Knitted Crocheted Other

Friday, April 25, 2014

All the Little Critters and An Easier Way to M1

Recently, I made several toys from patterns designed by Barbara Prime of "Fuzzy Mitten Toys". I especially LOVE her creations, because they add so much whimsey and cuteness and she hosts a forum, where you can view other knitter's works and ask/answer/get answers to any questions you might have.

Because all of the little "critters" need shaping, there is a lot of M1 and K2tog/ssks going on in the pattern. Typically, when making an M1/make 1 (knitting in the bar between stitches) a hole is created. In order to close that hole, you knit in the back loop which twists the stitch thereby making it tighter and pulling up any slack.

This works fine for most yarns that have a little "give". But on one of the patterns, I chose to use a cotton yarn, which doesn't have "give".

After struggling with the twisting of the stitch, I had an idea. And it worked!

M1 the stitch, without twisting. There will be a slight hole. On the return, twist the stitch. It closes the hole just as well, and is a whole lot easier to do because you're working with an entire stitch, not a short length of yarn between stitches.

You do need to keep track of where the M1's are, but it's not too difficult because even if you're not counting where they should be, they're different looking from a normal stitch so they stand out a bit.

Patterns used - Backyard Bandits, Mystery Knit-Along 2014 (the kangaroos) and Orangutan

Happy Knitting!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Making Knitted Gifts for Sports Fans

This past November, I was trying to find something I could knit up for my 12 year old grandson for his birthday. He's always warm, so he doesn't like beanies or scarves or mitts and would never be caught dead in a sweater.

But he is a Giant's fan, and has a few bobble heads and banners. So I thought maybe I could knit up a pillow for his bed, using the Giant's logo. I believe that's OK, as long as you're not selling the item.

I created my own graph of the design and alternated the use of the orange and grey yarns. Now, most Giants' items are in orange and black, but lately they've been using the grey in their uniforms as a substitute for the black. 

After knitting up two (relatively) same sized squares, I whipstitched up 3 of the edges and then hand-sewed in a zipper. It looks and sounds a little difficult, but if you have any sewing skills with putting in zippers, you'll find it fairly easy.

Of course the program I used to create the graph went belly-up and I had to purchase a different one (which does not use the same format). So all I have left are some jpegs of the graph.

Feel free to copy it. The logo itself is 43 stitches and 45 rows, but you can add more rows and stitches for the borders, or add them on later, if you choose.

I designed the graph a little foreshortened, thinking the knit stitch is usually taller than it is wide. However, it didn't seem to apply here, so the finished product also looks a little "squished". Oh well!

Zipper notes - use the same color thread as your yarn, stitch "in the ditch" (between knit stitches), and when you close up the side, whipstitch into the "hidden" leg of the stitch so your seam won't show as much. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

While making this pattern "Katrina Ballerina" by No Two Snowflakes, as a gift, I thought it would be a great idea to make a swatch that incorporates the buttonhole. I then attached extra buttons and the care instructions. Now it can be easily brought along while shopping for accessories or different buttons.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Knitting Organization Idea

While I'm taking the Clara Parkes "Know Your Yarn" class on, and agreeing that the creation of a swatch is more than just finding out how many stitches and rows your yarn  (with a certain size needle) will create, I'm realizing that the gauge is a good organizational tool.

Of course, she's talking about experiencing how your yarn feels and how it looks with certain stitches and how important it is to know all this before you begin a project with said yarn, all of which I totally agree.

But I'm talking about ease of finding patterns for said gauge. And better ways to store your patterns for ease of use. has a nice feature, in finding the exact yarn you're using and then finding patterns fellow Ravelers have used with that yarn. And that's fine. But many of us see patterns we like, but don't necessarily have the yarn for, and download the patterns to our computers, to use at a future date.

After downloading a few, we realize we need to categorize (if we ever intend on finding anything)!

Traditionally we might store these patterns under the type of garment (or other) that the pattern is for, ie: cowl, vest, wash cloth, etc. But then we run into the task of searching for a pattern that will work with the yarn we wish to use. So then we could sub categorize weight of yarn and amount needed. Which is fine, but not everyone knits the same as all designers, so gauge can differ. 

We could store the patterns under the yarn weight, ie: worsted, dk, fingerweight, etc. And I've tried this method and added sub categories for the amount of yarn, ie: <300yds, >600yds, etc.

With this method, patterns can be found that use the right amount of yarn in the required yarn weight. But what if the gauge is off?

Today, I considered what Clara was saying. Feel the yarn, listen to it and (in swatching) find out how the yarn works best. Then decide what you want to make with it. And I thought, "OK, if I have a yarn that gives me this gauge in that stitch patten, how can I find patterns more easily?" 

Categorize by gauge. 

Now it's true you could end up with quite a few folders, but actual row count should be easier to tweak than stitch (and pattern repeat) count. Rows can be added or subtracted, keeping pattern in mind, but changing stitches will drastically change size and pattern. So the files could be categorized by stitch count, and sub categorized by row count, using a count spread, ie: 18-24 rows, 25-30 rows, etc. You could then have just a few patterns to choose from, rather than many.

My thinking is that several different weights, while using different needles, can give similar gauge.  Also, many patterns call for stockinette stitch, where you may want to use a patterned stitch. If your pattern gauge is the same as the stockinette gauge, you can substitute. 

Now this is all theory at the moment. I haven't done this yet and have no idea if it will work better. But I think it's worth a try. 

I'll update in a year or so, and let you know how it's working.

Have a great, happy knitting day!