Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cabled Baby Hat and Mittens Pattern

Here is the pattern for a hat and mittens set I made for a friend's new baby. The mittens are thumbless. I ended up using approximately 150m of yarn.

Size: 6-12 months; hat stretches to a circumference of 38-40cm (15-16 in).

Yarn: 1 skein Wool Gatto by Lana Gatto (50g, 165m per skein) or other DK weight yarn.

Gauge: 24 stitches and 32 rows over 10cm (4in) square using larger needles. One cable pattern repeat (over 10 stitches) is approximately 2.5cm (1in) unstretched and 3cm (1.25 in) stretched.

Needles: 3 and 3.75mm (set of 4 double-pointed needles or 2 circular needles) or size to achieve gauge. 1 cable needle.

K: knit
P: purl
C4: Make cable over 4 stitches by holding first two stitches on cable needle at front. Knit two stitches from back and then knit the 2 stitches on the cable needle.
M1: Make one additional stitch by working into the previous row before next stitch.
Pat4: Follow the cable pattern for 4 stitches (either K4 or C4 depending on row).
K2tog: Knit 2 together.
SSK: Slip, slip, knit to decrease a stitch.

Instructions for Hat:

With smaller needles, cast on 96 stitches. Join in a round, making sure the row is not twisted and do 10 rounds of 2x2 rib (K2, P2 around).

Change to larger needles.
First round: (M1, K2, M1, P2, K2, P2) 12 times. (120 stitches)
Next 5 rounds: (K4, P2, K2, P2) 12 times.

Start cable pattern:
Round 1: (C4, P2, K2, P2) 12 times
Rounds 2 to 8: (K4, P2, K2, P2) 12 times.
Repeat rounds 1 to 8 until hat measures 14cm (5.5 in) from cast-on row.

Start decreasing for crown, keeping pattern until you start decreases on the 4-stitch cable.
First round: (Pat4, P2tog, K2, P2tog) 12 times. (96 stitches)
Next round: (Pat4, P1, K2, P1) 12 times.
Next round: (SSK, K2tog, P1, K2, P1) 12 times. (72 stitches)
Next round: (K2, P1, K2, P1) 12 times.
Next round: (K2tog, P1) to end of row. (48 stitches)
Next round: K2tog to end of row. (24 stitches)
Next round: K2tog to end of row. (12 stitches)

Draw yarn through all 12 remaining stitches and close tight. Secure yarn in a knot. Weave in ends.

Instructions for Thumbless Mittens (make 2 identical)

With smaller needles, cast on 28 stitches. Join in a round, making sure the row is not twisted. Starting with P2, do 12 rounds of 2x2 rib (P2, K2).

Change to larger needles.
First round: K4, P2, M1, K2, M1, P2, K4, K14. (30 stitches)
Next round: K4, P2, K4, P2, K4, K14.
Next round: K2, M1, K2, P2, K4, P2, K2, M1, K2, K2, M1, K10, M1, K2. (34 stitches)
Next 3 rounds: K5, P2, K4, P2, K5, K16.

Start cable pattern:
Round 1: K5, P2, C4, P2, K5, K16.
Rounds 2 to 8: K5, P2, K4, P2, K5, K16.
Repeat rounds 1 to 8 until mitten measures 7.5cm (3in) from cuff (not including ribbing).

Start shaping top of mitten, keeping pattern until you start decreases on the 4-stitch cable.
Next round: K1, SSK, K2, P2, Pat4, P2, K2, K2tog, K1, K1, SSK, K10, K2tog, K1. (30 stitches)
Next round: K4, P2, Pat4, P2, K4, K14.
Next round: K1, SSK, K1, P2, Pat4, P2, K1, K2tog, K1, K1, SSK, K8, K2tog, K1. (26 stitches)
Next round: K1, SSK, P2, SSK, K2tog, P2, K2tog, K1, K1, SSK, K6, K2tog, K1. (20 stitches)

Divide stitches so there are 10 stitches on each of two needles. Graft stitches together to close the top of the mitten. Weave in ends.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Film Club: Round 4

For round 4 of our film club, Julia chose Clint Eastwood's The Changeling, with Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich. The film featured an intriguing story, based on true events, about a woman whose son is abducted. A boy is returned to her, but despite the authorities' insistence that he is her son, she realizes he is an imposter. Coincidentally, we watched the film shortly before a real child abduction occurred in a nearby community and we recently learned of the sad and tragic conclusion to this situation. However, the film is more an exploration of political corruption and the struggles of women in the 1920's than a story of child abduction. Both Julia and I gave thumbs-up to this movie. It had a great story and excellent acting, and it recreated the 20's atmosphere beautifully. My only disappointment was that Colm Feore, one of my favourite actors, had such a minor role in it, but I'm consoled by the fact that I'll be seeing him as Macbeth at the Stratford Festival in a few weeks.

My choice for this round was Best in Show, directed by Christopher Guest and starring SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. I'm grateful to my friend John for recommending this hilarious mockumentary about five dogs and their owners preparing to compete in a dog show. The whole family enjoyed this movie, even though it's probably deemed unsuitable for Kate. She didn't understand (I hope) most of the double-entendres, but she sure loved the cute dogs!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

48 Hour Book Challenge

I recently found out about this 48 Hour Book Challenge, and I'm seriously tempted to join in the fun. The idea is to read for as many hours as possible over a 48-hour period on the June 5-7 weekend. MotherReader, the blogger hosting the challenge, emphasizes the "guilt-free" aspect. The problem is that I have to get the rest of my family to buy into this, as laundry, cooking, cleaning, and chauffering will become very low-priority tasks for a couple of days. Actually, Kate wants to read along with me, and we've vowed to give up TV, computer games, Internet surfing and unnecessary social contact for the weekend. However, friends who are willing to BYOB (bring your own book) are welcome to come over and join us.

The timing is good, as I have a huge stack of books to get through. I'm currently reading from the Ontario Library Association's Evergreen list. From it, I've finished Gil Adamson's The Outlander, Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo, Christopher Plummer's In Spite of Myself: a Memoir, and most recently, Andrew Pyper's The Killing Circle. (I'm still shivering from that one!) I'm also working through Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes, our region's "One Book, One Community" pick for the year. Then, there is a long list of recommendations from my kids, including the Twilight series that Julia loved and the Silver Birch fiction list that Kate enjoyed immensely this year. I'm going to need way more than 48 hours ....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Busy Concert Season

Kate has been a busy, busy violinist these past few weeks. First, the junior orchestra played their final concert of the season. They worked for months on the third movement of Vivaldi's Summer Concerto and they played it beautifully. They also joined the intermediate and senior orchestras to play a modern piece composed by David Wadley. A few days after that concert, Kate participated in the local Kiwanis Music Festival, in three violin competitions and a composition competition. She had practiced many hours for these competitions, and we were very proud that she played her pieces so well.

The following weekend, Kate's strings school had their annual spring concert. Kate played, with her group, a medley featuring pieces from "The Sound of Music". It was definitely a crowd pleaser and appreciated by Todd's parents, John and Marilyn, who joined us for the weekend. She also played selections from the Suzuki repertoire with the entire school. Even though I have to see this at every Suzuki event, I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing a stage full of kids playing Twinkle variations together! There's Kate in the photo above, among all the violinists in their best black-and-white concert garb.

As if there wasn't enough craziness, Kate also had to attend dance rehearsals the week before the concert. I spent much of the weekend shuttling her between her two dance performances and the group violin rehearsal and concert. The whole family attended the dance recital too, and Kate performed beautifully in her "Pool of Tears" and "Card Guards" dances with the rest of her class. My friend Laura designed this lovely card guard costume in the photo above.

Now, Kate gets a few weeks' break before an upcoming violin exam. Julia had decided some time ago to abandon the arts scene and is no longer doing dance and piano recitals. However, she too has been busy, going to track-and-field meets every week or two with her school team. It's nearly impossible, though, to convince a teenager to pose for a photo for her parents, so you'll just have to imagine her racing in her school colours and spikes.