Friday, April 8, 2016

Trekkie Scarves!

My dear husband Kishi is a total Trekkie.  I still love him, though; no-one's perfect.  Our entire relationship has pretty much been a battle between the Force and the Federation, and while I do love the cheesiness of the original 60's era Captain Kirk Trek, I'd still take the Millennium Falcon over the Enterprise any day.  (I also proudly wear my Boba Fett shirt -- and helmet -- to Star Trek night with our friends, but that's mostly just to annoy them)

While I'm not an uber-fan myself, I have learned to take inspiration where I can find it, and Star Trek has certainly given me a few ideas.  (The Bajorans on Deep Space 9 have some gorgeous knitted clothing, which I really want to pattern up...)  Kishi is a real Next Generation fan, and the geometric pattern of their uniforms translates well into various knitted forms.

These scarves are recognizably Trekkie, but not "OMG, you're a nerd!" Trekkie.  I actually rather like them.  Of course, they come in command red, engineering and security gold, and science and medical blue.  (I think I got those designations right...)  Personally, I think I'll be keeping a blue one for myself.  As Spock would say, "It's only logical."
It took me a little longer than usual to get these finished, as I had to contend with what is probably a sprained thumb.  (I fell off the lie)
Live long, prosper, and stay warm.
In the end, I did three versions: a color-block (with and without the stripe) and a solid.  Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dragons and Mermaids!

I'm sure by now, almost everyone has seen the mermaid tail blankets that seem to be popping up all over the Internet.  I must say, I think they are super adorable, and I want to be friends with whoever came up with the idea.

Well, a friend of mine came across the idea too and wanted one, and I was super stoked that she thought of me to make it.

She wanted one for her niece...and something for her nephew too.  What to do?  We talked about sharks, and a few other options, and settled on a dragon.  Because what kid doesn't want to be a dragon, right?

So a mermaid and a dragon...what could be easier?  Well, for starters, I couldn't find a pattern I liked.  I know, I know, I was probably just being difficult.  But I just didn't feel the "Oomph" from any of the patterns I came across.

So what do I do?  Of course, I make my own.  OMG, it takes so much math!  In the end, though, it all worked out.  And I even wrote it all down, so I can do it again, if I have to.

Really, I loved both these pieces so much, it hurt me to see them go...but I know the little ones they are meant for will enjoy them, so I'm also glad.  

It took about two months of constant devotion, ignoring all other projects I had on the go, but I can honestly say that my first real commission was a resounding success.  (At least, Auntie loved them...she'll be bringing them home soon!)
I promise to go into more detail on each of these gorgeous blankets later, but for now, I'm going to go launch myself into my next project.  Allons-y!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


So, I decided I was finally ready to take a stab at reclaiming some yarn.  Since it was my first time trying it out, I figured it might be easier to start with a chunkier weight until I get the technique down.  I picked a dark charcoal cardigan that is a wonderfully soft cotton-acrylic blend, and may likely be reborn as a cowl.  Plus, added bonus -- the sweater ended up being knit with two strands together, so twice the yardage!

Well, let's get to it, shall we?

A knit or crocheted seam is the winner
First of all, when picking a sweater for reclaiming, one of the first things to look at are the seams.  A knit or crocheted seam, like in the picture above, is what you're looking for.  A machine-sewn seam, like the one below, won't do you any good because it means the material was cut, and you'll just end up with a bunch of short pieces of yarn when you unravel it.  (Note: some garments have button bands or edges that cover the seams -- these can be a gamble, since you don't know what's underneath.)
Anything machine sewn just won't work out well
Another important thing to check is the tag -- that will tell you what the fibres are made of.  Most clothing today is made from acrylic or other man-made materials.  Acrylic yarn itself is fairly cheap, so it's up to you if you want to put in the time and effort to recycle it, or if the cost of the garment is worth it for the amount you'll get.  Try to avoid anything with a lot of elastic fibres if you can...they're just a pain to knit with.
Sometimes (like here) the 1% lycra is a separate strand, which is easily removed when unraveled

Personally, I went in hunting for natural fibres for the most part this time around, since they're usually beyond my price range, but I did pick up a couple of acrylic blends that were just too soft and wonderful to pass up.  

Be sure to check the condition of the garment as well...any signs of moth damage means it's a no-go -- you do NOT want to risk the rest of your stash by bringing moths home, and the yarn is likely pretty damaged anyway.  A small hole or repair isn't too bad, though you might end up with a few shorter lengths.  Wool tends to felt together over time, so check for felting.  Felted yarn won't unravel, so it's a waste of time and money.  (Unless you're looking for felted material to use for sewing projects...but that's a whole other subject.)

Once you've got your sweater, the first step is to remove any tags or buttons that would get in the way, then find a seam and start dismantling it.  Most seams would logically start at the bottom, or under the arms, or the end of a sleeve.  Whoever was making this particular sweater may have been drinking that day, because it was really all over the place.  (One sleeve started in the middle, and worked out to each end...?!?)  A seam ripper might come in handy, or you could always help it along with scissors (as long as you're careful not to cut the material itself).  Personally, I hang onto the lengths of yarn from the seams, in case I need them later for seaming or repairs, or just as scrap yarn.

This is what a sweater looks like after it's been taken apart
Once you've dismantled all the pieces, we get to the fun part: unraveling!  Now, there's no rule saying you can't unravel as you go, but I wanted to show you what it would look like all taken apart.

Most pieces unravel from the top (this is the top of the sleeve)
Once you start unraveling, you'll notice the yarn tends to hold its kink.  Some people wind the yarn loosely into hanks, leave it to soak for a bit, and then hang it to dry with a weight at one end...but I don't have time for that today.  (Or the equipment...yet)  So for the interim, I'm just winding it into temporary cakes.  I cut a slit in the end of a toilet-paper tube, slipped in the end of yarn, and started winding.  One day soon, I will have a ball-winder to do this for me, but for now, it works.  (Also, shoutout to Kishi for the idea to use the TP roll!)  One nifty tip would be to keep the tags from the sweater and pin them onto the yarn -- that way, you know what it is, and have the washing instructions handy!
These balls are HEAVY!  First trial: Success!
So from this one sweater, I got these three hefty cakes of yarn.  Eventually, I'll get around to weighing them, getting the yardage, and winding them properly...but my arm is tired.  So for now, I'm just going to caress them softly while muttering "Precious!" every so often, while Kishi eyes me with more and more concern.

Goodnight, Precious...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Time for Spring!

I don't know about you, but I am NOT a winter person.  If I could realistically hibernate, I would.  I don't like the cold, the snow in the city just looks grey, and getting anywhere at all is just a nightmare.  So, now that the weather has lightened up for a bit, I am more than ready to get into the Springtime mood.

I spotted a scarf like this a while back, but couldn't find it I took a guess at how it was done, and this is what I came up with.  I used some of the pink yarn I had left over from Arya's sweater, and stitched on a little Sakura blossom (I seem to have a fixation on them right now...they're just so pretty and spring-like!)  

I love the way the flower turned out, though it was a bit fiddly to stitch the petals together.  I made each one separately and sewed them to the centre, then stitched the whole thing to the scarf.  Next time, I might try to find a way to do the whole thing as one, but I might need to work on my crochet skills to manage it.  

I loved making this so much, I did a second one in the raspberry pink, with a little rose blossom.  I also had a great idea to make one in green, with a shamrock for St Patty's Day...but I only got the idea on St Pat' maybe soon I'll have it done.

It's lovely and light, knit in DK, and definitely makes me feel like spring is on its way.  Eventually.  Though being Canada, I don't put away my winter wear until June...

Saturday, March 5, 2016


One idea I've been toying with for a little while is recycling -- or upcycling -- yarn.  I'd first heard the practice mentioned in a post on Facebook ages ago (before that handy "save post" feature).  When I read "recycled/reclaimed yarn", I immediately pictured some ugly homemade sweater that someone's great-aunt knit them and they donated asap.  Why would someone want to reuse ugly, scratchy wool? I thought.

It slowly dawned on me, as I saw more and more posts and links popping up on my feed -- there might just be something to this after all.  So I checked out a few blogs and how-to's, and I came to see how limited my thinking was.  Don't get me wants to repurpose Great-Aunt Sally's technicolor steel-wool monstrosity.  

But a $5 sweater might just get you several hundred yards of cashmere.  Or silk.  Or angora.  Or who knows what else.  I had never even considered factory-knit garments.  Duh!  They tell you right on the tag what's in 'em!  And there are entire aisles of knitwear just waiting to be rifled through at the thrift store.

So, having done a little research, I optimistically headed out to Value Village with a vague, half-baked plan.  (But I ever have any other kind?)  My basic goal was to see just what kind of fibres I'd be able to net...and I gave myself a budget of $50.

For $50, you might be able to get a couple of decent skeins -- or one really good one -- from your local yarn shop.  Or you could get several cheap ones from WalMart.  (Not to knock those of us knitters on a budget, of course)  But let's take a look at what $50 got me.

After two or three hours of fondling most of the garments they had to offer and finally weeding down my selections, this is what I ended up with.  
These sweaters are all SO soft!
And, for another $50, I also got these.  Like I said, half-baked plan...thankfully, there was a 30% off deal, so I really only went $20 over budget.  Thirteen sweaters!
I can never find metallic yarn in the colors I want, but I CAN find sweaters!
Totally worth it, though.  I scored a great assortment of angora, merino, a bit of alpaca blend, some mohair...and a gorgeous cashmere!  (They had another as well, but the color kind of reminded me of vomit...)  Plus I nabbed a couple of sparkly blends, because I love sparkles and I can never find any in the colors I want.  And they all feel so soft and squishy!
Everyone collects something.  My collection just happens to be somewhat grotesquely beautiful.
So here's my first haul, ready and waiting to be ripped apart and given new life.  Oh, and I also found a new mask for my collection!  (I hang them in the bathroom to make my friends uncomfortable when they come over -- because I love them)

Right now, I think I'll just sit for a bit.  And try not to think about going back for another load just yet...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Use the Force!

So this is an idea that popped into my head a while ago, that I have been just dying to get on the needles: lightsaber scarves.  I was amazed that I couldn't find any patterns online, so I had to make up my own.  Finding the right yarn was a little tough, since I often shop online and it can be difficult to find just the right colors.  (As a hardcore fan, anything less than perfection is unacceptable.)

My first trial was Qui-Gon Jinn's 'saber from Episode 1, which has always been one of my favourites for its simplicity of style.  I wasn't sure at first about the lime green for the blade -- on its own, it looks rather yellow -- but it actually worked perfectly and I love it.  
I wish I'd had this finished in time for Episode VII
Since most of the hilt ends are done in more than one color, it is very important to remember to wrap the new color under the other on the wrong side (back) before continuing the row, or else you will end up with gaps where the colors switch.
Note the black is looped around the grey, to hold it together

I embroidered over the edges of the black to give it a cleaner line, and the red button is just a simple little bubble (popcorn) stitch -- cast on 2, kfb in both, k2tog twice, k2tog again, then pull the tail through that last stitch and sew it on.  Voila!

As soon as my computer is back in the land of the living, I'll be patterning this baby up on Ravelry.  I also have patterns in the works for just about every other lightsaber in the movies, as well: Obi-Wan's, Luke's, Vader's, even Darth Maul.  Plus, it's easy to customize any color "blade" (Kishi wants me to do a pink one for our little Pup), if you want to get all wild and crazy.  Kylo Ren's might take some extra creativity, though...I think I'll just stick to the first six movies for now.

*Also, for those interested, I do sell these and other designs through my Etsy shop, which is now open!  Find me at *  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Squishy Mail!

Have you ever come up with a great design and wanted to cast on immediately?  But you don't have the right yarn for it, so you have to wait until you can afford to order it?  Then you order it, but you have to wait for it to arrive?


This is me today.
I literally just opened the box 20 minutes ago.  Excited?  I think so!
I have been waiting for weeks to be able to test out this idea for a pattern, and my happiness level right now is off the charts (haha, knitting joke...).  I kind of feel bad for all my other projects, which will now have to wait just a bit longer to be finished.  But I've got a box load of new yarn here just begging me to use it...
One of the first times I've ordered yarn with specific projects in mind
That right there is sixteen 8oz balls of worsted, my friends.  It's looking like it's gonna be a long night.  (But TOTALLY worth it!)

Friday, February 5, 2016


This post is long overdue, and has been sitting in my drafts for about two weeks now.  What was supposed to be a post-holiday break for relaxation and me-knitting...well, it kinda got away from me.  First of all, Arya has gone from just learning to crawl to trying to walk in about a week and a half -- and is like a hurricane blowing through my living room.  Then, all of us got sick, which was no fun.  Plus, my computer decided to up and die on me, so I'm stuck updating from my iPad (hence the lack of formatting...apologies).  Anyways, there hasn't been a whole lot of time for knitting, but I've been doing what I can.

Still, I did manage to get another Zig-Zag Scarf off the needles, and I absolutely love the colors of this one.  A fiery mix of purple, red and orange, I have kept with my impromptu scheme and dubbed this one "Thor on Fire".  It made me giggle.  I wanted something that didn't require a lot of thinking or pattern reading, and this is a super easy go-to for me.  
I want to make all the things in this yarn
I've been putting in a few rows here and there on a few experiments, as well.  I say experiments because, well, I really have nothing but a vague idea going in that I play around with until it turns into something I'm satisfied with.  This one is a cotton scarf done in fan and feather, on a diagonal.  Because apparently I feel I should be doing more math with my knitting.  (A twelve stitch pattern, over four rows, two increases per repeat...carry the one...divide by zero...)
Love the colors of this yarn -- called "Hydrangea"

I'm also working on a cardigan for myself, but the pattern itself is in French, so it's slow going since I need to translate the terms used as I go.  So far it's turning out great, though!  

On the plus side, I've got a ton of new designs and patterns sketched out, so as long as I can keep up a steady stream of new yarn into my stash (is that ever REALLY a problem?) I'll have a bunch of new stuff to share with you all soon!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Patterns Going Live!

Between working on the various projects I've got on the go (I recently came down with a mild case of start-itis) I have also been busy designing some new patterns and writing up some of my older ones.  It's taken me a bit longer than I'd hoped, especially with a teething baby who insists on attaching herself to me at all times.  They will be available for download through Ravelry, so feel free to look me up there as DizzyStitchin.  

Over the next few months, I will also be working on opening an Etsy shop that will feature some of my finished projects for sale (those I can bring myself to part with, anyways).  It'll take a while to get everything up and running, but bear with me.  

In the meantime, my needles are busy juggling a scarf, a tunic, a sweater, two shawls, and a poncho...not to mention all the ideas I've got bouncing around still waiting to be cast on.  Those extra needle sets I got myself for Christmas are sure getting a workout!  My birthday is coming up, so I think I may be gifting myself some new yarn...which may also be what my dear hubby has hinted at giving me.  Either way, I see a whole lot more knitting ahead this year!