Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Socking around the Christmas tree

It used to be my granny's duty to keep the family well socked. This duty has now fallen on my narrow shoulders and I'm doing my best to fill her massive shoes (not literally of course, have you ever seen a lil granny with gigantic feet). 

I myself will be out of town for the holidays, spending Christmas without my family for the first time ever. Kinda sad in a way. But I'm comforted by the mental image of my brother and father socking around the Christmas tree in these creations, my mam watching by wearing the ever so popular "Cold outside" socks I know she will love so much, she wont dare walk around in them in fear of getting the white socks dirty, poor old giddy.

Yarn: Novita 7 veljestä  (150 g = 300 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide)
Gauge: 18 st = 10cm
Needle: 4mm
Skeins: ~1

The pattern is just a normal sock pattern with reinforced heel flaps. The patterning is half mine, half adapted from various patternings I've come across, so I wont be posting up instructions for these. But should you wish to use the patterning, here's the charts below (click to enlarge).

The patterning on the blue and grey socks is for 28st and the brown and grey is for 56st.

Felted slippers - once again

Circling the shops few weeks back I found my bf eyeing up some felted slippers at the market. "Halt!", shrieked I. If my man wants a pair of felted slippers he sure as heck ain't gonna have to pay for them! As it happens, I've practically mastered in the science of makin these things. Having knit approximately 40 slippers I consider myself well justified to stop my man from buying a pair.

These are SO easy to make, they practically make themselves! (And I'm using the word "practically" in practically every sentence!) In fact they are so quick to knit, I made 18 pairs for Christmas few years ago, all in just two weeks. The pattern is, I'm afraid, again one by Novita and is, I'm afraid, once again in Finnish only.

But as a Christmas present for you dear readers, I will now attempt to translate this simple instruction:

Yarn: Novita Huopanen ( 100 g = 157 m, 100% wool)
Gauge: 11 st = 10cm
Skeins: 2
Needle: 8-10mm
Sizes: 37-39 (40-43)

Knit double yarn. Cast on 12(14). Knit stockinette and add 2 stitches at the both ends of the needle every second row for 10(12) times =32(38) st. Then divide stitches to 4 double pointed needles. Knit 13(16)cm circular and start decreasing stitches:  Knit 2 together at the end of needles I and III and SKP (=slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over) at the beginning of needles II and IV. Repeat the decreases every second row until you have 4(5)st remaining on each needle. After that repeat the decreases on every row. Weave in ends.

Sow a plastic bag (see through, not coloured) on the inside of the slipper with few loose stitches of cotton yarn (so you wont end up without a hole on the slipper to stick your foot into). Toss the slippers in the washer along with an old towel etc you don't mind getting hairs all over. Set washer for 40 degrees. Once the program is over shape the slippers on your feet or by hand. You can alter the size of the slippers at this point simply by shaping.

For a girlier touch, add a rose or two as per instruction

Check out same slippers with cute embroidery here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why not knit to work tomorrow?

Imagine taking the train to work 5 days a week. Imagine spending 2-3 hours daily commuting. Now imagine having absolutely nothing to do. Trying to catch a peek of the scenery passing by but seeing nothing but darkness, sitting still with your hands unemployed and bored resting on your lap . Quite boring, eh? 

Now imagine spending that time knitting. Instead of sitting idly, slowly dying inside out of pure boredom, you'd be creating something unique while commuting and you'd be at work before you'd realize! Don't worry about standing out in the crowd, it's the thing to do these days, it's snap, crackle and pop to knit on trains and busses!

Knitmuting is a great way to switch your brain off work mode. Unless you get paid for thinking about your work, you'd be wasting valuable free time going through work stuff in your head while on your daily commute.

 The key to succesful knitmuting is to keep the projects small and simple. Socks and mittens are perfect. You can easily fit a ball of yarn and a set of double pointed needles in an average hand bag. Doesn't matter if you haven't knitted anything in decades (as was the case with one of my fellow knitmuters here), start of with something easy and work your way up. The point is not impress the fellow commuters with your handicrafts (though that too has earned me a free bottle of sparkling wine once!) but to take some time for yourself.

Plus if you feel you are going nowhere with your career, pick up a pair of needles and at least you've spent your journey nowhere wisely. 

Join the cause: Knit to work tomorrow!

ps. thanks to fellow knitmuters for letting me disturb your commute to snap your photo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Girly Yoke Sweater

As mentioned before, I'm painfully uninformed in every possible way regarding the life of children. I know roughly how they are made but that's about it. About a month ago I knit a pretty little cardigan for a four year old girl and naively imagined all four year olds to be exactly the same size with very little variation in weight. But apparently - so I've been told - they come in various heights as well. Gosh darnet, said I, and begun another little project.

To be 100% sure to be ready in time for Santa's visit (yes, I'm one of Santa's not so little helpers) I used one of Novita's patterns as a base for this little piece, as designing another pattern would've been too much of a risk and knitting the same cardigan would've been simply boring. I've seen loads of yoke pullovers such as this in shops recently so I thought it wouldn't be completely unfashionable. Of course I hope this will be the bee's knees and  hope the gift will be a success - at this point I'll settle for mild success even, as I'm not about to knit a third top in the foreseeable future.
Novita Nalle Aloevera (100 g = 260 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide) Off-white (010) Skeins: 2
Novita Wool (50g = 135m, 100% wool)  Baby pink (504) Skeins: 2
Novita Wool (50g = 135m, 100% wool) Pink (580) Skeins: 2
Novita Luxus Alpaca (50g = 135m, 100% alpaca) Nutria  (068) Skeins: 2
Gauge: 22 st & 32 rows = 10cm
Needle: 3½ mm
Size: 110cm
As per Novita pattern mentioned (unfortunately in Finnish only) apart from the patterning. For patterning, see the chart on the left here. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cabled beanie with bow

Here's a little something I finished on Thursday. Found the gorgeous pink yarn from Pyöröpuikko in Lappeenranta last weekend. It was love at first sight let me tell you. This yarn was just screaming my name, asking to be knit into a beanie, begging for a chance to become something to warm my brain with. 

The pattern once again, is unbelievably easy. Due to the "sudden death" kind of decrease the gauge or number of stitches isn't of that much significance. If you wish to achieve similar results as I did, you can always follow the instruction word to word. 
Yarn: Gjestal Tinde (100g = 180m, 50% wool, 50% tencell)
Gauge: 20 st = 10cm
Skeins: 1
Needle: 4mm
Cast on 128st on a circular needle. K2 P2 for 6 rows. Knit the cabled detail at the front of the beanie as per chart and knit stockinette with the remaining stitches. Knit in this manner for about 20 cm repeating the 8 rows of the chart for the cable detail and begin then the decrease rows.
Click to enlarge

Sudden Death decrease:  
1st row: *K1 ; SKP*. 2nd row: stockinette. 3rd row: *K1 ; SKP*. 4th row: stockinette. 5th row: *SK2P*. Cut the yarn and run the thread tail through remaining 18 stitches twice; pull firmly and darn in the end. All the stitches were decreased within 5 rows, hence the name "sudden death".
The bow: 
Cast on 5st. Knit stockinette for 28cm. Cast off and darn in the ends. Cast on 5 again and knit 4cm. Sow the shorter piece as a little loop and run the longer piece through the loop creating a bow. Sow the pieces together tight and attach to the beanie. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This little piggy had a Very Merry Christmas

This is by no means knitting related, but I simply gotta share this, as I'm super excited about this year's gingerbread-architecture-achievement! 

I make a ginger bread building every year - I say building instead of house, as these architectural artifacts are not often houses per se, last year's installation was an out house - and as this year I feel like such a PIG (seriously, how much chocolate CAN one woman eat?!), I decided on a pigsty theme. 

Normally these installations look like they were made by Stevie Wonder and I often tell people I bought them from a blind orphans' bake sale, but this year I was lucky enough to hire an engineer to help me plan and errect the gingerbread piggery. The pigsty features two limbless lil piggies made of marzipan by yours truely and I'm very proud of them, as this is for me a completely new material to work on. 

With the image of these lil two piggies nestled up for winter in the comfort of their new residence, completely unaware of their brother being rosted in the oven as we speak (early start for christmas, gotta have some ham NOW!), I bid you all not a merry christmas, as it would be way too early, but a merry second advent sunday tomorrow and a lovely Finnish independence day on Monday :)