Friday, August 22, 2014

Midwest Fiber and Folk 2014

I have a yarn stash problem.  With the birth of Lucky last October I have less time to knit, so I'm not using up my yarn as fast as I used to.  In 2014 I have spun a lot of yarn, which isn't really helping my stash problems because I'm just adding more and more fiber to knit with.  When saw the Midwest Fiber and Folk schedule for 2014, I was torn on whether I should attend.  It seemed silly to pay a marketplace fee for both me and Keith if I wasn't going to buy anything.  At the same time, this is one of the best opportunities to get fun fiber because I can see and touch so many different fibers.  In the end, the desire to go won out and we hopped in the car for a mini road trip to the fiber fair.

I did not snuggle any angora rabbits this year.  Lucky did like looking at the rabbits but since his father is allergic to guinea pigs I didn't want to risk my 9.5 month old breaking out into hives.  Keith and Lucky did have a blast running around the booths searching for pink rubber duckies that would lead to a door prize.  However, since we were there on the last day almost all of them had been found.  The search is half the fun though, right?

I lingered over buffalo gold yarn for a LONG time. It was on sale (50% off) for $35 for 100g 200 yards. The fiber felt amazing and was a deep rich brown color.  I just couldn't pull the trigger and buy some.  I didn't want to buy one skein, because that might not be enough for a project.  But two skeins could have been too much.  Keith told me not to get it, and I grumbled a bit until I realized something.  If I had a project in mind and really wanted it, I would have purchased it without question, and he wouldn't have minded.  My wonderful husband helped me with my wavering so that I would not add another expensive fiber to my stash to sit in the yarn cupboard for a few years unused.  Thank you, honey!

I did pick up some stunning yarn.  Montain colors handpainted yarn in the color lacier Lake.  This is a 100% merino fiber and the colors in the twist look so awesome.  I"m thinking that this will become a big cowl scarf for ME.  

The Envision Unlimited booth had some really amazing fiber crafts.  I am a huge fan of the latch hook rugs.  These wouldn't be hard to make, but with a crazy shedding dog they would be a PAIN to clean.  It is a good way to break up my stash.  I'll have to give it some though!  

It was a lot of fun to go to the fiber fair with Lucky because last year I was very pregnant.  (And *gulp*, I have to admit that I have only spun one of the 4 bunches of fiber that I purchased last year... I've got to get spinning!)  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kettle Dyed Yarn

The best illustration of the variation 
What is so great about kettle dyed yarn?  You get some subtle variations of color through a single pot application.  I've learned that if you pre-soak your yarn, you are much more likely to end up with a uniform color, but when you add it dry to the dyebath you can get some subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) variations of color.   Watch the video to find out more!  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Minion Fingerless Mitts

When I saw the Minion Fingerless Mitts crochet pattern I was so excited to cast on (start hooking?  I'm not sure what you say for crochet... I'll stick with cast on I think.)

I pulled out my size H crochet hook and some KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Semolina, Winter Night, White, Black and Mist.  This project used 2 g each of White and Mist (5 yards), 19 g (42 yards) Semolina, 8 g (18 yards) Winter Night, 4 g (9 yards) Coal KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in worsted weight.

I must have done the first chain a dozen times.  I wantd to make sure that it would be stretchy enough to fit over a hand.  I started with a 27 stitch chain rather than 25 st. 

Hmm... the top is much stretchier than the bottom.  I may decided to reverse the color of the rows, so the top of the fingerless mitt is the "cast on" chain and the bottom is where I fasten off.  This would lead to a better fit and then I could work with the stitch counts directed.  Yup.  I think this is exactly what I'm going to do. 

I chained 25, and then started with row 12.  I worked the rows backwards, and then at the end went around and SC'd around the top to make it neater (so making round 13 last). For consistency, I did my first 2 yellow rows of one mitt, and then the first two yellow rows of the second.  They look to be similarly shaped, right? 

It was really fun to see the stripes grow row by row. 

Since there was no additional shaping to these fingerless mitts (no thumb gusset or anything), I decided to just make two right glove bases.  Based on fit, I DC'd 22 sts, and then chained 5, making it an increase to 27 stitches for the rest of the glove. 

In general I don't love the gauge created with the H hook and worsted weight yarn.  It is so much looser than would be warm, but I think this is generally the case with DC stitches anyway, there are always some holes. 

I did end up adding the sc round at the top of the last round.  Wahoo!  I love how it looks.

Phew.  I thought this was going to be a much easier project then it turned out to be.  I would have fiddled with the gauge a bit, but really these are intended to be fun more than anything else.  Next time, I might increase the number of stitches and rows for the gloves themselves. 

The eyes and mouths ended up being a piece of cake.  I like sewing on a crochet chain much better than trying to embroider a smile.  I have a feeling that these will be a hit with my friend!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

VIDEO: How to Purl through the Back Loop (p-tbl)

In my last post, I shared my video on how to knit through the back loop. Today I'm going to share the counterpart video, how to purl through the back loop (p-tbl).   Purling through the back loop doesn't look as different as normal purl stitches, but when you flip the fabric over you see that you are creating twisted stitches.  I frequently use these twisted stitches in 1x1 ribbing to make it look a little cleaner and in thin cables to make the stitches stand out a bit more off of a reverse stockinette background.  

What tutorials would you like me to create?  Sometimes if I am inspired enough and have the tools ready to go I might be able to film a video right away!  (More often than not I need to wait for a yarn order and then time when the baby is napping and I'm not in the middle of a move.  Boy do these younglings keep you hopping!)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

VIDEO: How to Knit Through the Back Loop (K-tbl)

I have a long list of video tutorials that I want to create for the ChemKnits YouTube Channel.  Some of these ideas I came up with, but others are requests that I get pouring in from YOU, my readers and followers.  It brings me great joy that you guys come to me with questions and for help, so I like to try to help you out as much as I can.  

I recently got asked how to purl through the back loop (stay tuned for tomorrow's post), and while I was creating a swatch for the video I decided that I should also film how to knit through the back loop (k-tbl). 

The above swatch has two sections.  At the bottom there are a few rows of conventional stockinette (k across on the right side, p across on the wrong side.)  The top half of the swatch is knit and purled through the back loop (k-tbl on the right side, p-tbl on the wrong side.)  Watch the video to see more of the difference between "normal" stitches and creating twisted stitches by knitting and purling through the back loop.  

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Not A Fiber Project - Egg Free Blueberry Banana Kale Mini Muffins Recipe

Back in the day I kept a blog for my cooking adventures, ChemEats.  I decided to focus my time on my first love, ChemKnits but thought it was worth sharing this modified recipe I made for Lucky.

When Lucky was almost 9 months old, he had an allergic reaction to egg.  I wanted to find an eggless muffin base that I could modify with different fruits and veggies.  I decided to try out the following strawberry banana muffin recipe with a few modifications.  I wanted a recipe that used yogurt since we always have plenty in our fridge.  I substituted coconut oil for butter, blueberries for strawberries in addition to a few minor changes (whole wheat flour).

  • 1 cup pureed veggies + mashed banana (~3/4 banana and 1/4 veggies.  I used kale)
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar. 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Full Fat Yogurt

I prepared the muffins according to the recipe directions.  I scooped them into a mini muffin tin and baked at 350 for 15 minutes or until browned on top.  I got over 3 dozen mini-muffins, that is a lot of breakfast food for a little boy! These were so good that it was hard to keep me and Keith from eating them and to save them for our solid food loving baby.  I froze a bunch and then will defrost them for 30 sec in the microwave to defrost and then let them cool completely before serving.

First look at a mini-muffin for Mr. Lucky ChemKnits Boy.
So hard to get his attention, these muffins are a fan favorite!
I think that I will be sharing more "not a fiber project(s)" in the future.  What things should I test out?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

NEW Modeled Pics of Hermes Winged Baby Socks!

At around 6.5 months old, I was finally able to get a picture of a baby modeling my Hermes Winged Baby Socks.  This free Hermes baby booties knitting pattern is one of my favorite knitting designs.  Doesn't it look like he is about to levitate?

These wings I designed came out so cute, I think they would look great on a little baby beanie, too!