Catching Butterflies

Catching Butterflies I

This morning there was frost on the grass and I felt pretty good about myself. Why? Not only was I prepared with a new warm coat and a pair of boots for my daughter, but incredibly enough I have knit her a pair of fingerless gloves and I finished them just in time! Shocking, right? I have been spending a lot of time sitting around waiting lately and making lemonade out of lemons I have put the time to good use and have been knitting.

Knitting these gloves was quite a journey. Choosing the yarn was easy. I knew I wanted to use the Merino Cashmere blend yarn and she liked it right away, but which colour? My youngest daughter knows her mind and on the third (!) try I finally go the colour she wanted. Picking the pattern was easy too. When I showed her the pattern by Tiny Owl she was hooked.

Knitting the pattern was not so straight forward. The yarn I used is very similar to the one in the pattern so I cast-on with my usual long-tail cast-on and knit away. I knew fairly soon that I was in trouble, but she was in school and I had time to knit. The thing is, these gloves are tiny. So I suggest you knit them for someone with slender arms and small hands, knit it with a DK weight yarn or cast on more stitches.

When my 13 y/o daughter tried the first glove on it did fit, but the cast-on was uncomfortably tight. She bravely told me she could manage it.  At that point I was well into the glove and did not want to start over, so I soldiered on. As a bind-off I used the sewn bind off for more elasticity. I left the thumbs for last and started on the second glove, for which I used the backwards-loop cast-on. Much better!

While I was knitting the second glove I was thinking about how I could fix the too tight cast-on and after finding this video I decided to cut off the whole cuff and re-knit it again this time in the other direction. It was fairly easy and worked really well. I finished the the gloves and gave them to my daughter to try them on. She was very pleased about the cuff, but now we had a new problem: In one glove she could not get her thumb into it and on the other one the thumb turned bright red right away. It was cutting off her circulation! At that point we both started laughing.

I unraveled the thumbs, re-knit them with added stitches and started on the butterflies. It turns out that it is quite difficult to get even tension on mohair boucle yarn, so that the butterflies looked a bit lopsided. Still, being so close to the finish line I attached them and proudly handed the gloves to my daughter. I was happy until I saw her face. She said that the butterflies did not look like butterflies and the “bodies” looked weird. She’d rather have no butterflies than these. Ouch!

Catching Butterflies III

OK, I wanted her to have butterflies on her gloves, so I re-knit one butterfly, embroidered the body with a running stitch and discovered I could improve the other butterflies’ shapes by running a thread through them and tightening it a bit without it being noticeable. Finally success!

Catching Butterflies II

The pattern  for the Catching Butterflies gloves by Tiny Owl Knits can also be found on Ravelry.


Knitting Until the Yarn Runs Out


Long Sock

I knit these socks for my Father-In-Law. My Mother-In-Law told me several times how much he likes socks with a long leg. She said it so often that I decided to make them as long as possible, until the yarn ran out. I think they are a bit too long, but as far as I have heard my Father-In-Law likes them.

They turned out looking rather funny, I think. They are size 9. The foot is 11 inches ( 28cm) long and the leg 12 inches (30cm) long, with 60 stitches.  The yarn I have used is this one in the colourway Toffee. I love to knit with it .

I knit these toe-up with my new-to -me favourite cast-on method, which you can find here. Also,  I used the Sweet Tomato Heel by Cat Bordhi and the sewn bind-off.

My Father-In-Law wears only hand-knit socks and he said he liked the fit of the Sweet Tomato Heel very much. I think we have a winner!


Long Socks

The Summit Shawl

Summit Shawl

When I saw the Summit Shawl in Knitty I knew I had to make it. The pattern fascinated me. I was also very curious about the yarn that was used: raw silk. Raw silk is also called noil silk and they basically use the leftovers to spin this yarn. It is not shiny and has the appearance of linen or hemp yarn, but of course it is soft. I ordered it from one of my suppliers and got an unpleasant surprise when I soaked it before dyeing. This yarn stinks! It gets even worse when you heat it up for the dye to take. It was so bad that I had to dye it outside. Luckily the smell is gone when it is dry and is very faint when you wash it again.

Shawl Close-up

I love my new shawl and I am sorry that it took me almost a year to finish it. I wish I had more time to knit. There are so many great patterns out there. Anyway, if you have a chance to try raw silk yarn I highly recommend it. Just don’t dye it in the house ; )

Rainbow Socks

Rainbow Socks

I want to show you my new rainbow socks, modeled here by my daughter. I have had so much fun knitting these socks! I don’t quite remember where I had the idea to dye a rainbow yarn, but the inspiration for the construction came from several places.

First of all they are knit with several mini-skeins. I was inspired by the Blender Socks on Ravelry. The special method is that you change skeins gradually. You start with the new skein for a row, then knit from the previous skein and change again until you finally drop the old yarn. When you are done knitting you have several ends to darn in, but it was not too bad.

These socks are knit toe-up to make sure that I would have enough “room” for all the colours of the rainbow. I used a new-to-me method to cast on, that is very easy to do. I love it! You can see it in a video here.

The heel is the Smooth Tomato Heel by Cat Bordhi. She explains it in her video here. Again, I am very happy with this heel. It is very easy to do and most importantly I love the way it fits my foot. ( The socks are a bit too large for my daughter.)

Smooth Tomato Heel

To cast-off I used the sewn bind-off by Elizabeth Zimmerman. You can find very good instructions on Knitty (scroll down.) The bind-off is very stretchy and well worth the effort.

If you like to make your own rainbow socks you can find the yarn in my Etsy shop. Happy knitting!

Valentine’s Gift

Valentine's Ring

Each year when Valentine’s day nears my kids have high expectations. I know they are not thinking of their Mom, but still I thought  could surprise them with a little gift. For my daughters I made these rings.

The rings are knitted out of silk lace yarn and the hearts are needle-felted and then sewn onto the ring. It took very little time to make them and my girls like them very much.

Here is how I made them:

Ring base:

Silk lace yarn ( I used my Swiss Silk) , 2 mm DPNs

Cast on loosely 18 (small) or 21 (medium) stitches using long-tail cast on. Distribute the stitches on 3 DPNs. Knit 6 rows in stockinette, cast off. Let the fabric roll inwards.

I needle-felted the hearts free-style with several shades of red and orange wool fibers. I added the fibers in several layers because I wanted the hearts to be very plump. You can find basic instructions  for needle-felting hearts on this blog.

Heart Ring