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Spring BOGO, New Mitten Patterns, and I Yarn Bombed A Horse. I Really Did.

I’ve been busy this winter but unable to tell you about it! Let me catch you up.

I’ve been making videos. My favourite so far is this one on how to pick up stitches for no-gap thumbs. I keep reading how it’s impossible, but it so isn’t. In the video, I show you exactly how and where to pick up your stitches to close the gaps without any weird twisting. The best part is, this method just makes it look like columns of knit stitches with nothing out of place. I’m pretty pleased with it.

Aaaand, that cabled mitten in the video? It’s my new pattern, just new out today. I named it XOX OXO. You know how when you write a letter to Santa, his postal code is HOH OHO? (At least it is here in Canada.) Well, the cables and the season made me think of how every time I wear these sweet, squishy mittens, it’s almost like I’m sending myself a message to be kind to myself. I’m a sentimental soul, and I have stupid Seasonal Affective Disorder, so basically I fight against depression every winter. A big part of that battle is recognizing which thoughts are mine and which are symptoms. Hint: if it’s soul-crushingly mean, it’s from a lack of dopamine.

#XOXOXOmittens @aknitica

#XOXOXOMittens @aknitica

Next on the list of winter-killed-my-brain-so-now-I’m-catching-up is this pattern, Fluffa. These are lightning-fast, super warm felted mittens. They’re knit up with bulky 100% wool on giant needles then shrunk into oblivion in the washing machine until they’re dense and snow proof. These are the mittens you put on your kids for hours-long outdoor snow play. My kids have been wearing theirs all winter, and people, let me tell you: finally, I’ve made hand-knit mittens that actually do the trick! Even when the snow cakes on the outsides of them, their hands are still warm inside. I made some for myself and my husband, as well, and we love them for shoveling the driveway.

#FluffaMittens #felted @aknitica

They’re available in sizes for the entire family, with choices of everyday cuffs or long cuffs for serious outside time. You can even make the larger sizes into oven mitts, since wool is fire and heat resistant. Neat, eh?

They go nicely into the dryer, too, for those days when your kids want to go outside again before the mittens have dried on the air vents.

Another thing I did, which I’m pretty proud of, is I knit a horse. Yes, I got to yarn bomb a horse statue! It’s been on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, in conjunction with their World War Women exhibit and a big knitted-goods donation drive they hosted.

#PompomTheHorse #yarnbomb @aknitica #CanadianWarMuseum

It was a totally cool project. I had to take all the measurements and design and knit the whole thing myself. My life was insane last fall when I had to make it, and there were a couple delays, so I had three weeks — yes, you read that right: 3 weeks — in which to do the knitting. With the strategy of eat, sleep, knit, and with my husband home to take care of absolutely everything to do with the kids and the house, I did it. Almost. I had to ask Lisa, a knitter friend of mine, to help me out by knitting the two front legs during the last week. And my mom spent a day at my place making all those pompoms.

#PompomTheHorse #yarnbomb #CanadianWarMuseum @aknitica 2015-12-06 001 2015-11-29 087

#PompomTheHorse #yarnbomb Getting fitted. @aknitica #CanadianWarMuseum

I’d love to write a more detailed post about how on earth one designs a fitted cover for a horse. Maybe later, now that my brain seems to have switched back on again, I will.

Lastly, I’ve discovered the joys of Instagram. It is my place, people. Pictures! Pretty pictures! And none of the drama of Facebook or Twitter. I’ve been posting there a lot, sharing pictures of my personal knitting projects, the many gezillions of things that I have on  my needles. (At last count, I had about 20 projects on the go. Yes, I’m one of those knitters.) If you’re on Instagram, come find me! I’m @aknitica. (And feel free to tag me if you’re knitting up one of my patterns! And you can hashtag the pattern name, too, if you like.)

Okay, now really lastly (apparently I was just kidding in the previous paragraph), I’m having a sale! It’s time for me to give all my lovely subscribers a deal. So, how about a BOGO! That’s Buy One, Get One FREE. For a limited time, and on Ravelry only, all of my self-published patterns will be part of this event, including those two new ones above, XOX OXO and Fluffa. Sadly, anything currently published by Knit Picks will not be included. But everything else is fair game. Simply add two (or multiples of two) patterns to your Ravelry cart, and the BOGO discount will automatically be applied to all eligible patterns. Yay! Go here to start shopping.

And rats, now I’m reminded that I had one last thing to show you. Too much yet? I just had another pattern published by Knit Picks! It’s Faela, my first sweater design, and it’s part of The Colorblock Collection. There are some gorgeous sweaters in there. This one is an oversized tunic with slight A-line shaping. It’s knit up in soft Knit Picks Swish Worsted.

#Faela Sweater pattern by @aknitica on @knitpicks

And that is really all for today. See you around the internets!


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Unicorn Power! and Beaded Wristers Collection

Beaded Wristers Collection by Amanda Schwabe #wristers #beads #stashbuster

I am totally a magpie, attracted to shiny objects. That might explain my new obsession with beaded knitting. That, and the rhythmic, hypnotic, fun-yet-relaxing act of sliding beads into place amidst comforting garter stitch. (And if you’ve ever read any of my posts here, you’ll have noticed that I like fun-yet-relaxing knitting. Don’t bore me, and don’t make me tear my hair out, either. Give me something interesting, but not too interesting. What, beads? That’ll do.)

I get excited watching the beads grow into patterns and pictures. And, because I’m me, I get really excited dreaming up all the combinations of motifs and bling to put on my wrists and give to my friends.

And that, my friends, is why I present you today with not just one beaded wrister pattern — oh no! — but five. And there are more in the works. I’ve gotten completely carried away.

But why, you ask? Sure, they’re pretty, but what exactly does a tiny band around the wrist do?

Free As A Bird beaded wrister pattern. #knitting #beads #feathers

My goodness! They do all sorts of things! They’re not just a pretty face, you know. I’ve heard them called pulse warmers, which seemed pretty suspicious to me at first. I mean really, how much could a tiny woolly bracelet heat up a person? The answer is “surprisingly a lot.” They warm up the blood going to your fingers and make your hands feel all comfy while they’re practically naked. It’s a tiny miracle!

I wear mine almost all the time when it’s cold. I’ve even worn mine this summer in my air conditioning. (It gets chilly in here. First world problems.)

I keep a pair in my purse for “emergencies.”

I’ve decided they’re the perfect gift for every woman I know. Seriously. I can make a pair in a day or two, so why not? I will cover the world in fancy under-the-sleeve glitter, doling out warmth and goodwill made of prancing unicorns and glassy feathers.

Unicorn Power! Beaded wrister pattern. #knitting #beads #unicorns #mythical #cozy

The most fantastic thing, though, is that they keep me warm but don’t get in the way of my knitting. They fit under sleeves, both long and short, they will fit under my mittens, and they’re cute. They’re perfect for wearing while typing, biking, arm wrestling, working with clients, sipping lattes in over-air-conditioned book stores. And they’re a lovely, portable knitting project, too. Once you’ve pre-strung the beads, they’re ready to ride along in your purse to be pulled out in the event of knitting emergencies (read: waiting in boring lines or at the doctor’s office).

Pre-strung beads for knitting beaded wristers. #knitting #beads #shiny

The only thing I should warn you about is that if you have a tiny princess in your house who takes after you and your magpie-ness, she will want a pair or two or five. With bunnies. Not like that, mommy, like this. You will be surprised by her good taste and eye for balanced composition.

Coming soon, a pattern for Eva's bunnies.
Coming soon, a pattern for Eva’s bunnies.

And now to the nitty-gritty details. I’ve grouped four of the patterns together in a little collection, and they’re only available as part of this set. They are, clockwise from the top left, Liz’s Flowers, Epiphany, Free As A Bird, and Snowing.

Beaded Wristers Collection 6

Unicorn Power! is available separately, but I have good news. If you like bundles and deals, then prepare to bundle Unicorn Power! with the Beaded Wristers Collection and get a 10% discount on the whole shebang. Don’t worry, Ravelry will calculate that automatically for you when you add both to your cart.

Unicorn Power! beaded wristers pattern. #knitting #beads #unicorns #mythical

Now, I want to reassure any beading neophytes that this whole fancy beading thing is actually pretty easy. If you have dental floss threaders on hand, then you’re all set. They make the perfect “needles” to thread your beads onto your yarn. The patterns will tell you how many beads to load, and if you count them by 5’s, it’s fairly painless. Especially if you watch your latest series on Netflix while doing it.

You’ll want to get glass seed beads in size 8/0 (AKA #8). (The 8 means that you can fit 8 seed beads in one inch.) I’ve read that the Czech or Japanese beads are the most consistent in quality and size, so look for those. I get mine either from a local store (McBead Creations on Craig Henry in Ottawa) or online at Fire Mountain Beads.

As for the yarn, these things are so tiny that they make the perfect stashbusting projects. They require somewhat less than 30 grams of sock yarn per pair. You could probably even squeeze two pairs out of a small 50-gram skein of something wonderful, like Koigu Painters Palette. And don’t be afraid to stripe them up a bit. I’ve seen some beautiful ones done with stripes.


And there you have it. Welcome to my obsession. 🙂

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the PDF patterns, click one of these handy links. My kids’ orthodontist thanks you, and so do I.

Get just the Beaded Wristers Collection

Get just Unicorn Power!

Get both and save 10%


So who do you know that could use warm hands and pretty beaded wristers?

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Giveaway and Knitalong: Celebrating the Under 100 Knit Collection and My Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers

Knit along with Ombre Arm Warmers and win a copy of the Under 100 Knit Collection!






















[box type=”info”]Read on for a contest and a chance to win a copy of the book![/box]

Oh, I am so excited!  I’ve been waiting to tell you about these for what seems like forever.  Yes, it’s my first “published” pattern, the Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers.

The book it’s in is called Under 100 Knit Collection, and it’s available as an ebook on the Knit Picks website, and as a print book there as well.

[box type=”tick”]You can also buy the pattern all on its own, by clicking here to get to its Ravelry page.[/box]

Knit Picks had the brilliant idea of publishing a collection of quick-knit projects that can use up stash yarn.  Every pattern in it takes less than 100 grams, and mine takes only about 30-35 grams total.

You can even use those teeny, tiny, looks-too-small-to-be-part-of-anything balls of sock yarn in these arm warmers.  Trust me.  I’ve been experimenting.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for arm warmers.  I love having warm hands, but I don’t love having my fingers covered when I want to knit or drive or type.

I think they’re great for wearing under long sleeves for a little extra warmth or for wearing with short sleeves to make my favourite t-shirts last a little bit longer in the fall.

Plus, they’re so wonderfully simple to knit — especially these ones.  All the detail here comes from the fantastic colourways; the structure itself is quite basic.


Once I began playing with the colours, I realized there were so many possibilities.

I love the Ombre striping you’ll see on the Knit Picks sample.  Overlapping similar hues of different tints from light to dark (or vice versa) creates a lovely effect.  (And I’m very curious to try such a thing with a grey or black background as a variation.)

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers by Amanda Schwabe

My favourite so far, though, has to be these ones that I made up from my own stash of Knit Picks Palette.  I’ve listed the colours I used at the end of this post.  

But, I really want to see what you will come up with.  What amazing, flashy, subdued, classic, or crazy colour combination will your stash make?

In order to find out, I’m throwing a party.  It’s a knitting party, and there will be friendly conversation, laughter (I hope), and prizes.

It’ll be very easy to attend, and there’s no particular dress code.  Simply show up on Ravelry in the Aknitica Designs group, or on Facebook at the Aknitica Designs page, anytime you want, starting today, December 30th, until Friday, January 31st.

Show us your arm warmers — before, during, and after — and you’ll be entered to win a prize!

I have one ebook version of the book, the Under 100 Knit Collection, to give away, and one print version.

The ebook will be given away with a random draw this Friday!  Just post a photo of the yarn you’re thinking of using in the Ravelry group, and you’ll automatically be entered to win it.  I’ll post the winner in the same thread, then the lucky recipient will get the ebook as soon as I get her/his email address.

Head on over to the Ravelry thread to see about winning the print copy.  And show us your yarn!

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers by Amanda SchwabeColours used in my rainbow sample, in order from cuff to fingers:

Knit Picks Pallete yarn in Turmeric, Pimento, Fairy Tale, Garnet Heather, Currant, Urchin, Bittersweet Heather, Sky, Turmeric (again), Edamame, Whirlpool.

The purple colours are:

Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Fairy Tale, Bittersweet Heather, Eggplant, Urchin, Pennyroyal, Fairy Tale.

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers by Amanda Schwabe

These simple ones are knit in Knit Picks Palette in Midnight Heather and Clarity, with Masala as the orange accents.

So, what yarn will you knit them in?  I look forward to chatting with you in the Aknitica Designs Ravelry group!

And, if you have a moment and would like to share this post on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter, I’d appreciate it!

Scrunchy Ombre Arm Warmers