Tuesday, December 29, 2009

K1B Hat

I continue to be enchanted by the book Knit One Below: One Stitch, Many Fabrics by Elise Duvekot. I decided to craft on of the "Family Affair" hats for a Christmas present.

The yarn weight used in the patter is similar in weight and yardage to KnitPicks WotA Yarn. The hat requires 5 colors, I choose white, cobblestone heather, coal, dove heather and onyx heather. The pattern for the male hat required 72 sts for a 22" circumference. The Deathly Hallows Ear-Flap Hat I made had 108 sts around, and it was knit with a double strand of the same brand yarn! I therefore decided to make the hat with 96 sts, and adjust accordingly.

See how tiny the hat with 72 sts would have been?

The adjusted hat size did not require any modifications until the decrease (using the prescribed color changes):
  • In the first P row of the crown decrease, decrease 5 sts as evenly as possible - 91 sts remaining
  • Divide evenly into 7 groups of 13.
  • *K11, K2tog before the marker* repeat across
  • P across one row
  • Repeat the decrease and P rows until 7 sts remaining. Finish as described.

I am thrilled with the way the hat came out. There is one subtle thing with the fabric that I would like to point out. Although I used the same K1B sequence, I think it matters which color you use first for the K1B. If you notice in the photo below, the lightest two colors in the stripes are closer together above the brim than below.

I love the way both sides of K1B fabric look. I would have selected a different gradient, but I am not sure what colors, besides black-grey, can be used without looking feminine. (There is a beautiful blue gradient in the book, but it does not look manly.) Orange or Yellow?

Monday, December 28, 2009

At a Reader's Request - Porphobilinogen and Heme Inspired Charts

Acute Intermittent Porphyria is a genetic disorder that affects the production of the heme group that is important for the protein hemoglobin to bind and carry oxygen. AIP is not a disease I knew anything about until I an email from a reader. "Mom K" wrote me that she has AIP and asked for tips with a chart for the porphobilinogenic chain. (This molecule is the precursor for heme that accumulates since the next enzyme in the pathway is not functional.)

Porphobilinogen Knitting Chart (19x29 sts)

Mom K, use in good health on whatever project you have in mind. When I knit with my molecular charts, I knit them into the project directly while other use duplicate stitches to make the patterns.

I had actually been playing with charts inspired by heme groups and other siderophores (iron carriers) because the complexity of cyclic rings would be beautiful in fair isle. Some aspect of these will be shared when I finally create my Christmas stockings, but I thought it appropriate to include them here as well.

Heme inspired chart 1 - 26x26 (left), heme molecule (right)

Heme inspired chart 2 - 25x25

Heme inspired chart 3 - 21x21

What molecules should I chart next?

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. Feel free to incorporate into your own projects, and send me pictures!
© 2009 ChemKnits

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Were you a good girl/boy?

Watch out! If you misbehaved this year, your favorite knitter might leave you this lump of coal (free pattern from KnitPicks) rather than a nice hat or sweater!

My Grumpy was knit with black palette yarn as directed. It took less than an hour to knit, and then stovetop felting and a hotel thread kit did the rest.

Grumpy before he was felted.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Knits!

I like to make something knit each year for my boyfriend's family. (My own family lives in Florida, so woolen accessories don't really see a lot of use!) I am always looking for inspiration for projects that will impress the recipients. Although I do not look for holiday related items specifically, I thought it would be fun to post on Christmas about holiday knitting books.

Holiday Knits: 25 Great Gifts from Stockings to Sweaters by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs

The book is split into three sections, based on how long the projects should take:
  • Quick Crafts (about a weekend): Hat and Scarf striped with texture (very elegant), Men's striped hat and scarf, beaded box ornaments, brimmed baby hat with a pocket for a little bird!, Ball ornaments (use needle felting), Baby booties, Stuffed Snowman and Caterpillar
  • Plan ahead projects (a week or two): Mother and Daughter Ponchos, Mittens, Winter Tote, Candy Striped Bolster, Angora House Socks, Ruffle Scarf (very feminine), Striped Stocking Caps, Classic Christmas Stocking, Old-fashioned Christmas Stocking, Striped Christmas Stocking, Tipless Gloves, Throw Pillows, Gingham Cosmetics Bag
  • Long term luxuries (two weeks or more): Holiday Hoodie (complete with hand pocket in front), Lap Robe Blanket (4'x4'), Patchwork Rug
The baby hat with a pocket for a toy is super cute. The hat pattern itself isn't super exciting, and unfortunately the cute bird toy pattern is not included. I like that the projects are separated by time... based on how much you've procrastinated you can still get some gifts done! Many of these patterns are quite classic, but the collection is fairly versatile. I may not be rushing to Amazon to purchase a copy for myself, but I figure that if anything inspires you to do a project then it was worth a read!

Handknit Holidays: Knitting Year-Round for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice by Melanie Falick

Wow. call me impressed. These are beautiful, well designed. Everything looks expensive and like it would be fun to create.
  • Designs for the Home: Knitted and Felted Ornaments and Garlands, Pompom garland, Family of Funky Stockings, Wire Menorah/Votive Sleaves, Lace Photo Mats, Hannah's Tablecloth, Alchemy Kitty & Pup, Menorah Pillow, Floral Tree Skirt, Striped Stocking, Aran Tree Skirt with matching stocking, Mrs. Claus Doll, Winter Solstice Table Runners, Regal Frost Cushions
  • Warming Up: Candy Cane Hat (So cute with upturned swirls of color), Fur-Trimmed Hood and Gauntlet Gloves (shown on cover), Vintage Beaded Gloves, Snowy Triangle Scarf and Hat, Stained Glass Scarf (doubleknit), Over the Knee Socks, Holly Leg Warmers, Nutcracker Slippers (they look like Ballet shoes!), Log Cabin Socks, Community Afghan, Color and Texture Afghan, Keefely Mittens (with a cookie recipe), Flap-top Mittens
  • Dressing Up: Ribbon Scarf, Sparkly Kiss Cap (I could eat this one up!), Santa Hat, Zigzag Poncho/Skirt and Dog Sweater, Crisscross Shrug, Santa Lucia Crown, Snegurochka's Party Hat, Sugarplum Pullover, Swedish Heart-Warmer Shawl, River Forest Gansey, Cardinal Joy Hoodie, Evergreen Shawl, Wisconsin Winter Stole, Brussels Lace Camisole
  • Packing up (Caryalls, Gift Bags and Last minute gifts): Flower Pins, Balsam Sachets, Evergreen and Christmas Rose Gift Bags, Felted Wine Bags, Counterpane Carpet Bag and Accessories Pouch, Elf Caps, Apres-Ski Kerchief, La Luz Eye Mask
All of the patterns in this book are beautiful, interestingly designed and well executed. For example: Hannah's Tablecloth is beautiful. As the author describes, Hannah wanted to create a knit tablecloth like the ones that had been passed down in her family, so she designed these lacy strips that hold linen napkins together. Brilliant!

Knit Christmas Stockings!: 19 Patterns for Stockings and Ornaments edited by Gewn Steege.

The stockings in this book are diverse and cute. I enjoyed that the book was shaped like a stocking. The patterns were spread out onto multiple pages (5-6/stocking) which makes it more difficult if you like to photocopy the pattern for when you knit. (I like to make notes in the margins, and I wouldn't do that to a book!)

Pattern Highlights:
  • Winter Wonderland's dangling 3-D snowmen on the cuff.
  • Star Brocade: textured, elegant, and simple. The stars are created with knits and purls giving it a unique (from when I've looked at) stocking pattern.
  • Snazzy Argyles! Too bad these don't quite fit in with my own plans, or I'd be working on them NOW! In addition to stockings, there are patterns for ornaments at the end: little stockings, sweaters, mitts and felted knit treats.
A good source of inspiration. There is really only one standard stocking shape, but the variety of decorations makes them very customizable.

Merry Christmas, my fellow knitters!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Pickle

A Christmas pickle is not part of the tradition in Keith's family. I decided to make one based on a few factors: 1) Knitpicks presented a free pattern for a genuine knit pickle, and 2) everyone thought my cactuar looked more like a pickle (so this would give me an opportunity to show I can make a pickle on purpose!)

I knit this pickle with my hand dyed "green tea" yarn as directed.

My pickle is closer to 5" tall (versus 3.5"), but I didn't check my guage first so it was my own fault. I was slightly surprised that the pattern was not symmetrical for the bumps, but then again, what pickle is symmetrical?

A random aside: Stuffed toys tend to start with a small number of stitches, and you usually have these divided evenly among 3 or 4 needles. It is a minor annoyance, when executing the decreases at the end of the toy, when you need to make a K2tog over the border of two needles. (It is not that it makes the project take longer, I just like it when things work out well!) I was pleasantly pleased to see that the decreases in this pickle happened without the need for rearrangement!

My guesstimate about the yardage I would need was pretty good, I have very little green tea left:

Friday, December 18, 2009

KOL Addicts?

Kingdom of Loathing is a fun RPG that my boyfriend got me to start playing as a birthday present to him. It is an in-browswer game, and all of the graphics are stick figured sketched. Needless to say, I've become quite addicted.

I was waiting for a bus and bored, so I decided to create a knitting chart of the main KOL logo. This chart is large (about 41x44 stitches).

If you play... "kmail" me sometime and let me know what you think (shasta_qt).

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Patterns That Make Me Smile

Today is my birthday, and I've decided to make a list of knitting patterns that make me happy. They may be classic, or quirky, or really strange. Many of these are from my collection of saved patterns. Enjoy!
  • Grumpasaurus - This cute little dino would make your heart melt with his grumpy expression.
  • LionBrand's 5.5 Hr Crochet Throw - The thought of finishing a blanket in a day excites me to no end. This pattern made me want to learn how to crochet. I still do not know how... I sense a New Year's resolution coming on... (Note: you will need to create a free account to view LionBrand's Patterns.)
  • Conservative Sock Pattern - My father always liked patterned dress socks, and this pair is all colorwork. I actually feel as though I have the skills to attempt these now!
  • Felted Fortune Cookies - Now you can get the fortune without having to eat the cookie!
  • Honeycomb pillow pattern - A good stash-buster project and a way to recover those old pillows you have stashed in the closet.
  • Soctopus - Knitty's showcased patterns are always fantastic. The whimsy of this socktopus is just darling.
  • Plastic Bag Shopping Bag - A year ago I found this pattern, and cut all of the colored shopping bags in my house into strips to attempt this pattern. I broke one of my Boye Interchangeable Needle Set needles in the process. I am still in love with this idea, and would like to attempt it again someday.
  • Some Assembly Required - a Lego stuffed toy... that comes apart... like a lego! If only this pattern were free. Alas, I cannot bring myself to purchase a pattern for a novelty gift... but it is brilliant.
  • Toddler Dinosaur Hat - My mom sewed one of these for me so I could be a dragon at age 4... a costume that my brother later used himself. This brings back great memories
  • Dino Stuffies - The first move I ever saw in theaters (that I can remember) was Land Before Time, and it remained one of my favorite childhood movies. I was excited to find some dino stuffies! Triceratops, stegos, and brots....
  • Knit felted pumpkin- As always with knitty patterns, this is absolutely stunning.
  • Space Invader Charts - These would be cute in the stockings! Note: you may need a Ravelry account to view them.
  • Homemade apple Pi - I am still giggeling by this pun!
  • R2D2 beanie hat - This requires no further description
  • Lobster and buoys - If you need to make a present for someone in Maine, then this would work well!
  • Woolie the Ewe - A loop stitch makes the coat full and wooly.
  • Mad Carrot - Put a grumpy face on any object and I will melt!
  • Spring blooms - This pattern has some of the best step by step photo instructions I have ever seen on any internet published knitting pattern.
  • Cookie Monster and Elmo - My dad used to be able to do the best grover impression when I was a kid.... I was the Count, myself.
  • Sushi! - free download from Ravelry.
  • Koala baby and a Hippo - I loved this authors little turtles, so I imagine that this will be a dream to knit up!
  • Alien - Are you also a minority at your college campus?
  • Babydoll Dress - This is beautiful, and looks like something that you should buy from an expensive boutique.
  • Ruffly Baby Hat - this is a ruffly hat... i want my friends to start having baby girls!
  • A GREAT pair of baby socks. Talk about interesting! i LOVE booties that have no seem, and these are WAY more interesting than just a garter stitch.
  • Windmill Tote - Four sections are knit and assembled like a windmill. A fun play with color and function.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Charts for you Pain Relief

My other molecule knitting charts have been very popular, so I've decided to expand with some other famous molecules. In the Hangover Beer Cozy by ChemKnits, I provided you with a chart of ibuprofen for the "recovery" side of the cozy. Here are some other molecules that are known to provide "pain relief" that could make a fun addition to your beer cozy.

Aspirin Knitting Chart (20x20)

Methamphetamine Knitting Chart (13x22)

Acetaminophen Knitting Chart (13x23)

Molecules like Hydrocodone and Morphine cannot be drawn flat, so unfortunately I cannot provide you a chart at this time. Maybe I you could crochet out the extra cycle.... something to think about!

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

(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.) © 2009 ChemKnits

Monday, December 7, 2009

Knit Beaded Christmas Ornament Pattern

After finding this pattern for beaded Christmas ornaments, I was inspired to design my own based on items that I could easily find. I was also hoping to take advantage of the plethora of fingering weight wool I have around my house. Another advantage is that by using large beads (rather than tiny seed beads), I won't have to string as many onto the yarn!

For tips about how to make beaded knitting projects, check out this knitty article.


  • Knitpicks Palette Blue Note Heather (blue with hints of teal and pink)
  • Aqua Purple lined (LT6E62) 6/0 Czech glass beads (24 g tube)
  • Wire Beading Needles
  • Yarn needle for finishing
  • 2.5 inch Styrofoam Ball
  • Size 3 (3.25 mm) double pointed knitting needles.
Gauge: ~9 sts/inch; ~8 rows/inch

First string the beads onto the wool. I strung the entire package onto the wool, but I did not need that many beads for my ornament. Since I do not have a crochet hook small enough to add beads onto the work as I go, it was better to have too many beads strung than not enough.

The Pear-Shaped Beaded Ornament Pattern
Row 1: Cast on 6 sts. Join and knit 1 round.
Row 2: Kfb across (12 sts)
Row 3: Kfb across (24 sts)
Row 4: K1, slip 1 bead (s1b), *K2, s1b* repeat from * until the last stitch, K1. (12 beads)
Row 5: kfb across (48 sts)
Row 6: Repeat row 4 (24 beads)
Row 7: *K1, Kfb* across (72 sts)
Row 8: Repeat row 4 (36 beads)
Row 9: *K2, kfb* across (96 sts)
Row 10: Repeat row 4 (48 beads)
Row 11: K across
Row 12: *K2, s1b* across (48 beads)
Row 13: *K2, K2tog* across (72 sts)
Row 14: Repeat row 4 (36 beads)
Row 15: *K1, K2tog* across (48 sts)
Row 16: Repeat row 4 (24 beads)
Row 17: K2tog across (24 sts)
Row 18: Repeat row 4 (12 beads)
At this point, place your styrofoam ball into the knit sphere. You will need to stretch the knitting out to get it to fit close to the top of the ball. It may be helpful to have toothpicks to anchor the knitting around the ball. We will now be starting the section that will appear more lace-like. When you knit the following rows, pull the stitches tight so you can close the casing around the ball. If you are having difficulty getting the needle in the stitches, increase the number of dpn you're using.
Row 19: k across
Row 20: *K2, S1b* across (12 beads)
Row 21: k across
Row 22: K2tog across (12 sts)
Row 23: K2tog across (6 sts)

Cut yarn, pull though remaining stitches. Weave in loose ends. Using yarn or thread, tie a loop at the top so you can hang it on your tree. Step back and admire your work. Then take a picture and send it to me at ChemKnitsBlog@gmail.com.

Before stretching the ornament, it looks small on the styrofoam ball.

Total beads used: 254
Total beads remaining on wool: 145

I accidentally ended up creating a pear shaped ornament. In theory, I could have stretched it over the ball completely, but it was so hard to knit around the Styrofoam ball that I added some rows at the top. They are stretched more, and have a lace-like effect that I found pleasing. I was also concerned about running out of beads, but as you can see I only used about 2/3 of the container.

I also learned that the beads are more visible on the WS of this project (I regret that I do not have a photo of this for you). I liked the subtle aspect, but if you want to beads to be sticking out more like dew drops, then change all K's to P's.

My tree, with my beaded ornament and knit snowbuddy.
The beaded ornament is a similar size to glass bobbles you may already own.

Abbreviations used in this pattern:
Kfb - increase by knitting into the front and back of a single stitch.
s1b - slip one bead
K - knit
P - purl
K2tog - decrease by knitting two stitches together

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

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Search for Custom Spinners

I love dyeing my own yarn for knitting projects, but there are limits to the colorways I can achieve. I would love to dye wool and spin it into yarn, but realistically it would take me far too long to learn to be able to make such a project from start to finish. (Hours on the hand spindle resulted in maybe 2 yards of super chunky wool.) Although I am still considering lessons on a spinning wheel, I'm now researching places that will custom spin yarn for you.

Most of the wool processors I've found are for people who want to process their raw wool from sheep. I want someone who will take roving that I've dyed myself and turn it into yarn (see this knitty article). Why not just buy handspun yarn from esty? I want to have a role in the colorway, and design the yarn I want for a (yet unknown) project.

Preliminary research indicated that I want handspinning, not a mill. I want character with color, I don't care about the handspun feel, but there are problems with mills. 1) Many require more pounds, 25-50 lbs, of wool than I would ever want for a single project. 2) One mill with low weight requirements indicated that when they put the wool through their carding machines (which they always do), the handpainted effects will be lost.
  • Joy of Handspinning - Maximum 5 lbs fiber, 2 ply is 2.45/ ounce. They accept many fiber types (including dog!) This may be my best bet.
  • Big Sky Quality Wool - $22/pound for spinning from roving, add $2 (per pound?) for lots under 5 lbs. Other mills I've contacted will machine card the wool you send them, so handpainting roving would not really work. It is worth contacting them to inquire if they accept handpainted rovings.
  • Bel Tine Farm (formerly Blue Moon Farm) - No minimum. They only do spinning, no other fiber processing. Around $20/lb.
  • Carother's Country Farm - Around 22/lb. no minimum. They will also do custom hand spinning.
  • VIP Fibers - Turn dog or cat fur into yarn... I think that would be difficult for people with allergies!
  • Alpaca Nation - $3-5 per ounce for custom handspinning. they take roving.
  • Esty Alchemy - I could post my own ad for spinners! It would not be difficult to see examples of other people's work. Upside - ratings from dealings with other people. Downside - since it is likely not an established company, there is less trust. Upside 2 - I could name my price and see if it is reasonable.
This is not technically a pattern search, but I figure that there are other knitters out there with the same inquiries as myself. And now I have something else to save up for...

Do you have any advice? I'd appreciate it!