Printer Ink

A little back story first.

We had a printer. The printer got finicky and would display a print head error even though there wasn’t one. We went months without a printer. A new printer was purchased. It ran out of ink. We have gone weeks without a printer again. Printer ink was ordered and sent to our mail box.

Now you’re caught up.

The other day I drove into town to get the mail.  Two packages arrived. One was my business cards from Moo, the other was printer ink.

I tore in to the package from Moo right there in the van. The other I left sealed up and brought it home with the bills.

There it sat on the table while I started making muffins for my littles, when suddenly my 5 year old pipes up that the 2 year old is opening a package. Up to my elbows in flour (I’m a messy baker). I shouted above the food processor that it was okay, it was just printer ink, so they happily tore into the package while I added more ingredients.

Ohhh they’re little markers, shouts the 5 year old delightedly.

No, it’s printer ink for the printer, I say.

But they look like little crayons, she insists.

So, I wander over the table where they have the box open and I look over and she is holding a box of printer ink that looks like this:

 

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Oh shoot, I say, trying to grab the certificate of authenticity from my paper crumpling toddler and shove the accessories back in the box. I’ve ruined a Christmas gift, but I am delighted! I can’t believe my husband actually bought them for me. A few weeks back I posted the link from Knitters Pride on Facebook with a little note for my husband about hoping Santa would bring them, but it was more of a covet than anything, I had no expectations.

When he came home I told him his gift had been ruined, and I was sorry. He had no idea what I was talking about, so I showed it to him and he found the receipt to find out who it was from.

Thank-you Evelyn! You made this knitter very happy.

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Elfish

By Lauren Hawkeye Murray

Elfish 1

This hat is the perfect project for first time knitters-in-the-round. It tapers off to a cute little elfish point.

Difficulty Rating: Beginner 

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (super bulky weight) 1 ball in color Wheat, 80% acrylic, 20% wool

Gauge: 14 stitches/ 4 inches on US size 10 needles

Size: Adult sizes small and large. 

Materials: 

US size 10/6mm double pointed needles or short circulars

8 buttons

Darning needle

Needle and thread

4 Stitch Markers – One different than the others

 List of abbreviations: 

k-knit

k2tog-knit 2 together

p-purl

rnd-round

slm-slip marker

sts-stitches

Hat:

Ribbing:

Cast on 60 (66) stitches using your favourite method.

If using dpns split the sts between 3 needles.

Join in the round and place different colored marker.

Rnds 1-6: *k1, p1* to the end, slm.

Body:

Rnd 7: k to the end, slm.

Repeat rnd 7 until the hat measures 7”/17.5cm

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Begin Decreasing:

Setup rnd: *K20 (22), pm* to the end, slm. Your hat should be divided into 3 sections.

Rnd 1: *k to 2 sts before marker, k2tog* to the end, slm.

Rnd 2: K to the end, slm.

Repeat rnd 1 and 2 until only 4 stitches remain. Break yarn and thread tail through all 4 stitches.

Finishing:

Wash and block. Weave in ends. Sew buttons on in a circular pattern, or design a pattern of your own.

 

 

 

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Un-disappeared

Well, it’s been a long time between posts, but here I am. My difficult pregnancy is over and looking back, I realize it was I who made it much more difficult than it should have been. Our darling son Judah was born September 16th. He is a gem of a baby and allows mommy some knitting time by being such a content little guy, not to mention gorgeous. Tiny knits abound for him.

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Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me, and are getting this via your email account or your e-reader.

I’ve been breaking my one-project-at-a-time rule and have several projects on my needles, some my own – some belonging to others.

Not only a blog neglecter, I haven’t updated my Ravelry account either, so I’ll share the projects of others I have on the go here with the feature photo from their Ravelry pattern page.

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The first is Blight by Deborah Frank, I started this project as a KAL (knit along) when the pattern was first released. I think it is safe to say I am going be the last to finish it. It is gorgeous and an easy pattern to memorize. This is the second pattern I’m knitting by Deborah and I must say her patterns are beautiful without being difficult.

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I also started Pepita by Martina Behm with the yarn that was a hat and then was not. Luckily it is not a newborn size or it would be too small by now. It is a sweet pattern and great for newmom-brain, seeing as it is mostly just the knit stitch.

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And finally Promise Me by Boo Knits. Trying to decide what beads to use has delayed this project for quite some time.

Then there are the various projects of my own on needles too!  Several baby hats, sweaters and booties have been completed, knit from my head without any notes to write up the pattern, but knit for the sheer joy of it. A couple of my other patterns will pop up here shortly.

Since the weather here has turned cold with snow on the ground here, I’ll leave you with our first guest designer. Lauren Hawkeye Murray has the cutest little hat for you called Elfish to keep you warm, as winter makes it’s way to you this year. I hope you’ll knit one and share your results.

haterron4-1Click here to go to the pattern for Elfish

 


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Lauren Hawkeye Murray

headshot-11-300x300Lauren is a busy mom of a toddler, author, and a prolific knitter. She lives in the scenic Canadian Rocky Mountains, where she works part time at a local yarn shop.  In her spare time (if you can believe she has any) she whips up cute knit designs.

In her own words:

When I was 9 my parents hired a nanny who taught me basic garter stitch. I dropped the craft until a few years ago, when a lovely, elderly Scottish lady who I worked with at the time taught me the purl stitch. Again, I mostly dropped the craft until after the still birth at term of my first child in 2009. I needed something to do to keep busy, since I didn’t want to think, so I took up the craft again. Now I’m an addict. If I’m not holding my toddler son or writing, I am knitting.

Let’s see… what else? I get to make stuff up for a living– I’m published with NAL/ Penguin, Harlequin and Avon/ Harper Collins, as both Lauren Hawkeye and (as of January 2013) Lauren Jameson. I have a pit bull mix dog who was a rescue and is a sweetheart, and also a purebred Persian cat who, strangely enough, was also a rescue, and is possibly the dumbest animal alive (he’s super entertaining, though).

I love sock yarn with silver in it. Worsted weight will get used, but if I had my druthers, I would choose sock or sport weight every time. I don’t have much use for fancy stitch markers– I lose them.

I use circular needles for most projects, even ones knit flat, and DPNs for the rest. .I like knitting smaller projects best (hats, cowls, baby things, socks) as opposed to sweaters and blankets, though I do do a few of those per year.  I highly prefer natural fibers to synthetic, unless it’s nylon in sock yarn, which I quite like.

You can find her on Ravelry, Twitter and at her website LaurenHawkeye.com.

Lauren’s KnitLove patterns:

Elfish


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Contributor Biographies

This Time Yesterday

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This was a baby hat. Luckily they are quick to make. I finished the majority of it in the morning.  By the time I had it finished, I decided it was too wide and I didn’t like the purl ridges I had incorporated, though I did learn about how the very popular Turn a Square hat by Jarod Flood gets squares in a knit done in the round.

I did do a gauge swatch to try and get a hat 32cm/~13” around for a newborn. I must have been knitting at a different gauge from my swatch because that was not the case. It didn’t come out adult size or anything, perhaps 7cm/1.5” too big.

I wish now I had taken some photos to show you a few things I learned from a very simple baby hat. I thought I was done such simple learning, but sometimes the basics need to be revisited don’t they?

The yarn knits up very nice with great variegation. I really like it, though it is the same colours as our kitchen carpet that I despised growing up (yes!! kitchen carpet! What were they thinking? Certainly not of spilled milk or dropped eggs. ) It is Zitron Trekking (XXL) in colour 152.

I’m not so sure this yarn wants to be a baby hat anymore, so I’m trying to listen to what it’s telling me what it wants to be.  Maybe longies? At any rate it’s going in the cabinet, as the yarn for my Knit for Baby Class should be here in the next day or so, and I’ll have sample knitting to keep me busy.

In the end this existed as a hat only for a matter of minutes before I quickly decided it wasn’t right and gave the yarn a tug and had it unwound in a fraction of time it took to make it. I’m as impulsive of a frogger, as I am a knitter. I’m not one to keep a knit hanging about if I don’t like it.

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Stretched Thin – How To Create Stunning Lace By Blocking

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Have you ever finished a project and thought, “Bah…I don’t need to block this”, or perhaps “I don’t know how to block, can I just skip it?”

In the beginning this described me perfectly. Now I block nearly everything. I’ll admit to not blocking a few things, a stretchy baby hat that takes it’s shape once on said baby’s head doesn’t need blocking in my opinion. Now if I’m giving that hat as a gift I will block it, so it has a pretty shape sans baby head.

When it comes to lace, the knitted piece absolutely must be blocked. Lace changes dramatically post blocking. Let me show you:

I just finished knitting a shawl pattern by Deborah Frank called Memoria. It was a lovely pattern, perfect for a lace beginner with striking results.

Straight off the needles it hardly looks like anything special. In fact it doesn’t even really hold a triangular shape, the edges buckle and wave. At this point my shawl measures 95cm/ 38.5” across the top edge, 51.5cm/20.5” tip to top along the center and the lace edging measures 11cm/4.5”

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The lace itself is condensed, and has more of a textured stitch look than what we imagine as lace. (front – left, back – right)

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Do not weave in your ends yet, as the tension of the whole piece is going to change. Weaving in before blocking can cause puckers where the fabric can not stretch out properly.

Lace needs to be stretched out while fairly damp. Steam blocking, or stretching it out dry and misting it, isn’t going to open it up to its full potential.

DSC_0028-001So into the bath it goes. I’m lucky enough to have 2 double kitchen sinks, so I can soak mine for hours in there without running into the problem of needing the sink. Lots of people use a bucket or a plastic tub to avoid that problem. Using soap is optional, but please do yourself a favour and do NOT use dish soap. Dish soap is made to strip oils from your pots and pans in a very harsh way. Wool especially, but most other fibres too, are dried out by the stripping of these oils. After a few washes in dish soap your lovely drapey soft shawl is going to feel crunchy. I know, I know, some of you are going to say I always use dish soap, and I never have a problem, wool wash is just a money grab. I disagree, feel free to use what you like, but know wool wash is made for wool and other fibres, so that they maintain a moisture balance and to prolong the life of your knits that you spent hours/days/weeks knitting. After all, you don’t use Ajax in your washing machine right? Sometimes it’s worth using a specialty item.

After soaking, rinse under running water for a minute or so. Gently squeeze out your project, but don’t wring, you don’t want to stretch out your stitches in awkward ways. Wringing too hard can also cause some of your yarn to snap by pulling the stitches further than they can stretch, leaving it in need of darning before you ever wear it.  Next lay your project out on a towel (you can bunch it a bit, so it will fit) and then roll it up like a jelly roll. Press down on the towel to blot out the water ( I like to walk across it). Unroll and begin to pin block it.

You can buy blocking mats, but I picked up some garage floor foam mats from the hardware store, they are made from the same material. Some people pin on a mattress, or a couch if the project is small enough. A word of caution: some yarns leach dye when wet, something to consider when laying out on a fabric surface.

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When pinning a triangular shawl I like to start by pinning the top edge. I use the edge of the foam mats to get a nice straight edge. Stretch as you pin. I pin it in about 10 places, and then go back and pin it about every second yarn over to keep it nice and straight. Then I start to pull down the the points on the two side edges, starting from the top edge. I do about 10 on the left, and then 10 on the right, until both sides are done. This keeps the stretch fairly even on both sides. Pull quite firmly and keep the points in-line with the rows above it, so that your points follow nice diagonal rows of knitting.

When blocking a rectangle keep crisp vertical and horizontal lines.

Circular knit blocking requires you to keep a nice round shape with rows of knitting that make nice straight lines from the edge to the center, and from the center straight to the opposite edge cutting the circle in half.

Take your time pinning, it can be a bit of a process. I think the first shawl I blocked took me a few hours. It gets quicker with practice.

When choosing pins, choose pins with a large head or T pins. Stretching can cause the yarn to creep up and slip over the top, if the pin head is too small. It is also important since you are wet blocking to choose rust-proof pins.

Some people block “harder” (stretch further) than others. Open your lace up until it has the look you want, but be sure you really open up your yarn overs quite a bit, so the lace pattern really shines.  Stretched lace won’t keep the same dimensions once it is done. When you remove the pins it will relax some since the pins aren’t holding it taught.  My pinned shawl measured 171cm/68.5” (top) X 73cm/29” (center) with the lace edging measuring 21cm/8.5”.

Do not unpin until the the yarn is completely dry. Best to leave it overnight if you can. Take the pins out one at a time.

Once it is unpinned weave in any ends you may have.

There you have it – How to wet block a lace shawl.

As you can see the lace opens up dramatically.  I love the look of a flower in the center of each  diamond.

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Unpinned my shawl measures 160 cm/64” across by 73cm/29” tall with the lace edge opening to 17.5cm/7” that’s quite the stretch from 95cm/ 38.5” across by 51.5cm/20.5” tall it was pre-blocking.

Mine is all set now to be bundled up and gifted. I’m excited for the recipient to receive it.

Happy lace knitting and blocking!


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Something New

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I’m not a sock knitter. I don’t have a problem with sock knitters the way some other non-sock knitters do. I don’t think it’s a waste of time, I’m just not interested. It’s the reason I’ve never made baby booties – Too sock-like. Continue reading

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Where’s my…

I don’t know about you, but I have a knitting cabinet where I store everything. Everything has a place, and still I have a few things I can never find. Three things come to mind.

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My Tape Measure – Essential for nearly every pattern, specifically to determine gauge. In a pinch I’ve even printed off a ruler on to a sheet of paper from the internet.  Then there’s the problem of broken tapes. My little people think it’s the the coolest thing to pull out the tape and watch it get sucked back in at high speed when the retract button is pressed. Pull a tape to it’s limit and it will retract no longer. Continue reading

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Accepting – part 2

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Micah's baby blanket from his Great Aunt Roxy - Gift Receiving.

If you haven’t read the first part of this post start here: Accepting

Somewhere along the way, through someone’s friend follow suggestion, I added Brittany to my list of people I follow on twitter. Continue reading

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Accepting

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Part of a spa package I once sent Lauren.

One of the greatest things I have learned from my friend James (not a knitter), was the spirit of gift giving. Continue reading

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