Friday, May 31, 2013

DNA Cable Beer Cozy Knitting Pattern

Sometimes the need to swatch results in a knitting pattern.  I am working on the design of a DNA Cable Kindle Cover and I wanted to test out my DNA cable chart.  Making a flat swatch wouldn't work very well because I'd have to adjust the wrong side stitches.  Therefore, I decided to go ahead and turn my swatch into its own pattern!

I have been inspired by many DNA knitting patterns there were out there, and used elements of the different cables to create my own version that you see here.

  • US Size 6 (4.0 mm) double pointed knitting needles
  • KnitPicks Comfy Worsted Yarn (17 g, ~40 yards) in color Vinca or other worsted weight yarn.  This project would work with many different fiber substitutions.  
  • Notions: Cable Needle, Yarn needle for weaving in loose ends, Beer bottle to measure your progress.  
  • Gauge - 16 sts/3", 14 rows/2" over stockinette.  
  • Finished size - 6.5" high x 3.25" wide.

Abbreviations used in this pattern
  • CN - Cable Needle
  • K - Knit
  • P - Purl
  • S1 - Slip 1 
  • St - Stitch
  • P2tog - purl 2 stitches together.  

The Pattern
  • Cast on 36 stitches with the long tail cast on method.  Arrange the stitches as follows across 3 double pointed needles:  10, 16, 10.  
  • Join to knit in the round and knit 3 rounds of 2x2 ribbing (K2, P2 across)
  • Next Round: P14, Knit the 9 sts of  the DNA cable chart Row 1, P13.  
  • Continue knitting rows 1-26 of the chart until the piece measures 5.5 inches.   In my sample, I knit rows 1-26, then rows 1-12 once more.  Alternate version: Knit rows 1-28 of the helix chart and then p all rounds until the cozy measures 5.5 inches.  
  • Begin Bottom Decreases:
    • *P4, P2tog* across (30 sts)
    • P across
    • *P3, P2tog* across (24 sts)
    • P across
    • *P2, P2tog* across (18 sts)
    • P across
    • *P1, P2tog* across (12 sts)
    • P2tog across (6 sts)
  • Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches.  Weave in loose ends.  

The DNA Cable Chart
The DNA Cable Chart.  Each row is to be read from right to left.  (The repeat of this chart is 26 rows.)
DNA Cable Knitting Chart Key

I hope that you enjoyed this fun little pattern.  Stay tuned for the free DNA Cable Kindle Cover Knitting Pattern!

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. © 2013 ChemKnits

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No Nupp Annis - My First Handspun Shawl!

It is high time for me to knit a shawl out of my handspun yarn.  I decided to knit the Annis shawl, a simple crescent that doesn't require a ton of yardage.  

Both skeins of handspun silk yarn.   Wound Cake - Spun on Drop Spindle.  Twisted Hank - Spun on my Kromski Fantasia Spinning Wheel. 
The handspun yarn for this story is very interesting.  I spun the first part of these Cascade Head Hanks in the Hood Silk Hankies on my drop spindle, and then I spun twice as much on my spinning wheel.  I had trouble deciding which yarn to start knitting with.  On one hand, the yarn from the wheel alone should be enough for the entire shawl.   I'm not sure if there is consistency between the two different skeins, and the spindle spun might appear totally different than the wheel spun.   

My options are:
1) Knit Entirely out of wheel spun yarn
2) start with drop spindle yarn until it runs out, switch to wheel spun
3) start with drop spindle yarn through the lace portion of the shawl, then switch to the wheel spun.  (this way there is a clear break that won't look strange in the middle of the short rows.)

Both yarns are ~ 27 WPI.  Could be very similar...  but I think that I will go with option #3 to be safe.  Now I only need to decide whether or not to do the nupps...  I'm thinking I will skip them because that should help me in the yardage department.  I could add beads, but I think that this yarn will have enough shimmer without them.  

Closeup of Ball 2 (Wheel spun)
I cast on with size 10 knitting needles using the backwards loop cast on method.  I then purled 1 row to finish this cast on. (This is my prefered method with all bottom up crescents.)  I then knit the rst of the shawl on size 8 needles.  

There is not a lot of give to this yarn, I'm a little terrified that I am going to break it while I'm knitting.   Row 1 (!):  I just had my first break in the yarn.  I fixed it with a little knot.  I hope that this list is going to be a short one...  (Turns out this was right next to a break that I repaired when winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy.)   Thankfully this was the ONLY break I had while knitting this shawl.    As the rows progressed, I became more confident in my abilities to knit with this 100% handspun silk.  

A few rows into knitting, I am beginning to regret my decision to use size 8, rather than 7 or even 6 knitting needles.  This silk yarn has no halo and isn't fluffy, so it is really creating a very open fabric.  I think that the overall effect will still be beautiful, but I really should consider swatching with my handspun yarns in the future.  (I could have started over, but I really didn't want to!)  

2 g remain of the spindle spun yarn (13 g used) upon completion of all of the lace rows.  I am happy with the gauge at this point and am excited to finish this up!    

Although the second skein had the same WPI as the first, the yarn is MUCH thinner where I started the short rows.  Therefore, the yardage may be way underestimated because the yarn gets thicker towards the inside of the ball.  

As for the difference between the two yarns, I noticed something as I wound the ball of the wheel spun yarn. (At this point I had already completed knitting the lace portion.)  There are a lot more navy blue sections here than there were in the previous skein, where most of the blue was mixed in with the green and pink.  This comes from a difference in the hankies themselves, not really from my spinning methods.  

With 1 stitch left on the WS from short rows, S1, P across to last stich, p2tog.  S1, K across row, then bind off on next WS row.  So I like the tight P2tog bindoff, but sometimes it can be a litle tight and make the crescent really small.  I want to make sure that this shawl has some space.  I therefore switched back to a size 10 needle for the bindoff.  7.5 g of ball 2 was consumed.  

I let it soak for 60 min (to give the silk a chance to get saturated) before blocking.   Uhoh... Should have added some vinegar to the rinse.  A LOT of pink dye leaked out into the cool rinse water.  The colors are still really pretty, but there is less pink and more of a muted purple.  I didn't want to add vinegar and heat the silk a bit because I didn't want to dampen the green and blue.

I'm having trouble photographing the colors, so you may not be able to see the loss of pink very well.  I blocked the shawl fairly agressively to see the details.  

The final shawl is as delicate as a butterfly's wing.  I love how simple it is and it is a great accessory for a fancy occasion.  It may not be the warmest shawl, but it is perfect for adding something a little special.  

I am so proud that I finally completed a shawl with my handspun yarn!  Who knows what I'll knit up next.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

In Celebration of Caffeine

Of all my molecule knitting charts, the Hypercaffeinated Caffeine Coffee Cozy is my most popular pattern.  It  makes sense, caffeine is probably the most recognisable molecule by non-scientists.

I knit the original sample of this pattern using remnants of an unknown wool/acrylic blend.  I never kept track of the yardage required to complete the project.  I decided to re-knit the cozy to be able to provide better estimates to fellow Ravelers.  (And to update the pattern page accordingly.)  

I used size 3 (3.25 mm) knitting needles and KnitPicks Wool of the Andes worsted weight yarn in Coal (black), Dove Heather, Red and hand-dyed blue.  The project consumed 29 yards of Dove Heather, 4.5 yards of Coal and ~1 yard of the blue and red scraps.

It is a bit fun to re-knit this pattern.  I miss caffeine terribly (I stopped drinking it about a year ago) so now the only caffeine in my beverages will be in this cozy!

I may not always honor request for sports teams knitting charts (due to my personal affiliations), but I am more than happy to create new molecule knitting charts.  Any requests?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bumble Bee Buddy Crochet Pattern

Since I recently started crocheting amigrumi, it should come as no surprise that I would start to adapt some of my more popular knitting amigurumi patterns to crochet.  (Which is acutally much easier than it sounds.)  I wanted my first ever crochet design to be my iconic Bumble Bee Buddy!

The crochet bumble bee (left) and knit bumble bee (right) amigurumi.


  • Crochet Hook: Size B (2.25 mm)
  • Yarn: Remnants of Fingering Weight KnitPicks Palette Yarn in Black (2.5 g, ~12 yards), White (~1g, 5 yards) and Hand Dyed Yellow  (~1 g, 5 yards)
  • Gauge: Not critcal for this project, but you want the stitches to be tight enough so you do not see the stuffing.  
  • Misc: Pollyfill stuffing, yarn needle, open stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round.  
  • Finished Size: 3.25" nose to stinger, 1.75" wingspan.

Bumble Bee Body Crochet Construction:
(Starting at the tip of the head.  This project is crochet in the round as a sprial, don't join at the end of each round.)
1. With Black (MC), create magic ring with 6 sts.  (6 sts)
2. Inc around (12 sts)
3. SC around
4. Inc around (24 sts)
5. SC around
6. SC around
7. *SC 6, sc2tog* repeat 3 times (21 sts)
8. SC around
9. SC2, sc2tog, SC5, SC2tog, SC5, sc2tog, SC3 (18 sts)
10. SC around
11. *SC 1, sc2tog* around (12 sts)
12. SC around
Now starting the body of the fly.
13. Switch to Yellow: Inc around (24 sts)
14. SC around
15. SC 1, Inc, SC 8, Inc, SC 2, Inc, SC 8, Inc, SC 1 (28 sts)
16. SC around
17. Switch to Black: SC 1, Inc, SC 10, Inc, SC 2, Inc, SC 10, Inc, SC 1 (32 sts)
Rows 18-20: SC around
21. Switch to Yellow: SC 1, sc2tog, SC 10, sc2tog, SC 2, sc2tog, SC 10, sc2tog, SC 1 (28 sts)
22. SC around
23. SC 1, sc2tog, SC 8, sc2tog, SC 2, sc2tog, SC 8, sc2tog, SC 1 (24 sts)
24. SC around
25. Switch to Black: *SC 2, sc2tog* around (18 sts)
26. SC around
27. *SC 1, sc2tog* around (12 sts)
Stuff the head and body with polyester stuffing.
28. sc2tog around (6 sts)
29. sc2tog around (3 sts)
30. sc2tog  (to make the stinger), break yarn and pull yarn through remaining stitches and weave in loose ends

For an alternate striping pattern (no pictured): If you would like to try a yellow head and 5 stripes on the body, try Rows 1-12 Yellow, 13-15 Black, 16-18 yellow, 19-21 Black, 22-24 Yellow, 25-30 black.

Wings (make 1):
With white yarn, CH 35.  SC in 2nd chain from the hook and in each ch uto the end.  SL st to form a "ring.  Twist the ring into a figure 8 and fasten in the middle.  Block if it is twisted to open up the wings.  Secure at the neck of the bumble bee using the loose ends from the wing.  


This is the first crochet pattern I have ever written.  I am still fairly new to crochet termanology, so please leave a comment and let me know if anything needs clarification!

The crochet bumble bee (top) and knit bumble bee (bottom) amigurumi.
I knew that crochet stitches required more yarn that knit stitches and that they are sturdier.  I did not expect the bee to end up so much bigger, but I am very happy that the proportions are still the same.  This is an important thing to consider if you are converting knitting patterns to crochet and vice versa (especially if you are dealing with something that is NOT a toy!)

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
MC - Main Color
ch - Chain 
SC - Sincle crochet
Sl st - slip stitch
sc2tog - work 2 sc together, decreasing 1 stitch.  
inc - work 2 SC's in one stitch
sts - stitches

This crochet pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. You are not to sell, distribute or reprint this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2013 ChemKnits

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Surprise Turtles

Guess what?  I'm pregnant with my first child!  Our little Chirphead is due in October 2013.

For Christmas 2011, Keith gave me a yarn sampler as a gift.  Each month I got a booklet with some ~10 yard miniskeins of different types of yarn about to go on clearance.  One month there was a sample of Araucania Tolhuaca Cotton yarn and it was so soft I couldn't stop touching it.  I knew that this was the yarn I wanted to use for my future baby blanket (purchased well before we were expecting!), so I ordered enough for a blanket plus two extra balls for bibs.  When I finally found out that I was pregnant, I was thrilled to pull out the green yarn to knit up a little bib to give Keith for his birthday (which was within a few weeks of us finding out we were pregnant.)  

Down Clover Laine has some amazing bib patterns and most of them are free.  Unfortunately, I got my heart set on the Turtle Love pattern which is only available through the purchase of a Peaches and Cream Pattern Booklet.  I couldn't bring myself to spend $12 for one pattern (especially when there was no verification on the website about what patterns I would receive with that booklet), so I recreated the bib looking at the images from the pattern page.

I calculated 37 stitches for across the bib.  I used the short row instructions from the Stretch Bib to set it up. After making the turtle heart design + a few rows, I continued on at row 69 (on the RS) of the Stretch instructions.  The version I created isn't exact, but I think it successfully preserves the turtle love of the original design! 

I decided that it would be faster to make crochet chains rather than iCord chains that I did on the other two bibs I've made.  I used a size H hook.  I just did a single chain and then cut the tie.  

The yarn is a little less soft than it was on the sample card.  I'm a little worried because this is the yarn that I plan on using for my baby blanket!   I hope that with some handling or maybe even a wash that it will soften up.  The Araucania Tolhuaca Solid (color 1203) only had 94 g in the ball of yarn to start. 37 g remained when I was done with the bib (so the bib consumed 57 g).  

I wet blocked (lightly) the bib. I know that I will likely wash it before the baby comes, but I wanted to finish it properly for now.  I am really excited because this is the first project I have knit for my future child WHILE  that child was growing inside me.  (I knit a few items when we started trying to get pregnant.)  It is safe to say that you can expect to see many more baby knit items coming up here on ChemKnits.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Search for Free Mario Crochet Patterns

I started out searching for video game themed crochet patterns, but I found so many that I needed to separate them into (at least) three separate posts!  This post is dedicated to Mario Themed Crochet Patterns!  (I should mention for the record that I was never any good at any Mario themed games.  I was good at playing the second controller to help get additional stars in Mario Galaxy!)  

Are you going to crochet any of these Mario crochet amigurumi?  Which one is your favorite?

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Just Need a Little Yellow!

This is the first time in a long time that I've done a blog post about dyeing yarn without also filming a video to go along with it.  However, since I made a video with using old tie dye kit dyes in the past, I felt this would be redundant.  I do need to make some yellow yarn for a new design I have in the works.  (I am super excited about this one!

I still have some mixed yellow dye left over from my Tulip Tie Dye Kit that I decided to use for this project.  I presoaked some fingering weight wool in water for 30 min before adding the yellow dye and letting it sit overnight.

The next day I rinsed the yarn and washed it with some dish soap.  There was a lot of run off but eventually the color cleared.  After washing, this miniskein was a bit tangled, but it is so small that I had no problems winding it into a ball.  I hope there will be enough for the project I have in mind!

What do you think I need the yellow yarn for?  (Hint, it is just a small amount of yellow yarn.)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chevron Baby Hat Knitting Pattern

Baby Lucky modeling the hat at 5 weeks old with a 14.5/15" head circumference

I love using KnitPicks Shine Sport Yarn for baby items.  It is soft, machine washable and drapes amazingly.  The problem is that I now have a TON of Shine Sport remnants.  Frequently a newborn sized hat uses about 2/3 of a 50 g ball of yarn, so I decided to create a design that would use the remainder of two different balls in a fun chevron pattern.  I am pleased to share with you my Chevron Baby Hat Knitting Pattern!

  • 2 colors (minimum) of KnitPicks Shine Sport in Aquamarine (A: blue - 15 g; 33 yards) and Orchid (B: pink- 12 g; 27 yards).  The entire hat weighs 27 g (~60 yards).  
  • 4/5 US Size 5 (3.75 mm) double pointed knitting needles or circular needles large enough for magic loop.
  • Yarn needle for weaving in loose ends.  
  • Gauge ~6 sts/inch over stockinette
  • Finished Size:  Newborn - 6" tall (at the longest point) x 12" circumference  (easily stretches to 15")

Abbreviations used in this pattern
  • K - Knit
  • P - Purl
  • S1 - Slip 1 stitch
  • S2KP - Slip 2 stitches together K-wise, Knit 1, pass slipped stitches over.  (Centered Double Decrease)
  • (K1, YO, K1) in next stitch = creating three stitches from a single stitch.  This should create no holes.  
  • sts - stitches

Pattern Notes

To create a larger baby hat, increase the number of cast on stitches by increments of 12 and adjust the length by repeating rows 3-4 with alternating colors until the desired length is reached.   The crown decreases also begin on a 12 stitch repeat so you can follow the decreases as written.

When knitting with two colors, don't break the yarn after each stripe, just carry the yarn up the side.

Chevron Baby Hat Knitting Pattern
  • Cast on 84 sts in Color A with the long tail cast on.  Join to knit in the round.
  • Row 1: *K9, S2KP* repeat until end of round  (70 sts)  
  • Row 2:  *K4, (K1, YO, K1) in next stitch, K5*  Repeat from *  (84 sts)
  • Switch to color B
  • Row 3: S1 stitch Pwise (NOTE: This will become the last stitch of the round), K9, *S2KP, K9* repeat until last 3 stitches, S2KP (The K stitch in this centered double decrease is the slipped stitch from the beginning of the round.  If you are using circular needles you will need to slip the marker over.)  (70 sts) 
  • Row 4: *K4, (K1, YO, K1) in next stitch, K5*  Repeat from *  (84 sts)
  • Repeat rows 3-4 alternating colors ever 2 rows as desired.  Continue for 15 total stripes or until the work measures 4.5 inches long from the cast on edge (for Newborn sized hat, add more rows for the hat to fit a larger baby), ending after a row 4.  
  • Crown Decreases - Continue switching colors ever two rounds.  
    • Decrease Round 1:  S1 stitch P-wise, K9, *S2KP, K9* repeat until last 3 stitches, S2KP (70 sts)
    • Decrease Round 2: K across
    • Decrease Round 3: S1 p-wise, K7, *S2KP, K7* repeat until last 3 stitches, S2KP (56 sts)
    • Decrease Round 4: K across
    • Decrease Round 5: S1 p-wise, K5, *S2KP, K5* repeat until last 3 stitches, S2KP (42 sts)
    • Decrease Round 6: K across
    • Decrease Round 7: S1 p-wise, K3, *S2KP, K3* repeat until last 3 stitches, S2KP (28 sts)
    • Decrease Round 8: K across
    • Decrease Round 9: S1 p-wise, K1, *S2KP, K1* repeat until last 3 stitches, S2KP (14 sts)
    • Decrease Round 10: K across 
    • (Use the color from the previous two rounds) Decrease Round 11: K2tog across (7 sts)
  • Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches.  
  • Weave in loose ends.  

I love this simple little hat. The way the first stitch is slipped before the decrease round makes it really hard to tell where the rounds begin, which is a nice finishing detail in my opinion.  The WS fabric of this hat also looks really cool, so you are basically getting two hats from one afternoon of knitting!

A note behind the design.  At first I tried to do this with 72 sts (a number I've used for many stockinette newborn hats), but that gave a 10" circumfrence over the chevron pattern.  So I cast on again with 84 sts as I created the above pattern.  Enjoy!

10/16/2014 - Correction.  Row 1 of this pattern was updated to remove the extra K1 stitch at the end of the round.  

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
S1 - Slip 1 stitch
S2KP - Slip 2 stitches together K-wise, Knit 1, pass slipped stitches over.  (Centered Double Decrease)
(K1, YO, K1) in next stitch = creating three stitches from a single stitch.  This should create no holes.
sts - stitches

Kfb - increase by knitting into the front and back of a single stitch.
M1 (Make 1)- increase stitch by picking up yarn between two stitches, twisting and knitting.

K - knit
P - purl
I-cord - knit stitches on dpn's without ever turning the needle (effectively knitting in the round with a small number of stitches.)
SSK - decrease by slipping two stitches then knitting them together. Alternatively, you could slip one stitch, knit one stitch and pass slipped stitch over.
K2tog - decrease by knitting two stitches together.

This knitting pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. You are not to sell, distribute or reprint this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2013 ChemKnits

Monday, May 6, 2013


When I saw the BombOmb Crochet Amigurumi, I got extremely excited.  I knew that I had the perfect colors in my remnant stash to whip up this little creature.  I chose to use a F hook because that is what I've been using with KnitPicks WOTA.  I figured this was a good project to use some some of the remnants I have laying around.  The project consumed 7 g of Black (coal), 3 g of Grey (mist), and 3 g of yellow (color name unknown.)

This BobOmb is one of my first crochet amigurumi projects.  I am REALLY noticing that this is much slower than if I were knitting the sphere.   A knit stitch in this yarn is approximately the same size as a SC.  Of course, I think that the crochet fabric is a better texture for this toy and that it will be worth it in the end.  (I Hope.)

I'm also noticing that I'm getting a blister or small irritation on the middle finger of my left hand.  This part of my finger keeps rubbing against the crochet project, something that never happens while knitting.

I did a slightly stupid thing where I sewed the cap onto the bomb before sewing on the fuse.  Next time, Secure the fuse to the cap first!

Unfortunately because of the way I sewed the feet on, it cannot stand unattended.  However, this is intended as an ornament so it hangs perfectly!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to Create Braided Roving

When people sell rovings on Etsy, they always come in very pretty braids.   As I started dyeing my own rovings, I wanted to explore the best ways to prettily store them.  In the following to video tutorials, there are two different methods for creating roving braids:  1) By actually braiding the roving and 2) by crocheting the roving (looks like a braid).  I learned how to "braid" the roving first, but then I learned from purchasing other braids that more people actually crochet them.

How to Braid Roving:

How to crochet roving:

Now that you've seen both, which method do you prefer?