Tag Archives: Knitting

#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

Walking and Knitting

 

Kniting while walking - girl knitting a sock

Found this lovely image and the very nice blog I listed below.

For the ultimate multitasker… some tips for walking and knitting safely…

  • If you have a track for laps or walking near you in a park or some other place… that’s a good place to practice. And you’re not in any danger of being hit by cars. I do the walk around my neighborhood which is extremely pedestrian friendly and residential… so there isn’t a lot of traffic.
  • Wear good safe shoes… make sure your laces are tied, everything fastened 🙂 I’m such a dork I forget. Also make sure you wear comfortable shoes.
  • Having a walking small tote that has a handle that fits around your wrist is a must. I use the zippered pyramid bags or Knit Walk bags.
  • I usually work on relatively simple stockinette projects… unless the knit purl or lace is very repetitive and easy to memorize. Avoid excessive increases & decreases 🙂

If you’re going to walk on the street: (sorry if these seem really basic)

  • Always stop before getting to a cross walk.
  • Be very aware of your surroundings.
  • Again avoid busy areas.
  • If you’re just getting used to it… don’t take your pet on a walk with you… getting tangled with Fido and sockyarn is not fun 🙂

More resources:

He goes out for a walk with me:



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Filed under Knit, kniting humor, Knitters, Knitting

I’ve discovered felting

Right, when the last thing I needed was another needle & fiber-craft. I took a two hour course on felting. I went in completely ignorant of how to shape wool fiber or roving into all sorts of forms, came out being able to put together cute little animals and creatures.

The ingredients needed for a successful felting are the following:

1.) Felting mat (usually made of a thick piece of foam or a wide flat brush with thick bristles).

2.) Wool roving or fiber (that is washed, combed and processed).

3.) Felting needle.

That’s it… no glue, no wires unless you’re creating an armature or skeleton to make your felted creation bendable and pose-able… though this sounds tricky & fiddly and perhaps a bit dangerous. Because essentially when you’re needle felting you’re taking the felting needle and jabbing it over and over again into the roving bits to shape them. For example in both the owl and the Totoro figures below, the body is simply just a rolled up wad of roving that has been poked and shaped into a body form. The ears on Totoro and the owls’ wings are smaller clumps of roving shaped into the appropriate form. I didn’t cut those pieces out. I basically poked and prodded at them until the wool took the shape I desired.

This is such a simple yet rewarding craft… even children (who are responsible and responsive to safety instructions) can master this skill within an hour or two.  It’s a great introduction into fiber-craft.  Looks like I may not have to knit or crochet everyone a present this year.

Want more ideas for felted cutestuff?

My 2nd Totoro - completed in less than 1 hour

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Filed under Craft, Creativity, Dolls, Felting, Fibers, Gifts, Kitsch, Needle Felting, Toys

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

Don’t Let the World Unravel

Very cleverly done short film… I wish I’d thought of that.

 

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Filed under Eco, Knit, Knitting

We’ve launched our podcast!

 

Rachels Sock Yarn Blanket in Progress

Rachel's Sock Yarn Blanket in Progress

Introducing… “Cloudy with a Chance of Fiber”

Two fiber and craft obsessed individuals from Portland, Oregon chat and explore what it means to live in a DIY nation.

You can view our show notes and link to the podcast here:

Cloudy with a  Chance of Fiber

I’m still working on some of the technical details with the RSS and iTunes but for anyone who want’s to listen it’s up there :).

Datura Sock Yarns in Mauve, Grey and Aqua. Prize yarn is either the Mauve or Grey. Winners choice.

Datura Sock Yarns in Mauve, Grey and Aqua. Prize yarn is either the Mauve or Grey. Winner's choice.

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Filed under Craft, Knitters, Knitting, Podcast

Explore the New “Black” in Craft Fashion – Crochet

Lily Chins gorgeous crochet lace dress

Lily Chin's gorgeous crochet lace dress

The image above ( Lily Chin designed lace crochet dress found in the first issue of Interweave Crochet – 2004 under “Lace Dress”) and many others inspires me to learn and make more crochet garments that are fashionable and practical. I will always be a knitter, but in the past two years I’ve developed a burgeoning love affair with the craft of crochet.

I’m again teaching beginning crochet at the Naked Sheep Knitshop in North Portland. I get more and more excited each time I teach this class. It simply seems that crochet designers are really challenging the stereotypes of crochet as being the clunky and less graceful of the fiber arts. Gorgeous designs from Lily Chin, Doris Chan, Kristin Omdahl, etc have proven that crochet can not just be couture gorgeous, it can take the form of practical fashion.

“Beginning Crochet” can help learning fiber crafters attain the skills needed to start exploring the fashion options in crochet. In the last class, after we learned all the basic stitches and how to increase, decrease, and crochet in the round. We learned how to make basic lace in crochet. The students were very interested in learning how to crochet hats and berets so I taught them how to calculate increases in the round and develop your basic hat and beret like this one:

Crochet Beret with the Puffy Stitch

Crochet Beret with the Puffy Stitch

I actually adjusted Pretty Puffs Slouchy Hat for smaller gauge yarn so I could use Elsebeth Lavold’s Cable Cotton. In the class the students learned how to ‘do the math’ to figure out how to adjust stitches in a pattern to match their sizes and the type and weight of yarn they were using.

You can read about the basic structure of the course in a previous post and view some pretty examples of crochet stitch patterns:

https://natknits.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/learn-to-crochet-starts-july-20/

Here are the class details which you can also view on the Naked Sheep’s Knitshop’s Website. Hope to see you there 🙂 :

Learn to Crochet- Starts September 15th
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!

Tuesdays ( September 15, 22 and 29)
6:30-8:30pm

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Filed under Cotton, Craft, Creativity, Crochet

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

Sort of final note about the Sock Summit

I don’t have a lot of time to blog about this now. I will probably return to some of the witty and insightful comments I heard yesterday. Even though I had a ripping headache for most of the afternoon, the Luminary Panel was well worth it.  I have a very fuzzy picture of the panel, but I figure with all the photo snapping that went on yesterday… someone has a better photo than me.

I especially liked Anna Zilboorg’s dry wit. I need to read more of her books.

Also, one person had a very thoughtful comment about how mono-chromatic (in terms of racial and cultural diversity) the knitting culture is. Even though, as one panel member pointed out knitting is not part of all ethnic and minority groups cultural background, many ethnic peoples have taken up knitting because it is a practical way to clothe their families. All this talk made me want to belong to an outreach group that teaches all people how to knit, and how accessible and affordable it can be with some creative wrangling and selections of yarns. I started a list of yarns by price for making a plain raglan sweater in  previous post. (By the way the final installments for the raglan sweater instructions are on their way). On another note, when I teach my classes I try to include all price ranges for suggested yarns because I do want people to be able to afford to knit the objects in the class.

Also, the notion that knitting should be available to groups rural areas as well reinforced my thought that online shops are good for people who do not live withing close proximity to a local yarn store.  Here I am living in a city that has one of the highest number of yarn stores per capita and I forget that someone in a smaller town or rural area may not have access. Also, there is the comfort-zone factor or that that the yarn store in a city may not be in a neighborhood where some ethnic minorities feel welcome or comfortable.

Knitting should be universal - Photo from the morguefile

Knitting should be universal - Photo from the morguefile

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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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