Tag Archives: Knit

#knitchat 12/9 Topic: Busting that Stash

Now I’m going to take that old piece of advice that you stick to in polite convesations… whatever the subject… do not mention “Size.” Thus we will not be talking about the “size”…of our stashes ;).  Instead, the aim of this discussion is to help us all come up with ideas for using excess yarn. It’s always fun to gab about yarn isn’t it?

Questions for 12/9’s #knitchat:

Q1) Introductions: Who are you? Where do you hail from? Ravelry ID?

Q2) Tell us your favorite stashbusting story? Did you get rid of excess yarn or repurpose yarn for another project? Did you donate it?

Q3) Do you have an suggestions for what to do with tiny bits? >25 yards? Excess sock yarn?

Q4) What is your favorite regular stashbusting project?  Is there a pattern?

Q5) Any non-knitting or crochet related things we can do with yarn? Both real and imaginative/fanciful answers are okay?

Q6) Ideas for upcoming #knitchat topics?

#knitchat logistics:

Where: Twitter (follow the #knitchat hashtag)

When: December 9nd. 5 PM PST/8 PM EST (1 hour)

Who: Me you and other Twitter Knitters/Crocheters & Fibercrafters

How: Need a primer on Twitter Chat… check this out: What does this Twitter chat thing look like?

Notice I added an extra question and that’s what are some topics you’d be interested in learning more about (or maybe venting like say about complicated lace or just lace in general)?  Its nice to have the discussion partially generated by the community and I’m sure you all have a lot to talk about… when it comes to fiber.

Some ideas for topics I’ve come up with are:

  • All about gauge and weight
  • Needles (what works for you & what doesn’t, etc., kinds of needles)
  • What’s the strangest thing you’ve done while knitting?
  • More Ravelry use tips and discussion

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Filed under Knitting, Stash, Stashbuster, Twitter

Almost 25 Ways to Get Rid of my Sock Yarn

What do I do with all of this?

Two years ago, I didn’t buy loads of sock yarn at the Sock Summit, because I already had a serious butt load of sock yarn… including a bunch of Drops Fabel and Regia Sock Yarns which have become my fast favorites because of their durability and dependability (I sound like a commercial from the 50’s). I do sometimes struggle with making socks.  You can see the sweater most of the time… socks you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing a work of gorgeous Aran artistry and cablework. So I decided to use Ravelry and my websearching skills to compile a list of things I could possibly create with the multliple boxes of sock yarn I have stashed away. I’ll try to post more as I find them.

Crochet:

  • Fingerless Mitts: Look quite warm and snuggly for your hands.
  • Chihuahua Sweater (double stranded):(though I’d have to make a lot of these just to get rid of my KP Imagination.
  • Vera (gorgeous shawl pattern that eats up to 2000 yards of sockyarn) –  I’m linking to a photo fo the pattern here to entice you. Vera Shawl by Katie Grady
  • Snowflake Christmas Ornaments: forgot about fabric stiffener. These look like great fun.
  • Reusable Tampon (Oy, not for the faint of heart) – I probably will abstain from making these… unless, of course civilization comes barrelling down around me and I can’t buy what I need from a store.
  • Eyeball with Nerve Endings: Make a bunch of these for your Halloween party. Then through them at your guests… then they can say they had the unique experience of being pelted with eyeballs.
  • Monkey (OMG this monkey is so cute)
  • Naalepuder (flower-shaped pincushions): Really cute especially with variegated or rainbow yarn. Original pattern in Danish. Floral Pincushions

Knitting:

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

Pirate Mittens (Available on Ravelry as a free download):

Pirate Mittens

Pirate Mittens

The Beanis (warning may offend… what is it? It rhymes with ‘beanis’… you figure it out. No I’m not posting photo here.)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pirate Eye-Patch for your cat. I couldn’t post because the pattern/website no longer exists. But one could easily use their imagination to create one of their own.

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Filed under Aran, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fun Stuff, Gifts, Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Patterns, Project, Sock Summit, Socks, Stashbuster, Yarn

Raglan Sweater Episode 4 – Sleeves

Raglan Sweater Made from Custom Yarnia Yarn :)

Raglan Sweater Made from Custom Yarnia Yarn 🙂

My most humblest apologies for being excessively tardy with posting this. I’ve been obsessed (obviously) with other things.  I still want to help more people make their own sweaters before the end of the year. For me it’s helping us deal with the downturn one sweater at a time. Also, it’s wonderful to see the pride in people’s faces after they’ve made their first sweater.

Today. I”m going to review how to get those sleeves done! You can view the earlier episodes for my Raglan Sweater instructions here:

Raglan Sweater 1: Selecting your Fiber

Raglan Sweater 2: Calculating Stitches and Casting On

Raglan Sweater 3: Working up the Body and Arm Pit Gussets

I use the “Magic Loop” method for making sleeves all the time. You can knit a sleeve in the round and gradually increase the circumference of the  sleeve from the cuff to the upper arm; therefore, you can knit it using the magic loop method to knit both sleeves at once. I absolutely love doing this for three reasons:

  1. You get both sleeves done at the same time
  2. When you knit both sleeves at the same time it helps guarantee that both sleeves will be knit at the same guage
  3. As your doing increases or creating features on the sleeve at the same time this gives you the opportunity to keep these design features as uniform as possible between the two sleeves

Here’s how I calculate the increases for the sleeves:

Measure around your cuff (Measurement A), and measure around the thickest part of your upper arm (Measurement B). The calculate the number of stitches you need to begin the sleeve based on your gauge with the yarn. For example:

I want to do the cuffs and hem in garter stitch using a smaller pair of needles. I know my gauge is 16 stitches for a 4″ swatch or 4 stitches an inch using these needles. The circumference around my wrist or “A” is 6.  I’m going to multiply 4 x 6 and I get: 24 stitches.  But I like my cuff a little bit loose so I’ll add 2 more stitches to make it 26 stitches for the cast on.

Measurement “B” is 11″  (4 stitches x 11 = 44 stitches). There for I have to increase the circumference of the sleeve by 46 stitches. I usually increase a both the beginning and the end of a round of stitches (a total increase of 2 stitches per increase row). So this would mean I would have to increase a total of  23 times over the length of each sleeve. You can calculate the number of rows you would need to achieve the length based on your gauge. Take a brief look at the example illustrated below:

Slide1

Slide2 - Sleeves

Slide3 - Sleeves

Using “Magic Loop” to knit two sleeves at a time:

I usually start the first few rows of each cuff separately (sometimes on double points) then I put both cuffs with the yarn tails on the same sides onto the circular needles. Knit both sleeves at a time. Make sure to do your increase rows on both sleeves as you knit up the sleeve.

If you haven’t seen or tried the “Magic Loop” method there are a number of helpful tutorials on Youtube that can help walk you through the process. I’ve embedded one of my favorites here:

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Filed under Craft, Garment Design, Garter stitch, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Stockinette, Wool, Yarn

Square Needles and I think I might be burned out…

Day 3 from the Sock Summit and I’m feeling overwhelmed…  just kinda “socked” out. I’m seriously considering giving up my ticket to the Luminary Panel for tomorrow afternoon and ditching my class. I just re-read the description. What was I thinking????! Of course I’ll go.

I bought two pairs of Kollage Circular Square Needles at the Sock Summit: sizes 2 & 8. These needles are easier to hold. I also really like the dull copper finish as it makes them stand out. The size of the needles is carefully etched into the needle itself. This makes sense since you couldn’t really use a regular needle gauge tool to tell what size the needle was.

The needle cord for these circulars was pretty soft and supple. I didn’t have to worry about straightening kinks in the cable as I was knitting.  My swatch stitches and rows seemed very even, though I did practice the trick of purling backwards so I wouldn’t have to turn over the work to purl.  This technique may have also contributed to the evenness of the stitches. It does appear that they feel a bit easier on my hands as I knit; however, I’d have to use them for an extended period to time to make sure that they work the way I want them too without strain.  I tend to switch between different gauge and types of projects frequently to avoid developing repetitive stress syndrome.

My only complaint: my stitches were a bit tighter than usual.  I used worsted weight yarn on size US 8 needles.  I’m not too tight of a knitter. I think I might go up a size when I’m using these… at least that’s how I felt from my perspective.  I’m actually thinking of maybe getting a pair of 10.5 US in these needles. I’ve been knitting a lot of bulky weight yarn and it would be nice to have large needles that are a bit easier on the wrists.

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Sock Summit Finds

I’m done.

I came away from the Sock Summit with a respectable but not an extravagant haul. Some of my favorite finds were two skeins of yarn from “Creatively Dyed Yarns.”  I apologize for the graininess of the photos, I will try to take photos in daylight soon and post them here.  I’ve become a big fan of the speckled dye job. I was just imagining really pretty socks coming from both of these yarns, but there’s over 500 yards of fiber so either skein can become just about anything including a crocheted scarf.

Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso

Creatively Dyed Yarns in Luxury & Calypso

Check out the character of the dye/coloring

Check out the "character" of the dye/coloring

Sorry he looks sort of sad here trapped in a plastic bag, but I found the most adorable pattern for a “bendy” bunny.  I actually did a better job photographing his monkey friend. The title of the pattern is actually called “Harry Rabbit.” He looked very alive in a muppet-like way… staring at me from inside the bad. Okay, that’s kindof creepy, but I couldn’t resist. The pattern comes fromCiD Hancom Designs with two pink eyes, bendable wires for arms and legs and a square of pink felt. I purchased this from the  “The Fold’s” booth.  I almost bought the monkey, but stopped myself when I realized I’d never have the time to make him.

I also purchased some tussah silk & dyed pre-drafted roving both for spinning, and two sets of circular square needles (no that’s not an Oxymoron. They’re from Kollage. I plan to knit with them and hopefully write a brief review soon.

Harry Rabbit

Harry Rabbit

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

I didn’t purchase these from the Sock Summit but instead at the Naked Sheep during their “Sock Summit” promotion. During the entire Sock Summit weekend if you mention the code word “Sock Summit” you get 15% your entire purchase. I was able to purchase the slate gray and plum colored colorways. Bob and Meghan kindly named the plum or mauve after me (blushing). I’d actually begged Meghan to make a mauvish color which has become one of my favorite shades. I’m sorry I’ve been Anglicised and I call it “Mohhhh-ve” instead of “Mahhhh-ve.” 🙂

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Filed under Amigurumi, Craft, Dye, Dyeing, Dyeing_yarn, Knit, Knitting, Sock Summit, Socks

Meaning of Life? Nah… Just a Reminder of What’s Truly Important.

We popped into see this film, $9.99 last night and I was quite charmed by the whole experience. The animation was wonderful, the shading and textures on the characters was a refreshing sight from all the clean lines we see here in America with all the MacAnimation we get from the big animation houses.  Plus there was a lot of knitting to oggle and wonder at. I really adored the story about the little boy who became attached to his piggy bank.  I have to admit, if you are the kind of person that likes explicit explantation or plot lines that are spelled out for you…  or if you think there must always be a point to a story…this isn’t the movie for you. This film may not be for those who crave the explicit or a traditional, clear moral ending, but even without lines clearly drawn, I walked away pleasantly surprised and feeling good.

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Filed under Art, Knit, Knitting, Pop culture

Artfibers Yarntasting Part Deux

Wonderfully thick yarn called Udon in color 05
Wonderfully thick yarn called Udon in color 05

Hello there again!

Leila Wice of Deboko Design was kind enough to send a load of photos from the Artfibers Yarntasting event my way. I’m posting a few more here.  I’m also including most of the photos in a gallery below so you can see more of the swatches people made.

Looking through the photos, I remember that it was just so much fun!  Thinking back upon the whole event, I enjoyed the whole bit. It was great to see so many knitters intensely enjoying what they were doing as the diligently knitted away through as many samples as possible. If you are interested in hosting your own yarn tasting you can find out about it on their website &  contact Artfibers directly.

It's nice to knit in the warmth of the sun
It’s nice to knit in the warmth of the sun
It's always good to have your kit ready
It’s always good to have your kit ready
Smart knitter Rachel tagged all her swatches with Avery labels
Smart knitter Rachel tagged all her swatches with Avery labels
It's so pretty it hurts to look at it all
It’s so pretty it hurts to look at it all
Working with limit amounts allows you to try all the yarns
Working with limited amounts allows you to try all the yarns

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I’m full. I can’t possibly knit anymore

No, not really. I could actually keep knitting.

Yesterday I hosted a Yarntasting party in Overlook Park.

At least over twenty people showed up from the invitee list. It was such great fun!!!! Surprisingly, it was a bit chilly and windy early when we started but the sun eventually came out. Many people brought food and drink to snack on while we were knitting.  There was a bit of a mix up with the parks area because they double booked the spot.  A poor woman showed up around 12:00 puzzled because she’d booked the site from 9:00 to the end of the day.  The last hour of the Yarntasting was a bit rushed, but all in all it was great! And I got to meet a lot of wonderful Portland Knitters.

A few people did try to crochet their samples. Others like Puppydog knits created a sample mini scarf from their swatches.

Artfibers Swatch Scarf

Artfibers Swatch Scarf by Puppydog Knits

Located outside of San Francisco in Pinole, California, Artfibers has been producing their uniquely gorgeous artisan yarns for over 15 years. At our Yarntasting there were about 180 different gorgeous fiber samples of 38 different yarn lines to choose from ranging from blends made from alpaca to yak. You can see all of the yarns (and more) we tried at this event on the Artfibers yarn page.

I’m going to try to keep a log of fibers I both tried and took smaller samples from. It was virtually impossible to try all of the them but my favorites on the spot were (I will post photos as soon as my camera battery is charged up and I can find my blasted USB cord for my camera):

  • Cassanova (Tussah Silk/ Mulberry Silk) – So beautiful I made swatches of two colors. Gorgeously soft with just the amount of sheen from the silk. It doesn’t hurt that the colors are absolutely gorgeous from a deep velvety teal to a pink and plum multi-color shown here.
  • Casanova 18 & Safa 12

    Casanova 18 & Safa 12

  • Bunnuit (53% Tussah Silk/40% Angora/7% Mulberry Silk) – I normally don’t like angora in such a large percentage in a yarn, but married with the silk it seems to work for me. The black angora bathes the rich multi-colored variation in this yarn in a halo of dark softness. The result is an amazingly rich texture and colorway. Did I mention that it’s super baby soft too?
  • Bunnuit 03

    Bunnuit 03

  • Chutney (100% Wild harvested silk bourette) – While Chutney isn’t as soft as the previous two yarns, I still love it because of how it shows off beautiful hand painted colorways.  Lately, I’ve learned to love the rawer silks because they produce lovely summer garments with a good deal of breathability and drape without skimping on the warmth coverage when you need it on those cool summer nights. I actually crocheted the swatch you see in the photo below. (Still need to take a photo).

Almost all the favorites I picked have silk in them. I suddenly realized that this was because Artfibers has mastered the secret of making truly fantastic soft and luxurious yarns using silk and silk blends.

Other yarntastees are posting their photos and pictures. I’ll be posting these up here as I find them.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Yarn1

The yarn samples

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Filed under Art, Colors, Community, Creativity, Dye, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Portland, Portland Crocheters, Portland Knitters, Yarn

Offering classes this summer at the Naked Sheep

Summer’s here and I’m teaching a few classes at the Naked Sheep in lovely North Portland. I’m pretty excited about the crocheted cardigan class as I’ve discovered myself that you can make pretty and stylish garments in crochet. It’s not just about granny squares, afghans and toilet roll cozies (not that those are bad things).

You can check the class schedule at the Naked Sheep’s website, but I’m also posting my classes here with some added description. I’ll be taking photos this weekend of the swatches, samplers and garment in the classes below.  Please note, I also offer additional individual help for students on Thursday nights during “Knit Night” at the Naked Sheep.

Learn to Crochet
with Natalie
$55
If you want to learn to crochet or just need a refresher course, this class is for you! You’ll learn the basics in just 3 classes and get started on the project of your choice! You will learn the four basic stitches in crochet as well as how to shape flat and round objects in crochet. You will also learn how to read and interpret basic crochet instructions and schematics.  Finally, you’ll pick your own crochet project and start it during the class.

Mondays ( July 20, 27 and August 3)

6:30-8:30pm

Crocheted Embellishments
with Natalie
$25

Want to perfect your sweater edge with a crochet edge? In this course we will discuss techniques for making a crochet edge on hems and necklines. We will also cover techniques for establishing the correct number of crochet stitches on stockinette and garter stitch knitting. Students will learn how to do a basic crochet edge as well as a picot and scalloped stitch edge. They will also learn how to make a crochet button band and button placket.

Saturday ( July 25) 10:30am – 12:30pm

Cropped Crochet Cardigan
with Natalie
$55
Crochet Cardigan
Tired of being restricted to crocheting hats and scarves? You can branch out to crocheted garments by learning to make this smart-looking spring and summer cardigan. During this class, we will discuss sizing and adapting patterns to fit your size. You will also learn how to create simple embellishments like a button band and crocheted edging. This pattern can also be adjusted for longer sleeve and body length!

Saturdays ( August 15, 22 and 29)
10:30am-12:30pm

Additional Information for the Cropped Crochet Cardigan:

Prerequisites: Advanced Beginner Crochet

Must be able to do the following:

  • Make a foundation chain
  • Stitches: Single (sc), Half-Double (hdc), and Double (dc) Crochet

Materials needed:

  • 1200 – 1800 yards dk or heavy sport weight yarn (details for amounts per size available below). Recommended yarns: Hempathy, Silky Wool, Glacier del Cielo, Cotton Rich. No novelty or boucle yarns please.
  • Size D, E, F crochet needles. Needle size needed depends on your gauge
  • Removable stitch markers
  • Yarn needle
  • 2 small plain buttons or ( 3-4 sets of hooks and eyes)
  • 3-4 large decorative buttons

Homework:

Make a 4”x4” swatch with the yarn you chose in half-double crochet (hdc)

Size/Yarn Estimations:

Size (Bust)

Yardage

35

1188

39

1296

43

1404

47

1512

51

1620

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Filed under Crochet, Garment Design, Knit, Knitting

Embrace Math – Ditch the Fear

I should be writing the very tardy fourth episode for my raglan sweater, but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet.  I am probably going to alienate a few people by saying this, but I can’t stand it anymore. Every time a woman says “I can’t do math” or “I hate math” I want to scream… STOP IT! STOP IT! No…… STOP IT! Saying these things aloud to others and then obstinately refusing to learn can be detrimental not only to them but others around them, including impressionable young women who may be struggling with the subject. And honestly, I think many of these people have already shut down and are in refuse-to-learn mode, but I don’t think they should spoil it for the rest of us.  I’ve also noticed that these cries of protest usually come from women of older generations, I feel horrible that they had to live through the Dark Ages where they were told that they couldn’t do things because of their sex.  but here is the true secret of their struggles… if they’re knitting… THEY’RE ACTUALLY DOING MATH!

I can remember math being a huge mystery to me as well. There were moments in Algebra and Calculus where I really didn’t get the logic behind what we were doing. It took some real work and engineering for me to get the answers when I could. It also took reviewing the answers over and over again until I understood the pattern. Sometimes I didn’t get the pattern and I just accepted the answer. What was I missing…?

Number Sense.

When I first heard this term as an elementary educator in my mid twenties…I laughed. I thought… what is this? What does this mean? Number sense? Is it like “Spider Sense?” Do you know when numbers will appear? Number sense simply means that you develop a sensibility and awareness of things mathematical. Applying number sense can mean developing an awareness of patterns in numbers or objects. It can also simply mean having the ability to use mathematical logic to solve everyday problems.

Here’s the wonderful thing… You don’t have to be born with the ‘gift’ of Number Sense… you can learn it. Most importantly, Number Sense can help you see solutions to problems in your knitting.

Knitting and later crochet actually helped me develop a stronger awareness and improved use of my Number Sense. I’ve often exclaimed, why if they were only teaching us how to use Algebra for knitting, I would have paid more attention in class! I was mulling over a few examples of using Number Sense in knitting last night.

Here’s a knitting example of number sense with symmetry: If I’m decreasing on the left front side of the to make an armhole using a left leaning increase. I will have to decrease from the right on right front side to shape the armhole there.

Here’s an example of multiplication/division number sense: I want to use a simple color-work stitch pattern in the yoke of my sweater. It’s 7 stitches across before it repeats again. There are 200 stitches in my yoke. How many stitches do I need to decrease to fit my repeat pattern?

Here’s an example of algebraic number sense: With the same yoke sweater I need to decrease by 1/3 of the total stitch count 198. This leaves me with 132. I need a stitch pattern that is less than 7 stitches wide that can fit into this? Can I use one with 5? If I do how many stitches will I have to decrease to fit the stitch pattern?

If you remember your multiplication tables and can factor out possible repeats within a stitch count you’ve got the building blocks for Number Sense. Understanding a bit of math can help you really add power to your knitting skills. Instead of relying on someone to help you work out the problems, you can do it yourself. Instead of requiring that patterns spell out what to do row by row, you can see the overall pattern in the knitting and sometimes learn the pattern and knit without it. I actually love that when that happens. I only have two hands and two eyes and I hate flipping back and forth between a pattern and my work. I think it interrupts my whole flow with my knitting. This doesn’t mean I don’t go back and look at the pattern to check if I’m on the right track. Moreover, reading a pattern ahead of time to find the mathematical quirks can also save you a great deal of headache before you even get started.

The mathematical examples I shared are simple examples, but they are good examples of how a knitter might use math to figure things out. The simple truth is if you want to grow as a knitter you have to embrace math and chuck your fear of it out the window and remember math is like everything else it takes some time and effort to master it. It’s not some secret mystery language being spoken by monks in purple robes. It is a language but one that can be decoded, and one’s love of fibercraft can help you translate they code.


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