wool


PATTERN: Harf

Test knit done, so I’d say the pattern is ready for release!

Capture

Harf

A harf is a fitted hood that fits closely to the head so that there is nowhere for the cold winter winds to come in. The scarf is actually more of a cowl in that it is an attached loop to the hood that you twist and loop over your head, holding the hood snugly (but comfortably) in place, locking in the warmth and locking out out the cold. The harf is knit in garter stitch for extra squish, but also for the stretch and elasticity garter gives. You want it to be quite stretchy so that it really conforms to your head. Without a pompom a harf is perfect for going underneath a helmet. With a pompom it is a sassy piece of winter warmth.

 

Materials required:

  • 300 yards (plus additional length for pompom) worsted weight yarn or a light chunky weight yarn (I have done both with success)
  • Size US10 circular needle
  • 2 stitch markers
  • Additional needle for holding stitches, or some scrap yarn to hold them

 


Learning a new technique is so gratifying!

Today I decided to cast on using the yarn I purchased at Belfast Mini-Mills. I love the yarn, love the colours, but it was looking pretty insane all on its own. I am all for crazy fun colours, but this was just too much, even for me. I dug through my stash and found some leftover dark grey wool from the striped hat I made for Ryan this past spring and figured it would work to tone down the rainbow. But how? Stripes? Checker board? Some other sort of colourwork?

 

What about entrelac?

 

I hadn’t even attempted it before, it looks so beautiful and complicated but also super intimidating. Whatever..no time like the present. And of course I am insane and decided to plough ahead without a pattern. Nothing says “likely to succeed at new technique” like winging it… 

Entrelac As it turns out it is actually TOTALLY turning out! And entrelac is way easier than I expected! I am absolutely loving how this is knitting up, the grey has done exactly what I hoped it would. The rainbow now pops without being crazy in your face insane looking. I love how each block of the rainbow looks sort of like it’s own perfect little miniature rainbow. Man, I just love this.

 

Hurray for learning new techniques!


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.


Juno Slippers (aka. Adventures in Felting)

Juno slippers! Named after the storm that closed work and gave me the free day to knit them!

SNOW DAY! I live in the east coast of Canada and currently the big storm Juno is sailing through. The entire province (eastern seaboard?) is shut down and for once even my office was closed for the day. Pretty much closed off to the entire world, I decided to try my hand at making felted slippers. The pattern I used was the free Felt Slippers For Adults by Nita Brainard. I had never done any sort of felting before and frankly I found it a bit insane or hard to believe. The size the pre-felted item had to be was comical and I really had trouble believing felting would change the size that much.

SO HUGE pre-felting! I still can't believe how much they shrank down.

SO HUGE pre-felting! I still can’t believe how much they shrank down.

However, after reading all sorts of tutorials on felting as well as going over some other felting patterns I decided to just trust it would work out.

The slippers themselves did not take long to knit, nor were they a complicated knit. I was able to get them done while my husband and I watched movies (Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and Rainman, just in case you’re curious). They don’t take a huge amount of concentration, and frankly I wasn’t too worried about any mistakes. I mean, they are getting felted and that should hide most mistakes, right? Holy crap, though, were they ever huge pre-felting! Upon seeing them my husband oh so helpfully said, “You do realize you aren’t making these for Shaq, right?”. Hardy har har. But really, seeing them there, waiting to be felted, over 13 inches long (and I have size 7 feet)… doubts over what felting would be able to accomplish crept back in.

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My felting setup

Enormous knit booties in hand, I sat down to begin the felting process. First of all, felting is a bit of a pain in the ass, or at least felting by hand is. I am sure I will do it again sometime, but I assure you I will be getting dishwashing gloves next time. My hands are all dry and ick feeling after all that time in the hot soapy water scrubbing away at the booties. The felting took a little longer to get going than I expected and took more physical effort than I expected as well. Worried I didn’t have the ability to felt them small enough by hand I threw them in our front loading clothes washer on the hottest cycle. This did help bring them down in size a bit but still not small enough, so I tossed them in to our dryer at the hottest setting. Again, some shrinkage (ha) but not quite small enough. I gave up at that point though. I mean, really, if they aren’t small enough after all that they are never going to be! I’m just going to line them with something fluffy (sheepskin if I can find it) and I am sure they will be perfect then. Hell, they are pretty awesome now in their too-big size!

I do think I will make them again sometime, but I will be making a smaller size, at least in terms of width. Fun project, though, and something fun to show for a snow day at home.

 

Project Notes:

  • I used just over half a ball of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Oak Tweed. I don’t generally like tweed yarns, and I had wanted the natural colour but for whatever reason my local Michael’s was out of every colour was of Fisherman’s Wool except this tweed colour. Oh well.
  • As per the pattern I used size 13 US needles and held the yarn double.
  • In total this took me maybe 8 hours to do (including felting) which to me is not bad.
  • I made the ladies medium size, but if/when I make these again I will be making the narrow version of these. I have really wide feet too, so I have no clue what sort of lady’s foot would fit in these things!
  • While I LOVE these slippers they did end up being a bit big despite my efforts to felt them smaller. They are lovely but I do think I am going to have to line them with some thick something (sheep skin I hope, or in a pinch polar fleece) which should be just enough to make them perfect.

    nice thick even felt

    Behold the nice thick even felt I created!

  • I would add a few more rows at the top of the slipper before you turn the heel, just to have more of a lip/edge at the top of the slipper. I (luckily?) have enough extra at the back of the slipper that I was able to sort of shape it in to a back of the heel lip, but I think it would be better if they were deliberately knit that way.
  • I felted by hand for about half an hour just in hot water with Palmolive, followed by about 10 minutes of hot water/cold water shock felting followed by a run in our front facing clothes washer, followed by about 20 minutes in the dryer. I figured if they didn’t shrink down small enough after all that they were never going to, hence my plan to line them.
  • The end result of the felting in terms of the fabric it created is really nice. I see why so many people use Fisherman’s Wool for felted projects. It just seemed to work well and felt uniformly.

You can view my Ravelry project for these felted slippers HERE.

 

 

UPDATE 2015-01-28:

So apparently I should be able to felt these smaller. According to the knowledgeable people on the Ravelry forums that as long as you can still see some stitch definition (which I can, as the above picture shows) then you can still felt further. This is encouraging! I am fed up with trying to felt by hand so I’m going to toss them in the washer again tonight and see what happens. I just really hope they don’t shrink too much…