Tag Archives: yarn

Knitting Inspiration

Spring 2014 issue

Spring 2014 issue

When I saw the Spring 2014 issue of Interweave Knits, I just had to get it.  I used to subscribe but have cut down on my magazine subscriptions.  I decided that there would have to be several patterns I wanted to knit before I’d let myself buy a copy of any knit or crochet magazine.  I have  to admit that I have a library of back issues of various magazines!  But I wouldn’t dare toss them out.  I do refer to them occasionally.

This issue of Interweave Knits does not disappoint.  I’m thinking of going through it one pattern at a time and knitting them all!  It would be a big project, but I could blog about it and that would give me a boost to keep going.  Plus the patterns in this issue are so yummy!  I would also be working with yarns that I haven’t had experience with.  That’s part of the adventure.

Take a look at my Pinterest board to see my faves.  Have you seen this issue?  Which one should be my first project?  I’m thinking of a piece for spring or summer.  Maybe the Serendipity Tee by Jesie Ostermiller or the O’Kelly’s Chapel Shawl by Shirley Paden?

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Success! I Dropped A Stitch

That’s right!  I dropped a stitch and I’m happy about it. For those who don’t knit, dropping a stitch is usually not a good thing. It can be the reason for much frustration and hair pulling for beginning knitters, and can also cause them to rip out fabric that took them hours to create. Hey, I’ve done it.

But as you gain experience and confidence with your knitting skills, a dropped stitch is no longer a big deal.

I’ll show you how to fix a dropped stitch in a future post, but this time, I’m keeping that dropped stitch right where it is.

Shay Pendray, Laura Bryant, and Barry Klein on the set of Knitting Daily

Shay Pendray, Laura Bryant, and Barry Klein on the set of Knitting Daily

I recently caught an older episode of Knitting Daily where Laura Bryant of Prism Yarns and Barry Klein of Trendsetter Yarns (LOVE them!) show how to use dropped stitches to your advantage.

The scarf pattern is worked in garter stitch. It’s a great take-a-long project to work on while waiting at the doctor’s office or while your kids are at music lessons.

I chose a ball of TLC Cara Mia (Acrylic/Nylon/Rayon/Angora) that I’ve had for years. It finally told me what it wanted to be when it grew up!

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2 columns of dropped stitches so far

Don’t be nervous. But do be aware that you knit the entire scarf before dropping any stitches. See how the dropped stitch is dropped all the way down the length of the scarf?

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Bind Off edge showing the width of 3 stitches for 1 dropped stitch

Laura had a great tip that each dropped stitch will have the width of 3 stitches, so the bind off has some special tricks to it.

When looking at these photos, please keep in mind that my scarf isn’t quite finished. I have some more to bind off and stitches still left to drop. When it’s complete, there will be 4 columns of dropped stitches.  You can kind of see where the other 2 dropped-stitch columns will be on the photo above.  There are vertical indentions where the columns of new dropped stitches will be.

Get the pattern at Knitting Daily TV and drop some stitches on purpose!  And if you like the scarf that Laura shows at the beginning of the segment, that pattern is here.

I’d love to see your dropped stitch scarves. Dive into your stash and see what you come up with.

Crochet-a-Long

I saw Lion Brand’s Colorfully Modern Cardigan pattern and decided to jump into their crochet-a-long (CAL).  Isn’t it cute?  I love the colors and the vertical striping created by the front post double crochets (FPDC) – and pockets too!  If all goes well, I’m thinking of making some of these as gifts.  But this one is mine!photo

If you’ve never been part of a CAL, you should try it.  Really!

The way it works:

The host of the CAL has a blog and guides participants through yarn substitutions, gauge, and each step of the project.  Photos posted of the various steps and techniques really help too.  And the participants have a conversation online by posting their problems, solutions, and photos.  Everyone helps each other.  It’s really exciting to see the same pattern worked in so many different color combinations and with modifications a few participants make.  It’s like attending a class, but you can do it at your own pace AND in your pajamas!

yarn Modern CardiganI wanted to get started as soon as possible (no time to wait for shipping! Must…Start…Now…), so I went to Michaels and pondered colors for what seemed like an hour.  I decided on the Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn in Folklore, Ginseng, and Southwest and Vanna’s Choice in Charcoal Grey and Chocolate.

After swatching and many trips to the basement for different sized hooks, I finally got gauge with my Susan Bates Crystalites size L (8.0 mm).  I know, I hear ya.  Swatching isn’t fun for me either.  But I learned my lesson long ago that if you want something to fit, you have to just do it.  Just take a deep breath, swatch, and measure.  I repeat to myself, “It’s worth it.”  I definitely don’t want to spend precious hours on a sweater only to discover that it doesn’t fit.

Here’s a photo of the Back in progress.  Modern Cardigan2I’ve placed stitch markers to remind me of the sections between the FPDCs where there are 2 sc instead of 3 sc.  It’s going really well.  I have my yarn balls sitting next to me in order, which makes it very easy when changing colors every 2 rows.  I know exactly which one is next without having to look twice.

The FPDCs create the raised texture and slimming vertical lines.  I really enjoy working this stitch.  In The Crocheter’s Guide to Yarn Cocktails, I designed a purse with it and created a cabled-look.  And I’m designing a sweater now using FPDC and BPDC (back post double crochet) as well as other stitches to create an Aran sweater look.  Look for my post in a few days about this doozy!  Whew!

Modern CardiganHere’s a close-up of the FPDC.  These are worked around the posts of each other for straight lines with a row of sc between each FDPC row.

I’m making good progress.  Crocheting is so much faster than knitting!  Don’t get me wrong, I love knitting.  Each has it’s own pros and cons depending on what type of project and yarn you choose.  But that’s a topic for another day.  Ready for the armhole decreases!  Yay!

 

 

Raddle Me This

While visiting my parents this summer, my Dad presented me with a beautiful raddle he made.  A “what?” you say?  A raddle is used to keep the threads separated and in a nice, even order while warping your loom from back to front.  So, if your pattern (weavers call it a draft) says you need 10 ends per inch (epi), then you’ll have 10 yarns in between each pin.

The pins are spaced an inch apart.  You can have them in 1/2-inch spacing, but I went with an inch to start with.  I bought the pins from Webs.

When warping your loom, the raddle is clamped to the back beam and the correct number of yarns are placed in between the pins.  The top piece is lowered over them (there’s a routered groove in the center underside of the top piece).  These top and bottom sections are held together by tightening the wing nuts.

I measured my Dundas table loom and made a sketch of the raddle for my Dad to use as a guide.  He’s a master at woodworking!  He even placed an inlay of ebony to mark the middle.

Raddle

Raddle Closeup

 

 

 

 

 

I searched online for a clamp like the ones I’d seen at weaving class.  But to no avail.  My Dad came up with a way to make a clamp, so that’s what we’ll do… just a few more measurements.

Having fun crafting things this summer?  I’d love to hear about your creations!

The Crochet Dr. Will See You Now

Handmade items of any type are treasured.  I understand this because I know the time it takes to create them and the love that goes into each one.  My parents create all sorts of wonderful items.  My Mom likes to sew, knit, crochet, rug hook, cross stitch, embroider, tat, quilt, bead, spin fiber into yarn, paint with watercolors, and cook.  My Dad likes to build scale model live steam engines, rebuild cars and boats, invent, tat, cook (especially biscuits and apple pie), make spinning wheels and other tools from wood, and is an all-around engineer.  Their creations are precious to me.

Sewing the Seams

Sewing the Seams

So, when I was approached to repair an afghan treasured by a daughter who had recently lost her mom, I agreed to the challenge.

The goal: to fix all of the holes invisibly.

Her mother made this afghan by crocheting wool yarn into motifs of greens and yellow and sewed them together.  I knew wool was the fiber content since there were signs of felting.

I went to several yarn shops in my area until I found the perfect yarn.  100% American wool, spun in a smooth worsted weight, and in the right shade of green!  I spent many hours on the floor in my living room stitching up obvious holes and shoring up sections that needed some love.  Luckily, none of the motifs needed reworking, only the seams needed attention.

The hug and elated face of the daughter when I handed her the finished afghan meant the world to me.  She will have many more years of enjoying a treasured item her mother made.

I Toe That Sock Up

I enjoy knitting so much that I find myself working on some sort of knitting project almost every day.

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Here’s a tiny sample sock I knit from a class I took at Fibre Space.  Brenda Dayne, of the Cast-On podcast, was in town teaching her Sherman Toe Up Sock class.  I’ve listened to her podcast for a few years and couldn’t pass up the chance to meet her and learn a new technique!

It was great fun.  I prefer working my socks with dpns (double-pointed needles) and have taken to this method of working the toe and heel – it’s the same concept for both!  So, once you’ve got the toe down, the heel is no problem.

Several pairs of these socks (but much larger!) were made as presents last year.  I’ve taken a break from sock knitting, but have plenty of other crafty projects on my plate.