dusktreader knits

November 16, 2012

Oh, fine

Filed under: Notions — Tags: — dusktreader @ 10:57 pm

I’ll block the hat I just made instead of doing it the lazy way and just wearing it on a wet day and letting it block itself.

But I’m turning the heat up in my room to make to go faster.


November 15, 2012

You can tell my knitting season has officially begun…

Filed under: Uncategorized — dusktreader @ 4:40 pm

…when I’m hoping for bad weather so that I can stay inside and knit on my lunch break. Unfortunately, the sunshine forced me outside for a walk today, but soon I’ll be logging a good half hour of knitting every work day.

I have many projects to get back to, including some original designs, but right now I am making a simple hat to get back into things. Happy knitting season everyone!

March 3, 2012


Filed under: Notions — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 6:40 pm

photo via deleted.scenes on flickr, used under a creative commons licence

Until recently, the strongest connection I could see between knitting and fitness was that I sometimes wear a pair of knitted legwarmers when I’m skating. But in a discussion thread on Ravelry about multitasking, someone posted that she often does calf raises or squats when she’s knitting. I thought this was brilliant: how many times have I sat there knitting for hours, promising myself I’d get up and walk around after just one more row?

So what other exercises can we do while knitting? Try these at your own risk, I don’t want anyone skewering themselves with their needles.

  • Leg-lifts (lay on your side on the floor, propped up on your elbow, and lift and lower your leg)
  • Balancing on one leg
  • Calf-raises while balancing on one leg
  • Bicycles (where you lie on your back and ride an invisible bike in the air)
  • Stretches! There are so many stretches you could do while knitting. To stretch out my hamstrings I sometimes sit against the wall with my legs straight out in front of me, feet flexed. You could probably do this calf stretch while knitting.  There are some foot stretches that you can do while sitting down (some are as easy as scrunching your toes), and if you haven’t been stretching your feet, you should try it, especially if you walk a lot or have a job where you are on your feet all day. I find that I tense my jaw when I’m knitting something complicated, so I do the one where I open my mouth really wide and stick my tongue out to counteract the tension.

I’m probably not going to get a super ripped body by doing any of these, but I’m going to at least try some of them when I’m knitting for half an hour or more, to prevent parts of me from going numb. There’s a lot of hype right now about how sitting is bad for you, and it’s a good idea to move around once an hour or so when you’re doing stationary work. Anybody down for a stitch ‘n burn ‘n bitch?

February 18, 2012

Pointers: Free Knitted Armwarmer Pattern

Filed under: Patterns — Tags: , , , , , — dusktreader @ 3:17 pm

Pointers ArmwarmersA trusty knitted armwarmer to keep your wrists warm on cold nights and point you in the right direction. The arrow design is shaped with minimal cabling, making this an easy introduction to twisted stitch cabling.

This pattern provides written instructions for the entire armwarmer, plus charted instructions for the arrow design.

Techniques: Knitting in the round on double pointed needles, cabling, binding off stitches mid-row, casting on stitches mid-row (cable cast-on suggested).

Yarn: Any solid dk weight yarn that provides good stitch definition will work. Yarns with a pronounced halo (like mohair) or novelty yarns will not showcase the arrow design as well. For the pictured project, I used one ball of Eco Sirdar (100% wool; 109 yards/100 m per 50 g ball).

Needles: 3.5 mm double-pointed needles (dpn) or size needed to obtain gauge, cable needle

Finished dimensions:
Length: 8 inches
Circumference 7 inches

Sizing: This pattern fits a medium-sized women’s hand with a bit of ease, or a large hand snugly. Suggestions are included for customizing  the size.

Download the free pdf: Pointers Knitted Armwarmers v1.0

Pattern page on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pointers

This pattern has been test-knitted. Feedback is welcome in the comments below, or at dusktreader.knits@gmail.com

Creative Commons License
Pointers by Nicole Maunsell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

February 7, 2012

I did what I said I would do!

Filed under: Designing — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 9:20 pm

I took one of the many ideas milling around in that there brain of mine, and I turned it into a pattern for some armwarmers! It’s been through test-kniting, and will be available as a free download within the next week. Pretty exciting. And now I’m working on swatching out another idea. Designing is getting to be as addictive as knitting itself.

January 6, 2012

Bitten by the Design Bug Again

Filed under: Designing, Projects — Tags: , , , , , , — dusktreader @ 7:33 pm

Maybe you remember that when I started this blog, I was excited about designing my own knitting patterns. That was about two years ago, and I spent a few months reading about designing, sketching out ideas, playing with stitch combinations, and learning as much as I could. Then summer came and I let my designs-in-progress lapse. Last year at this time, I started having ideas again, but the urge wasn’t as strong, and then my knitting life got taken over by a mammoth project which I can now reveal was an afghan for my mom’s wedding present. Since I couldn’t blog about it (secrets!), and I was enthralled with the project (I have always wanted to make afghans), I stopped blogging and let my design ideas stew for awhile in the back of my head.

I finished the project in December, and  it was followed by a wave of enthusiasm for smaller projects. I finished the mittens I’d been working on for three years (on and off), made a hat in two days, and started a scarf. And then the ideas started flooding in again.

I have all sorts of ideas, and my main problem last time was picking one and focusing on it. Most of them don’t make it to the detailed sketch phase, where I plan every section. Sometimes I’d get stuck on one detail that wasn’t working right, or sometimes I’d try to swatch and find I’d made things too complicated for myself. I’d have multiple ideas for different things I could do within a project, and be unable to settle on one. This time, I am picking the most straightforward and developed idea that I have, and seeing it through from start (idea, sketch, swatch) to finish (pattern write-up, getting test-knitters, publication). I am going to tweak it until it is just the way I want it, I am going to make sure that other people can understand the pattern I’ve written, and then I am going to publish it as a free download.

And last night, after a few sketches, I managed to make a swatch that I’m pretty happy with:

A swatch of knitted fabric showing a cabled arrow pointing upwards.

It’s a cabled arrow pattern that I want to use as the main design element for a pair of wristwarmers. Fairly straightforward to do, but I searched the Ravelry pattern database and didn’t see anything like it. There’s still a few tweaks I’d like to make. For instance, at the points where three columns of knit stitches converge, I’d like to use a centred double decrease instead of the k3tog that I used here, so it looks more polished. I think I will make the shaft of the arrow a little bit longer by adding more rows. But it’s enough to get me started on knitting the first wristwarmer, which I was up late last night doing. I forced myself to stop so that I could try to get some sleep, but I was too buzzed to fall asleep right away. (What was that I said about knitting before bed again?) I was so happy that it came out the way I wanted I pictured it in my head. This feels like something that I can actually finish.
And when I finish, I have another idea all lined up that I’ve worked up a detailed sketch for. I am excited for that one too, but it’s a little more complicated.

January 12, 2011

Getting Comfy with Cables

Filed under: Notions — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 5:30 pm

Before this year, I think I did about three cable projects:

  • A scarf that was too short and that I never wear.
  • An owl hat that is too short and that I never wear. (I should try blocking it properly. Or make another one. Or, I could even rip out to before the decreases and make it longer. Maybe I should do that. It’s an awesome hat, I don’t even know what my problem is.)
  • The Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch ‘N Bitch Nation. (I wish I had a digital photo of these. They were my first cable project.)

I had nothing against cables, I just found them slow and I didn’t really understand them. When I read left-leaning cable, I couldn’t figure out which way to hold the stitches to make it lean left. When I read C4B (cable four back) I couldn’t picture which direction it would cause the cable to lean.

Then I went on a cabling binge. I did some armwarmers and incorporated a pattern from the Vogue Cable Stitchionary. I did a cabled beret. And now I’m working on another cabled beret. And it finally clicked, and now I know that if I want to make a left-leaning cable, I should hold stitches to the back of the work, and if I want a right-leaning cable, I should hold stitches to the front. So now I can check against a photograph of what I’m knitting to make sure I’m going the right way, and it all makes sense, and I don’t have to constantly double check. Knitting cables goes a lot faster.

I also learned to knit without a cable needle. My learning process went like this:

  • 4 years ago: Look up how to cable without a needle. See that it means taking live stitches completely off the needle and just letting them hang there. Freak the heck out.
  • 1 month ago: (Having completely forgotten the above.) Decide I don’t feel like using a tedious cable needle. Wonder what could possibly go wrong if I just, you know, drop the stitches off and just, sort of, let them hang there while I knit the next few stitches, and then pick them back up. Experience moderate success, albeit having to fix a few unravelled stitches.
  • 1 week ago: Decide to look up proper instructions for how to cable without a needle , find out I’ve been doing it right, but that if I pinch the base of the dropped off stitches they don’t unravel. Experience great success, and much faster cable knitting.

I am much less afraid of fixing unravelled stitches than I used to be. And now I want to see if I can design my own cable patterns.

December 2, 2010

You can tell I’m excited about knitting again when

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , — dusktreader @ 5:25 pm
  1. I let myself get way too hungry because I keep thinking “just one more row” before I get up to eat.
  2. Ditto with not getting enough sleep.
  3. I start a new, complicated, time-consuming project even though I’ve  got so many others to finish.
  4. My wrists ache.

Since my last entry I’ve made a pair of leg warmers for roller derby. They’re alright. They serve their purpose, which is to keep my ankles warm while I’m on my way to derby practice in the cold weather. But that’s not what I’m excited about. I’m excited about this. A lace advent scarf. It started on December 1st, and there’s a new section revealed every day until Christmas.

There are many reasons why I should not be knitting this scarf. Aside from those outlined above, I have a very busy couple of weeks coming up. I haven’t finished making my (non-knitted) Christmas presents for my family yet. I don’t have enough yarn for the full pattern, so I’m cutting it in half doing math every day to make the number of stitches make sense with the stitch pattern repeat. I don’t need another scarf.

But. But. I get to use this fabulous Fleece Artist Sea Wool that I love. I’ve had it for 2 years now and it needs to be used. And it will make such a pretty scarf. And I love knitting along with people from all over the world. Plus! December 1st was a Wednesday this year, and Wednesday is the night I have my knitting group. It was meant to be.

The first section of the 2010 advent scarf

The first section. I'm using smal needles, so I'll have to block it before the yarnovers become noticeable. The little triangles will look like Christmas trees.

My Ravelry project page. For anyone who’s interested in the math or seeing my progress day by day.

September 21, 2010

Happy Fall!

Filed under: Notions — Tags: , , , — dusktreader @ 5:13 pm

Fall is my absolute favorite season. Sweaters! Leaves! Festivals! Winter squash! The temperature is just right for me (I don’t do well with extremes), and I get to start wearing scarves to work again (it’s the only way I know how to accessorize my otherwise monochrome wardrobe with a bit of colour, so as to trick people into thinking I have more than 5 outfits).  And now that I live in Halifax, where the leaves actually turn colour and fall off the trees, I love Fall even more. It also means the beginning of knitting season, and I expect to have my needles back out as soon as the weather starts keeping me indoors. Right now I have a new obsession, roller derby, which is driving me outside to get some extra practice on my skates while I still can, but soon it will be too cold and wet to skate outdoors and I will have to drop down to our once-a-week indoor skate practice.

A lot of derby girls are knitters and crafters. (See for example, a search for roller derby on etsy.) I am not at all surprised by this.

I have an important thing to share with you. I moved recently, and while packing up all my yarn into more than one rubbermaid bin, I discovered that in the last year, I only bought 2 balls of yarn! Only 2! (Oh wait: I am just now remembering the yarn I bought for Metadata Futurecat’s cat cave. Okay. 5 balls of yarn.) (UPDATE: Okay 6: I bought this skein and blogged about it for my birthday.) It’s not just because I haven’t been knitting since March: I’m counting all last Fall too. You know, when I was learning to sew and buying all that fabri… never mind! The important thing is that I cut back on yarn, even when I was going through an excitement about knitting phase in the winter. I am proud of myself. There are a couple of yarn stores in Halifax (and apparently a really good one out in Dartmouth which I refuse to make a field trip to until I have a specific need), and I wander in from time to time, but I’ve been good. Aside from the cat cave yarn, the only two balls I bought were in support of some earthquake victims, and really, if I can’t spend my consumer dollars on earthquakes, what am I supposed to do?

July 1, 2010

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