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Acrylic slippers FTW

Do people still use the “FTW” (for the win) acronym?

Whatever.

14089304_10157372480435603_1684730502133303496_nSo these slippers are wonderful. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. Warm and comfy and just scuffy enough to feel slipper-y rather than sock-y. I wasn’t sure how I would like the colours in the main foot of the slipper but actually it turned out pretty neat looking.

As always, I have some notes:

  • Acrylic for slippers is awesome. Just as soft and warm as you could hope, but also machine washable. WINNNNNN!
  • … I will say, however, that they are starting to fuzz/fluff a bit already. Part of that is because I am constantly twitching my feet, usually in the form of me rubbing my feet together, so they are getting the hell frictioned out of them. I’m not worried about the fuzziness, it just makes them look and feel cosier, but it is a bit surprising. I expect that sort of thing with wool and other natural fibers, not with acrylic. And this stuff is 100% acrylic. (Loops & Threads Impeccable)
  • The cuffs were a cinch, just tubes knit on the round and crocheted together. (I’m super lazy.) Then I just picked up 32 stitches around the bottom of each cuff. Knit 6(ish) rows, turned the heel, and then knit the rest of the foot. Easy.
  • I suck so hard at kitchener that I basically didn’t even try to do it right. I mean, yeah, the toes of the socks are grafted together but I did a pretty horrific job. FAR from seamless. It was like this weird faux-kitchener. Like if kitchener was done by a blind donkey. But the toes are closed, so who cares I guess….
  • The double held yarn for the bootie part of the slipper was the correct choice. Extra warm but also extra cushioned for walking comfort.
  • Kept the same needle size throughout the whole project. Kept it at a US9 needle through the cuff (held single) and the bootie (held double). I’m good with the end result.

 

I know they looks like different sizes but they actually aren’t. They both fit perfectly.


This is what I get for making slippers out of wool… :(

20160119_214812_medium220160121_213117_medium2I made some slippers. I thought they were lovely slippers. Warm and cosy and quite comfortable. I used yarn I received as a gift from my husband and kid to make these slippers, and all was well with the world.

Then one of those slippers went all Bilbo Baggins on me and decided to go on an adventure.

An adventure into the washing machine.

On the hot water cycle. 

So yeah, massive shrinking and felt city. I don’t even know if it would fit my 9 year old. Tragedy.

R.I.P slipper. You will be missed.

So, the cold weather is rapidly approaching. Guess I should make a replacement pair, eh? Yes. Yes I should. I have multiple goals in mind with this pair.

  1. CANNOT BE SHRUNK! This seriously sucked, so I am making sure I use a yarn that protects me from any future adventuring slippers.
  2. Durable. We moved (YAY) and our new house is likely going to be hella colder than what we’re used to. New house is a lot bigger and no wood stove any more = slippers all the time!! So I need them to be able to stand up to constant wear.
  3. Warm. See #2
  4. Bootie style. I want them to have a proper cuff so that they stay on easily, but also in case I go tromping out in the snow in them. (Yes, this happens. A lot. I’ll be inside and my kid will be all “LES! Come see this!” and I’ll have to tromp outside in my slippers and hastily tossed on jacket to witness something he deemed worthy of my effort.)
  5. Appropriately scuffy/floppy so that they are super comfy but also of a size that I could wear them with a pair of socks as well, should the need arise, and it probably will because Canada.
  6. Pretty. I like pretty things. I swear, pretty things are warmer than boring things.

So that’s my plan, and actually I have already started. First of all, I’m using acrylic. I know I know, I “should” be using proper wool and I feel somewhat bad for using acrylic for slippers, especially since I have some really nice wool just aching to become slippers, but you know what? I can’t. I can’t face another accidentally shrunk slipper. Plus, I have a ton of Loops and Thread Impeccable in all sorts of colours that I should use up. So don’t be givin’ me any of your sass about how acrylic sucks and isn’t warm and try to make me feel like I’m breaking some good knitter law. Hurumph.

14079477_10157336087155603_3063458909892975478_nSo goal one is the cuffs. I’m knitting cuffs as tubes (Double Layer! Extra Warmth!). 26 stitches around on size US 9 needles. It isn’t a tight knit by any stretch of the imagination, and that is intentional. I would knit to a much smaller gauge with this yarn, using like a US 4 or something for a yarn weight like this, if this was an outdoor item. Windblocking and all that. But this is an indoor item, where comfort and squishy warmth are what matters. So I’ve knit the tubes, with some added fun of colour shifting, and since I’m knitting to such a big gauge they are knitting up SUPER fast. Already done one and halfway through he second. WIN! Also, they are looking pretty snazzy. I’m knitting them all grey with a blob of colour on one end (see the adjacent picture for what the block of colour looks like). When I finish them I’m going to make the blob of colours go on the side of my ankles, mostly just for fun but also to differentiate the two. I’m not weeping over the existence of seams, but I suppose if I had been smart I could have done a provisional cast on and then kitchener’d them together, but screw that. I’m going to crochet the two ends together and call it a day.

Once the cuffs are done I am going to knit the booties. I can’t decide if I want to start them by picking up stitches around the cuffs and then going that way, or if I want to knit toe up and then seaming them. Decisions decisions. Also, I think for warmth and durability I am going to knit the booties with the yarn held double. Will prob go up a couple needle sizes as well.

Cold weather is approaching quickly. Looking forward to getting these done ASAP!

 


Unemployment Wrap (aka. Big giant squishy warm thing)

This project felt like a huge undertaking when I started it, which was sort of the point. I started it to mark the end of my near decade in the civil service and the beginning of my private sector career which is a huge undertaking as well. It turns out both the wrap and my major career shift weren’t the big balls of stressy hard work. Both went surprisingly smoothly and I got through quickly and easily in both cases. Go me!

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On to my project notes:

  • Used size 6US needles and 4 balls of Cascade Tangiers in the “Seascape” colourway. I was a bit iffy on the yarn at first but it was fine to work with, it knit up beautifully as entrelac, and it is soft and squishy.
  • Did 10 stitch squares, 6 squares across.
  • Project only took 2 months with me knitting at a VERY slow rate. I could have done it in half that time pretty easily if I was knitting as much as I normally do, but at time I was pretty tuckered out at the end of my work days at my new job and just didn’t have it in me to knit.
  • I had planned on using 5 balls but stopped at 4 because it was over 6 feet long. I didn’t need it to be any longer! It seriously is huge.
  • For my second entrelac project I think it turned out pretty awesomely, and I continue to enjoy using this technique. It really does look cool, and it gets a lot of “How did you do that?” comments from people, both from knitters and non-knitters.

    Worst entrelac fix ever…

    However, I need to make sure I pay more close attention. About halfway through the wrap I somehow doubled back halfway across a row and basically completely screwed things up. My efforts to correct this were huge fails, as the adjacent picture shows. Ultimately had to frog a couple days of work to get back to the point where I made the mistake.

  • entrelac_cowlI used a standard bind off and regret it. The wrap is so stretchy, but that end has exactly zero stretch, so it is a bit wonky. It is one of those things I’m aware of but no one else would notice or care about, I know this, but I am sort of mentally bookmarking this. If the knit is at all stretchy, for the love of god use a stretchy bind off! Doi….
  • I used the remaning ball of yarn to make a cowl for my sister. I think it looks nice but I’m not super duper happy with it. I wish I had knit it at a tighter gauge, and frankly this kind of yarn doesn’t work the best for a cowl. Too drapey/floppy. 🙁

Overall I could not be happier with this project. It turned out exactly as I was hoping it would, and I use it every day at work (my new office is chilly so I wear it to stay warm). I works great as a snuggly wrap, but it also looks great as a scarf type thing.

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Matching Cowl Success! The ultimate Canadian Winter set has been made!

20150716_185240Matching cowl complete! Honest to God, how awesome is this set? I know I know, blah blah modesty blah, but seriously… this set has turned out way way better than anything else I have made, and way better than I was hoping. It looks so cool! And unique! And cool!!! My friend in Texas said that when she first saw the picture of me in the set that it looked like a cool X-Men character. My husband described the look as a sort of brightly coloured ninja. Both sound awesome to me!

Okay, so we’ve established the set LOOKS great. As for functionality, lets delve into this a bit.

It gets extremely cold here in New Brunswick, and the windchill is fairly epic in its terribleness. -40°C level terribleness. I’ve lived here all my life and am as “used to it” as anyone can be, but it still sucks. I think a lot of people who suffer through weather like this every year are always in search of the Perfect Winter Combo™. I know I have been. So when I bought the yarn from MacAusland’s I saw this as my chance.

The whole basis for this project was to create a cute set that would be great for general winter days, would work well as separates, but when paired be able to shield against the worst of the windchills.

Cute? CHECK!

Works well as separates? CHECK!

Shields against extreme winter windchills? As yet untested but I’m thinking it is going to be perfect. Why? I’m glad you asked! 20150716_185202

  1. I knit these at a fairly tight gauge, which makes them snuggly warm but also more resistant to wind. I also made a point of felting them just the tiniest bit to help with that, and to just make the colour blending blur a bit.
  2. The double thickness band on the front of the bonnet creates a fairly robust and effective windbreak. Normal hats that sit snug to the head do nothing to protect your eyes/face from the stinging winds, but this style hat really does a great job of creating a protective buffer from the wind. This isn’t just a guess, I know this first hand – my Birthday Sprinkles hat last winter was great for this!
  3. The extra-thick i-cord edging along the top of the cowl creates a bit of a form-fitting cushion along my face. I’m a fan of scarves/neckers/cowls, but have found that they all either 1) squash too tightly against my face/mouth to be comfortable or 2) are too loose and therefore gappy and drafty. My cowl allows for a snug (but comfortable fit) along the top while still having a looser more comfortable fit for along the body of the cowl.
  4. The cowl stays up. I am not a fan of super floppy cowls that don’t stay up.  Function over fashion, people!
  5. The bonnet overlaps the cowl in the back , creating a wind-proof result. I haaaaaaaaaate when there is a gap between my hat and my scarf/cowl that the wind and cold air can get at, but this combo works perfectly. Plus, it isn’t excessively bulky or lumpy looking.

 

The only thing I would have done differently with the cowl is to make it a bit longer and to have done a bit of shaping to make it wider at the bottom so that it could spread out and and sort of splay out on to my shoulders a little bit so that when I put my coat on it has a solid amount of overlap, again ensuring a wind-proof seam. As it is I think it will be fine. I’m half considering picking up the bottom stitches and extending things a bit, but I honestly don’t think it is necessary. And, well, I don’t think I have enough yarn. I think I have juuuuuuust enough to finish my matching mittens, but I think that will be it. I’m making the mittens the convertible type so that I can expose my fingers if need be. I’m doing this because I want to be able to put on my mittens, then put on my coat (so that the mittens are properly tucked in and sealed by the jacket cuff) and then zip up my coat without difficulty. Have you ever tried zipping up a coat with mittens on? Yeah, it is tricky business.20150716_205432 I’ve completed one mitten and am pretty happy with it. I did a thick i-cord edging along the top but I’m not happy with it – too bulky, especially when the mitten top is pulled over my fingers – so I’m probably going to tear that out and just do a standard bind-off. I also need to come up with a way to secure my mitten tops to the back of the mitten…. maybe. I strongly suspect that the mitten top will be over my fingers more often than not and that the pulled back option will be on an as-needed basis and then be returned to the top on position as soon as I am done using my fingers. If this is the case then going through the effort of making some way to secure the top to the back of the mitten would be unnecessary. If I DO end up securing the flap somehow it will NOT be velcro. Sure, its easy and effective, but it sticks to the whole mitten, not just the loopy bit that it is supposed to stick to, and it ruins the knit.

 

Once I finish the mittens I am definitely going to be writing up the patterns for the whole set.


My hands were able to make what my brain was picturing

Friends, I have done the impossible. I was looking at the awesome yarns I bought while in PEI (namely the three skeins I got from MacAusland’s Woolen Mill) and had this vision in my mind of a hat.

Not just any hat.

A bonnet.

And this bonnet would have the three colours of yarn transition through the around-the-face band, and then again across the main head part of the hat.

This vision was epic and despite the fact that NEVER has any vision of mine ever come to fruition, I decided to go ahead and try it…

BAM! DONE! LIKE A BOSS!

Okay, for real, I am insanely proud of this stupid hat. Twelve hours of work and look what I made!!! Hells yeah! So, as per usual, I have some notes:

  1. Yes, obviously it is roughly based around EZ bonnet pattern and it was inspired by the Neon Ski Bonnets I’ve knit (1, 2). I’m not going to pretend I invented any sort of super creative brand new construction because I didn’t. I mean, its a bonnet. This is not groundbreaking stuff.

    It has a weird bump in the back yellow part NOT because of the hat but because I had a weird bun/pony tail and it was sort of making a weird bulge. NOT the hats fault!

  2. THAT SAID, I did this entirely on the fly without referring to any patterns while I made it, so it is definitely my own creation in that way.
  3. Because I made it up as I went there are some things I would have done a bit differently, like making the main hat part a bit deeper to accommodate my huge noggin. I was able to block it out a bit bigger so it isn’t a big deal, but I will be altering the pattern when I write it up to account for that.
  4. I did make a specific and personal addition to the pattern, and that was to do some shortrows on the back of the hat along the bottom so that the back of the hat extended a bit farther down my head. You can see where I did this in the blue and yellow stripes along the bottom. It has a bit of an 80’s vibe that I didn’t plan but really love.
  5. I also did an i-cord bindoff along the bottom just to give it a more finished look AND because I wanted more practice doing an i-cord bindoff. I-cord bind off is tedious as hell but I really like the end result.
  6. Obviously, my main “I maked this!” creative contribution to this project is the colourwork that I did. I still can’t believe how well it turned out for just sort of doing it on the fly and just hoping it turned out okay. I LOVE the band, and I love how the back of the hat ended up. Not many hats look as cool as this hat does from the back.

 

So this is what I did in just two days (roughly 12 hours of work). I feel crazy accomplished, and sweet mercy do I ever love this hat. This is possibly my favourite completed project to date. Currently working on a matching cowl, and if I have enough yarn I also hope to making some matching mittens for the trifecta of awesomeness!!! WOO!

 

ETA: Matching Cowl done! Check it out!