Tag: knitting (page 1 of 13)

East Neuk Hoodie

This may well be my favourite thing I’ve ever knitted myself.


The pattern is East Neuk Hoodie by Kristen Orme.  The yarn is KnitPicks Comfy Worsted in Fairytale, and I used about 20 balls. It has a hood, a placket neck with three buttons, a pocket, and (randomly) elbow patches. It’s soft and comfy and well-made, and the colour is beautiful. I ❤️ it!

This was such a fun knit, despite the fact that my tension was way off when I started so I had to frog the whole thing and start over. Once I settled on the right size and needles (4mm), it was smooth sailing. My row gauge was still off, but that’s easy to compensate for as you go. (I did have to do some maths to make sure the sleeve cap came out the right size.) Overall it’s slightly large, but I wanted this to have the ease of a sweatshirt so I’m happy with it.

My one worry is that the yarn is going to pill. It shed a LOT while knitting (my couch is covered in pink fluff), and the comments on the KnitPicks site indicate that others have been disappointed with its tendency to pill. So I’m steeling myself for it now, knowing that I’m going to have to give this the occasional shave. I still love it though.

Ravelry details are here!

Shrödinger’s Christmas Cat

For the Canva 2015 Kris Kringle gift exchange, I got a colleague who is mathematician and engineer. I tried stalking him on social media, but he doesn’t post very much. I knew that he’s into dark European films and quantum physics, so my genius idea was to knit him Shrödinger’s Cat!

You can find more details about the knitted cat over on Ravelry. Obviously, he’s alive on one side and dead on the other! To complete the experiment, I included a bottle of “poison” (ie vodka) and a container full of “radioactive material” (ie Kinder eggs). I packed it all into a cardboard box that I spraypainted silver (since it’s supposed to be steel) and decorated with “PROPERTY OF E. SHRÖDINGER” and “CAUTION: LIVE(?) ANIMALS” labels.

I’m very happy to report that the recipient was delighted with it. 🙂

CampJS Recap & Beanie

Feature photo courtesy of Steven Cooper

I spent last weekend in Springbook, Queensland at CampJS. This is a four-day conference for anyone interested in web technology held at the Koonjewarre Retreat Centre. My Canva colleague Damon was the organiser, and my other colleague Harley came along as well. On a whim, I’d pitched doing a workshop on “Knitting and E-textiles” a few months before and it turned out to be one of the most popular suggestions. I updated my “Granny Was a Hacker” talk and worked with Damon to order knitting supplies for everyone. Then I had the genius idea to knit a special beanie as my prototype for the workshop, and use a Gemma kit with LEDs (based on this Adafruit project) to add some blinky goodness. It was a big hit! I actually ran through the talk on both Saturday and Sunday. I probably had 20+ people at the workshop, and I kept seeing web developers (mostly men!) knitting for the rest of the event. The Camp itself was great, and I met a lot of fantastic people from across the country. Games were played, goon was drunk, and Wi-Fi was cursed. I highly recommend it.

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CampJS BeanieThe CampJS Beanie

I knitted the hat out of oddments of leftover 8ply Filatura di Crosa Zara. All up, it probably uses about 2 balls worth (with the majority in brown). You’ll also need some 4mm needles, as well as a blunt darning needle. I actually knitted it flat and sewed it up, but I’ve provided instructions for knitting it in the round too. I got the Gemma controller from Little Bird Electronics, along with some LEDs and a coin cell battery holder. (They also sell a “starter pack” with all this stuff plus some conductive thread and needles, if you don’t have any.)

Size:  Medium / Large  (I knitted the larger size, and it’s roomy for me.)

Requirements: 8ply wool in brown, dark green, light green, and blue; 4mm needles.

GraphTo knit flat:
Using 4mm needles, cast on 121 (133) stitches.

Row 1: K2, *P1, K1, rep from * to last st, K1.
Row 2: K1, *P1, K1, rep from * to end.

Repeat these rows until you have 35 (41) rows of ribbing in total.

Knit 4 rows of stocking stitch.

Knit the graph in stocking stitch as shown, working the odd rows from right-to-left and the even rows from left-to-right. For the first two rows, I used the fairisle technique of carrying the wools along the back. I suggest you ignore the tree trunks and use duplicate stitch to embroider them afterwards. For the tops of the trees, I treated them as intarsia and knitted them in solid blocks of light green. Then I duplicate stitched the dark green accents on later. You can this in progress here.

Once you’re done with the graph, switch back to the brown wool and knit two rows of stocking stitch. (You should have the Right Side facing you.) Then begin your decreases:

Decrease row: K1, *K2tog, K1, rep from * to end
Knit 1 (3) rows stocking stitch
K1, *K2tog, K5, rep from * to end
Purl 1 row
K1, *K2tog, K4, rep from * to end
Purl 1 row…

Keep going like this (narrowing by one stitch between the decreases) until you have only 21 (23) stitches left. Then break off the wool leaving a long tail, thread it on your darning needle, and run it through the remaining stitches. Cinch it up tight.

To finish, sew the back seam. (You’ll need to reverse the seam where the brim folds up.) Weave in your ends. Attach your Gemma as shown on the Adafruit website, and load up the provided sketch. When you plug in your batteries and flip the switch, it’ll blink!

To knit in the round:

Using 4mm circular needle or DPNs, cast on 120 (132) stitches.

Ribbing: *K1, P1, rep from * to end.

Repeat this row until you have 35 (41) rows of ribbing in total.

Knit 4 rows.

Knit the graph in stocking stitch as shown, working all rows from right-to-left. For the first two rows, I used the fairisle technique of carrying the wools along the back. I suggest you ignore the tree trunks and use duplicate stitch to embroider them afterwards. For the tops of the trees, I treated them as intarsia and knitted them in solid blocks of light green. Then I duplicate stitched the dark green accents on later. You can this in progress here.

Once you’re done with the graph, switch back to the brown wool and knit two rows. Then begin your decreases:

Decrease row: *K2tog, K1, rep from * to end
Knit 1 (3) rows
*K2tog, K5, rep from * to end
Knit 1 row
*K2tog, K4, rep from * to end
Knit 1 row…

Keep going like this (narrowing by one stitch between the decreases) until you have only 21 (23) stitches left. Then break off the wool leaving a long tail, thread it on your darning needle, and run it through the remaining stitches. Cinch it up tight.

Weave in your ends. Attach your Gemma as shown on the Adafruit website, and load up the provided sketch. When you plug in your batteries and flip the switch, it’ll blink!

Dangling Conversation

As you would’ve seen from the Instagram I posted this morning, I finished my Dangling Conversation scarf! It’s knitted out of a single skein of Manos del Uruguay Fino in “Sealing Wax,” a bright orangey-red. I bought the yarn in the last Morris & Sons sale, drawn to its gorgeous deep colour and its exquisite smooshiness. (It’s 70% superfine merino and 30% silk.) The pattern choice was inspired by a guest at an Inner City Knitters Guild meeting earlier in the year, who showed off her version in a variegated yarn. I casted mine on at Camp on August 28 and finished it this past Sunday, so it took me 23 days from start to finish. I knitted it on 4mm needles, which is a fair bit tighter than most of the other folks on Ravelry. To compensate, I added a lot of extra repeats to make it bigger and use up the entire skein. Oh, and I left off the beads. I’m not insane. 🙂

Ravelry details are here! In sort – excellent pattern; excellent yarn. Highly recommended.

The Wow! Scarf

As you may have gathered from my Twitter or Instagram accounts this past weekend, I attended the 2015 Knitters Guild NSW Camp at Stanwell Tops. When I registered for the Camp earlier in the year, the confirmation message invited me to enter the Mystery Scarf Competition. The details were very vague–basically, you were supposed to knit a scarf of a certain size out of black and either white or cream. Inspired by my Ignite talk, I thought it would be fun to try to knit an actual mystery into the scarf. So I started doing research, and I came up with several interesting possibilities:

  • The Beale Ciphers – Very National Treasure, right?! And they could literally point you to an actual horde of gold!
  • The Kryptos Sculpture – Bonus points because it actually looks kind of like a scarf.
  • The Phaistos Disc – This would look better as a circular shawl, right?
  • Tamám Shud – *shudder* Too creepy.
  • Rongorongo – I feel like this would be neat as fairisle motifs.

In the end I settled on the Wow! Signal. This was a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman on August 15, 1977, while he was working on a SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope of The Ohio State University. When he saw the spike on the printout, Ehman circled it and wrote “Wow!” in red pen in the margins. The signal lasted for 72 seconds. It came from globular cluster M55 in the constellation Sagittarius. It looks pretty much exactly like what we’d expect an interstellar transmission to look like. It’s never been repeated, and we don’t know what it means. I like to think it’s an alien civilisation saying “Hello!”. So I knitted it into a scarf.

The scarf is knitted as a tube out of Morris Norway 10 ply in Cream using a 5mm circular needle. Starting from the left edge of the printout, I incorporated about 15 columns of numbers by duplicate stitching them on as I went. Once the scarf was long enough, I stopped the numbers and knitted in plain white to leave a space for the “Wow!” which I embroidered with red wool. I also embroidered on some additional pen marks, like the circles around the signal itself and some of the other numbers. As a final step, I added some tassles out of the remaining black wool.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out! I didn’t end up winning the contest, but that’s okay. I took the “mystery” aspect more literally than most of the other contestants did. (The winner did an amazing double-knitted scarf with a photo of her cat on it.) My scarf is exceptionally warm and nerdy, and I had a lot of fun making it.

Two finished scarves!

Two Scarves

Finally some finished items to show! Both of these are with wool purchased at the Convent and Chapel Wool Shop in Rylstone a few months back.

First up is the Zig Zag in Zauberball Crazy. I bought the wool without any idea what to do with it-“I just liked the crazy autumn colourway-but then I saw Gemma’s Show Stopper in the Easter Show last April and fell in love! So I asked her to share the link to the pattern, which she kindly did. (It’s here!) It’s a super simple three-row repeat and knits up gratifyingly fast. I basically just knitted until I used up every single bit of it. I love the way the horizontal ribbing lines up with the colour changes, almost like stripes. It’s also really smooshy and squishy and warm. Very satisfying project! You can see a close-up of the stitch pattern here. (Ravelry details.)

Next is the Linen Stitch scarf in Marlyn Alpaca. This stuff is SO SOFT. I originally intended to knit something with long lengthwise stripes, but I saw a sample of linen stitch and I was impressed how classy it looked. I thought it might make a nice “businessman’s”-type scarf for the Snook. So I casted on a bazillion stitches and then started knitting random width stripes of the two colours. Man, linen stitch rows take FOREVER to knit! I basically just knitted until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Then I put some fringe on both ends to finish it off. Very nice! He wore it to work today. You can see a close-up of the stitch pattern here. (Ravelry details.)

Blackberry Cardigan and Argyll Vest

Yesterday I picked up my entries from the Sydney Royal Easter Show Arts & Crafts Competition. I entered two projects: a cardigan for me that had been hibernating 90% done for over a year, and a hipster vest requested by the Snook at Christmas. I’m really happy with how both of them turned out. (I didn’t win any ribbons this year, but I’ve given up trying to understand the judging criteria. That way lies madness.) Anyway, the details…

Blackberry Cardigan

Blackberry CardiganThis is a cardigan I started knitting for myself back in 2013 but never finished. I love knitting cables, and I wanted something warm and snuggly to wear in winter (and in my freezing cold office). The wool is Filatura di Crosa Zara merino wool, which I’d previously bought from Reecie in a destash. I’d knitted a couple things out of it previously, and I knew that it would give great stitch definition yet be soft enough to wear directly on my skin. I hate sewing up, so I knitted the body in one piece up to the arm holes. Then I split the piece and worked the back and two fronts separately up to the shoulders before joining them with a three-needle bind-off. I also knitted each sleeve in the round up to the sleeve cap, which I knitted flat. At that point, I lost my knitting mojo and the pieces sat in my craft room for well over a year. When I unearthed them, I realised there wasn’t a great deal left to do. I picked up and the knitted the giant shawl collar (which goes all the way around and includes the button holes for the front), then blocked all the pieces before sewing them together. I found the buttons at Sew Make Create. I’m really, really pleased how it turned out. I’m wearing it right now, in fact! (More details over at Ravelry.)

Argyll Vest

Argyll VestOver Christmas we were having lunch at a cafe in Newtown when the Snook asked if I’d knit him a “hipster sweater vest.” He so rarely asks for knitted things, I got really excited and pulled up Ravelry that minute on my iPhone to start searching for patterns. When I saw katarina’s Argyll Vest, we both knew it was the perfect one. Happily I had the pattern book it’s from already in my collection! We walked straight up to The Granny Square and picked out the wool on the spot. We selected three different “heathered” colours of Morris Empire 4-ply. The only pattern mod I made was to make the body a bit longer, because Rodd has a very long torso. Since the neckline is meant to start at the top of a diamond, I had to decide ahead of time how much length I was going to add (so I could add it on at the bottom above the ribbing). And of course, you can’t knit intarsia in the round so I had to knit the front and back separately. I love the neat geometry of intarsia and had a lot of fun seeing the diamonds emerge. The diagonal lines – which I learned are called rakers – were embroidered on with Swiss darning. Then I just had to block it, sew it up, and knitting on the bands. He really likes it! I think it’s going to get a lot of wear this winter. (More details over at Ravelry.)

Tsumugi Who and Moneta Dress

Actual finished craft objects! I should probably blog these before I completely forget.

Tsumugi WhoTsumugi Who
Is this going to be my ONLY knitting finished this year? Only time will tell. At any rate, earlier this year I decided to splurge and buy myself the Tsumugi Who kit from Dairing that I admired at Camp last year. (Note: They have since changed the name to Seta Soie. I don’t know why. Supplier change? My kit did come with grey instead of the beige.) I cast on in the winter – probably at the Abernethy knitters retreat? – and I remember questioning the pattern. (Teresa Dair’s “patterns” are only patterns in the strictest sense of the word.) I decided to go with garter stitch so it wouldn’t curl. And I was off. I went through the entire pattern once and found myself with significant silk left over. So I kept going. Once it got to about 14 feet long, I figured Tom Baker would be happy so I cast off. Then it took me a few more months to finish weaving in the ends. And now it’s done. I even managed to wear it a few times before it got too warm. The colours are gorgeous and strangers have complimented me on it, even guessed the reference. That was nice.

MonetaMoneta Dress
I haven’t sewn much this year either. But at one point I ordered the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits along with the Moneta dress pattern. That was step one. The history of making this dress is one of diving in before my brain had a chance to object. Step two involved making an excursion to Tessuti’s during a sale with some of my (then) co-workers where I picked up a couple different knits to experiment with. This was a black merino double-knit. Step three was me cutting it out many, many weeks ago… and then packing it away in my office. Finally, this past weekend, it occurred to me that if I actually finished the damn thing, that would be one more unique dress for Frocktober. So on Sunday I pulled it out and finished it during a Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix. I think my seam allowance was inadvertently too wide and my waistband elastic was HELLA WONKY, but to my delight I found that the knit fabric completely hides every flaw. It looks great. I’m very, very happy with this project.

Easter Show Entries 2013

Easter Show Entries 2013
It’s time again for the Sydney Royal Easter Show Competition, and this is my SEVENTH year entering. (Good grief – really?!) I’ve entered a lot of items over the years, and some of them have been awarded with ribbons. A recap:

Needless to say, Win the Easter Show has been on Hermione’s To Do list for a very long time. This year I again sent in three entries.

Catriona VestCatriona Vest
This is a pattern I’ve had in my Ravelry queue for a long time. I bought the wool (Pear Tree Merino) from Dr. K in a destash last year and it seemed like the perfect choice for it. I made a few significant modifications: I adapted it to be knitted in the round up to the armholes, and I mirrored the cables to be symmetrical. I also dug around on Ravelry to find someone who had charted the cables, which was really helpful. (Why Debbie Bliss is incapable of including a chart, I have no idea.) I really, really like the finished vest. The wool was a great choice, and it makes the cables stand out. I entered this in the Sleeveless Garment category (no more Aran for me; I’m not that masochistic) and I think it’s probably my best shot at a ribbon. I’m also really looking forward to wearing it this winter! More photos and details on Ravelry.

Juno ReginaJuno Regina
In the end, my first real lace project took me nearly THREE YEARS to finish. I started this in 2010 and I’ve been working on it in fits and starts ever since. That middle bit was a total slog! I’m happy with how it turned out though, and it’s destined as a (very late) wedding gift for my friend Kriti Sahni. The pattern is of course from Knitty, and the wool is Morris Empire 2ply. Special thanks to Miss Fee for lending me her blocking wires! (Although I had a nightmarish time blocking it. I somehow managed to catch a thread on the sink plug and pulled out a long loop! I spent like an hour hunched over it laboriously adjusting stitch tension to repair it.) Frankly, I’ll be thrilled for this just to be exhibited. The lace category is notoriously competitive, and – my fake rivalry with Reecie notwithstanding – I don’t really stand a chance. Again, more details on Ravelry.

Self-Replicating MittensSelf-Replicating Mittens with QR Code
You may have seen these as there have already been some photos on the blog. Basically, the idea was prompted by my Girl Geek talk last year on Knitting Geekery. I got excited about the idea of making a “meta” knitted object, where the item’s pattern was encoded into the item itself. After some brainstorming and research, I settled on a QR code. I knew that other people were using them on knitted items with some success. I wanted my code to be as simple as possible, so I needed to use a URL shortener to mask my intended address. I settled on using Google‘s, reasoning that it was likely to be around the longest. (Though who knows these days, right?) Google also conveniently generate the QR code for you! Then it was just a matter of knitting it. I did several test patches, but none of them worked. I tried fairisle; I tried Swiss darning; I tried cross-stitching over the knitting. I just couldn’t get any of them to successfully read on my iPhone. I was thisclose to scrapping the whole idea. With less than a week to go, I made one last attempt using very thin baby wool and the thinnest needles I had (2mm). Still no go. At the eleventh hour, I decided to try blocking the hell out of it. I cut a piece of paper to square and aggressively pinned the wet fabric to it. Suddenly – IT WORKED! I couldn’t believe it. I shared a photo to Twitter and other people got it to work too. Hallelujah! Then it was just a matter of knitting another patch and sewing them to the mittens (which I’d already finished). I set up the target page once I dropped them off at the Show. (I included a note explaining the concept and warning the judges that the website would give away my identity.) Anyway, I’m very happy with them. I entered them in Creative Knitting, but truth be told the knitting skill required was minimal. They’re more of an Art piece than anything, and I just hope people will get the concept. If nothing else, the folks on Twitter seemed to like them! Again, details on Ravelry.

The Arts Preview Night is Tuesday, so I’ll know then whether I can finally cross that pesky To Do item off my list!

Kunaal’s Cricket Vest

Kunaal's vestKunaal’s Cricket Vest
As many of you know, my good friend Kunaal got married recently in India. I wasn’t able to go to the wedding so I knew I had to come up with something amazing as a gift. I had the idea six months ago to knit him a proper, traditional cricket vest. (Kunaal is a cricket tragic.) I enlisted the help of his fiancée Kriti to surreptitiously measure some of his other jumpers for proper sizing. I also looked up the colours of the Indian cricket team to use as the stripe accents.

The pattern is Sirdar 5815, which I believe is out of print. (I got the very last copy at Morris & Sons, which they actually had to cut out of the pattern book.) The white wool is Morris Empire 8ply, and the blue accents are Morris Estate 8ply. I adapted the pattern to knit the body up to the armholes in the round, then split for the front and back. I’m very happy with how it turned out! I gave it to Kunaal before he left on his wedding trip and was pleased to see that it fit. He confessed that he had actually been thinking of buying one, so it was definitely appreciated! Thanks to Kriti for helping out with the planning…