Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Mound of Mittens

One pair of red and white maple leaf mittens for Katie lead to another pair. And then another pair. And then another pair. Each time I made more modifications until I ended up changing things beyond recognition from the original pattern construction. There are actually a couple of other changes I would still like to make, but I just plain got tired of making mittens.

Katie was very, very pleased with her mittens.

As I looked at all my scribbles (I ended up with about 3 pages of chicken scratch) I figured that I had better write out how I made them with some sort of sense. So my first attempt at creating a pattern was born.

I am more of a "little of this" and a "little of that" sort of knitter and often don't follow any pattern exactly. I cook the same way, which would explain why I don't like to bake. Baked goods don't tend to come out very well when you only use the recipe as a guide. So hopefully I wrote out the pattern correctly. Please feel free to let me know of any errors.

link to Maple Leaf Mittens pattern in .pdf form (this one looks pretty)

I am also trying to figure out how to put my pattern in here correctly so bear with me as I experiment.

Cast on 40 sts on size 5 needles.
Gauge 17 st = 3” (just under 6 sts an inch)
24 rows = 3”

CUFF RIBBING – 2 x 2 or 1 x 1
- knit 6 rows red in rib of choice
- 3 rows white
- 3 rows red
- 3 rows white
- 6 rows red
Switch to size 6 needles.
- knit 7 rows st st.

- k 16, Inc 1 st in each of next 2 sts, k to end of row.
- knit round
- k 16, Inc 1 st in next st, K2, Inc 1, knit to end of row
- knit round
Continue until 52 sts. End on a st st row.
- k 18 sts, place next 11 sts on holder. Cast on 3 sts, k to end or row.
- k even with 44 sts on needle for about 25 rounds, until length is about 2’’ less than desired finished length.

- k 21, Inc 1 st in each of next 2 sts, k to end of row.
- knit round
- k 21, Inc 1 st in next st, K2, Inc 1, knit to end of row
- knit round
Continue until 52 sts. End on a st st row.
- k23 sts, place next 11 sts on holder. Cast on 3 sts, k to end or row.
- k even with 44 sts on needle for about 25 rounds, until length is about 2” less than desired finished length.

- k1, s1, k1, PSSO, k16, k2tog, k1….k1, s1, k1, PSSO, k16, k2tog, k1
- s1, k1, PSSO, k18, k2tog…. S1, k1, PSSO, k18, k2tog
Continue until 8 sts remain. Cut and thread yarn through loops and pull tight or graft to finish. Or more stitches left on needles for less pointy tops. Increase knit even for mitten hand accordingly.

Attach yarn at top of thumb gusset.
- work in 16 sts – 1 picked up between holder and cast on sts, the 3 cast on sts, 1st  picked up between holder and cast on stitches on the other side, and 11 sts from holder
- k even for 16 Rounds
- (k2tog) 8 times: 8 sts remain
- k even one round
- (k2tog) 4 times: 4 sts remain
Cut yarn and thread through loops and pull tight to finish.

- use either duplicate stitch or cross stitch for pattern
- begin pattern 12 sts across from cast on edge towards the thumb for the left mitten, and 14 sts over from cast on edge for right mitten, 11 sts up from rib.
- start decrease 10 rows up from tip of maple leaf for ladies size small.
- I found it easiest to add the maple leaf pattern before the decreases were started for the mitten top.


© 2010 by Darcie Story Orth
This pattern is for personal use only: no commercial uses are permitted.
Not to be reprinted without permission.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Creating the Next Generation of Fibre Fanatics

So Susan and I went back to Katie's youth group for part 2 of the fibre and spinning lessons.

Wouldn't it be great if we could have shown them more than just pictures of how sheep were sheared?

Here Susan is giving a brief demonstration on how wool is combed.
When we gave each of the girls a drop spindle and some pencil roving to spin themselves I unfortunately got too busy helping to take more pictures. Susan, however, has some great pictures and a better blog post about the evening. The girls had a great time with the spindles and a number of them asked where they could get one (no, sorry Walmart doesn't carry them). Wouldn't it have also been great if we could have let the girls keep them?

And just for good measure, here is a picture that I took a couple of weeks ago at my spinning class. Our instructor, Chandra (centre in pic), is doing it as a fibre study and I am learning a TON.

Monday, March 8, 2010

At Least I am Appreciated Some of the Time

It has only taken me a couple of years, but my knitting is finally starting to branch out from just socks. Good thing. My sock drawer was getting pretty full.

I made a hat for Christopher that he liked so much that he requested mittens made from the same camo yarn. This is the first hat that he has ever had that actually comes home with him from school so I was quick to teach myself how to make the mittens.
He likes them so much that he tries to sleep with them on, but then can't figure out why they are off and lost in the bedding in the morning. I am just thrilled that the kid is actually wearing hats and mitts. Too bad I didn't have them done last January when it was -30 C and he would stuff his hat and mitts into his back pack the moment he was out of the door and on his way to school.

The dogs figure that as soon as anyone sits on the floor that it is an invitation to play so Christopher has a lap full of dogs here.

My sister Susan and I were asked to give a bit of a fibre demo to a youth group that Katie belongs to. So I dyed up a bunch of pencil roving in very bright colours. Every time that I saw it hanging to dry I immediately thought of Bob Marley.
After a brief mini lesson on fibre and knitting we got the girls to each take an end of some roving and twist it so that it would ply back on itself. We started out making friendship bracelets, but the girls enjoyed it so much that they were soon making head bands, necklaces and anklets from it as well.
We are going back in a couple of weeks to teach the girls how to spin on a drop spindle and play a bit with spinning wheels. Susan also has a blog post from this evening with pictures and some more details.

And how to please an 11 year old on his birthday....
video games and Nerf guns.
Happy Birthday, Christopher!

Monday, March 1, 2010

O Canada, Eh?

After riding a two week wave of euphoria Canada is suffering from a hang over. We are satisfied, sated and filled with national pride. Some of the international media can't figure out why we are behaving so "Un-Canadian".


Canadians have always have always been deeply, passionately patriot and proud to be Canadian. It just took the Olympics for us to join together as one voice and tell the world how we feel.

I have been saying it in my own small way for years now.

But I think the organizers of the closing ceremonies must have read my blog entry from the day after the Canada Day post. Flying moose, giant beavers and William Shatner doing "My name is Bill, and I am a Canadian". Our friends south of the 49th parallel may have been scratching their heads, but Canadians were loving it.

THE hot item in Canada lately has been the red Vancouver Olympic mittens.
Katie wants a pair in the worst possible way, but no-way, no-how were we able to find some for her. Aside, that is, from somebody on EBay wanting $250 for a pair. Dallas did manage to order a couple of large pair from the Olympic store online before they completely sold out, but they come up to Katie's little elbows.

So I found a pattern for Maple Leaf Mittens and decided to make her some. The next challenge was trying to find red and white yarn in the right weight. I obviously wasn't the only person trying to knit with national pride in mind. However, after trying to do the intarsia in the round for the 3rd time and having to rip them out I think I will have to go with duplicate stitch.
(And yes, the hockey sticks wrapped with maple leaf tape just happened to be stuck in the snow in the back yard.)

As I was outside taking the pictures I happened to look over to the kids' playhouse which proudly flies the Maple Leaf. Katie must have been thinking about the upcoming Olympics last fall when she wrote with chalk  "Welcome everybuddy".