Category Archives: freebies

PROJECT Easy Garter Wrap

Easy Garter Wrap

We just finished making our FREE Easy Garter Scarfy Wrap with one of the new multi-coloured Handmaiden Casbah 5ply Gradient Wrap Kits – I knew it would come out beautifully! Handmaiden always comes up with interesting colour combinations that I wouldn’t normally think of, and the pop of colour is just what’s needed on dreary winter days.

All of the Handmaiden Casbah 5ply Gradient Wrap Kits are one-of-a-kind so no two colourways will be the same. The pattern is free, VERY beginner friendly, and mostly mindless. I used THIS TUTORIAL for weaving in the ends on garter stitch – it is super helpful. This project didn’t require many notes, but you can find it on Ravelry anyway.

Materials

PROJECT Mega Rib Hat

Mega Rib

I’m so sorry you haven’t heard from me a few days, you guys have been keeping me very busy in the store! I did manage to get a quickie off the needles this week – check out my Mega Rib! I managed to knit up this beanie in a single night – does that make it a one night stand? It;s definitely last-minute-giftable! It was quick & easy, I used one skein of Fleece Artist Merino Stream and 8mm/US11 needles. This yarn was a bit thinner than the one specified in the pattern, but I think it still works. The hat would also look good made according to the pattern’s directions with Cascade Spuntaneous (a super soft, single ply merino wool). Oh, and I forgot, the pattern is a freebie!

Modifications

  • I used 8mm/US11 needles and the tension was comfortable a bit loose for a Canadian winter. Use 7mm/US10.75 needles for a denser tension.
  • I cast on 48 stitches, it fits an Adult medium. For an adult large cast on 51 sts, for a small cast on 45 sts.

Materials

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Mini Hack

When you cast on with a different number of stitches, a different stitch pattern or a different size needle this changes the tension and the colours may pool differently. 

PROJECT Granny Slippers (and a Hack)

Granny Slippers

A client came in last night who wanted to make some granny slippers, and it occurred to me that I’ve NEVER made a pair, and maybe I should step outside my box and try a pair. I’m happy to report that they were SUPER EASY, beginner friendly (like after scarves), fast, and don’t use a ton of yarn, and are super cosy and warm! I whipped up a pair in one evening, so they’re definitely doable for holiday gifts. They aren’t fancy, but they are definitely cosy, warm, and fast!

I decided I wanted a funkier pair and used one skein of hand dyed Fleece Artist Back Country, but another great (less pricey) yarn would be Berroco Vintage Chunky. The yarn was lovely (as always), soft and smooth. If you want a pair of fuzzy slippers you could hold together 1 strand of Cascade 220 Superwash and 1 strand of Drops Brushed Alpaca and Silk (1 ball of each should be enough. The pattern, Easy Steps by Drops, is a freebie, and was fairly easy to follow. Please read below for our modifications and notes. 

Modifications & Pattern Notes

A. I used 5mm/US8 needles, and it made the tension a bit tighter, 15 sts = 4″ (10cm). My feet are narrow, so this didn’t make a big difference in size, but if you are knitting for wider feet I would add a couple of stitches to the pattern.

B.  The pattern, which was not originally written in english, has one phrase that novices might find confusing. It says “K sts tog 2 by 2”. What they want you to do is K2tog across the row (so knit 2 stitches together, and keep doing this to the end of the row. For beginners, the pattern website also has a how-to video on how to knit 2 stitches together. 

C. For beginners who do not know how to seam (or for more experienced knitters who may not know how to do this particular seaming prettily), the pattern website offers some handy how-to videos to get you through the project. To make a tidy seam at the back of the foot (because it is a cast-on edge) this may be a helpful video

D. Please see our Hack below for suggestions on making sure the colour distribution of hand painted, variegated yarns is the same for both your slippers! If you’re using a solid, heathered or semi-solid yarn you don’t need to worry about this, but you might find it interesting and useful information for the future.

Materials

Knit Hack

And now for the hack! It’s a universal knitting truth that variegated yarns have a tendency for the colours to pool in ways we can’t anticipate. Sometimes it’s fun, funky, and enhances the project, and sometimes we don’t really care for it. It’s random, it happens, and we learn to accept it. You can usually play around with this effect by varying the needle size, the number of stitches you put on, and the stitch pattern you choose. But while knitting these slippers I found out something new – the place in the colourway that you cast on (where you place your slip knot or first stitch), can have an effect. 

Option A) Asymmetrical Pooling  Approximately half of the colourway in this particular skein is dark, and the other half was colourful (lets say it starts with the dark blue, the moves into a second part, the brighter warm colours). In the picture above, I made the slip knot around where the colour is changing between the two. The colours pooled kind of randomly, and I thought it worked with the skippers once they were seamed – they’re kinda funky.

Option B) Symmetrical Pooling  In this picture, I made the slip knot around the centre of the dark part of the colourway (so about 1/4 of the way through the colour repeat). The colours ended up pooling completely symmetrically! All the Blues stacked up on the right and the reds lined up on the left. It was super cool. It also didn’t suit my sensibilities for this project, although I kind of want to make a neckwarmer this way. 

Caveat Emptor: every skein of hand-dyed yarn is different, so this isn’t a rule. so much as a factor. Like I said at the start, the number of stitches, the tension and the stitch pattern also have an effect on the colour distribution. But if you are making your own slippers with hand-dyed, variegated yarn, be sure to cast on in the same place in the colourway to get a similar colour distribution. 

So there you go, you learn something new every day!  For more information on colour distribution in variegated yarns, I highly recommend the book Artful Color, Mindful Knits.

PROJECT Classic Ribbed Hat

Classic Ribbed Hat

We just finished this easy Classic Ribbed Hat, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The pattern was a freebie, so yay! We used a single skein of Diamond Baby Alpaca Sport, which is a BULKY weight, supremely soft 100% baby alpaca, and it feels marvellous! We used 5.5mm/US9 needles, so the tension is tight and the fabric will hopefully be a bit on the dense side, and more Canadian winter friendly. I kinda really like the colour, sometimes pinks and purples can be so surprising. And of course, we topped the whole thing off with a Raccoon Fur Pompom – I think they add a little polish and finish the look. I think it makes a beautiful, personal holiday gift (and it works up fairly quickly, so you can get it done in time).

Modifications

I wasn’t sure about the sizing, so we cast on for the child side to fit an adult S/M, and then followed the instructions for the adult size. We also did an extra round of decreases at the end, to make the top more manageable to close. We always try to write out mods in the project notes on Ravelry.

Materials

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PROJECT World’s Simplest Mitts

cascade 220 superwash wave mittens

World’s Simplest Mittens

My friend Rosie just finished a set of mitts made with Cascade 220 Superwash Wave and I think they’re really cool! She used one skein to make all three mitts with the World’s Simplest Mittens pattern (a freebie from the lovely ladies at Tin Can Knits, she made a size Women’s Medium). Why three? Why not?! There was more than enough yarn left to make a third, and you inevitably always misplace or lose one mitten. Anyway, I thought it was pretty cool, having three mitts that match but aren’t exactly alike – it’s like having extra wardrobe options!

The pattern is excellent; a basic mitten knit in the round. It is very straightforward, well written, and the instructions (like all of the Tin Can Knits patterns) are easy to read and follow. It is written for sizes Toddler to Adult Large, and accommodates four different sizes of yarn (fingering, DK, worsted and chunky weight).

Alternatives to DPNs

If you don’t like making mitts because you don’t enjoy using double pointed needles, you might want to try using the new Addi Flexi-flip needles – they’re a great alternative to traditional double pointed needles (Rosie has been using hers since they first came out, and she’s become a convert, despite not having a huge issue with double points to begin with). You could also try using Chaigoo’s 9″ circular needles (you can get them as singles, or if you really like them invest in their interchangeable set) but you will still have to finish the thumb on double pointed needles.

Knit Hack: Matching the Thumbs

Sometimes matching the thumb to the rest of the mitten is tricky with yarns that change colours in stripes or as a gradient. This is because you knit the body of the mitten first, and then go back and do the thumb last – the colourway will have changed by the time you go back to do the thumb. You can see this in the centre mitten in the image above.

If you want your thumb to match the mitten better, wind off a little bit of yarn after you’ve put the thumb gusset on hold, and before proceeding with the body of the mitt. You won’t need a lot of yarn (maybe 5m of worsted weight yarn?), it doesn’t take much to knit a thumb. When you go back to finish the thumb you can use the yarn you wound off and your thumb will blend in beautifully.

Cascade 220 Superwash Wave 114 Spring BLOG

Materials

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

Cascade 220 SUperwash Wave mitts combo.jpg

 

PROJECT Ameila

Fleec Aritst Merino Stream Amelia Hat 1

Amelia

As a run-up to the holidays, I’ll be sharing lots of smaller projects that make great handmade gifts. Liane whipped up this cute beanie (which is a free pattern) on 9mm/US13 needles in like a day, and I think it turned out great! We used Fleece Artist Merino Stream, a super soft, super bulky weight single ply merino wool that hails from Nova Scotia.

The pattern is the Amelia Slouch Beanie, and it’s a freebie, which is always sweet. We made some modifications because it just feels wrong to cut corners. If you aren’t already familiar with the ins & outs of ribbing, 2×2 ribbing (k2, p2) is looser than stocking stitch and is usually worked on a needle 1mm smaller than normal.

Mods

  • We cast on 44 sts on 8mm/US11 needles and worked ribbing according to the pattern.
  • We increased 1 stitch after the ribbing (for a total of45 sts) and went up to a 9mm/US13 needles.

Materials

Shop Online Button Turquoise 250w

Fleec Aritst Merino Stream Amelia Hat 2

PROJECT Alpaca Braided Cable Hat

Diamond Alpaca Lopi Braided Hat

Baby Alpaca Braided Cable Hat

I made this Braided Cable Hat with super soft, super pretty Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport, and I have NO REGRETS! The baby alpaca looks sensational, it’s super soft, super fluffy and airy, and of course, it’s warm. The cables are simple, great for any skill level, and the pattern is a freebie, so that’s always a bonus too.

I topped it with a Raccoon Fur Pompom (size 16cm) – they’re my favourite because they are so light and fluffy, and don’t weigh down the hat too much. If you aren’t a fan of fur you can go with a faux-fur pom-pom,  or go classic and make your own pom-pom – I swear by the Clover Pom-Pom Makers, they make BEAUTIFUL pom-poms! Whatever you choose, we sell them all and you can get everything in one place.

Overall, I’m super pleased with this project – it looks like a $200 hat, which isn’t bad for $20 worth of yarn. But beware, once you make one everyone you know will start putting in requests for one of their own!

Materials