Tag Archive | winter

Day 5: tree

Christmas tree scarf (3)

This tree is on a scarf I made on my knitting board, lo these many years. It has been languishing in a bin, waiting for someone to love it enough to take it home. In other words, I made it for my Etsy store. I made up the pattern on my own. I even had to sketch out my own little grid because I had no graph paper at the time. The scarf used up two partial skeins of yarn that wouldn’t have made anything on their own, but I think the combined effect turned out pretty nice.

Day 3: Stripes


Another knitted thing, this time with stripes and this time for Granota. I finished this sweater more recently (about a month ago). I tried blocking it out earlier this week, but it didn’t take, so here it is pinned out again for another round of blocking. (For non-yarny people, that means steaming it into its final shape; if I don’t block it, it curls up like a scroll which makes it awfully hard to sew together. Even if I did manage to sew it together like that, can you imagine how rumpled and “homemade” it would look? Blocking is a necessity.) This is the wrong side showing. Cross your fingers that it will block out right this time!

One thing that makes me extra excited about this sweater is that I was on a mission to use up yarn from my stash. The aqua and the variegated are the only ones I managed to kill off, but at least the others are reduced!

Day 1: Warmth

It lives!!!


Once again, I’ve resuscitated the blog to participate in The Idea Room’s photo challenge for the month of December. I’m going to do things a little bit differently this time and post about things I’ve made in the last, uh, however many months.

To kick it off, we’ll start with “warmth,” which was actually yesterday’s word, but when you’re chronically late like I am, what’s one day out of a whole month?



May I present to you, my very first ever knitted grown-up sweater. It’s my second ever knit project, the first being a tiny sweater I knitted for Baby Sprinkaan just before he was born. I’m pretty proud of this. I made a thing! I made a wearable thing! And it is made out of the thickest, softest, chunkiest yarn I could find.


Cozy Wool — I think it’s the Michael’s store brand

I have to wait for the very coldest days to break out this sweater or I’ll actually get too hot. I think that qualifies for “warmth.”

This sweater was fun and relatively quick to make, owing to the thick yarn and the humongous needles used to make it. Here’s a photo showing the size of those suckers compared to a regular ol’ pencil.


Mondo knitting needles

I’m actually considering making another sweater like this in a different color. The next time I make it, I’ll pay better attention to gauge and measurements so that I don’t have to add an extra band of ribbing around the bottom to make it long enough to fit me.


Another one of my famous “design elements.”


To quote Rana as a 3 year old, “I’m is all worm and snoogly.”

I feel it coming together

Warning: The following post may result in the theme song from “Fame” playing endlessly in your head for the rest of the day.

We had a dilemma here in the Gren household. Rana and Granota enjoy wearing skirts and dresses. They do not, however, enjoy wearing tights. Once the cooler days start kicking in, there is a lot of wailing about the atrocities of tights and the unfairness of having cold legs whilst wearing skirts. This happens every year. But this year, I made the decision not to entertain the inane Cold Legs vs. Evil Tights debate. Usually, the main complaint is that the girls don’t like how the waistband of the tights compress their bellies (I haven’t told them about control top panty hose yet; they can make that discovery on their own). Rana also gets upset about the toe line that makes funny little squares on the sides of her feet which then bother her in her shoes. So they want to wear skirts and have warm legs, but nothing touching their bellies or feet. It’s almost a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situation. But there was one solution.

Enter: The legwarmer. And 1982. Hey, we’re gonna live forever.

I chose to use a knitting loom rather than crochet for good stretchiness in the finished product. The yarn I chose was some kind of soft, bulky wool from Michael’s; it’s almost like roving, but it’s washable.

Once you know the circumference of the leg you’re warming, choose the loom that most closely matches that measurement. My girls’ legs are about 10 inches around, so I chose the blue loom. From there, you’re basically making a tube, so there’s not a lot of “pattern” needed (unless you want to get fancy, which I didn’t this time around). I found these instructions which were great for getting me started, especially since I use the round looms so rarely, I couldn’t remember how to cast on.

Enter the Vortex

Enter the Vortex

There’s not a lot to say about the actual process. It’s repetitive and somewhat therapeutic. One thing I did learn the hard way is that finished length does not correspond well to measured length on the loom. Each girl ended up with one legwarmer longer than the other; good thing they’re stretchy (the legwarmers that is — not the girls). So my advice is to count rows, as tedious as that is, rather than to rely on a measuring tape.

A little strategic stretching and ta dah! They're the same!

A little strategic stretching and ta dah! They’re the same!

The other thing I learned is that the bind off video that is recommended in the above instructions results in a tight, unstretchable cuff. I did a little looking and found this Super Stretchy Bind Off video that worked much better for this project.

Ribbed cuff

Ribbed cuff

I kept waiting for the girls to both wear their legwarmers on the same day to get a good picture, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon. Rana was happy to pose for me, though.

You ain't seen the best of me yet

You ain’t seen the best of me yet


Baby, remember my name.


All I’ve got to show for myself

Don’t you hate those weeks when you know you’ve been doing stuff and you were pretty sure that you were accomplishing said stuff, but then you look back to assess your progress and…


Yeah. That’s two full skeins of yarn. I’ve been working on it every evening and it still only measures about 6 inches high. I’ve got four skeins of yarn left, doing a little math… this may not turn out. Well now, that’s depressing. Especially because this yarn has a distinct aversion to being frogged (for the record, spell check does not approve of the use of “frog” as a verb). Wanna know how I know? Huh? Huh? Well, I did read it on Ravelry under the reviews for this yarn — Red Heart Boutique Treasure in “Spectrum.” Also, I have firsthand experience. Because that up there, which is supposed to be this:

From AntiqueCrochetPatterns.com (click pic for linky)

From AntiqueCrochetPatterns.com (click pic for linky)

Originally started out as this:

Basketweave Capelet (Crochet Today Sept/Oct 2009)

Basketweave Capelet (Crochet Today Sept/Oct 2009)

And that wasn’t turning out right, either. I think I keep choosing patterns with too-ornate stitches that just eat up the yarn. The original project used a basketweave stitch, which is really pretty, but that time, two skeins of yarn only achieved about four inches in height. Basketweave is not the way to go if you want to build height quickly. So I scoured CrochetPatternCentral and Ravelry to find a shawl or poncho with a dense enough stitch to keep me warm this fall. ‘Cause let’s face it: with this basketball I’m sporting under my shirt, my regular winter coat is not gonna fit. The current shawl pattern uses a crossed treble stitch to make it nice and thick. And it is! And I think it would be warm!

Up close and personal with some crossed treble action

Up close and personal with some crossed treble action

But I also cleaned out Michael’s for all of the same color lot, so I’m kinda married to these six skeins that I have. One would think that I could produce something suitable out of that. Apparently one would have to do that by making a big, uninteresting rectangle of single crochet. We’ll see.

In the meanwhile, I’ll be ripping out two weeks’ worth of work.

Scarfing it up

It was brought to my attention recently by a sweet little girl that she did not have a suitable scarf to wear. And it was true. The scarf — if it could even be called such — was my very first knitting loom project using the remainder of some yarn I had around. It wasn’t very long and, if you can imagine such a thing to be possible, she outgrew it. Once Granota spoke up about her lack of scarf, naturally Rana had to put in her plug for a new scarf, too. Her scarf is plenty long, but I made it out of Fun Fur (don’t judge me) years ago and, while it is, indeed, fun, it is not warm. We were at Michael’s the other day, so I let the girls choose their yarn color. Although I tried to steer them towards nicer yarns, the lure of variegated Red Heart was too much for them. Rana chose “Bikini” (appropriate for a scarf. Or not.) and Granota chose “Bonbon.” Konik was adamant that he did not want a scarf. He was perturbed that I would be working on other projects besides his socks. He wants socks and he wants socks now. Sorry, tiny dude.

The pattern I used came from this little Leisure Arts booklet that my mom gave me years ago when I grew up and left home.


So far I’ve only used it for the different stitches, but in the back of my mind, I always wanted to try this scarf pattern that was in the back. It has a slit in one end to pass the other end of the scarf through. My kids can never keep a scarf on, so I thought this seemed like a good, simple solution to that problem.

I don't match my lipstick to my scarf, mostly because it's orange and purple.

I don’t match my lipstick to my scarf, mostly because it’s orange and purple.

The pattern uses a cluster stitch. For some reason, mine was not coming out right. I was skipping a chain or something, because the whole thing kept curling up. So I scrapped that plan and made the whole thing in block stitch. Another time, I probably would have figured out the cluster stitch, but it was cold and the girls were chomping at the bit to wear their scarves.

If you have ever worked with Red Heart Super Saver yarn before, you know how coarse and scratchy it feels. Not exactly apparel-quality yarn. I discovered, though, while I was making the Axl dolls, that steaming acrylic yarn softens it up nicely (I steamed his hair). Just don’t touch your iron to the yarn unless you want to ruin them both.

Bonbon and Bikini. Small girls were not available for modeling at this time.

Bonbon and Bikini. Small girls were not available for modeling at this time.

Tucked through the slit.

Tucked through the slit.

Granota says, “My scarf is super-duper, suuuuper duper warm.”
Rana says, “Mine is so nice to stay on.”

So there you have it. Warm and nice to stay on. Mission accomplished, wouldn’t you say?

Also, if you are interested in “scarfing it up,” there actually is an organization called Scarf It Up that collects scarves for needy individuals. I haven’t participated in it before; I actually just found it this afternoon. You can find more information about it here: Scarf It Up For Those In Need.


Chilly morning

Although we aren’t dealing with temperatures like the Northern prairie states, it has been cold here for us! Several clear, cold days with a heavy frost is unusual here. I’m ready to get back to 40 degrees and rain!

Both of the girls needed scarves, so I’ve been working on those. I finished Rana’s yesterday and will shortly finish Granota’s. Konik insisted that he did not want a scarf; right now he’s more intent on me making him socks (I do have one in progress). I’ll post the finished scarves later this week. In the meanwhile…

Frost needles

Frost needles


Frozen raccoon prints on the riverbank

Frozen raccoon prints on the riverbank


Monkey Business

There are two things that my son, Konik, loves in this world: cars and monkeys. His day is made if he gets to ride in the car, even if it’s just to pick up Rana from school. He eats his meals with at least one matchbox car near his plate (sometimes we have entire parking lots). If he’s not playing with his cars, he is most likely playing with his stuffed monkey named… Monkey, or snuggled up under his monkey blanket watching a movie. Cars and monkeys. That’s it. Everything else comes in at a very, very distant 3rd place.

When Konik was 1, I crocheted him a little hat with a stem and berries on the top. It’s super cute. But this year it was too small. It didn’t even come down to his ears. He insisted that it still fit and you can’t really explain to a 3 year old that just because you can get it on doesn’t mean it actually fits (heck, there are plenty of adults who still haven’t learned that lesson). But I remembered a hat pattern that I was sure would win him over.

Long ago (ok, not that long ago. Probably about a year ago), my blog friend Lisa at yarnchick40 sent me a pattern for a sock monkey hat as a thank you for following her blog (you should follow her blog, too, ’cause she’s funny and she makes cool stuff, but it’s totally her prerogative what she wants to do about it! I am not guaranteeing sock monkey hats. 🙂 ). I’ve hung onto it for just the right time and that time is now!

At first, Konik was a reluctant participant in the many (many, many) fitting sessions. He knew I was making him a hat, but I hadn’t played my ace card yet; I was saving that for when it became absolutely necessary. And sure enough, one day he completely balked at having yet again to try on a hat that really didn’t look like a hat yet. Then I showed him the picture. His eyes lit up and a big smile covered his face. “It’s a monkey hat!!” Back in business!


The pattern is super cute. I had to make some adjustments for size to fit my boy’s noggin, but it’s all good. I used yarn that I had on hand: the brown and cream are Lion Brand Wool-Ease and the red is “Impeccable” (from Michael’s). The monkey has blue eyes because, believe it or not, I didn’t have two matching black buttons. Also, I was secretly thrilled that the boy is young enough not to be bothered in the slightest by the enormous pompom on top. I’m going to milk that cuteness for as long as I can!





Black and white

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve seen an assortment of dresses that I’ve made for myself. One thing those dresses all have in common: they are all lightweight. I’ve shivered through the last few winters going to church in thin cotton dresses, but there’s only so much layering you can do before you just give up and wear jeans. I needed a winter dress. I knew this several years ago and bought a couple of yards of black & white houndstooth corduroy. The pattern it was intended for was a vintage 60s sort of military-inspired dress. I don’t know what I was thinking. That style uses a lot of folds and tucks, which 1) would not have worked with corduroy and 2) would have induced eye-crossing optical illusions with the houndstooth print. Sometimes I don’t plan things out very well.

Houndstooth and corduroy!

This past spring, I decided that I needed to work through a lot of the fabric in my stash that didn’t really have patterns to go with them. I bought a bunch of patterns on sale and one of them was McCalls 2401. It’s a simple sheath dress: a front, two back pieces, two sleeves and the facing. The construction is very simple. The fit is gained through four darts in the front and two in the back.


I had to let out the hips a tiny bit and take in the two vertical darts near the top to really get a nice, close fit.

Pretending that I’m not freezing to death.

I didn’t notice during all my multiple fittings that the back neckline was not lying flat. I think next time, I will pinch in small darts on either side of the zipper to take out some of the excess. I can’t do it on this one because the facing is already in and it would require a lot of deconstruction to do that. I’ll just tough it out and count on my hair to cover the gaping.

Pretty proud of my invisible zipper, though.

I wore the dress all day Sunday — to church and an afternoon of Christmas shopping. It was warm and comfortable!

I don’t have anything all that interesting to say about it. I will be using this pattern again with some navy blue wool.

Mr. Gren told me to act natural. Now I want to make a sailor dress.