Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Knitter's Christmas

Over the years I have always loved to knit presents for friends and family.  Always my plans exceed what I manage to finish or sometimes even start.  There have been several years when yarn and pattern were wrapped with the promise of a somewhat belated gift.  This fall I had planned  to finish two sweaters.  One for myself and the other for my daughter. They are replacements for matching sweaters we have had for years.  This is hers.  It is pinned to be blocked in preparation for sewing it together.  This year  handmade stone buttons and a hat to match the as yet unfinished sweater were wrapped for her to open.

She took her hat home when she left,  so I took a picture of mine.  The hats are the same except for color of course, and I used pattern 1 for mine and pattern 4 for hers.  You can count up from the bottom on the back of the sweater to see which pattern I used.

Of course for the knitter unwrapping a gift of beautiful yarn is a pure pleasure.  The deliciously soft hand spun silk in my favorite purple shade, and the super awesome stitch marker were a gift from Amy.  She stopped by white barn farm to shop.  We love to go there together when I visit.

The lace weight wool is from the sheep of a friend who owns Lilac Hill Farm. It  was hand dyed with red sandalwood by her.  The stitch marker will be put into use very soon.  These beautiful skeins of yarn will sit in a pretty basket for awhile, looking gorgeous until I decide what to make with them.  For a knitter thoughts of Christmas giving start early and last well into the next year.  I think this is as it should be!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ginny's Dishcloth Hat


Last month at the knitting group I attend, a friend asked me to try to copy a favorite winter hat that belonged to her friend Ginny.  Ginny had worn  the hat for many years and it was her favorite.


 With the help of someone in the group who knits dishcloths, I did my best to write a pattern for what Ginny called her asthma hat .  We all agreed that we would try to make the hat at this month's meeting.  When I spoke to Ginny on the phone she said she would love to make a new hat and thought she would like it in purple. 

I had some purple yarn and chose it to make the hat thinking I would give it to Ginny when I finished it. As you can see the hat is not yet finished.   It was in the newspaper today that Ginny passed away.  She and her husband had been married for 62 years.  I will finish the hat and give it to someone who needs a hat to keep warm this winter.  The pattern for Ginny's hat follows.  If you try making it and like the hat, it would be nice if you also made one to give to someone who needs a warm hat.  I think Ginny would like that!

Ginny’s Dishcloth Hat
Worsted weight yarn, about 4 oz.
Needles to obtain a gauge: 4 stitches to the inch in stockinette
I used size 9.
Leaving a 10”tail,  knit a chain for 2 inches.  Increase in the last stitch.  Working in garter stitch, increase one stitch at the beginning of every row until you have 16 stitches on the needle.  Work even for 32 rows.
Next row: Knit 6, place a marker, increase in the next stitch, place a marker, increase in next stitch, knit to end of row.  Wrong side row: increase in the first stitch, knit to marker, slide marker, purl to the next marker, slide marker, knit 6.  Mark the wrong side with a safety pin.
Knit 6, slide marker, knit to last stitch before marker increase in next stitch, slide marker, increase in next stitch, knit to the end of the row.  Repeat the last two rows 15 times more.  Work one more wrong side row. You should have 66 stitches, 43 on back of hat, 17 stockinette  and  6 garter stitch on the front.
Work even with no increases, but keeping to pattern for 8 rows.
Begin decrease rows:
Knit 6, slide marker, knit to last two stitches before marker, knit 2 tog. , slide marker, knit 2 together, knit to end of row.Knit 2 tog. , knit to marker, slide marker, purl to next marker, slide marker, knit 6. Repeat the last two rows until 16 stitches remain. End with a wrong side row.
Knit even on the 16 stitches for 32 rows.
Decrease 1 at the beginning of every row until one stitch remains.  Chain for 2 inches.  End off, leaving a 10” tail.
Use the yarn tail to secure a loop at the end of each strap. 
Sew buttons on the dishcloth side 4 ridges up from the first increase and eight stitches up from the lower edge.Definition of terms:

Knit a chain: Cast on 1 stitch. Knit that stitch over and over without changing direction until chain is desired length
Garter stitch: Knit every row
Stockinette stitch: Knit one row, purl one row
Increase: Knit in the front and back of next stitch
Decrease: Knit 2 together 

You can change the size of the hat by adding extra rows at the top of the hat and you can add a few more rows to the straps.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fun With Flounce

 Because of a gift from my friend  Helen, I got my chance to play with one of those mesh knitting yarns that turns out ruffles.  This one happens to be Flounce by Knitting Fever. I'm mentioning their name, but I also want to say that I was very disappointed to find a knot in the skein of yarn. Working with the yarn is interesting, but there are some issues about fastening the ends of the yarn.  Most of the videos  I have watched  and patterns I have seen slide right over that little detail mentioning that the yarn ravels and must be secured, but say very little about how this is to be done.  The same thing is true when it comes to finishing the end of your scarf. I tried binding off and that makes the finished end of the scarf narrow. It did not flare like the beginning. I ended up stitching down the individual loops to give a more uniform appearance. I used sewing thread to fasten things down and to join the two ends, but I'm not totally happy with the results.

All of the knitting on this project is done  by stretching out the yarn and knitting on  the edge.  After trying it both ways I chose the dark purple for the inside of the scarf.  All of the knitting is done on that edge. Using size 11 needles and one skein, I had yarn left over to try making a flower.

I left about a 4 inch end of the yarn and cast on 12 stitches. I completed four rows. Then leaving about a 6 inch end,  I threaded the yarn through the stitches going a few stitches past the opening.  With a yarn needle I threaded the ends down through the center and tied the them in a knot. Now my flower is ready to be sewn to a hat or made into a pin with felt and a pin back.

The best part is that I have enough yarn left for Helen to try making a flower too!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A New, Short Term, Lease on Life

I can't  remember what year I made this sweater.  I do remember that the pattern was really fun to do. It changed every few rows and made the knitting exciting and compelling. I finished this sweater quickly and discovered that it was too small for me when I finished it.  So this sweater went to my daughter and I made a second one to fit me. These loved, cozy, comfortable sweaters are like old friends. This old friend needed mending. My sweater was even worse.


The biggest immediate problem with this sweater was the cuffs. One had really raveled up from the edge. I found the leftover yarn which made a repair possible. I carefully used a contrasting yarn to weave through  the  row of stitching that was still intact on the first sleeve.  Then I found the corresponding  row on the other sleeve and did the same. Now it was time to cut. I took Elizabeth Zimmerman's advice to lie down for 15 minutes in a darkened room. Then, feeling like a nervous brain surgeon , I cut the cuff below the basted line. Once I had the stitches picked up it was easy to knit new ribbing onto the sleeve. I never actually made this kind of repair before so I was pretty pleased with myself. The second sleeve went even better. The patient survived!

This sweater has a new lease on life, but the wool is old so the repair may be very short term. I will save the yarn for the next needed repair.  As for my sweater, I think it is too far gone to rescue.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Holiday Knitting So Slow and So Fast

I started these socks before Christmas. They were not going  to be a gift. They were to be mine. That isn't what slowed me down. This Panda Silk yarn is wonderfully soft, silky, and lightweight. I do my socks on DPs and even using wooden needles this project was a challenge. I picked up so many dropped stitches I thought I would never finish. I used my favorite sock pattern, but doubled the yarn for the heel turn. I love wearing hand knit socks, but hate darning them. Under my heel seems to be where the first hole usually appears. Now that they are done, I think I should have doubled the yarn in the gusset area too. I love these socks so I'll wearing them to test that idea for next time.

I was looking for the perfect Christmas present for my friend Helen. I had heard her talk about Ripple yarn, and how intriguing she thought it was. It is one of those ladder yarns that knits up into a ruffled scarf.  This scarf is color #103 of Ripple by Knitting Fever. When I went to the store I saw  a skein of yarn in colors that just had to be meant for Helen. The pattern was printed on the label, but the instructions were short and did not explain the basics of knitting with this funny looking stuff. I watched several You Tube videos to study up and then gave Helen the yarn at knitting group so I could help her get started. Once started, the scarf became more intriguing with each row. Helen was sure it would take her awhile to finish, but before 24 hours were up, I got a call saying her scarf was finished. What could make a better gift for a knitting friend? She had the fun of making it, and now she has the fun of telling others about it when she wears it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another Noro Hat

I can't tell you how much I enjoy working with Noro yarn. The brilliant colors make knitting fun. After what seems like forever I finally made a sale on etsy. I had almost given up, but it doesn't take that much positive feedback to make me hang in there. Since this is my third hat, I decided to list this one on etsy. Although I'm not knitting a much as I did, I'm sure some new thing will capture my imagination. My current project is another pair of socks.