Merry Giftmas

I decided to knit something for A’s preschool teachers for Christmas this year. I had the same thought last year, but in typical Kate fashion, my thoughtfulness came far too late to actually act upon. But this year I was on it! And to make sure I hadn’t bitten off more than I could chew, I chose a pair of mittens with bulky yarn that would knit up very quickly. Bella’s Mittens, by Marielle Henault, is a ridiculously popular pattern that has been on my radar for a while. I happened to have some beautiful bulky alpaca that C’s coworker (an alpaca farmer) gave me that I’d been saving for the right project. Here are the results…

Bella browns   Bella brown closeup

Bella white closeup

These soft, lovely yarns are really special. The alpacas live just north of the city on C’s co-worker’s farm. She takes the fiber to be spun at Custom Woolen Mills, where they use antique machines to spin the yarn. I just think this is so cool, and particularly environmentally friendly considering that there is essentially zero shipping involved. I am going to try and get more yarn from her in the future!

Bella gift tags

Bella gift with chocolate

Anywho… I printed up a tag for the mitts as I couldn’t bear the thought of them getting accidentally felted. I attached them with a little bow, wrapped them up and put them in a gift bag along with some Two-Tone Peppermint Bark. And now I’m off now to deliver them!

Thrummed Mitts Part III

And now for the final installment of the thrummed mittens saga, I present the lady-sized version. These were knit for the mom of the two boys for whom I had knit the previous versions. She is a dear friend of mine, my university roommate from many moons ago. She is also the same friend who helped me learn to knit way back then.
These mittens are a little more sophisticated, knit with a beautiful mauve Cascade 220 Heathers. The thrums were made with some roving I bought a long time ago that had cream, rust and a cream/rust/mauve blend. I used the one colour for each row of thrums, which gave them a subtle stripe pattern. I’m really happy with how these turned out, I hope Tamara is too!

More Thrums

I have been one busy lady lately. All work and no play makes me fairly happy actually, but I must confess that the meals I’m putting on the table have been a little lacking. Tonight I boiled some pasta and threw in a jar of sauce. Everyone knew better than to complain too much.
But, I am getting a lot of stuff done. A little over a week ago I managed to finish another pair of thrummed mittens for my friend’s other little boy. The boys are very close in age and their hands aren’t that different in size so instead of adding another repeat to the pattern I just went up to a size 6 needle (rather than the size 5 I used for the smaller ones). This gave me an extra 1/2″ in width and height, which was just about what I needed. I chose another random stripe pattern but with the same colours, so the mittens would be similar but different enough that they would know whose were whose. I delivered them last week, but apparently the boys are not big fans of the feel of the thrums on the inside so we are considering lining them.
Last week I worked and worked and worked on my kids’ cowboy costumes. I am pleased to report that the damn shirts are finally done. I am not going to rant now about how painful the process was, I’ll leave that for a future post. For now, the mitts…

Thrumming Along


I was recently commissioned by a friend to knit some thrummed mittens for her and her two boys. They are wonderfully warm mittens, perfect for these frigid Cow Town winters. I still had lots of bright colours of Cascade 220 and some taupe-coloured Merino roving left in my stash  so I was able to start on them right away. I decided to do them in a random stripe pattern of four colours. Since I’m terrible at being random or overly creative when it comes to these things, I hit up the handy-dandy Random Stripe Generator, input the colours and rows I wanted, and refreshed away until I found a pattern I liked. Also, since I have a terrible memory, I looked up the Yarn Harlot’s thrum tutorial. Then I did a swatch to figure out how many stitches and rows per inch (aka stitch gauge and row gauge) I had for my yarn and needle choice and did a little math to determine how many stitches I needed. I made a chart in Excel and added my stripes, thrums, thumbs and decreases and badda-bing, badda-boom, I had myself a pattern. I’ll include the chart here for anyone who might be curious, but with the warning that you have to do some reading between the lines (or just go ahead and ask me questions) if you’re going to try and make a mitten from it. I’m also going to show a little detail on how to make thrums.

Lets start with the chart…

The V’s represent where the thrums are added. Dashes are purls.

And now a brief tutorial on how to make a thrum. The usual advice is to make up a bunch so that you can just reach for them when you need them, and that is certainly most efficient, but I am neither usual nor efficient. I usually make enough for a row when I get to a thrum row, it breaks up the monotony.

Pull off a small piece of roving about 3 inches long (our lovely Queen for scale).
Fold each end in to the middle.

Give it a twist. I like to give mine a little more twist just as I’m about to use it as I find they like to untwist if left to their own devices.

And then a little about how to add the thrums…

Insert needle into stitch to knit, place the thrum over the needle, bring the yarn around like usual…
…then pull the yarn and thrum through the loop as usual.
On the next row, knit the thrum and yarn together through the back of the loop.

And then you knit and knit and knit some more. And then you have oh-so-cute, oh-so-warm mittens.

Furry on the inside
Happy on the outside.


Giddy’up

Since it is mid-October I’m having a bit of a crafting crisis. On one hand, we woke up to an inch of snow here yesterday so I am kicking mitten and hand production into high gear. P’s head and one hand are covered, but that other hand is still out in the cold for now. I’ve come up with new hat and mitts designs that are being tested right now. They are fairly simple and quick so I’m hoping to release them as free patterns that I’ll post on the blog as well. More on that to come.

On the other hand, it is getting awfully close to Halloween and I’m really hoping to be able to make the kids’ costumes this year. For the first 3 years of motherhood there was just no way I was going to go out of my way to make costumes when they had perfectly cute ones at Old Navy for $15. Last year we did make A a pretty cool costume out of a box – he was a construction worker…

But this year I own a sewing machine, and even kinda know how to use it. So I went out the other day and picked up this Simplicity pattern and plan to make the kids cowboy/girl costumes. I figure they can double-up as Stampede outfits next year. I’ve decided to skip making the pants and skirt, they can just wear their regular jeans, so I’m only making the shirts. As I was looking through the fabrics I realized that if I’m going to be making a shirt, why not make it something durable and nice that can be worn everyday. So I bought these beautiful fabrics and I’m going to use buttons or snaps instead of the velcro the pattern calls for. I’m hoping to get working on them this weekend, so maybe next week I’ll be able to post the finished product.