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If you are local to Nova Scotia, you are probably tired of jokes about the weather these days. Honestly, the only reason for my post today is to replace the picture of icy trees and the grey skies on my blog with something else. (Almost made a joke about pictures of rain instead). 

Now, I totally see how this cold and wet weather doesn’t inspire anyone to knit more warm mittens and hats. For example, I am knitting a sweater for my daughter that I hope she will wear one day with no jacket over it. (Almost suggested that such day might never come).

So today I would like to entertain you with some gifts that I recently made for my teachers and my classmates (I am graduating soon). The three knitted bracelets were gifted before I took pictures of them. Each had a “hidden meaning” (like a symbolic colour or pattern) that was revealed to their owners. I was debating whether I should publish the written notes for the other two gifts but decided to leave them out because the metaphors were based on our shared knowledge and experiences. I will still tell you what they meant in general.

Gifts1

This heart is the metaphor for “the bleeding heart” (values and strong beliefs) that is simultaneously “the heart of gold” (compassion towards others). The deeper meaning is about feeling compassionate towards people whose beliefs are very different from ours, about seeing human beings through the lens of their experiences and struggles, about not making people feel “wrong” when we passionately articulate why we are “right”.

Heart

The second gift symbolizes something that seems simple, just like a ball, but there are many different parts intricately woven together. Sometimes the part is visible, sometimes it’s not, but it’s still there.  And often it’s not easy to put it together but then it holds in one piece, seamlessly. At times it seems almost impossible, unless you are a knitter… or (insert your own word). If at loss, try “a mother”.

Knitted ball

I loved working on these projects. Looking through patterns and knitting was fun but I also enjoyed thinking about the connections and carefully choosing my words to make those gifts meaningful.

As we are waiting for the sun to finally show up (yep, still talking about the weather), maybe you could also warm up someone’s heart with a small unexpected hand-made gift? I bet it will make you feel warmer, too.

p.s. In case you wonder, the heart pattern is here, and the knitted ball pattern is here.

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Bragging

Warning: shameless bragging. Please don’t read any further if it might offend you. So here it is — my pattern, My Whole Heart, has been published in a real Canadian craft magazine! It’s called A Needle Pulling Thread, and the Fall issue is a collection of simple but neat needlecraft projects for Christmas ornaments. I really liked the message that connects all these projects — everyone, especially crafters, get frantic before the holidays, so maybe it’s time to slow down and simplify our lives a bit.

Knitted Heart Pattern

Magazine Heart Pattern2

All right, I am done bragging. Back to stitching the blanket.

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My Whole Heart

One day I knit a heart. I thought about its meaning and decided that it is such a universal symbol that attaching any kind of story or emotion would be limiting. So, dear knitters, you decide what it means to you.

Since I don’t like sewing pieces together that much, it’s made in one piece that doesn’t require any sewing at all.  It starts as a toe-up sock, and ends as two little hats. The photo tutorial below is showing basic steps. First, you divide the top in two halves.

Then shape one half.

Then stuff the heart up to the live stitches level, filling the finished top. To preserve a pointy tip, fill the bottom part lightly.

After that, finish the second half the same as first.

If you take a close look, the heart in the tutorial pictures has a different shaping on top. It was version #2, if I am not mistaken, and it was OK to knit but not so much to describe concealing the top stitches in a concise pattern format. So, I changed the pattern to the more convenient ‘hat shaping’ but couldn’t take good pictures because of the bright sun that day. And all other days I was knitting along with my test knitters. And then, after making four hearts in a blasting sun, I ran out of yarn. Thus, for details please refer to the very first picture with the hands (my husband’s, by the way).

As always, you can download a printable pattern in .pdf format.

Materials: Stitch Nation Full o’Sheep 100% Peruvian wool, in Poppy colourway, or any aran or worsted weight yarn, 30-35 m (33-38.5 yrds), 4 mm (US#6) double-pointed needles, stuffing, scrap yarn, tapestry needle.

Gauge
: 21 sts and 28 rnds over 10 cm (4″)  in stockinette st. Gauge is not crucial for this project, just make sure your fabric is dense enough for stuffing.

Measurements:
13 x 11.5 cm (5″ x  4.5″)

Abbreviations:
k = knit
kfb = knit a stitch through the front and back loops which results in two sts on the right-hand needle
ssk= slip, slip, knit. Slip one stitch knitwise, slip second stitch knitwise, transfer them back onto the left-hand needle and knit them together
k2tog = knit two stitches together
sts = stitches

Cast on 4 sts using Judy’s Magic cast on, 2 sts on each needle.

Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: Kfb. (8 sts)
Rnd 3: (K1, kfb, kfb, k1) 2 times. (12 sts)

Distribute sts to three double-pointed needles as follows: 6-3-3.

Rnd 4: (K1, kfb, k2, kfb, k1) 2 times. (16 sts)
Rnd 5: (K1, kfb, k4, kfb, k1) 2 times. (20 sts)
Rnd 6: (K1, kfb, k6, kfb, k1) 2 times. (24 sts)
Rnd 7: (K1, kfb, k8, kfb, k1) 2 times. (28 sts)
Rnd 8: (K1, kfb, k10, kfb, k1) 2 times. (32 sts)
Rnd 9: (K1, kfb, k12, kfb, k1) 2 times. (36 sts)
Rnd 10: (K1, kfb, k14, kfb, k1) 2 times. (40 sts)
Rnd 11: Knit.
Rnd 12: (K1, kfb, k16, kfb, k1) 2 times. (44 sts)
Rnd 13: Knit.
Rnd 14: (K1, kfb, k18, kfb, k1) 2 times. (48 sts)
Rnd 15: Knit.
Rnd 16: (K1, kfb, k20, kfb, k1) 2 times. (52 sts)
Rnd 17: Knit.
Rnd 18: (K1, kfb, k22, kfb, k1) 2 times. (56 sts)
Rnd 19: Knit.
Rnd 20: (K1, kfb, k24, kfb, k1) 2 times. (60 sts)

Rnds 21-27: Knit.

Rnd 28: (K1, ssk, k24, k2tog, k1) 2 times.  (56 sts)
Rnds 29-30: Knit.
Rnd 31: (K1, ssk, k22, k2tog, k1) 2 times.  (52 sts)

Put sts 14-26 on the first needle (13 sts) and all stitches on the second needle (13 sts) on scrap yarn, dividing the top of the heart in two parts, 26 sts each. Redistribute remaining sts to 3 double-pointed needles as follows: 9-8-9.

Rnd 32: (K1, ssk, k20, k2tog, K1). (24 sts)
Rnd 33: (K2, k2tog) 6 times. (18 sts)
Rnd 34: Knit.
Rnd 35: (K1, k2tog) 6 times. (12 sts)
Rnd 36: K2tog 6 times. (6 sts)

Cut yarn, leaving a 15 cm (6″) tail. Using tapestry needle, thread tail through remaining sts and pull tight. Weave in ends. Stuff the heart up to the live stitches level, filling the finished top.

Pick up 26 sts from the scrap yarn, distribute to 3 double-pointed needles as follows: 9-8-9, starting from the outer edge and join yarn. Repeat staring from Rnd 32, adding more filling as you go. Secure yarn and use the tail to close the gap in the middle. Weave in ends.

So, what do you see? Love? Compassion? Friendship? Pin cushion?

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