Tag Archives: cotton

Cotton Blankets, and WIPs update

At the time I am typing this I am a pattern repeat and a border away from finishing the Mountain Chickadee blanket. This project coincided with cherry blossom season, and our ancient cheery tree exploded in white blossoms at the same time, so I took the pictures next to the tree. I am not that experienced with lace knitting, but this has been the easiest pattern to memorize and knit thus far. At any given point it was easy to see where I was in the pattern so I could correct stitches as needed before getting to the end of the row and realizing things were not matching up.  For me the easy patterns with high impact are the most fun to knit.  I added a few repeats to the length, so I created an extended version of the second smallest size in the pattern (in case you notice how long the rectangle really is).

All of my projects this year have been dictated by my yarn stash. I have purchased a fair amount of yarn in the last few years and have been committed to knitting my stash before buying new yarn. Knitters can be placed in two yarn strategy camps – the “yarn stashers” and the “buy-yarn-as-you-goers”.  I am trying to become the kind of knitter who buys the yarn needed for a project at the time the project begins.  I see the potential in every ball of yarn and it’s so exciting to bring the yarn home and imagine the completed project, but at this point my stash feels like a giant to-do list. Each completed project makes me feel more satisfied.

The amount of half started projects has diminished too. I have two projects I started and haven’t completed, but I’ve made plans to pick those up. I started a list of WIPs last summer and from that list all that remains is the Lucy Hat. I tried to start where I left off but then tore it all back again. The other WIP yet unmentioned was a lace weight wrap I began with a skein of Americo’s Abrazos in a slate blue. The comments in Ravelry echoed my own feelings about the project; that it was a beautiful yarn, but the knitting was incredibly boring. When I gave it half a thought, it was no surprise that lace weight stockinette stitch would be some drudgery and after spending more hours than I like to recall on untangling the skein in the first place I needed to do more with it than knit a rectangle.  I decided to try and find a lace weight singlet/ tank top pattern instead. The yarn is so soft and light that I think it’s better suited for a summer garment.  I decided to attempt the Quince & Co Azalea tank without the lace border as the textured yarn wouldn’t work well, but the shape is lovely.  I’m making the small size so I should have enough yardage. Hopefully what I imagine translates to the needles. I’ll probably pick this back up in summer to knit since the yarn itself will becomfortable to knit with, but I bought the patten yesterday. Is that organized, or a bit horder-ish? 😉

I just realized I photographed the Mountain Chickadee upside down, but I still think it’s pretty.

Happy Spring!

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Violet is 2! 

I started knitting this cotton and linen dress for my namesake almost two years ago. I can’t believe  Violet is two already! My cousin and her daughter Violet live far enough away that I don’t get to see them as often as I want to but I am thankful for the visits we got to have during the first few years and cherish the memories.

  
 I knitted part of this dress while visiting Violet and her mom, but knitted the straps too short. I think frustration kept me from tearing them back and the dress was abandoned until now. Last night I watched two tutorial videos on YouTube on crochet for beginners and then attempted two scallops that I added a row of double crochet on top of to add some length to the arm straps. It’s passable, right?

I can’t remember the pattern I was working from, but when I do I will add the link [Elsie Sundress by Jane Richmond]. The trim on this dress was my first attempt at crochet. It can be done! As the British say, “I’m chuffed.”

Violet is of course way too big for this dress now, but at least I get to remember her when this  was a possibility.

I love you Connie, Eric and Violet!

The 70s, Diaries, and Crochet

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Bel Powley as Minnie in Diary of a Teenage Girl

I had a diary when I was a young girl that had a flimsy key and lock built onto the covers. It was a birthday gift and the concept had to be explained to me that I may want to write down my thoughts and have them remain a secret. I have no idea what I wrote in it, but it was read by either my mother or my brother (who I am sure would have been more interested in breaking it’s security system than accessing my thoughts), and I learned early to never keep a written record of my goings-on. I also love the quote, credited to Tallulah Bankhead;  “Good girls keep diaries. Bad girls never have the time.” Suffice to say I was busy in my youth. And if you happen to have a letter I wrote you, please burn it.

I went to see a screening of Diary of a Teenage Girl last week. I really enjoyed it for a few reasons (great acting, loved the animation, a touching story) but I don’t want to write a movie review. I want to talk seventies knits.

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Kristen Wiig as Charlotte in Diary of a Teenage Girl

Maybe I shouldn’t say knits, because I think it’s really crochet that stands out.  There is a scene in the movie where silhouettes dance in front of a beach sunset, and I couldn’t help but notice the netted long fringed poncho playing in the light. I tried really hard to find the exact pattern on Ravelry but came up short.  I found so much more though, and really any search for seventies ponchos will be entertaining at the very least.

Side note: While I was browsing I came across a knitted pattern called the Painted Desert  that is so my jam that I get a feeling I can only describe as a blend of Christmas morning combined with a triple shot espresso and diving into a pile of warm laundry from the dryer when looking at it.  The one drawback is I’m sure this project is a bit beyond my skill level, so it remains an illusive dream.

Painted Desert by Carol Sunday

© Sunday Knits

Minnie, said teenage girl, makes progressively better choices in clothing (and men) as the movie moves along. Riding that line of ‘cool and funky’ and ‘far-out and funky’ can be a bit tricky. During the seventies, more was definitely more, and you could pair that bell sleeved chunky cardigan with a fringe boot and beaded glitter purse. I’m imagining Sissy Hanshaw-esque aesthetics from  “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” by Tom Robbins here, but Minnie is definitely punk, and not of the love festival aesthetic you may be imagining. The more I think of it, the art direction in Diary of a Teenage Girl is amazing.

Without being able to find the netted poncho from the movie I went on a search for patterns that made me think of “Diary of a Teenage Girl” as a whole, as well as my own childhood – which is more late seventies to early eighties to be honest. The strong trends seem to blend through the decades anyhow. Three’s Company was one of my favourite sitcoms as a kid.  Check out these sweaters and socks with crochet detail on Priscilla Barnes and Joyce DeWitt circa 1982.

Threes Company

There is so much to share from Ravelry I got a bit overwhlemed so I only picked a few favourites to show you, but I would *love* to see your classic seventies pattern picks. What would you knit today, and what brings back the memories?

This cowl neck poncho is quintessential for me. The rainbow of colours against ecru, a big cowl neckline, and the chunky knitted fringe. Yes, quintessential.

Cowl Neck poncho

This oversize granny square vest  is a great example of seventies aesthetic, with modern styling. The pattern is called Floating Net. I think it could look ultra modern in the right yarn, but it has the ability to go both ways. I find much of the seventies style revolved around authentic hand crafts – the opposite of the cookie cutter fashion of present day- and I find that so appealing.

Floating Net

This chunky lace poncho is a perfect modernization of the seventies crochet pattern for me. Modern, but has that macramé feel. I really love it.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mesh-poncho

© Annelies Baes (Vicarno)

My mom had a silk top with a crocheted and fringed trim in teh early eighties that I remember well. It seemed so exotic and the dark colours looked beautiful with her pale skin and dark hair. I really liked the top pictured below but it`s from an out of print Japanese book. Actually, most of the crochet patterns I was drawn to are from modern Japanese publications, which I thought was interesting. I wish these books/patterns were available in English! (and that I could crochet!)

Olgar's

by OlgaR Flickr

Fringed crochet shawls!

Gradient Shawl

beadedjapanese

Q: Shawl by Yumiko Kawaji (川路 ゆみこ)

Twilleys

Party Time by Barbara Warner © Twilleys of Stamford

RoseShawl

U. Rose-patterned shawl バラ模様のショール by Jun Shibata(柴田淳) © PetitesChoses

Peace Out Home Free (that’s seventies lingo for “Goodbye Friend”).

Bonita Apple Protector

For a hot minute I was constantly whipping up these little netted bags for apples. The cotton helps shield the apple from getting bruised along the way to work or school. Plus, it’s cute. My personal favourite is red cotton netting with a green I-cord. If you embroidered an eye it would look like a worm (fun for kids?).

appleguard

I used Bernat Cotton Natural, but any worsted weight cotton will work. A softer yarn helps protect the apple from bruising if it gets bumped around in your lunch sack, but a washable yarn is recommended. The Bonita Apple Protector only requires a partial skein [exact yardage yet to be measured]. Great for left over yarn scraps.

  • 6mm/ US sz 10 double pointed needles (4)
  • 4mm/ US sz 6 double pointed needles (2)
  • Yarn needle (optional)

Guage is not so important, as the draw-tie closure helps make the protector fit any apple.

Abbreviations:

CO = Cast On

K = Knit

K2tog = Knit 2 stitches together

YO = Yarn Over

St/sts = Stitch/stitches

Pattern:

Using 6mm/Sz 10 needles, cast on 24 sts using long tail method, and divide evenly on 3 double pointed needles. Join to work in the round, careful to not twist sts

Row 1: k all sts

Row 2: *k2tog, yo* repeat (careful to not let any YOs at the end of a needle slip off)

Row 3: k all sts

Repeat rows 2 and 3 eight times, or for 16 rows.

Row 20: repeat row 2

Row 21: k2tog (12 sts total on needles)

Row 22: repeat row 2

Row 23: k2tog (6 sts total on needles)

Row 24: k all sts

Row 25: break yarn and draw yarn through the knitted loops, draw together, and secure. I like to use a yarn needle to weave in the ends, and secure the bottom by weaving the yarn through the loops a second time. You can also use the needle to weave the yarn through the loops while they are on the needles as well.

I-cord tie:

On double pointed 4mm/ Sz 6 needles, CO 3 sts:

K 1 row

Do not turn the work. Move the sts to the other end of your needle, and pull yarn across the back to the right side of the work to begin a new row

K the next row

Repeat, and continue on until you have an i-cord of your desired length. I knit my ties to approximately 14”/35cm to create a bow. Ends can be knotted, and you can use the yarn needle to weave ends inside the tie.

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If you knit one of these I would LOVE to see it!  #Bonitaapple, or @gypsyfusionknits on Instagram.

You can find the pattern on Ravelry under Bonita Apple Protector 

PDF: BonitaAppleProtector

Unicorn mane yarn and how I wish all children dressed completely vintage

I’m working on a baby gift at the moment. I went shopping for the yarn last week ’cause the 200 balls of yarn I had already just weren’t right. I knew I wanted a fibre that was washable, as anything else for babies is impractical. I opted for a super wash merino in grey for a cardigan, and a soft cotton for another Entrechat (I told you I liked that pattern!).

The cotton is so soft to the touch I find myself disbelieving my fingers. Perhaps it’s really a blend of Easter Bunny dreams and fairy peach fuzz?  It’s so lovely. The Entrechat, although incredibly fun baby knitting, may require a fibre a tad lighter than the cotton I chose. The Cotton Supreme yarn may be a bit dense for this knit. If someone smarter than I could come up with the same pattern for a finer yarn I would be all over that.

  
  

The other cardigan pattern I selected is bottom-up construction, which is new for me. I have only knitted top-down raglans until now. The yarn is not scratchy at all, but it definitely is not the spun angel clouds I was working with previously. I also gapped out and bought a yarn for 5 mm needles, when the pattern calls for 4.5 mm… so the sizing will be off as I also didn’t swatch (for shame!). The cardigan is more outerwear anyway, so it should all work out. *Fingers crossed*. I selected the Thea Cardigan because it looked quite modern and rustic at the same time. I’m just knitting the sleeves now and will have to let you know how it all comes together. Part of me thinks this type of construction might be best suited for creating Frankenstein than a baby sweater. You know, all that stitching together.  Sorry, I am obsessed with Penny Dreadful lately and the gothic horror metaphors are slipping into this post about innocent baby knits made of cruelty free care bear fur (surely they shear in summer?).

    

I love knitting cardigans for babies. Part of me wishes all children still dressed like it was pre-1950, and wore hand made everything, perhaps with patches even. I am also planning a handmade stuffed owl toy for this gift. I saw the stuffed toy at Baaad Anna’s when I picked up the yarn, and went looking for the pattern on ravelry. I will try to make a smaller version of Purl Soho’s Big Snowy Owl in some leftover baby yarn I have in my stash.

So, in closing I do admit to slightly exaggerating the softness of the cotton, but I couldn’t help myself.

Knitting is as Knitting does

I went to the yarn store again.  I felt less guilty about it than I did the last time, as I have made a serious dent in my yarn stash. I knitted up every last bit of cotton I had, so I needed to replenish the stock.  When I got to the store the yarn I had in mind was sold out, so I browsed until I was inspired.  I found some beautiful cotton and linen blends. Something about the idea of dressing up onions and produce in linen seemed so luxurious. I think I may tweak my pattern a little so that the fabric of the bag gets more attention.  Seeing skeins of yarn lined up makes me feel like I have jewels in a box. They are so pretty.

whatisnexta

These skeins are laying on a cotton blanket I have plans for too.  I would like to make new covers for the large cushions I have in our living-room. I want to sew two pillowcase-like sacks out of the cotton blanket fabric. Repurposing the blanket is a good idea as I have a surplus of bed linens, but badly in need of new cushions covers. Still, the idea of cutting it is making me winch like I was cutting off long hair. It’s going to happen though, and I am going to love those cushion covers (I hope).

purplebag

This produce bag I made is from a blend of cotton and viscose.  The colours from this Welsh hand-dyed yarn are beautiful. I will be selling it on etsy, along with others I have completed, very soon.

 

lingerie

I have also been working on this lingerie piece for a friend of mine. I changed the pattern a little, and made modifications, and then found myself stranded in unknown territory. To finish it I will have to create a new top section, and because of the brain power that will take I have put it down for awhile.  I need a eureka moment. In the meantime I have to rip out the top section I first attempted, but failed to execute.

The lace pattern is lovely, and the blended linen and cotton is so soft. I really hope I can make it work.

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In between fun projects I am still untangling a ball of Americo yarn.  I refuse to let it win. I will untangle it. In fact, I am seeing the light now, but it’s been a long mile of tangled string. A MILE of  knotted thread! (Can you hear the insanity creeping up?)

Have a great Sunday!

 

Onion Bag

I sent some produce pods to a farm last week, along with a new onion bag I have been working on.  They’ll be residing at Honey Grove, and may eventually end up in the Farm Store!

I’ve been trying to work on a onion bag specific pattern that would use a light weight cotton for some time. I struggled with needle size vs. net design. Finally I went with something smaller to keep the netting pattern visible, but I had attempted the pattern with a new mesh stitch, as well as at least 6 different needle sizes.   The goal was for it to weigh virtually nothing, and therefor be a help at the grocery store.  Something you could switch out the plastic produce bags for.  It will obviously never weight as much as a plastic bag, but I was hoping for something negligible.  It still could work, but I think the slight cost to using them is still prohibitive, so I will continue to see how it can be modified.  It’s still very usable, and would work great at a market – especially here at Jean Talon, where pre-weighed bushels and baskets can be emptied into the bag very easily.

onionbag1

onionbag2

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I was also able to write up a pattern for the apple protectors I made. If you are interested in the pattern I am giving it away at the moment.  I just need an email address to mail it to. I may try to list it on Ravelry, but at this moment haven’t tried offering a pattern through Ravelry yet. Eventually all the items I am making will have a pattern available in my etsy store.  The apple protector is an easy pattern, but does require some patience. Working a small item with relatively large double points can be frustrating, but I’ve made five of them now, so I have a system down.

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Happy Sunday my friends!