Since I didn’t finish any of my fiber objects this week, I have decided to write a progress report. You see above about ten inches of the Weaver’s Square pattern, which will become a colorful vest for my daughter. This is the back of the garment. The front I have planned will be much more subdued. While working with seven strands of yarn each row has been a challenge, the satisfaction of the work and the excitement of seeing the color emerge has more than compensated for any difficulty. I have chosen to switch out the vertical colors at a rate of two or three for every band of horizontal color. As a result, the pattern has a more vertical effect.
Another work in progress is picture above. The quilt sandwich is constructed and some stitch in the ditch took place. At that point, I decided to work some embroidery in the flower squares and add hand quilting to the strips.
I also felt that a border was essential to provide balance between the light and the dark sections of the piece. Going further, I plan to hand-paint this border in multiple hues. It will be exciting to see how well that goes, and it will take me more time.
Last week-end I started a tutorial on painting with water color on paper. This class was offered on Bluprint.com. Despite a little trepidation, I am sharing my work today. Keep in mind I am a rank beginner and be kind.
Such a fun week. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that this life is real.
Not the usual place one finds butterflies. These little twisted pieces of yarn are called butterflies, wound up in pursuit of knitting multiple colors at once. I am attempting to make a colorful vest for my daughter. Here is what I have so far:
This is the start for the back of the vest. The concept is to create a riot of color while keeping the front very plain. Back interest is a tactic that I use frequently in my knitting designs. Sometimes I use a dramatic over-sized cable, sometimes a fancy lace panel. I like to make a good impression both entering and leaving the room.
In the picture above you can see a chart that I made for this project. The actual concept, however, isn’t mine. I have to give credit to Irishman Kieren Foley, the creative force behind knit/lab.
I have been a fan for years. The first project I made inspired by his work was a skirt. I incorporated one of his fair isle designs into the hem area. Completing this project really helped me to gain confidence as a knitwear designer.
The next project I made was men’s scarf. I actually made two of them – one for my dad and one for my husband. The pattern, available for free on Ravelry, is called Fair Isle Rapids. Here it is on the knit/lab site.
The message came in over the week-end, with a tone of some urgency. It seems that the baby toddler girl had outgrown her hats, and the carefully saved wool hat of #1 grandchild was no where to be found. With the onset of cold weather, there was no time to waste in meeting the need.
The criteria was pretty simple. Earflaps were desired and a cord to tie the hat under the chin. Consulting my stash I found an almost full ball of Cascade 220 Superwash in a pale yellow color. I had purchased this yarn two years ago when I first learned of the baby’s expected arrival. I was excited to try out some stranded patterns using this yarn and various bits and bobs left over from other projects.
First I consulted my knitting stitch dictionary (750 Knitting Stitches – The Ultimate Knitting Bible.) For this project I needed a pattern with a fairly short repeat. I also needed a motif that would fit on the ear flaps.
These two will do nicely. Cosmea will work for the earflaps and Aubrieta can circle the body of the hat. I also liked that the pattern repeat was six stitches. With my gauge of 5.5 stitches, a multiple of six will help me achieve the 18 inch diameter I needed. Here is my chart for the earflap and body, and my calculation for the cast on. I came up with a total of 96 stitches, which is divisible by six.
Ear Flaps done.
After casting on, I completed a modified version of Aubrieta, stopping when the hat body was 4 and 3/4 inches tall from cast on. Next I consulted the pattern I had used ten years ago for grandchild #1’s hat to figure out the crown decrease rate. I added a few rows of dots in the first three rounds of decrease, then completed the rest of the decrease in the solid yellow yarn.
This was a fun and quick project to make from one’s stash. I was pleased that I could use up some yarn scraps of a beautiful Malibrigo yarn that was left over from my blue ribbon vest.
UPDATE: Hat was received, and put into use quickly. Not only does it cover the ears, it covers the cheeks as well. It’s so big that it will still fit her next winter.
Knitters: What is the big cliff-hanger that every knitter faces? No, not the one about whether it will fit, or if you will finish on time. I’m talking the night-mare proportion, no-turning back, hold-your-breath issue. (Clue: I had 4 yards to spare.)
My latest stash-busting knitting project is the Peace and Love Gloves, from the colorStyle book by Pam Allen and Ann Budd published by Interweave. That book is 10-years old, so I don’t know if you can still buy it. The pattern is by Veronik Avery who has many patterns on Ravelry. Here’s the link.
This is my second go-round to knit these gloves. I lost the first pair in Milwaukee last spring. But lucky me – I had another ball of the grey Knit-picks Stroll and almost two balls of the 100% alpaca white finger weight yarn.
The pattern claimed that I would need two balls of the main color, but ha, I didn’t believe it. After all, I had already knit this pattern, using only one ball with a little bit left over. Well friends, that bit made all the difference today. It was used to knit the two thumbs.
Okay. I am now ready for winter weather. Dish it up, Mother Nature.
During a shopping excursion to Tulsa, we stopped by the 108 Contemporary Gallery to catch a new show – State of Craft. Works in various media, including fiber, were on display. I thought it would be good to check it out.
There were some large works such as this one by Whitney Fortsyth.
Interesting wood items like this one by Rusty Johnson.
And then there were fiber objects, mostly smaller but exquisite.
A large work with a fish-eye mirror in the center. White linen with beads.
I particularly like these bags by Rhonda Steiner, hand dyed, painted, and screen printed.
And finally, there were some yarn objects, felted, crocheted and knitted.
You knitters who have made many a toe-up sock are encouraged to skip this little blog. But those who are new to knitting socks may find the following somewhat interesting. It’s time. After ten years of knitting I am finally making a pair of socks knitted from the toe up.
My inability to learn toe-up sock knitting is 100% the fault of Judy’s Magic Cast On.
Judy, I am sure that you are a fabulous knitter and a wonderful person. But I just couldn’t get my head or my hands around this technique. All the talk of top and bottom needles, wrap the tail end of the yarn around the top and the ball end around the bottom, (being careful not to let go of your needles or wrap the yarn too tight or too loose) it was just awkward and more than a little confusing. So sorry about that. My fault entirely, I am sure. But I ask, why not start with a crochet chain?
Starting with a slip knot and using a hook close in size to your sock needles, chain the number of cast on stitches specified in your pattern plus one. In my example I chained nine stitches. If you study the image above, you will see a top set of loops and a bottom set of loops. Now replace the crochet hook with your first needle. Pick up the loop next to your needle and knit it, then pick up and knit all of the others loops along the upper edge. Rotate your work clockwise until the bottom loops are now on top and to the left of your working yarn. Using another needle, pick up and knit all of the bottom loops (Ignore the slip knot. It will be hidden inside the toe.) When you get to the end of the round your work will look like this.
Divide the stitches over four needles so that there are an equal number of stitches on each needle. Continue with your pattern.
I know some of you are already pointing out that the toe seam created by this method seems to have purl bumps. I say have courage and knit on. Your seam will not look perfect, but it will smooth out somewhat.
And, by the way, the toe seam will be hidden inside the shoe during wearing, so no one will see. And I promise not to tell.
My friend Kathy tossed this knitting pattern at me a few weeks ago with a plea. She really liked it, but was intimidated by the instructions to drop several stitches and then pick them up again. I couldn’t understand what she was afraid of. So I agreed to test knit this pattern.
Frankly, this is one of the easiest patterns I have ever knit. It is a basic garter stitch rectangle. The dropping and picking up takes place at the final two rows. I chose to use a bulky 2-ply yarn from Universal Yarn called Marled. I theorized that the frequent color changes would keep me from getting bored while knitting plain garter for several hours. Fortunately, I had a long, easy car trip during which most of the work took place.
Here’s how the braided sections are completed. On the second to last row, drop three stitches roughly every 12 stitches. Knit one more row, leaving the needle in place. Now gently pull the dropped stitches apart all the way down to the bottom row. Starting with the bottom four floats, use fingers or a crochet hook to braid the floats in groups of four back up to the top. Put the top loop of each braid back on the needle and bind off. Voila!
I can imagine several other uses for this decorative technique. It would make an interesting treatment up a sleeve, or flanking the button band or center back of a cardigan. How else can you imaging using the dropped and found design element?
As much as I enjoyed our little trip to visit family, it’s nice to be back into my routine. Just as an aside, the faux suede baby booties, while slightly too big, were well accepted by little L. In the meantime, she had also acquired two other items of footwear – a pair of sneakers and a pair of snow boots. She did a brief baby runway show, modeling all of the above. It was so funny to watch her toddle around the house awkwardly, although looking quite pleased with herself and her ability to work the crowd.
Back at home, I have picked up where I left off on various fiber projects.
First of all, I’m knitting a birthday surprise for my daughter. (A big clue to the surprise is found in the sketch above.)
Secondly, I’ve resumed efforts toward making the Arches quilt. It’s amazing how just writing down the next steps motivated me to work. I have finished drawing the full-size patterns for each block. And by completing this step, I have been able to determine exactly how may squares of each color will be required. Over the past two days I have been painting the background fabric. I chose to paint the background squares on a gray fabric, in order to keep the background looking like the night sky.
Trigger mittens, also know as trigger finger mittens, have been used by the American military since at least the Civil War. A clever combination of the warmth of mittens with the flexibility of gloves, these mittens have a separate index finger to allow soldiers to easily operate machinery in cold temperatures.
I made these mittens for my grandson, based on specifications from his mother. She had made him a pair similar to these, but he lost one. Since I don’t care for military associations, I have renamed this style the Notta Glove. The name is self-explanatory.
You start the normal way, with a 2×2 rib cuff in the main color. Next, with larger needles, begin the 2 x 2 stranded knitting with the 2nd color.
Use waste yarn to set up for an Afterthought thumb – I worked it over nine stitches. Continue in pattern to the top of the palm, where you divide for the 2 finger compartments. I put the outer 2/3rds of stitches on waste yarn and worked the index finger with 1/3 of the stitches. Add 2 stitches where the front and back meet between the fingers.
Put the held stitches back on the needles, continue in pattern until you reach the tip of the middle finger, and decrease down to nine stitches in the usual manner for mittens. Put held thumb stitches back on needles and knit the thumb last.
These Nottas are pretty neat and quite warm. I may make a pair for myself.
The wind howled all night and by 8 am this morning, the temperatures were in the lower 30s. I’m told that this is today’s high. The temperature is still dropping and the wind continues to blow. It’s a good thing that I have plenty of fiber objects and other creative endeavors on hand. No need to change out of my comfy yoga pants.
During an overly-optimistic moment several years ago I had purchased a water color set. I dug it out of a drawer and retrieved several tubes of paint. It took some muttering and a dull yarn needle to pierce some of the foil seals, but eventually I had small quantities of paint laid down onto a cheap plastic palette.
First the tags. Lindsey called these a warm-up exercise. After a few hours I had completed six or so gift tags. Here are some of my favorites:
Next came the cards. I worked the first of the series, stopping when I realized that the afternoon had flown the coop, it was 5 pm and time to cook dinner.
Taking a break from painting, I moved on to knitting. At this point, all of the holiday gifts that I wanted to make were finished and ready to be wrapped. (Mmm maybe I will attach some of those gift tags!) I suddenly remembered that daughter had requested a pair of mittens for her son. She specifically wanted stranded knitting, so the mittens would be extra warm. I found the perfect pattern on Ravelry. It will only require a few adjustments, including the insertion of a thumb gusset for better fit.
Here is my progress so far.
With the weather so brutal outside, there is a chance I can finish these mittens and another watercolor card before the sun comes up tomorrow.