Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Hip" Graphic Knits

Hip Graphic Knits: Unique Patterns and Techniques for Adding Stylish Graphics to Your Knitted Designs (Domestic Arts for Crafty Gals) by Rochelle Bourgault & Lisa B. Evans

This is one of my favorite quotes from this book, "Disclaimer: No reindeer, snowmen, pandas or puppies were knit (or even sketched) in the creation of this book." This is a book that will allow you to explore color work in a wide variety of pattern types. Unfortunately, the charts that are used have very common themes that are used repetitively in similar ways across different items.

The book assumes that you know the knitting basics, but it will teach you in the world of colorwork. There is a discussion about turning photos into graphic knits. Each chapter begins with an explanation of the technique, followed by some patterns that will let you use it. And as you may have learned by now, I always enjoy a book that encourages you to create your own patterns.

The Patterns
  • Knitting with Stripes
    • Isadora Scarf - very basic stripes.
    • Bohemian-Chic Yoga Mat Tote - Will fit your yoga mat, with a strap to hold it over your shoulder. I like that the stripes spiral around the bag.
    • Stripped-Down Petal Rug - A short row circular rug, changing colors for each "petal"
  • Intarsia Knitting
    • Lux Pansy Stole - wrap with two large flowers
    • Marimekko-Inspired Felted Needle Case - very simple pattern, doesn't appear to be extremely fitted
    • It Is Easy Being Green Monogrammed Handbag - partially felted, there are leaves involved in the closure at the top of the bag. I actually like this one a lot.
    • The Butterfly Effect Cardigan - the butterfly wings span the front of the cardigan (so it is complete when it is buttoned.)
    • Harlequin-Patterned Backpack - felted, shown with bold colors. A good use of color.
    • Lily's Bordello Pillow - pillow with a large flower
    • Ice Princess Hair Wrap - Mixing colorwork with cables.
  • Fair Isle and Stranded Knitting
    • Cropped Cardigan - A classic Fair Isle sweater but with a shorter length. There are interesting cabled embellishments at the hem and cuffs that makes it cute.
    • Aztec Capelet - The chart only shows 2 colors, but the instructions call for 4 contrasting colors (this difference is noted in the pattern.) At first, looking at the picture, I wasn't sure if a variegated yarn was used or not.
    • Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch Belt -A belt with one loop, it appears to be backed with some fabric.
    • Ella's Argyle Dog Sweater - The title says it all.
    • Ella's Mom's Argyle Mittens - A little bit of argyle on the back of the hand going around your knuckles.
    • Pear Amour Leg Warmers - Pears and Hearts. These go from the ankle to the knee.
    • Tribal Sun Messenger Bag - fantastic graphic sun chart
    • Eve's Garden Cover-up Coat -Not very youthful.
    • Fire and Ice Men's Pullover -I don't see the ice, but in the geometric pattern I can imagine flames.
    • Peruvian Lovebird Hat -Birds around the brim, embroidered flowers on the front and back. The chart ends before the decreases for the crown (so you would be able to substitute your own pattern.
    • Baby, what's your sign? Zodiac Socks - A sock with the astrological sign on it.
  • Embellishing your Knitting
    • Moon Day Yoga Tank - Racerback tank. Colorwork is at the hem.
    • Star-Bellied Toddler Sweater -A large star on the front.
    • Mendhi Sleaves and Collar -Lots of embroidery here.
    • Audrey Hepburn Embellished Sweater - I usually find charts of faces to be pretty fun.
I looked at some knitting books where there are so many items in the photos that you cannot focus on the knit object. This book has silhouettes of people (think early Ipod commercials) so you can really focus on what you could be creating. That being said, I'm not sure I would call these patterns "Hip", although they are certainly graphic.

This book is good for a learning tool, but I would never buy it for the patterns. There are some beautiful charts, but the way colors are incorporated into the designs are fairly repetitive. I find the overall shapes of garments to be very basic and overall uninteresting. I LOVE knitting books that have spiral binding, it makes it so much easier to knit... but that is about all I love about this book.

Do you have a knitting project that you are super proud of? Submit your favorite knitting projects to KPOTD. You might find yourself selected as the Knitting Project of the Day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stash not busting

As I pack up my home in Cambridge, MA, I have been doing a lot of reflecting over knitting projects of the past and present. I thought this would be a good opportunity to review my yarn stash. I wouldn't leave any yarn behind (all of my yarn is moving to Chicago with me!) but at least until I unpack I will have a sense of what I have in the stash. There are a few projects that I'm not packing so I can have access to them during the move, and these are enough to keep me busy for a while!

My knitting basket. This is supposed to be where current projects live... but I tend to take over more space than this!

Most of my yarn is stored in this cupboard. I have enough yarn for a years worth of projects... why is it always tempting to buy some more?

That's right... I spent some time trying to learn how to spin... or at least I had planned to. I know I want to try with a real spinning wheel, as I don't think the drop spindle is for me. Nevertheless, I cannot bring myself to get rid of my cute drop spindle. Maybe I'll use it to make a fun display!

Am I the only one who has a tangled, jumbled mess of yarn that I don't want to get rid of, but I often don't have a use for either? At the bottom of this bag (below some yarn that I do have uses for) are all these remnant scraps that I cannot seem to get rid of. This is even AFTER I've knit multiple charity afghans!

I hope there is a local yarn store near my new house (within walking distance). Harvard Square's store closed right before I moved in. I cannot wait until I've settled into my new home so I can start knitting up a storm again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Knitting Library

As I was packing up I wanted to take the opportunity to catalog the books that I have in my personal knitting library.

Some of them have been gifts, and others I purchased stir a single project. Of course, that was before I realized that I could borrow these from my local library for free. This does not make the books that I own myself less valuable to me!

I own far fewer knitting books than I realized... maybe it is time for me to expand!

Here are two I forgot to photograph, and from my phone I cannot figure out how to rotate the picture in the Blogger Ap!

What knitting book do you use for your inspiration?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Decreasing Knit Stitches

In the previous post I shared knitting tutorial videos on increasing knit stitches. With my partnership with, I've also created some videos on how to decrease knit stitches. AFK already had some videos on K2tog and other decrease stitches, so today I will share with you P2tog in addition to SSK (Slip, slip, knit).

The third video I share with you is a quick description over the difference between SSK and K2tog stitches, and why some knitting projects will specify one over the other.

Decreasing Knit Stitches: SSK (Slip, Slip, Knit) - creating a left leaning decrease.

Decreasing Knit Stitches: P2tog (Purl Two Together)

The Difference Between SSK and K2tog; Decreasing Knit Stitches
- Both of these methods reduce your total number of stitches by one, but SSK leaves you with a left leaning stitch, and K2tog leaves you with a right leaning stitch. You can take advantage of the directionality in your knitting designs.

Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel to check out what other knitting and yarn dying tutorials I've created.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Increasing Knit Stitches

Some new knitters I have met have been intimidated by knitting projects that require increasing and decreasing knit stitches. Along with, I've created some tutorials on two kinds of increasing knit stitches: KFB (Knit in the font and back) and M1 (make one stitch). I hope that you find these videos helpful.

Increasing Knit Stitches: KFB (Knit in the Front and Back)
- With KFB, you are increasing the number of stitches by knitting two stitches into a single stitch. You first knit into the front of the loop, as you would normally but without removing the stitch from the needle you also knit into the back of the loop.

Increasing Knit Stitches: M1 (Make One)
- The M1 stitch allows you to create a knit stitch in between two stitches from the previous row without adding any holes to your fabric.

Feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel to check out what other knitting and yarn dying tutorials I've created.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Knitting on the Road

Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter by Nancy Bush

Knitting while traveling is an interesting concept. When traveling, you have a lot of time which could be perfect for knitting. But if you're stuck on a plane, you don't want long needles that would have you poking your neighbor. You don't want a pattern so complex that you cannot continue with everything in your lap. When I saw this book on the library shelf, I was immediately intrigued. I might prefer a book that has more than sock patterns, but this certainly fits in a much needed niche.

The 17 sock patterns in this book are designed so you can get into the rhythm of the patterns, and therefore it is difficult to loose your place. The book contains an introduction to sock knitting, more than just standard knitting instructions. This spiral bound book has clear images and very organized patterns (you can see all of the instructions on one page without needing to flip back and forth.)

Good job, Ms. Bush!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Don't forget about KPOTD!

Knitting Project of the Day has been going strong for over three months now. I will need your help to keep having fresh, fun knitting projects to share each and every day.

Take the time to submit a KPOTD nomination and you just might find yourself featured on the blog!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Butterfly and Dragonfly Knitting Charts

Spring/Summer knitting continues as I present you with three butterfly/dragonfly inspired knitting charts.

Dragonfly Knitting Chart: 13 x 13 sts

Butterfly Knitting Chart 1: 13 x 13 sts

Butterfly Knitting Chart 2: 13 x 15 sts

As always, I would love to see pictures of your projects that you create from my free patterns/knitting charts. Who knows, you might even end up featured here at ChemKnits or on Knitting Project of the Day!
This pattern was created by ChemKnits for your Personal or charity use. The charts and directions of this pattern are not to be republished without permission of ChemKnits. © 2011 ChemKnits

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Images of the Garters

I missed the ability to discuss my knitting projects in order to keep things a secret. I am writing this post 4 days before the wedding, and I completed the garters a few days ago (about a week before the wedding).

I love the image the garters make when they have had the ribbons inserted. Once they have the elastic in them, the ribbons bunch up and they do not look as pretty (until they are on a leg, of course.)

Since I am preparing to move to Illinois, I had to keep my knitting objects available so I could finish these garters. At one point, I had to dig through a packed box to find a yarn needle so I could weave in the last ends! It was really exciting when I was finished, because I was finally able to pack up the pins and needles.

Blocking the last garter.

Why didn't I include this in the post I published on my wedding day? I wanted that post to be all about the completed projects, rather than the entire progress. And I needed to have another wedding themed post, because "today" (July 3) is Caroline's wedding day! "Tomorrow" I will be leaving Boston and headed to my new home. One of the first boxes I'll unpack will be my knitting stuff!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Garters in stages

The problem with publishing my knitting adventures is that the recipients of my knit gifts may also read the blog. I knit a garter to wear at my wedding, and then decided to knit them for each of my bridesmaids. Two of the girls are also getting married this summer (so I let them know in advance), but I couldn't post about the garters in progress before my wedding because it would spoil the surprise for the rest of the bridesmaids!

Now that I am married (!) I can happily share the WIP (work in progress) status of what I did this Spring. I present to you the WIP of the garters from 45 days before the wedding.

45 days before the wedding I am done with 4 and a half of the garters, at least in terms of the knitting. One and a half garters left to finish knitting!