Archive for January, 2010

Cosy Up With Merino

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

As the rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon are neatly tucked away and the last of the Christmas decorations are taken down, its time to shake hands with 2010 and welcome in a new decade, bright and shiny with possibility.  Reflect, Take Stock, Daydream, and enjoy the quiet days of January.

Reflect- On your favorite knitting projects of 2009.  Did you learn a new technique, or challenge yourself with a difficult pattern?  Are there any unfinished projects hidden behind the couch or pushed to the back of a closet?  With the best of intentions, one or two knitting projects may have been forgotten.  If you have lost interest in a yarn or a pattern, why not pass it on to someone who will finish it for you.  Yarn shops often have an expert finisher on staff, to do the work for you, and make it look professional without charging an arm and a leg. 

Take Stock- Of your knitting needles, and spend some time organizing your assortment, especially those circulars which tend to tangle into a ball of nylon cords.  A great idea from a reader is a knitting needle inventory card- make a complete list of all circulars, double pointed and straight sets, print it on the computer to the size of a business card.  If you keep it handy in your purse, the next time you shop for a knitting project, you won’t be left wondering if you have that particular needle size at home.  Gather up any odd balls of yarn, decide which to keep and which to donate, a new knitter would really appreciate a bag of practice yarn and a kindergarten teacher might be in need of colourful yarns for little hands to create with.  Make room for fresh, exciting yarns in your collection…….in with the new, out with the old.

Daydream-  Sit back, put your feet up, unwind with a cup of tea, browse through your favorite knitting patterns, search the newest designs for Spring and see what catches your eye.  Contemplate the many choices, which ones will you will be working on this year?  Winter is here for another ten weeks, and that means lots of time for knitting.

Tea Toque and Mug Sleeves

Welcome the New Year with a touch of handknit charm, in a wintry shade of icy blue Merino, and warm up an afternoon in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and a plate of freshly baked pastries.  Knit this simple mock cable stitch Tea Cosy for Two with matching Mug Sleeves in Diamond Luxury Fine Merino Superwash Aran 

Diamond Luxury Fine Merino Superwash Merino Aran

This luxurious type of wool comes from sheep which have been around for two thousand years, raised mainly in New Zealand and Australia.  With its extra long springy fibres, merino wool has no ‘itch factor’, and rates the highest in superior softness.  It is ultra absorbent, wicking away moisture from the skin, and insulating from both heat and cold very effectively.

TEA TOQUE

Size:  to fit a two cup teapot

Needles:  3.75 mm double pointed set

Yarn:  2 balls Diamond Luxury Fine Merino Superwash Aran col # 7376

Tension:  22 sts and 28 rows = 4 in/ 1o cm in Pattern St

Cast on 50 sts.  Work in Pattern St as follows with two needles only-

Row 1- *K2, P2*, rep *to*, end with, K2

Row 2- *P2, TW2 (K 2nd st at front first, then K 1st at front, slide both sts off needle)*, rep *to*, end with, P2

Row 3- as Row 1

Row 4- *P2, K2*, rep *to*, end with, P2

Rep these 4 rows for Pattern.  When work measures 5 in/ 13 cm and ending with Row 1-

Shape Top:

Next Row- *P2tog, TW2*, rep *to*, end with, P2tog = 37 sts

Next Row- *K1, P2*, rep *to*, end with, K1

Next Row- *P1, K2*, rep *to*, end with, P1

Next Row- *K1, P2*, rep *to*, end with, K1

Next Row- *P1, Tw2*, rep *to*, end with, P1

Next Row- *K1, P2*, rep *to*, end with, K1

Next Row- *P1, K2tog*, rep *to*, end with, P1 = 25 sts

Next Row- *K1, P1*, rep *to*, end with, K1

Next Row- *K2tog*, rep *to*, end with, K1 = 13 sts

Next Row- P

Next Row- *K2tog*, rep *to* = 7 sts.  Purl 1 row.  Cut yarn and leave rem sts on a holder.  Make a 2nd piece to match.

Continue across all 14 sts of both pieces, working in knit rounds with 4 needles as follows-

Next Round- K 

Next Round- *K2tog* = 7 sts.  Knit 8 rounds.  K 1 round, inc 3 sts evenly spaced = 10 sts.  K 4 rounds.  Cast off purlways.  Roll edge back to form rim.  Sew side seams leaving opening to fit handle and spout.

MUG SLEEVES: (make 2)

Cast on 50 sts.  Work in Pattern St, repeat Rows 1-4 (4 times) then repeat Rows 1-3 once more.  Cast off.  Make a button loop with a crochet hook, attach yarn 1 in/ 2.5 cm from top along side edge, chain 5, slip st to edge 1 in/ 2.5 cm from bottom, fasten and secure.  Sew a button to opposite side.