Friday, 29 May 2009

The 20's in a cloche

Can someone tell me why in late May, and it's hot outside, and I've suddenly decided to start knitting toques like a fiend? 

Really. What am I thinking? Tell me. I'd like to know the reasoning behind it. Other than the fact that it's a great way to use up my yarn, I have no idea why they are the patterns that are begging me to knit them right now. 

I really liked the looks of this pattern. Perhaps not my version of the hat, but cloches are so 20s and the pattern picture (Ravelry link) totally reminds me of that era. (And much of the book the pattern comes from too is 20s/30s ish.) The pattern itself is pretty easy, but it requires 4 different needle sizes. Really? 4? Were they all necessary? I'm not sure. So, this is not one for beginners or other people with limited knitting tools. 
Otherwise, it was an okay pattern. Easy to understand and do. I just hope that the recipient of this hat looks better in it than I do.

Oh & in case you were wondering: Next post? You guessed it. Another hat.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Finish that hat

Happy Memorial day all! (If you get the day off that is. I'm still a little bitter that I have to work for part of it... but that's neither here nor there.)
This long weekend I decided to finally get off my a%# and finish a few projects I have sitting around. All hats. Soooo, be ready for the great Memorial Day (err - week of posts) hat round up. There may be a few...
Do you remember this hat? I started it months ago!

I was making it to get rid of stash yarn... and then I ran out of white. I debate for a while whether I should frog it, or make the top a different colour.
In the end I decided to actually buy more yarn. Eek. The whole point was to get rid of yarn! Not buy more that I don't really want. But it's white... So really, I'll use it at some point in time.

I got the pattern here, and had absolutely no problems with it. The top of the hat is exactly like Turn A Square hat, but it's a easy way to decrease a hat, so that's not surprising.

All in all, it's okay. I'm not 100% sure who I made this hat for... but someone will be getting it for Christmas in 7 months. Hopefully that person will like it.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Temperature Gradient

Question: Does a cup of tea stay warmer for longer with a knitted teacup cozy? And if so, by how much?

Do you remember doing experiments in HS? I have a vague recollection of them. Most of those memories revolve around trying to remember the French words for nucleus and malleable, since my sciences classes were taken en francais, but I still remember those classes. And I remember the lab reports. Oh lovely lab reports. 
Well, here is my lab report, using the scientific method, in order to prove my hypothesis. 

Hypothesis: The tea in the cup with the cozy will stay warmer for longer since cozy will act as insulation on the cup.

Materials needed: 
Two cups of the same style and make (in this case two cups from last year's work party. 
Two thermometers
Hot water
One stop watch
One pink tea cozy

Using two cups containing the same amount of hot water, measure the water temperature at set intervals to determine which mug of tea stays hotter for longer.

Problems with my experiment? My thermometers were WAY off. As you can see, one measured the temperature to be 133F while the other said 141F. Great. But I continued on with my experiment anyways. (The white one is pretty old and has been submerged in water a few times, so it isn't that surprising that the measurements were totally accurate. But still annoying.)

Here's what happened: 

At time t = 0min when the cups were filled with the same amount of water from the same hot water source cup 1 (without cozy = woc) was 140.4F and cup 2 (with cozy = wc) was 131.5F.

When one minute had gone by (t = 1min) woc was 138F and wc was 130F. This already lead me to believe that the cup with the tea cozy would be warmer for longer since the cup without lost 2 degrees whereas the cup with the cozy only lost one degree. 

At time t = 5min, woc = 131F and wc t = 1128. The delta were still in wc's favour. It had only lost about 3 degrees, whereas woc had lost 9 degrees. 

By the time 20 minutes had gone by woc measured 113F and wc measured 117F. 

Conclusions: Either way you look at it. I think wc wins. After 20 minutes it registers a higher temperature than woc. If you reason that although the white thermometer's temperature gage might be off, it would probably still record the delta correctly, then wc lost 14F while woc lost 26F. 
That's a significant difference. 
Either way? Go knit yourself a cozy! You'll be happy you did. 

Friday, 15 May 2009

And so it starts

Isn't this a beautiful thing?
This must be what painters feel when they look at a blank canvas. No. Not dread, foreboding and worry. Okay. Maybe some worry, but not much. 
I was thinking more about how there is nothing there right now, but how with a little time and effort and work there will be something that is (hopefully) beautiful and pretty cool. Only painters have a little more creative license than I will have with this cross stitch. My final project is pretty set in stone, or floss as the case may be. 

Yup. That's what time it is. Wedding Cross stitch time. My friend, for whom I made the hotwater bottle cozy, is getting married this September and thus is it time to start on her gift. What will it be? Give it three months and I'll post you another slideshow, like the last one. (only hopefully I'll do a better job with the pics this time.) 
Wish me luck!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Re-useable bags

You know that Sound of Music song? Favourite things? Well, if Julie Andrews/Maria was singing about my favourite things it would have to include two things from this picture:

Trader Joe's Just the Clusters Ginger Granola & Reuseable bags.

I love 'em!
What's not to love? Reuseable bags are great for the enviornment. Sturdier than plastic bags. More stylish too. (Although in this case the colours are a little... odd...) 
And ginger granola? 'nough said.

I liked this pattern: Elisa's Tote. But I have to admit - I didn't do the I-cord properly. I should have watched youtube videos first. Oh well. Next time I'd also make the handle a little shorter. Not only does the bag stretch a bit to accommodate for whatever you want to put in it, but the handle stretches when said things are heavy. But all in all, based on the 3 times I've used it, I like it. 

PS - my favourite things song would also include knitting needles, my kitchenaid, the library, rain and... (why not) bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.

Saturday, 9 May 2009


I made more socks!
Only… they turned out a little wonky.

That’s what I get for trying to modify the pattern!! Silly me thought I was knitting-smart enough to modify the pattern easily. Um…. No.

Normally it wouldn't be that big of a deal... Unfortunately, I made these as a gift. Sigh. 

At least they look okay when they are on a foot. But when they are just sitting there, they look a little funny. The heel is too narrow and sort of buckles and the toe and heel don’t match up perfectly so there’s a little gathering. But I tell myself you don’t notice it so much when wearing it.

They are based off of the Thuja pattern, only lots of changes. Because of the yarn weight, I CO 66 stitches and used size 2 needles. Bad math skills by me! So when it came to do the leg pattern I couldn’t do the K3, P1 pattern in it. Nope. So instead I made it K4, P2. That part worked okay. The mock ribbing makes it nice and stretchy. I then changed the number of stitches I knit on the heel, and that’s where all of the wonkiness happened. Note to self: Do not skimp on heel stitches.

But they are done, and I am still proud of them.

The socks took a long while to complete, and oddly I think it’s because the knit/purl pattern is so simple. There’s no cabling, no nothing. You’d think that would make it faster… but it just meant the socks couldn’t keep my attention. I must have started and finished 3 or 4 other (small) projects in the mean time!

Well – I have one more skein of yarn from what I bought at Stitches West. I am on the look out for another pair of socks I want to try. I’m considering trying toe up or something complicated just for fun. But all this will be done after the big x-stitch of 2009. Details to come.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


It's not a secret that I love the library. I think that libraries are one of the best ideas that civilization ever had. Okay. Maybe the wheel was more important, but I really, really do love libraries! Really. 
Recently from my city library I got out a book that got me thinking about embellishments and adding details to knitted projects. The scarves, hats, mittens and sweaters in this book were so cute and pretty with the added embroidery or other detailing. 

If only I had a project I could practice on. And then I realized I do! I have one mitten that I started before Christmas but quit when I knew I couldn't finish both in time. (And when I realized they'd be HUGE for a 2yo. Better save them for when X is 5.)

Um... Well, here's what happens when I tried:

It's supposed to be a boat on water. Can you tell? Yeah. I think I need some practice. But still it was fun. When I finally get around to making the other mitt (like maybe in Dec 09) I'm thinking about putting a fish on the other one. That is, unless I come up with a better idea between now and then. 

Monday, 4 May 2009

Signature Style

Even if you are like me where for the vast majority of my life my style has been to put on what ever clothes are the cleanest after falling out of bed in the morning, everyone has a style. But there are some people out there who have a signature style. These days I'd say my signature style would be armwarmers. For Amelia Earhart her signature style was.... (anybody?)...
An Aviator Cap, just like this Aviatrix.

Isn't it cute? And the pattern is pretty simple and easy to follow too. I made it in the 0-6months size and it took me just a few hours this weekend. I'm planning on giving it to a friend of mine whose wife is having a baby this fall. The button shown is not sewn on. I'm going to have to go out and buy a button, but I'll wait until I know if it's a boy or a girl before choosing the button. In fact, if it's a girl I will consider adding a flower to the brim to make it cuter.
I'm a little worried that the strap to go under the chin won't be long enough, although I did more than 50 rows, but it should stretch. If I were to make another I might make that longer. And if I was to make another I would for sure somehow try to modify the pattern so that there was a more definite front and back. As it is, it is symmetric. I think I'd modify how the chin strap was attached.
Otherwise, I love this cute little hat! Good fast project.