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!

tchotchke the cat pillow

I bought some very chunky, very fluffy wool in Cape Breton a few years ago. It knits up in variegated stripes and I thought it would make a wonderful cat pillow. And the yarn weight is great for the large gauge of loom knitting.

I named the cat Tchotchke, because I like the sound of the word :D and because I have a lot of cat tchotchkes.

It’s basically a tube shape without any shaping, it’s the sewing together that makes the feet nubby feet and the ears. It’s a very beginner‐friendly project :)

Regular knitting: Alternatively, if one isn’t into loom knitting, I imagine that this cat pillow can also easily be made with a 10 mm circular needle and super chunky yarn. Just cast on 41 stitches, then knit one round and purl one round (garter stitch) until it’s 14 inches in length, then proceed with the sewing instructions. (I haven’t tried it though, so I don’t know if it might knit up smaller using regular needles, and one would therefore make the cat shorter.)

I used:

41‐peg loom, from this Loops & Threads set

12‐peg loom (optional, just easier when making the tail)

Loom knitting pick

Super chunky weight yarn about 200 m / 150 g (I suggest using the chunkiest fluffiest yarn you can find so less stuffing show through)

Polyester stuffing

Tapestry needle

Black yarn (I used worsted weight doubled up)

Body:

With drawstring cast‐on (instruction video here), cast on all the pegs of the 41‐peg loom using the super chunky yarn.

Knit one row (knit stitch instruction video here, ignore the cast‐on part in the beginning).

Purl one row (purl stitch instruction video here, again ignore the cast‐on part).

Repeat the previous two rows (thus working the garter stitch) until the piece is about 14 inches in length.

Bind off (bind off instruction video here).

Tail:

Cast on 7 pegs on the smaller loom or the same loom.

Knit one row and purl one row. Repeat these two rows until the piece is 12 inches long.

Leaving a very long yarn tail, weave the tail through the stitches on the pegs, then remove the stitches from the pegs and cinch to gather the stitches. Fold the tail in half length‐wise and sew together using mattress stitch. Stop sewing and tie off 2 inches away from the end.

New we sew it together and make a cat shape!

With the drawstring cast‐on on the body, pull on the yarn tail and cinch it close, but not too tightly. It will form a sort of curve. Tie off, then sew the opening close by sewing through both layers of fabric using whip stitch. (picture below)

With the other end of the tube (the ears and head), using whip stitch again, and sewing both layers of fabric together, sew from the edge in about 2 inches toward the centre. Repeat from the other edge. It will leave an opening in the centre of the head.

Stuff with stuffing, but not too firmly.

Weave a piece of yarn around each stitch in the centre opening, cinch it tightly closed, and tie off securely. (picture below shows what the top of the head looks like after it’s all sewn together.)

With the tail, spread open the end of the tail and sew around its edges while attaching it to the body using whip stitch. It will look like this:

Finally, sew on eyes, nose/mouth and whiskers with the black yarn.

A new friend to watch TV and hang out with! :D

Have a good week everyone!

lately

What I’ve been working on after the holidays…

This was something that I started on my trip to Hong Kong. Working on this got me through excruciatingly long flights and some moments of sadness as well as a cold. I actually managed finishing most of the body during the trip and finished the sleeves after I came back.

I made up the pattern entirely and jotted down some notes with the hope of sharing it sometimes in the future… it might not happen till May when the winter semester is over, so hopefully I will still remember what I did…

I used the Red Heart It’s a Wrap that was sent to me from Yarn Canada to review. Remember the ghostly doily? So I finished the doily AND made this sweater AND still have yarn left for probably another doily. The yardage is incredible!

After school started back again I didn’t have as much time but I did knit a hat! I’ve loom knitted a hat with with this Caron Chunky Cake before but the wide gaps between stitches (part of loom knitting but I think it’s fixable, I just don’t know how) make the hat not very warm… so I figure I’ll unravel and knit a 2x2 rib one.

And then I thought it’s a bit too short and the brim not wide enough, so I unraveled again and added stripes with the leftover grey section of the yarn cake.

I think this one is staying knitted :D

Have a great week, everyone!

this week’s awesome sweaters

Cozy winter projects :)

Really like the garter panel on the side of the sleeves and looks like a beginner’s make I can handle :) By Tin Can Knits.

Weeee! An alpaca holiday sweater! *heart‐eyes x1000* By Joy of Motion.

I think this would be a perfect project to learn round yoke colour‐work sweaters. By Sewrella.

I love everything about this sweater — the raglan detail, the simple design, and the funnel neck. By Eleven Handmade in issue 108 of Inside Crochet (follow link on Ravelry).

Love especially the pops of teal around the edges! And the triangles of course. By Amy Gunderson in the latest issue of Knitty!

Happy winter stitching! :D

yarn elfing

If you have been journeying with me on this blog, you might recall that I like to call holiday gift‐making “elfing”. It is that time of the year again for us busy elves! Although I’m not a very productive elf this year… Not much yarn‐crafting happening, just paper‐writing… suppose those count as gifts for my professors…

It is also the time of year when we think about making for those beyond our own circles of families and friends who can really use our gifts of craftiness with yarn. The nice folks at Yarn Canada are partnering with Bernat Yarn to give away yarn for individuals and groups who craft for a good cause! Do you and your friends make scarves and hats for people to find? Or winter gears for shelters? Or soft prosthetics for breast cancer survivors? Or practice other kinds of yarn‐kindness? Check out this page on Yarn Canada’s website for more details on how to enter this give‐away for a good cause! 

In the meanwhile, here are some awesome ideas I found for the yarn‐crafting elves…

These very cute cup cozies are loom knitted on a 24‐peg loom. It’s a paid pattern on Ravelry but the how‐to video is free on Tuteate’s Youtube channel (which have excellent and really well‐made loom knit projects!). By Mireia Marcet on Ravelry.

 

Absolutely stunning granny square by Kirsten Holloway Designs.

 

A free pattern on We Are Knitters and it’s an amigurumi alpaca! :D

 

An insta‐gratification wool‐craft, all you need is some tufts of wool, some pipe cleaners, some poms, and some love. Brilliant. From Handmade Charlotte.

 

Happy crafting, everyone!

 

 

lately

It is granny square day today! So I thought I’d take the opportunity to finally take a picture of my finished mitered square blanket :D it’s loom‐knitted!

150 squares! It took about 2 months to make, it’s the biggest blanket I’ve ever made, 42″ by 63″!

I made a series of tutorials if you’re interested in making your own! (a dish cloth / potholder with four squares is a fun make too if you don’t want to commit to an entire blanket)

After the blanket and the c2c top in my last post, I found a pattern that would be perfect for the yarn I won at the Yarn Hop raffle, from Yarns Untangled, in “untangled” colourway :)

The pattern is Retro Solstice Eclipse by JL on Ravelry. And look! I’m knitting in the round! (I’m always kind of afraid of patterns that knit in the round, but once I get started I find it actually easier than knitting flat) I also figured out why my last in‐the‐round sweater had this weird gap at the joint — my stitch marker was too big. That seemed like a really silly mistake. But now I have these sleek stitch markers that came with the raffle prize so it’s all going smoothly :)

Speaking of the Yarn Hop, since we’ve had so much fun the day of, we’ve been meeting throughout the summer! Here we were enjoying the park…

And here were were at Spin Me a Yarn, who graciously hosted our meetup last week!

Can you spot Albert the Alpaca sharing a chair with me? :D Albert finally got to meet Lambert, the resident lamb at the shop, looking spiffy with sock in his own “Lambert” colourway.

If you live in Toronto and would like to join us at our meetups be sure to follow The Great Toronto Yarn Hop on Facebook!

Hope you’re enjoying summer and much crafting!

 

 

Lately

After a bit of frenzy gearing up for the Yarn Hop, I’ve been quiet on the blog lately, catching up on other things…

My niece and nephews have birthdays relatively close to each other, so every summer we give them all their gifts at the same time — that way everyone gets to open a gift! :D

One of the gifts was a loom knitted dinosaur — when I first stumbled upon it on the web I thought I had to make this! The pattern is by The Loom Muse

(The wooden dinosaur is a gift from a dear friend :D) I find that with the extra small 12‐peg loom the gauge is very loose, and I ended up having to weave a strand of yarn through all the stitches in every column of knitting to prevent the stuffing from being visible. Perhaps I will have to try using an even heavier yarn next time (I used extra bulky for this one). I’m still quite happy with how it turned out!

Another gift was an owl puppet, pattern also by The Loom Muse but only available as a video. The pattern is for a stuffed owl but I ran out of yarn, so I left the bottom open and a puppet it is!

I love that it also has a tail! :D

And we’ve all met the alpaca! The mascot I loom‐knitted for the Yarn Hop (because we were team alpaca). The pattern is also by the Loom Muse (it is a treasure trove of stuffed animal patterns!). Here’s our fabulous team in front of the wonderful Purple Purl! (You can also kind of see the makeshift alpaca carrier on my tote.)

Throughout the day alpaca got named Albert, inspired by Lambert at Spin Me a Yarn, another local yarn shop :D (you’ll find Lambert and his yarn adventures on this Insta feed)

Here’s Albert at Yarnsomniacs enjoying the very soft yarn made by his friends.

As you can see we also made an alpaca sign to keep us humans from wandering off. The super cute template is from Picot Pals. Here he is at Knit‐O‐Matic with everyone busy looking and crafting! 

And here we are at Passionknit — note the beautiful wall of Canadian hand dyed yarn on the right!

In other news, I wore my crocheted sandals outside for the first time since making them last year (or even the year before?). I don’t know why I haven’t worn them. Worried they’ll break I suppose. But it’s been so warm lately, I decided to give them a go. It’s really difficult for me to find sandals that don’t hurt my feet, so I haven’t bought or worn sandals for like the past ten years, and always suffered from socks and sneakers no matter the heat wave >_< 

So I wore these out on the street, walked around, took the subway and streetcar, walked on the grass… and they’re really comfortable! My summer shoes problem is solved! :D 

In case anyone’s interested, they’re made with flip flop soles and worsted weight cotton, pattern is here.

And finally, I’m down to my last row of the mitered square blanket!! 

There will be 150 squares in total! And about 4 feet by 5.5 feet! I have been slowing down with making this though because inevitably I have to put it on my lap to knit and it’s been really warm >_< definitely a winter project, for next time. But soon I’ll be able to show you the blanket with all 150 squares in all its glory! 

Until next time, keep on crafting!

 

Caturday… and count down to YARN HOP!

 

The Great Toronto Yarn Hop is coming up in exactly a week, on July 14! :D

All of us volunteers are getting super excited and busy organizing for a fun day knitting/crocheting/yarn‐crafting in public with other yarn enthusiasts. It’s a great event for people to get to know each other, make a statement about the importance of craft and creativity by crafting in public, and support independent yarn‐craft businesses.

So how does it work, you ask? Yarn‐hoppers buy tickets and get organized into teams that take different public transit routes throughout the city to visit different independent yarn shops. At the end of the day we reconvene at a resto‐pub for food, drinks and raffles. Proceeds from tickets and raffles go to Sistering, a 24/7 women’s support and drop‐in centre that offers much needed services like primary healthcare, support groups, counselling and meal program to women who are experiencing homelessness/precarious housing, social marginalization and other challenging circumstances.

Sistering has a special place in my heart because that was where I trained as a social worker. The participants, volunteers and staff were the most valuable, knowledgeable teachers and I wouldn’t know what I know now and be where I am today without them.

There are still tickets left on a few of the routes, you can find out more details and buy tickets here

If you can’t physically come to the Yarn Hop, you can still join us! I wrote a crochet cup cozy pattern as part of the gifts for the Yarn Hop participants, called Caturday (because, you know, the Yarn Hop is on a Saturday). You can donate to Sistering through this Yarn Hop link, and I will send you the pattern! 

You can donate any amount, and you don’t have to let me know how much you donated or send me any proof, I trust that we all want to make a difference in someone’s life when we have the opportunity to. Simply send me an email at genuinemudpie@gmail.com letting me know that you have donated, and I will send you a pdf file of the pattern in reply :)

The cup cozy uses a small amount of DK yarn and 4 mm hook. It has a dense, textured fabric that will keep your fingers safe from hot beverages. If you’re not into cats, simply omit the last row and the embroidery, and you’ll have a simple yet not‐so‐plain cup cozy to show off a beautiful yarn. Great for using up scraps!

Want to know more about how your donations will make a difference? Visit Sistering’s website for information and inspiring stories from the most resilient women. 

In the meanwhile, I was also busy loom knitting a mascot for the team that Mike and I are co‐leading — Team Alpaca! Look how cuuuute… (if I do say so myself, haha)

I’ve named him Cousin Alpaca, because I have a plush llama, who is perhaps like a cousin to alpaca…? Anyway, I thought Cousin Alpaca is a good name :D

If you loom knit and want to make your own alpaca, the pattern is by the Loom Muse and can be found here

If you’re in or near Toronto, come hang out with us and Cousin Alpaca next Saturday! :D Hope your weekend is full of crafty goodness!

 

 

loom‐knit‐along: join‐as‐you‐go mitered square blanket – part 5

Now that we’ve gotten the hang of making mitered square, you might get a bit bored of making solid colour squares. You can make striped ones! And use up smaller balls of scraps! Here’s what I do…

After casting on, purling one row, decreasing one stitch on either side of the centre peg, and moving each stitch over, introduce the new colour by making a slip knot with the new yarn and placing it on the peg with the first stitch of the row.

Knit over the old yarn (pink), then continue e‐wrapping with the new yarn (blue). Purl one row with the new yarn. Then switch back to the pink yarn.

Lay the working yarn of the previous row on top of the new yarn before making the first e‐wrap to carry the yarn with you as you go. (in this case we’re bringing back the pink yarn and about to make an e‐wrap on the first peg, notice the blue yarn is on top of the pink so it gets wrapped into the stitch.)

When you have 5 stitches left after a purl row, cut the current yarn, and tie off.

Do the decrease around the centre peg and move the stitches over as usual, and complete the square.

Here’s the stripy square!

You can also make scrappy squares that use up every last bits of yarn. I knit till I have about 2 inches left, and tie on a new yarn very close to the peg (I learned this from watching videos of loom knitting plush toys by the Loom Muse — more on that in another post!)

In the photo below the new yarn is the grey one and the one that ran out is green.

The resulting scrappy square looks like this :)

Yes, lots of ends to weave in on these squares but I like the look of them :)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of how‐to for making a mitered square blanket! Happy knitting!

 

Posts in this series:

How to make the first square

How to join the subsequent squares in the first row

How to join the first square in every row

How to join all the other squares

How to make striped squares

 

loom‐knit‐along: join‐as‐you‐go mitered square blanket – part 4

Hello! We’re back with the last step in loom knitting the mitered square blanket, which is to join all the other squares in the blanket after the first row and after the first square of any row. This is how the majority of the squares will be joined!

As always, we orient the loom to the blanket (or in the case of this demonstration, a dish cloth). The square we joined in the last post is the blue square.

The loops marked with the blue dots on the blue square will go on the pegs parked with the blue dots, and the loops marked with the red dots on the yellow square will go on the pegs with the red dots. 

We would begin with placing the loops on the yellow square on the pegs, starting from the edge towards the centre, and starting the first peg that is right beside the side knob. We place the last loop on the yellow square on the peg before the marked centre peg, then place the first loop of the blue square on the marked peg, and the rest of the loops of the blue square onto the pegs until the second last peg of the loom — 23 stitches altogether. 

Here’s a closer look at the loops that are placed on the pegs. Note that the loops that are picked up are the horizontal strands in between purl bumps.

And here’s how it looks on the loom when both yellow and blue squares are attached, with the right side of the square touching the inside of the loom.

When you’re actually knitting with the blanket on your lap, it would be oriented like this. I would start putting on the loops from the black/grey/beige square, which is the square from the previous row, and then put on the loops from the purple/mixed colour square, which is the square made just before the current one.

Now we’re ready to knit the new square as we usually do. We start with adjusting a slip knot on the first peg (the one right beside the side knob), knit off the loop below, then e‐wrap and knit off each stitch.

Instruction for the rest of the square is pasted below, but if you need more help there are photos in the first post.

Row 1: Purl (here’s a video of purling) to the marked peg, e‐wrap knit the marked peg, purl to end. (Note in the picture that the last peg of the loom is empty — we only use 23 pegs of the loom.) Beware not to make the stitches too tight.

Row 2: Move the loop on the peg to the left of the marked peg onto the marked peg. Move the loop on the peg to the right of the marked peg onto the marked peg. Now the marked peg has 3 loops on it. (Always move the loop on the left first, then the one on the right, so it looks consistent.) 

Move the loop on the peg to the left of the now empty peg onto the empty peg. Keep moving each loop to the empty peg to the right until you reach the beginning of the row.

E‐wrap and knit off each peg until you reach the marked peg. E‐wrap the marked peg, knit off all three bottom loops on the peg (I prefer knitting them off one at a time, it’s easier).

You will now have an empty peg to the right of the marked peg. Move the loop on the peg to the right of the empty peg onto the empty peg, e‐wrap the peg and knit off. Then keep moving each loop to the empty peg to the left and e‐wrap and knit off until you reach the end of row. I find it easier to do this with the loom sitting flat on a surface.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 3 stitches left. Purl the 3 stitches. Place the stitch on the left and stitch on the right onto the middle peg, e‐wrap, then knit off all 3 bottom loops. Fasten off.

Here’s how my mitered square dish cloth looks like! :D I crocheted a border and loop at the top with a 6.5mm hook, basically 1 single crochet in each stitch around, and 3 sc in each corner.

Next time we’ll have our last post of the series on how to make striped squares, or essentially how I change colours to use up every last bit of those scraps.

You might ask, isn’t there a million ends to weave in at the end? Yes, so I don’t wait till the end. Usually I weave in the ends after making one or two squares. Leaving ALL the ends to weave in after 10x15 squares would drive me mad :S (I plan on making the blanket 10 squares wide and 15 squares tall)

Till next time, happy knitting! 

 

Posts in this series:

How to make the first square

How to join the subsequent squares in the first row

How to join the first square in every row

How to join all the other squares

How to make striped squares