Secret Project Reveal: Kleenex Mittens!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this photo of me working on something secret:

Those were red mittens as a prototype for Kleenex Mittens! Kleenex® Canada wanted a special mitten that had a pocket in them for a packet of their tissues, so that you could use the tissues without taking your mittens off.  It was late in the season, so it was a very quick turnaround, but I really enjoyed the project. I hope they do a commercial in the fall, or reboot this one- watch it here! 

The mittens are a very quick knit, as they are made with a super bulky yarn and designed to be very beginner-friendly. They are knit in the round until the slit for the tissues, then knit flat, then knit in the round again to finish off the top of the mitten. Inside is a pocket where you can slide in a packet of tissues, so there is no exposed skin anywhere- even if there are no tissues in the mitten.

The slit is on the side of the mitten near the thumb, and the pattern has directions for to make a tissue pocket mitten for either the left or right, depending on your preference. I’m kicking myself for not taking photos or a little video when I had the mittens, although I have small hands and knit large sizes as they knew that men would be wearing the mittens in the commercial. I had Guy try the mittens on several times during construction to make sure they would fit!

Pattern is available for free from Ravelry in both English and French: Find it here!

Many thanks to Agnes of readytoknit.com for the French translation, and to Heidi of Hands Occupied who is currently working on turning the knitting pattern into a crochet pattern.

Stay warm, everyone! Hopefully winter will be over soon. And I’ve already been jealously eyeing the spring flowers popping up on the European instagrammers I follow…. sigh.

Modification Monday: Summer Rose

Original Patterns: Autumn Rose Pullover and Child’s Panel Gansey

Knitter Extraordinaire: Misa (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Misa used the Autumn Rose colourwork pullover as the road map, but substituted the charts for the Child’s Panel Gansey. Details can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Two things are happening in this sweater that I love seeing- a knitter taking a child’s design and turning it into something grown up, and switching out colourwork charts. Misa was starting from a position of strength by using a sweater pattern that was already designed for colourwork and in fingering weight, so it was easier to switch out the charts. Fingering weight makes it easier because when substituting charts, sometimes your stitch count isn’t going to be the same as in the original pattern. If you are using worsted weight and need to add 4 stitches or reduce 4 stitches, you might be changing the ease of that garment by an inch or more. In fingering weight, the size shift will not be so dramatic, so it’s easier to make slight adjustments.  I love how the charts look in this scoop neck sweater- just utterly beautiful!

Pin ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week

This essay was wonderful- a woman who was fat shamed tracked down her trolls and confronted them: “By just blocking and deleting when someone makes an abusive comment or when someone sends an unsolicited portrait of their genitals, we’re tacitly saying that’s acceptable. No one sits around the dinner table, and when their loved ones ask them what they did that day calmly replies “well today I told someone to kill themselves on the internet. Pass the peas please.”

Finding time to read.

Conversation starters, no matter what the scenario.

Self worth isn’t the same as self esteem. Here are some ways to help bolster your sense of self worth.

My Favourite Pins This Week

These sweet potato and zucchini tots are a healthy take on tater tots, and they are magnificent. With all that veg, you can basically eat just these for dinner guilt free. If you are not vegan and gluten free, I recommend adding one egg and substituting the almond meal for 1 cup of flour. Just makes them a little closer to the original, I think. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

This pin was love at first site. I love dessert squares, and who doesn’t love the Samoa cookies that inspired these? Don’t make them unless people are coming over- you don’t want to be left alone with a full pan of these. Pinterest link is here, and the original recipe post is here.

These socks are so wonderful, how have I not seen the knitting pattern until this week? I can imagine all sorts of fun combinations with self striping yarn, bright or muted. And a great way to destash partial and single fingering weight skeins, too! Pinterest link is here, and the original pattern post on Ravelry is here.

I’m utterly besotted with the wonderful artwork of Anne Ten Donkelaar, who carefully cuts out photos and magazine prints of flowers and reconstructs these dreamy floral arrangements. I would love to see these in person! Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

I absolutely adore big, high-impact wall paper, especially florals and botanicals. Clearly I’m excited for spring, with all this floral craving! Our current place is a bit small for something this big and bold, but I think our next home, I’m going to do something like this. It’s worth clicking over to see all the inspirational ideas. Pinterest link is here, and the original post is here.

This weekend is pretty low key- Guy is studying in earnest for his Canadian citizenship test, which is coming up early next week. I thought it would be a breeze, but on the sample test we were looking at I struggled to answer most of the questions. I thought it would be a breeze, asking things like Who is the Prime Minister, but it is actually asking detailed and precise questions about Canadian confederacy and our many layered existing governance structure. Sadly I don’t think I’ve thought much about it since grade 6.

And of course, I need to go and get myself some pretty flowers to help curb my flower craving, it seems! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I’m Obsessed With My Pom Pom Maker

Somewhere on Instagram, I came across the Pom Maker feed and fell instantly, madly in love with their adorable wooden pom pom makers and beautiful pom poms. I had to have one! The fact that it was entirely made of wood seemed especially attractive to me – until then, I had only ever seen plastic pom pom makers, none of which struck me as being particularly wonderful.  When my pom maker arrived, it did not disappoint one bit. It is smooth and perfectly made, the wood is lightweight and very comfortable in the hand. it comes in it’s own muslin drawstring pouch, with an instruction booklet.

 It didn’t come with scissors or yarn, those are mine.

Not only does it look like an adorable doughnut (and comes in different colours), this is the easiest pom pom maker I’ve ever used. Which is great, because Lila is fascinated and now she wants to make pom poms, too. The pom it produces is pretty big, about the size of my hand, with only a tiny bit of trimming to even it out. It would be great as an oversized (but not ridiculous) pom on any adult hat:

The white pom I made afterwards is the same size but even fluffier, once I finally got my pom pom groove. This is about the biggest size you can make, and then to get a smaller pom pom you just keep trimming it down. It works for any thickness of yarn, although I imagine a laceweight pom pom will be pretty labour intensive with all the wrapping. These are made with aran weight craft yarn that were just hanging around in my stash.

Pom Maker has video tutorials on their site, although the instruction booklet that comes in the storage pouch was more than enough to make a basic pom pom. But I wanted to see how difficult it would be to make one of their fancy pom poms, the panda.

I followed the video, and I was feeling pretty proud of my panda pom pom, especially for a first attempt. Mine turned out a bit small because I kept trimming and trimming, trying to get the face even. Still- definitely a panda, right?

And then I made the mistake of asking my family what they thought. Guy said it didn’t look like a panda, it needed bigger eyes. But I felt vindicated when Lila saw it and immediately asked if she could play with it. I let her play with it for a bit and then asked her, “what animal is it?” and she looked at it thoughtfully, and then said, “is it a puppy?”

Whatever. I still like my pom pom panda. I feel like it would be perfect on top of this hat.

Now I’m obsessed with making pom poms, it is the perfect way to use up leftover partial skeins. If you decide to get one of these utterly charming pom makers  too and then are wondering what you would do with all your new pom poms, I’ve got you covered! I was also wondering the same thing so I started a pom pom crafts Pinterest board with all sorts of ideas. I particularly like the gift topper idea and the fridge magnets! Pom Maker also has a Pinterest account, but it looks like they are just setting it up and haven’t quite got it populated just yet. I’m following anyway, and looking forward to more tutorials. Guy says that my panda looks more like a koala, so maybe koala next? I feel like I could make an excellent koala!

Modification Monday: Locksley Hat Modification

Original Pattern: Locksley 

Knitter Extraordinaire: Andrea (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Using the design from the Locksley sweater pattern as a base, Andrea created the hat version. Great details with lots of info on the crown decreases and can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: Andrea knit this stunning sweater for her son, and had some leftover yarn from the colourwork. The colour she had the most of was blue, so she used that as the base colour and echoed the stranded design in the hat, topped off with a perfectly bushy pom pom. This is a brilliant idea for when you have made a colourwork knit and have some of the yarn left over- why not make a complimentary knit with the same charts but inverted (or slightly different) colours? I love how Andrea thought to do this- if it was the same colour structure it might have been a little matchy-matchy, but the contrast is just right. Not to mention it reminded me how much I love this sweater!