Thursday, December 30, 2010

There's Still Time

Since several people offered, and 4 more military helmet liners arrived at the shop, we found a way to get more hats to Afghanistan!

Apparently, Canada Post will ship to the military for free until January 7, so if you'd like to knit a few more of these quick and simple hats, please bring them in by Thursday, January 6. We'll get them boxed up and sent on their way to our Canadian soldiers.

If you are coming late to this party, remember that one ball of Galway will make two helmet liners. The free pattern can be picked up at Little Red Mitten.

OR's a quick synopsis of the pattern:

5mm, 16 inch circular needle and 5mm double pointed needles
worsted weight, 100% wool such as Galway
Tension: 18 sts over 4 inches

Cast on 90 sts, join in round being careful not to twist stitches.
Work 4 rounds in *K1, p1* rib.
On 5th round, increase one stitch. (91 sts)
Knit in round until there are 4 inches of stocking stitch above ribbing.

*K11, k2tog* to end of round. Knit one round even.
*K10, k2tog* to end of round. Knit one round even.
*K9, k2tog* to end of round. Knit one round even.
Continue decreasing 7 sts per round (as above) with one fewer stitch between each decrease, alternating with one even round, until 49 sts remain, or this round:*K5, k2tog* to end of round.

Do not work even rounds between the rest of the decrease rounds.
Continue decreasing 7 sts per round until 7 sts remain.
Cut yarn, thread needle, run through remaining stitches, pull tight and weave in ends.

Peaceful knitting!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don Cherry

If you watched the news on Christmas Day, you may have seen Don Cherry visiting with our soldiers. Well, the guy in the Leafs jersey just happens to be Catherine's brother, Darryl - he's the one who will get the 51 helmet liners that we knitted. Darryl told her that lots of guys were waiting anxiously for the hats and he was thrilled that there were so many coming his way.

While speeches were going on, Darryl slipped away and put on his Leafs jersey. (His fellow soldiers got a good chuckle out of this, thinking that Darryl would be in big trouble for being out of uniform.) Of course, Don Cherry noticed him ...and called him up to stand beside him while he spoke to the crowd.

Darryl wrote, "It was sweet. I got him to sign my jersey, which was awesome. So that was my Christmas, you see it was pretty good after all."

* * * * *

Hoping your Christmas was peaceful and memorable.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We Knitted Our Bit

... Apparently, lots of Little Red Mitten customers.
You knitted 51 helmet liners for our troops overseas!!!
Here's Catherine with an armful of hats.
Her brother received ten hats earlier this year while serving in Afghanistan and
is looking forward to sharing these warm tokens of support from home.
Thanks for your generosity.
Fleece on earth, good wool to all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Knitting ...pass it on.

Some special time with needles and yarn ...and voila - a friendly little finger puppet to play with.
When a child works with her hands, there is a lot going on: brain development, eye-hand coordination, abstract thinking skills, interaction with others, and FUN!
Make time to play,
this holiday.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

If I follow the pattern ....

Another class, another window into a knitter's thoughts.

After a discussion about tension/gauge, this question arose: "So even if I follow the pattern exactly, it still might not turn out?"

Well ...following the pattern means many things. Unfortunately, it's more than just getting the knits and purls in the right place. Perhaps the most important part of following the pattern is getting the same tension or gauge. Knitting a swatch and counting the stitches to check your tension is IMPORTANT.

Check out these examples:

  • Imagine that you are knitting a sweater in the round. You have a pattern for a 40 inch sweater that has you cast on 200 stitches. The tension is 20 sts over 4 inches ...or 5 sts per inch. (200/5=40)
  • But what if you choose a too-thick yarn, needles that are too big, or you knit loosely? If your tension is 16 sts over 4 inches ...or 4 sts per inch, you are about to create a 50 inch sweater! (200/4=50)
  • On the other end of the spectrum, if you've chosen a fine yarn or small needles, or you are a tight knitter, you might get 24 sts over 4 inches ...or 6 sts per inch and end up with a 33 inch sweater. (200/6=33) Surprise!!!

Lastly, you could knit your tension swatch perfectly. Ahhhhh.

After making progress on the sweater and getting comfortable with the pattern, you might relax (or stress out about something) and cause your tension to change.

So, it really is a great idea to check your tension regularly - just get out your ruler and count those stitches.

Does this take the fun out of your knitting? Maybe a bit, but at least you will be following the pattern exactly, and you'll get the results that you want without the nasty surprises.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cast Slipper

Let's hope this fits over my daughter's cast!

I hope the tie will keep it on ...'cause it's cold in Thunder Bay!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


My 27-year-old daughter is very independent. Perhaps too independent.
On Saturday afternoon, we got an email saying that she had broken her ankle (on Friday night)and was going into surgery soon. By the way, I do remember teaching her how to use the phone, but apparently, it didn't 'take'.
So here we are in St. Thomas, an 18-hour drive from our injured baby in Thunder Bay, and we can't reach her for more information. The hospital will only say that, yes, she is in surgery. Seven hours later, we finally get through to her and learn that all is well.
There is now a pin holding her together, but she will likely leave the hospital the next day. She'll go back to her apartment, where she lives on her own, to the 2nd floor of a house, up the narrow stairs with a turn at the top ...and a railing that keeps falling off.
So she's snug in her apartment now ...and thinking she should go to work in the next day or two.
I wonder just how much snow there is in Thunder Bay right now. It's -22C and her toes are bare!

So my job is to look after her in any way I can. Two strands of Lamb's Pride Bulky on a 6mm needle -this thing is a three-eighths of an inch thick. At this point, this is all I can do:

It will look like this:

...only much bigger.

Do you think it will fit?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"The Easiest Thing to do...."

While teaching a sock class recently, an outgoing, funny and forthright new-this-year knitter had this to say:

"The easiest thing to do in knitting is to make a mistake."

Yikes! My first thought was to protect the other knitters from this sacrilege. How will they ever hope to continue if this is all they have to look forward to!?!?!?!? ...and then I smiled. She was right. "Knit happens."

As a young knitter, I was afraid to fix mistakes. I didn't understand what I was doing with yarn and needles and never stopped to analyse what was happening under my nose. If I attempted a correction, I was sure that my whole project would unravel down to the beginning and I would be a failure. I handed everything over to my Mom and she would magically and quickly put everything right again. It wasn't until I read the book, The Sweater Workshop, by J. Fee that I got over this hump ...and that is when I really started to love knitting.

Learning to fix mistakes is IMPORTANT. While some knitters plough ahead, leaving their mistakes because they just aren't sure how to fix them, others stop in their tracks when they come to a roadblock in their knitting, afraid to go forward or back. A few simple tricks can completely change the way you feel about knitting.

Take a class, read a book, watch a video, ask questions, dedicate some yarn and needles to experimenting. Don't be afraid - it's just sticks and string!