Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's my perogative

As usual I started a spinning project with one garment in mind only to change my mind once I got into it. 

A few weeks ago I bought 8oz of blond alpaca at Knitorious in St Louis. To make the most if it, I plied it with a Merino/angora blend. 
Even though I was able to get about 500 yards, it wasn't going to be enough for the original project. 
That stripy look will become a tweedy look once it's knitted up. The new plans are to use a baby sweater pattern that has the bodice knitted from wrist to wrist and then stitches are picked up and the skirt is knitted in lace. 

The other thing I've been working on is the oven pads. With the latest one, I thought it would be cute to have a hotpad and a washcloth to go with it. 

I just can't make myself stop making them!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Be prepared

The latest snow and cold made me realize that I needed to start beefing up my winter warmies. (Warmies to include those made with acrylic yarn.)

Chunky yarn + size 8 needles = fast and easy hat. 

This is a quick pattern that I designed last year. 

Start with a 4-stitch I-cord and make it long enough to tie a little knot in it. Then transfer them onto 4 double points (or two circs) and increase every stitch so that there are 4 stitches on each DP.  These represent 8 sections of 2 stitches each. 

Make sure to work a knit row every other round. 

On the increase rounds, increase at the beginning of each of the 8 sections until there are 13 stitches in each section. Increase more for a more slouchy hat and  fewer stitches for a less slouchy. 

Knit even in stockinette until the hat is as large as you want it. 

On next round, decrease once every 5 stitches (or as many as it takes for band to fit snugly). Work in K2/P2 ribbing for 2-3 inches if you want a single band or 4-5 inches if you want to turn up the band. 

Do a stretchy bind off and BAM you have a hat. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Believe the magic

I want to doff my hat to the most brilliant person in the world. The person who picked up a crochet hook and some cotton yarn and did this:

Crocheted a chain (this one is about 40 stitches). 
Then worked single chains up one side and without working any increases, single crocheted down the other side. 

Then kept working around, single crocheting in the back loop of each stitch like this:
And then kept working around and around
Until both sides met
And finally sewed it closed and created an oven mitt. 
That's either bloody brilliant or it's magic. 

By the way, I also finished the 2 Doctor Who scarves I was knitting for my friend's kids for Christmas. One is 12 feet and the other about 14 but they'll stretch. So blinking adorable! I lived doing then so much that I've got the yarn to do one for myself now!!
If you're interested in making your own, you can find the recommended yarns and pattern to match the originals, visit www.doctorwhoscarf.com. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lurkers

I have a new category (or at least a new name for the category) of projects that I like to call lurkers. 

If you're in a corporate environment, it's likely that you participate in a certain number of conference calls. Lurkers are what we call those who join calls but don't announce themselves, usually trying to catch someone off guard. 

The same can be said of internet discussion groups of someone who follows the discussions but rarely or never participates. 

My lurker project has been an argyle vest that has been laying around a while waiting on duplicate stitches and the decision about whether it will be a sweater or a vest. 

I finally made it come out into the open the other day and finished the dup stitches. 
The next decisions were to be a vest or to be a sweater. I'm not really a vest-y sort of person but I think it's finally convinced me. 
Vest it is. 

I need to work in the final ends and I haven't actually stitched the sides because I wanted to make those decisions but I also want to do some side shaping because it did end up a little too wide. I'm also, I think, going to felt it ever so slightly. 

I used the size needles recommended on the yarn band but the stitches are a little too open for my liking. I think I can fix that with some minor felting. (It's Galway yarn - which I love - so I'll have to be careful. It's a good felting yarn.)

And the lurker is no more a lurker but a full participant in the wardrobe. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter. Need sweaters.

It's definitely winter in Central IL and with the winter is the realization that I need a new batch of sweaters. 

Here's one I started earlier...
On the left is the front that I need to duplicate stitch and on the right is the back that I just finished stitching. 

I'm anxious to see how this is going to come together since I need to make some decisions about whether it's going to be a long sleeve sweater or a vest-type garment but I love the cheery colors and I love the argyle thing so I think it's going to be a very happy whatever it turns out to be. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Finishing

Can I just say a few words about finishing?

How a project is finished, of course, depends on whether the project is knitted, crocheted, tatted, etc. Crochet? Easy peasy. Knitting? Even with color work pieces, I don't mind. I even kind of enjoy that process. Tatted?  Ahhhh, this is another story and a big reason I need to learn a new technique. When working in a larger piece (in this case a doily for a friend at work), at the end if each round you have to work in the finishing threads. Into tight knots. Each one. Seperately. Every one. Tight. Knots. 


I finished the work but not the doily. It's kind of like winning the battle but not the war. The challenge is to get a needle with an eye large enough for your thread (DMC size 30) that will fit through the aforementioned knots. 

Now some people would stop and work them in as they go. But not me.  Nooooooo....I leave them to the end, me. Now I have this beautiful doily that can't be called finished until I sit for the better part of an evening working in ends. 

There is a technique used in bobbin lace where you can work in a loop that will allow you to easily pull the ends through when you're finished. That's next because however annoying the set up is, there's no way it beats this. 

But I'm happy with the finished doily and the finished crocheted doily that just needs a good press, both for ladies at work who asked for them. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sometimes it just works

Several weeks ago I visited the Myers House in St Louis and found a cute little pattern for a stole. I didn't particularly care for the yarn it called for plus I was in the midst of spinning a yarn I hoped would work for it. 
While I was on vacation, I cast on. Bit before I could cast on, I realized I didn't have the size needles it called for. Also I didn't think the yarn was quite as chunky as what it called for. Sooooo...I improvised. 

I had size 8 needles (2 sizes smaller than what it called for) and the yarn fit the needles so I increased the cast on by about 10% roughly and started knitting. It was knit from the top down so I made sure the # of stitches did what it was supposed to do and kept knitting. 

It was an easy stockinette/reverse stockinette stitch pattern with the increases coming every 2 sections. And because of the smaller needles/smaller yarn, I added a couple of sections until I got this:
Pretty much just what the pattern calls for. It has the little pass-thru ties at the front and came out pretty perfectly. 

Oh, yeah, I also did an i-cord bind off to make sure it was a pretty edge and that it would bunch up.