01:15 pm, amusingyarns
391 notes
photoset

Saxon Invasion Mittens

These are a modified version of Jared Flood’s Druid Mittens.  I changed the wrist panel to a sideways-knit cable pattern (which is the “Saxon Braid” from Barbara Walker’s 3rd Treasury).

The yarn is Buffy Sock by Juno Fibre Arts, colourway “Graphite”.  It’s really lovely stuff and so nice to work with.  After some trial & error, I found that this yarn is well suited to cable stitches and not so much to knit/purl combos like the chevron stitch in the original pattern or traditional bobbles—hence, the cabled wrist panel and nupps.

I was very motivated to knit up this yarn because it was part of a very thoughtful and totally unlooked for gift from a lovely person.  It’s funny, but I felt like I had to do something really special with this yarn as a way of thanking my new friend for her kindness.  Normally when I acquire new yarn, I squirrel it away as if there is an impending global yarn shortage…especially luxury or indie-dyer yarn like this, which I never feel qualified to knit.  But I braved it, and now I have new mittens, just in time for the first snowfall of the season!

(Source: ravelry.com)


12:05 pm, amusingyarns
23 notes
photoset

Prototype knitting “wallet” on Flickr.

I’m working on a design for a “knitting wallet”. It’s a compact, zip-up case to hold just the essentials for on-the-go knitting.

Some of the details need refining and I’ll admit that this isn’t an example of my finest stitching (it was a prototype, after all!) but I think I like where it’s going.

Hopefully, attempt number two will work out better now that I’ve made some mistakes and I can avoid making them next time around!


02:56 pm, amusingyarns
8 notes
picture HD
Good thing I have a niece who loves handmade dolls and doll clothing otherwise I would soon run out of excuses to knit these super cute patterns!  Eventually I will have to get back to my normal knitting program, but for now, I think I’ll indulge my seven year-old self while I ostensibly spoil my niece.
Seasonal Dresses pattern by Little Cotton Rabbits.
(Dress pattern can be purchased here and the bunny girl pattern can be purchased here.)

Good thing I have a niece who loves handmade dolls and doll clothing otherwise I would soon run out of excuses to knit these super cute patterns!  Eventually I will have to get back to my normal knitting program, but for now, I think I’ll indulge my seven year-old self while I ostensibly spoil my niece.

Seasonal Dresses pattern by Little Cotton Rabbits.

(Dress pattern can be purchased here and the bunny girl pattern can be purchased here.)


04:11 pm, amusingyarns
91 notes
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LCR bunny love!
(Crochet hearts made with a size 4 hook using this pattern.)

LCR bunny love!

(Crochet hearts made with a size 4 hook using this pattern.)


11:57 am, amusingyarns
22 notes
picture HD
My first attempt at making a Little Cotton Rabbits bunny.  Note to self: practice stranded knitting, and don’t over-stuff the poor bunny’s head next time.

My first attempt at making a Little Cotton Rabbits bunny.  Note to self: practice stranded knitting, and don’t over-stuff the poor bunny’s head next time.


07:52 pm, amusingyarns
30 notes
photoset

Lace collar knit with Size 8 DMC pearl cotton on Size 0 needles.  Pattern adapted from an 1846 pattern booklet entitled The Knitted Lace Collar Receipt Book, written by Mrs. G.J. Baynes of Gravesend.

If I was made of sterner stuff, I would have knit the actual pattern with Size 40 cotton as called for.  I didn’t even know where to find Size 40 thread when I started this project* so I just picked up some Size 8 and hoped for the best.

After a couple of false starts, I ended up using a different lace edging, adding size 11/0 Miyuki beads and turning the collar into two-pieces joined in the back and tied in the front with a 3-stitch I-cord.  I then finished the ties with aglets made with the same beads (using tubular brick-stitch).  I would probably make a few more changes if I knit this again, but I’m still pretty happy with the results of this little experiment!

——

*I now know that if you need to get your inner Victorian needleworking lady on, Lacis is the place for supplies.


01:27 pm, amusingyarns
3 notes
picture
Cushion No.1
Stripes are maybe a little boring, but seeing as my first cushion cover attempt with intarsia was a bust, I thought it better to keep it simple in case it turned into another frog-fest. This was more of a test run to make sure I had the sizing right and could successfully apply a zipper to a handknit.
I used a tool like this one to sew a chain stitch through the zipper tape and the edges of my cover.  This is a bit different than how TECHknitter uses a knit picker to apply a zipper but I wanted to use heavy duty sewing thread and not my rather bulky yarn to attach the zipper.  I think it worked out well,  but it was a little more labour intensive so I’ll probably explore using a sewing machine on the next cushion cover.

Cushion No.1

Stripes are maybe a little boring, but seeing as my first cushion cover attempt with intarsia was a bust, I thought it better to keep it simple in case it turned into another frog-fest. This was more of a test run to make sure I had the sizing right and could successfully apply a zipper to a handknit.

I used a tool like this one to sew a chain stitch through the zipper tape and the edges of my cover.  This is a bit different than how TECHknitter uses a knit picker to apply a zipper but I wanted to use heavy duty sewing thread and not my rather bulky yarn to attach the zipper.  I think it worked out well,  but it was a little more labour intensive so I’ll probably explore using a sewing machine on the next cushion cover.


07:34 pm, amusingyarns
64 notes
photoset

My knitting mojo has been MIA lately, so I forced myself to knit something small and commitment-free.  Or, viewed from a different perspective, this is me procrastinating.

(Source: ravelry.com)


12:32 pm, amusingyarns
4 notes
photoset

Yarn unwinder thingamajigs: A Review

I have no idea what generic name to apply to these devices.  ”Yarn Susan" is trademarked, "yarn spinner" might be confused for something that spins fiber into yarn, and "yarn holder" fails to describe the action of the device.  I’m just going to use the highly unimaginative "yarn unwinder" for now.

Regardless of what they should be called, I’m going to discuss (at some length) two similar but different versions.  (Forget about how I ended up with both, and let’s just take the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison.)

But before we dive in, if you’re wondering why a knitter might need such a device, you might want to read about the perils of over-twisting, which is better explained by TECHknitter.  Last year, it finally dawned on me that some of the problems I have had with yarn kinking up while I knit and worst of all, with biasing of the knitted fabric had to do with the fact that I have always knit from center-pull balls.  I used to love a center-pull ball, yarn barf notwithstanding.  The ball stays put while you are knitting instead of rolling away from you across a dusty floor or requiring some restraining device like a bowl or a bag.  But, it can also cause your yarn to over-twist and this can (although not always) lead to kinked yarn or biasing fabrics or both. Curses!

Anyway, in frustration, I made this yarn unwinder out of K’nex and it worked great but ultimately, it had it’s limitations.  So I made this yarn box when I found the K’nex couldn’t support a Colourmart cone.  But even the box wasn’t exactly what I needed so I turned to the internets and found several people had designed just the sort of thing I was looking for.

 

A general description and comparison

Both versions I bought are from Etsy, the version seen in the top row of the photoset is made by Willysman Woodworks and the version in the second row is made by Craftiness.  Both are custom orders, but neither is very different from the standard models that each shop offered.  I had both made in walnut with a natural finish and I’m guessing that both Maurice from Willysman and Dave from Craftiness could customize your yarn unwinder to any specification you had.  Both guys were great to deal with and very happy to customize.  They cost very nearly the same (Willysman was a few dollars more for the basic model) but keep in mind that different types of wood have different pricing.

The main difference between these two models is that Maurice makes his with a lazy susan mechanism that is hidden between the base and the platform whereas Dave has a free-spinning platform with a hollow post resting on the base’s spindle.  I initially thought the ball-bearing system would have a significant advantage over the free-spin system in terms of smoothness and (lack of) friction, but I actually found that they were about equally smooth and both generated minimal tension on the yarn.

However, the ball-bearing system has this advantage: once you stop pulling on the yarn, the spindle stops turning much sooner.  This is unlike the free-spinning system, in which the momentum keeps the top turning and the yarn re-winds in the opposite direction.  I wouldn’t say it’s a problem with the design, just something you’d have to get used to happening every so often.

A side note about the ball-bearings: they aren’t silent.  Most people don’t knit fast enough to keep a yarn unwinder spinning constantly but even at the slow rate at which I knit, it’s still audible.  For me, this is not a problem but I can easily imagine there are other knitters out there that might feel otherwise or who have family members / co-habitators who might be driven to distraction by the sound of tiny metal balls rolling along a metal track.  The sound doesn’t bother me, but I don’t think I’d try to knit in a lecture hall or meeting with this thing, even if I was someone who would try to knit during a lecture or a meeting.

In the last row of the photoset above are two side-by-side comparison shots (Craftiness on the left, Willysman on the right).

Since both shops will do custom orders, this comparison is only useful in that you can see how their standard dimensions differ from each other.  As you can see, the free spin (from Craftiness) is wider across the base but has a shorter post (which is shorter than my 150g Colourmart cones), but still works quite comfortably with both cones or cakes.

In a nutshell…

Willysman Yarn Holder pros:

  • Can be lifted by the post since all parts are affixed
  • Post can be unscrewed from base for ease of storage and/or trasportation
  • Stops spinning (soon) after you stop pulling, preventing any reverse winding
  • Very light-weight
  • Well made

Craftiness Yarn Spinner pros:

  • Very quiet
  • Spins very smoothly
  • Fairly light-weight
  • Beautiful craftsmanship
  • Least expensive (depending on type of wood used)

My non-conclusion

I can’t really recommend one over the other since they both work exactly as I need them to and the workmanship is quite lovely for both.  But, if portability is crucial to you, the Willysman yarn unwinder can pack flat, unlike the model from Craftiness.  If, however, the very idea of the sound of metal ball-bearings rolling along makes you shudder, maybe go with a product from Craftiness.

Overall, I’m very happy with both. And now that a yarn unwinder, in whatever form, has become an essential knitting tool for me, I intend to make use of both of them. (I may take up a real Fair Isle project one day, right?)


06:41 pm, amusingyarns
4 notes
photoset

Pattern: Eternity Cardigan by Brooklyn Tweed

I can’t seem to knit any patterns without making a bunch of modifications.  Sometimes it’s just a sizing issue but often times, it’s a design issue.  In this case, I should have recognized that I was knitting what was essentially a backward Snuggie and then I might not have finished knitting this entire sweater only to discover that it wouldn’t stay on my shoulders for more than five seconds unless I was curled up on a sofa.

So, knitting slogger that I am, I unravelled the collar down to the top of the armholes and re-knit it with a continuous decrease at the shoulder line.  I’m glad I did it because the sweater is now wearable whereas it was not before.

On the other hand, I kind of wish I hadn’t invested so much time into this project because my poor choice in yarn is probably going to bring this sweater to an early and tragic demise.  Sadly, the finished fabric feels like it won’t survive much wearing.  But I guess only time will tell.

(Source: ravelry.com)