Monday, February 28, 2011

Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn

Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn by Carol J. Sulcoski

Pooling. Sometimes it is consistent, and the effect can be enjoyable, others it can drive knitters crazy and result in abandoning beautiful colorways. Handpainted skeins have even more variability than those you find in your local yarn store.

This book contains 21 different sock patterns. I think this book has a value greater than the patterns: the discussion of variegated yarns, and how to showcase those in patterns. Each pattern has a symbol indicating what kinds of colorways you could use in the pattern; Nearly Solid, Muted Multi and Wild Multi. The take home message - the greater the stitch complexity, the more subtle colorway you want.

Patterns of Note: Longbourn Socks are a mixture of two colorways in a circle, squiggle and flower pattern. Corrugated Stripe Socks work in any time of colorway. The two color ribbing runs up and down the sock. Spot Check Socks are right up my alley, Fair Isle alternating stitches in two different colorways. I want these already!

This book does not discuss how to dye your own yarn, but I promise that it will make you want to learn more!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Sheldon gets yet another costume

Keith's stuffed turtle is getting snazzy this holiday season! I used this pattern to create this cute little outfit for my favorite turtle.

This skull and crossbones isn't scary; it is too cute to scare anyone

The construction was very similar to the construction of the original shell, with the exception of adding some intarsia.

Construction of the shell pieces.

I stuffed the pirate shell more than I stuffed the original shell. I like to see it as though Sheldon has been working out.

Put some clothes on me!

I think that the yarn requirements listed by the knitpicks pattern are a bit extreme. I personally would not have purchased both cream and yellow (the yellow color is used ONLY for the trim of the hat). At least I like Shine Sport...

I used size 4 needles and followed the pattern with the exception of the icord border around the outside of the shell. I was happy with the shell as it was before that step, so I skipped it.

Which outfit do you like him in more? He now is looking under dressed to me in the standard shell...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Korknisse 2.0

I finally have some more corks, so I can make some more Korknisse! I wanted to make as many of these guys as possible so I could give them out as ornaments at my Holiday Party.

Once again, I used size 2.5 (3mm) knitting needles and scraps of worsted weight yarn. I am really pleased with the effect of variegated yarns on these little dudes and dudettes.

Eek! Someone needs to put our clothes on!

To use these guys as ornaments, I used a little glue to keep the clothes on, and made two dots with a sharpie for the eyes.

This is my favorite one yet! I love the way they look with the Champagne corks

The hat pattern worked for the larger champagne corks, you just had to stretch it out a bit for these mushroom head guys. I thought that I might need to modify the pattern, but thankfully it wasn't the case!

Do you think I have enough corks to make some more?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Briar Rose French Press Coffee Cozy

Previously I had searched for free french press knitting patterns, and while I found many fantastic patterns there wasn't one that I loved enough to make. I loved the Briar Rose stitch I found in Good Housekeeping Traditional Knitting, so I decided to design a knit French Press cozy around this stitch. The best thing about the Briar Rose is that you get a cabled look without the need of a cable needle!

A closeup of the Briar Rose stitch.

The overall effect of the Briar Rose stitch.

  • Worsted Weight wool (50g is sufficient)
  • Size 6 knitting needles
  • size 6 dpn or crochet hook to make button loops.
  • 3 buttons or closures
  • yarn needle for weaving in loose ends.
  • Gauge: 5 sts/inch; ~7 rows/inch.
  • Finished size: 12 inches long, 6 inches high.

Knitting Chart Key
I want to apologize for my lack of knowledge when it comes to knitted chart symbols. I was converting written instructions into a chart, and I didn't know how some of that would work... so (to quote Tim Gunn) I had to "make it work" and find something suitable. I hope that this is understandable!

Key for the Cable Chart (Open in new window to see it bigger).
Updated 3/9/2011 to include the little cross stitch.
Aire River Design Knitting Fonts was used to create the knitting symbols.

The Pattern

  • Cast on 34 sts
  • Starting with row 1 of the chart (a wrong side row), work the double cable pattern.

    The Cable Chart. Open this image in a new window to see the chart larger.
  • When the piece measures 12 inches.... (~6.5 repeats)
  • cast off on a WS (odd number) row
  • Block the fabric (if necessary)
  • Finishing: Sew three buttons onto one side. Pick up stitches to make i-cord loops or crochet a chain to be a loop to secure the buttons. (Choose crochet chain vs. icord depending on the size of buttons you choose.)

    The buttonholes

Blocking the cozy before sewing on the buttons. Normally I would have made the button loops first, but I wanted to be able to block the project without Keith asking what it was. (As soon as he sees the pirate button he would know that the project is for him!) HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEITH!

How the buttonholes fit over the buttons.

About the Yarn
I bought this yarn for 9.5 kn while I was in Croatia. Ana - Vunica za pletenje (translation: Wool for Knitting.) According to the label, the yarn is made in Croatia with a composition of 45 vuna, 10 kasmir, 35 poliamidino vlakno, 10 viskozno (or a wool/acrylic blend). What I can find about the brand and this yarn, it looks nothing like what I find in other photos. This thick and thin single ply, it looks like the tag was taped on! What is this yarn?!? If you have any hints, please let me know!

The Ana Yarn with labels (left) and remaining yarn from one ball used from this project (right)

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
Kfb - increase by knitting into the front and back of a single stitch.
K - knit
P - purl

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.
sl - slip a stitch

This pattern was created by Chemknits for your personal or charity use. You are not distribute or reprint this pattern without the permission of Chemknits.
© 2011 ChemKnits (

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Search for Bicycle Knits

Last year I searched for car related knitting patterns, and came up with very little that was available for free. Living in the city, most of my friends do not have cars, but instead bike around the city.

Almost everyone I know around Boston who bikes has been hit by a car. I grew up biking on Mackinac Island, where there are no cars and the bike is the fastest mode of transportation, so I do no bike in the city. Unfortunately, this does not keep me from being hit by cars because I was once hit in a crosswalk outside of work. Stupid Massachusetts drivers!

I have separated this post into some categories. Charts (which I may stop adding pattern so quickly if I find a million of them), Accessories (thinks that cyclists wear or that you put on your bike) and Toys.

Many people have pattens out there that are called "Bicycle socks" but I am looking for more direct references to this theme.
  • Bike Helmet Ear Warmers - Keith would stop biking in the winter when the roads became too icy, but it also became difficult when it was too cold outside. These ear warmers fit under your helmet (safety is important!) and should really stick down around your ears well. You attache these to the helmet directly. You will need to create a free Ravelry account to view and download this pattern.
  • Bike Helmet Earmuffs - These earmuffs are connected by a strap that goes over your head, under the helmet. You can slip the straps of the helmet through these earmuffs, which is how they stay over your ears.
  • Earwarmers for a Cyclist - These are two separate pieces that fit over the helmet straps. You will need to create a free Ravelry account to view and download this pattern.
  • Antifreeze - This was designed for a snowboarding helmet, but the concept should work well with a biking helmet. With this garment, you keep your entire face (except for eyes) covered. There is a hole where you can fit the straps for the helmet under your chin, through the mask.
  • Helmet Liner - This face mask has an opening that is wide enough so you can pull it up to cover your nose or down to have your face exposed without needing to remove the mask. There is no photo on the pattern page.
  • Double Knit Bicycle Hat - Reversible because of the technique, this hat should also be pretty warm. The bicycle chart fills a good portion of the side of the hat.
  • Lobster Claw Bicycle Mittens - Halfway between mittens and gloves, these hand warmers have a split between your middle and ring fingers so you can brake without removing your hand off of the handle.
  • Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) Mittens - Four bicycles run up and down the back of your hand in these cute mittens. You will need to create a free Ravelry account to view and download this pattern.
  • Cycle Gauntlet Liner - Form fitted, meant to fit under motorcycle gloves, these fingerless mittens have separate finger holes. You will need to create a free Ravelry account to view and download this pattern.
  • Knitted Flower for Bike Helmet - You could adapt many patterns to do something similar. The idea is petty cute. Unfortunately, there is no photo on the pattern page.
  • Bicycle Cozy - This Wonder Woman knit a cozy for her bike... but unfortunately does not provide a pattern. I thought that it could provide some inspiration. (Or you could contact her requesting the pattern, since she assumed no one would ever want that!)


  • Bike Love - Yes this is a knit bicycle. This isn't a pattern per se, as the designer did not use one. She shaped wire in to a bicycle shape (using her bike as a model) and then knit Icords to cover the wire.
  • There are many fun pictures of similar knit/crocheted bikes, but I have not located any patterns.


Wow, I was expecting to find many more patterns than I have...

This post was written as a Happy Birthday to my biking friends with February Birthdays. Happy Birthday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Naughty Needles: Sexy, Saucy Knits for the Bedroom and Beyond

Naughty Needles: Sexy, Saucy Knits for the Bedroom and Beyond by Nikol Lohr

Have you been knitting for Valentine's Day? In honor of Valentine's Day, I decided that this, *achem*, less conventional knitting book would make for a good post.

First impressions: There is definitely a retro edge to many of the patterns (see the cover photo). Overall, the patterns are very racy. Let's just say that this is not a child's knitting book. I will describe some of the patterns, but I will leave some others for you to discover yourself. This book certainly kills the idea that only grandmothers knit!

This book expects that you are familiar with the knitting basics, the patterns range from easy-peasy to intermediate. There are bonus patterns and variations online, which weren't able to fit into the text itself but the text references and directs you to the website.

The Chapters
  • The Introduction: Knitting is Sexy, "it fuses vision and skill into a creative superpower."
  • Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice: Sweet, Sexy Patterns
    • Fembot - Babydoll, using fuzzy and see-through yarns to make a little nighty. This one actually looks pretty real, versus a "home knit" version of a classic garment.
    • The Great Bikini Experiment - There are different variations, including "Not That Inocent" (Yes it is a Britney Spears reference, and the outfit is actually well covered for a bikini) and "Gidget Goes Hawaian" (see cover photo). I don't think that knit bikinis are very practical for anything other than practicing your skill at making things fit. If you take something knit into the water, it will likely stretch out and fall off! I think the use should be limited to laying out in the sunshine.
    • Bond Girl - This is a top that has a fun silhouette. 4 straps all meet in the center of the back. If you chose to knit this in a non-sparkly yarn and without eyelash fluff, this could be even a going-out top. (As shown it looks a bit bedroomy). There is a Goldfinger Dress Variation, which hits mid-thigh, and I personally think is cuter than the top itself.
    • Kinderwhore - These are your basic, ribbed knee-socks.
    • Lolita - "Garters that hold up very plain and limp socks." I was expecting to see a pattern for the fishnet socks they appeared to hold up, but this is just a pattern for the garter.
  • A Little Bit Naughty - Not too tarty, not too sweet
    • Zelda - This dress looks like a elongated tank. It is shown safety pinned to thigh high stockings. I personally feel it would have been more elegant to add some straps to clip to the stockings... the pins pull at the garment a bit.
    • Ice Vixen vs. Cave Girl - I am actually impressed that these "bikinis" look like they could belong in a sexy prehistoric scene. Not that I'm recommending that you wear these to a public costume party!
    • Certainly Naughty Patterns - These I will leave up to your imagination: Dirty Secrets Pillows and Condom Critters.
  • Dirty Needles - Heavy Petting
    • Criss-cross Gloves and Garters - The gloves and garter belt are laced up with ribbons (this must help with the fit.)
    • Mrs. Robinson - Just a sparkly bra.
    • Certainly Naughty Patterns - Hootchie Kootchie Pasties,
  • Bound and Determined
    • Felt Up - (Haha!) a felted corset with ribbon closure on the back.
    • Bound and Determined (I'll let you use your imagination), Baby Blue Ball Gag, Straightjacket, and Disobey Madame At Your Peril.
  • Dress Up - Costumes and Role Play
    • Nursie - A nurse's Cap
    • Siren - A mermaid tail... that will fit you. I found this quite impressive. There is a coordinating "Fish Net" Scarf.
    • Arrgh! - Pirate Eye patch
    • Into the Woods - Little Red Riding Hood cape.
  • Techniques - Some of the more advanced techniques are explained.
I had one major problem with this book: The pictures focused on a scene, and in some cases you could not tell what the knit object is if the title isn't descriptive (until you look at the pattern itself.) I prefer when knitting books show detailed photos of the products, and THEN also the item in a scene. There were many cute references to sexy icons, but the accessories and styling, not the knit objects themselves, created the characters.

This book is a fun novelty item, and could make a good bachelorette gift for a knitter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Holiday Sweaters - Part 2

Welcome to part to of my Itsy Bitsy Holiday Sweaters series! The sweaters from this post came from the 2009 Berocco Minutia. I used size 1 (2.5 mm) knitting needles and KnitPicks Palette Yarn that I hand dyed (with the exception of the black).

The third sweater I knit was #8.
In this cape, I used the second brown that I dyed to create a knit hedgehog. The cape didn't turn out as cool as it looks in the pattern page, but then again I didn't have a crochet hook with me to put any edging on it.

The Fourth Sweater I made was #6. I was able to use a lot of different hand dyed colors in this sweater.

There are a lot of ends to weave in! Thankfully no one is going to actually wear this sweater.

I knit the sleeves in the round (to avoid some seaming), and bound off at the last purl row.

I knit 9 rows in the neck. I then rolled the neck and then

This sweater makes me think of Charlie Brown for some reason.

I hope you enjoyed the second installment of these sweaters! Be sure to check out the first itsy bitsy sweater installment.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Edible Knitting

Today I am defending my dissertation, hopefully tomorrow you'll be able to call me Dr. With the completion of my degree, I am about to launch a second blog: ChemEats - A Biochemist's Cooking Perspective. In honor of this new project, I decided to create a post about the intersection of knitting and cooking.

The Author of created some marzipan knitting decorations for cupcakes. I had no idea that when I searched for knitting and food I would find something so creative! I want to eat those cupcakes!

Stop by ChemEats and see what I have to share about cooking!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Little Lamb

This cute Spring Lamb knitting pattern was a fast and fun knitting project. I used white Palette Yarn and size 1 (2.5mm) knitting needles.

The body of the lamb knit up looking like half of a sweater! After this step I only knit 5 rows of stockinette before decreasing for the nose.

Folding the body to get the lamb shape.

The lamb is stuffed, but the poor thing still needs legs.

The leg pieces came out looking square, so it is up to you which way you want the ribbing to go when you sew them onto your lamb's body.

At the end of sewing on the legs and ears, I knotted the yarn sticking out the back a little bit to make the tail shown in the first image. I hope that you enjoy knitting this lamb as much as I did!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

eReaders and Knitting

I love my Kindle, and I love the fact that it is so easy to bring places with me. The case that it is allows me to prop it up to read easily, but I have to admit that the case has no style. Earlier this month, I decided to do a search for iPad and Kindle cover knitting patterns, to see what could be done to spice up my Kindle's appearance. I think I found around a dozen free knitting patterns, but this is certainly a pattern genre that is open for a lot more design. (Hmm... I think I may have just added something to my design ideas list!) I wish that I knew how to crochet, because there are even fewer free crochet eReader case patterns currently available! I mean, at least you can purchase knit iPad cases!

This research got me thinking about the intersection between knitting and technology. Searching the Kindle Store for "knitting pattern" returned 401 results, and this number is growing. Since I find most of my knitting patterns online, having them easily available in a eReader will make it easier for me to bring patterns with me without printing them to paper. So I ask you, how do you think this movement away from paper books will change your knitting habits? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Speaking of iPads, I have to put in a shameless plug for iPad case in the Zazzle store with the ChemKnits bumble bee mosaic!