Balaclava by Knitting Machine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A balaclava /ˌbæləˈklɑːvə/, also known as a balaclava helmet or ski mask, is a form of cloth headgear designed to expose only part of the face. Depending on style and how it’s worn, only the eyes, mouth and nose, or just the front of the face are unprotected. Versions with a full face opening may be rolled into a hat to cover the crown of the head or folded down as a collar around the neck.

The name comes from their use at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, referring to a town near Sevastopol in Crimea.balaclava

I wrote the machine knit pattern for this many years ago, and have fine-tuned it ready for publishing. 

Written for standard gauge, 7 st and 10 rows per inch, or bulky gauge, 4 st and 6 rows per inch, this works up quickly and easily.  A ribber is required.

It’s a simple style that pulls over the head with the shaping done like the heel of a sock and is adult sized.

The price on this download is going up to $1.33 USF immediately to cover the 33 cent fee that paypal keeps for every transaction. 

Easy Machine Knit Mittens with Thumb Gusset Free Pattern

IMG_2178More discovery for me, a pattern I wrote years ago for beginning machine knitters, making something useful for the entire family, MITTENS!

I’ve fine tuned it, added a smaller size for tots, and a couple of pictures. 

I wrote this as a “Fill in the Blank” pattern, so print it out and circle the info for the size you want to knit. 

These are quick to knit, so if your gauge is a bit off, make another, or two more for a pair and a spare.  Then give them away.  Someone’s cold hands will thank you.  Please let me know if you make these, and if my instructions are clear.

mittens with gusset in worsted weight click for a printable PDF

Colourful Child’s Hat

colourful childs hatI taught this hat pattern as a machine knitting class back in the spring of 2000.

It’s designed for a single bed mid-gauge or chunky, but rib could be substituted for the 2 x 1 mock ribbed cuff.

My youngest stepson wore it for many years, and it looked great on him.

Since bringing all my “stuff” home when I sold Pine Ridge Knit & Sew to my daughter, I’ve been going through my notebooks and backed up files.  I found this and thought you machine knitters might like it.

The price on this download is going up to $1.33 USF immediately to cover the 33 cent fee that paypal keeps for every transaction. 

I’d love some feedback, did you knit it, are you going to knit it, do the instructions make any sense?

email me at yvettechilcott at

Old Fashioned Christmas Cake

or, how I got 14 pounds of Christmas cake from a 10 pound recipe.

My daughter Laura asked for a ChristChistmas cakesmas Cake.  “Just like the one you used to make when I was a kid”.   Great request, I like it,  and I’ll send one out to my grown son Robert in Red Deer, and one to my daughter, Amber in Sechelt, BC.  (My recipe makes a lot of cake.)

It’s a bit late, in the past I made this in October, but with a bit of booze, it will be fine.  It’s also a good thing our local bulk food store was having a sale this weekend.

So off to the bulk store with my list I go.  6 cups of this, 6 cups of that, 3 of cherries, 2 of raisins, I sort of just measured and estimated as I shopped.  $37 dollars later I had most of my ingredients.

The recipe has me dump all the fruit and nuts into a large bowl and toss in 2 cups of flour.  I didn’t want any leftover fruit or nuts, so I just emptied each bag of raisins, cherries, walnuts and candied fruit right into the bowl.  No measuring.  After all, I sort of did that at the bulk store.

Christmas Cake unbakedThis mixing bowl is 18 inches across and it’s pretty well full.

Here’s my recipe, it’s delicious, my kids say so.

And, if you make it my way, you might get 14 pounds, too.



Old Fashioned Christmas Fruitcake
Yields 10
A medium dark fruitcake that's moist, solid, traditional and can be mailed.
Write a review
Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
  1. 3 cups whole candied cherries
  2. 6 cups of candied fruit
  3. 2 cups of raisins
  4. 6 cups of walnut pieces
  5. 1 pound of butter, melted just to liquid
  6. 1 cup brown sugar
  7. 2 cups white sugar
  8. 8 large eggs
  9. 6 cups all purpose flour
  10. 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
  11. 4 teaspoons salt
  12. 4 teaspoons allspice
  13. 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  14. 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  15. 1/4 cup vanilla
  16. 2 cups cooled strong black tea
  1. Dump all the fruit and nuts into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with 2 cups of the flour and stir until mixed well.
  2. In another bowl, melt the butter, add the sugar, vanilla, then the eggs when the butter is cool enough. Beat it all together with a mixing spoon.
  3. In another fairly large bowl mix the remaining 4 cups of flour with the baking powder, salt and spices. Add the butter mixture and the tea and beat to make a smooth batter.
  4. Pour the batter over the fruit and mix well.
  5. Divide between loaf pans that have been either greased and floured, or, my way, lined with parchment paper.
  6. I fill them about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake at 275'F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  8. Test with a toothpick, when it comes out clean the cakes are done.
  9. Cool on racks, then wrap and store in a cool place.
  1. I wrap mine in cotton muslin that had been well washed, then I dribble rum over top and store in an airtight plastic container.
  2. This makes a lot of cake. You could easily halve the recipe.
Adapted from from years of making this, original is hand written
Adapted from from years of making this, original is hand written

Fish Fillets baked in Curried Coconut Milk

Do you sometimes pick up a great deal at the grocery store, then get home and wonder how in the world you’re going to prepare it? 

So these 4 pound bags of frozen fillets were on for $10! 

Plain, colour-less, and probably full of water.  What were we thinking?

There was no point in breading these, they’d never crisp up. 

So baking in a sauce came to mind.  I started with onion and garlic sauted in butter, then browned the fish.  I mixed some curry powder into a can of coconut milk, poured it over the top and baked it for 20 minutes. 

We ate it before I could take a picture. 🙁

Here’s my actual recipe in case you’d like to make it too.


Fish Fillets baked in Curried Coconut Milk
Serves 4
A tasty way of baking cheap, watery, tasteless fish fillets. Quick to make, too.
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
  1. 2 tablespoons of butter, divided
  2. 2 pounds fish fillets, thawed
  3. 1 spanish onion, quartered and sliced
  4. 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons of curry powder, or more
  6. 1 398 ml can of full-fat coconut milk
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ' F
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in an ovenproof skillet on medium high heat.
  3. Saute the onion and garlic until golden brown.
  4. Remove to a plate or bowl.
  5. Season the fish with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Melt the other tablespoon of butter and brown the fish on both sides. You'll likely have to do it in 2 batches. A lot of water came out of the fish I used, and I left it in the skillet.
  7. Put the browned fish on the bottom of the skillet and evenly spread the onion and garlic over top.
  8. Shake the can of coconut milk, then open it.
  9. Add the curry powder to the can and stir well, then pour it over the fish and onion in the skillet.
  10. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes.
  1. We really liked this, and as I still have half a bag of fish in the freezer, I'll make it again.

Converting Stitch and Row Gauge in Knitting

“Knitting THAT sweater in YOUR Yarn”

How many times have you found the perfect sweater pattern in a magazine or pattern book, and then have been unable to match the stitch and/or row gauge? You know, that doesn’t mean you can’t knit it. All you need to know is the “Conversion Formula”, and have an accurate tension swatch in the yarn you wish to use.

When determining the gauge of your swatch, use the same factor as the written pattern, i.e. stitches/rows to 1″, stitches/rows to 4″, stitches/rows per cm, or stitches/rows to 10 cm.

A simple hand held calculator will be very helpful to calculate two necessary “Conversion Formulas”. You will use one or both of these to re figure your pattern.

The Stitch Converter
Take your stitch gauge, divide it by their stitch gauge and the answer is the Stitch Convertor. Use up to 2 decimal points. For example; say you are getting 29.5 stitches to 4 inches and the pattern calls for 28 stitches for 4 inches. Divide yours (29.5) by theirs (28) and the answer (stitch convertor) is 1.0535714. We’ll round that to 1.05 (2 decimal points is enough)

How do we use it?
If the pattern calls for 140 stitches, multiply their # (140) by the stitch convertor (1.05) and the answer is 147. Because the pattern uses an even number, we’ll round up to the next even number, 148. So you’ll cast on 148 stitches.

The Row Convertor
Take your row gauge, divide it by their row gauge and the answer is the Row Convertor. It is used the same way as the Stitch Convertor.

Shaping is not so simple, but by using common sense, and a few basic rules, you’ll be fine.

Just remember, round necklines are shaped by “most first, then less, less and less”.

V neckline shaping is a smooth line, with about 1 inch unshaped before the top of the neck.

Sleeves are narrow at the bottom and shaped rather evenly up the length. The shaping of a set in sleeve is more complicated, but use your Stitch and Row conversions to work the math.

Click on the words below for a printable PDF

stitch and row convertor

So, does it make sense?  Will you use it?  Please let me know……

Abbreviations used in Knitting Machine patterns

Hey, I did it!  This is the first post to my Machine Knitting category!

One of the biggest hurdle for a new machine knitter is understanding the abbreviations in a pattern.

I’ve been collecting these over the years and put them in alphabetical order in a PDF document for you to print and save.  These were on my previous website,, but when I sold the business to my daughter, the website changed to reflect her ownership, and this document fell by the wayside.

Please zap me off an email if you find it useful, or if you find an error.

Please click the link below to open the PDF.

Knitting machine Abbreviations

Quilt as you go Hexagon Hot Pad

This is a great scrapbuster!  I used scraps of Christmas fabrics, and my next one will be in reds and pinks for Valentines.

Quilt as you go Hexagon Hot Mat
15″ square of a busy print for background fabric.
12″ square of ” Insulbrite”
12″ square of quilt batting
5″ square for centre block
6 strips of cotton fabric, 2″ x 4″
6 strips of cotton fabric 2″ x 6″
4″ piece of ribbon for a hanging loop
sewing thread to match
invisible thread for bobbin

Layer the background with wrong side up, quilt batting, then the
“Insulbrite”  with shiny side up. Pin through the corners to hold
it all together. Draw an ” X” from corner to corner.

Cut the center block intstart with hexagono a 5″ hexagon and center in on the “X” with right side up.  For my tutorial on how to draw the hexagon, please click here.

The lines are faint, but visible from corner to corner.



Take one of the 4″ strips and with right sides together, place
one long edge ehalf sewn first stripven with one side of the hexagon. Using 1/4″
seam, sew from the middle of the hexie to the end of the hexie.  Don’t sew beyond the end of the hexie.   You’re leaving the first half of the strip unsewn. We’ll deal with it later.

Open out the strip so right side is up and finger press it.

placement for second stripsecond strip placementUse a straight edge and draw a line across the opened out strip that continues the edge of the hexie.  With right sides together, lay the next strip along that line and thesewn and topstitched edge of the hexie, then sew it into place.

Flip it so the right side is up and finger press, THEN topstitch 1/8″ from the seam line. Continue adding strips and top stitching until 5 strips have been added. Before adding the 6th strip, fold the first strip out of the way. Sew and top stitch the 6th strip, then put strip 1 back into position and top stitch it into place.

first round topstitchedsew last strip


The second row is done pretty well the same way using the 6 inch long strips. Begin by sewing the half strip as before, BUT, again, don’t sew beyond the edge of the hexagon.  Finish strip 6 like before, by
pulling the first strip out of the way before sewing and top-stitching strip 6, then top-stitching strip 1.

Pull the batrimmed topcking fabric out of the way, then trim the front, “Insulbrite” and batting to the hexagon shape following the edge of the 6 inch strips.  Be careful not to cut the back fabric!

Use a rotary cutter to trim the trimmed backbacking 1 inch larger than the hexagon all the way around. Press the raw edge in by half, then press the fold over the edge of the hexagon to form a self- bound edge.self binding pinned
Top stitch close to the fold to finish, mitering the corners.
Fold the piece of ribbon in half and slip the raw ends under one corner of the binding before completing the finish.



If you want to print this tutorial, please click for a pdf. Quilt as you go Hexagon Hot Mat-1

If it doesn’t make sense, please email me at and I’ll help.


Hexagon Pattern, any Size

I admit, I LOVE hexagons!  I sew them and I even designed an afghan pattern made with hexies.  I’ll fine tune it and put it up here, too.

In the meantime, I designed a “quilt-as-you-go” Hexie hot-pad and needed a starting hexie pattern.  I looked all over the internet, and couldn’t find one in the size I wanted.  🙁

What I did find, though, were the instructions on how to draft your own pattern.  Here is my version:

I needed a 5″ hexagon (measured from point to point). 

Begin by drawing a circle the same size as your desired hexagon.  I couldn’t find a compass anywhere!  Sew, I improvised. A piece of ribbon, a tack and a pen! ribbon compass (My final circle was better than the picture, but you get the point, right?)

Cut out the circle and fold it twice, as shown.quarter fold

final fold hexagon

Fold the top and the bottom to the center fold as shown.6 point hexagon

hexagon cutting lines

Make a mark at all the folds except the middle ones.  Join the dots with straight lines and cut on those lines.

What remains is a hexagon. 

How easy is that?

Let me know if you use this method to draw your own hexagon pattern.

Soup Bowl Cozy

All supplies MUST be 100% cotton!

NO SCRIM!!!!!!

2 pieces outer fabric, 10″ squaresoup bowl cozy

2 pieces batting, 9 inches square



Center a piece of batting on the wrong side of each pboth layers Xdiece of
cotton.  With a slightly long stitch sew each pair diagonally from
corner to corner.


dartcorner with darts


Now we’re making 4 darts in each piece. Fold 1 piece in half as shown and mark 2 1/2″ down from the edge of the fabric and 3/4″ in from the edge. Make 4 darts on each piece. Trim seam allowances to 1/4″.

right sides together
Place both pieces together with good sides facing.
Using 1/4″ seam allowance, sew both layers together,
leaving a 3 inch opening centered across a dart for turning.
Reinforce the beginning and ending of the seam.  Clip the corners and turn to the right side.

Top stitch all around about 1/8″ from the edge which closes
the opening.

Soup bowl cozy click to open a printable PDF of these instructions.

Yup, I sew, machine knit, crochet, garden, cook, love, and share.