Latvian Braid Booties

Want to try a new technique such as Latvian braids or colourwork? This is the project for you!

latvian braid baby booties

I’ve finally released this pattern – several months in the making. Thanks so much to all my test knitters and my tech editor for their hard work, suggestions, improvements, and general good cheer!

These are a perfect opportunity to use up those lovely sock leftovers that you don’t know what to do with. They make a great gift for holiday giving or a new baby.  :)

Pattern now available on Ravelry.

Tiny sheep in sweaters

sheep stash

These gorgeous tiny sheep, hand-cut from birch, are from Juniper Moon Farm. This is the Sheep Starter Flock pack, which comes with 4 lambs, 3 yearlings, and 3 ewes. A portion of the profits will go to Heifer International.  There’s a T-Rex herd too …

Bonus! Susan B. Anderson has designed and made available a free pattern to knit sweaters for your tiny sheep. I plan on using mine as gift ties for Christmas presents, but I think I’ll attach them with a twisted cord long enough so that they can become ornaments afterwards.

I dragged some sock yarn leftovers out of stash and got organized …

tiny sheep

These knit up so quickly and are so much fun to make!

tiny sheep

darn it

For today’s adventure in knitting repairs, I’ve “darned” a hole in one of my favourite pairs of socks.  This is not darning as I learned it from my Nanna, rather, it’s picking up some stable stitches at one end of the hole and knitting back up to fill in the hole.  You also reinforce the edges as you go by picking up some solid stitches on the sides.  When you get to the “top” of the hole, you can choose a line of solid-looking stitches to graft your patch to.

sock darning

If you are smart, you repair your socks before they actually have a hole by duplicate stitching over the thinning section. Much easier!

With either method, having a darning egg or mushroom is really helpful.  I’m lucky enough to have two lovely antique mushrooms.  One was given to me by a friend and one was my Nanna’s.  Considering that my grandfather wore only handknit socks made by her from when they got married until he died (50+ years), I think hers probably saw a lot of use!

darning mushrooms

Socks

Why do we knit socks? Is it the challenge? Is it the reward? Is it the portability? Is it to impress? Is it to comfort?

Perhaps all of the above. I just read this lovely article in the Sydney Morning Herald about sock knitting on the home front during World War I.  It’s believed that Australians knit over a million pairs of socks for the troops during the war. Many of the knitters tucked hopeful notes into the socks before they were sent off.

“Wishing you all a quick victory and a speedy return,” wrote Bill O’Brien from the Shand Hotel in Newport, Victoria.

My family normally gets a pair of hand-knit socks in their Christmas stockings. I’m inspired this year to start a new tradition. I think they’ll get a skein of sock yarn and a note with the promise of a pair. Partly dictated by necessity (I’m very behind on my sock knitting schedule!), but partly because they’ll have some say in the socks. If they don’t like the colourway, I can swap it out for another.

Current socks underway: simple toe-ups using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for Zach (he of the long skinny feet):

ragg socks with flk heel

Only my fifth pair this year.  It has been busy …

Serendipitous design inspiration

So, I am a Ravelry member (shakeyourbooties).  Of course.  And I design baby booties (in case you hadn’t noticed).  One of the groups I belong to on Ravelry has a monthly encouragement/discussion thread for WIPs and offers prizes (donated by participants in the thread) for FOs.

Last month I won a prize.  :)

It was a “choose your own book from Amazon up to a certain amount including shipping.”  What a great idea!  I picked this book:

knitters.life.list.steege

A picture on the first page I randomly opened it to:

This picture led me to the fabulous Photo Library collection at the Shetland Museum and Archives.  The intersection of libraries and knitting again.  :)

Knitted gansey booties …. hmmmm ….. ?  Swatching has commenced.  :

gansey.test.1

Lavaliere

Lavaliere – an ornamental pendant, usually jeweled, worn on a chain around the neck

Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s Lavaliere pattern is a nice lightweight cardigan, worked in one-piece top down.  The neckline & front bands are worked in a smocking pattern – making it somewhat ornamental, I suppose.  Mine is even more elaborate as I ended up doing short rows around the fronts to widen the front bands, then knitting in a lining for the whole band as I didn’t like how it was lying.

Lavaliere cardigan

The result?  Pretty good, I think.

Lavaliere cardigan

 

Details of mods on my Ravelry project page.

Year of mittens – part 1

So for this year’s insane challenge, I’m going to try to knit a pair of (stranded) colourwork mittens every month … in addition to all the regular knitting I normally do.

For starters, I did the Torirot Mystery Mittens January 2014 – now called Den hammelige hagen (The Secret Garden).  Nothing like leaping in at the deep end!  I love a mystery KAL, so it was actually a good way to get started and to pace myself.  They came out pretty well, I think.  They’re a little too long in the hand, and the tension across the colourwork isn’t brilliant, but I’m happy with them.

secret garden mittens

Let’s see if I can actually achieve this particular challenge!

 

nakniswemo 2013

Based on the same premise as nanowrimo, nakniswemo (National Sweater Knitting Month) is the effort to knit a 50,000+ stitch sweater in the month of November.
nakniswemo13 logo

I’m going to make a $5 in Paris striped sweater for my daughter’s birthday. I’ve wound the yarn, swatched for gauge, printed the pattern, and set up a spreadsheet to track the number of stitches. I’ve never done this challenge before, so I’m looking forward to it!
$5 in Paris ready

Ready, set, go!

late to the (crochet school) party

Thanks to a helpful post on the LSG group over on Ravelry, I’m going to take the plunge this summer and actually learn to crochet.

Crochet School is the brilliant product of the craftyminx.  I may actually learn more than the absolutely rudimentary skills I remember my Nanna showing me a very, very long time ago.  I recently had to crochet an edging around this hat:

Thorpe hat in Brown colours

I had absolutely no clue how to do it, but with the help of the interwebs, and this helpful video from Hooked on Needles, I figured it out.  It made me slightly ashamed that I had been ignoring crochet as an option for so long and prompted me to think about what I could do to change that.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to work through all the lessons this summer.  Who knows what I might be inspired to make?