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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I stumbled across these cool slippers and thought they’d make AMAZING holiday gifts! There are lots of yarn options, and they just look gorgeous. Cascade Eco has amazing yardage, and 1 skein makes a pair of slippers with lots left over. Berroco Vintage Chunky is soft, affordable and easy to both wear and care for (it’s totlly machine washable and is a blend of wool and synthetic, so it’s sturdier than a 100% wool yarn). Fleece Artist Back Country is a super soft, hand-dyed merino wool that would knit up some unforgettably super funky slippers.
One note: this pattern is for intermediate to experienced knitters. Techniques include German Short Rows (full instructions included in pattern), working in the round (magic loop technique is suggested), picking up stitches, crochet chained border (full instructions included in pattern). It also uses a double knit stitch for the sole, which is not hard but a neat new thing to try out (note, this stitch is NOT the same as the technique of “double knitting”, nor does it have anything to do with the yarn thickness of “Double Knit”).
Oh, and if these slippers aren’t your thing but you’re interested in slippers, the same designer, Bekah Knits, has some other really pretty slipper designs that are worth checking out.
S (M, L, XL, XXL) to fit US shoe size: W’s 5-6 (W’s 7-8, W’s 9-10, W’s 11/M’s 9-10.5, M’s 11-12.5)
Fleece Artist’s Thrummed Mitten Kits are back, just in time to whip up a pair in time winter (the Farmer’s Almanac has forecast a cold winter for Canada). These mitts are SERIOUSLY warm and cosy, and are a must-have for anyone who spends time outside (like dog owners and the person in the house who does the shovelling).
Thrumming is a very old technique that is seriously fun and functional. Small tufts of roving (wool that hasn’t been spun into yarn yet) are knit into the garment creating a fuzzy warm layer on the inside and irresistible dots of colour the outside. As you wear them, the thrummed roving felts down, keeping your hands warm and cozy (take note dog owners, these are ideal winter dog walking mitts). The mittens will be the colour of the yarn and the thrums (roving) will peek through. This kit can also be used to make Thrummed Socks (great as house-socks or slippers)! Each kit is individually hand-dyed, no two will be exactly alike. Kit does not include needles: 3.5mm/US4 double pointed needles are required.
Pattern & instructions (or you can download them free HERE)
Yarn: Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Aran, 125g (100% wool)
Roving: 60g (100% wool)
Sizes included: Child, Adult Small, Adult Medium, and Adult Large.
I thought this cowl would make a great one-skein gift idea, so I gave it a try and I think it worked out really beautifully! I used one of my favourite bulky weight yarns, Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport, and the end result is SUPER soft and cozy! I had to make some modifications to make this project come out to it’s fullest potential, so please read the notes below before starting (and maybe print them off and keep them with your pattern instructions).
HACKS & Modifications
I made some changes to the pattern because let’s face it, you often get what you pay for with a free pattern.
For the ribbing, I went down to a 5mm/US8 needle for the ribbing. 2×2 rib is normally a looser tension than other stitches, and you need to go down a needle size to mitigate this and prevent the ribbing from fanning out later.
For the cable section, I went up to a 6.5mm/US10.5 needle, because the yarn is very fluffy and airy. If you are using a denser yarn with more definition (see suggestions below) you can stick with the prescribed 6mm/US10 needles
Because my yarn is big and fluffy, and has a lot of aura (haze), the cable from the original pattern was not showing up or working well, and I had to switch it out for another type of cable that would show better. I went with a simple braided cable that I was already familiar with, Chart A from Lopi Braided Hat & Mitts. It is the same number of stitches as the original cable, so I just did the new cable instead of the old. If you use a yarn with more definition (see options below), you can do either cable.
I worked 6 rounds of ribbing at the top and the bottom (to conserve yarn).
I worked 4 pattern repeats from Chart A of the Lopi Braided Hat & Mitts, and changed to the ribbing after finishing row 6 of the chart.
I don’t usually bother using a cable needle. Making cables without a cable hook is not a skill for the novice, but if you are feeling intrepid and are comfortable with retrieving dropped stitches and are good at ‘reading’ your stitches (recognizing where and what they are), you should definitely it give it a try, it can save you a lot of time and effort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6DB6WhAKvY
If you need to conserve yarn or change the size of the pattern, you can omit the first 4 sts of the pattern (the single rib at the start doesn’t really do much for the design). In *my project* (yours may be different), based on the total number of rounds, each stitch represents about 40 sts in the scheme of the entire pattern. Omitting 4 sts from the cast-on will give you about two extra rounds. Each cable represents 8 stitches, so you can increase or decrease the pattern in a multiple of 8 sts. If you want to modify this for a child you’ll definitely want to omit stitches, it fits an adult comfortably.