Friday, August 30, 2013

EGCG Knitting Chart - A Molecule from Green Tea

There are a lot of Molecule Knitting Charts here on ChemKnits.  The charts that I've shared in recent years aren't ones that I've decided to chart on my own, but I've made at a reader's request. 

When I received the following comment, "Does green tea have it's own molecule?"  I knew that I was curious and did some research.  It turns out, the reader was right!  You're right! Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an antioxidant in green tea that may have therapeutic uses.  This compound is a potent antioxidant found only in green tea, not black tea. I will add it to my list of molecule charts to create.

The structure of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)

EGCG Chart - 47 sts x 39 rows.  Red represents oxygens.

Do you have any molecules that you would like to see charted?  Let me know in the comments below! 

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Owl Earflap Hat - Take 2

Looking at the Owl Earflap Hat I shared with you in the previous post I started feeling concerned that it would be too small for Chirphead.  I therefore decided that it would be worth it to create a second one in the next size up. This way, one should fit Chirphead for his newborn photos.  The other can make a great shower gift or hat for a stuffed animal!  This time I selected the 3-6 month size.

Plans changed a bit as I do not have enough of the Lion Brand Wool to make a second small hat, let alone one that is slightly bigger.  (To be fair, there was a lot of waste for the braids etc in the previous version, but I would hate to start it and then not have any contrast for the braid.)  I will need to rethink the colors to make the larger version.  I therefore decided to hold Berroco Peruvia with a strand of KnitPicks Palette to give a similar stranded like effect.

This hat was also crocheted with a size H (5.0 mm) hook.  The beak and eyes were once again formed out of  KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Daffodil (3 yards), White (18 yards) and Coal (3 yards).  I used Berroco Peruvia in colors 7104 Oat (39 yards) and 7152 (Brown 40 yards.)  I held the darker Brown Peruvia with a strand of KnitPicks Palette  (33 yards) to get a similar standed effect as was present in the first newborn hat.

The pattern starts out pretty differently for the larger hats, and the contrasting color stripe is larger.  I will do the dark brown through row 7 and then swap for the lighter brown (3 DC rows of the lighter color rathern than 4 as written.)

I noticed that the larger patterns have better instructions for the earflaps than the newborn pattern.  You count stitches along the front rather than along the seam, so you have the same RS/WS for both ears.  I sewed the two eyes together before attaching them to the hat to give make it easier for them to be connected (and to make the overall placement a bit easier.)  

The newborn hat was 6" across and 4.25" deep (to front edge.)  The 3-6 month hat is 6.75" across and 5.25" deep.  One of these should fit a newborn chirphead!  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Owl Earflap Hat

Now that I know I'm having a little boy, I'm really excited to start making specific items for his newborn photo shoot.  When I saw the Newborn Crochet Owl Hat Pattern I knew that it was something I wanted to create for Chirphead.  Plus this is a project I should be able to create entirely out of my current stash.
The pattern calls for a size H (5.0 mm) crochet hook and three colors of worsted weight yarn.  I used Wool of the Andes Camel Heather for the earflaps (27 yards), Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool 201 for the top of the hat (33 yards), White WotA (16 yards), and scraps of WotA in Coal and Daffodil.  Since I don't have big cute buttons, I will use black for the interior of the owl eyes.

I was a little worried about the hat size.  When I hit 40 sts after row 4 it only measured about 4" wide.  But with each successive row, the hat got a little wider and wider.  After row 5 - 5" and after row 6 - 5.5".  Plus, with such a big hook there is some stretch to the hat.  I'm no longer worried!  

Row 4 (left) and row 6 (right).  

When the instructions told me to count 9 sts away from the seam, this meant that I started the second earflap on a WS row.  I suppose I could have gone in the other direction, but I wanted the CH seam to be in the back of the hat (more narrow portion) rather than the front.  I therefore did not turn after my CH1 so I would SC around the RS edge, rather than WS edge.  

This hat is already so cute, and it doesn't even have the pieces on it!  Note that for the eyes only round 1 is done in the accent color, rounds 2-3 should be white.  

The beak was crocheted sideways.  I love how simple it was and you can take advantage of the different stitches for a triangle.  

This hat is so adorable!  I honestly think it is one of the cutest items I've ever crafted.  I sure hope that it will fit well on Chriphead's head.  

If you don't crochet, don't dispair!  There are many adorable free owl hat knitting patterns out there!  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Univeristy of Texas (UT) Sweater Ornament

Go Longhorns!  My In-Laws and close family friends all went to UT for their undergraduate degrees, and I thought it would be fun to design as sweater ornament for them.  I thought that I would just put "UT" on a sweater much like my Boston University Sweater Ornament, but I quickly discovered that UT combines the letters much like the Indiana University logo I grew up with.  I think that what I came up with is pretty cute!

  • Knitting Needles: Size 1 (2.25 mm)
  • Yarn: ~20 yards total Fingering weight KnitPicks Palette Yarn in two colors, Orange* (3-4 g; ~20 yards) and White (1g; ~5 yards) (*I dyed the orange yarn for this project myself.) 
  • Gauge: Not important for the completed project
  • Misc: yarn needle.

The Pattern
1. Cast on 16 sts in MC
2. (WS) Knit across
3. K across (RS)
Rows 4-6. Knit in stockinette (Knitting on RS rows, Purling on WS rows.)
Rows 7-15. Begin the UT lettering (see below), following the chart. Continue to K RS and P WS rows.
16. P16 (finishing the top of the UT chart), cast on 8 stitches with the backwards loop cast on method. (24 sts)
17. K 24 in MC, CO 8 sts using backwards loop cast on method (32 sts)
18. Purl across
19. K across
20. P 13, bind off 6 sts, P13. (26 sts.)
21. K13, cast on 6 sts using backwards loop method, K 13 (32 sts)
22. P across
23. K across
24. P across working chart as directed (the top of the second set of lettering begins here.)
25. Bind off 8 sts, K 24 working chart as directed (24 sts)
26. Bind off 8 sts, P 16
Rows 27-38. Work in stockinette, following chart where applicable. (Even rows purl, odd rows knit.)
Row 39: (RS) bind off purlwise.

The UT Sweater Knitting Chart  - The following chart follows the written directions above to help with placement of the colorwork logo in with the rest of the design.  Odd, RS rows are read right to left.  Even, WS rows are read left to right.

Odd rows are RS, Even rows are WS. Read chart right to left on RS, left to right on WS.

This isn't a project whre blocking is necessary, but it may make the sweaing a bit easier.  To sew the sweater together, turn the sweater in half at the neck with the right sides facing.  With loose ends, sew up the side seams and under the arms.  Weave in any remaining loose ends and turn the sweater ornament right side out.  Attach an orament hook and hang on your tree (or wrap to give as a gift.)  

University of Texas Logo by Itself:

10 rows x 9 columns
Feel free to use the UT logo on your other knitting projects.  I just ask that you give ChemKnits credit for the design!  (And feel free to show me pictures of your finished project in the ChemKnits Designs Ravelry Group.

Go Longhorns!

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 distribute or sell this pattern without the permission of ChemKnits. © 2013 ChemKnits

Friday, August 16, 2013

Dyeing Yarn in the Microwave with Food Coloring

Today I am happy to share another classic ChemKnits YouTube video with you!  If you have been following my videos, the tips in this video will be a bit redundant, but it is great if you want to learn the basics of dyeing yarn in your kitchen.

I prefer to do most of my dyeing on the stove top, but occasionally the microwave is handier.  Compare the basics of this video with the Dyeing Yarn with Kool Aid on the Stove and you will have the basics covered for dyeing yarn at home with food based dyes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Craft of Multicolor Knitting

The Craft of Multicolor Knitting by Barbara G. Walker

I love knitting with multiple colors.  This started out with intentional color selection, but slowly evolved into selecting projects to help me use up yarns in my stash.  The book "The Craft of Multicolor Knitting" goes far beyond most of the colorwork that I do, which is either stranded or intarsia to some really unique uses of color.  

Unfortunately, for a book on color knitting most of the book is in black and white (which is pretty standard for a book printed in the 1970's.)  There is a second in the middle that shows some of the 3+ color items in full color.  Thankfully, the samples are all knit in high contrast black and white.  Unfortunately, it makes it hard to see the stitches in the black portion, but at least you get a good sense of the pattern.

"...there are no patterns for 'Fair Isle' knitting in this book. 'Fair Isle' knitting is plain stockinette stitch, with no texture interest; the designs are made by only alternating colors."  The designs in this book are created by slip stitches and other methods.  These patterns involve not only lots of color, but texture interest.

As you go through the book, the complexity of these designs increases, until you get to some stunning Mosaic Knitting There is even a swatch used pattern that slightly defeated me, or at least frustrated me to the point where I stopped working on it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Owlie Baby Hat

I whipped up this darling little Owlie hat to go with the Owlie Sleep Sack.  Knit on size 7 needles with an unknown worsted weight wool/acrylic blend.  (28 g total used)

Notes from Construction:
18 rounds is 3" for the rolled brim.  I omitted row 1 after that and started on row 2.  After the cables, I knit 6 rounds before starting the decreases.  To make the decreases line up between the owls, I knit the first decrease round as follows: *SSK, K6, K2tog* across, rather than following the written directions which would have the decreases almost centered in the middle of each owlette. 

With brim rolled all the way, piece measures 3.75" after the 18 cable rounds.  I like that the brim is rolled because I don't need to worry about the hat being too short!

The Owl hat is so cute with the matching sleep sack.  I know that these will make a perfect shower gift!  

What more Owl Cables?  Check out the following free knitting patterns that feature Owl Cables.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Perovskite Crystal Project

When someone in my crochet club brought up the Perovskite Project, an effort to make a giant model of a Perovskite crystal structure using knitting and crochet I knew that I needed to contribute.  "Perovskite is one of the most extensively studied substances in solid state chemistry (the study of the chemistry of solids) and is present in large amounts in the Earth’s mantle. This project is a chance for anyone and everyone with an interest in textile craft, science or both to get together and make something huge!"  They are collecting contributions through the end of August 2013 and will finish assembling the crystal model at the beginning of September.

This project contains both knit and crochet components, a knit octahedron and a crochet central atom.   Crochet project looks like a lot less work than knitting, but I think I will try to contribute at least one of each.  This is a project where the knit creations are a little more unique, but are unfortunately the type of project that I hate (TONS of loose ends to weave in!)  However, this is all done in the name of science so I know that for once I will enjoy every minute of weaving in ends and sewing things closed.

Crochet Center Atoms

Crochet - Bernat Cottontots Solid in color Sunshine.  This is a worsted weight yarn, so I'm following the modifications by Lady'n'Thread with a size E (3.5 mm) crochet hook.  Until reading this blog post, I wasn't aware that English and US crochet instructions were different.  Good thing or else my first atom would be a little wonky.

  • Measured just over 4 cm across after row 5 (24 sts)
  • SC 1 round, then began decreases as written started at 24 - 18 sts.   (round 16)

Now this first central atom was perfectly 4 cm across, but it still seems a little small to me.  The next one I knit I followed the entire "fewer row" directions.  (For the second atom, I increased to 30 sts, did 1 sc round then followed decreases.) The flat sphere measured 7 cm after round 7, and then I started the decreases.

The new central atom is about 5 cm across, but I figured that I'll send them both and let the project creators decide.

I later created a third central atom, since I had the time and yarn (not to mention space in my box that I was going to ship.)

Knit Octahedron

This time I am following the Lady'n'Thread instructions which differ more greatly from the official ones.  I used US size 5 knitting needles because my cast-on with size 4 was a bit too small.  I wanted to have the cardboard pieces first to compare them against my knitting.  When getting to few stitches at the top of the triangle, I found it helpful to knit backwards to save some time with the turns.  

My first attempt at drawing a 7 cm equilateral triangle on the back of a Cheerios box was so close that I was able to get a perfect triangle in two attempts!  I then used the first one as a template for cutting the rest out with an exacto knife.  I cut 9 triangles so that I would have one left over in case I wanted to make another octahedron.

I found it hard to get the needle through the cardboard.  I used the exactoknife to poke tiny holes in the card board so I could have something to bring the needle through without ripping anything.

I sewed the octrahedron together with the right sides out to create defined ridges along the edge.

Knitting up the second octahedron went even faster than the first.  I ran out of yarn or else I would have been able to create a few more.  I'm surprised that I did not mind weaving in loose ends or sewing up the octahedrons one bit!  

First completed of each type

Although my first crochet ball is to the dimensions specified by the pattern, it looks small compared to my octahedron when compared to the image of the in-progress crystal shown on the project Facebook page.  I decided that for my second ball, I would increase to 30 sts and then crochet 1 round before decreasing and closing it up.

The Shipment 

The deadline for the Perovskite Project is the end of August, but I wanted to mail the package today so it would arrive in the UK in time.   When the said that you could send in a picture for the wall of fame, I knew that I wanted to make sure the they knew ChemKnits was part of the project.  I decided to take the following picture that included the pieces I created along with a knit molecule.    This is the first mass knitting/crochet initiative I've participated in!

I had so much fun participating in this project.  If you know of any collective scientific knitting/crochet projects in the future please let me know.  If I'm not able to participate I will at least promote the event!  

Monday, August 5, 2013

Getting Closer to UT Orange

I have it it my head to make a UT ornament for some family friends this Christmas.  I have many hand dyed colors of WOTA FIngering, but the orange is a bit too bright to really pass for UT.  (I need more of a true orange that pis slightly burnt.)  I have not really ever overdyed some yarn that I created myself, but I figured that it would be worth a try!

The original color with a yellow tape measure for reference.  
I used 1 cup of water with a splash of white vinegar.  2 drops McCormick Black, 3 drops Red, 1 drop yellow - which is pretty brown.  i let the yarn soak in the dyebath for 20 min before heating it in the microwave.  (Normally i would have soaked the yarn separately first, but this would give me a chance to view the coloration a bit to see if it needed adaption.)

The yarn right before soaking
After soaking I rather liked the color, so I wrapped it in plastic wrap to heat rather than using the whole dyebath. 1 min was enough to heat this sufficiently.  I let the yarn rest until it cooled and then heated it one more time.

I have never "hand painted" yarn quite like this before!
The color came out perfectly!  I hope I have enough yardage, but I think that I should be able to knock this project out of the park.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Behind the Design of the DNA Covers

When publishing the DNA beer cozy, I mentioned that the knitting project was functioning as a test swatch for the the DNA kindle cover I wanted to make for my Dad.  When I realized that the swatch (which I would need to knit in the round) would almost be beer cozy sized, I realized that I should just make it its own pattern and share that with you guys, too.  There was a bit more that went into the design than just knitting up the cozy, and I'll share that with you in this post.

The Swatch

I knit the swatch on US size 6 knitting needles.  Of course, I did not use the same needles with which I would ultimate knit the cozy (and eventually the case).  This could have an effect on the stitch count, but it is likely small enough that things should still work out okay.

15 sts/3"; 13 rows/2"

Calculations for the Beer Cozy 

A Samuel Adams beer bottle measures 7 7/16" (7.44") circumference and ~5" high on the flat portion.  I wanted to make sure my target gauge for the kindle cover would make it possible to test my swatch on a beer cozy.

An earlier version of the DNA cable.  I decided that I wanted to make the cable slightly smaller, so I modified the first version of my chart.  Sometimes, when something isn't quite right you need to go back to the drawing board and start again.  Even if it means ripping back to start again.  
7.5 rows/inch would give 37.5 rows in 5".  This made me decide to do 3 rows of ribbing and then start the pattern.  I can always add extra rounds of the helix if I want it longer before starting the decreases.  

5 sts/inch would give ~37 sts to fit the bottle.  The helix itself is 9 sts wide so this works well for my design. I want there to be slight negative ease in the cozy so it has to stretch to fit over the bottle, but you don't want it to be too tight.  I also had to keep in mind that the cabled stitches would decrease the flexibility of the cozy a bit (but not a ton.)  I therefore settled on 36 sts.

With the new chart - 26 rows of the chart (+ ribbing) = 4" of cozy.

Even though I ripped out my first cozy, I was able to check the fit and see that it did in fact fit well on a bottle.  Calculation success!  
The final gauge of my beer cozy ended up being a little tighter than the swatch above, but that was perfect because of negative ease.  (If i were to be proper, I would have redone the swatch with each yarn on each set of needles... but I knew it would be close enough.

Calculations for the Kindle Cover 

Now that I had a completed beer cozy, I new that I was happy with the DNA cable chart I had come up with.  I just needed to make sure that I would have enough yarn to finish the kindle cover.

KnitPicks Comfy Worsted (my selected yarn for both projects) comes in 109 yard/50 g balls.  The DNA beer cozy consumed 17 g of yarn.  I cut out a piece of cardboard that was the approximate size of the Kindle Paperwhite slightly over 6.7" x 4.6" (the cardboard measured 6.75" x 4.625"). I would say from looking at the beer cozy on top of my mockup, that the kindle cover will ~2x as big.  Even if the kindle cover uses 2.5x the amount of yarn, this still leaves 7.5 g of yarn (assuming the ball I have is actually 50 g.)  I therefore decided to NOT order extra yarn to complete this project.  I hoped strongly that I would not regret this decision.

The beer cozy on top of a cardboard swatch the approximate size of a kindle.  
The Kindle Paperwhite measures 6.7" x 4.6" x 0.36.  (I must keep in mind that the cardboard does not take the width into account!)  This means that the circumference needs to be close to 10".  The length isn't as important to worry about because it can be a little longer than the kindle itself, and this is something that is easy to adjust during the design process.  However, the overall length should be over 6.88" (to account for the width of the bottom).

With a 10" circumference and 5 sts/inch, I would 50 stitches to accommodate the Kindle.  According to the beer cozy (which ended up being slightly less than 5 sts/inch), I had 18 sts in 3.25", and by calculation this would mean I would want 27.7 sts/5".  This also brings us close to 50 stitches for the circumference of the Kindle cozy.  I will try it out with 48 stitches since the ribbing works best with multiples of 4 sts.  This should leave us with enough ease to easily fit over the kindle.

Each side of the Kindle Cover will have 24 stitches.  The DNA Helix Cable is 9 sts wide.  I think for it to be reasonably from the edge, I want 2 sts, +2 sts to account for the side, then 2 sts on the other side.

It fits!  With room to spare so it should fit the thicker actual kindle. 
After two complete rounds of the helix chart, The piece fit the cardboard prototype perfectly.  If I add two more rows, I can close the helix at the bottom, too.  I think I will go for this, because I would rather the cozy be a tad too long than too short.  Plus, the cardboard doesn't account for the thickness at the bottom which would decrease the length a bit.


I am so thrilled with the way both designs came out.  Make sure you check out the Free DNA Helix Kindle Cover Knitting Pattern and the Free DNA Helix Beer Cozy Knitting Pattern!