilled with how the top decreases were working out. The usual Fair Isle triangular top wasn't working for my so much. While on holiday, I took it out and redid the decreases, changing out paired decreases with single double decreases at each side of the mitten. I played with them a bit to get a nice rounded top. I'm pretty happy with the result. I'm pretty pleased with the resulting contrast between traditional colourwork in a non-traditional mitten.

1. Dad & Mittens, 2. Dad & Mittens, 3. Tut & Mittens, 4. I think he likes them

I think my dad likes them a lot too. He got pretty silly posing in them. I hear that he's been wearing them every day since my parents returned home from the holidays.

Finished MittensPattern: Dad's Fair Isle Mittens (with snowflake pattern from Eliphantom's Snorri Gloves). Materials: Drops Alpaca in 0607 & 2020
Purchased At: River City Yarns
Start Date: December 12, 2011
End Date: January 5, 2012

26 January 2012

Finished in 2011

I'm late posting this, but I'd rather post late than not at all. Here's all of 2011's craftiness in one mega-photo mosaic:

1. Baby Llama cowl, 2. Clover Walk 2-ply, 3. Goodale Sweater, 4. Pua Kenikeni Block, 5. Kukui Block, 6. Cross-stitch Floppy, 7. Joe's Floppy Disk, 8. Nini's disk, 9. Susie's disk, 10. Silk-tacular skein, 11. Skew Too, 12. Dainty Flower Embroidery, 13. A disk for me, 14. Handspun Fingerless Gloves, 15. Clumsy Beret, 16. Spriteling Mystery Shawl, 17. Personalised Cassette Tape, 18. Madeleine's Quilt Folded, 19. Kyr's Quilt Folded, 20. Entrelac Baby Blanket, 21. Instant Baby Sweater, 22. Handspun Stack, 23. Banana Split Singles, 24. Pea Vines Shawl, 25. Teddy Rhino, 26. Poignant Elephant (with a dress), 27. Charity Twig Gloves, 28. The Mock-up Fairy™, 29. Mom's Thanksgiving Shawl, 30. Celes Shawl

So that's 14 knitted projects (1 cowl, 2 sweaters - adult & baby, 1 pair of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, 1 hat, 4 shawls, 1 baby blanket and 2 toys), 2 Hawaiian Appliqué blocks, 5 cross-stitch diskettes, 1 cross-stitch cassette, 5 skeins of handspun, 2 baby quilts (group projects!), and one dress (FINALLY) finished.

Surprisingly productive for how busy a year it turned out to be. I really didn't think I got that much crafting done.

2011 Catch-up: a couple of shawls

Both of these shawls got pushed aside at various points for other more pressing projects (usually things to make for other people) and took way longer than they should have to finally block and photograph. You can see the creases in the photos as proof of how long they hung around before I finally took pictures.

Finished Pea Vines Shawl

1. Finished Pea Vines Shawl, 2. Shawl Detail, 3. Pea Vines Detail, 4. Finished Pea Vines Pattern: Pea Vines by Anne Hanson Materials: Tosh Merino Light in Rose Purchased At: Purl Soho Start Date: May 14, 2011 End Date: September 16, 2011 There is an error at the beginning of the Pea Vines, but I didn't find it worth ripping out most of the border in order to fix it. I really enjoyed knitting this pattern, but it did take lots of concentration. Also, it took me WAY too long to start writing down what row I was on. I lost my place so many times that I lost count.

Finished Celes Shawl

1. Celes Shawl, 2. Center detail, 3. End bit, 4. Finished Celes Shawl Pattern: Celes by Jared Flood Materials: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in 1294 (blue-green) Start Date: September 18, 2010 End Date: November 6, 2011 This shawl sat dormant for a long time because I ran out of yarn once I reached the border. I continued on almost immediately after getting another skein. The border is a very slight different shade of teal as the new skein was a different dye lot from the first. I don't find it bothersome as the entire border is knit with the new lot. If I had started the new skein partway through knitting the border, it would have been far more noticeable.

23 January 2012

2011 Catch-up: Twiggy Fingerless Gloves

Charity Twig Gloves
Every year at work we have a charity auction to raise money for Centraide/United Way and every year I offer to make a custom knit accessory for whomever wins the item. In the past I've made a scarf and a knitted bunny. This year, I was asked to knit some fingerless gloves for a co-worker as her office gets rather cold in the winter.
For the 3rd year in a row, I've offered my knitting services to my co-workers to raise money for the Montreal Centraide/United Way as part of our annual work Charity Auction.
I grabbed some yarn and decided to finally try the Pomatomus stitch pattern as translated into fingerless gloves. The yarn for this was not super exciting when it was in the skein, but was much more exciting once knit up. I enjoyed the stitch pattern so much, that I quickly started another pair for myself!
Mitten Back
Pattern: Nereid Fingerless Gloves (based on Pomatomus Sock Pattern)
Materials: Knit it Up! Vivacious in Chocolate Covered Gobstoppers from Sock Yarn Cinema Club: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Start Date: September 16, 2011
End Date: October 16, 2011
Palm Detail

20 January 2012

2011 Catch-up: The Mock-up Fairy™

Complete with beehive
Yup. Hallowe'en. I wasn't planning on dressing up but a conversation with co-workers while leaving work one day gave me the most perfect idea. Our office social committee came up with the theme of Fairy Tales so I figured I could dress as I wanted, slap on some fairy wings and be a sarcastic fairy. And that's pretty much all I had to do was buy wings.
Sparklie sparkle sparkles
I work as a Graphic Designer here in Montreal and I'm often asked to make "maquettes" or mock-ups for different client presentations. Over the years that I've worked for my company, I've gained the reputation of being the Queen of Maquettes. I've built prototypes of milk cartons, juice boxes, die-cut what-have-you, boxes with drawers and inserts from scratch. All kinds of things. So once I thought a bit more about my costume concept, I realised I had recently completed the perfect dress to become The Mock-up Fairy.
The Mock-up Fairy™
Remember a million years ago when I declared I was going to make an army of dresses but somehow didn't even finish one? Well, I finally finished it a week before Hallowe'en. I decided to postpone its debut until I would wear it as my costume. And it fit the bill perfectly.
Sparklie eyes
I spent sometime researching bee-hive hairdos because what else goes better with my new pair of retro glasses?
The bee-hive
Though all I had to do was buy some wings, I waffled about whether it was worth it. But I made myself go out and ended up getting the biggest, most ridiculous wings I could find. I got in the spirit of things (finally) and bought as many sparkly things to go with: make-up, nail polish, giant plastic ring. I used a tiara I got as a joke V-day present that lives on my desk.
The Mock-up Fairy™ - the full outfit
The costume was widely well received, though I was better recognized as the Fairy Godmother in Shrek. Not quite what I was aiming for, but not a bad serendipitous result.
These wings are sitting compatible
Oh and no one could really believe that I was able to work with my big ass wings, but as you can see from this re-enactment when I got home, that they are quite office chair compliant.

12 January 2012

Mom's Thanksgiving Shawl

So I'm home, but still playing catch-up I'm afraid. In all sorts of ways.

Mom's Thanksgiving Shawl

I finished this shawl back in November. Managed to block it quickly enough. But then it sat around waiting for me to mail it to my mom.

Shawl detail

The yarn is Drops Alpaca and this was my first time working with it. It's an awesomely soft yarn that was incredibly lovely to work with. Hopefully it wears well.

Lace detail

The pattern was really quite fun, though the central graft has some funniness I couldn't quite block out. And I kept getting questions about the points at the start of each side. Just a side effect of the central cable business I'm afraid.

It's THIS big
Pattern: Autumn Arbor Stole
Materials: Drops Alpaca Sport Color 7323
Start Date: September 25, 2011
End Date: November 3, 2011

7 January 2012

The Elephant wearing a dress in the room

In the spring (last time I had a haircut) my hairdresser announced she was pregnant and asked if I'd knit something for her bun-in-the-oven. She wanted to make sure that the baby would come home in nothing but handknit items. How could I refuse such a request?

Back in September I knit up this practically instant baby sweater out of some impossibly soft handspun and later (on the day of the baby shower) finally added the buttons.

Baby Sweater (with buttons)
Pattern: Baby Sweater on two needles by Elizabeth Zimmermann
'Collision Course' Pigeonroof Studios
100% Superwash Merino
4.2 oz.
Start Date: September 4, 2011
End Date: September 5, 2011
Buttons added: October 23, 2011

I also decided to throw in one of the toys I knit while tech-editing the new Fuzzy Mitten Savannah Chaps pattern. I decided to knit a dress from the Well Dressed Bunny Pattern for the elephant even though I wasn't sure of the baby's gender. I thought about knitting overalls, but thought the dress was cuter.

The blue balloons on the front of the house were a clear enough sign once we arrived at the shower. The theme of the shower turned out to be blue. Well the elephant in a dress got a big laugh when it was opened. Though it didn't end up being a big deal. Since this baby has two moms, it would be a crime that he didn't have an elephant in a dress.

Poignant Elephant (with a dress)
Pattern: Savannah Chaps by Fuzzy Mitten
Materials: Rowan Yorkshire Tweed - Limeleaf
Start Date: September 22, 2011
End Date: September 25, 2011

Someone had to balance out for all those trucks/cars/blue onesies. Even if it was by accident.

2 January 2012


I'm behind. I've been behind for a while on the reportage of craftiness. I'm so behind that I can't even use the holiday break to catch up. I'm away on vacation and there are projects (at home) that still await their time in front of the camera. So I'm postponing it until I get back. I'm also postponing my usual pictorial posts of the year in crafts. I'll get to it. In the meantime enjoy this picture of my dad with half his Christmas present. I'm almost finished it's friend.

Dad & half his Christmas present