Wednesday, December 30, 2015

And Last--But Not Least . . .

And for my final gift wrap up: part of this gift was completed early one, while the rest was a last minute add-on 'cuz I had enough yarn left over.
Almost finished hat

First off, the kitty-kat hat. I started this one early on in September (remember my complaints posted here? ). It took a little longer than the bulky and worsted hats because it was DK.  Then I waited to weave in all those ends (ugh, hate that necessary part of "finishing").
In-progress "pom-pom"

I also dragged my feet on making pom-poms 'cuz my experience with the process has not been positive.  However, I did find a couple of interesting links to modified pom-poms--or acceptable alternatives (check out this link from Repeat Crafter Me on how secure your traditional pom-pom).  I chose the alternative option which was a small crochet ball using this pattern (crocheted pom-pom, a free pattern on  Well actually, my first one was a HUGE ball that was much too heavy.  I re-worked the pattern to make it smaller.  These are my mods (somewhat following the pattern, except with different stitch counts):

Round 1: chain 4, slip stitch & then work only 4 sc.  
Round 2: 2 sc in each sc (8 st)
Round 3: sc in each sc (8 st)
Round 4: sc in first stitch and then 2 sc in next stitch (12 st)
Rounds 5-7: sc in each stitch
Round 8: sc in 1st stitch, then draw loop through 2 sc to decrease (8 st)
Round 9: sc in each sc
Round 10: stuff ball with filling & then decrease by drawing loop through 2 sc (4 st)
Cut long piece & then draw yarn through last 4 sc. Pull tight & secure.
Finished hat complete with faux pom-poms

What do you think of the finished hat?  The balls actually look like pom-poms 'cuz the yarn is so fuzzy.  Bonus: my niece loves it so much, she's been wearing it non-stop (she loves hats anyways, so this gift was a no-brainer).
My niece in her hat
I wasn't sure she would like the wrist-warmers, but she loved them too.  Sadly I have NO photos of these--not even in-progress shots. 
Poor substitute for finished photo of wrist-warmers
So I'll share a lovely photo of the yarn used.  I really liked the pattern, Cleckheaton Country Silk Fingerless Gloves (which is a free download at  It's an easy-to-follow pattern and the gloves fit well (I think it's the ribbing).  For the striping, I worked a plain knit row when adding a new colour.  No real mods, but I'd recommend changing thumb placement:  I wish I had knit the first 2 stitches BEFORE binding off the 6 stitches for the thumb opening. For the second mitt, I worked the round till the last 8 stitches, bound off 6 stitches and then continued in ribbing for last 2 stitches.

Now I can get back to knitting for l'il ol' me. ;)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

More Knitting Stuff . . .

Yup, there's more.  I don't think I shared any of the finished Batman hats (although I did write about the pattern and intarsia here back in October) .  Essentially I followed the instructions as written with no mods.
Two Batman hats for two brothers
I was initially leery of the pointy ears on the hat (and truthfully I was a little unsure about how to proceed), but I carefully followed the instructions.  And they look fine (although  I thought that maybe next time I would use the intarsia design on a regular stocking hat).
Batman pixie hat with earflaps
In fact, I did just that for the baby hat.  This baby Batman hat uses a cute pixie earflap pattern from Yarnspirations (written by Vicky Howell).  Since intarsia needs to be worked flat, I started the hat in the round, but worked it flat when doing the colourwork. Once completed, I returned to working in the round and added a couple of extra rounds in plain gray before starting the decreases (approx 4” total from edge of garter brim).

And my nephews were pleased with their gifts.  Guess how I can tell?  Somebody didn't wanna take off his hat . . .  ;)
My nephew being goofy for the camera
More to share later . . .

Saturday, December 26, 2015

About All the Knitting . . .

There is much to share!

First off, all gifts were sent off and/or dropped off in time for the holidays.  That was a bit of a challenge.  You'd think a few hats would be easy to whip up, but I got distracted by work, school and family life in general--and of course I had to re-do one set of mittens and hat (remember this post ?).  And honestly, I wish I could have made more . . .  

Of course, when you knit for someone else, you never know if the recipient will appreciate the effort or even the item, especially if the recipient is a child.  It can be hit or miss (but I needn't have worried).
First Berry Hat with matching mittens
My sister and her kids loved their hats--and everything fit which is a double bonus, especially when the recipients are so far away.  Distance can make measuring next to impossible (although I suppose I could have asked my sister to measure the kids' heads, but that would have spoiled the surprise).
Second Berry Hat with matching mittens

Remember the  Pixie Earflap Hat with matching mittens?  As you may recall, the hat was the Iceland Earflap Hat  from Crystal Palace Yarns.  I made a few mods because the original was adult-sized and written for super-bulky yarn (I was working with bulky and needed toddler size).
Modifications included:
1) bulky yarn on 6.0 mm needles
2) brim worked in garter stitch instead of ribbing so it would blend into garter flaps
3) stitch count adjusted to accommodate toddler size:  when connecting flaps & joining in round, knit across 1st flap (15 st), cast on 9 st (instead of 12), knit across 2nd flap (15 st) and then cast on 15 stitches (instead of 18)--54 stitches total.
4) second hat had no I-cord ties, but was otherwise constructed in the same way

Last Minute Mittens
The mittens were an amalgam of two patterns:  mostly used Last Minute Mittens  from Valley Yarns, but used measurements from  Bernat's Family Mittens to help achieve appropriate size (and it helped to be working with toddlers who willingly tried on the mitts as I worked on them).

Modifications included:

1) used 5.0 mm needles instead of 6.5 mm
2) using women's size small, worked cuff in K2P1 for 1 1/2" (instead of 2").  Then worked 1 plain row in knit before working thumb gusset as written
3) after round 9 of thumb gusset,, worked 1 plain knit round before putting aside 6 thumb stitches on holder
4) worked body as written, but only until length was 5" (instead of 6-7").  Decreases worked as written
5) For thumb only worked 5 rows on 9 st (approx 1") before decreasing/casting off

I'm so pleased with the final results that I'd like to make more mittens.  Hard to find toddler-sized mittens that fit easily and stay on.  I tested these on toddlers in my classroom, so the pattern works.  I think I'll start by finishing the rust mitts I couldn't use for my niece.

More to come later  . . .

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Happy, Merry Merry

Even though I've been MIA these past few weeks, you were never far from my thoughts.  So many times I had photos, but no time OR time but no photos--what with work and school and lots of Christmas knitting . . . Rest assured, we'll be catching up soon.
Photo courtesy of Stock Photos
Meanwhile, thank you for your patience.  Hope your day is filled with joy and happiness as you celebrate the season with family and friends.  Have a great Christmas! 

Lots of love,
DinaPurls :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

About Blocking . . .

Confession time: I have never blocked  any of my knits.  Ever.  But to be fair, most of my knits have been made with acrylics or cottons.  So really they didn't need any blocking, just a good wash when finished.
Blocked shawl drying

This shawl was different.  I finished it back in August, but I'd been dragging my feet on weaving in a few ends and blocking it.  I never would have thought that blocking would have made such a difference!
Before blocking
After blocking
The yarn overs opened up and the entire shawl stretched right out.  In fact, the shawl seems to have a lovely curve to it. 

First I soaked it in water with mild detergent (Yarn used was DROPS Fabel which is a wool-nylon mix.  My other woolen sock yarns have stood up well to the washer and dryer).  After rinsing in plain water, I gently squeezed out the water.  Wrapped within a large towel, I rolled up the shawl and squeezed out more water.  Finally I began pinning out my shawl so that the lace would open up.

Without any special blocking pins. I resorted to using some quilting pins.  They seemed to work fine, as long as I drove them right into the mat. Nearby sat the dehumidifier.  Hope that will speed up the drying time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Never Forget . . . .

Photo credit: CharlesFred / / CC BY-NC-SA
It was a lovely Remembrance Day ceremony this morning at the town's war memorial/cenotaph.  Maybe it was just my impression, but there seemed to be more people this year than last.  In any case, it was moving and poignant to hear from the speakers and see the veterans, soldiers and cadets.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

It's the Wrong Colour!

I have made an effort to knit more this week.  And the extra effort has netted some nice FOs.  Check out the earflap pixie hat with matching mittens.  Isn't it cute?
Finished pixie hat with matching mittens
This is headed for one of my nieces.  My other niece was going to get  the same pixie hat with matching mittens in a different colour--mainly orange and brown..  However, I noticed something as I worked on the mittens.  Do you see the problem?
Second pair of mittens
Mitten Detail
The mittens look as if they came from a different coloured skein altogether, but they came from the same skein.  I was going to redo one of the mittens . . . . .

And then I saw my niece's new winter coat.  It was not navy, black or blue.  No, it was pink--as in very pink!  No orange to be seen anywhere.  **sigh**  I may have to make a second hat with matching mittens in pink-purple. :(  At least I have lots of the pink-purple skein leftover.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Post Halloween

Any trick-or-treaters at your place?  We never got any when we lived at the farmhouse, but it was nice to see some last night.  
Pumpkin dude--just hangin' out.

My boys were out on their own with their friends.  I'm glad they're growing up to be responsible young men, but I do miss those little rituals, like taking them out to trick-or-treat.  
Pumpkins on the deck

Hope it was a nice weekend for you.  I haven't  done much--it's been a "day off".  Today we deal with the time change and the fast-approaching darkness (I'm a summer girl with it's warm breezes and light-filled evenings). So Halloween always has me feeling melancholy (Winter is just 'round the corner).
All lit up for Halloween

There has been some knitting--well, very little knitting.  Maybe therein lies the problem?  Knitting cures all ills, including melancholy.   Persevere I must, so I hope to do more knitting in the upcoming weeks.  There are Christmas knits that need finishing.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

By the Way . . .

There's been some knitting these past two weeks, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.  These things called work and school really take up a lot of unnecessary time--time better spent on knitting.

At least Batman Hat #2 is just about done.  It needs to be cast off and the ends will need fixin', but the knitting is done.
Batman Hat #2
 I'm hoping to make one more Batman Hat, but I'll have to adjust the stitch count to accommodate a baby's head.  Maybe someone's already done the math for me--I can hope, right?
Mitten for toddler
Meanwhile, the mittens are coming along--yay!  I have both mitts done, but they have no thumbs.  I'll have to write a proper post with all my mods when I'm finished.
Almost finished mitt next to adult-sized one
I think they are just the perfect size!  You need to see them next to an adult size mitt to really get a sense of how cute they are.

Anyways, there's an essay that needs finishing.  Talk later . . .  ;)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo from . . . ?
 Just poppin' in to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving on this lovely long weekend.  I know I have lots to be thankful for.  Hope you do too.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mamamamama . . . .

Muffin time!  While I was visiting family, my mom gave me her old cookbook (along with some old family favorites--mostly special cookies she made for company).  Nothing beats the treats mom used to make.
The pages may be tattered here and there.  Some stains cover a few pages, but I wouldn't give up this book for the world.  It was my go-to cookbook when I baked as a teen.
And now I make treats for my own children.  They haven't expressed much interest in baking or cooking, but I know certain recipes have become family favorites--especially muffins.
Love makin' muffins for the kids to take along in their lunch cans-kids love the banana ones and pumpkin muffins are nice for the fall.  Always nice to offer homemade snacks whenever I can.
Neat gadget my SIL & BIL picked up for me a while back when they were in Halifax.  It's specifically used for mixing dough, but the beauty is in the design: dough won't stick to it!  Very nice for  mixing muffin dough.
Do you have any family favorites?  Watcha doin' this weekend?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Na,na,na,na,na . . .

Batman! Oh yeah, I has batman in the house! ;)
Batman hat in progress
Now this pattern wasn't too bad (free pattern available here at Portable Knitting) .  Because the colourwork is worked over a small area, your attention is only required for those 16 rows.  Then you're back at plain stockinette stitch--and in the round too (but not the intarsia part.  That has to be worked flat)
Hat with pattern print-off
Now I've worked intarisa before (there's Girlie Skull HatSkull Hat, & Monster Vest).  And even though the final item looks lovely, it can be finicky while you're working on it.  I highly recommend making small balls of the necessary colours ahead of time.  Also, a row counter can be your friend as you try to keep track of where you're at on the chart.
Smaller balls needed for intarsia
Sadly some ripping was involved--just like my other projects thus far (is this a test of my perseverance?).  And no, I didn't mess up the colourwork.  Instead I made a newbie mistake: an unwanted yarn over!  Not just one, but two!  Seriously?  I suppose it's my fault for knitting in the dark.
Messy yarn bits inside hat
With school and work, I was just trying to fit in some knit time and naptime is just as a good a time as any.  Besides, it's not like I've never knit in the dark before--with even more complicated patterns.  Not sure what happened . . .

In any case, this hat is well on it's way to being done.  And that makes me happy 'cuz I've got two more to make.     :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Best Laid Plans . . .

Sometimes the best laid plans go astray.
Yarns waiting to become a hat

I had hoped to make the Snow Bunny Hat.  As I worked the first row with my novelty yarn, a little voice in head hummed and hawed.  I worked a few rows of ribbing before finally taking a closer look at my other yarns.  Eeek!  My bamboo yarns were much thinner!  **sigh**  My fuzzy brimmed vision was not gonna work with this pattern.  :(

After ripping out, I searched for a pattern using worsted weight. I settled on Easiest Baby Hat 'cuz it echoed the shape and style of the Sunny Bunny Hat. Sadly this meant my novelty yarn was not gonna be usable as the brim, but it could still work as pompoms.

As I worked with the bamboo yarn, that little voice hummed and hawed again.  I ignored it.  After a few more rows, I couldn't ignore it anymore.  The hat looked smallish.  I finally went online and searched Ravelry's databatse.  Ack!!  My bamboo yarns weren't worsted!  They were DK!  Seriously?!  **double sigh**
Stripey bamboo yarn
More ripping ensued.  Back to search for similar patterns in a DK weight.  Was there even such a pattern?  I really wasn't interested in designing my own.  **triple sigh** 
Pretty colours waiting for colourful pompoms

To my rescue: Tappee Hattee.  **sigh of relief**   This pattern worked with the yarn beautifully and there was the added bonus that it was worked in the round so no side seams or matching stripes.

Now I just have to figure out how to make pompoms . . .  :S

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Makin' Christmas . . .

Remember the movie Nightmare Before Christmas?  Remember Jack Skellington taking over Christmas and making presents for all the kiddies?  During the movie, Jack and his scary pals sing a song with the verse "makin' Christmas . . "  Yup, that's me!

I hope I'm not makin' scary presents (that remains to be seen, haha!), but the tune keeps playin' in my head as I busily finish off some hats for my nieces.  Yup, it's gonna be a homemade Christmas this year for all my nieces and nephews. (Apologies to the adults 'cuz they're being cut out this year).

Using the free pattern Iceland Earflap Hat, I made some modifications.  Since the original adult-sized pattern called for super-bulky yarn, I took a chance that my less bulky yarn worked with smaller needles would produce a child-sized hat (FYI: using Lion Brand Homespun).
Berry Pixie Earflap Hat for Niece #1
I worked flaps as indicated, but added 2 extra row increases so that flap had 17 stitches (instead of the 15 stitches as suggested in pattern).  To keep the total stitch count at 60, I adjusted the count when connecting the flaps: knit across first flap and cast on 10 stitches (instead of 12), knit across second flap and then cast on 16 stitches (instead of 18). 

I wasn't too keen on the look of garter stitch flaps and ribbing next to each other, so I "borrowed" from Teo Hat which uses garter for the rim.  I think it looks nicer--more unified.
Rusty Pixie Earflap Hat for niece #2
Worried that the hat might not fit right (the brim of the berry version "looked" huge), I made the second hat with smaller flaps (15 stitches as originally written in pattern).  My big mod was to adjust the overall stitch count to 54 stitches (decreases happen in multiples of 6): knit across first flap (15 sts), cast on 9 stitches, knit across second flap (15 sts) and then cast on 15 stitches.  

I then realized that first version had a shorter brim (quite by accident I knit 3" before decreases instead of the required 4").  I think I need to take both hats to work where a few toddlers can try them on.  If they fit, I won't have to re-do any of them (oh please let them fit . . . !!). 
Funky hat for niece #3

I hope to make matching mittens to go along with the cute pixie hats, but right now I'm ready to start another hat for my older niece: a funky  Snow Bunny Hat
Lotta colours :)
Hoping to use a mix of different colours--although I'm conflicted about using the dark orange (not sure it works with the variegated novelty yarn).  Guess I'll just have to experiment with it.

This week I start my online course.  Hope it won't put too many demands on my time.  I've three more hats to make along with at least 2 pairs of mittens.  Just keep knittin', right?  LOL!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Long Enough?

Enough yarn?
Just wonderin' if there will be sufficient yarn to make my Cashsilk Fern Scarf long enough?  I know I can fold it over and secure it with a pretty shawl pin (I think one of the local craft shops carries hand-carved wooden shawl pins).
Over 40" in length
Thus far, my scarf has managed to grow to just over 40".  Ideally 50" would give enough length to tie and wrap it once around my neck.  What if it's just shy of my target length?  Maybe a severe blocking length-wise could garner more length?  Not sure  . . . 
Nearing the end with only a wee bit of yarn left 
There's only a wee little ball left.  Gotta be hopeful . . . 

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I was off--by a little.  Yeah, I took a calculated risk and increased the number of stitches in my shawl (by about 16 stitches) in the hopes of making it larger.  The original pattern required just over 300 yards.  I had well over 400 yards and thought that would be just enough yarn (thought it would use up every last bit).
Leftover DROPS Fabel--not enough for 3 more rows plus cast off :(
But I was wrong--close, but still wrong.  I had a wee bit of yarn left when I realized I still had 3 rows left to go plus the casting off to contend with.  What was I to do?  I was not going to rip back--no way, no how!
Patons Kroy in solid red
So I took a gamble and searched the local Five to a Dollar department store.  They carry Patons Kroy sock yarn and hoped to find a solid red or some reasonable facsimile.  And I did!   I found a solid red!
Edging detail
The colour seemed to be a good match, but the Kroy was a little thicker than the Garnstudio DROPS Fabel, even though both yarns are rated as fingering weight.  Still, it worked.  The slightly thicker yarn and solid red added a nice edging to the shawl, emphasizing the lace edge.  
Finished shawl
I've still got to block, but I must confess: I love it!  Serendipity!  Gotta love it when the fates conspire to work together--for a change. ;)
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