Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Tip of the Needle or A needle Tip

  If you've been knitting longer than 10 minutes, you've probably already started your knitting pet peeves list.  Well, here is one that hits the top of my list:
* knitting a narrow project on long needles!!!  I hate getting poked, having to adjust how I hold my needles, or just plain start yelling at the needles to stay outta my way when I'm working on something like a scarf that only needs a short needle; And finding short knitting needles in all sizes can be a challenge.

Well, after one of my wrestling matches with my Susan Bates 14 inch needles, I gave them to my husband and said "Cut these in half!" About 3 minutes later, I had a pair of lovely 7 inch needles!

Here's how: This works best with the Susan Bates metal needles (I wouldn't recommend you cut your wood or plastic needles)
With a pair of pliers, pull off the top of the needle (the part that has the name on it), set aside and using metal snips or a hack saw, cut off the excess needle from the 'non pointy' end. With some glue of your choice, pop that top back on, let dry and voila!! 

So, the next time you buy a set of needles, buy 2 pair! You'll have a long pair for the big projects, and you can make a short pair for your smaller things.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's a Green Thing

Fingerless Mitts

Skill Level: beginner

Techniques involved: knit, purl, increasing using M1R, M1L, backwards loop cast-on ( there are several video sites showing this technique - Very simple)

M1R: A make one right slanting: Bring the tip of the left-hand needle under the strand between stitches, from back to front. Knit through the front of the loop.
M1L: A make one left slanting:Bring the tip of the left-hand needle under the strand between stitches, from front to back. Knit through the back of the loop.

There is also an excellent website showing various knitting increases: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/increases

Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky,Three-ply superfine Merino wool. Bulky 104 yards (95 meters); Color: Verde Adriana
Amount needed for project : approx. 75 yds

Needles and notions: Size 8 DPNs, stitch markers, stich holder, tapestry needle

Fit's women size med to lg.

CO 28 sts on 3 DPNs
Round 1 - 6: K1, P1
Round 7-22:  Knit
Thumb Gusset:
Round 23: K2, M1R, K1, M1L, knit to end
Round 24: Knit
Round 25: K2, M1R , K3, M1L, knit to end
Round 26: knit
Round 27: K2, M1R, K5, M1L, knit to end
Round 28: knit

Round 29: K2, CO5 with backwards loop or 'e' cast-on. Place the next 7 stitches on a holder, knit to end
Round 30 - 37: Knit
Round 31-36: K1, P1

Bind off in pattern, break yarn and weave in ends.

Finishing thumb:
Place the 7 stitches on stitch holder back on needle 1. With needle 2, pick up 3 stitches along opening. With needle 3, pick up 3 to 4 additional stitches around opening. Your amount may vary. Using your judgment, you'll want to pick up enough to not have any gaps.  Situate your 13-14 stitches evening on the 3 needles and knit 6 rounds with new yarn strand. Bind off. Use yarn end to close any gaps in thumb gusset that might be visible.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Put it in your pocket

I recently finished a day long shopping marathon with one of my oldest and dearest friends at an outlet mall. You know the ones - mile long row of brand name stores, usually located far out of town, that claim bargain prices; however, rarely do they live up to the proclamation. Anywho, in one of those stores, I found a scarf made in China (really?? - I would never have imagined) - machine knit ,of this I'm certain, but it was adorable and I was oh so very nearly tempted to purchase it. I really truly had to restrain myself. I mean after all, a proclaimed knitting addict BUYING a bulk produced scarf? I think not. But, I'll admit - I did look to see if yanking the tag and passing it off as an original was an option.

So, I drove home empty handed but for the new shoes I bought early on and wore the remainder of the day for my poor feet; exhausted, but my mind was all the while coming up with a pattern to recreate that lovely little red scarf.
Here is my attempt:

Pocket Scarf

Difficulty: Advanced Beginner
Finished piece is approx. 37 inches excluding fringe.
Yarn used: Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends - 2 skeins - color Tomato

Needles: size 10 straight
Notions: stitch holders, blunt eye needle or crochet hook for ends

*This pattern is made with 2 strands held together**
CO 15.

Row 1: K15

Row 2: K3, P2, K5, P2, K3

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 12 rows or approx. 3 inches ending on WS
*Creating the pocket*

K15, increasing each stitch (knit into the front and back of each stitch) - you should now have a total of 30 stitches on your needle.

Slide every other stitch onto a stitch holder and leave alone for now.

You should now have 15 stitches on your working needles and 15 on a stitch holder.

Continuing with pattern, rows 1 and 2 for 19 rows or approx. 4 inches, ending on WS (this is the front of your pocket); break yarn. and place these stitches onto stitch holder

Place stitches from first stitch holder back onto needle.

Knit 19 rows. (this has now formed the back of the pocket).

Now you will need to slide the stitches from the remaining stitch holder back onto your needle, alternating every one with a stitch already on your working needle. Be careful here not to drop any of your stitches and take your time.

You should now have 30 stitches on your needle.

K2tog for the entire row (15 stitches )

You have a completed pocket! Good for you!

Continue with pattern for approx. 30 inches.
BO and work in ends.

Embellish ends as desired ( I used several strands and formed a large knot with fringe).

Block as desired.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'll Have a Slice of Rasperry Tart, Please

Let's talk about food. I know, I know, I said this was a blog about knitting, but I also said it's a little about life in general... and who doesn't like food, huh? Good food. And dessert ! What kind of life would it be if we didn't have the privilege of having something ooey, gooey, sweet, and delicious sliding across our tongues?

I love to bake! I leave the main cooking to my husband and I handle the desserts. In fact, I just baked a cake last night and made some delicious homemade frosting, thank you Julia Child. (Okay, yes, I was inspired by the movie Julie & Julia, and yes, I bought the darn cookbook. But no, this will NOT turn into a cooking blog). Now where was I? Oh yes, the cake. Quite good, though a tad on the ugly side. Okay, it stuck to the baking pan. Just close your eyes and swallow. So, due to my love of all desserts, ugly or pretty, I thought it was only right to pay homage to all things sweet and delicious. You're gonna want to eat this hat. It screams raspberries! Viva la dessert! Enjoy this pattern; it's easy and super fast thanks to Debbie Bliss's Cashmerino Superchunky. I added a bit of Berrocco Zap Yarn (Eyelash) to the first 5 rows and the pompom to jazz it up a bit.

Difficulty: Beginner familiar with working in the round

Finished measurement: fits head circumference 20-23 inches

Yarn: Debble Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky - 1 ball, Berrocca Zap - enough for trip and pompom.

Needles and Notions: size 10.5 circular - 16 inch, size 10.5 straight needles, stitch markers, tapestry needle.

Holding both yarns together, cast on 60 stitches, join stitches, avoiding twisting and place marker to mark beginning.

Row 1-5 : k1p1
drop the Berrocca yarn, cutting, leaving a tail which you will weave in later.
Row 6 and all even rows: *p 5sts, with yarn in back, slip 1 st purlwise*, repeat from * to marker Row 7 and all odd rows: purl
Continue above until you've completed 20 rows - hat should be approx. 6 inches long from cast on.

Begin decrease rows:
Row 1: *p3, p2tog, p1, repeat from * to marker
Row 2: *p2, p2tog, with yarn in back, slip 1 st purlwise, repeat from * to marker
Row 3: purl
Row 4: *p1, p2tog, with yarn in back, slip 1 st purlwise, repeat from * to marker
Row 5: purl
Row 6: *p1, p2tog, with yarn in back, slip 1 st purlwise, repeat from * to marker
Row 7: *p2tog, p1*, repeat from * to marker
Row 8: p2tog
Cut yarn, leaving tail approx. 20 inch long. Slip yarn end onto tapestry needle and thread through remaining stitches, pulling tight to a close.

Make pom pom with both yarns held together. Trim to shape and attach to hat top with desired method.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wanted: Warm hat for bald head

Alpaca Ear Flap Hat

Happy New Year! My husband has the perfect head for knitted hats. It's round and shiny and quite susceptible to the cold. He started shaving his head several years ago when nature decided hair didn't belong there anymore. So, over the course of my few years of knitting, I've tackled several beanies for him - always from patterns that were good, but didn't quite fit as well as he wanted. This hat pattern was a lot of fun to create and I got his input every step of the way. And if you haven't yet noticed, it's made from my favorite yarn - 100% baby alpaca. Guaranteed warmth and comfort.

Skill Level: Advanced Knitter

Techniques involved: knit, purl, increase, K2tog, backwards loop cast-on ( there are several video sites showing this technique - Very simple)

Yarn: Plymouth Yarn - Baby Alpaca Grande - US 10.5 needle = 3.5 sts per inch

Amount needed for project : approx. 140 yds

Needles and notions: Size 10.5 , 16" circulars and 10.5 dpn, stitch markers, stich holder, tapestry needle

Fit's large man's head - 23" circumference +/- 1-2 inches

**note ** - 10.5 straight needles can be used during creation of the ear flaps.

**note** - when increasing stitches on ear flaps, do not increase the first or last stitch unless stated. This allows for a neater, more uniform edge. Increase by knitting in front and back of same stitch.

**note** - knitting in the round creates stockinette stitch.

Begin with earflaps:

Earflap #1
CO 6 sts

row 1 - knit
row 2 - purl
row 3 - knit, increasing 2 sts on row ( ex. K1, K in front and back of next stitch, K2, K in frontand back of next stitch, K1) = 8 stitches are now on needle.
row 4 - purl
row 5 - knit, increasing 2 sts on row
row 6 - purl
row 7 - knit, increasing 2 sts on row
row 8 - purl
row 9 - knit
row 10 -purl, increasing 2 sts on row
row 11 -knit
row 12 -purl
row 13 -knit, increasing 2 sts on row
row 14 -purl
row 15 -knit, increasing 2 sts on row
row 16 -purl
row 17 -knit, increasing 2 sts on row - 20 stitches now on needle
row 18 -purl
row 19 -knit, increasing 2 sts on row
row 20 -purl
row 21 -knit
row 22 -purl, increasing 2 sts on row
row 23 -knit
row 24 -purl
row 25 -knit, increasing 2 sts on row
row 26 -purl
row 27 -knit, increasing 2 sts on row - 28 stitches now on needle
row 28 -purl, increasing the first and last stitch in the row ( explanation: knit in front and back of first stitch, K26, knit in front and back of last stitch)

place stitches on holder.

Earflap #2

CO 6 sts
Repeat above - rows 1 - 28.
row 29 - knit, increasing the first and last stitch in the row.

If you knitted earflap #2 on straight needles, transfer to your circulars at this time.

Backwards loop cast-on 8 stitches.

Transfer earflap #1 to your circular needles. Your cast on stitches should be in the middle of the 2 earflaps. Join the earflap to the cast on stitches, knitting row 29 from above.

Backwards loop cast-on 8 stitches. Place marker to indicate beginning. Join the other earflap to these stitches by knitting. You now have a complete circle, joined. 80 sts on needle. Continue knitting in the round until hat height is approximately 4 1/2 inches long from your cast on stitches. Place 6 markers evenly around hat ( * note - of course 6 doesn't divide evenly into 80, so I placed markers at the following #s - beginning, after st#13, after st#26, after st#39, after st#52, after st#66.

Begin decreasing as follows:
all rows are knit, on rows where you k2tog, do so before each marker.

Row 1:K2tog before each marker. (decreased 6 sts)
row 2: knit
row 3: knit
row 4: K2tog before each marker. (decreased 6 sts)
row 5: K2tog before each marker. (decreased 6 sts)
row 6: knit
row 7: K2tog before each marker. (decreased 6 sts)
row 8: knit
row 9: K2tog before each marker. (decreased 6 sts) = 50 sts remain.
row 10: knit
row 11: K2tog before each marker.
row 12: K2tog before each marker.
row 13: K2tog before each marker.
row 14: K2tog before each marker.
row 15: knit
row 16: K2tog before each marker. = 20 sts remain.
row 17: knit
row 18: K2tog before each marker.
row 19: K2tog before each marker. = 8 sts remain.

remove markers - cut yarn , leaving tail and thread through remaining stitches, pulling tightly to close hole. Weave in ends.

Cut 6 lengths of yarn , approximately 24 inches each. Thread 3 pieces of yarn through each earflap tip, braiding them together to desired length and securing end with a simple knot. Cut even, leaving approx. 1 inch of yarn.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Is that a Frog on your head, I'm a slave to my cat, and other random thoughts

Every morning we go through the same routine. Fresh water, layering the pillows on the bed in just a particular way, downstairs for breakfast and back and forth from my office to the bedroom to play at least 3 times before 10am. This is not my schedule, but rather my cat's schedule that I have the privilege of following. It seems that she thinks I'm at home everyday just to fulfill her every fancy. I don't mind though; she is a joy, and her quiet meows and purrs fill my heart with love. ~ Excuse me while I make my 5th trip back to the bedroom to make sure the bed pillows are placed just right for her to nap behind. ~

So, have you ever wished you could be the one to sit around and come up with the names for all the colors of paints, crayons, nail polish, yarn? What a fun job that would be. My kitchen is red, but the paint color is called "Summer Pudding". The nail polish on my toes is pink but the color is "Blushingham Palace". The yarn for my recently knitted creation is called "Lily Pad" and it does remind me of frogs and lilies floating on the pond water. I hope you enjoy this easy pattern which uses one of my favorite stitches: the seed stitch:

Seed Stitch Alapaca hat

Difficulty: Beginner familiar with working in the round

Finished measurements: Head measurement 20-23 inches
Yarn: Misti Baby Alpaca Chunky hand painted (100% Baby Alpaca) - 1 hank = approx 109 yards
Needles: size 10.5 circulars and 10.5 dpn
Notions: stitch marker, tapestry needle

Stitch Glossary:

1- Seed stitch - K1 P1 for 1 round, then P1 K1 (in other words, knit your purls and purl your knits)[ x - knit, o - purl : example : round 1 - xoxoxoxo , round 2 - oxoxoxox ]
2 - K2tog- knit 2 stitches together.

Using circular needles, cast on 66 stiches using long tail cast-on. Join for working in the round and place marker for beginning of round. Begin seed stitch for 5 rounds. The pattern will work as follows ** Explanation: because this is an even number cast on, when working the seed stitch in the round, at the beginning of the next round you will have to knit or purl twice in order to create the pattern. So, if round one started with a knit and ended with a purl, round two would do the same, which would NOT create the seed stitch. Simply knit or purl the same stitch you just ended with and start the new round with the appropriate stitch:

Rounds 1-5 : seed stitch
Rounds 6-10 : knit stitch (which will form stockinette stitch when worked in the round)
Rounds 11-15: seed stitch
Rounds 16-20 : knit stitch
Rounds 21-25: seed stitch
Knit next 3 rounds then

Begin crown decrease: Switch to DPN when work becomes too small for circulars

Row 1: (K9, K2tog) 6 times
Row 2: (K8, K2tog) 6 times
Row 3: (K7, K2tog) 6 times
Row 4: (K6, K2tog) 6 times
Row 5: knit
Row 6 : (K5, K2tog) 6 times
Row 7: knit
Row 8: (K4, K2tog) 6 times
Row 9: knit
Row 10: (K3, K2tog) 6 times
Row 11: (K2, K2tog) 6 times
Row 12: (K1, K2 tog) 6 times
Row 13: (K2tog) 6 times

Cut yarn leaving an 8 inch tail. With tapestry needle, thread yarn through remaining stitches. Weave in ends.

And watch out for frogs. They will be very tempted to jump on your head!