Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sock Yarn Block Shawl (cowl)

Sock Shawl / Cowl
This pattern is NOT for beginners, but it is fun and addictive, and you only work on 25 stitches at a time, building the blocks together into a funky zig zag shawl or cowl.
There are many videos of Domino Knitting Squares, if you are unfamiliar with the technique.  You can find one HERE or HERE.

Yarn: Self striping sock yarn (Kroy – grey brown marl) 4 skeins
Needles: 4mm (US 6)  I use circular needle for this, but straight needles are fine too
Gauge:  approx 20 sts = 4 inches, AFTER BLOCKING.  Its not too important that you match this, as it is a wrap-shawl-cowl.  The one I made, after joining as a cowl is wrapped twice around my neck!
Finished length (after blocking) just under four feet. (and very stretchy)
***Follow the drawings of the blocks to make sure you are sticking to the plan.  I will use the alphabet assignments in the photos for reference in the pattern

Block A:      Cast on 49 sts. Row 1: Knit 25, place marker, Knit 24. Row 2: Knit 22, knit 2 together, slip marker, knit one, knit 2 together, knit 22. Row 3 (and all odd rows): Knit to stitch BEFORE marker, purl that stitch, slip marker and knit the rest.
Row 4 (and all even rows) knit to 2 sts BEFORE marker, knit 2 together, slip marker, knit one, knit 2 together, knit the rest. Repeat until only 3 sts remain and knit all three together. (only one stitch on your needle.

Block B:     With this stitch at upper right corner of square, pick up 25 stitches across the top of the just worked square (place marker just before last pick up). Cast on 24 more stitches. Now turn and work exactly like the first square starting with row 1.
When reduced to one stitch, begin the next square above the last. Continue to build squares C and D in the method of block B.  Bind off last stitch at the end of block D, and break yarn.

Block E:   Cast on 24 stitches, then pick up one stitch right at the corner of block A and B (see chart photo), then pick up 24 more evenly across the upper part of Block B.  Work the block as in A from row 1.
Block F:   Pick up 25 across the left side of block E, (make sure the 25th stitch is right in the corner of where B and C meet) and then pick up 24 more across the top of block C.  Work as usual.

Block G: like block F.

Block H: Pick up 25 on the left side of G, then CAST ON 24 more (this part is not attached to any other side).  Work the block as usual (see the photos in the chart to see where this block is placed).

Block I:    like E.
Block J and K:    Like F
Block L:   Like H
Block M:  Like E
Block N and O:   Like F
Block P:   Like H

Gently wash and block flat.
This is now a zig zag shoulder wrap or shawl.   Wear it like that…..   OR……

COWL VERSION:   carefully turn it into a TUBE, matching the bottom edge of A with the top edge of N (place pins on these squares before you make the tube so you can see how this lines up.  It’s a diagonal seam , sewing A tyo N, and B to O, and C to P.  Sew this seam with Kitchener stitch (and not too tightly). 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sock Yarn Shawl

My wonderful new friends at have sent me some of my favourite sock yarn to play with, and I have decided to create a new shawl pattern with this yarn.

 I will create a design the shows off the thick stripes of this particular colourway, the Grey Brown Marl Kroy, and will post the pattern on a future entry.  Meanwhile if you would like easy access to a great mail order site, please pop over to, and pick up four balls of Kroy for this shawl project, or two balls of Kroy for my most knit pattern: The Best Sock Pattern Ever!
Here is another photo of The best sock pattern ever, featuring an old colourway of Kroy Sock Yarn.  Kroy yarn has been my "go to" yarn for socks, as it is durable, washable and stands up to many years of wear, and it has great colours every year.  This pattern fits well and even beginners seem to "get" the heel turn (sometimes with a little local yarn shop help). 
See you in a couple of weeks with the finished shawl!  Happy knitting.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sewing Tip. Keep your Fluevogs young and beautiful!

I just received my newest booties.  They are Sugars from my favourite Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog.  If you have not spent time on his website, prepare to be captivated by beautiful, creative and stunning footwear!
As I did with my Luna boots, I made a boot support out of the cool boot bag that they sent along with the lovelies....  First a photo of the wonderful boots!

 Next the bag with pins where the "legs" will be.
 Sew the new seam.
 Then turn it (clip the curve first) and throw some light stuffing into the "legs". 

Now insert into boots, I even zipped them in for a sturdy fit, and you can see them standing proudly in my hallway, waiting to be let outside!  This preserves the leather from getting creases due to fold over or collapse in your closet.  Take good care of your Fluevogs, and they will compliment you forever.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Emmett's Sweater Vest

 This pattern is for a baby "grandpa vest", and is sized to fit 3 - 6 months, 9 - 12 months, and 18 months.  It could be perfect to use up some leftover DK weight.  Please use the swatch / gauge test to assure a perfect baby fit! 

Emmett’s Sweater Vest

Yarn:   150 grams of light worsted weight (DK weight or Sport weight) *** check recommended needles and estimated gauge.  Work a swatch and recheck gauge after washing!!!

Gauge :  17 sts = 4 inches after washing.
Needles:    4mm  for body,   3.75mm for ribbing , 3.75mm circular for bands.
4 buttons, ¾ - 1 inch

With 3.75mm needles, cast on 37 [39 ,43] sts
Establish rib pat on Row 1: *K1 , P1.
Repeat from *. End K1.
Row 2: P1, K1 across, ending with P1.
Work 5 rows. On row 6, increase 5 [6, 6] sts across the row.  42 [45, 49] now on needles.

With 4.0mm needles, work in stocking stitch until piece measures  5 [6, 6.5] inches.
Underarm Shaping:  Bind off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rws.
Continue in stocking stitch until piece measures  9" [1.5, 11.5] inches.
Bind off all stitches.

Front:  make two, [reversing shaping]
With smaller needles, cast on 19 [20, 22] sts.
Work rib pattern for  5 rws [1"]. On row 6, inc 2 sts across the row.  21 [ 22, 24] stitches now on the needle.
Work as for back, including all shaping, and, at the same time when piece meas 4.5 [5.5, 6.0] inches, Begin Neck Shaping:   Dec 1 st at neck edge every  right side row until 9 [ 10’ 11] stitches left.
Cont in pat st until piece meas 9 [ 10.5, 11.5] inches from start.  Cast off all stitches.
Weave in all ends.
Seam each shoulder.
Armhole Edging:
With 3.75mm needles, pick up 38 [42, 46] stitches around armhole edge. Work in 1 by 1 ribbing for three rows, cast off loosely in ribbing on fourth row.

Finishing Band:
With 3.75 long circular needle and
RS facing, begin at lower right front
edge. Pick up 20 [24, 28] stitches to first neck dec, pick up 17 [17,  18] sts along theangled neck edge, pick up 18 [18, 20]sts along the back of the neck, pick up 17 [17, 18] sts down along the angled neck edge, pick up 20 [24, 28] sts to the end of the left side. Work one row in 1 by 1 ribbing.  Next row: (button hole row- you will make four button holes)   ….   keeping in the ribbing pattern:   Work 2 [3, 4] stitches, Yarn over, knit 2 together,  work 4 [5, 6] stitches, Yarn over, knit 2 together , work 4 [5, 6] Yarn over, knit 2 together, work 4 [5, 6] stitches, Yarn over, knit 2 together. Work the rest of the row in ribbing.
Next row, work ribbing, working the yarn overs back into the ribbing pattern.
Work one more row of ribbing, then cast off next row in rib stitch (loosely).
Weave in ends, and sew side seam.  Sew buttons opposite holes.

Pockets:  (optional)
With 4mm needles,  Cast on 11  [11, 13] stitches.  Work in stocking stitch for 2 [2, 2.5] inches.  Change to 3.75 mm needles and 1 by 1 ribbing, rib for 1 inch and cast off loosely all stitches.
Sew pockets as shown in photo.

 Close up (sorry it's blurry) of the buttons and pocket.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Denim Blanket Coat

Denim Blanket Coat

This loose fitting blanket style coat is my first pattern involving STEEKS.  I (probably like you) was afraid of steeks, what with all the cut ends to finish off somehow.  It seemed like it would all unravel as I attempted to negotiate those cut rows!  This time though, the unraveled ends seemed perfect for the blanket fringe I had in mind, so I gave it a go.  I love the results, and although it was a bit of work to make the fringe, I did it in a way that was totally manageable, and will try to walk you through in words and photos.
This is NOT a beginner pattern.

Yarn: DK weight that knits to gauge**** please knit a swatch and block and measure!  Approximately 500 grams or 1200 yards.  (I used a mill end cone of merino tape, so exact yarn will not be available)
Needles: 24” circular needles, 4mm or whatever hits the gauge.
 2 stitch markers.  Long stitch holder or spare circular needle to hold stitches not being used.
Fringe twister (optional, you could hand braid the fringe) 
Gauge:  17 stitches = 4 inches in stocking stitch (after blocking) on 4mm needles.  I knit loosely so you may need 4.5 or 5mm to get my gauge.
Sizes:  Small (fits 32-36”bust),[ Med/Large (fits 38 – 42”),  XL (fits 44 – 48”)]

The body of this coat is worked in the round until armholes, then the back and front are worked separately.  “Steeks” are then cut and unraveled to create a front opening, and a fringe.

Body:  With circular needles, cast on 12, place marker, cast on 170[188,210], place marker, cast on 12.  Carefully join without twisting, and begin pattern:
Knit 12, slip marker, seed stitch 170[188,210], slip marker, knit 12.
Repeat this row until 1.5 inches of seed stitch are done. 
Change to body pattern:   Row 1, 2, and 3, knit every stitch.
Row 4, 5, and 6: knit the 24 steeks stitches (the short section between the markers) and purl the 170[188,210] body section stitches.
Repeat rows 1 through 6 for the horizontal rib pattern.
Work until length from the beginning is 17”[18”, 19”], or length you want to the underarm.

Divide your front from the back like this:    Beginning at first marker (continuing the ribbing pattern), work  45[50,56 ] cast off 6 stitches,  work in pattern next  68[76, 86] stitches, cast off next 6 stitches *place last 68 [76,86 ] stitches on stitch holder or spare circular needles.  Work in pattern until last stitch marker.  
Now you will work  the ribbing pattern and maintaining the steek (24 stitches between the markers) without joining the circular needles ….
You are working from underarm to underarm and the steek stitches are in the MIDDLE of the front.

Continue ribbing pattern and the steek stitches are now stocking stitch (knit the right side, purl the wrong side)  Until you have 9[9, 10] inches from the underarm split.  Next row: Cast off loosely until first marker, remove marker and work to end of row.  Next row: cast off loosely until last marker:  You now have only the 24 stitches between the marker “live”.    Do not cast these off!  Place these on a stitch holder, and place back stitches (from holder ) back on circular needle.
Work these stitches in the ribbing pattern until you have 9[9,10] inches done.  Cast off all stitches loosely.

Cast on 34[38,42] stitches.  Work in seed stitch for 1.5 inches.  Change to stocking stitch and work for 3 inches, INCREASING one stitch each end every four rows.  At 3 inches, work three repeats of the 6 horizontal ribbing pattern.  Return to stocking stitch for the rest of the sleeve.  Always increase every four rows until you have 76[78, 82] stitches, then continue without increasing until you have 17 inches from the start (or length you would like for the sleeve to the underarm).
Cast off 5 stitches at the start of next two rows.
Cast off 6 stitches at the start of next two rows.
Cast off 8 stitches at the start of next two rows.
Cast off all the rest of the stitches.

Steek Cutting: (photos below)  carefully, find the center of the 24 steek stitches, and cut between the stitches all the way down the front.  Do not unravel yet.
Starting at one end.  Pull out two threads and using the fringe twister, create a twisted fringe and tie a knot to hold it.  OR if you do not have a fringe too, you can pull three threads and braid them to the end, tying a knot there to hold it.
Work all the way down one side and up the other.  Watch that you do not pull too hard, you want the edge of the body to lie nice and flat.  Take your time.  It will be beautiful when done.  The cast on row can be a bit tricky but unravel it too.  Braid four strands at the end if there is one left alone.
Once the fringing is done, you can sew a 4 inch shoulder seam, starting at the armhole.
Sew your sleeve seam.
Pin the sleeve evenly into the armhole and sew in place.
Gently wash and block your new coat!


 Fringe twister tool:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thirty Minute Fur Wrap

It started with an amazing sale at Michael's Canada.  $1.99 for a 100gram skein of Premier Yarns Starbella Arctic.  I scooped up 7 skeins, and decided to use it to "arm knit" a thick wrap.  How to arm knit:  check out this or other youtube videos

 Yarn:  Starbella Arctic, or other furry or fuzzy super bulky yarn.  Artic is actually a thick ruffle style yarn, but looks great when arm knitted.
Gauge - unimportant.

"Cast on" 10 stitches, and arm knit until last skein is 2/3 done (I was getting about 1/3 skein per row).  Cast off.
Use a shawl pin to hold the wrap closed! 
This took me 30 minutes to knit and cost $14!
 Beautiful!  The edge of netting, usually used to knit through gives a nice texture to the fur stitches.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Panoply Conference

My nuno felt workshop took a road trip to Burlington, Ontario, where the Ontario Spinners and Weavers were hosting a three day conference.  They wanted a few other techniques for their members to try, and invited me to do a half day scarf workshop!
Here is half my gear rolling into the room.

Here we see one of the eight students, laying out the beautiful fibres onto the bed of silk chiffon.
 Another layout in amazing colours.
 Busy learning the joys of nuno felting!
 They even tackled the hard physical work with humour and grace.  I attempted to entertain with stories of large and unexpected felting successes.
 And after three hours each of them had a unique and completed scarf to wear home (although they were a bit damp).
 They are much more impressive in person, as the photos do not show all the textural details that you would see, and the way they float around when worn.
 Later in the evening, there was a fashion show, and a few of my pieces found their way in!  Here, a model really shows off the volume and the float of the soft nuno felt coat.
 A model in the black and red vest.
 Also very warm in the burgundy winter coat.
 And the finale of the show, my butterfly coat, worn by a delightful gentleman, who swooped around like batman and showed how big and dramatic this piece can be!
I had such fun with this group, and everything was well organized, with enthusiastic attendees, and energetic volunteers.  I thank them all for the opportunity to be involved.