Friday, April 30, 2010

Snowflake Knitting Chart V.2

For the past year, I have been working on designing Christmas stockings for myself and Keith. (Christmas 2009 passed before I was able to get started... whoops!) I'm getting closer on the design concept, but I have concerns about frogging portions of the stockings if I don't like how the charts come out.

My mostly symmetric snowflake knits more into a rectangle, so I wanted to test out a modification to see how it would knit up. (P.S. Thank you tempest468's "My First Snow" for using this chart in a washcloth. It came out beautiful, and functioned as a swatch for me. I just want to end up with something more symmetric for my stocking.)

I modified the stocking slightly, reducing 6 stitches from the width. The resulting snowflake, when knit with a 4 stitch seed stitch border, is more symmetrical. The chart, shown below, has the modified snowflake with the border that I used in my swatch.

Snowflake V. 1: 37 x 41 sts
Snowflake V.2: 31 x 41 sts

Snowflake version 2. The snowflake (in blue) is 31x41 stitches. In the knit square, the snowflake is surrounded by 1 stitch of knit stitches, and 4 stitches of seed stitch (shaded purple).

I knit the swatch on size 7 needles with remnant worsted weight yarn. I added the border to the swatch to make it something I can use, with the addition of some borders, for the 2010 Pine Street Inn Knit-a-thon!

Finished square size: 8.5" wide, 7.5" tall
Finished Snowflake Size: 6.5" wide, just over 6" tall.

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. © 2010 ChemKnits

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time to be Square!

I had a blast participating in the Pine Street Inn Knit-A-Thon last year. (Note that the website has not yet been updated for the 2010 knit-a-thon, but I was assured at the event last November that there would be one this fall.) In 2009, I was able to complete one entire afghan for the cause, in addition to some extra squares.

This year my goal is to make 2 whole afghans, which is 70 squares! I think the limiting factor will be the amount of yarn that I have available. The current tally is 6... 64 remaining!

Check out the Pine Street Inn website for more information on the knit-a-thon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Knit Backwards (from Left to Right)

When you are making a small, flat, stockinette piece, it can be annoying to have to turn the work and purl at the end of each row. This is something that is particularly relevant with Entrelac knitting. The answer: Knitting Backwards!

Normally we knit from right to left, so when I say "knit backwards" I mean knitting from left to right. Here are two videos that I made looking at this process.

Knitting Backwards - The Steps
  • The stitches you are going to knit should be on the right handed needle.
  • Insert the Left Hand needle through the back loop of the stitch you want to knit.
  • Wrap the yarn over and around the LH needle (wrap the yarn over the needle where the yarn starts from behind the needle)
  • Bring the old stitch over the new stitch, releasing the old one and leaving the newly formed stitch on the right handed needle.

Video 1: Knitting Backwards (Left to Right) - In this video one row is knit backwards, followed by a forward knitting row. There is then a second knitting backwards row.

Video 2: Knitting Backwards (Left to Right) - This video shows one row knit backwards. The sample is part of an Entrelac project I was working on.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Search for Baby Hat Knitting Patterns that Transform

There are hundreds of free baby hat patterns on the internet. I would be crazy to try to list them all. The search would take me forever. I realized that I was craving to knit baby hats that would make the mama/papa-to-be chuckle. So how many hats are out there like a pumpkin/strawberry/ladybug head? Here are the fruit knit hats, insect knit hats, and who knows what else I'll find! These kinds of baby hats transform, they form costumes. They are also something that would be more appropriate for a child than an adult.

Fruit/Veggie Baby Hat Knitting Patterns
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 1 - Simple orange knit hat with a green stem. An additional pattern is given for a leaf, but no photo is shown. Hat can be modified for different sizes, but there are not instructions for different diameters, just length.
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 2 - These have leaves and a bit of a curly vine on top.
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 3 - rolled brim, stem on top.
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 4 - Ribbed bottom (most others are stockinette) with a stem on top.
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 5 and matching booties - You will need to make a free account to Lion Brand. The booties also have leaves on them. Try a brown stem and green leaves like this pattern.
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 6 - Shown on Twins!! They have a curly stem on top, and the hat bottom is has a green rim on it. Unfortunately, I just realized that this is a crochet pattern. Too bad it is my favorite so far in the pumpkin series.
  • Punkin Baby hat 7 - rolled brim, curly stem on top.
  • Pumpkin Baby Hat 8 (Kurbis Baby Hat) - This is VERY realistic looking. There is a thick rib to make wide sections, and a cute little stem on top.

    With these pumpkin hats, would it be cute to add on a face to make it a jack-o-lantern?

  • Strawberry Baby Hat - This has cables, and spots of pink and green "bleed" into the other sections to create a spotted effect. It is one of the most elegant (and interesting to knit) fruit hats I've found in my search.
  • Strawberry Baby Hat 2 - There is a little stem on top, and green dots throughout the hat make the seeds.
  • Berry Baby Hat - In the color showed, it also looks like eggplant to me. The leafy/stem is knit into the sides of the hat.
  • Eat Your Veggies Baby Hat - Make your tomato, eggplant or other gourd with this pattern.
  • Tomato Baby Beanie - The green top spreads down onto the hat in a way that would make this a good one to adapt to a strawberry, too.
  • California Tangerines Baby Hat - Orange, Rolled Brim with two little leaves on top
  • Pineapple Baby Hat - The texture makes it look like the fruit it is named for. 5 leaves are on top. The picture on the pattern page appears to be gone, but there is a photo on Ravelry.
  • Apple Baby Hat 1 - Simple knit hat with brown stem and green leaf. Sizes in preemie-toddler.
  • Apple Baby Hat 2 - Also with stem and leaf, shown in red and green varieites. Instructions for 4 baby sizes (0-toddler)
  • Apple Baby Hat 3 - Simple knit hat with a stem and two leaves. sizes are given for 6mo-2yr
  • Melonhead Baby Hat- Sizes S, M and L with M fitting 18-20 inch head. 4 colors with beads for seeds, this watermelon slice is juicy enough for any baby.
  • Watermelon baby hat 2 - this one has a cute little pointed top
  • Tutie Cutie Fruity Baby Caps - Make whatever kind of fruit you want, green stem and leaves, change the color of the cap to change the fruit.

Misc Food Baby Hat Knitting Patterns
  • Cherry Pie Baby Hat - This little cherry hat has a HUGE stem and leaf that is detachable, so your little cherry bud won't be dragging around the extra wool.
  • Baby Tart Hat - So yummy looking I could almost eat it! ;) The brim becomes the pie crust, and the crown looks like little berries.
  • Cupcake Baby Hat - Sizing 1-4 years of age. Yummy!
  • Cupcake Baby Hat 2 - There is a cherry on top!
  • Cupcake Baby Hat 3 - Pompom cheery takes the cake. (Sorry I couldn't resist the pun)
  • Cupcake Baby Hat 4 - This one goes a step beyond the cherry, and uses the long skinny beads as sprinkles on this delicious dessert.
  • Candy Corn Baby Hat - There is even a little point on the top!
  • Candy Corn Baby Hat 2 - Shown in child and Adult sizes. You could modify the pattern to fit a younger child.

Plant/Flower Baby Hat Knitting Patterns
  • Green Leaf Baby Hat - All green with a leaf on top. You could modify this to become a fruit of your choice. The leaf is especially well crafted. The hat has a rolled brim.
  • Upside Down Daisy Baby Hat - You will need register for a free account to see the pattern. This flowered hat has a little stem on top.
  • Daisy Top Baby Hat - So I've mostly been ignoring hats that have flower embellishments, but this one fits on this page. It has green grass, a blue sky, little flowers growing up and then a HUGE flower on top of the hat. It is like the baby is growing into the biggest flower of all!
  • Maddy's Bluebell Baby Hat - This upside down flower is one of the more complex patterns that I've found, which makes the shape very interesting. The designer says that you should be comfortable with entrelac.
  • Daffodil Baby Hat - Yellow with a cute green stem on top, and a scalloped brim to be the "petals"
  • Christmas Tree Baby Hat and Elfin Socks - The Tree has tiers on it. Super cute!
  • Xmas Tree Baby Hat 2 - There are triangular shapes sticking out of the shape and a star on top.
  • Flower Fairy Baby Hat - this has a stem on top, looking like you placed a bluebell on the baby's head! English version?
  • Thumbelina Baby Hat - It is like a little pink blossom. There is interesting texture around the head, like a spiral with little leaves on top.
  • Clochette Baby Hat - Although not titled to be a flower hat, it as leaves on top and the brim has petal like shapes that make it look like you plopped a flower on the head of your baby.

Animal Baby
Hat Knitting Patterns
  • Turkey Head Baby Hat - Sized for a 1-yr old. complete with drumsticks. DARLING!
  • Giant Squid Baby Hat - It's a bonnet with two eyes embroidered on and tentacles as the straps to tie it under her chin.
  • Just Ducky Baby Hat (and booties) - Put eyes and a beak on the hat, and flippers on the booties and you've almost got a whole costume! Super cute.
  • Felted Baby Yoda Hat - The ears are big, the hat is army green. There is a tie under the chin to keep this on. I doubt young babies are Star Wars fans, but if you know a parent who is this could make a hit.
  • Panda Baby Hat - You will need to create a free LionBrand account to view this pattern. I don't think this needs much more of a description.
  • Chicken Little Baby Hat - You need to create a free account with lion brand to view this chicken face hat.
  • Doggie Baby Hat - This puppy face has floppy ears and a circle around one eye.
  • Puppy Baby Hat - Floppy ears, single color. Ribbed brim.
  • Baby Bear Beanie - This hat has ears, but no face. Time for facepaint to turn your baby into a bear?
  • Bear Baby Hat 2 - This one has a face!
  • Bunny Baby Hats - You can embroider in the face, or just leave the tiny little bunny ears to speak for themselves.
  • Bunny Baby Hat 2 - Rolled brim, two color ears (pink inside and white outside)
  • Anime Character Top Down Baby Hat - With ears and a face, I'm not quite sure what kind of animal this is, but you can imagine how you could adapt it to be what you want.
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider Baby Hat - Yikes! 8 legs, but only two eyes. It is quite cute on the kid in the picture, not scary at all (the first picture of the hat by itself is a little scary)
  • Froggy Baby Hat with matching booties - The large frog eyes and big smile on top of the hat really makes it an amphibian.
  • Froggy Baby Hat 2 - You need a lionbrand account yadda yadda yadda. This also has eyes on the top of the head and a big smile, but it also has a tongue!
  • Froggy Baby Hat 3 - Made for newborns. Also with eyes that pop out.
  • Dalmatian Baby Hat - Link will take you to this spotted, floppy ear'd hat photo, pattern is linked under the photo.
  • Penguin Pal Baby Hat - This has a penguin face on the front.
  • Rudolph Baby Hat - The nose is red, there are short antlers and adorable little ears!
  • Bee Baby Hat and Booties - The square shaped hat has black and yellow stripes, and two little antennae to make the transformation complete.
  • Bee Baby Hat 2 - With matching jumpsuit... The entire effect is a little startling, but I think the hat would be cute on it's own. You must create a free Lion Brand account to view this pattern.
  • Owl Baby Hat - The eyes of the owl on this hat are huge. There are ear-flaps and a tie under the chin. Too bad the eyes are crochet...
  • Snowman Baby Hat - You will need to create a free Lion Brand account to view this pattern. Coal eyes and mouth, carrot nose.
  • Snowman Baby Hat 2 - Button eyes and the carrot sticks out of the hat
  • Cookie Monster Baby Hat - This super fuzzy hat looks like it is eating the kid!
  • Ladybug baby hat - with Icord antennae and crochet spots.
  • Tiger Kitty Baby Hat - You need a free Lion Brand account. This has stripes, a face and whiskers.
  • Toddler Dino Hat - This looks like a chain mail hood that Knights used to wear. But it is a dinosaur with spikes.

Wow, there are so many of these Transformative baby hats that could be used as a mini costume. I really did not except there to be quite so many, and I'm sure that there are some that I haven't found. Please let me know if I should add anything to this list.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Knit Green for Earth Day

Today, April 22, is Earth Day. In honor of the day designed to bring awareness for the environment, I decided to take the time to review the following book. I think you find the theme appropriate for the day.

Knit Green: 20 Projects and Ideas for Sustainability by Joanne Seiff.

The introduction poses some interesting questions. "What if those purchases were all spent thoughtfully, on yarn that supported your underlying values?"

This book is a combination of essays to introduce "you to issues that relate to the environment, sustainability and concerns that are often linked to these topics." The designs have connections to preceding essay. The tone is not preachy. The overall message is that every little bit helps, so you should do what fits with your values the most. The essays are a presentation of thought into where we get our materials and what is the cost (actual and environmental) to our decisions. The titles of the chapters below summarize the topics of the essays very well.

The Topics
  • Supporting Biodiversity
  • Sustainable Farming Practice
  • Vegan Knitting
  • Maintaining Folk and Indigenous Traditions
  • Promoting Fair Trade and Fair Work
  • Organic and Natural Fibers and Labeling Use
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Buy Local Goods
  • Changing our Habits
There are many things I never really thought about. What fibers require pesticides?

There are fun suggestions. Stash parties (swap yarns you don't want anymore with your friends). Knitting with strips of fabric from an old sheet (the bowl on the cover).

Now local yarns are something that I love. I love using something when I know the story behind it. The problem for me is that without a mode of transportation, it is not exactly easy for me to go and explore for local farms, because that is how I thought I would need to do it. I do tend to buy online, rather than going to the local yarn store. I never really thought about looking there for local yarns. (Yes, it should have been obvious, but I just wasn't thinking about it.)

The patterns in this book and are fun to see after a specific chapter. I am not going to lift the patterns here, because I would instead recommend that you pick this book up to flip through it. Even if you don't want to knit anything it will get you thinking about your practices.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Simple Lacy Scarf

This Simple Lacy Scarf was a fast, fun easy project. I finished it in two evenings while watching TV. I used the yarn (Suri Dream) and needle size (15) indicated in the pattern. I was initially surprised by how fuzzy and thin looking the "Super Bulky Weight" Suri Dream was, I didn't realize from the picture how open the weave would be. So although it is not exactly what I expected, I still enjoyed the project.

Suri dream is fuzzy and fluffy. The fluff can make it easy to miss stitches, as they sometimes stick to each other as your're knitting. I learned early on (see mistake below) that I should count the stitches every few rows to make sure I was still on track.

The mistake is circled in blue.

This project went so much faster than my lace weight lacy scarf is coming along. I'm expecting to finish that project in 2015... (I do try to do an inch or so between projects...)

The project curled, but it was easily blocked. Of course, if you wear this scarf tied around your neck, and it gets wet with snow, it will reform in a curled position!

Pre- (left) and Post-blocking (right)

This scarf was warmer than I had expected. It turnted out so long that I wrap it around my neck doubled over three times. It ends up looking like a cute cowl over my jacket.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Single Skein Projects

These books are due back at the library tomorrow (Yikes!), so my comments will be short.

One Ball Knits Accessories: 20 Stylish Designs Made with a Single Ball, Skein, Hank, or Spool by Fatema, Khadija and Hajera Habibur-Rahman

The intro drawings to teach knitting techniques are among the best I've seen.

Patterns include: Panja (Hand Jewelery), Necklace and Earings, Multiple Belts, Flower pins, Scarves, fingerless gloves, shawls, and socks.

Overall, I wasn't overly inspired. The patterns are pretty, but not the most unique. The one pattern that stands out is the Turkish Wrap, which you could imagine being sold in a high end store. It is absolutely stunning, and at an easy skill level!

I wouldn't buy it... but I may have to try it!

One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit or Crochet by Leigh Radford.

The patterns have a luxury to them. They include legwarmers, A very wearable tank top, Various items to keep feet arms necks and hands warm, some darling bags and clutches, baby items, pillows, Spa set, a bathmat (crochet... BOO), and felted BOWLS. I want felted bowls in my apartment!

The last chapter is titled "Rediscover your stash" and it has great ideas for how to use up your remnant yarns. Adorable cupcakes, and then some other striped sweaters and bags.

I hate the tease of some crochet patterns in a mostly knitting book... they tempted me more than the knitting patterns!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Search for Knitting Fonts

So I was designing the 14 Cabled hat pattern, and I needed a way to make the pattern very clear. My hand-drawn cable images would not be the most helpful, so I started searching for what I could use.

And for fun: Knit Font - This is not a font to make knitting charts. This is a font that is made out of knit stitches! Let the letters or the background be made out of knit stitches in the two fonts available.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

WIP - Rowan Colorscape Pillow

So almost a year ago, I started making a pillow with Rowan Colorscape. Recently, I knit up some Coal Bulky WoTA to help finish this project. Thus far, with each yarn, I cast on 54 sts on size 10 needles and worked in stockinette until I ran out of yarn.

The Felting Process
  • I did some hand felting with the rowan fabric after I knit that piece. That was when I realized that it would not be quite enough fabric for what I wanted to accomplish,so I decided I would create a mosaic like pattern with other felted fabric. The hand felting on a piece this large was slow, so I decided to use a machine.
  • This was my first machine washing experience. Well, this is also my first time cutting something that I've felted, so I wanted to make sure it was TIGHT. I do not want to see those stitches! Normally I felt by hand, which destroys the skin and takes forever. I was happy while at Keith's parents to take advantage of the top-loading washing machine where I could double check that the water was H O T hot!
  • Felting in the washing machine = beautiful! it came out so even, and my hands are still soft.
Post felting dimensions
  • Rowan: ~10.5x16"
  • Coal: ~11" x 11.5"
The problem
Stuffing with polyfill is not the best option for a large project. I wanted to use a pillow I already owned in the center of this felted case. Unfortunately, after felting these two pieces, I still do not have enough fabric to create my pillow! It is very close, but I will need to make one more square with WoTA. After I have that, I should be able to begin my creation!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to Knit-One-Below (K1B)

I love the Knit-One-Below (K1B) technique. The book Knit One Below: One Stitch, Many Fabrics by Elise Duvekot is phenomenal, and I highly recommend reading it or even buying it. I have designed a couple of patterns that utilize this technique: The K1B Baby Hat uses a single color, allowing you to reduce pooling with a variegated yarn. The K1B Beer Cozy uses multiple colors in a checkered stripe pattern, a great way to mix remnant yarns.

I have decided that it is high time that I create some videos to help you with this technique. Introducing... How to Knit-One-Below!

Video 1: Knit-One-Below (K1B) - This video shows the K1B stitch repeated across one row. This is not how you'd generally use the stitch as you frequently mix the K1B stitches with normal knit stitches (see video 2).

Video 2: Knit One, Knit-One-Below (K1, K1B) - This video illustrates the technique used in some of the free patterns by ChemKnits; alternating knit stitches with K1B stitches.

Other Knit-One-Below Tips:
  • The gauge of K1B fabric is looser than stockinette with the same yarn and needles. Make sure you swatch in the K1B pattern. Usually you end up needing smaller needles than you'd expect.
  • You need to either knit in the round or use straight needles with this technique. (On straight needles you may need to purl-one-below, but that is not shown in these videos.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Montaville Market Bag

Last summer, KnitPicks offered a great kit for making 2 tote bags, with one skein of the 4 natural colors of Simply Cotton Organic cotton yarn. The colors of this cotton are naturally occurring. From darkest to lightest: toffee, ginger, malted milk, marshmallow.

The kit is no longer available for purchase, but you can now download the pattern for free. I was ecstatic to find a fun knitting project that would be interesting to make (since there are multiple cultures) and is very functional!

The woven stitch on the bottom of the bag has more give on the width than the length. My first bottom measured 6" in the width, but would easily stretch to 8" to make it a square. I thought that the pattern was really pretty, and I could see making kitchen towels out of this stitch.

The woven stitch on the handle (diagonal) and the bottom of the bag.

The gauge of the lacy sides was larger than the woven bottom, so the 12" of sides knit up extremely quickly:

The project required a provisional cast-on to start, a technique that I had never attempted. I found the following video, and it turned out to be a piece of cake.

Isn't my first provisional cast-on pretty?

I tend to use cast on with the long tail method, or backwards loop if I am in the middle of a row. I found this video helpful for how to do a knitted cast on (used for making the holes in the handles). I could see myself using this method more often, as it eliminates the necessity to guesstimate how much of a tail you need.

The bag is cute, was fun to make, and I think will make a fun, practical- non-winter-accessory gift. There is even enough yarn left over to make a second bag!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Molecule Knitting Charts - Isn't it sweet?

My other molecule knitting charts have been very popular, so I've decided to expand with some other famous molecules. Today I will provide you with molecules that are sweet, or that you often associate with something sweet. (For other molecule knitting charts by ChemKnits checkout the 20 (natural) amino acids, generic pentapeptide chart, and Molecule Charts I: containing some amino acids, glucose, THC - tetrahydrocannabinol, and capsaicin.)

Everyone loves sucrose (table sugar), but not everyone loves the calories contained in this disaccharide.

Splenda: "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar." The charts are identical, except you could switch a different color for the chlorines that replace the alcohols. I'm a splenda girl, myself.

Aspartame (or E951 if you're in Europe) has had some controvercy surrounding it's safety (It's been found to be safe, people!), this peptide derived sweetener is not safe for those with phenylketonuria.

NeutraSweet is essentially the same as Aspartame, but it has been modified with a 3,3-dimethylbutyl group, making it more resistant to peptidases (enzymes which will break down peptides until their amino acid building blocks, reducing the risks for phenylketonurics.

Saccharin also had its share of health controversies, but once again, appears to have been exonerated.

Cinnamaldehyde gives cinnamon it's odor and taste, and comprises 90% of the oil in cinnamon bark. Mmmmmm....

Use these charts to make something fun for your favorite science friend who likes to cook (or who just has a sweet tooth.) Enjoy!

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. © 2010 ChemKnits