Icarus

Following the failed attempt at making this summer top, I frogged the project and used the yarn (Patons Hempster) to make the Icarus tank from Knitty issue 47

I bought this yarn at my local yarn shop, The Yarn Guy, last summer, and had since frogged twice, but it’s hardly splitting, so it’s a nice a durable one. The Yarn Guy is definitely operating online and has a huge amount of stock, really friendly and helpful folks, so please check them out if you’re looking to support independent yarn shops in the Toronto area.

I made some modifications so that it was knitted flat in two pieces, with lace pattern on the shoulders. Not that I didn’t have the circulars to knit in the round, but knitting flat just feels more straightforward to me at the moment, something I have the mental capacity to handle.

The rolling of stockinette stitch at the hems blocked out surprisingly well. I’m hoping it won’t roll back much after wearing and washing. 

The modifications I made is for a boxy-shape top that is cropped length. It is worked flat and seamed at the shoulders and sides. It measures 36″ around. The yarn is DK weight and I used 4.5 mm needles.

Back:

CO 86. 

Knit in stockinette for 4 inches, then begin lace patter as indicated in the Icarus tank pattern for working flat.

(It may be helpful to note that it’s actually easier to read from the chart than the written pattern, as there are a few errors in the written one and can cause some confusion.)

Repeat lace pattern until piece is 18″, BO.

Front:

CO 86.

Knit in stockinette until piece is 15.25″. 

Work lace pattern row 14–19, but reversed and split up over the two shoulders, as follows.

On row 14, p 6, pm, p 5, pm, p till there are 11 stitches left, pm, p 5, pm, p 6.

On row 15, begin with the 10th stitch in the chart, and k both the 10th and 11th stitches (i.e. omit the cable twist on this row and row 18), then follow the rest of the chart. k till marker, then work stitches 1–11 of lace chart (omitting the cable twist in stitches 10 and 11).

Work the rest of the lace pattern as above rearrangement of stitches.

In the second repeat of the lace pattern, start shaping neck at the same time.

On row 14, p 28, BO 30, place the 28 stitches on spare cable needle, then p the remaining 28 stitches.

While following the lace pattern (and incorporating 5 more stitches toward the centre every time the pattern repeats), k2tog on the neck edge of each RS row seven times. The last RS row will be row 15. BO 21 stitches.

With RS facing, attach yarn to the other neck edge. ssk, then work the rest of the row with lace pattern row 15. 

While following the lace pattern, ssk on the neck edge of each RS row six more times. The last RS row will be row 15. BO 21 stitches. 

Block the pieces. Sew together shoulder and side seams.

Hope everyone is keeping well, and finding some knitting/crocheting/creative projects that sustain a sense of well-being at the moment.

reusable mask pattern

Had a virtual hangout with my family following the public health announcement recommending the wearing of homemade face masks when in situations where proper distancing can’t be easily followed. 

My mom said, why don’t you keep yourself busy and make some masks?

When we moved last spring I donated all of my fabric stash to the art therapy school for their puppetry course, because I was trying to minimize the amount of things we had to move. I kept, however, a piece of fabric that was gifted to me along with some tobacco from a woman who was part of an expressive arts group that I co-facilitated 7 or 8 years ago. Over the years I never found a project that was worth using this gift. I also had another piece of vintage floral cotton that I bought from Etsy and was saving for making a dress (that I would never wear anyway). So, miraculously, I had fabric to work with.

Mike found this video tutorial, which is by far the best one I’ve seen. It’s straightforward, easy, and has filter pocket.

The living room/corner now a mask-making station.

So I’ve been making them for friends and family, especially those who are still working in essential service roles. The gift that keeps on giving. Finally a project worth using the fabric for.

It’s a good pattern that works well, form-fitting to the face.

I didn’t use elastics for the ears because I don’t have enough of it, and I was reading that elastics irritate the ears anyway. So I crocheted the ties.

Running out of fabric soon, ordered some from a local yarn store, eweknit. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to buy fabrics, please consider supporting them — they’re offering 20% off till end of April and free shipping over $75.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, the CDC also has how-to’s for no-sew versions using a t‑shirt or a bandanna and some hair elastics. 

If you do sew and want to support frontline workers in Ontario, masks can be donated to the Michael Garron Hospital, Trillium Health Partners, this Facebook group that coordinates mask orders and distribution, Sew for TO, and The Sewing Army. (There may be others, these are the ones I know of.) 

Hope you’re staying well as you’re reading this, and please wear a mask if you must go out so as many people as possible can stay well too.

 

 

stay home project

I’m still here. Things have slowed down a lot more for me. That is a sign of privilege.  I work at home, with flexible schedule, unstructured time, generous deadlines. To me that’s a lot more difficult than having a fast-paced job and multiple projects at once because now my mind has too much space to think. But I don’t have to work in the frontline, my work isn’t essential, I don’t have to risk exposure, so I can’t complain.  

I kept seeing the cover of Inside Crochet issue 123 on my Instagram feed. I was really intrigued by the lace pattern juxtaposed to rows of double-crochet stitches. And I had skeins of Patons Hempster that I frogged from another project. So I downloaded the magazine and made an effort to work on it every day.

I knew from the measurements that it was going to be a very over-sized fit. But I couldn’t tell until I put it together –

It was REALLY big on me. Like I made a table cloth and wore it.

I even went down a hook size (4 mm hook instead of 4.5 mm as called for in the pattern). I’m on the small scale of humans but I surely am not that small. I don’t know if I messed up the gauge or if the model on the cover is a lot taller or wider in the shoulders? I still really like the way the lace pattern is incorporated. So I’m going to scale down on both the yarn weight and the hook size and see if it helps. Currently waiting for more yarn to arrive in the mail so, to be continued.

In the meanwhile, passing on some cat love from a friend who made sure I got lots of screen time with her cat.

That look says, “no work, all cat today.”

Wishing you good health, safety, and peace of mind today. Take good care.

 

slow: hats

I’ve made quite a few of these hats with crochet slip stitch. I like that they’re made slowly. 

I’m going to attempt to write the pattern for 3 different yarn weights, so it’s versatile for whatever yarn you have on hand. They all make a hat that is 19″ around and 11″ in length (with brim unfolded). The stitch is quit stretchy so it will fit most I think. Here’s the worsted weight version on me.

And the worsted weight version on Mike (I have a smaller head than he does).

This is the sport weight version.

After testing the sport weight version with a leftover skein of acrylic yarn, I treated myself to a skein of merino hand-dyed by Toronto Yarn Hop co-organizer Emily Gillies. She has a range of beautiful colours, and one skein of merino sport is perfect for making one hat. 

I made the hat in blue spruce (pictured here, in first photo, and in process photos below). The wonderful custom vegan tag is by Millie Marty Co. in Belleville, ON.

The hat can also be made more quickly in bulky yarn. I tested it while attending the Warming Toronto event (an afternoon of hanging out with great folks at a local pub while making hats, scarfs and mittens for distribution at emergency shelters in the winter). And this hat took about 3.5 hours to make.

Dimension of all three versions (sport, worsted, bulky): 19″ around, 11″ in length with brim unfolded. 

Suggested yarn:

Sport — Merino Sport by Emily Gillies, 1 skein, 282 yards

Worsted — Patons Classic Wool Worsted, 2 skeins, 210 yards each

Bulky — Patons Shetland Chunky, 2 skeins, 148 yards each

Pattern:

Instructions are for sport weight (worsted and bulky in parenthesis).

The turning ch does not count as a stitch.

The hats are made with slip stitch in black loop only (BLO), made sideways with short rows for crown shaping, then seamed at the back with slip stitch (or sewing).

Crochet loosely, otherwise it can be difficult to get the hook into the slip stitches.

The hat can be made wider with one or two additional short rows, and longer with additional stitches in the beginning chain (makes for a wider brim).

Hooks: 
Sport — 5.5 mm
Worsted — 6.5 mm
Bulky — 10 mm

Row 1 (setup row): ch 55 (40, 33), sl st in second ch from hook, sl st in each ch to end.

First set of short rows:

Row 2: ch 1, sl st in each st until there is one st left, skip remaining st, turn.

Row 3: ch 1, skip first st, sl st in each st to end. 

Repeat rows 2 and 3 six (four, three) more times.

Next row: ch 1, st st in each st. At this point the piece will look like this.

Continue on and sl st into each end of the short row and the space in between each row — 14 (10, 8) stitches across the short rows, then sl st in the remaining last stitch from row 2. The piece will now look like this.

Next row*: ch 1, sl st in each st to end.

Second set of short rows:

Row 1: ch 1, sl st in each st until there are 14 (10, 8) stitches left in the row, turn.

Row 2: ch 1, sl st in every st to end.

Row 3: ch 1, st st in every st, then sl st in the next two st in the row marked with * (the row made before row 1 of the second set of short rows), turn.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 six (four, three) more times.

Next row: ch 1, sl st in every st to end.

Repeat first and second sets of short rows four more times. Don’t fasten off.

Crochet seam together right side out. Turn inside out. Weave yarn through each stitch in crown opening, cinch and tied off. Weave in ends. Turn right side out. Fold up brim.  

Happy crocheting!

 

Note: No incentive or commission was received for this post. Simply thought it was neat that I could find local artisans for both the yarn and custom tags, and want to support indie businesses :)

 

 

slow: mitts

Really enjoying working with slip stitch after making the lunar new year bamboo. I like the slower pace of working up the fabric with this stitch. And I figured it would be a dense enough stitch to make a warm pair of mittens.

I used:

Worsted weight yarn

5.5 mm hook, and a smaller hook for weaving in ends

Tapestry needle

The mitten is crocheted flat in one piece, folded in half at the thumb, and seamed together from the tip of the thumb to the cuff edge. The photos that follow will help make sense of the construction.

All sl st worked through back loop only (BLO).

Mitten measures 9″ long, 4″ across palm, 3″ across wrist, 2″ length of thumb. I have relatively small hands. The mittens can be made larger with additional ch in the beginning and beginning ch of thumb, and additional rows between rows 7 and 15 

Pattern:

Row 1: ch 23, sl st in second ch from hook, sl st in every ch to end, ch 2 (these two extra ch increase the length by 1 st). 

Row 2: sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sl st in every st BLO (back loop only) to end.

Row 3: ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sl st in every st to end, ch 2.

Row 4: repeat row 2.

Row 5: repeat row 3.

Row 6: repeat row 2 (25 st altogether).

Row 7–15: ch 1, sl st in ever st BLO to end.  

Row 16: ch 1, sk first st, sl st in next st and every st to end (skipping the first st decreases 1 st).

Row 17: ch 1, sl st in every st to end.

Row 18: repeat row 16.

Row 19: repeat row 17.

Row 20: repeat row 16.

Row 21: repeat row 17 (22 st altogether). 

Row 22 (thumb begins): ch 1, sl st in the first 12 st, ch 7, sl st in second ch from hook, sl st in every ch BLO, sl st in next st on the side of mitten.

Thumb row 1: ch 1, sl st in every st on thumb to end (8 st on thumb)

Thumb row 2: ch 1, sl st in every st on thumb, sl st in next st on the side of mitten.

Repeat thumb rows 1 and 2 three more times. 

Continue working 10 rows on thumb, without attaching the end of the row to the side of the mitten.

Don’t fasten off. ch 13, sl st in second ch on hook, sl st in every ch, work 5 sl st across the base of the 10 rows of them that are not attached to the body of the mitten, work 5 sl st into the remaining 5 st in the side of the mitten. It will end up looking like this with the thumb folded in half.

Repeat rows 2 to 21 of mitten. I found that it was easier to fold the thumb in half and pin it together as I worked along so I don’t get confused about which direction I was going.

Fasten off. 

Cuff: Attach yarn to edge of cuff (directly opposite of where last row ended), ch 11, sc in second ch from hook to end of ch, sl st in next stitch in the mitten that looks like a “v”, sl st in next st that looks like a “v”, sc BLO in every sc to end. The mitten here is pictured upside down with the first cuff row started. 

Continue across the edge of the cuff. Here is a close up of the hook pointing at the middle of the stitch that looks like a “v”.

Attach yarn at the top of thumb. Weave yarn through all the stitches in top of thumb, cinch and tie off. Continue seaming down the thumb and around the mitten to edge of cuff. Fasten off and weave in ends. 

The mittens are actually fairly quick to work up. If you’re in/near Toronto, consider joining us in the annual Warming Toronto event on Sunday, February 9. We spend an afternoon at at a pub downtown, knit, crochet, loom, have a pint, share snacks, chatter, and make hats, mitts, scarfs, cowls, etc. for distribution at emergency shelters over the winter months. If one mitten is finished at home first, one can definitely finish the pair while hanging out for a few hours at the event.  

Stay warm! ❄

renew

Today is the first day of Chinese new year. I made this bamboo as a gift. Pretty happy with how it turned out.

I thought bamboo generally symbolizes good luck because it’s sold in every Chinese shop that sells plants. But with a quick search on the internet I learned that it also represents renewal (because of how quickly it grows), flexibility/strength, and longevity — so, resilience, tenaciousness.

Tenacious” is a word that I’d like to be described by. I don’t give up, or perhaps more truthfully I find it hard giving up on things or people. Some would say that I’m not very good at letting go. Other have said I’m stubborn. I’d like to think that I’m tenacious. But I guess a way forward would be to cultivate flexibility, to renew or reorient my approach to how I’m tenaciously connecting to some things.

Anyway, I’d also say that the crochet slip stitch is a very bamboo-like stitch, because it makes a firm fabric and therefore tenacious, it is however also very flexible and stretchable, almost like a knitted rib.

Here I’d like to share a loosely formed recipe for making the bamboo. It’s kind of like free-formed crocheting, and how tall the plant is depends on the vase you’re using, but there are some basics to it, in case anyone would like to give it a try.

I used:

Caron Simply Soft for the bamboo stalk because of its sheen

Patons Astra for the yellow rings and caps

Bernat Super Value for the leaves

5.5 mm hook for the stalk

3.5 mm hook for the rings and caps

Tapestry needle

Popsicle sticks

Vase with pebbles

Stalks are made with back loop slip stitch (tutorial).
With larger hook and lighter green, make a chain of desired length. I started with 25 ch for the tallest, and 21 and 15 for the other two. Then sl st BLO until piece is about 1.5″ wide. Without fastening off, sl st to join the seams together lengthwise, making a long tube (the sl st seam will be on the outside; the piece won’t be turned inside out after seaming). Fasten off.

Rings are made around the stalks with surface slip stitch (tutorial).
With smaller hook and yellow, attach yarn where you want the ring to be at the back seam of the stalk. sl st in every stitch in the rows crosswise (not just the stitch that appears as a “v”, but also the stitch in between the “v“s, so that the rings would protrude a bit). Fasten off after every ring made and pull the tails inside the stalk.

Caps are made with magic ring (tutorial) with 8 sc inside the ring, sl st to join with first sc, then fasten off and leave a long tail for sewing. Attach ring to the top of the stalk.

Leaves may be a little tricky to explain… I regret not taking progress photos, very sorry. It took quite a bit of experimentation but I settled on this method and I think the results are quite lively looking. I hope this makes sense.

With smaller hook and darker green, ch 5 to 7 (this is the stem you’re sewing to the stalk, so its length depends on how you want to position the sprig of leaves on the bamboo), dc in second ch from hook, *[ch 1, dc in ch just made] two or three times (depending on how long you want the leaf to be), ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, sl st evenly into the dc’s made earlier (roughly 2 sl st per dc), sl st into the last ch of the stem*. At this point you can sl st down every ch of the stem then fasten off with tail for sewing, or you can make another leave by sl st down just a couple of ch on the stem, then repeat * to *, and sl st down every ch of the stem, fasten off and leave a tail for sewing.

Sew the leaves to the stalks as desired.

Assembly:

The bamboo stalks are supported by popsicle sticks on the inside. I used popsicle sticks because it’s the only thing I can find to use at home. The width of it and the thickness of the crochet fabric takes up the interior of the stalks so they don’t need more stuffing. I’ve had to connect a couple of popsicle sticks together for the taller two stalks by simply overlapping the ends of the sticks and gluing them together with white glue (hot glue would be a better choice).

To determine the lengths of popsicle sticks you need, measure how deeply you want the sticks to extend toward the base of the vase. I would want the sticks to actually touch the base of the vase to make sure the sticks don’t wobble too easily. Determine the length of stick that is sticking out of the end of the stalk. It would be the same for all the stalks. Then measure how tall each stick will need to be according to the length of the stalk.

Pour a layer of pebbles into the vase. I think smaller stone chips at least for the bottom layer are better for stability. Insert the stalks and arrange as desired, then pour on more pebbles. I used different glass ones on top for interest.

I later added a red ribbon around the stalk for gift-giving that is not pictured because it blocked the bamboo too much. But that also helps with the stability.

I didn’t have any other new year decorations but thankfully there are emojis 😊🎋

Wishing everyone good health and happiness in the year of the 🐀

new year sweater

I’ve always wanted to make a granny stitch sweater. I wear the sideways sweater a lot in the fall and winter for layering. The open stitch pattern makes it not too warm for indoor heating but the thickness of crochet makes it warm enough for the amount of time I spend outdoors in public transit or walking from one place to another in the city. So I wanted a similar sweater but different, and granny stitch would have the similar effects.

The patterns I came across are usually worked flat with the front, back, and sleeve pieces seamed together, like this one, and this one, which look fabulous. But I wanted to make one that is crocheted top-down and in the round so that it incorporates the granny corner stitches in the yoke as raglan increases.  

I found this video tutorial on Oana’s crochet channel, which is brilliant, especially the way it started with the foundation “arches” made of ch’s and dc’s. There’s no written pattern; it’s more of a formula to make what fits and try on as you go. I’ve made some modifications for worsted weight yarn and larger hooks. If you’d like to try doing something similar, you’d have to watch Oana’s video first for the following to make sense.

The finished measurements of my sweater:

Bust: 36″ around
Arm opening: 14″ around
Sleeve length: 17.5″ from underarm
Length: 18.5“
Neck width: 8.5“
Neck depth: 3″

I used about 1200 yards of worsted weight yarn and an 8 mm hook, as well as 6.5 mm hook for edgings. 

My modifications:

Yoke foundation chain (with larger hook): The sweater begins with a foundation chain of “arches” or loops made of ch’s and dc’s. I made 6 arches for the back of neck, 2 for each of the sleeves, and 4 for the raglan increases, and omitted ones in the front, so it’d make a smoother neckline. So altogether I started with 14 arches.

Note 1: I had to take away some stitches in the raglan increase, so that it is [2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc], because it was starting to buckle with the original [3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc] combination.

Note 2: I turn at the end of each round.

Row 1: first raglan increase (ch 3, 2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc), 3 dc in next 2 arches, raglan increase (2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc), 3 dc in next 6 arches, raglan increase (as previous one), 3 dc in next 2 arches, last raglan increase (2 dc, ch 1, 3 dc).

Rows 2–3: increase at the start of the row as per the video (ch 3, 3 dc between first and second dc of the row), then work raglan increases in ch 1 spaces, and granny stitches across, then increase at the end of the row (4 dc between last dc and beginning ch 3 chain of last row).

Row 4: increase at the start of the row (ch 3, 2 dc between first and second dc of the row), then work raglan increases in ch 1 spaces, and granny stitches across, then increase at the end of the row (3 dc between last dc and beginning ch 3 chain of last row).

I then join the front with 3 arches, so that now the yoke is joined in the round.

I worked 5 more rounds around the yoke, then joined the front and back at the underarm. Then worked until the piece is 18″ in length from shoulder.

For the sleeves, I started with joining yarn in the stitch at underarm (where the front and back joined), then worked 2 rounds even, then worked a decrease round.

For the decrease round, I didn’t follow Oana’s video for sleeves, which involves a decrease row of sc stitches. I wanted the entire sweater to be granny stitches, so here’s what I did.

Sleeve decrease round: ch 3, 2 dc in same space, [2 dc in next sp, 2 dc in next sp], work granny stitch around, sl st in top of beginning ch to join.

Round after decrease: ch 3, 2 dc in same space, work granny stitch around, until the group of stitches in [] of previous row, skip the 4 dc in [] (i.e. treat it as one group of granny stitch), work granny stitch in next sp to end, sl st in top of beginning ch to join. 

After the first decrease round, I worked decrease round every 6th row three times, then worked 3 rounds even, then worked another decrease round, and a final round.

For all the edging I switched to a 6.5 mm hook and worked 3 rounds of sc stitches around the neck opening, cuffs and bottom of the sweater. Generally I work 3 sc in each ch 3 space, and one sc in each dc around the cuffs. 

And that’s it, no seaming. And It’s a very quick make, I finished it in a few days. I’d like to try making another one with different colours in the yoke so the raglan increase stitches stand out more. 

Hope 2020 brings you many good things ♥

brings joy

Mike put up the tree last week. As we were looking through the ornaments I realized that these rabbit ones were made almost 10 years ago. The paint is a bit faded and got bits of the tree stuck on them now but they held up quite well, given that they were made of salt dough.

I thought they looked a bit cold this year so I made them sweaters. 

Also thought the Icelandic Yule Cat needs something special to stand on, so we all know it’s no house cat (though nothing wrong with house cats).

Small bits of crafting. Brings joy. (and procrastination from work)

May your week be joyful and bright.

 

 

homecoming

This blog was like a home. I’ve been away for a while. It’s been difficult to return from a season of losses, in which I’m still finding myself wandering. This is one of my repeated attempts in finding myself. 

Every year Mike and I make Christmas cards. A tradition since we’ve been married a dozen years ago. This year we almost didn’t make it, but we did finally, with just what we have. We thought we needed other things, but realized, as we were going through the process, that we already have what we needed.

We had an idea to make block prints of a hedgehog with mushrooms growing out of its back. Mike told me about this plush toy that he and his brother got from a massive Kinder Egg when they were children one Christmas. Our nieces and nephews now have the hedgehog. The children kindly share a photo: 

(The mushrooms on this hedgehog are green, blue and red.)

We thought about making a block print of the hedgehog with lino blocks. I thought it would be too much work. I thought we could just use foam pieces from food trays. 

I cut shapes of the body and head of the hedgehog from the foam tray with a basic utility knife. Mike had the brilliant idea of taping (with double-sided tape) the foam shape to the bottom of a glass container in order to make prints. That way, I can see exactly where the shape was printing onto the paper, and have an almost perfect registration (in printmaking terms). 

This is the foam piece (head of the hedgehog) taped to the bottom of the glass container, and me brushing acrylic paint on it with a foam brush.

This is me pressing it onto the card with the other part of the hedgehog already printed on it.

I hope this makes sense. But if it doesn’t, and you’d like to try a similar thing, just leave me a message in the comments.

Here is the herd of hedgehogs…

May you too find joy and comfort in both familiar and unexpected things around you this holiday season.

Sending much love.

settling in…

I don’t think I’ve ever been away for so long, I’m so sorry folks! >_<

April was a very challenging month. There was a great loss in my family, there were final papers for the school term, and we were moving to a new place. The month felt like a blur, but at the same time each day felt excruciatingly long, with too many thoughts and too many feelings. So have been spending the month of May trying to settle in and feeling the earth beneath my feet again.

But I thought I’d bring a new thing when I return here. A how-to for a floor pouf!

The pouf is finger-knitted and uses exactly two skeins of Bernat Blanket yarn. It uses the same techniques of four finger knitting and turning as the ear warmers, and the photo tutorial is here.

The pouf is about 2 feet in diameter and 1.5 feet tall. I stuffed it with an old double size duvet. I do have to fluff it up after sitting on it, so for a firmer pouf it can probably be stuffed a bit more with a queen size duvet or another blanket.

To make the floor pouf, cast on the first row and knit until piece is about 25″ long, then turn and knit until you have just enough yarn left to sew up the seam (about 50″ of yarn tail). The piece would be about 45″ wide.

Sew the short edges of the rectangle together using tapestry needle, tie off, then turn right side out. Weave the yarn tail through the stitches around one opening edge, then cinch tightly and sew shut. Fasten off.

Stuff with duvet. Using a different colour yarn (I used a length of worsted weight yarn doubled up) that’s about 50″ long, weave through the stitches around the other opening edge, cinch and tie with a removable knot. So that the duvet can be taken out for washing.

This is the first piece of knitted furniture I’ve made so I’m quite proud :)

Hope to write again soon. Until then, take good care!