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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Abyss Legwarmers

Please note: I always test my patterns 100%, however, this one is NOT tested. I just don't want to and it's pretty easy anyway. As usual, let me know if you have any comments!

These legwarmers were designed specifically to wear under jeans. Their best feature is the ties that ensure they don’t slink down around your ankles. They are also cute in the summer with a skirt.
The originals were knit up with one skein of fingering weight and one skein of DK, however, they could be done with two skeins of fingering weight, if you prefer.

Craft: knitting
Skill Level:
knit, purl, K2tog, yarn over, i-cord

adult small (shown) and large
Finished Measurements:
approx. 5" wide, 20" long lying flat with cuff folded down (size small)

34 sts = 4" on 2.5 mm as given on Anne ball band; 22 sts = 4" on 4 mm as given on Soft Touch ball band
1 x 100 g (560 yds, 215 m) fingering weight yarn; 1 x 200 g (500 yds, 457 m) DK weight
Suggested Brand:
1 skein Anne by Schaefer Yarn; 2 skeins Shelridge Farms Soft Touch DK

3 mm dpns (or 12” circular – dpns required for i-cord)  
Other Materials: tapestry needle or teeny crochet hook


Make two.

Starting at the top with DK yarn (MC), CO 80 (112) sts with long-tail method. Join in the rnd being careful not to twist sts. Pm for beg of rnd.

Work a K2, P2 rib for 10 rnds.

Rnd 11: *K2, P2, K2tog, YO, P2*, rep from * to * to end of rnd. 10 (14) eyelets.

Next: work 10 rnds in 2x2 rib.
Rnd 22: knit one rnd for fold line (shows as a purl rnd when cuff is turned down).

Rep the first 21 rnds once more.

Change to fingering yarn (CC) and st st. Use jogless stripe technique and carry strands up the back (unless you want to weave all those little guys in, but I don’t recommend it!)

Work 3 rnds with MC and 7 rnds with CC until legwarmers reach one inch from desired length. Obviously, you may choose a different stripe pattern (or a solid) based on your tastes and yarn choice.

Once your legwarmer is long enough, change to MC and work 12 rnds in 2x2  rib. BO in rib.


Fold top cuff over along purl line. Block if needed. Make a 30-inch i-cord on dpns and weave through eyelets, making sure they line up. Weave in ends.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cockleshells Scarf

 This lightweight scarf is quite simple to make and knits up quickly. It is constructed of two halves knit from the bottom up and then grafted in the middle. The design evolved from the desire to get the most out of a luxury ball of lace weight yarn.

Craft: knitting
Skill Level: Rookie-Apprentice-Virtuoso-Genius
Skills: knit, purl, yarn over, K2tog, psso

Sizes: one size
Finished Measurements: approx. 5.5" wide and 60" long lying flat after blocking

Gauge: not crucial (32 sts = 4" on 2.75 mm as given on Malabrigo ball band)
Yarn: 1 x 50 g, 300 yds (274 m) lace weight yarn
Suggested Brand: 1 skein Malabrigo lace; or 1 skein Jacques Cartier Qiviuk lace 2/14 shown in colour 4010

Needles: 3.5 mm straight or circular; 3.5 mm dpns (for grafting)
Other Materials: tapestry needle or teeny crochet hook

Make two halves. 

Note: The original scarf was designed without a border, so the edges curl in slightly...if you would prefer your scarf to sit flat at the edges, I would recommend working a 3-st garter edge (knit the first and last 3 sts of every odd and even row) or work a 4-st 1x1 rib at each edge (K1, P1 twice at the beginning and end of each row). I chose not to in this case simply because I find garter stitch to be a little bit abrasive, but it’s nice to have flat fabric!

CO 72 sts (or a multiple of 15 + 12).

Row 1 (and all odd rows): purl
Row 2: *K12, YO, Sl 1, K2tog, psso, YO*, rep from * to * to last 12 sts, K12.

Rep these two rows 9 times more; 20 rows total.

Rep Row 1 once more. Begin decreases:

Row 22: *K3tog tbl, K6, K3tog, YO, K3, YO*, rep from * to * to last 12 sts, K3tog tbl, K6, K3tog.
Row 23: purl
Row 24: *K3tog tbl, K2, K3tog, YO, K5, YO*, rep from * to * to last 8 sts, K3tog tbl, K2, K3tog.
Row 26: *K2tog tbl, K2tog, YO, K7, YO*, rep from * to * to last 4 sts, K2tog tbl, K2tog. 46 sts.
Row 28: K2tog tbl, *K9, K2tog*, rep from * to * to end. 41 sts.

Row 30: K9, *YO, Sl1, K2tog, psso, YO, K7*, rep from * to * to last 12 sts, YO, Sl1, K2tog, psso, YO, K9.
Row 31: purl

Rep these two rows for patt until scarf measures approx. 30" or half of the desired length. Once you have completed both ends, place the pieces on dpns and graft together using Kitchener stitch. Weave in ends. Block lightly.

See link for grafting help:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Canadian Thermoregulation

Some of you may know that I live in the Canadian Rockies. It's around this time of year that I start to berate myself for the choice, wondering why I'm not living somewhere warmer...California comes immediately to mind. Also, Nevada, the Gobi desert or even BC. How cold is it here? The record low for this time of year is -50. Fifty! How cold is that? It's about this cold:

In typical Canadian fashion, I grew up knee-deep in winter. I could ski and skate as soon as I could walk. I could make a killer snowman by age five and an indestructible snow fort by age six. My winter adventures began in Northern Ontario, which is cold (the average low for this time of year is -20) and gets a ton of snow. My university years were spent on the East Coast, which not only got a ton of snow, but was also freezing cold (the record low for this time of year is -30) and very windy most of the time (which brings the temperature down significantly).

I did, in fact, spend one winter in the BC mountains, but although the warmer weather was a nice change, it also brought even more snow (it tends to not snow once the temperature drops too low - not that it can't but that's a whole other discussion). Even if you don't mind shoveling your driveway every day, there is still the small matter of where to put all that snow. I guess my point is that some of the stereotypes about Canada are true: east, west or in the middle, it's all cold and snowy. At least for most of the year.

But, despite my heritage (or maybe because of it), I am a sunshine girl. I love bikinis and beaches and drinking beer while reading on lounge chairs by the pool. But here I am. Only a fool would have a pool in this climate (hot tubs are more practical) and while we still drink a lot of beer around here, Baileys and hot chocolate is nicer by the fireplace at the end of a chilly day (with some knitting, of course). My goal during the winter months is singular: stay warm.

Some of you may also know that I adopted an ex-sled dog earlier this year. I am really smart because this means I now go outside three times a day in addition to regular outings (going to work, running errands, etc.). And every time I go out, I must bundle up. My wool parka was one of the smartest purchases because, not only is it warm (yay wool!), but it has a huge, trimmed hood which blocks wind and fits over any toque. Even with all this coverage, most days are so cold that I accumulate frost on the front of my scarf and it even collects on my hair. Some days are too cold for the dog, too, even though he is a tough little husky mix who survived on his own in the wild last winter. His frosty whiskers sure are cute, though!

I take it for granted that everyone understands what it's like to live in such a cold climate (typical Canadian arrogance). So here is some help for those who, like me, prefer to stay warm when it's cold outside. Because, although there are colder places to live, I am surely becoming a thermoregulation expert.

I used to tell visiting friends and relatives that the key to survival in this town is LAYERS. I must revise that advice. It's not just about layers - it's how you layer the layers. The goal is no gaps for the icy wind to sneak into. This means I am pretty much encased in wool: two pairs of socks (go for merino if you can); wool leggings or long underwear (layer alternately with the socks); pants; at least four shirts including a tank top which should be tucked into your pants for maximum warmth retention, a long sleeved merino shirt (key) and a wool sweater and/or hoodie. A hoodie is nice because the hood can stick out of the back of your coat, providing an extra barrier against the wind. However, most hoodies are cotton, meaning they aren't going to be nearly as warm as wool. I usually opt for one of each (no joke).

Now my favourite part: the accessories. Here is a top ten list of what I get the most use out of during the cold months and why. Most are my own patterns because I tend to make things for the sole purpose of staying warm which means designing for that specific objective.

 10. Shalom by Meghan McFarlane

This bulky sweater is great to layer under another long sleeved sweater for extra body warmth especially when it's knit with a real, hearty wool like "Northern Lights" by Cabin Fever.
Free pattern on
9. Hawking Gauntlets by Bohoknits

These bulky gloves give me dexterity (for picking up dog poop) while keeping my fingers warm. The huge bell cuffs provide some extra warmth whether I tuck them into my coat sleeves, or wear them outside.  They can also be cinched with ties.
Pattern will be available for sale soon.
 8. Citron Shawl by Hilary Smith Callis

I actually like to wear this under my "real" scarf, kerchief style (backwards). It's nice and light, making it a good secondary layer.
Free pattern on or

7. Noro Striped Shawl by Kate Gagnon Osborn

I have been wearing this all winter, so far. It's nice and woolly (mine is made with Silk Garden worsted, not the sock yarn) and the kerchief style is no-nonsense. My only complaint is that it tends to slip down.
Pattern is no longer available, but you can check out my project notes on (linked above).

6. Hydra Shawl by Bohoknits

The solution to the problem above: this triangle shawl buttons up at the sides so it stays put, but is made with fingering weight making it suitable up to -15ish.
Pattern is for sale on or my blog.

5. Abyss Legwarmers by Bohoknits

These are the ultimate leggings. They are so cozy and the ties are awesome because they never slink down, even while I'm skating! Made with a DK and fingering weight. Free pattern on or my blog.

 4. The Inga Hat by Sheila Macdonald

Every day I look down at my two big bins of hats and almost always choose my Inga. Because it is stranded, the double layer of yarn is extra warm.
Free pattern on

3. Hypatia Hat by Bohoknits

Ever since I knit up this prototype, I've been hooked. It has been tested up to -25 and is so, so warm. It is at least as warm as the Inga, which I can't explain. The yarn is magic.
Pattern is for sale on or my blog.

2. Siren Sleeves by Bohoknits

These are great to layer over a long sleeved shirt, but under a sweater. They are also a nice little barrier under mittens. I recommend a merino wool for these.
Free pattern on or my blog.

1. Glass Bottle Scarf by Bohoknits

The ultimate warm scarf. Simply because it's so huge. Almost two skeins of Eco+ by Cascade yarns and a bubbly pattern helps to trap in heat. Free pattern on or my blog.

So there you have it! It's true that I may look ridiculous (and not very sexy) while bundled up in so much wool, but staying warm keeps me healthy and happy. Hopefully you found some useful tips for staying warm this year. Drinking a cup of tea right before you go out helps keep your core warm and if all else fails, just go home and snuggle up to a loved one. Happy Holidays!