Making mittens and a new camera!

I wrote up the pattern for the Leaves and Petals mittens I made the other day and put it up on sale on Ravelry today. My first real pattern (that I wrote down at least) Being on size 8 needles, its a quick knit (I know I say that a lot, but I love instant knitting gratification. So much, that if I am working on a bigger project and am getting bored, I will knit a dishcloth or something to get the excitement of finishing something). And it really showcases an amazingly bright ball of Noro Kureyon, which is one of my favorite yarns. I just love the really long colour changes, and how it can go from neon yellow to neon purple to dark green and it works. There is more about making the mittens in this post. The button below is a link to buy the pattern.

In other news, I got a new camera!!! My very nice mom picked it up for me yesterday at Don's Photo. I am still figuring it out, so I have not taken many real photos with it, but I love it. I got a Pentax K-X. I spent a lot of time reading reviews trying to decide on a camera, but in the end went with the Pentax. I used a K1000 all through university and loved it. It was a great camera, and it still takes great photos. A DSLR is a really different way of working that I am going to have to get used to. It does not feel as second-skin as my old SLR, but maybe that will come with time. The best part is that my old lenses (and I have 4) are compatible with my new camera. I have a nice wide angle, and a telephoto that I did not use much, but just realized it was a telemacro (even though I am sure I used it as such, haha). I have a lot of work ahead of me now in building a photography business. Don't forget, I want to take your picture!

O has figured out how to army crawl, and is now dragging himself around on the floor like a little worm. I need to figure out how to keep the Hot Wheels from the tiny baby! We've been getting outside more with all the nice weather. Chalk is amazing! In the sense that it gets B to stay in one place while I lounge around with little O and try to keep him from eating fistfuls of grass that he rips out of the earth with his tiny pudgy little hands. Today we went to a super fun birthday party for an adorable little girl. Which gave me the opportunity to knit these adorable monsters that I have been wanting to knit forever. I think it's my new favorite knitting pattern. It's well written and easy to follow and so cute. B has insisted I knit him blue ones. And I am more than happy to oblige!


And then the clouds parted...

Poor B was going stir crazy all last week. The weather was just dreadful. So when it was warm and sunny yesterday, despite the things I wanted to get done at home, we headed out. B insisted that he wear a pirate hat. He looked pretty cool. We went to the Forks where Kidsfest was going on. B went crazy in the sprinkler. We mostly just walked around, it was nice to get outside. O was really amused too. And then he fell asleep. He is so adorable. He is rolling around and trying (sometimes successfully) to push himself forward with his little feet.

I am knitting the cutest thing ever. It's a mama and baby monster, and the baby monster fits in a pocket on the mama monster. It's for a birthday we are going to, so it is in girly purple and pink. I wanted to do it in blue and green at first, but figured that purple and pink was more little girl, and I could make a blue and green one later for O. Seriously, this pattern is adorable. I wish I had reason to knit more! I just need to find something for eyes (all the buttons I have look a bit off). Well that, and knit up the baby monster, but it's a lot smaller than the big one. I love the concept of the pattern too! I have half a Prairie Boot left to knit, I would have been done if not for the monsters. I really love both of those patters and plan to use them lots. The Prairie Boot pattern is really well written. And they are so cute.


On photography

So as you may or may not know, I have a BFA. In particular, I studied photograhy (and drawing, and I really liked Modern Art History), with the goal of one day taking photographs. With a capital P. Photographs. Of course, life got pleasently in the way, in the form of two wonderful boys, and I never did gain much momentum on that post-university. But lately, I've been really thinking about what it is I want to do with myself. While I love being a mom to two adorable little boys, I also really need to fulfill the part of me that ended up in art school in the first place. So I am doing it. While it might take me a bit of time to get all the particulars in order (and buy the right equipment - if anyone happens to want to buy me cameras, I won't complain!), I am going to be a photographer. I mean, I guess you can say I already am in the sense that I take a lot of photograhs, but (and I will not bore you with photography semantics or philosophy, but trust me, I could), but I don't feel like its a title I can own. But I plan to. I know it's a pretty saturated market, but I think I have a really good photographic viewpoint, a strong technical eye, as well as a good understanding of what elevates an image beyond a snapshot or an image to a beautiful photograph.

That being said, I need to work on my portfolio. I have a great deal of landscape and architectural shots (and there are lots more still on negatives, I have something like 80 rolls of film to go through), as well as a few more conceptual works, but I really need to flesh out the people part of it (ha! flesh! people!). So if you want a great family portrait, headshot, or event photography (or anything else for that matter) ask me! I will provide you with the digital files (with editing, and even some special effects) at no cost, as long as you allow me to use them in my portfolio. I am especially interetsted in taking pictues of people either in their own environments, with their pets, or outdoor family photographs.
So if you want some awesome pictures taken of you, send me a message or an email or whatever!


Recycled Sari Silk Mittens (or as I like to call them Happy Hippy Mittens)

In my last post, I talked about the recycled sari silk mittens I was working on. I finished them tonight, and figured I'd write up the pattern here. Even though it's a really basic mitten pattern, its nice to have someone else figure out all the math stuff for you. I looked for patterns to use this ball of yarn so I could admire all of its colours and textures, but came up short. Unless I liked drop-stitch scarves (which I don't, all that loose yarn makes me anxious), or had just a bit more yarn to knit a bag (that I probably would not use, so that would be a waste), there just was't much out there. So I decided to use it to knit my favorite thing, mittens!

Mittens are a little bit of an unconventional use for this sort of yarn. It's not really stretchy or particularly soft and fuzzy (although a bit of washing with a gentle conditioner goes a long way!), and some people find it really difficult to work with. Maybe it is the particular brand, (Darn Good Yarn Wild Peacock Recycled Silk), but this stuff knit up really well. And quick! Because it's so chunky they knit up crazy fast, and only took a few hours per mitten. Sure they are not warm fuzzy wool mittens, but think of how much more positive your outlook will be on a cold February morning when you are wearing such colourful and exotic mittens! Like their yarn's namesake, they look like vibrant peacocks strutting their stuff. No one is going to be mistaking these mitts for their Thinsulate flip top mittens. Anyways, on to the pattern.

Happy Hippy Recycled Sari Silk Mittens

Darn Good Yarn Wild Peacock Recycled Silk (or any chunky recycled silk yarn)
The ball is 155 meters (or 170 yards), and I would say each mitten used about a third of it.
Size 8 (5.0mm) double-pointed needles
17 rows and 14 stitches in a 4 by 4 inch square
Finished mitten is 9 inches long and 3 3/4 inches wide, it's on the larger side of medium
In the shaping of the thumb gusset, when I say M1, I mean make or increase however you feel comfortable, as long as it does not make a hole. I KFB'd (knit into the front and back of one stitch). For more information on increases look here. And here are decreases for good measure.

Cast on 21 stitches and divide equally between 3 needles
Knit 10 rows
This will give you a cuff of about 1 1/2 inches, if you want a larger cuff, just knit a few extra rows.

Shape Thumb Gusset:
K10, M1, K1, M1, K10 (23 stitches on needles)
Knit one row
K10, M1, K3, M1, K10 (25 stitches on needles)
Knit one row
K10, M1, K5, M1, K10 (27 stitches on needles)
Knit one row
K10, M1, K7, M1, K10 (29 stitches on needles)
Knit two rows
K10, put 9 stitches on holder or waste yarn, k10 (20 stitches on needles)

Right mitten:
M1, K10, M1, K10 (22 stitches on needles)
Left mitten:
K10, M1, K10, M1 (22 stitches on needles)
Both mittens:
Knit 17 rows

K2tog, K7, SKP, K2tog, K7, SKP (18 stitches on needles)
Knit 1 row
K2tog, K5, SKP, K2tog, K5, SKP (14 stitches on needles)
Place 7 stitches on each on two needles and bind off using kitchener stitch

Pick up 9 stitches from waste yarn, as well as one from each side of the inside thumb (11 stitches)
Knit 10 rows. In the first row knit the two picked up stitches together (10 stitches)
K2tog, K1, SKP, K2tog, K1, SKP (6 stitches)
Knit 1 row
Place 3 stitches each on 2 needles. Bind off using kitchener stitch

Weave in all ends and gently hand wash with a gentle conditioner to soften. Air dry. Dazzle!


Smitten with mittens...

All I can think about are mittens! Mittens I want to make. I am almost done my second pair in the past few days. The first, which is just drying, is a pair of felted neon-y Noro Kureyon and black stranded mittens in a geometric pattern I made up. The pattern is comprised of rows of leaves and petals that have been distilled from their original inspiration (bright flowers on the cover of Good Housekeeping) into a more South American geometric mitten aesthetic. When I was younger I remember getting mittens and gloves from Global Connections at The Forks that were handmade in South America. The geometric patterns were so simple and pretty, and the colours really made the bold pattern pop. I wanted to use a yarn that was really bright, inspired by both the flowers on the cover and these original mittens I once had (and lost, of course). Anyways. So I bought the brightest Kureyon I could find at Ram Wools. I paired it with a solid black Istex Lett Lopi. I find the Lett Lopi pairs really well with Kureyon, as they both have similar weights and textures, amoung other qualities. It also comes in a decent amount of solid colours to counterpoint the crazy  colour-changes in the Kureyon. Then after spending lots of time with graph paper and pencil, I came to a final pattern. It was a super quick knit, taking only a few hours for each mitten. Then I washed them twice to felt them up a little for extra warmth. If you click on the picture it goes to the corresponding Ravelry page. I am going to update it with the final felted project soon.

Ben was really excited by the finished mittens. He kept poking one with one of my needles saying "Making holes, fixing holes." Then he kept stealing them and using them as driving gloves. He told me "Just like a race car (driver)." What a cutie.

The other pair of mittens that I am still working on, is a pair of recycled sari silk mittens. It's a little bit of an unconventional mitten yarn, but when I tried to find a good pattern for the ball of Wild Peacock Recycled Silk I got from Darn Good Yarn, all I could find was drop-stitch scarves, and I am just not a fan of them. So I decided, why not make mittens! Because the yarn is so chunky, and the needles so big (8), they are a super super quick knit. I made up the pattern on the fly, and it turned out well. I think the mittens show off all the colours and intricacies of the recycled silk so well. I love all the colours! I can see these giving a lot of hope for warmer days come winter. Again, the picture links to the corresponding Ravelry page.

Little O is doing so well. He is almost 4 months old.He rolls over both ways, and is trying so hard to move around on his tummy. I brought out B's old spinning play mat (that is not quite the same one, its a newer model, but the idea is the same), so he could have a bit more fun while wiggling around. I found both of the boys really liked this because it allowed them to spin about really easily just by inadvertent foot or hand movements. Which made them both enjoy tummy time a lot more, because I found they were mostly getting frustrated by not being able to move. O's little coos sound less screechy and more syllable-ish every day. 

B is such a funny little guy. He loves his cars. Above is a picture of him with a car mall he asked me to make for him. He loves having places to park them. He calls parking garages "car houses." Anything an item is stored in is its house, and he loves finding houses for things. Sometimes I will find his Hot Wheels in perfect-sized spots for them in between books in his bookcase. He's recently started identifying objects by how many there are. He can identify one to four things. Like three cars or two books. Anything over four is four. 

The next few days will be busy. I have lots of baking to do (buns, cinnamon bread, cookies, cheese crackers, regular crackers, and scones or muffins) and the preparatory shopping for that. Our library books are due this weekend, and I have some more ideas for mittens I need to work out.