Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why You Need A Kitchen Island

 If you love fiber, you need a large kitchen island.  End of story.

OK - I always have a yarn to tell and this is it. 

Weekends are busy.  People walking about and actually expecting to be able to stroll down the hallway as if they own the place!  Others being forced to do laundry on the weekend due to long commutes during the week. (Welcome to L.A.)  And then there is cooking to be done.  Add all of this up and before you know it, most of the usable space that is six feet of uninterrupted & not otherwise claimed flat surface is hard to find in the condo. 

Thus, the need for a large kitchen island!

This is scarf blocking on the weekend by she who crochets. Wildness in motion.  I'm convinced that it glows in the dark; she claims it is just "pretty."  I love having a partner in yarn!

Yarn:  Oink Pigments in the Goblin Gum colorway which appears to have been special for 2014.  But check out her great stuff! 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Faster Than A Bouncing Basketball

That's right.  I spent a day watching NCAA BBall and enjoying March Madness.  My teams are no longer in the dance, but still I'm caught up in the action.

To be honest, mostly I listen and only glance up when the color commentators get really excited.  And that is because I'm caught up in my own color!

In one afternoon, I whipped up a new lacy pair of mitts.  These are the simplest type - a crocheted rectangle seamed to fit.

But let's give credit where it is due.

Pattern:  Lacy Fingerless Gloves by Christie Pruitt.  The pattern indicates that it fits small/medium.  My hands are fairly normal so I consider them a medium.  The fit is a tad tight to put on, but perfect during wearing.  If you have a large hand, consider adding a repeat to the width (caution:  math required).

Yarn:  Koigu Sparkle.  The sparkle shows up well in real life.  But it was shy during the photo session.  Here is a link to my friend's online shop (yes, this is a plug for Merilyn).  She can hook you up with the good stuff.

  No Second Syndrome for this old gal.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Z Top for Z Spring

Love it. 

My Z Top fits like a dream.  This is  Crane Hill by Miriam L. Felton and can be had free over on this page

I made one major change.  The back is worked without the V shaping.  It is just decreased (per the pattern) on the arm edges and then worked straight up.  Because the neck edge wanted to curl - the natural tendency of stockinette - there is a row of crab stitch across to control the fabric.

 The way that the yarn pooled might not be for everyone.  But it is so "me" that even my family said the magic word.  COOL.

My Z Top is Cool.

Ain't that grand?!

Friday, March 20, 2015

OOPS. I Did It Again.

Many years projects ago, I picked up the habit of marking my patterns prior to picking up the yarn.  Most of you do the same.  In the pre-digital age, we used pen or highlighter to circle the stitch counts for the size we planned to follow.  Now, we can use fancy apps to store patterns and cute colors and pen widths to anticipate those magic numbers.

It is a good and useful habit.

Exhibit #1

This is from pattern for the current Z Top project.   Notice how I have circled the stitch count for this exact point in the making of the thing. 

And, I hit that number spot on the first time.  The stitches were zipping along, the color was pooling, and everything was perfect.

Pride goeth before. . . . and all that.

Exhibit #2

Cast your eyes down toward the bottom where the pattern has changed from crochet to the knit portion.  Those numbers are stitch counts.  Do you see any circles or markings of any type?

My brain went on the fritz and my fingers merrily started binding off and knitting and binding off and knitting based on a casual glance.  And when I made it all the way round those starting 168 stitches there were oh, maybe a gazillion stitches left over!

Do as I say, not as I did.  Mark your pattern people.  Mark it all the way from cast on to wearing.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Caught Up In The Pool-ing

As soon as it hit the digital waves, the Spring+Summer issue of Knitty grabbed my attention.  There is always something that draws me in - a pattern (or five), a hint, an article or even an advert for something new.  And it is all free for the enjoyment.

Let me tell you, friend, I am enjoying Crane Hill designed by Miriam L Felton.  In this great summer garment, crochet and knitting combine to bring out the best in each.  What struck me immediately was the opportunity to break out the 1200 yards of Interlacements Rick Rack.  

Oh, sure.  There were things to consider.  Like the fact that the pattern uses a linen in Aran weight and my yarn is rayon in Sport weight.  And linen is natural and rayon is man-made from cellulose.  There is drape to be considered also.  

Let's not even think about what could happen when the Rick Rack starts pooling.  

Wait a minute.  

Let's celebrate what happens when the Rick Rack starts pooling color!   I'm doing my 'happy, happy, joy, joy' dance.


PS for those with inquiring minds.  Started this on the pattern preferred 5.5mm hook.  Worked three rounds and decided it was too big and loose.  Did not frog it.  Just changed to a 5.0mm hook and kept on stitching.  Result:  fits better and the bottom skims over my bottom.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

All Tied Up (she's baaack)

Well, that was a lovely break for posting and writing and thinking and all that jazz.  I'm back after taking some time off to think.  And cogitate.  

And I might have designed this headband using the knot cable technique.  The first time I did this three dimensional knitting was in a pillow for a shop sample.   You can see below for a link to her pillows and the genius of the knot.  

 I loved her concept so much that ideas started popping into my little brain.  It just took a while to get them written down.

Without further ado, here it is.

 Cable Knot Headband
Lenora Francois Stewart
Francois Stewart Designs.

This technique uses strips of knitting to create a dimensional knot.
·       Worsted or DK weight yarn – smooth
·       US 6 - 8 needle, extra dpn of same size
·       Locking Stitch markets
·       Stitch holder

Cast on 27 stitches (long tail)
Set up:  Knit ONE Row
Row 1 (RS): k5, p2, k4, place marker (PM), k5, (PM), k4, p2, k5.
Row 2 (WS);  k7, p4, k5, p4, k7

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 two more times, slipping markers as you come to them. 

Knot Cable is worked on the next right side row.

Row 7 (RS):  k5, p2, Knot Cable over next 13 stitches, p2, k5

KNOT CABLE adapted from Cabled Pillows by Annabelle Speer
1.     With extra needle, knit 4 stitches in Stockinette for 10 Rows.  Place stitches on locking marker.  It is easiest if you knit backwards for these rows. 
2.     Cut yarn
3.     Slip next 5 stitches to a holder and drop to back of work
4.     Attach yarn and work next 4 stitches in Stockinette for 10 Rows.  Place stitches on locking marker.  It is easiest if you knit backwards for these rows.
5.     Cut yarn
6.     Wrap the right hand strip in front of and around the left hand strip to form a knot.  Let the strip on the left fall to the front of the work
7.     Slip the 4 stitches from the new right hand strip back on the left needle and knit
8.     Knit the 5 center stitches from the holder
9.     Slip the 4 stitches from the new left hand strip back on the left needle and knit
10.  Complete row as established.

Row 8 (WS):  k7, p4, k5, p4, k7.
Row 9 (RS): k5, p2, k4, place marker (PM), k5, (PM), k4, p2, k5.
Row 10 (WS);  k7, p4, k5, p4, k7
Repeat Rows 9 & 10 two more times, slipping markers as you come to them. 
Row 15:  knit
Bind off in Knit on next wrong side row.
Weave in all ends.
With right side of Knot Cable swatch facing and using a DPN, Pick Up & Knit 9 stitches along left edge.
WS Row:  p2tog, k5, p2tog
RS Row:  knit all stitches
WS Row:  p2tog, k 3, p2tog
RS Row:  knit all stitches
WS Row:  p2tog, k 1, p2tog
RS Row:  k3
Now work an i-cord on these 3 stitches for 9 – 10 inches (or as long as needed.)  Bind off and weave in end.
Repeat this process for the other side.
Tie i-cord around head to wear headband.