Category Archives: finished object: accessories


So, I don’t know who exactly is in charge of the time-space continuum around here, but I’m really not sure it’s supposed to be the middle of January already. I mean, really? I thought we were still in the first week of the year – can’t a girl get a bit of procrastination time on the whole New Year’s resolution thing? Ah well, nothing for it but to keep knitting I suppose. I have a whackload of knits going on behind the scenes around here, but keep trying to get the smaller finish-able projects in there because, what can I say, a girl needs some of those.


I finished my Union Station beret a week or two ago (possibly it was last week, but then, see above re: my loose relationship with the normal structure of time), and am really quite pleased with it. It’s in Ultra Alpaca which is a lovely warm wool/alpaca worsted weight yarn, and we’re going to need hats around here for another 2 months at least.


In true idiosyncratic knitter fashion, however, I haven’t actually worn it yet because I want to knit myself a plain pair of mittens or gloves to go with it and then I can leave the house with a matched set. (I briefly contemplated working up a true matching set of mittens with similar cable motifs on them but then quietly shut that down…maybe down the road, but not just yet). Something plain will do fine, so I think I’ve found my next small project to get ready on the needles.


Thanks to seeing several movies over the last month I am also finally nearing the end of my ribbed socks (my own free pattern, if you would like it), which have languished for several months in my handbag. (It’s really a good thing that knitting doesn’t fight back out of neglect, some days I think it would be totally justified in doing so). Normally I like to make socks my portable knitting, but lately sweater sleeves have been taking over in that department. I have noticed this is a poor thing for my sock drawer, because lately I’ve been playing favourites and wearing the same half-dozen pairs of hand-knit socks over and over again each week. It’s definitely time for a few new pairs in the rotation!

I hope you’ve got a great small or portable project to work on too, and that you can fill in your knitting time whenever possible. Happy Thursday!




Filed under finished object: accessories

Urban Collection: Aberdeen Ave. Mittens and Hat

One of my goals as I began putting together ideas for my Urban Collection was to offer a set of patterns with balance; In theory, I wanted a person who might knit all of these items to have a knitted object for any occasion. In other words, if you had all these knitted items, you could get dressed in something knitted no matter what the weather or wardrobe requires. I also wanted a balance of items in terms of required execution time and effort, and as I stagger the releases over a few months, each month’s release will have one larger, more time consuming item, and one or more smaller or less time consuming items. Some times you just need the instant gratification! (Well, or at least, instant-er.)


Some times, like right now around these parts, you also need a few quick and warm things, and that is where the Aberdeen Ave. mittens and hat patterns come in. I knew the Locke St. cardigan would be first up in February, and these likewise take their name from a Hamilton street name – Aberdeen Ave. and Locke St. intersect with each other, and with such Scottish place names to work with as inspiration, how could I resist working with cables? I loved the knotty twists and turns on these so much I couldn’t keep them to just one item, and just had to spread the cabled awesomeness to both a hat and a pair of mittens.

In a collection of knitted items, it would be a crying, crying shame to overlook the winter accessories, don’t you think? And it’s especially pleasing to have a matching pair. There is something very satisfying about feeling put together like that when you leave your front door, even if it’s a blustery chilly day that makes you need to bundle up. I reached for the heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn for both of these, to help with both warmth and speed.  A single skein of Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran is all that’s needed for either the hat or the mittens, and either one would be great for that single skein of worsted or Aran yarn you’ve got hanging around waiting for a project!



If you have more than a passing familiarity with a cable needle, you’ll have this hat finished in a snap. There’s just enough interest for you on the central cable panel running along one side to keep you from getting bored, and before you know it you’ll be decreasing and finishing up the top and reaching for another skein of yarn to make the mittens to match. If you’re still new to cables, these will be small canvases to practice on while you prep yourself for larger cabled projects.

As with all items in the Urban Collection (currently available on Ravelry – will be made available on Patternfish as an e-book and individual patterns once the collection is complete), both the Mitts and the Hat are available to be purchased individually in my Ravelry store, or as part of the collection. Once you’ve purchased the collection, you’ll receive all patterns that are added to it with each update, until it is complete.


I am grateful once again to my friends Austen (for modelling) and Jane (for photography), and to Jaya Purswani for the technical editing on these two projects. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Now that I’ve introduced you to all three February releases in the collection, I”ll be happy to report back on some other ongoing knits next time. I hate to jinx things, but I might just be getting close to finishing my Gwendolyn cardigan after all – and possibly even a pair of socks. Dare I say it, I may get some more warm knits finished in time to wear them in the chilly season after all.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!




Filed under cables, design, finished object: accessories

For Winter

Hat knitting season tends to come upon me a bit later on, after winter has already gotten started. I think my first impulse is always towards sweaters, once fall gets going, and then by late December and early January it eventually occurs to me that, hang on a second, there are three more months of cold weather still ahead. I might need some hats.

Happily enough for these purposes, earlier in the fall the folks at Lorna’s Laces sent me some single skeins to work with, and after a bit of brainstorming and stitch perusal and playing around, I came up with the two hat designs you see here. Both yarns were a joy to work with.


A bright cranberry red skein of Shepherd Worsted – a wonderfully soft yet wooly 100% wool worsted yarn – became the Union Station beret. (Available here in my Ravelry store, and here on Patternfish.) I confess this might be my favourite recent design, and I may have trouble holding myself back from making another one in a different colour. A cabled beret is one of my favourite winter accessories.


The Union Station beret is written in one size, to comfortably fit a head circumference of 20-22 ins. It uses a single skein of worsted wool yarn, worked in the round on 4.5mm needles for the main portion of the hat, changing to double-points as the crown becomes smaller. The magical part, of course, comes when you wash and block the final product over a dinner plate (usually the nearest circular, flat object), and then once dried the little thing transforms into a stylish cabled thing that makes you feel suddenly extremely elegant even if you’re just waiting in an interminable Starbucks queue. I love it, and hope you will too.


As a companion, I wanted to work up a relatively simple, slouchy hat pattern to accompany the lovely, drapey skein of Lorna’s Laces Honor (an alpaca/silk blend that is soft like kittens), which lends itself very easily to less structured knits. The Steeltown Slouch here, is the result – it uses a simple knit-and-purl pattern and works up relatively quickly in the round. (Also available here on Ravelry, and here on Patternfish.)


The colour here is ‘Blackberry’, which often appears quite a bit darker in the woolier lines of Lorna’s Laces. The colours in the alpaca/silk have a paler, shinier quality to it, leading me to the Steeltown moniker. It’s also a small homage to my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.


It is seen here in the larger of two sizes, which may also be easily modified by adding or subtracting pattern repeats from the main portion of the hat. Peggy, who models both hats here wonderfully, is quite a petite gal, so you may use that as a basis for comparison and size estimates.


I am grateful to Peggy for the impromptu modelling near the Purple Purl earlier this month, and to Dan Petre (a knitter himself, as well as a knitter’s husband) for the beautiful photographs. (I learned after the fact that Dan spent 2 hours browsing hat patterns on Ravelry to get a good sense of good hat photography. That is dedication, man.)

I think I could get into hats – i’m so sorry, hats, for the neglect I’ve shown you in the past. You were right all along, the socks and sweaters don’t need all the attention!. It impresses me not just how relatively quick hats are to work up, but also how fully a person can transform their look just by changing the style of hat they toss on when heading out the door. That is darned cool.

Happy knitting! And stay warm and cozy, where ever you are as the year winds down.



Filed under design, finished object: accessories, hats


[ETA]: Gateway is now available on both Patternfish and in my Ravelry store!

This past summer I travelled to San Francisco for several days following Sock Summit – you know, since I was already on the west coast and all. It was a great city to visit and I look forward to going back. One thing that did strike me (as I am sure with all tourists in that city), was how much one does really depend on knitwear even in the summer months. I spent most days with a light commercial-knit sweater, and, most gratefully, my Tibetan Dreams stole. I got used to slinging it around my neck and shoulders and thereafter attempted to achieve that “oh I just threw this elegance together” sort of look that one always wishes for when wearing lacy stoles.

On my second day there, I visited the Exploratorium/Palais de Beaux Arts, then walked all the way across Crissy Fields to the Golden Gate bridge, and back. It was a solid day of walking. (I finished at the Ghiradelli ice cream cafe, and did not care that I was surrounded by tourists doing the same thing. I regret nothing about that peanut butter sundae.) Being on my own as I was, I naturally made many attempts at self-photography in front of the bridge, trying to get a decent shot of myself. The best I came up with was this. (People tell me it’s a good shot. I rather think it was just lucky that the wind was blowing my hair in a way that obscured only half of my face instead of all of it.)


ANYway, back to the knitting. I liked having that bit of lace to keep comfy with on breezy tourist adventures, and I remembered it long enough to want a similar piece of knitwear to bundle up with in actual cold temperatures – not just a lacy scarf, but a nice practical piece of insulation as well. It gets cold in Ontario, but that doesn’t mean a gal doesn’t want to look a little pretty while she’s getting dressed for it. This scarf pattern is the result. Presenting Gateway, my latest accessory pattern.



I’ve written this up as a scarf in 2 sizes – a smaller, slimmer, version more typical of simple scarves, and a larger, wider version which is the one I’m modelling here. I reached for Ultra Alpaca, which is one of my favourite yarns for the fall and winter. It’s 50% wool and 50% alpaca, which means that even with a few lacy yarnovers in mix, you’re still getting a pretty warm little knit out of it. However, a variety of worsted weight yarns in wool or wool/alpaca blends – ooh, heck, even wool/silk might be a nice option – would be suitable.

The lacy stitch pattern involves yarnovers and decreases on Right Side rows only, and would be workable enough for a knitter with a little bit of lace experience and chart-reading under their belts. Once you’ve done a few pattern repeats, it’s likely you’ll have started to memorize it. This was certainly my experience! I love how the little swooshy twisted ribs and stockinette angles stack up together, slightly disjointed but also elegant. Even a bit reminiscent of the Golden Gate, one might even say.



I’ve been wearing this all week while here in Edmonton, where the temperatures have actually been cold. (In Southern Ontario we are only just starting to recall this “cold” of which people speak.) In fact, I am led to believe it is rare for there to not be snow on the ground already by this point in November, so that’s a pretty solid reminder that winter is coming. I think I’m going to have to work up some kind of hat to complement it, so I’ll be fully kitted up in Ultra Alpaca warmth.

In any event, the week marches on as do a few more days of family activity here. I’m continuing to sneak in bits of knitting and internet time while I can, and the pace of things continues one day at a time.

Keep your knitting handy, and stay warm!




Filed under accessories, design, finished object: accessories


Every year I knit myself at least one pair of mittens or gloves. And every year, half of the pair I wear most often somehow manages to get lost. I suppose this is the normal way of things – I see so many single mittens or gloves along the side of city paths or sidewalks, sometimes draped over benches or fences, so I at least know it happens to everyone at some time – but damn. It’s hard losing an object that you’ve put hours of time into making yourself.

Last winter this happened to me with the pair of red wool gloves I knitted myself to match the Laurel beret I made out of Cascade 220. They were pretty simple, worked from instructions in a now-out-of-print Patons pattern booklet, and gave a suitably matchy vibe along with the hat. Then, I lost one. I can’t exactly remember how, but I do know that I was grateful to have one remaining intact pair of gloves left to fall back on.

I’ve heard that sometimes people solve problems like this by going to a store and buying a new pair of gloves. But of course, they wouldn’t be the same, and since I’m a 5’9″ woman with long fingers the gloves in the stores never fit me as nicely as I’d like. So since then, I’ve kept telling myself I’d re-knit the lost glove, and it’s taken almost another year but I finally did it.


Despite being only half a pair of gloves and therefore only half a project, I’m calling this my first Finished Object of 2011. Psychologically it feels like the same effort, to go back and re-do something that was already complete once upon a time.

In looking through my stash I also discovered a thrummed mitten kit I bought from Tanis Fiber Arts at the Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto a full year and a half ago, and buoyed by my glove momentum have finally taken it out of hiding to turn into actual mittens. I will be prepared for losses this year, oh yesiree. These will be warm and toasty so long as I can manage to keep my hands on (or in?) them.


Have you any finished knits already for 2011? What are you most looking forward to working on next?

Happy knitting this week!


Filed under finished object: accessories, mittens

Azalea mitts

[Note from the future: this pattern is now available for download from the Sweet Sheep: Azalea Mitts]

I tell ya, it’s either feast or famine around here when it comes to designs. I just got done showing off the Royale sweater to you (which, by the way, THANK YOU for all the lovely comments on it, really, I’m completely tickled) and yet I still have another quick post for you today about another design – that will be available at the Toronto Knitter’s Frolic this Saturday, this one for the Sweet Sheep. These are the Azalea mitts, which will be available exclusively in kits from the Sweet Sheep. Wider pattern release will happen in the fall (I’ll be sure to let you know!)


Earlier this spring Michelle emailed me up and said “I’ve got this really obnoxiously cute skein of pink yarn, would you like to design a pair of fingerless mitts to go with it?” And I said “sure, I love obnoxiously cute pink yarn.” And so I mulled over the stitch patterns and decided on a suitably cute combination of cables and bobbles, and lo. The mitts were good. (Side note: I am sort of ridiculously infatuated with the bobbles. I LOVE THEM.)

Now, because I am ambitious like that, I decided a fingerless version only wasn’t quite enough, so I did up a pattern with 2 variations. The second variation has a full convertible mitten flip-top on it, for the slightly chillier times. I’ve arranged the pattern instructions so that the cables flow seamlessly from the hand onto the mitten top, and I really like the way it came out.


Michelle will be selling these in kits at her booth at the Frolic – which is tomorrow! I am looking forward to it. Now if only I could decide on a knitted item to wear…

Have a great weekend!


Filed under design, finished object: accessories

The last of the knits

(At least, the last knit from 2009, that is. Heh.)

Over the holidays I was staying at the House of the Kitty Cats (a short walk away from the homestead), along with my aunt who was visiting as well as my grandfather. The kitties got food and various humans to harass, so it all worked out for all parties concerned. On the knitting front, at the time I was finishing up my lace stole but there was no way I was going to risk bringing it over to a kitty household, on the off chance that a bored and enterprising feline found her way into my knitting bag and decided to play the Let’s Rip Up Glenna’s Knitting game.

Still, I wanted to have something to knit on for a bit in the mornings and evenings while I was there, and I had 2 skeins of Cascade 220 heathers in a lovely cranberry shade, so I decided one of these would be a new winter hat. I trolled around for Beret patterns before reminding myself that I am in fact in possession of the Made In Brooklyn booklet by Jared Flood, and that just because I already made one project from it doesn’t mean I can’t still make OTHER things from it. (Anyone else get that? You knit one thing from the book/magazine and then suddenly it retreats into your blind spot? No? All right then.)

Lo and behold, I present to you the Laurel beret. It’s great. I’m getting compliments on it all over the place.


I’m starting to embrace the knitted beret realm. I like that it lets me still have a ratty head of curls and look okay wearing a hat. The cables give this one a great deal of structure which means it doesn’t slouch nearly as much, and I’m cool with that. This is not the simplest of patterns, to be sure, but it’s worth it. I worked mine 2-3 rows at a sitting, spread out over a week.

There are a few errata which you’ll want to look up before beginning, but one that seems to have fallen through the cracks is the instructions for the bobbles – a quick check on Ravelry reveals that pretty much everyone who knits this has improvised their own bobbles because the instructions in the pattern do not give you a true bobble; I think a few rows got missed. Other than that, things are cool. I knitted the ribbing for the band on as snug a needle size as I could manage (3.0mm), and it fits me fine, but my guess is that people with smaller heads than me, and possibly fewer curls than me, may wish to eliminate 4-8 sts from the ribbing to achieve a snugger fit, then increase immediately in strategic places before beginning the pattern. (You’d want to make sure the ribbing flows well into the cables, this is the only tricky part of modifying the stitch count in this way.)


So in conclusion, I vote ‘yes’ on cabled berets. And on matching stockinette gloves to match, which I did too, finished while in New York so that I could break these out while wandering the MoMA on New Year’s Day. (Some days it is hard to be me.)

Incidentally, I also vote ‘yes’ on supporting the development and aid organizations currently on the ground in Haiti. I give charitably multiple times a year, but it’s pretty much a no-brainer to give to people like Doctors Without Borders at times like this. 7.0 Magnitude (For comparison, the ‘Great Quake’ of 1906 in San Francisco was 7.8.) quake directly underneath the capital city in a country that already struggles at the best of times? I cannot fathom what it is like on the ground there. I hope relief efforts are swift.

Happy knitting this Thursday, my fine friends.  I think if we’ve got yarn we’re doing pretty well.


Filed under finished object: accessories