Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two at a Time, Toe-up Socks

Ever since I've heard of the technique, I've wanted to try to knit socks two at a time on two round needles. Knitpicks has a FREE pattern for two at a time toe up socks that has very good instructions for someone who has never tried two at a time socks before. The instructions are general, so you can adapt them to your gauge and foot size.

I selected SIRDAR-Crofter DK Fair Isle Effect yarn. This cotton/wool/acrylic blend has a color gradient which creates a fun pattern. These socks are pretty much a tube with an afterthought heel.

Unfortunately, I cast off loosely for the cuff... or at least what I thought was loose... Turns out, they are now too tight to fit over my ankle. (I had been WAITING to pick up the afterthought heal stitches to try on the socks to see how they'd look.) If only I'd attempted to try on the socks before weaving in the ends and tying it off!

I fixed the bindoff, and they fit perfectly! Aren't they darling?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cactuar Knitting Chart

Making a knit Cactuar inspired me to create this knitting chart which does the character more justice. Feel free to use this Cactuar chart that I designed for your personal or charity uses. Do not sell or post this chart on the web.

This this pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. This pattern is not to be replicated, sold or redistributed without permission from ChemKnits. © 2009 ChemKnits

Friday, February 20, 2009

Story of the Cactuar

My boyfriend and I are addicted to playing older Final Fantasy games together. He will do most of the playing, I will knit, and we spend some vegetation time together.

I was looking at commercially available stuffed Cactuars, and came across a pattern for making a knit one! I decided that this would make a fun gift for my boyfriend (especially since I like to make him something for each holiday.)

I have made some adaptations to the published pattern:
  • I increased the length of the body. I may decided to felt the little monster after I complete it (I am a little felting obsessed at the moment!) If you compare the finished designed cactuar to a photo, you will find that the proportions are a bit off. Even if I decide not to felt him, the increase in length should make him more proportional.
  • Instead of making the arms and legs with the kinks in them, I knitted straight tubes for each appendage. (GIVE STS ETC). I purchased flower wire from a craft store, and bent it to make each appendage flexible. By doubling the wire back and forth multiple times, you can still bend the arms (and they'll stay) even when stuffed.
  • NOTE: You always need more scrap yarn than you may think. I ran out of the black wool I was using to embroider on the eyes etc, so I had to wait for more to come though the mail.

My boyfriend and I tend to have similar ideas for gifts, he gave me the plush version while I was making this for him! (I tend to think that the one he gave me looks more authentic. Mine seems to appear a bit like a walking pickle!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Reviews of My Knitting Book Library

All the books in this list are part of my private library. If you have any recommendations for new additions, send them in!

99 Knit Stitches (Leisure Arts #2973)
  • Contains 99 stitch patterns, including the multiplier so you can incorporate the pattern into a project of your choosing.
  • Contains instructions on how to complete basic stitches.
  • Projects include: Woman's Muffler, Man's Muffler, Cabled Pillow, Trinity Pillow, Girl's Sweater, Woman's Sweater and a sampler Afghan.
60 Easy-To-Knit Pattern Stitches Combine to Create Sampler Afghans, Leaflet 932
  • The calculations are done for you! 60 different stitches are transformed into 12"x12" squares. Knit 20, and combine them into your very own sampler afghan!
  • Contains instructions on how to complete basic stitches.
  • I am currently working on this project, but stupidly decided to increase the number of squares in my afghan to 30...

365 Knitting Stitches a Year Perpetual Calendar by Ed Martingale
  • This fun calendar is spiral bound, so the pattern of the day can lay flat and be visible (more pattern books should be spiral bound!)
  • The different stitches are in vibrant colors, and are very clear.
  • Since this is a perpetual calendar, it is a perfect gift for any time of year!
  • It is not an easy book to just flip through (since you flip the next page over when the day changes, if you try to use it like a normal book you will have to constantly rotate the book.)
  • This should be a good source of inspiration for projects!

Knitting With Balls: A Hands-On Guide to Knitting for the Modern Man by Michael del Vecchio
  • The introduction contains a history of knitting, descriptions of different knitting tools, yarns weights, instructions on how to cast on and do various stitches, and how to read a pattern. The final chapter includes thoughts about altering and modifying patterns. The tips and hints throughout the book would help even a beginner knitter compete these projects.
  • The book is organized in project categories, with clear markings for beginner, intermediate and expert at the top of every pattern page.
  • Accessories Patterns: Knit wallet and business card holder, Felted military belt, Fisherman's Watchcap and Scarf set, Multi-media cozy, Camo Coffee-Cup Cozy, Aran Laptop Cover, Chu'llu Hat and Scarf, Not-so-Rugged Scarf, Hiking Boot Socks, Sandal Socks, Medallion Mitts.
  • Sweater and Jacket Patterns: Casual Fridays Vest, Bootcut sweater (I must interject here, this sweater is quite low cut for a man...), Hooded Alpaca Parka, Argyle Pullover Vest, Tribal Sweater, Aran Pullover, Knee Length Coat.
  • Home Gear Patterns: Dog Tooth Throw, Beer Cozy, Felted Travel Bag, Utility Cloth,
  • I have done a couple of patterns in this book, including the beer cozys. I would say that the patterns aren't the most inventive, but it is a good source of inspiration for projects for men. I was given this book as a joke, but have found it more useful than the giver imagined.
Pretty in Punk: 25 Punk, Rock, and Goth Knitting Projects by Alyce Benevides and Jaqueline Milles
  • The book jacket contains handy tabs so you can save your place in the book
  • There is a glossary of techniques, which explains terminology, but there are no "how-to" explanations.
  • For the Head Patterns: Punk's not dead - felted earflap hat with icords and mohawk fringe, Lucky 13 - felted earflap hat, Red Baron - aviator cap, God save the queen - felted earflap hat with icords and mohawk fringe.
  • For the Neck Patterns: Ska Scarf, Moral Panic - schoolboy tie, Vamp Scarf, Rude Girl - checkerboard choker.
  • For the Chest Patterns: Goth Girl Jumper, Master and Servent Camisole, Transgression Jumper, Swindle Jumper, The Young One sweater vest, Lolita - ribbed corset.
  • For the arms patterns: Feel the pain - wrist cuffs, Love bites - arm warmers, death or glory - wrist warmers, combat rocker - camouflage lace-up arm warmers
  • For the bum patterns: Route 66 Bum Patch, Union Jack Bum Flap, Dethroned Bum Flap, Ready Steady Go miniskirt.
  • For the rest patterns: Mini Mod tote bag, anarchist felted courier bag, Rockability riot clutch bag.
  • I doubt that I will ever make something directly from this book (especially the bum flaps), but for novelty sake, this is a fun book. I never come across patterns like these when I search online. So whether you are feeling punk, or you want to give a knitting book that you know the recipient would not have, this is a fun book.
Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet
  • This book has detailed picture instructions from basic to more complicated crochet stitches, for both the left and right handed. I can only assume that her knitting encyclopedia is just as good for a basic tool. I intend to teach myself how to crochet at some point, and figured that this should help me learn the basics.
  • The book contains history, instructions for stitches, descriptions of tools, color theory, over 20 patterns, stitch patterns, lace discussions and much more (far too much to list). The stitch guides are in vibrant colors and are extremely clear. I personally think that this book (or the knitter's equivalent) would be a great reference for any yarn user.
I cannot wait to add more books to my collection! I wish people would take me seriously when I ask for knitting books as presents...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Felted Brim Hat Construction

I spent weeks searching for the perfect felted hat pattern. I wanted a shape that was bell-like with a brim. I found this pattern: Crystal Palace Yarns Iceland + Splash Felted Cloche Hat. The shape of the hat was exactly what I had been looking for, but without the fuzzy trim.

Looking at the pattern I was a little dubious, as 80 STS felted was around the width of the felted oven mitts I've made, and would not be nearly large enough to fit on my head. Rather than change the stitches of the pattern, I decided to knit with two strands of wool of the Andes yarn without changing the needles size. In my experience, projects shrink more in the length than the width, so I made the hat very long:

The pattern is cute before it was felted, with a horizontal stripe form the garter stitch and almost vertical stripes from stockinette (This effect is still apparent after I felted the hat).

As knitted, the hat would work (pre-felting) if it were folded up with a brim. As you may notice, this hat fits pretty well before I started felting. I do my felting by hand anyway, so I kept a close eye on the progress to ensure that it would still fit my head.

Overall, I'm very happy with the results. If I were to repeat this project, I would increase the number of stitches, and star the decrease sooner. It is a little long for my head, and poofs up when the back hits my jacket. However, this hat is WARM. Additionally, since it fits snuggly, the wind does not rip it off of my head, unlike other winter brimmed hats I've owned.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Drop Stitch Scarf Pattern

I completed the drop stitch scarf that I was swatching for. After all the slight variations in swatches, I was concerned that I would not like the final pattern as much when it was widened to a scarf (since the length would not scale correspondingly). I am very happy with the final results.

Materials Required:
  • Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn – Forest Green Heather– two skeins (85 g/197 yds) or other worsted weight yarn. (You will not use all of both skeins, but depending on how conservative you are while cutting fringe strands, it helps to have extra!)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Size 6 knitting needles (or size to obtain desired tension).
  • Finished size: 6" x 5.5 feet (excluding fringe)
Gauge: Not critical for this project.

CO 31 sts
Row 1 – K across
Row 2 – K across
Row 3 – *P2tog, YO repeat from * to last stitch, P1
Row 4 – K across
Row 5 – K across
Row 6 - *K1, YOx3, repeat from * to last two stitches, K1, YO*5, K1 (The YO*5 helps keep the last stitch as loose as the previous ones in the row)
Row 7 – Knit across the row, dropping the YO’s.(When you have completed this row you may need to pull on the end of your scarf a bit to make sure things are lined up properly).
Repeat rows 1-7 until scarf reaches desired length. End and bind-off after a row 5.
There is no wrong side to this scarf. You should find that the sides for rows 3 and 6 alternate, this is intentional.
Block if necessary.
Fringe: Using a crochet hook, knot 3 strands of yarn through each of the YO's on the first (or last) row. Trim fringe to desired length.

This this pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. This pattern is not to be replicated, sold or redistributed without permission from ChemKnits. © 2009 ChemKnits

Note: I became a Lion Brand Affiliate in January 2018.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Swatches - designing a dropped-loop scarf

I ordered a huge stash of yarn from, and (of course) it is set to arrive the day after I leave on a trip to Hawaii! I needed a project for the plane (over 13 hours in the air!), so I decided to try to design a hat and scarf using up the Forest Green Heather Wool-Ease Yarn that has been sitting in my cupboard.

So now I'm swatching! Varying the numbers of yarn overs dropped, and the number of rows in between each dropped row.

This is the one that I think I'm going to go with:

Hopefully I'll still like the pattern when I increase the width! I'll post the pattern when I'm done.