Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spliced - A Chained Crochet GENEie Headband


Many of you have asked me for a crochet version of the GENEie hat for the March for Science.  I am pleased to share with you a simple approximation. I am a novice crocheter.  With the help of YouTube and instructions, I can make my way through a pattern but I am not advanced enough to do complicated designs.  I've never even attempted to do crochet cables and have minimal experience with colorwork.  I wanted to create a DNA design out of yarn that could be incorporated into a crochet pattern, or spliced onto a variety of different garments.   I am pleased to introduce "Spliced - A Chained Crochet GENEie Headband"!  Spliced is crocheted sideways and then a long crochet chain is appliqued on to form the backbone of the  double helix.  The bonds between the backbones are created with a back stitch.


Materials
  • Worsted weight yarn.  The sample used Shine Worsted in Pistachio and French Blue.  42 g, 63 yards total were used in the sample.  
  • Size H (5.0 mm) crochet hook or size to get your desired stitch size.  
  • Gauge is not essential for this project
  • Finished Size: 3" wide x 19.5" around.  (Fits Adult Small Head)
  • Notions: Tapestry Needle, Sewing needle and thread (optional), pins (optional)
The Spliced Crochet Headband on a pile of GENEie the Next Generations Headbands in the same colors.  

The DNA embellishment in Spliced is formed by appliqueing a crochet chain onto a piece of crochet fabric to form the backbone of the double helix.  The bonds between the DNA bases are embroidered between the backbones with back stitch.  If you would prefer, you can use chain stitch embroidery to apply the helix directly onto the crochet cloth, but I personally found it easier to sew on a crochet chain.

Spliced - A Chained Crochet GENEie Headband Crochet Pattern
  1. Chain 12 stitches in the main color (MC)
  2. Turn and double crochet (DC) in the 3rd chain from the hook.  DC across.  (10 DC sts)
  3. Turn and Ch3.  DC in every stitch across.  
  4. Repeat until your piece measures 19.5" or is long enough to fit around you head. (Note: My head is 22" around and this headband will fit with negative ease.)  Do not fasten off.
  5. In a contrasting color (CC) for the DNA chain, create two crochet chains 36" long.  If you are creating a larger headband make the chains a bit longer, too.  It is better to have these chains be too long than too short, you can always unravel them!
  6. Starting at one end of the headband, pin one chain to the headband to create one side of the DNA double helix.  You can use the knitting chart from the GENEie Cable Version as a guide.  (You could go straight to stitching the chain down, but I wanted to be able to make the helix appear regular so I decided to pin first.  Plus this allowed me to take some more step by step pictures )
  7. Pin the second chain to the headband to complete your DNA backbone. Take care to thread this chain under the first at every other join to maintain the appearance of a twist.
    The crochet chains always cross each other in the same direction.  After the first chain was pinned, I wove the second strand over and under each time the backbones would cross each other.  Then, I adjusted the shape of the second chain and pinned it down.
    The backbone is pinned and ready to sew down.  
  8. Stitch the backbones in place.  I used a sewing needle with blue thread to stitch down the design, but you could also use yarn and a tapestry needle.
  9. Create the bonds to represent base pairs using a back stitch and your contrasting color.  I created three bonds with each twist on my headband.

  10. With MC, join the two edges of the headband together.  You can either stitch them closed with a whip stitch or you can create a flat single crochet seam. 
  11. Connect the edges of your double helix.  Since my DNA didn't line up exactly at the edges, I found an intersection point for the crochet chains and then inserted the excess onto the wrong side of the fabric.  I stitched down the ends and added another base pairing.  I unraveled any excess chain and wove in the loose ends on the wrong side of the fabric.
  12. Single crochet (SC) around either edge of the headband to give a finished edge.
    Almost finished - the Spliced headband has a SC edge on top and an unfinished edge on the bottom.  
  13. Weave in any remaining loose ends.  

Ideas with this technique - Spliced is really an applique/embroidery pattern, more than a crochet pattern.  You can apply the Spliced DNA Helix onto a number of different projects.   Here are some ideas: 
  • Crochet a pussyhat and apply the embroidered double helix to make a crochet version of the GENEie Pussyhat.
  • For a denser fabric, crochet a headband with HDC or even SC stitches.  
  • You can also add the DNA applique and embroidery onto any knit garment or even onto a commercial fabric.  

A comparison of Spliced (center) to two GENEie the Next Generations Headbands.  

When I went to take a selfie of the in progress Spliced Headband, Lucky came up and said, "Cheese!"  I told him to go put on his GENEie The Next Generations Headband and pose with me.   

 

 The March for Science is quickly coming up on April 22, 2017.  Are you making a pattern from the GENEie Collection?  There are 6 different hat and headband knitting patterns to choose from, and now with Spliced you could crochet a headband, too!  


Spliced - A Chained Crochet GENEie Headband Crochet Pattern © 2017 ChemKnits & Rebecca Roush Brown.  This pattern is available for free via www.ChemKnits.com for your personal or charity use.  You are not to copy or distribute this pattern without the permission of the publisher, ChemKnits.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

GENEie headbands for my boys


The March for Science is less than a month away!  Have you figured out what you're knitting yet?  When I designed the first two hats in the GENEie Collection (the GENEie - Cable Version and GENEie - Colorwork Version) at the end of January the date of the march had no yet been set.  The weather on April 22 can vary a lot.  This is the week after the Boston Marathon where we've seen frigid weather, moderate weather and 90+ and sunny in just the last 5 years.  I decided the Next Generations GENEie Headband so I could have a GENEie that would work no matter what the weather.  


I needed to knit the headband in three different sizes.  I designed the pattern in Adult L and Toddler, which would fit Keith and Rowdy. I knit these headbands on size 6 needles with Shine Worsted yarn in Pistachio and French Blue.  I needed to create an intermediate size to fit 3 year old Lucky.   I'll go into all of the details below, but I was able to create a child sized version of this headband by using size 4 knitting needles and Shine Sport yarn.

Rowdy's Headband - Toddler Size, Shine Worsted, Size 6 needles.


When I started knitting Rowdy's headband, I wasn't sure if the headband is going to be big enough for me to get away with using circulars, but I wanted to try out my shorty needle tips for the first time.  It worked!

I followed the instructions as written.  In the original sample, I was running out of yarn when I reached the end of the headband.  After the colorwork I knit one round, did one round of ribbing and then bound off in pattern.  On Rowdy's headband, I knit one round after the colorwork and then knit two rounds of ribbing before binding off in pattern.  This seemed like the right amount of ribbing to me but I wish there was one more plain round before the ribbing started.  I decided to do this on the next headband and adjusted the written pattern, too.  This headband used 24 g Pistachio and 7 g French Blue (a combined total of 47 yards of yarn).

We had a week of 60 degree weather at the end of February.  It was beautiful outside, but definitely not hat weather.  Poor Rowdy had zero interest in keeping his headband on his head... even as a cowl! I'm not sure what I can expect to see at the march, but for now I just need to get the other headbands finished.

Keith's headband - Adult L, Shine Worsted, Size 6 needles

I have a smaller head than Keith, but the Adult L headband fits me, too.
Keith already has a headband he can wear (the original sample) but I really wanted him to have one in this matching color scheme.  This headband used 34 g of Pistachio and 10 g of French blue (a combined total of 67 yards of yarn).  My short tip knitting needles are AMAZING for knitting hats and headbands.  I wish that I had started using these tips sooner and now want to buy them in every size.  

The Adult L and Toddler sized headbands knit in worsted weight yarn.
With the completion of this headband, I have perfected the Next Generations GENEie headband pattern.  It is hard to get designs out as fast as I can without rigorous testing!  I'm really glad I finally have a complete version of the pattern, even if I don't yet have written instructions for the chart.  there are so many repeats that it is hard for me to write out the 28 stitch repeat without any errors.

If you want to try to knit a smaller headband for an infant, try knitting the toddler size with a smaller gauge like I did for Lucky's headband below.  

Lucky's Headband - Adult L, Shine Sport, Size 4 needles


I kit Lucky's headband at a gauge of 23.5 sts / 4" and 14 rows/2" over the colorwork pattern with sport weight yarn and size 4 (3.5 mm) knitting needles).  I used 6 g of French Blue and 21 g of Pistachio for a total of 61 yards of yarn.  

The final headband is a little loose on Lucky, but I don't mind since he is still growing so much.  He is so proud to have a headband just like Daddy's.  Now I just need to hope that he'll wear it!  


These cotton blend headbands are silky soft and should be much cooler than wool in warmer weather.  If April 22 is super cold, then we can slide these headbands over a knit wool hat.  If April 22 is super hot, they can be slipped around the brim of a baseball cap.  Hopefully the little boys will wear them at the march, I have a feeling that these might end up as necklaces pretty quickly!


Which of the GENEie designs is your favorite?  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

An Ombre GENEie Pussyhat


The Pussyhat Project was about the creation of pink square shaped hats (to give the appearance of cat ears when worn) for the Women's March.  Crafters were able to knit, crochet and sew hats to create thousands for the participants of the march.  This created a nationwide shortage of pink yarn, so if I wanted to create something in Pink I had to dye my own.  I am not a huge fan of the color pink, but I really wanted to create a Pussyhat that represented me.  I designed and knit the first GENEie Pussyhat, a pussyhat with a cable DNA on either side.  The first hat was knit as an adult size L for a friend who loves pink.  I wanted to create a slightly smaller hat for myself using one of my favorite dyeing techniques, breaking Wilton's violet food coloring.

When I was dyeing the ombre broken violet gradient, I knew that I wanted most of the yarn to be pink.  The original GENEie pussyhat used 67 g of yarn.  I didn't want to have only a tiny bit of pink at the top of the hat, I wanted to make sure it carried through.  


I did consider knitting an undyed hat and then dip dyeing the finished hat.  I was a little afraid that this would look too tie dye.  Plus, the undyed worsted weight yarn I like to use was on back order from KnitPicks until March 16.  I did have some worsted weight sock blanks ready to go, so I decided to dye the gradient before I started knitting.  I cast onto size 6 knitting needles and got started on my GENEie Pussyhat.  


Awe, man!  I should have weighed the cake of yarn after I finished winding the pink.  Whoops!  


The color transitions are really gradual.  As I was knitting, I didn't really notice the changing color until I was fully into the next section.  


I was knitting a smaller hat than the original GENEie Pussyhat knitting pattern.  (I have updated the pattern page with these modifications.

  • Cable Round 1: Skip all of the M1 stitches in Cable Round 1 (staying at 100 sts). 
  • All Cable Rounds will be as follows: K10, Knit 9 sts of Chart Row, K62 sts, Knit the 9 sts of Chart row, K10 (100 sts)


I knit the same hat of the height.  (Rounds 1-26 twice and then Chart Round 1 one more time.)  The great thing about the pussyhat shape is that you can knit until the hat is long enough, there are no decreases to worry about!  I like my hats to cover a lot of my head so you might want your hat shorter.  


I am not sure if I could have planned a more perfect gradient for this hat.  The major colors each take up approximately a third of the hat!  I used 61 g of yarn (134 yards) in this hat, so I have a reasonable amount of pink remaining to use in another project.


I was already in love with my GENEie cables, but I am even more in love with this design now.  I think that I want to create another broken violet gradient to make a GENEie (Cable Version) with this gradient.  However, this project will have to wait until after the March for Science.  I have some other GENEies to create!  


I have had a lot of people contact me to discuss alternate hat sizes, yarn weights, and gauges.  The GENEie Pussyhat is the easiest hat design to create in any colors because the only gauge consideration is for how many stitches you need to fit around your head.  The DNA double helix cable pattern is 9 stitches wide.  The cables are located off center on the hat.  (The placement is symmetrical so you can wear the cable on the right side or the left side of the hat.)  


If you want to use a bulkier yarn, you may want to only include one cable on your GENEie Pussyhat.  This way you don't have to worry about the spacing and decide as you are preparing to stitch (or graft) the top closed where you want your cable positioned.  

The size difference between the GENEie Pussyhat Large (pink) and M (ombre)
I have never knit a hat that represents me as much as this one. I am a woman. I am a scientist. I am a wife and mother. I am a stay-at-home-mom. I knit. I dye my own yarn. I design. I am ChemKnits. I will stand up and resist.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Generic Headband (Perfect for Adding a Duplicate Stitch Molecule!)

Generic Headband Knitting Pattern
Sometimes it is easier to incorporate your design onto a knit garment using a duplicate stitch than knitting something with stranded colorwork.  I wanted to create a generic headband that you could use as a base for any molecule knitting pattern.  In this pattern, you will find the instructions to create the generic headband posted above, plus instructions on how to modify this headband so you can add your favorite molecule.  This would be a perfect accessory for the March for Science on April 22, 2017.

Materials
  • Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) double pointed needles or circular needles - I use 20" circular needles but anywhere between 16-24" should work fine.  
  • Yarn: 110-145 yards Worsted weight yarn.  The sample is knit with KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Ciel with 21 g, 43 yards.  
  • Gauge:  21 sts/4" and 14 rows/2" over stockinette.   
  • Notions: Stitch marker to note beginning of round, tapestry needle.
  • Molecule Knitting Charts (Optional) - I have charted dozens of different molecular structures.  Check out the list to select your favorite one.  
  • Finished Size: Adult S/M - 19" around, 3" deep

Generic Headband Knitting Pattern
  • Cast on 100 sts in the main color.  (If you want a different size headband you can increase or decrease the number of stitches.  Make sure the total number you cast on is a multiple of 4.)  
  • *K2, P2* around for 3 rounds
  • Knit 15 rounds in stockinette (Knit every stitch around.)
  • Knit 2 rounds of 2x2 ribbing (*K2, P2* around).  
  • Bind off in ribbing pattern.  
  • Weave in loose ends and block if necessary.  (I find the headbands curl a little bit so it is helpful to lightly block the headband so it will lay flat.)  


Tips and General Instructions to plan your headband
If you want to fit a molecule (or any other chart) onto the headband and to be able to see the entire molecule at one time, there are some tips.
  • If you want to put an image onto the brim of a hat or headband, it is best that the chart only take up ~25% of the stitches if you want to see the entire thing.  If the chart is over 50% of the stitches in the headband then you won't be able to see the whole design even when the hat/headband is flat.  (For scale, the dopamine chart is 23 sts wide and I'm casting on a 100 stitch headband.)
  • You can always sketch out your design on graph paper (or use Microsoft Excel.)  
  • Total Number of Rows between ribbing: A minimum of the # Rows in the Chart + 2.  I like to have one blank rows between the ribbing and the chart to highlight the molecule as much as possible.  
  • Would you rather use a hat than a headband?  Checkout the Generic Skullcap Knitting Pattern.


Duplicate Stitch a Molecule onto Your Headband

I created the generic headband knitting pattern specifically so I could duplicate stitch a molecule chart onto it.  Usually I will incorporate the molecules with stranded knitting, but it is easier to not deal with super long floats.  With the sample headband, I decided to knit 15 rounds of stockinette because the dopamine knitting chart is 13 sts tall and I wanted a blank round on either side of the molecule.  




I hope you enjoy this headband knitting pattern and feel confident that you could now incorporate any molecule knitting chart into a fun accessory.  Let me know if you need any help planning out your project!  



Generic Headband Knitting Pattern © 2017 ChemKnits & Rebecca Roush Brown.  This pattern is available for free via www.ChemKnits.com for your personal or charity use.  You are not to copy or distribute this pattern without the permission of the publisher, ChemKnits.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Long Broken Violet Gradient


Breaking Wilton Violet Food Coloring is one of my favorite dyeing activities.  I love the way the violet color breaks apart into turquoise and fuchsia.  I've dip dyed a skein of yarn into Wilton's violet food coloring in the past, but I wanted to create a very long gradient for a specific knitting project.  I want to create a hat with a long gradient from brim to crown.  To achieve this effect, I would dip dye a pre-knit blank into Wilton's violet food coloring.




It sounds like a lot of work to knit to create a blank for dyeing only to unravel the finished product, but I didn't hand knit this pre-knit blank.  I used an inexpensive hand crank Singer Knitting Machine to create a worsted weight blank.  (See my review of the Singer Knitting Machine)

Materials
  • Materials: 100g Bare Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn, Wilton's Violet Food Coloring, White Vinegar, Pot for the stovetop
  • Create a "sock blank" out of the desired yarn with a crank knitting machine.  Alternatively, you could purchase a sock blank to use for this project. 
  • The dyebath: (10 cups Water, 1/2 tsp Wilton's Violet Food Coloring and 3T White Vinegar)
  • Dip Dye: Watch the below video to see how I dipped the pre-knit blank of yarn into the dyebath to create this stunning ombre yarn.  


Breaking Wilton's violet food coloring is always fun, but it is especially fun when the projects works just as you intended.  I ended up with exactly the right gradient distribution for my hat!  I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.  Before I got to the hat, I had to dip dye the yarn.  With the help of tongs and other kitchen spoons, I gradually dipped my pre-knit blank into the dyebath.  


Once all of the red had struck to the fiber, I let the whole blank soak in the dyebath to absorb as much of the blue as possible.  I removed the fiber and allowed the blank to cool to room temperature.  Once cool, I washed the dyed blank with liquid dish soap and cool water.  


I was so excited by the colorway that I wanted to unravel it immediately.  However, I knew that it would be prudent to wait for the fibers to dry so I wouldn't stretch them out.


However, once the yarn was dry it was so lovely that I didn't WANT to unravel it.  I tried it on like a scarf and had to work to convince myself that this really did want to turn into a hat  


If I weren't filming the video, I would have knit my hat directly from the blank.  I wanted to be able to show you what this looks like as it was unwound.  


There was some fun breaking within each of the stitches.  This was so cool!  


The yarn is crimped because I allowed it to dry in the knit blank.  If I were to wind the yarn onto the niddy noddy I could re-wet the yarn to straighten it back out.  This time, I didn't want to create an extra step so I wound it into a ball with my ball winder.  


Can you believe that all of these colors came from one batch of dye? I have a whole playlist of breaking Wilton's violet food coloring videos.  There are many ways you can take advantage of the separation of the blue and red dye molecules when you are dyeing yarn.  


I created this yarn specifically for a hat... for me!  How often do I knit a hat that is for myself?  Not often enough!  Stay tuned for the next post to see how this yarn converts into an amazing GENEie Hat.  




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