Posted in knitting

Summer Stashbusting + Pass-along

This time of year I frequently find myself diving into my yarn stash. The goal is to USE it, and to use it in projects that are comfortable for the knitter to make on hot summer days and nights. Today I have three items that fit in this category.

First up is this quirky little hat.

Earlier this year my daughter gave me the small, beat-up hat you see on the right side of this photo. She had inherited it from another mom. Our baby really liked wearing it, but now it was too small and full of holes. I dove into my stash and found plenty of yarns that almost matched, color-for-color, the hues of the original hat. De-coding the pattern was quite simple, since it was a classic shape and used only stockinette with a few purl rounds. The only challenge was working the decreases at the top, to reproduce the “stem.”

During my stash dive I discovered several sock yarn skeins, some of which have enough yardage for a pair of socks. This deep blue yarn was left over from a sweater I made for myself a few years ago.

Love this Color.

The sock pattern comes from a book by one of my favorite knitting writers, Clara Parkes. The Knitter’s Book of Socks is quite good. It includes twenty sock patterns, each by a different designer. She also writes about the characteristics of different yarn fibers, and how these might match up with the qualities required by socks: elasticity, strength and absorption. I highly recommend this book for knitters who like making socks.

This pattern is Firefly, by Jennifer Hagan. The two by two cables are all right-leaning. She has them spaced out along the leg of the sock in such a way that they are easy to make.

My last stash buster started out as a pass-along yarn. Knitting friend Kathy gave me several skeins of Peruvian sock weight yarn in a so-so shade of blue. The blend includes alpaca and wool, but also 50% acrylic. In my stash I found a pale blue tweedy sock yarn bought on sale that had not inspired me. But by knitting them held together, these two yarns worked harmoniously. There was just enough for the skirt of a toddler dress.

When the pale blue ran out, I continued on up the bodice with the alpaca blend held double. The yoke includes a small pattern using strands of Cascade 220.

The dress design is mine, but the stranded design comes from a traditional Faroese Kettunøsin pattern. They are little dog heads.

While I sit here indoors, out my window it is raining heavily. This downpour is quite welcome, since it is the first rain since May. Gardening is out for the day, but knitting, quilting, writing and painting will keep me busy until dark.

Posted in knitting

Weaver’s Square Vest Reveal

Completing the front of the vest didn’t take very long. I chose to use a 1 by 2 rib which matched the edge rib of the vest back. The front hem carries on the same stitch and colors of the back hem – brown with a purple stripe – to provide more unity to the garment. The neckline is a wide V and the button placket is garter stitch. The only hiccup I encountered was that the garter rows proved to be tighter than the rib rows, (naturally) and I had to throw in a few short rows to compensate. Here are the front pieces on the blocking mats.

And here is the finished vest.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. And here I am turned around.

The side seams were sewn with mattress stitch. I like that the vest shows both the serious side and the fun side of the wearer’s personality.

All yarn is from KnitPicks. Thank you to Kieran Foley and knit/lab for creating the Weaver’s Square design.

https://www.kieranfoley.com/

Posted in knitting

Milestone for Weaver’s Square Vest

Back is Finished!

I bound off the back of the vest last night. Today it is drying on my blocking mat. Despite the fact that it looked Very Small and Narrow the whole time I was knitting, it turned out to match the gauge of my blocked swatch. Hooray! As all knitters will surmise by looking at the photo, there are a gazillion ends to weave in. That will occupy me for a few hours.

Here is the schematic I drew for the making the vest front.

I will be using a superwash Peruvian wool yarn from Knit Picks called Merlot Heather. To make the vest fit close to the body, the stitch pattern will be a broken rib stitch and there will be waist shaping decrease-increase stitches near the natural waist. Buttons?

Still undecided.

Posted in knitting, painting, quilting

Catch-Up Friday

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.

Log Cabin Mini Quilt

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.

Blue block nearly finished.

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.

Seascape at daybreak with birds.
Color Block using primary colors, salt, colored pencil and micron pens.
Realistic style chickadee

Such a fun week. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind me that this life is real.

Posted in knitting

Butterflies In My Lap

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.

https://www.kieranfoley.com/index.html

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.

https://www.kieranfoley.com/knit_lab_fair_isle_rapids.html

The design I am aspiring to follow for daughter’s vest is called Weaver’s Square. Here is how it looks on the Knit/Lab site.

My version omits the lace trim and adds another vertical band of color, so that I can achieve the width I need.

Foley’s website offers detailed charts of his beautiful designs in the form of pdf files, for a very reasonable price. If you like color work, I encourage you to visit knit/lab.

Posted in colorwork, knitting

Hat Alert!

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.

Ear Flap hat in the blocking stage.
All Done.

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.

Posted in knitting

That was Close

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.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peace-and-love-gloves

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.

Fresh off my needles.

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.

Here’s one thumb. Trust me, the left hand thumb is complete and hiding from the photographer.

Okay. I am now ready for winter weather. Dish it up, Mother Nature.

Posted in knitting

Notta Gloves

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.

This basic pattern came from Victory Light on Ravelry. Her design needed adaptations to create the index finger but they were easily made. The original design can be found at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zen-little-fingers-and-toes-part-1-mittens

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.

I inserted a thumb gusset at this point – not included in the original pattern.

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.

The hardest thing in knitting mittens is getting the second to match the first.
It’s easy to give the OK sign in Notta gloves.

These Nottas are pretty neat and quite warm. I may make a pair for myself.

Posted in knitting

From the Design Idea folder

Dear Fellow Makers,

Over the past few days I have been engaged in work on fiber objects that take a lot of time to complete, such as painting the hydrangea leaves for a wall hanging and knitting a sweater. So I don’t have anything new to share on the blog today.

In perusing my design book, I was reminded of a project that I made in 2013. It has an interesting story which involves knitting sweaters for a little boy.

Have you ever worked hard on a hand-made gift, only to have it rejected on the spot by the recipient? I have! As a new grandmother, I was joyfully knitting sweaters annually for my grandson. One year it was an Elizabeth Zimmerman design (the modular Tomten Jacket described in The Opinionated Knitter.) After unwrapping it, said grandson simply cast it aside. (sigh.) I resolved never to let that happen again. For his birthday sweater the following year, I chose soft, brightly colored acrylic yarn and came up with a design that no little boy could resist.

Like all boys, my grandson loved trucks – BIG trucks and BIG earth-moving equipment. I decided to make a rugby style sweater with the image of a John Deere digging machine on the back. This project required a custom chart and my husband gleefully helped me to create it.

The picture was downloaded from the JD website, but the grid required a little adjustment. In knitting, the number of stitches per inch almost never matches up with the number of rows per inch. To avoid compressing the image, the squares of the grid need to be fatter than they are tall. I gave husband my gauge (stitches per inch and rows per inch.) He calculated the ratio and used spreadsheet software to adjust the grid to match. From this chart it was relatively simple to knit using a combination of stranded and intarsia techniques.

Upon receiving his gift the following birthday, my grandson jumped for joy.

“It’s an excavator, it’s an excavator!!”

This sweater was happily worn for several years in all kinds of weather.

One final note: If you try this technique, you may find it helpful to outline the details of the image in black yarn. This will help the image come together.

Posted in knitting

[Self] Censorship

Self portrait

This week blogger Sharon Mann’s post of masked women reminded me that I wanted to make a fiber piece on this same theme. The idea of self-censorship pokes into my brain from time to time. When does one decide to speak no more? Am I adding to the rattling noise of empty voices flooding the air? Am I speaking just one sentence too long? Is anyone listening? Or are we all talking to and about ourselves?

Then there is another take on the phrase: It could be : Say, “No More!” It’s time to demand that indifference and injustice cease.

To see Sharon’s work, visit: https://makeartmagichappens.com/2019/05/22/anonymous/

Later…. I shared this fiber object with my friend Kathy. She allowed her photo to be taken wearing the mask.

She also had some good suggestions on how to make this mask into one that could actually be used by people who need to wear them for health reasons.