Thursday, May 09, 2013

Cute Enough to Eat!

This project was one that was just for me! After trying out the Divine Hat pattern by Sarah Arnold I have been adapting elements of the pattern into my own designs.

The texture and swirl in the Divine pattern has always reminded me of cake icing. A few weeks ago I was sitting with a lovely fibre arts group in Stittsville, Ontario and decided that I wanted to try to make this pattern into a cupcake hat.

Here is my final result. I love to mix and match knitted and crocheted elements so as you can see the top of the hat is crocheted in a variation of the Divine pattern, in a 30% Wool, 70% Acrylic Italian yarn blend. The base of the cupcake hat is knitted in a light brown coloured 100% acrylic yarn (I like to knit children's hats in Acrylic to avoid animal fibre allergies with the little ones!). How cute is the little cherry on top too! Crocheted in a red coloured 100% Acrylic yarn with a piece of yarn as the cherry stem. 

Let me know what you think of this knit! I have a few more crocheted icing tops ready to turn into hats so I would be interested in making some different variations! Sprinkles anyone?

As always we would love to hear from you! Until next time... Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Knitting for the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

I am really excited to announce this knit project to you all! Our story first started in February 2013. A lovely volunteer from The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada was surfing the Internet looking for a knitting pattern that she could use to make donkey hats. These donkey hats were destined for the Sanctuary`s "Long Ears Boutique" as a fund raising initiative.

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is located in Guelph, Ontario. A little more about the Sanctuary as seen on their website, "Since 1992, The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada has been a refuge for donkeys, mules and hinnies who have been neglected or abused, or who can no longer be cared for by their owners. The Sanctuary rescues the donkey with hooves so long it lives in constant pain and cannot walk. It saves a terrified mule shivering in a pen in a slaughterhouse. It offers a home to a much-loved donkey whose ageing owners can no longer provide adequate care. At the Sanctuary, the animals are provided a welcome and often life-saving peaceful haven after years of suffering and neglect." What an amazing cause!

Originally we had discussed reworking TheKnittedArts`popular Yoda inspired knit into a donkey for the Sanctuary. After a few e-mails back and forth I received a photo of the Sanctuary`s oldest resident, a 43 year old donkey named Summer.
Beautiful Ms. Summer - Courtesy of the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada
When I saw this photo of Summer, dressed in her best Christmas bow, I knew that we had to get involved with this amazing organisation. Growing up in the country as a child, my grandparents had a beef farm, and on this farm there was more than just cattle. One of my favourite animals on the farm was a sweet old donkey named Irvine. The photo of Summer just reminded me so much of our donkey friend and I knew that we had to help out the Sanctuary. Excuse the old photos here but this is our Irvine, an old man himself by this point!

 As a result we developed a donkey knit hat and a pattern to help benefit the Sanctuary. This knit, dubbed the "Irvine the Donkey knit hat" knits from the bottom up in a grey coloured acrylic yarn. We then construct three-dimensional ears in the same grey coloured yarn with a crochet technique. The ears are then lined in an antique rose coloured yarn and a mane is added to the hat, giving the wearer a uniquely donkey hair-do!

We hope you enjoy this cute little donkey knit hat as much as we do here at TheKnittedArts! If you are inspired to knit this project yourself patterns are available for sale on our Etsy shop at With the purchase of each pattern TheKnittedArts will make a donation to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

If you find yourself in Guelph, Ontario take some time to visit our friends at the Sanctuary! Irvine the Donkey knit hats are currently being hand crafted by Sanctuary volunteers will soon be available for sale in the Sanctuary`s "Long Ears Boutique." The donkeys would love to see you! Find out more about The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada at

Until we meet again. Happy knitting everyone!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Itty Bitty Baby Bumble Bee

"I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee, Won't my mommy be so proud of me..."

Spring is in the air in Ottawa these days! The snow is starting to melt and it is getting warmer outside! Hooray!

With this in mind I just had to make something cute and fun in time for Spring!
I have been experimenting with different sizes and colours of the Divine pattern by Sarah Arnold. This pattern is available for download from Ravelry free of charge. This version of the pattern combines a previous bee knit beanie from my own knit catalogue with the spiral and shell design of the Divine crochet hat pattern.

With a few small alterations and improvisations to the original pattern here and there along the way I was able to make quite the adorable little baby bumble bee!

I have completed bumblebee knitted hats before with alternating horizontal bands of yellow and black. This Divine pattern gives a little more texture and fun to my itty bitty bee creations.  

I added fun crocheted antennae to the top of the hat but the weight of the yarn could not be supported on its own. With a second attempt I was able to crochet antennae around a flexible metal wire to support the weight of the antennae. There was also a bonus to this process... now they were able to be bent in any shape and would stay put! Don`t worry though nothing sharp to hurt baby... everything is hidden well within the centre of the crocheted pieces.
How fun is this? 

Knitting and crochet is all about having fun with yarn for me. This knit is now available online via our Etsy shop at I hope that you enjoyed this little baby bumble bee! As always we would love to hear what you think or if you have any suggestions for new knit or crochet creations.

Happy Knitting Everyone!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Recycled Divine Hat Project

Hello again everyone! The recycling of my knit sweater is complete and I just wanted to share something made from the recycled yarn.

This hat was a special request from an Ottawa mom who sent me this photo asking if I could make something like this for her daughter.

For those of you who know me, I rarely (if ever) use patterns while knitting so this request was a challenge for me because I couldn`t just make this one up. I found a photo of something very similar to this hat on Ravelry. This crochet pattern was created by Sarah Arnold and is called "Divine Hat" but the amazing thing was it looked almost identical to the knit my Ottawa friend was looking for!

Baby steps! Baby steps!

So I downloaded the pattern... Googled... watched a few YouTube videos to catch up on the stitches that were required and then was determined to make it all work.

I have to compliment Sarah Arnold because this pattern worked out so perfectly! I love the pattern and the recycled yarn and how it looks in this hat. My anxiety was definitely all for naught! This pattern was easy to understand, easy to follow and had great results! I would recommend you all try it out. In the meantime here is my Divine pattern crochet hat made in our recycled yarn!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Unravel a Sweater to Recycle Yarn - Part 2

Hello again everyone! All of the yarn went into a bath during our last post and now that everything is dry and wound up into balls its time to share the rest of the process with you.

When you have separated your sweater and are getting ready to unwind the knit fabric you should decide if you want to store the yarn in the form of a hank of yarn or a ball of yarn. Typically those who recycle fibre to sell will want to form a hank of yarn, then will twist it and make it pretty for sale. If this is the case for you I would suggest making or purchasing a niddy-noddy. This will help you to measure the length of yarn and to help keep the yarn tidy while washing. For my purposes I intend to ball the yarn to knit and crochet with so I formed a rough skein by winding the yarn between by thumb and elbow. I tied small pieces of scrap yarn in four places around the unwound yarn segments. This will help to keep the yarn from tangling in the wash.
You can skip this washing stage if you are happy with the yarn but I would like to wash mine because of the existing smell of detergent and fabric softener from the thrift store. The wash will also help to straighten the kinks and loops in the yarn from being in the form of a sweater for so long.

Find a plastic tote or bucket that you can use for this washing stage. Fill the container with enough warm water to saturate the amount of yarn you have recovered. You do not want to use hot water because animal fibres will felt under the heat and agitation of the washing process.

I have read a number of "How To" blogs and resources on the washing process itself and what to use as a detergent in this process seems to vary by personal taste. There are wool washing products on the market but often shampoo and liquid dish detergent are recommended. For my first attempt I used shampoo because the brand I use is dye and fragrance free to avoid any potential allergies up the road. For the amount of yarn I had I added one tablespoon of detergent to the water bath.

Once you have mixed in the detergent add the skeins of yarn one at a time. Allow them to become saturated in the water and sink below the surface. Do not agitate the yarn during this process though since it can cause felting and damage your yarn.

Once you have the yarn in a bath to soak you get to take a break! Let it soak for an hour (this is why I prefer to use a container instead of a sink). If you have stained yarn or yarn with a musty smell you could even leave it to soak overnight.

Here is my kitty Oliver helping with the yarn!

One hour later...
Drain all of the water from your container and rinse the yarn skeins with clean warm water to remove the detergent that remains after the wash. Remember not to agitate the yarn during the rinse.

From here use your hands to gently squeeze excess water from the yarn. The next stage is to hang it all up to dry. This part actually had me rolling on the floor laughing! I hope you have as much fun with this as I did! A good laugh is medicine for the soul I swear!

It is currently about -15°C outside so hanging it up to dry outside is out of the question. So here I was rummaging around the house looking for things to help rig up a drying rack for this yarn. Too funny!! 

So here is my make-shift drying rack and my bathroom... bungee cords, a metre stick and plastic wrap... too funny right? Moving on though it worked well! 
I have read also that adding weight to the bottom of the loop of yarn as it dries will help with the straightening process. I just filled some bottles with water and rested them in the loops of yarn to weigh them down.

Now close your bathroom door, forget about your yarn, and go to bed and let your yarn dry overnight. I am laughing as I write this looking at the photo above with the bottles hanging there on the yarn... through the night my yarn shifted ( I assume the furnace kicked on and the vent above started to rock my drying rack contraption) and all of the water bottles fell into the tub.What a surprise in the middle of the night! I have to think of something better for next time but for a first attempt this worked very well.

When your yarn is dry you can leave it in the hank but twist it up for storage OR like me if you prefer having your yarn in a center pull ball you can wind your yarn into a ball! Here is a photo of my yarn just quickly hand wound into a center pull ball. I find having in a yarn better because the yarn doesn`t get tangled as I knit but to each their own! 

Look at that! Beautiful! What a great way to give an out of date sweater a new life! I have a project in mind for some of this yarn and may even try hand dyeing on the rest. Stay tuned! 

Until then we would love to hear from you if you have tried this on your own, have suggestions for my next attempt, or have any other comments!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Unravel a Sweater to Recycle Yarn - Part 1

This is something that I have wanted to try for a while now and since the other half of the team (my wonderful fiancé!) is away being an army man what better opportunity to sneak more yarn into the house right? Our secret?

I have been reading a number of blogs on how to recycle/upcycle yarn from sweaters that are found at the thrift store and it seemed pretty straight-forward so here is my first attempt! 

First I started by cruising through the sweater collection at my local thrift shop looking for a sweater that had the colour and weight of yarn I was looking for. This is the sweater that I chose! Really it is a win win project too because I will get the yarn to use on my projects and profits generated from this sale benefit the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy.

When you are looking for a sweater it is important to take note of how the sweater was constructed and the materials it is made of. A lot of what you will find in the thrift store is going to be machine knit material and you will have to look at the seams on the inside of the knit to see if it will be easy to take apart of not. This sweater was perfect and has the type of seam shown below. It is two edges of knitted fabric that have been joined together by thread or the same yarn used in the sweater:
Photo credit:
Also you need to look at the condition of the yarn. If the piece is felted, or if it is a man made fibre and is really pilling, you will have a hard time unravelling the yarn. What you want to look for is when you stretch the fabric that you can see between the individual loops of the knit. If you look at my example this sweater has no sign of wear and you can see that all of the loops in the knit are clearly defined with no felting. 

You want to avoid a seam that is machine sewn because they are labour intensive to take apart. You also want to avoid a knit that is not continuous because when you take apart the seam you are left with short lengths of yarn instead of one continuous piece that you can wind into a large skein.

When you have selected your sweater get it home and locate your seam ripper! I found mine tucked away in the bottom of the sewing kit my mom gave me when I moved away to University. I bet you have one somewhere! If not I would suggest picking one up... this little guy is your new best friend!

Seam Ripper. Photo credit:

Start by turning your sweater inside-out, grab your seam ripper and get started! Start at a seam on the bottom of your sweater, pull the sides of the sweater so you can locate the thread or yarn connecting the seam. Cut this thread...

I was really lucky with this knit and I was able to pull out the yarn connecting the seam without any trouble. If you like you can go up the seam a little bit at a time until you are comfortable with the process. Sweaters are made in a variety of different ways so each seam could be a different experience but the main purpose of this stage is to take apart all of the seams in the sweater so that you have separated all of the individual pieces. My sweater came apart into 5 pieces with the 2 main torso portions, 2 arms and the collar of the sweater.

From this stage this knit was super easy to unravel. First I found the knots where the original knitter stopped working on each piece. I untied the knots leaving a piece of yarn I could pull to unravel the whole section. If the knot is too tricky to untie you can cut it to get the piece started. As the sweater was unravelled it looked more and more like those packages of ramen noodles we all ate through University! Yum! These twists and curls are from the yarn resting in the same shape of the knit sweater for so long. A good soak will help relax the yarn so don`t worry!

Since I am using this wool for my own projects I just wound it around my arm as I unravelled the piece. If you want to measure the yarn into a skein I would suggest making or finding yourself a niddy-noddy. 

This is all of the recycled yarn! Wow! 

Now at this point I am going to stop for the night. I have put the yarn in a bath to soak but I will include more about this process in Part 2! 
With that I will leave you with this photo. This is Oliver who is my handy little helper. Stay tuned for progress on this project! 

Happy Knitting!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine`s Day Surprise

Happy Valentine`s Day everyone!

We had a nice surprise this morning here at TheKnittedArts! It wasn`t chocolate or roses (although my soon-to-be hubby did make sure to cover those bases) this morning the Ottawa Metro News shared one of our knitting Tweets in their publication. The Tweet was about the completion of a new Yoda inspired knit cap. Check out the share here:

This knit has been a very popular item for us here at TheKnittedArts! This one in particular is ready to ship and fits a toddler (50cm around x 21cm long). We also offer this knit as a PDF pattern available now in Newborn and Toddler sizes! 
Thank you to Metro News Ottawa for the share and we hope you all enjoy this new knit! Let us know about your special knitting project at

Happy Knitting!