Friday, December 19, 2008

On and Off

A few years ago, I thought that there was only one way to cast on for my knit project, and one way to cast off. Then I started knitting socks, and found that my usual methods often left the piece too tight to get on my foot! AUUGGHH! What to do, what to do?

My favorite way to cast on is still the long tail cast on, BUT! I hold my two needle tips together and then go to town. I do Magic Loop with one circular needle, so this is easy to do. You will often see recommendations to go up a needle size, but whenever I do this, it's still too tight for me. The two tips together works like a charm, plus you don't need another sized needle! I do this on fingerless gloves as well, and have been doing it for my sweaters too. I am a tight knitter, and it works for me.

My favorite bind-off is Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off. Wow! It comes out nice and stretchy, but firm at the same time. Does that make sense? Try it and see. I recently finished Janine Cras' Quatrefoil Shrug, and did a picot bind-off on that. That is also very stretchy and pretty -- sort of lacy and feminine. Very nice!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Mitt Pattern....


I got inspired by Cherry Tree Hill Yarn's call for submissions. They wanted designs that used their Supersocke Select. What nice yarn! I had never used Cherry Tree Hill yarn before. Pretty! and it feels sooo nice!

You can see a picture of my mitt here: http://cherryyarn.typepad.com/

They're going to have blog readers vote on the designs they choose. I'm excited to see how my pattern does! It will be fun if it gets picked. It would be fine to get my mitts back, too. I like 'em! (and I won't have to make a second pair for my daughter....)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cafe au Lait!

Cafe au Lait Mitts
by Paula McKeever

Wear these mitts on a cool day, with fingers free to hold that warm cup of coffee or tea.

Materials:
1 ball Sublime Cashmere Silk Merino DK (127 yds), or other DK yarn
Size 4 needles, DPNs or circulars for Magic Loop
2 stitch markers
waste yarn or stitch holder


Gauge: 25 sts = 4 inches

Crosshatch Lace Pattern:
Row 1: * K3, K2tog, YO, K1, rep from *
Row 2: * K2, K2tog, YO, K2, rep from *
Row 3: * K1, K2tog, YO, K3, rep from *
Row 4: * K2tog, YO, K4, rep from *
Row 5: * K1, YO, ssk, K3, rep from *
Row 6: * K2, YO, ssk, K2, rep from *
Row 7: * K3, YO, ssk, K1, rep from *
Row 8: * K4, YO, ssk, rep from *


Cast on 42 stitches loosely and join in the round. Divide stitches in groups of 6 on your needles – for Magic Loop this will be 18 sts on the front needle, and 24 on the back needle. Work K1 P1 ribbing for 16 rounds. Change to Crosshatch Lace stitch and work Rows 1-7 of pattern. In row 8, work 6 pattern sts, PM, M1, PM, continue in pattern to end of round.

Thumb Gusset: Next round (Row 1 of pattern): Work 6 pattern sts, place marker, M1, K1, M1, place marker, continue in pattern to end of round.

Increase 2 sts between markers every third round as follows: work in pattern to marker, Slip Marker, M1, K up to Marker, M1, Slip Marker, continue to end of round. You will do the increases on the following rows of the pattern: Row 1, 4, 7, 2, 5, 8, 3, and 6. On all other rounds, knit all stitches between markers.

Work increases until you have 17 sts between markers. Work 2 more rows, finishing with Row 8. Next row: work 6 sts in pattern, place 17 sts between markers on waste yarn, continue in pattern. Do two more complete pattern repeats (16 rounds). Work P1 K1 ribbing for 4 rounds. Bind off with sewn bind-off or other stretchy bind off.

Thumb: Place 17 sts from waste yarn onto circular needle, or DPNs. Pick up and knit 3 sts from top of gusset, then continue knitting around the 17 gusset sts. Work 4 rounds total, then switch to K1 P1 ribbing for 4 rounds. Bind off loosely, or use Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off or other stretchy bind off.

Make second mitt the same as the first.

Abbreviations:
st - stitch
K – Knit
P - Purl
K2tog – Knit two stitches together
ssk – Slip stitch, slip 2nd stitch, slip back on left needle and knit together
PM – Place marker
DPN – double pointed needle


Crosshatch Lace Pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch


for personal use only, copyrighted by Paula McKeever 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

DPN Modifications

The DPN roll will also fit 8" needles. I goofed when I made one for Stringcat -- I misread her post and made one for 6" needles instead of 8" needles. But the longer ones fit okay, too. I really do want it to be a bit longer, so the flap folds over better, but there was at least 3" of flap, so it should work fine.

I made a roll for Ibby, too. She didn't want as many slots in her roll, so I cut the fabric at 15" instead of 19". This gave me 12 slots for DPNs.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We're sewing DPN rolls!

Sinclairchili on Ravelry wanted a DPN roll .... here's my version!





And here are my instructions, so you can do one, too. Or two, too. Or whatever. This roll will fit either 6" or 7" DPNs. I'm going to do one for 8"-ers, but I'll do it in another post since I haven't gotten around to it yet.



Materials:

Main fabric -- cut 17" X 19"

Lining -- cut 7.5" X 19"

Fusible interfacing -- cut 7.25" X 18.5"

Pocket fabric -- cut 9" X 19"

Ties -- Cut two pieces 1.5" X 16 " OR use grosgrain ribbon


Notes:

RST = Right sides of fabric together

WST = Wrong sides of fabric together

All seam allowances are 1/2 inch.



Instructions:

1. Fuse interfacing to wrong side of lining fabric.







2. Sew lining to main fabric at the top seam, RST









3. Make ties -- take pieces and fold 1/4 inch or so on one short end, WST. Press in half, WST, along length of tie. Open it up, and then press the raw ends into the center. Fold in half lenthwise and press. Top stitch long open end together, and back up the other side just for symmetry's sake. I like to be symmetrical. It makes me happy. (no picture, you'll have to figure this one out on your own)





4. Fold pocket in half WST lengthwise and press -- measures 4.5" X 19". Pin pocket to bottom of lining, raw edges together. Baste if you're meticulous. Or not, if you're lazy like me.








5. Pin pocket/ lining raw edge to bottom of main fabric, RST.








6. Pin ties along one side, raw edges sticking out and the ties hanging inside. Make sure you pin it on the lining just above the end of the pocket. If you pin it between the pocket and the lining, you've screwed up and will have to frog it. I speak from experience.







7.. Sew around three open sides, leaving an opening to turn. Go over tie a few more times for strength.






8. Press well, then topstitch all around, close to the edge. You can aslo topstitch a second time, a little away fron the edge stitching if you wish. I did it on three sides, not along the bottom, since I didn't want to take depth away from the pocket.


9. Stitch pocket separations. Starting fron the left, I did five 3/4" pockets, 6 1" pockets, and four 1.25" pockets. The last one is a little smaller, but oh well, it's fine. I don't care.


I'll post measurements for a roll for 8" needles later, when I get around to it.



Monday, October 6, 2008

SSK Shortcut!

See Snapper knit. See Snapper knit fast! Fast Snapper! K1, P1, K2tog! Fast, fast, fast! SSK -- goes -- so -- slow......

So, I wondered if there was anything I could do to speed up doing SSKs. I like doing K2togs -- you just knit them together with one motion. Easy peasy. But with SSKs you have to stop and slip one stitch, slip the second stitch, put them back on the left needle, then knit them together. That's 4 separate movements for one stitch. There had to be an easier way to do this with less steps and thus be speedier!

I looked at the stitches on the left needle. I was working in the round, so all my stitches were knit. The problem was that they were slanted in the wrong direction on the needle, which you correct by slipping them off the needle and re-orienting them so you can knit them together and get that left slanting decrease. Was there a way to get them positioned correctly without having to slip them back and forth?

YES! Huzzah! The secrect lies in how you knit the stitch in the row before. I looked at how I actually wrapped the yarn around the right needle as I did the knit stitch. If I just wrapped the yarn around in the OPPOSITE direction, the resulting stitches are facing the right way so that in the NEXT row all I have to do is the K part of the SSK. I have already done the SS part!

It also works if you are knitting back and forth. You would be purling the stitches in the row before. To set them up for an SSK, just wrap the yarn in the opposite direction. Then, again, all you'll have to do is knit the two stitches together as you would the K part of the SSK.

Does this make any sense at all? All I know is it works for me. And I can knit faster!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Half empty or half full?

I finished my Half-Olympic Prism socks on Sunday. They're called half-olympic, since I started them during the Ravelympics, and still had one sock to go and only one day to do it in. If I had a maid, cook and gardener, I might have managed it, but oh well!

They are looking pretty good, I must say.

prism2

I used Knit Picks Essentials, 2.75 mm needles. they feel great and fit me! YAY! A pair of socks I don't have to give away 'cause they're too small!

I'm quite glad for the new group on Ravelry, One Day for UFOs. I need to work on my Woodland shawl, which I'm a little bored with. I did a bunch last Thursday, and it made me feel so virtuous. I'm finishing up the second mitt of Echoes of Eden --- check out the pattern on http://www.ganiggle.com/. It's one of the prettiest mitt patterns I've seen. Ganiggle's other patterns are nice, too. Here's my mitt:

eden3

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dye-licious

More about dyeing! Have you seen the sock blanks from Knit Picks? I don't know if there are any other suppliers out there, but i use the ones from Knit Picks. A sock blank is 100 grams of sock yarn, held two strands together, then machine knitted into a long rectangle. The object is to apply dye to the blank, then knit two socks at once from it.


WARNING! This is VERY addictive! While I was doing my first. I was already planning what else I could do with the second! (which means another knit picks order...)I used Sky Blue, Pink, Purple and yellow. I mixed my own green, since the only green I had was Spruce, and it was a little too dark. Here's how it came out:
If you go to http://www.knitpicks.com/, there is a great tutorial, with lots of sample sock blanks, and how they look knitted up into socks. The technique is the same as I described in my last post, only you're applying color to a knitted rectangle instead of a skein. This is SO much fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dying to Dye

I've been having so much fun with Ravelry, and doing TONS of knitting. It seems I have more to say about my stuff, so I decided to join the blogosphere. I was PM-ing a fellow raveler with info about dyeing, and decided this would be a good place to post it, too!

Dyeing is one of the most fun things to do, ever. You really can't make mistakes. If you don't like the way things turn out, you can always overdye your skein. It's all good. And very addictive.I use Jacquard acid dyes, but there are others out there that work as well. I like to hand paint my skeins, that way I can control where the color goes. I can use more colors than Kettle dyeing, although that works well, too. Here's my procedure for hand painting:

1. Soak skeins for at least 1/2 hour, in water with a few drops of synthrapol. I've read that other people have used Dawn.

2. Cover counter with large drop cloths, old shower curtain, etc. Lay out long sections of Plastic wrap to wrap painted skeins in.

3. Prepare dye solutions. I use large plastic cups, or squeeze bottles. I'm not that accurate, but it doesn't matter unless you are really fanatical about reproducing your results. I use about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of dye powder, and put it in the cup with a tiny bit of water to dissolve. After the powder is pretty much dissolved, I'll add a bit more water, maybe 1/4 of a cup or so, then add maybe 2-3 oz. of Vinegar.

4. Take the skeins out of the soak bath, and gently wring out as much water as you can. Lay the skein on top of the cling wrap you have prepared.

5. Go ahead and apply the dye. Flip the skein over occasionally to make sure the dye gets to all parts of the section you are doing. You can use squirt bottle, or sponge brushes, but I have found plastic spoons to work well, too. I will occasionally blot extra liquid up with an old towel if I need to.

6. When you have the dye applied to your satisfaction, wrap it up well in the cling wrap. I lay plastic wrap on top of the skein, too to make sure that the different colors don't bleed where I don't want them. I also put the wraps into individual plastic bags for further security.

7. You now will steam your wraps. I have a wire rack that fits in the bottom of my dyepot. I'll put a few inches of water in the bottom, then lay my bundles on top of the rack. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and steam for 45 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure your water doesn't boil away!

8. COOL THE BUNDLES BEFORE YOU OPEN THEM! I'll take them out of the dyepot (carefully) and lay them outside until they're cool to the touch. Then you can wash with a bit of synthrapol, and then rinse, making sure you don't shock the yarn by extreme changes in water temperatures. Hang to dry.

9. Make sure that all your equipment is for dyeing only, and never use dye equipment for food prep. (duh!) Some people use a microwave to steam their rolls, which takes less time, but I don't want to use my kitchen microwave, so I haven't tried this. Some people also use crock pots, but again make sure they're not used for food prep if you do this.