Sunday, January 29, 2012

Entrelac Hat

This was my first time doing a tubular cast on. I used this method (which saved me the trouble of doing a provincial cast on.)

I was concerned that the brim would be too tight, but I slipped stitches off the needle to try it on my head and it feels okay. (Phew!)

Learning to knit backwards is a really helpful technique for entrelac knitting. This way you don't have to constantly turn your work, making the knitting much faster. I also find it useful to use an extra double pointed needle to pick up the stitches.

The designer of this entrelac hat designed a formula to help you create this hat with any yarn and gauge. You can no longer input your numbers onto the blog page itself, but the designer provided the formulas so you can create your own spreadsheet. I set mine up in a google document so you can do your own entrelac cap calculations. Please edit only the cells shaded in yellow. The other values will be automatically updated to tell you how many stitches to cast on etc.

I knit this hat with James C. Brett Marble Chunky Color MC12 using size 7 knitting needles (I used the gauge from the fingerless mitts knit in the same yarn to help with this.) This yarn is PERFECT for entrelac.

My Spreadsheet Results:
  • Measurements (These are the values that you measure from your swatch and then input into the spreadsheet):
    • Head Circumference 21.1 inches
    • Swatch Stitches 9 per 2 inches
    • Swatch Rows 15 per 2 inches
  • Gauge (st/10 inch) 45
  • Gauge (rows/ 10 inch) 75
  • Head circumference (st) 94 stitches
  • #stitches to cast on 47 stitches* (if you're going to make a tubular cast on starting with a provincial cast on)
  • Size of Entrelac Square 7 (The size of your beginning squares can be changed in the spreadsheet, too.)
  • number of squares 14
  • stitches for entrelac 98
  • Add 4 sts
  • add one stitch every 23 sts
  • Entrelac rows with full size squares 4 (According to the designer, using more Entrelac rows here will make the hat more slouchy.)
  • Top Decreases
    • Number of stitches: 56
    • first decrease: 0 sts
    • number of rows left: 14
    • decreases per row: 4
    • sts between decreases on first row: 12 (K12 , K2tog across)

Notes from my knitting:
  • I knit 7 rounds of ribbing before adding the 8th where I increased 4 sts
  • For me, the first entrelac round was clockwise. I would knit backwards until the 7th stitch, then K2tog(backwards). (there wouldn't be a complete K row first)
  • When I am decreasing from 7st squares to 6 st, I pick up 6, and then when I get to the last 2 stitches, I K3tog-backwards (or Slip1, K2tog, PSSO if I'm going in the other direction). This way the squares aren't too long for the next round when I only will pick up 5 sts.
  • I added a 3 st square row after the 4st row.
  • I wanted to decrease the top faster: Pick up 1 stitch and knit, K1, K2tog --> across
  • Next row: K1, K2tog -->, Followed by K2tog --> until 7 sts remained.

The hat is 101 g. So this took about half a skein. From the first skein, I have 67g remaining.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wide Brim Skullcap

Keith loves his K1B hat that I made him a few years ago, but he seemed bummed about the idea of not getting a hat for Christmas when he saw me making so many for other people. I decided to make him a simple watchman's cap with yarn that I love (Lion brand fisherman's wool 2:1 brown:white twist).

This is a variation of my generic skullcap knitting pattern in that I've made a much longer ribbed brim so it gives the hat a large fold. This is a great way to be sure of the fit. It is hard for me to measure men's hats on myself because my head is pretty small, and it could end up with the hat being too short for them.

  • US Size 6 (4.0 mm) knitting needles (either double pointed or 16" circular or large enough for magic loop.)  
  • Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool (worsted weight yarn) 63 g, 130 yards.
  • Gauge: 5 stitches/inch; 7 rows/inch over stockinette.
Wide Brim Skullcap Knitting Pattern
  • Cast on 90 sts. Join to knit in the round.  
  • Work 33 rows in P5, K4 ribbing
  • Increase 10 stitches: K9, M1 across (100 sts)
  • Work 30 rounds in stockinette (K every round)
  • Crown Decreases:
    • *K8, K2tog* across (90 sts)
    • K 1 round
    • *K7, K2tog* across (80 sts)
    • K 1 round
    • *K6, K2tog* across (70 sts)
    • K 1 round
    • *K5, K2tog* across (60 sts)
    • K 1 round
    • *K4, K2tog* across (50 sts)
    • K 1 round
    • *K3, K2tog* across (40 sts)
    • K 1 round
    • *K2, k2tog* across (30 sts)
    • K1 round
    • *K1, k2tog* across (20 sts)
    • K2tog across (10 sts)
    • K2tog across (5 sts)
  • Cut yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Weave in loose ends and enjoy your skullcap!

Abbreviations Used in this pattern:
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, to distribute or reprint this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2012 ChemKnits

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jenn's Tam

I love the color teal, but I am not the only one. One of Jenn's wedding colors was teal, so I knew that it would be a great color to incorporate into her Christmas hat. The fair isle tam was a really fun project. I really love colorwork, and I was interested in trying another hat shape.

Used size 6 needles for the brim, transitioned to size 7 for the rest of the hat. I selected one of my favorite yarns (KnitPicks Wool of the Andes - which just underwent a modest price increase) in Blue Ink (navy) and Spruce (teal). The hat consumed 46g of the main color (navy) and 23g of the contrasting color (teal).

This is a project that absolutely required blocking! The fit was a little wonky before blocking, but I was amazed how easy it was to create the circular look.

Jenn's hat is one of the projects that as of 1/5/12 is still lost in the mail. I won't comment each time a lost project shows up, but I want everyone who is waiting for their gifts to know that I still haven't lost hope!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Theobromine Knitting Chart

I love chocolate, so why haven't I provided a theobromine knitting chart before? This is a chart that exists in the heterocyclic hat and I didn't want to step on any toes. (I made my own version of caffeine for the caffeine coffee cozy knitting pattern, but I didn't see any reason to make my own version of a molecule that already existed out there unless I needed it for a project.) However, when preparing for my display in the Sticks, Hooks, and the Mobius: Knit and Crochet Go Cerebral exhibit, I realized that theobromine is a molecule that people know, so why should I leave it out?

Theobromine Knitting Chart - 21 x 21 sts

Enjoy making your own chocolate themed knitting projects!

This knitting pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. You are not to sell, to distribute or reprint this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2012 ChemKnits

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Crochet Granny Square Scarf - My First Crochet Project!

I have tried to learn how to crochet on many occasions, but I am pleased to finally share with you the journey towards my first finished crochet project!

I purchased the Granny Square Scarf Kit from KnitPicks because the description said:
"Learn to Crochet with this fun and classic pattern for Granny Square Scarves! Designed by crochet instructor and author Linda Permann, you will learn the basics of crochet while making each granny square with a simple combination of double crochet and chain stitches. By following along instructions with full color photography, you will be hooked on crochet in no time at all. Linda?s expert use of color and motif make this a versatile design that can be expanded on far beyond scarves to make crocheted blankets, wraps, bags and more."

There are great step by step photos that show the construction of the square, and how you make the stitches into the square like circles. What the kit does NOT do is teach you how to crochet. There is no tutorial on what a double crochet is. Once I went to one of my learn to crochet books (Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet) to look up the stitches, then I was able to get started.

Watch me go! With the exception of a little blip* (will be explained below) I was off and crocheting really fast! Is crochet faster than knitting? I'm still not convinced, but even as a beginner these granny squares grew very quickly under my fingers, and I really enjoyed the rhythm of it.

When I finished the first square (see the one with the bow on it, below), I realized that I was making the DC (double crochet) stitch incorrectly. When compared to a properly completed square, there wasn't a lot of size difference, so I ended up using both in the scarf. (Isn't it the imperfections that make things beautiful?)

I was using a size 6 (G) crochet hook for this project, but my squares ended up being a little smaller than they should have been. Through round 4 of the squares, Colors A, D, E and G were only used 3 times, where colors B, C and F were each used 4 times. I too this usage into account when I decided to add one more round before connecting the squares (making the color H around round 6.)

The squares through round 4 as directed

My choices for the colors for the added 5th round

I am now ready to connect the squares together!

I was nervous about connecting the squares together, but it went so easily! I think I want to use crochet to join things together in the future.

I went to a bigger hook (size H/8; 5 mm) for the single crochet edging. I started the edging in the center of one of the sides so I could hide the beginning better than if it were on one of the ends.

I kept track of the yarn usage from this project. With the exception of Color H, each of the other colors used under half a 50g ball of Wool of the Andes.

I blocked the scarf, but I'm not sure how much good it did. The final scarf is 6' long x 5" wide. The scarf isn't the softest thing I've ever created, but it is certainly sturdy. I am already dreaming up the colors (and calculating yardage) I want to use for a granny square afghan... (Gulp! Why is it that I find dozens of afghans that I want to make?) I think that this would make a good blanket project because there are little bits of completion as I go.

I am so glad that I decided to weave in ends as I went.... look at how many ends I ended up snipping off by the end of the project. This pile weighs 8 g, and there were more snips that I threw away!

Is this a good learn to crochet kit? Not really. But is it a great learn to make granny squares once you know what the basic stitches mean? Yes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lace Doily

I still have some crochet cotton left over from when I made my lace garters.   I love the heirloom lace doilies that have been passed down in the family, but I have been curious if I can create them in colors other than white.  (*I know I could make them in colors, I want to see if I love them as much.)  I decided to make a less classic doiley for my first try. If I find this project tedius (like I found my lace scarf) - then how can I make an entire lace shawl?

Right off the bat I can see that this vintage lace pattern is missing one thing that I look for in my knitting patterns.... no stitch count when there are increases in a row. This ended up not being a bit issue, but there were points where the lack of stitch count made it difficult.

I didn't realize that the border was crocheted, but I figured that I would be able to handle it okay.  (Ironically my learn to crochet kit would arrive later that same day!)

 Blocking the doily was simple, much easier than I thought.  If you look at the last photo above, it was a mess when it came off the needles.  This really shows the importance of blocking!

This doily is so delicate, it makes me really want to make a shawl.  Do you have any suggestions for me?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Big Button Hat

I've had a re-wound skein of Rowan big wool in my stash for a while. I wasn't sure if I had a whole skein of this yarn, but then I used my Food Scale and I do have 100 g! I love having a scale in my kitchen, it makes it easy to make pasta dough, and it comes in handy for my knitting projects.

I fell in love with the big button hat knitting pattern as soon as I saw it. (To find the pattern, you will have to scroll down on the page.)

Even though I had a full skein of yarn, I was concerned that I would not have enough to finish the hat. I therefore kept careful track of the pattern and how many rows I had left:

  • K 7 garter rounds. Turn, bind off 6 sts (48 sts remaining) K till end of row. (this is the WS and part of the button flap)
  • Turn, knit across then join to knit in the round.
  • I knit 22 rows before I began the decreases *Originally I had only knit 18, but the hat was going to be too short. I ripped out some rows and added more before I began the decreases again.
  • I started the decreases with *K6, k2tog* across. I also added a K across row after the *K4, K2tog* and the *K3, K2tog* rows. Otherwise I followed the decreases as written.

This was a super fast and easy project, and was completed in one cozy afternoon. I hope that the woman who received this last Christmas enjoyed it!

After all of my concerns, I still had 20 g of wool remaining at the end. I haven't decided how I'm going to use this yet, but I have some ideas...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Benzene Knitting Chart

Today the exhibit Sticks, Hooks, and the Mobius: Knit and Crochet Go Cerebral that I'm featured in opens at the Williams Center for the Arts Gallery at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania until Feb 5, 2012. If you visit this exhibit, you will find a series of my molecule knitting charts and some samples of knit molecules. Of the knit molecules, one that has not been published* is benzene, so I am pleased to share this chart with you today!

*Benzene has not been published individually, but has been featured as part of a star in rejected Christmas Stocking motifs.

Benzene knitting chart: 12 x 9 sts

The sample was knit in size 11 knitting needles with Black and Grey Marble Wool Ease Thick and Quick yarn with a 2 stitch border around the entire piece.

This knitting chart was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. This pattern is not to be re-published in any other way without the permission of the author. © 2012 ChemKnits

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fingerless Mitts

I received to large skeins of James C. Brett Marble Chunky last year. The yarn is a really pretty two ply in shades of pink (Color MC12). Many of the women on my Christmas list love pink, so I thought it would be great to whip up some warm accessories for them.

This yarn is very soft for 100% acrylic. I love that it will be completely machine washable. I knit these with Size 7 DPN's, as I wanted them to be tight enough to stay warm.

I was initially concerned that the designer wouldn't indicate what rows were cable rows.... but she did (rows #17, 23, 29). The only real modification I made to these cabled mitts is that I made the cable on the right hand turn in the opposite way (Cable 6 back). For the hand, I bound off on 5th 1x1 ribbing row. On the thumb, I knit 1x1 ribbing for 2 rounds, then bind off in 1x1 ribbing for a total of 3 rib rows.

These mitts are a little short on the hand, but they keep your fingers completely accessible which can be a plus when you work with your hands a lot. If you're wearing a sweater anyway, then these will still work great to keep your wrists warm as you're working. This is a fast, fun project that can easily be completed in an evening.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Annemor #13

Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition is one of my all time favorite knitting books. A few years ago, Keith picked out the Annemor #13 design and KnitPicks Palette in Marine Heather (a blue-green) and Marble Heather (gray) for his mittens. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to this project, but I was able to complete these mittens for the Christmas 2011. I was concerned looking at the Marine Heather that it would come off feminine, but when it was combined with the gray it looked beautiful, but still masculine so I was thrilled!

With the start of this project (August 2011), I realized that palette has increased from $1.99/50g to $3.39/50g. I am disappointed by this price change, but since Palette is one of my favorite yarns, I will continue to use it.

Annemor #13 is sized for Women's Large or Men's medium, and I was afraid that the mittens would be too small for Keith. I used size 2 (2.75 mm) knitting needles rather than the size 1 (2.5 mm) needles that I usually use for these kind of mittens.

Some notes from my knitting:
  • Because of the 63/64 stitch discrepancy after the first set of increases on the cuff, there was one extra stitch in the first row of the mitten. I therefore left out one of the increases for the thumb.
  • On the back of the thumb, I did a double decrease on each side of the checkerboard for the very last row. (S1, K2tog, PSSO, K until last 3, K3tog)

I did not weigh the skeins before I started the project. I was concerned about having enough gray because it appeared to be running low (I had used it in a number of other projects). I knew from the past mittens and gloves that I've made that two 50g balls of palette are enough for 2 sets of hand accessories. Thankfully when I weighed the yarn the numbers look good: Left Mitten - 25 g, Marble Heather remaining - 22 g, Marine Heather remaining - 39 g. At the end of the project: Right Mitten - 26 g, Marble Heather remaining - 7 g, Marine Heather remaining - 27 g. There is enough Marine Heather for another set of mittens!

The remaining wool after this project was complete. Note that I did not start with a new ball of Marble Heather.