Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Socking around the Christmas tree

It used to be my granny's duty to keep the family well socked. This duty has now fallen on my narrow shoulders and I'm doing my best to fill her massive shoes (not literally of course, have you ever seen a lil granny with gigantic feet). 

I myself will be out of town for the holidays, spending Christmas without my family for the first time ever. Kinda sad in a way. But I'm comforted by the mental image of my brother and father socking around the Christmas tree in these creations, my mam watching by wearing the ever so popular "Cold outside" socks I know she will love so much, she wont dare walk around in them in fear of getting the white socks dirty, poor old giddy.

Yarn: Novita 7 veljestä  (150 g = 300 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide)
Gauge: 18 st = 10cm
Needle: 4mm
Skeins: ~1

The pattern is just a normal sock pattern with reinforced heel flaps. The patterning is half mine, half adapted from various patternings I've come across, so I wont be posting up instructions for these. But should you wish to use the patterning, here's the charts below (click to enlarge).

The patterning on the blue and grey socks is for 28st and the brown and grey is for 56st.

Felted slippers - once again

Circling the shops few weeks back I found my bf eyeing up some felted slippers at the market. "Halt!", shrieked I. If my man wants a pair of felted slippers he sure as heck ain't gonna have to pay for them! As it happens, I've practically mastered in the science of makin these things. Having knit approximately 40 slippers I consider myself well justified to stop my man from buying a pair.

These are SO easy to make, they practically make themselves! (And I'm using the word "practically" in practically every sentence!) In fact they are so quick to knit, I made 18 pairs for Christmas few years ago, all in just two weeks. The pattern is, I'm afraid, again one by Novita and is, I'm afraid, once again in Finnish only.

But as a Christmas present for you dear readers, I will now attempt to translate this simple instruction:

Yarn: Novita Huopanen ( 100 g = 157 m, 100% wool)
Gauge: 11 st = 10cm
Skeins: 2
Needle: 8-10mm
Sizes: 37-39 (40-43)

Knit double yarn. Cast on 12(14). Knit stockinette and add 2 stitches at the both ends of the needle every second row for 10(12) times =32(38) st. Then divide stitches to 4 double pointed needles. Knit 13(16)cm circular and start decreasing stitches:  Knit 2 together at the end of needles I and III and SKP (=slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over) at the beginning of needles II and IV. Repeat the decreases every second row until you have 4(5)st remaining on each needle. After that repeat the decreases on every row. Weave in ends.

Sow a plastic bag (see through, not coloured) on the inside of the slipper with few loose stitches of cotton yarn (so you wont end up without a hole on the slipper to stick your foot into). Toss the slippers in the washer along with an old towel etc you don't mind getting hairs all over. Set washer for 40 degrees. Once the program is over shape the slippers on your feet or by hand. You can alter the size of the slippers at this point simply by shaping.

For a girlier touch, add a rose or two as per instruction

Check out same slippers with cute embroidery here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why not knit to work tomorrow?

Imagine taking the train to work 5 days a week. Imagine spending 2-3 hours daily commuting. Now imagine having absolutely nothing to do. Trying to catch a peek of the scenery passing by but seeing nothing but darkness, sitting still with your hands unemployed and bored resting on your lap . Quite boring, eh? 

Now imagine spending that time knitting. Instead of sitting idly, slowly dying inside out of pure boredom, you'd be creating something unique while commuting and you'd be at work before you'd realize! Don't worry about standing out in the crowd, it's the thing to do these days, it's snap, crackle and pop to knit on trains and busses!

Knitmuting is a great way to switch your brain off work mode. Unless you get paid for thinking about your work, you'd be wasting valuable free time going through work stuff in your head while on your daily commute.

 The key to succesful knitmuting is to keep the projects small and simple. Socks and mittens are perfect. You can easily fit a ball of yarn and a set of double pointed needles in an average hand bag. Doesn't matter if you haven't knitted anything in decades (as was the case with one of my fellow knitmuters here), start of with something easy and work your way up. The point is not impress the fellow commuters with your handicrafts (though that too has earned me a free bottle of sparkling wine once!) but to take some time for yourself.

Plus if you feel you are going nowhere with your career, pick up a pair of needles and at least you've spent your journey nowhere wisely. 

Join the cause: Knit to work tomorrow!

ps. thanks to fellow knitmuters for letting me disturb your commute to snap your photo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Girly Yoke Sweater

As mentioned before, I'm painfully uninformed in every possible way regarding the life of children. I know roughly how they are made but that's about it. About a month ago I knit a pretty little cardigan for a four year old girl and naively imagined all four year olds to be exactly the same size with very little variation in weight. But apparently - so I've been told - they come in various heights as well. Gosh darnet, said I, and begun another little project.

To be 100% sure to be ready in time for Santa's visit (yes, I'm one of Santa's not so little helpers) I used one of Novita's patterns as a base for this little piece, as designing another pattern would've been too much of a risk and knitting the same cardigan would've been simply boring. I've seen loads of yoke pullovers such as this in shops recently so I thought it wouldn't be completely unfashionable. Of course I hope this will be the bee's knees and  hope the gift will be a success - at this point I'll settle for mild success even, as I'm not about to knit a third top in the foreseeable future.
Novita Nalle Aloevera (100 g = 260 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide) Off-white (010) Skeins: 2
Novita Wool (50g = 135m, 100% wool)  Baby pink (504) Skeins: 2
Novita Wool (50g = 135m, 100% wool) Pink (580) Skeins: 2
Novita Luxus Alpaca (50g = 135m, 100% alpaca) Nutria  (068) Skeins: 2
Gauge: 22 st & 32 rows = 10cm
Needle: 3½ mm
Size: 110cm
As per Novita pattern mentioned (unfortunately in Finnish only) apart from the patterning. For patterning, see the chart on the left here. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cabled beanie with bow

Here's a little something I finished on Thursday. Found the gorgeous pink yarn from Pyöröpuikko in Lappeenranta last weekend. It was love at first sight let me tell you. This yarn was just screaming my name, asking to be knit into a beanie, begging for a chance to become something to warm my brain with. 

The pattern once again, is unbelievably easy. Due to the "sudden death" kind of decrease the gauge or number of stitches isn't of that much significance. If you wish to achieve similar results as I did, you can always follow the instruction word to word. 
Yarn: Gjestal Tinde (100g = 180m, 50% wool, 50% tencell)
Gauge: 20 st = 10cm
Skeins: 1
Needle: 4mm
Cast on 128st on a circular needle. K2 P2 for 6 rows. Knit the cabled detail at the front of the beanie as per chart and knit stockinette with the remaining stitches. Knit in this manner for about 20 cm repeating the 8 rows of the chart for the cable detail and begin then the decrease rows.
Click to enlarge

Sudden Death decrease:  
1st row: *K1 ; SKP*. 2nd row: stockinette. 3rd row: *K1 ; SKP*. 4th row: stockinette. 5th row: *SK2P*. Cut the yarn and run the thread tail through remaining 18 stitches twice; pull firmly and darn in the end. All the stitches were decreased within 5 rows, hence the name "sudden death".
The bow: 
Cast on 5st. Knit stockinette for 28cm. Cast off and darn in the ends. Cast on 5 again and knit 4cm. Sow the shorter piece as a little loop and run the longer piece through the loop creating a bow. Sow the pieces together tight and attach to the beanie. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This little piggy had a Very Merry Christmas

This is by no means knitting related, but I simply gotta share this, as I'm super excited about this year's gingerbread-architecture-achievement! 

I make a ginger bread building every year - I say building instead of house, as these architectural artifacts are not often houses per se, last year's installation was an out house - and as this year I feel like such a PIG (seriously, how much chocolate CAN one woman eat?!), I decided on a pigsty theme. 

Normally these installations look like they were made by Stevie Wonder and I often tell people I bought them from a blind orphans' bake sale, but this year I was lucky enough to hire an engineer to help me plan and errect the gingerbread piggery. The pigsty features two limbless lil piggies made of marzipan by yours truely and I'm very proud of them, as this is for me a completely new material to work on. 

With the image of these lil two piggies nestled up for winter in the comfort of their new residence, completely unaware of their brother being rosted in the oven as we speak (early start for christmas, gotta have some ham NOW!), I bid you all not a merry christmas, as it would be way too early, but a merry second advent sunday tomorrow and a lovely Finnish independence day on Monday :)  

Monday, November 29, 2010

Brief Encounters

I took the train home today as I do every day. I hopped on, took a seat, placed my brown leather hand bag on my lap, unzipped it and took out my knit work and resumed knitting.

A girl about my age sat beside me. First thing I noticed about her was that she was wearing a beanie made from the exact same yarn as mine (plus my matching scarf I had hung up very visibly beside me, purple Novita Crystal). I wondered if she'd notice we had something in common. In my head I imagined her taking a long examining look at my scarf, leaning over to me and whispering something like "you addicted too, huh?" with a been-there-done-that kinda look in her eye. I imagined two strangers on the train recognizing the knit fanatic in each other, a kindered spirit, a secret alliance, sharing a secret Commuter Knitter hand shake.

But quiet she remained. No secret hand shakes. Not even a nod. Nothing. So I thought she might not have knitted the beanie herself. Fine, thought I. But then what did she do! She placed her brown leather hand bag on her lap, unzipped it, took out her knit work and resumed knitting. Astonishment itself! She WAS a knitter after all.

So there we sat. With our matching purple beanies (though mine was stuck inside the sleeve of my coat but that's beside the point), knitting in silence side by side, her metallic double pointed needles clinking gently, the yarn swooshing quietly from one of my bamboo needles to the next. A poetic moment, one might say. For an instant we were secret agents, colleagues and comrades, members of the Secret Sociaty, pretending not to notice each other. Our mutual silence became our secret hand shake. No words required. Been there. Done that.

Pattern by Novita (Finnish)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

Seems like winter is here, gorgeous white blanket of snow has fell on our lil country and once again surprised us northern folk with it's many qualities. Did you know snow is cold and slippery? One might think that'd be fairly obvious. Looking at the people stuck in traffic too affraid to actually drive properly (but too proud and stubborn to take the bus), all the head lines about accidents on the road and so forth, you'd think this is the first time we've ever had snow. Why is it like this every frigging year? 

Luckily none of the above concearns me 'cause a) I'm happy to support and enjoy the experience of public transport and b) I haven't been commuting much over the last few days. It may be minus what-ever outside but it surely isn't cold under my skin. As the devine Peggy Lee puts it; "Fever in the morning, fever all through the night".

Stuck at home once again there's very little to do but sleep, watch Little Women and knit. I've been trying to come up with a pattern for cabled socks. I've found it surprisingly tricky, but this is what I finally came up with. Another pair for Santa's bag.

Yarn: Novita 7 veljestä  (150 g = 300 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide)
Gauge: 18 st = 10cm
Needle: 4 mm
Skeins: 1

Cast on 54 st. Divide them on 4 double pointed needles. *K1, P1* for about 6 rows. Begin working as per chart repeating the 18 stitches and 12 rows on it. Repeat the pattern for 4 times. Make sure you devide the stitches before you start working on the heel. Dpn I: 12, Dpn II: 14, Dpn III: 14, Dpn IV: 14.
(Click to enlarge)

Reinforced heel: 
Leave needles II and III waiting to be worked on later. After knitting last row of cable pattern knit needle I as you would if you were still making the cable, but knit it on needle IV =26 st on needle IV. Then turn to the  the wrong side of the sock, slip 1, purl 25 and start the reinforced stitches.Repeat *SL1K, K1* on the right side, SL1P, P25 on the wrong side. Repeat these two rows 13 times = 26 rows.  Then on the right side (still knitting SL1K, K1 on right side and purl wrong side) knit  until you have 9st left on the needle, SKP and turn to wrong side. SL1P, P 8, P2TOG and turn again. Knit in this manner until you have 8st left, SKP and turn to wrong side. Continue the decreases in this manner until you have 10 st left. Divide the remaining stitches on two needles. Pick up 13 st on each side of the heel flap and knit the picked up stitches on needles I and IV.  

The gusset:
You now have 64 stitches in total. Continue working the cable pattern in the front with the 30 stitches on needles II and III. K2TOG at the end of needle I and SKP at the beginning of needle IV every second row until you have 14st on each needle. 

Shape toe:
Continue until you have reached desired length for the sock and beging to shape toe. K2TOG at the end of needles I and III and SKP at the beginning of needles II and IV. Repeat the decreases every second row until you have 8 st remaining on each needle. After that repeat the decreases on every row. When you are left with 8 st . Cut the yarn and run the thread tail through remaining 8 stitches twice; pull firmly and darn in the end.

EDIT 22.12.2010: 
K = Knit
P = Purl
SL1K = Slip 1 knitwise
SL1P = Slip 1 purlwise
SKP = slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over
P2TOG = Purl 2 together
K2TOG = Knit 2 together

Cross 1 R = Cross 1 to the right (pick 1st on cable needle, leave it waiting on the back side, knit 1st and then knit the 1st from the cable needle)
Cross 4 R = Cross 4 to the right (
pick 4st on cable needle, leave them waiting on the back side, knit 4st and then knit the 4st from the cable needle)

Cross 4 L =
Cross 4 to the left (pick 4st on cable needle, leave them waiting on the front side, knit 4st and then knit the 4st from the cable needle)

EDIT 14.6.2011:
Corrected few typos and misleading instructions on the heel.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taija's scarf

I have a nasty uninvited visitor who refuses to leave me alone. I had to stay home few days end of last week to take care of him (pain in the arse if you ask me). Yesterday I rejoiced as I thought I saw him packing. "Good riddance", thought I. But apparently he ain't goin no where. His name is Infectio Acuta Respiratoria Superior, although friends and close acquaintances call him Flu for short, and he's here to stay. For a few days more at least. He's a complete bitch and I hate his guts.

So, I'm stuck home with him and all I do is sleep and drink buckets of Glögi (=hot grape juice seasoned with cloves, ginger and cinnamon). But no matter how under the weather I am, I can't resist doing a bit of light knitting while I'm up. Once again, I started another project using Novita Katri. I can't stress enough how utterly wonderful this yarn is, soft, cuddly and affordable. Perfection!

This scarf is for another dear old friend of mine. She asked for a lacy red scarf and I'm guessing she'll be more than satisfied with this delightful creation. She is a unique piece of work, as is this scarf, so I thought it proper to name the pattern after her.


Yarn: Novita Katri (100g = 160m, 100% acrylic)
Gauge: 14 st = 10cm
Skeins: 2
Needle: 6mm

Cast on 35. Knit according to the chart below (click to enlarge). Cast off loosely when you have reached the desired lenght for your scarf. Weave in ends.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One step closer to being called a Cat Lady..

Yes, it's now official. I've gone bonkers. The proof: check out the hat I made last night. First of all, I spent the entire saturday evening home alone knitting this thing. And second, I find it the cutest, most adorable hat ever. I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. I must be off my rocker. What ever happened to my dignity and sophisticated style? Bah, humbug! I will from now on embrace my newly found love for all things OTT such as wooly hats decorated with massive pink roses.. Gosh. What's next? A reindeer jumper for christmas? Hmm... now there's an idea.


Yarn: Novita Katri (100g = 160m, 100% acrylic)
Gauge: 14 st = 10cm
Skeins: 1 for the hat, left over yarn for the roses
Needle: 6mm
Hook: 5mm
Cast on 88 (makes a fairly loose cap) on double pointed needles or circular needle. EDIT: After few wears the cap became very loose indeed, so I'd suggest starting with 80 st instead of 88.
K2P2 for about 5 rows. Then knit stockinette.
After you've knitted about 30 rows stockinette devide the stitches in 4 parts placing a marker at the end of each quarter. K2TOG at each marker on all the following rows. After you've done this 4 times and you are left with 72 stitches, add additional markers half way between the excisting markers. On the rest of the rows you will then be decreasing the stitches at every marker, alltogether 8st/row. Knit until you are left with 8stitches, cut yarn, leaving a 15cm tail. Draw tail through the last stitches, draw tightly closed, and fasten on inside of cap. Weave in ends.

Big rose: (Novita pattern translated by yours truely):
Make a loop of yarn around your index finger. Crochet the first round on the loop. 1st rnd:  *2 ch, 2 tr, 2 ch,1 dc*, repeat *-* 4 times.The 1st round now has 5 petals. 2nd rnd: *2 ch, 1 dc in the middle of the petal on the back side, 2 tr between*, repeat *-* 4 times. 3rd rnd: crochet into every chain at the back 1 dc, 2 tr, 1 d tr, 2 tr ja 1 dc. 4th rnd: crochet *3 ch, 1 dc in the middle of the petal on the back side*, repeat *-* 4 times. 5th rnd: crochet into every chain at the back 1 dc, 2 tr, 2 d tr, 2 tr ja 1 dc. Cut yarn. Tighten the loop around the first round and fasten on inside. 
Small rose: 
Exactly as the big rose, just leave out 4th and 5th round. 

Bigger petals
Cast on 10. Crochet a dc on the 1st ch. 2 h tr, 6 tr, 1 h tr on the last ch. Do not turn the leaf around but continue to work on the other side of the chains: 1h tr, 6 tr, 2 h tr, 1ch. Cut yarn.

Smaller petals 
Cast on 7. Crochet a dc on the 1st ch. 2 h tr, 3 tr, 1 h tr on the last ch. Do not turn the leaf around but continue to work on the other side of the chains: 1h tr, 3 tr, 2 h tr, 1ch. Cut yarn.
Sow on the roses and the petals and voilà! Your slightly gaga flower hat is done!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Girly A-line Yoke Cardigan

I know very little of 4 year old girls. Having no small kids in the family and planning never to reproduce myself I know very little of the creatures normally referred to as children. Taking this to account I was slightly nervous trying to come up with a christmas present for one. Luckily I was able to use a lifeline and phone a friend. An old work mate came to town and having 2 charming daughters herself she was the perfect guide, walking and talking me through the wonderous world of children's wear. Together we walked through various shops, me picking up stuff I thought was absolutely adorable and my guide kindly pointing out to me what was particularily wrong about each garment.

I'm ever so grateful to her for this little life lesson (if you are reading; thanks!!) Without her I would've probably just knitted something appalingly unpractical but heart-breakingly cute, something the little creature would've loved to wear but her practical mum would've just hid in the closet. 

Long story short, this is a pattern I came up with. Once again, feel free to correct my vocabulary or the instructions in general, still fairly new to knitting terminology in English.  
Novita Nalle Aloevera (100 g = 260 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide) Off-white (010) Skeins: 2
Novita Wool (50g = 135m, 100% wool)  Baby pink (504) Skeins: 2
Novita Wool (50g = 135m, 100% wool) Pink (580) Skeins: 2
Novita Luxus Alpaca (50g = 135m, 100% alpaca) Nutria  (068) Skeins: 2
Gauge: 22 st & 32 rows = 10cm
Needle: 3½ mm
Size: 104cm (average 4 year old)

Cast on 202 on a circular needle. Knit few rows of garter at the start of each piece and the rest stockinette stitch. 

After you've knitted the piece for approx 24cm: knit 33, *K2TOG TBL, K1, K2TOG , K 28*. Repeat *-* 3 times. K2TOG TBL, K1, K2TOG, K32 = 192st. Repeat the deductions on the equivalent spots on every second row for 4 times = deducting all together 50 st on 10 rows. =152st.
Knit a few rows of garter stitch and 2 rows stockinette before beginning the decreases at the armpits.

Devide the remaining 152st on 3 parts= 80st for the back, 36st for left front and 36st for right front.
Continue working on the other front part decreasing 1x5 and 1x2 st at the armpit on every second row. Leave the remaining 29 stitches on hold. Do the same for the other front part. Decrease 1x5 and 1x2 st on every second row on both ends of the back part and leave the rest 66st on hold. 

Cast on 49. Knit garter for 4rows. Begin stockinette. Add 1st on the 10th row of the stockinette at both ends. Add 1 st every 8th row at both ends for 7 times =64 st. When the sleaves measure to 25cm cast off 1x5st and 1x2st at both ends on every second row =50st.

Gather all the 224st on circular needles and begin the yoke. Decrease 6 st evenly around the yoke on the 5th row =218st. Knit 11 rows. Decrease by 18st evenly around the yoke =200st. Knit the heart pattern according to the chart. After the pattern decrease by 35st =165st. Knit 6 rows and decrease on the following row by 45st = 120st. Knit until the yoke measures up to 18 cm and decrease by 40st = 80st. K1P1 for 8 rows, cast of loosely. 

Pick up stitches from the left front to make the button band. Pick up 1 st from each row leaving out every 3rd row. K1P1 for 8 rows, cast of loosely. Do the same for the right side but make desired number of buttonholes (YO, K2TOG) on row 5. I used 4 buttons here. Sow on the buttons, finish loose ends. DONE!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sanna's Cabled Mittens

A dear old friend of mine asked me to knit her a pair of grey mittens and I surely did, with pleasure. Inspired by the really pretty socks I made last week, I thought I'd try out coming up with a cable pattern of my own. Maybe not the most original ever, but I'm very very pleased with them. Go me!

It's been fun knitting on the train, really helps passing time.


Yarn: Novita 7 veljestä  (150 g = 300 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide)
Gauge: 18 st = 10cm
Needle: 3½ mm
Skeins: 1

Right Mitten:

Cast on 44 on double pointed needles, dividing 11 on each needle.
K1 P1 for about 13 rows.

Knit stockinette on needles III and IV and on needles I and II work according to the chart below. Repeat rows 1.-8.

Once you've reached the base of your thumb, knit 2 at the beginning of needle III, leave 7 stiches on a piece of waste yarn for thumb to be worked later. Cast on 7, creating a hole for the thumb. Knit the rest of the stitches on needle III. 
Continue knitting the mitten until you reach the tip of your index finger. SKP1 at the beginning of needles I and III and  K2TOG at the end of needles II and IV. Continue decreases on every row in this manner until 8 stitches remain. Cut the yarn and run the thread tail through remaining 8 stitches twice; pull firmly and darn in the end.

Left Mitten: 
Work as mirror image to right mitten.
 Knit the 7 stitches from the waste yarn onto dpn and pick up 10 additional stitches along the inner portion of the thumb (17s all together) on 3 double pointed needles. Knit thumb until desired length (=until the thumb covers half your thumb nail). K2TOG on each needle every row until 8st remain and cut yarn leaving approximately a 15cm tail. Using a needle thread the tail through remaining the 8 stitches twice, pull firmly and darn in the end.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cabled socks

These mid calf socks are the prettiest ones I've ever knitted. Go me! What a way to spend my last week off, knitting these gorgeous things! Starting next week, I'll be the Knitting Commuter again, huzzaah to my new job and 3 hours knitting on the train daily!

This is the time of the year when I spend all my time off knitting stuff for Christmas and these socks are my first gift finished this year. Now all I need to do is wish really hard the people I'm knitting stuff for wont be reading my blog for the next two months.. I mean.. Nobody reads this stuff anyway so I can safely post pics of my pressies without spoiling the surprise.. right??

The pattern for these cuties can be found on the Novita web page and is unfortunately again in Finnish only.

I'm planning to make a few pairs of these, off-white or darker grey maybe, they turned out so darn cute and am super-excited about this pattern!

Maybe if you are really nice for the rest of the year the next pair will be for you.. remember, Santa and I will be watching you.. right outside your window.. 24/7.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Easiest Scarf Ever

This scarf is so simple a blind handless monkey could make one.

Yarn: Novita 7 veljestä  (150 g = 300 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide)
Gauge: 18 st = 10cm
Needle: 3½ mm

Just cast on about 350 on circular needles, knit for about 15-20cm and cast off loosely. 

Piece of piss!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mitten mania!

These are a pair of mittens I made for my bf.

The pattern for these really simple mittens is by Novita and available in Finnish.

Novita Mittens.

Yarn: Novita 7 veljestä (150 g = 300 m, 75% wool / 25% polyamide)
Gauge: 18 st = 10cm
Skeins: 0,5 skeins per colour
Needle: 3½ mm