Thursday, December 17, 2009

Malabrigo Quickie

I love Malabrigo Lace with a strong passion that is perhaps a little odd (although probably not to any of you).

A quick lace scarf was in order for a good friend this holiday. Two thirds of a skein of Malabrigo Lace in emerald blue was begging to be used, so I decided on the lovely drop stitch scarf I have used before.

Just blocked it today, and I am very pleased with it. I think my friend will be as well!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Quick Gifts

At this time of year it is all about the quick knitting!

I managed to get both of these sets out of one skein of Asland Trends Bariloche - beautiful yarn.
Both sets knit up in a day.

I've got more of this yarn in a different colourway to make a big scarf for me ... but it will have to wait as there is more holiday knitting to do.

How is your holiday crafting going?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Evolving Cables Gloves.

These gloves have a great cable pattern that is evolving by one row each time you do a cable row. In order to keep track of this easily I used my new knitting tool that I know can't live without. We got these Row Counter Plus in the store last week and I knew it was just the item to use when knitting these fingerless gloves. To use this counter I merely used the #1 counter for the rows I was knitting between cables and the #2 was used for the number of times I cabled. If anyone has knit cables before you know it can be hard to tell where the cable row goes if you loose count. With this counter I simply click the big button on the counter when I start every row. For example on the 2nd cables on my pattern I have 4 rows before I cable. So when I start the first stitch of the row after the cable I clear the rows to "0" then I click the big button and it will say "1" and I repeat this until "4" then I know I should cable again. I change to the #2 setting and change the number from "3" to "4" click the buttons until I am back on the #1 setting and start counting to 5 rows for the next cable.
I never got lost , confused or made a mistake on the next glove I knit.
This tool would be great for keeping track of increases, or decreases that are so many rows apart. I can think of a lot more uses for it too
The Row Counter Plus normally retails for $35 US but we are selling it for $20.95 this week.
They will sell quick so don't miss this deal
This is the description of the counter by the manufacturer
Here is how the Row Counter Plus works:
The unit has 3 counters on the display. Each counter is numbered (1, 2 or 3). In the picture above, the large "10" count is the #1 counter and is in the "active zone" (the zone which the user is currently counting) and this number can be added to or subtracted from. The other two counts (the "4" and the "2") are in the inactive zones. To move one of these numbers into the active zone, the user simply depresses the small button to the left of the large button in the upper center. This button "rotates" all three counts in a clockwise direction one position at a time. When the numbers are rotated one position, the number "2" comes into the active zone and the user can then add to or subtract from that number.
The user adds to the count in the active zone by depressing the large center button and subtracts by depressing the smaller center button.
The small button in the upper right is the Reset button which resets to 0 any number that is in the active zone when it is depressed. This button also turns off the electronic beep tone if it is held down for 3 seconds.
How is it actually used?
You could start counting ROWS with the number 1 counter. Let's say you have a repeat in your pattern every 10 rows. You start counting your rows with the #1 counter. When you reach 10 in the #1 counter, you ROTATE the numbers one position clockwise until the #3 counter comes into the active zone. This will be used as your REPEAT counter. You then add 1 to this counter meaning you have completed 1 repeat.
You then ROTATE the counters TWICE so that your #1 counter is back in the active zone. Since this will still have a count of 10 in the display, you RESET this number to 0 and then resume counting your rows again until all of your repeats are done.
The whole process goes very quickly once you learn the sequence which is not complex at all (it is actually harder to explain than it is to actually do it).

If I didn't already buy one of these it would definitely be on my Christmas wish list.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hat toppers

Sorry to take so long to get this last hat post up, I am sure anyone who is kntting this hat is just waiting for the toppers.

Your hat should look like this when it is time to make the top. You can just thread the yarn thru all of the stitches and pull tight and sew in your ends and have no toppers at all or you could have fun hat toppers.

You could make 3 I cords and braid them
You could divide the stitches and make 6 thinner I cords
I usually make all the I cord a different length and tie a knot in the end. The knot helps it hang nicer plus it looks neat. Then I tie a knot in all the I cords.

A few new things I tried with this hat

Spiral I cord by Lucy Neatby
on the 5 stitches on one needle.
Row 1: RS facing, K2 tog, K3, inc 1 Slide the stitches to the opposite end of the needle. Do not turn the work; carry the working yarn across the back of the 5 sts.
Row 2: RS facing, P5. Slide the stitches to the opposite end of the needle. Do not turn work; carry the working yarn across the back of the 5 sts.
Row 3: RS facing, K5. Slide the stitches to opposite end of the needle. Do not turn the work; carry the working yarn across the back of the 5 sts.
Repeat rows 1-3.
This can be made working every Row 3 in a contrasting color. Carry the unused yarn up the inside of the tube by wrapping the yarn traveling from the end of the row to the beginning around behind the yarn being carried up the tube.
Make 2 more

Another top that is fun to knit and even more fun to wear
are these swirly thingies for lack of a better name
You have 5 stitches on the needle but you will only knit on the first 2 stitches first
Knit 2 stitches together then do cable cast starting with this stitch

A You tube video of this cast on
for 30 stitches or whatever you like
Row 1 – knit
Row 2 – knit into the front, the back and the front again of the same stitch. Repeat in every stitch. You are making 3 stitches from 1 stitch.
This will increase you stitches to 90 stitches if you cast on 30.
Row 3 -Cast off
When you get to the end of the cast off, knit this last stitch together with the next stitch on the needle then repeat the cast on and rows 1-3 for the next swirly thingy

You can also combine all of the above and make a very unique top. Once you are finished all your tops you can sew in your ends and use one of your ends on the top of the hat to close the hole at the top of the hat. Just thread your needle and sew this around the hole and pull the wool tight then sew in the ends.
The most important thing is to have fun with the hat. I would love to hear if you come up with different hat toppers so email me at

Now I leave you with a very cosy warm winter scene. The other night we had a huge storm here and we were very warm and cosy in the house while I was weaving a scarf using Noro Silk Garden Lite - thought I would share how cosy we all were. The cat is Sunset our neighbours cat who adopted us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Earflap hat knitting in the round

This first picture is how your hat will look after you knit a few rounds. The ribbing is only 5 rows long and is in between the earflaps. The ribbing helps the hat hold its shape well and not roll

My pomela is kindly modelling the 1/2 done earflap hat. He is a good model and sits quite still I hope no one eats it before the hat is done

Tomorrow we will do the decreases and make a few different tops for the hat

Sunday, November 15, 2009

6 ply Earflap Hat Tutorial

This is a fun hat to knit. You start by knitting 2 earflaps and then join them in the round to make the hat. The pattern is started at the I-cord. To make I-cord follow these simple directions (click on the pictures to make them bigger)

I-cord – on the double pointed needles knit your stitches then slip the stitches back to the top of the same needle and pull the wool behind the needle and knit the stitches again. Repeat this until the I-cord is the desired length. In the case of our hat we will knit the I-cord 8"

Once you have knit the I-cord you start the increases for the earfllap. There is one increase stitch at the end of each row. If you follow the pattern it tells how to do this. Once you have 28 stitches then knit 10 rows but still maintain the 3 garter stitches at the edges. These garter stitches help the earflaps lay flat and not roll.

You knit 2 earflaps. If you want them the same you will need to find the place in the yarn that is the same to start both earflaps. I prefer the earflaps to be different just for fun.

Once you have both earflaps knit you add on the extra stitches for the hat. I use an ordinary long tail cast on for this. You can use the tail of the earflap and then join another yarn for this.

You cast on 40 stitches then knit across the 2nd earflap and cast on 28 more. You will want to put these all onto a circular needle unless you are like me and love knitting on long double pointed needles. These are 10" Brittany Birch double pointed needles in the picture - yes we sell them in the store.

Anyways you join the stitches being very careful not to twist the stitches. To join them without twisting I always make sure all of the stitch bottoms are facing the floor before I knit my first stitch. Follow the pattern to knit the ribbing on the hat.

I will show pictures tomorrow of the joined stitches and the ribbing, the hat before decreases and the decresases. Next will be a variety of fun tops for your hat.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Cloth to Wash With

Finished my hempathy cloth, using Shelley's Waffle Weave Wash Cloth pattern.
The skein has enough left to knit another cloth, so I can make this a nice set for someone on the gift list!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Fan and Feather Lace Tutorial

A Fan and Feather Lace Tutorial

The fan and feather pattern is an old lace pattern also known as Old Shale. It is a very commonly used pattern and I am not sure who can take credit for inventing this pattern as I haven’t researched that. It is a simple lace pattern that can give amazing results when knit with patterned yarn or yarns that self stripe. The stripe will wave which gives an added bonus. Our scarves shown are done with both the self-striping yarn (Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn - below) the hand dyed mottled yarn (Sweatermaker Silk and Merino - above). The pattern is a simple multiple of 18 plus whatever stitches you want for the edges. In our case we have 72 stitches plus 3 on each edge for knit.
You can make the fan and feather pattern any width you choose by simply adding multiples of 18 for this particular pattern. Add 3 more patterns you get a shawl. Add 6 more pattern you get a blanket etc… Knit this in heavy yarn and big needles you get a heavy weight shawl with the pattern shown.

Cast on 78 stitches
Row 1: knit
Row 2: knit 3, purl to the last 3 stitches, knit 3
Row 3: knit 3, *k2tog 3 times, yo, k1 6 times, ssk 3 times,*
Row 4: knit

ssk –slip, slip, knit
k2 tog – knit 2 stitches together
yo – yarn over the needle

Repeat these 4 rows until your desired length.
Cast off and sew in your ends. Block lightly

A few tips – The purl row is always on a row when the wrong side of the knitting is facing you.
The 2nd knit row and the pattern row are done with the right side of the knitting facing you. This may help you not get lost until the pattern becomes obvious.

When knitting the fan and feather pattern you can simply choose to k2tog or ssk for all of your decreases. I choose to alternate ssk and k2 tog as I like the look much better. The ssk stitches make a left leaning slant and the k2tog make a right leaning slant to the finished stitch. This gives the garment more structure in my opinion. The slants of the decreases meet in the middle of the fan part of the pattern and this opens the pattern up and it lays flatter. It also emphasizes the middle of the fan.
Do a sample and try both ways to see which way you prefer.
Enjoy knitting the scarf.
PS - Deb you can knit this I will help you

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Wash With Me

Have you seen Shelley's latest pattern? This lovely wash cloth is up on the website this week, and it is a great little pattern.

Of course, I couldn't resist casting on. I got the periwinkle colour of the Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy and cast on this week-end.
The drape of the cloth is really lovely. I did go down to a 3.5mm instead of a 3.75mm needle, but that's just the way I like it.

I can see a bunch of these cloths, each wrapped around a lovely bar of soap, as perfect little gifts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oh So Pretty ....

My friend asked me to make something for a charity auction she is involved in, and I thought why not? I chose to make my own pattern, the Ocean Ripple Wrap (pdf link), only I halved it to make a leaner scarf (cast on 55 stitches instead of 90, which gives 6 pattern repeats instead of 12).
I used the fabulous Alpaca Baby Lace from Diamond Yarns (used less than a full skein to get a 63" scarf), and boy is it yummy. This scarf is as light as air yet warm. The yarn was a delight to knit with, no splitting, and I love the colour.
The only problem is .... it's so hard to give away!! Luckily I have some Malabrigo Lace in my stash that I think will be perfect ....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Retreat surprise

While the retreat was taking place I was completely unaware that all of the women were making a gift for me. It started with a conversation Janet and I had about colours. I told her my favourite colours were blues, reds and burgundy. At the store on Friday night I was selling yarn and Janet bought some beautiful yarn in my colours so we laughed and I said wow those are my colours.
The weekend carried on and I never got a sense of something going on I didn't know about. So on Sunday night when I was presented with this beautiful shawl I was overwhelmed. What a wonderful surprise and a treasured gift for me. I will enjoy this shawl and think of everyone who made it while I wear it. It has a new home on my comfy knitting chair and when I get cold it will be handy. I love it.
The shawl was knit by 2 people at a time. It was cast on in the middle and they each knit on an end. It has lots of handspun yarn in it to accent the yarn and as a great keepsake and memory of this wonderful retreat.
I feel so honoured with this shawl
Thanks to everyone who participated - What a great surprise.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Retreat Part 3 - Fashion Show

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Retreat Fashion Show
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Here is a slide show I made of our fashion show at the retreat. We had the fashion show on Saturday night and on Sunday night we had show and tell. This is when our skeleton's and spider webs were shown. We also talked about what rules we broke and new things we learned at this retreat.

This is the first slideshow I made so I think I hope it turned out.

Tomorrow I will blog about the big surprise I got at this retreat.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Retreat part 2

On Saturday we got to work learning our new spinning and knitting techniques. These pictures show Lexi with her demo skein of yarn. Isn't it amazing. It was very soft.
Margie with her first batt.
The knitting class really enjoying playing with all that yarn
Catherine - who by the way had her 83 rd birthday at the retreat modeling a woven jacket made with recycle silk material. It is quite a work of art.
I will write about the fashion show this weekend and then I will share with you a wonderful surprise that I was given last weekend.

Monday, October 05, 2009

What a great retreat - Part 1

This was the most fun weekend. We had fabulous weather 2 great teachers and more great food than should be legal to consume and a great group of women all with a passion for fibre arts. What a creative group. I have many pictures to share so I will do this in a few posts over the next few days.

Janet came over the night before the retreat started for pizza and to pick out yarn for her workshop. We spread it all out all over the living room to decide and took most of it. Too hard to decide so there was lots of colour choice for her workshops.

The next day everyone arrived and the retreat was on. I took the spinning workshops with Lexi and it was amazing. The pictures I show here is what Lexi calls a fibre sandwich - the next picture is what it looks like once thru the drum carder. Wow - well I was hooked right there. I spent the rest of the weekend learning new spinning techniques and making fibre batts. Then Lexi spun the batt and let the fibre dictate the spinning. She showed us how to make fabulous creative yarn.

Look at this batt - isn't it amazing.

More tomorrow

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beautiful Bariloche

The new Aslantrends Bariloche is so nice! It is a very lofty yarn, almost a thick and thin but subtle enough not to change your gauge. It shows stitch definition well, is soft and comes in amazing colours.

I made an earwarmer in Sky Blue from my free pattern (on the website) and some wristers to match. The set is for a silent auction for a friend's son's class going to Quebec.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Setting the Vibe

The sun was shining, colliding with the water and creating a million shards of light. While standing on the ferry, I noticed a little commotion off the bow. Too small to be whales, but certainly something playing in the water. Going out for a closer look, I saw two porpoises dart through the water to the left backside of the boat. No one else seemed to notice.

I walked to the back and looked out into the glittering water. There they were. Seven porpoises, jumping and diving and surfing in the wake of the ferry. No one else was there to see it so it felt like my own private show.

Such a sense of joy and being in the moment I felt watching them! Only one photo was in focus, I was too busy watching the porpoises to pay attention to what I was doing with the camera.
That's what I love about coming to Fun Knits, the journey itself is part of the adventure.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kauni KAL

As the fall weather is just around the corner we turn our thoughts to knitting for the holidays. What could be a better way to start than with a cuter than ever stocking?!

Knit Kauni With Us!

Here at Fun Knits we love Kauni. So much so that we want to do another Kauni knit along! We have chosen a pattern designed by Shelley (Fun Knits owner). The Christmas stocking is a fun knit, and only takes a small amount of two Kauni colours.


The pattern is available for purchase here; and for the month of September we are offering the pattern free with a purchase of Kauni yarn. As Shelley explains in the pattern notes, this stocking was done with EM and EK, but would also look great done in other colours (what are your Christmas decorating colours?), or even one colour such as EQ started at two different colour sections.