Monthly Archives: December 2015

Winter has finally arrived, Barbara

Today from our upstairs window

Today from our upstairs window

Winter is just a couple of days late and a few dollars short for Christmas.  I have done some knitting over the holidays as I sat around with the extended family.   My sister Felicity is big into helping a Syrian refugee family settle into her home town.  They are knitting 8″ squares which will be made into afghans for the new arrivals.  I did a square using the Bowknot Stitch, pg 133.gillianknits.comWhen I made Laura her shawl on her birthday, she asked for a headband and picked out a couple of stitches from the cable chapter.  Getting up to the right stitches is one of the reasons I did so many cables on the Christmas hats.  The headband has a Plait Cable , pg 244 flanked by two Little Plait Cables, pg 245.

My sister Penny is Laura’s mother and I had given her a hat and mitt set a while ago.  She found the hat too big around the hat band part, so I made her a new one.  I did the band first using Inverted Gull Stitch flanked by two Gull Stitch repeats, pg 248.  I picked up from the top of the band and continued up in Yarn Over Check, pg 70 and finished it off with an i-cord rose.  The new hat is not an exact match to the mitts like the old one, but I hope it is close enough.

…btw I used Rickrack Pattern, pg 119 and Elongated Chain Cable, pg 246 on the last Christmas hat I showed on Christmas Day.  There was a lot going on when I was writing the post so I forgot.

Merry Christmas, Barbara.

gillianknits.comMerry Christmas from Maitland.  Jacob came home from California for two weeks, so I had him model today’s

We opened the presents, then my siblings posed for me in my Christmas hats.

Merry Christmas from the Sutcliffe siblings!

Merry Christmas from the Sutcliffe siblings!

And some people took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to go for a polar bear swim in the mighty St. Lawrence.

Polar bear swimmers

Polar bear swimmers

Heather gave this one the thumbs up, Barbara

Without the Santa hat, that

I am a day late with this post.  Oops. I am trying to publish on Tuesdays and Fridays.  I had a very social weekend.  I had more hugs from people that weren’t my husband or children this week than in the last six months combined.  I went to Toronto to volunteer as a historic cook for a Regency Christmas

It was really fun.  I stayed overnight in my home town at my friend from high school Ann’s house.  Then I spent 4 nights in Toronto with my university friend Lauren.  It was a nice change of scenery but I am glad to be home to rest up for Christmas at Mum’s.  The supper on Friday night was beautiful and I always learn a lot when I do these events.  Plus the food is

I was originally going to make this hat elongated like an elf hat, but some women really liked it in progress at the doctor’s office, so I decided to make it like an ordinary hat for after Christmas.

gillianknits.comHeather liked the hat when she put it on and I think that is because I made the band in one long strip, then picked up stitches off the top of the band for the main part of the hat.  It really fits nicely.  The band uses a Chain Cable, pg 246 down the middle, flanked by two Elongated Wave Cables, pg. 245.  I used Lace Cable or Germaine Stitc, pg 275 for the upper, green

To get rid of the stitches, I decreased in the eyelet part first, then the cables. The little Santa hat is detachable.  To make it, I cast on 9 stitches on each of 3 needles (27 total) and did 4 rows of garter stitch in white.  I then changed to red and stockinette stitch. I decreased one stitch per needle every other row till I had two stitches per needle.  I then switched back to white, picked up one stitch in between the two stitches on each needle (so I had 9 total) and did another four rows of garter stitch.  I did a slip one k2tog, psso on each needle and slipped the end through.

Can’t really see the shadow boxes without blocking, Barbara

gillianknits.comAlthough Alan claims they do add something to the appearance.  You have to look upward from the bottom to see them.  gillianknits.comThis hat uses Shadow Box Pattern, pg 71 and Bulky Double Cable, pg 243.  The shadow box pattern tends to scrunch up because of the slip stitches which are being pulled up three rows.  You do wrap twice around and drop the wrap, but it still pulls up.  The knitting would have to be blocked to expose the red.  I am not sure I want to do that because for me, blocking tends to flatten things out so you lose the elasticity.  This is fine for a lace shawl or something, but i am often not a fan of blocking.  Serious knitters feel free to gasp.  I put the i-cord rose on the top to bring the red (which had basically disappeared in the shadow boxes) back into the hat to make it at least a little bit

I cheated a bit, Barbara

gillianknits.comI decided to skip ahead in the book to Christmas Trees, pg 203 for two reasons.  First, I thought they would work on this hat, and second, I am not sure what time of year it will be when I get to them legitimately, so I might as well use them at a seasonally appropriate time i.e. now.  I have not done anything else in the lace chapter yet.  I am actually thinking of making a subsidiary set of arbitrary rules to cover that chapter anyway.  It starts with umpteen variations of faggoting, so I think skip ahead and then use the faggoting as filler in the projects as I go through the rest of the lace stitches.  I have to do something with lace soon because I am going to the Chesterville Spin-In in February and the theme this year is lace.

I also used Wave Cable, pg


My, but doesn’t that Santa have a richly patterned hat, Barbara?

gillianknits.comMillie has been very helpful with my knitting lately.  She is a very active cat and as it gets colder out, she goes out less and less.  That leaves me to entertain her.  She likes to walk over my keyboard until the sounds stop, then lie down to purr.  She often grabs at the yarn as it comes out of the ball.  Today she decided to help me with my photography.

We had a great day yesterday at Hilary’s place.  Hilary is one of the horse drivers at the village and yesterday she hosted the monthly get together of the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, which is what the women of the village call ourselves these days when we gather in the off season.  We used be called Heritage Hands and meet to learn historic crafts, but nowadays it has mostly devolved into a potluck and gabfest kind of deal.  Equally enjoyable if a tad less educational, and with a whole lot less prep work. Hilary owns her own horse and wagon.  You can also see Marjorie, Janice and Mary who Hilary had just brought down the lane.  It was 11 degrees (C) and beautiful for the 9th of December.  Her attempt to host the same gathering at this time last year apparently happened in a blizzard.  I myself was on my way to

I saw the Puff Stitch, pg150 and thought it would give a nice bulky appearance instead of fur for the bottom of Santa’s hat.  Barbara told me it had plenty of horizontal elastity so I only cast on 96 stitches.  I increased to 120 sts for the Wheat Ear Cable and Reverse Wheat Ear Cable, pg 244.  To get rid of the stitches, I reduced the cables from 3 x 3 to 2 x 2, then 1 x 1.  I spread this out over 8 pattern repeats so that the top was elongated for Santa, then put a bobble made of Puff Stitch on the top.  I made enough aborted runs at the top of the hat that I put in a lifeline to rip back to, but I think it ended up ok

If I do say so myself, Barbara

gillianknits.comI am looking forward to Christmas and so I guess I am happy to be doing some Christmas hats.  I started this blog when I was on a run of Halloween hats. It seems like a lifetime ago, and I guess it is for some toddlers I know.  Who are coming to my Mum’s for Christmas. Yeah.  As well as my own grown up babies.  Yeah.  And all 6 of my sisters.  Yeah.  And my brother.  Yeah. Speaking of my grown up babies, we skyped Jacob the other day and he has a moustache.   He still had his movember moustache.  He has been wanting to grow one since movember started, and now he is old enough.  Sigh.  He will be coming home on Christmas eve, then we will head for Mum’s.  He is working in silicon valley down in the states for a year as an intern.  He has been gone since May and it is a long time.  He hasn’t lived at home since he started his engineering degree three years ago, I had gotten used to this, but out of the country is another ball of emotional

I think this is a cool hat.  I am constantly amazed by how the next stitch works out.  At least I am often pleased with the results.  I am never quite sure in my mind if I am what one would call a designer or not.  I just go to the next stitch, cast on what seems like a reasonable number of stitches and go from there. If I run into problems, I wing it.  I have done enough hats now that I can usually turn things around.  I tend to cast off and pick back up rather haphazardly in working things

I had to use a multiple of 24 for the Zebra Chevron, pg 69, so it was either 96 or 120.  I switched to a new yarn for this hat, Cascade 220 superwash.  I went to my favourite all time wool store, Romni Wools, when I was in Toronto and the helpful young woman suggested it. I read the ball band and it said you could use 4 or 4.5 mm needles, so I went with 4 mm and cast on 120 stitches, like I had been doing for the alpaca. I thought this was going to be the main body of the hat when I cast on.  Again, swatching may have helped, but in this case I am not sure I would have ended up with as good a hat.  It became apparent after one and a half of the 12 row repeats that this was probably going to be too tight.  It had already been quite a bit of effort, so rather than start again, I decided to make it the crown of the hat instead and got rid of the stitches at five points of decrease (slip one k2tog, psso at the top of each chevron every other row).  Because this was pretty aggressive decreasing, it gave me a lovely sculptural top.  And graphic as all get out to boot.  Like a red an white mountain

I felt at this point that the 4 mm needles were making it too tight for my liking, so when I picked up from the original cast on edge, I did so with a 4.5 mm needle.  I did 6 rows of garter stitch before switching to green for the pattern band.  These are pretty much the same Santa hats as I put on the ho ho ho! hat.  They work better on the green ground, which I knew they would, but then again, I didn’t own green alpaca.  They also work better when knitted upside down like this because the bobbles sit in a better position on the top of the hats.  I finished off with 8 rows of garter stitch, then used the Elastic Bind Off from Cast on, Bind off by Leslie Ann Bestor.  Which, by the way, i am going to ask for for Christmas.  I must say, I am totally sold on the strategic use of different cast on/offs.  I am less thrilled with this yarn.  It is 100% wool, but it does not seem to be made from particularly fine wool and feels almost synthetic to me.  Maybe it is just that the last dozen hats i made were with lovely soft alpaca.  I had become less enamored with my Patons Classic Wool because I felt it was becoming more harsh, but I feel like I may have fallen out of the proverbial frying pan

Guess who’s coming to town, Barbara

gillianknits.comLook at the fabulous new hat form my friend Jen gave me!  Her brother found it in her grandmother’s basement.  Apparently, Jen’s great grandmother was a milliner and this may have been hers.  Anyway, it is shiny and ceramic and I love it, no matter who owned it before, but I do hope it was a historic milliner.  I have decided to go Christmas, so I am only going to knit with red, white and green until then. I saved the last balls of red and white alpaca for this hat and have purchased some Cascade 220 Superwash in each of the colours to continue with.  I am going to put the rest of the alpaca on hold until after

Everyone at the knitting guild seems hepped up on fancy cast on and offs these days so I got a book from the library by Leslie Ann Bestor called Cast On Bind Off and used her two-color braided cast on.  I think the alpaca may be too fine to show this cast on to full advantage, but I had already cast on twice so I left it.  I cast on 120 stitches again then did four rows of red garter stitch followed by two plain white rows before starting the pattern.  I used Two-Color Cable Rib, pg 70 for the main part of the hat.  This pattern has an 8 stitch repeat, so there were 15 cables.  I got rid of 5 of them first, did two full repeats, then got rid of 5 more, did two and got rid of the rest.

I had knitted the Santa hats into the decorative band, but I felt that they weren’t standing out as much as I would like, so I outlined them in

I had to corral a loosey goose this time, Barbara

This weekend I went to my mum’s for a birthday party for my niece Laura.  A couple of years ago I had started this shawl for her because she loves skulls,  so I finished it up.  It was modified from a Ravelry Pattern by kungen och majkis.  I decided to put the picture up because I thought it was a nice panorama of my mums house too.  The photo was taken by her boyfriend Andrew and I thought he did a nice job.Skulls designed by kungen majkis, photo by Andrew Filipcic

gillianknits.comThe Tweed Knot Stitch, pg 68 at the bottom of this hat was another with huge lateral spread.  Barbara didn’t warn me this time, but maybe I should have known.  You purl one round, then knit 1, knit 1 in the stitch below in the second round.  This knitting in the row below loosens things quite a bit. Tensions got back to normal with the Broken Diagonal Rib, pg 24.  I continued with the dark blue until I thought I would run out, then I finished the top of hat off while trying to stay as close to the pattern as possible. I had about ten inches of dark blue at the end so yeah me.  At this point it looked like a hot mess, dogs breakfast, pile of pooh, whatever your favourite negative phrase is.

I went inside the hat and picked up a round of stitches from the back of the transition between the Tweed Knot and the Broken Rib and did an inch of k1p1 ribbing, then joined back to the cast on edge as I cast off, simulating a three needle cast off without one of the needles.  I think it is OK, given how bad it was at one point,  but it is pretty standard in shape for

I have done a count. I took a highlighter and went through my blog posts and the table of contents of my very adulterated copy of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns to make sure I hadn’t inadvertently missed anything. I had actually done a couple of stitches twice but c’est la vie. I crossed off 135 stitches. I started in February, so I think I am doing