Friday, September 24, 2010

Knitting Wrapped Stitches

In a lot of my patterns I require a whole bunch of wrap-and-turns (where you move your yarn to the front, slip a stitch, move the yarn to the back, slip the stitch back to the left needle, and turn your work). When you've done this and come back to the wrapped stitch, you'll find that it looks like this:
If you knit it how it is, you're going to see the yarn that's wrapping the stitch as a little bar. If you're OK with this, let it go, but I prefer to make my work look a little more seamless. In order to make the wrap invisible, you should knit the stitch with its wrap. First, you should insert your right needle underneath the yarn that is wrapping the stitch.
See? It's easy! Now just place the tip of that needle into the stitch you want to knit:
But you can't quite knit them like that all the time (sometimes, if your stitches are loose enough, you can bring the working yarn through both loops as so, but I find it's a little hit-or-miss), so what I do is I slip the wrapped stitch off the left needle knitwise, then place them both on, together, as so:
Then knit both stitch and wrap together. It will be a tiny bit visible on the wrong side of the work, but after blocking, even the wrong side will look flawless! I hope this little tutorial helps you guys out!

Friday, September 17, 2010


I'm thinking of making this the first in a 3-hat series (later: Blinkin' and Nod). This one, as well as being the first chronologically, is slightly flirty, with its bow, pinks, and sparkles, so it shall carry the name Winkin'! (Because winking is what you do when you flirt! I think...maybe I don't know how to flirt.) Anyway, I just need to make the other two hats (one will be a man's hat, the other, a child's) and I'll put it out for testing!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First-Project Pride

Everyone who knits remembers what it was like to start knitting. You found yourself knitting into lower stitches, dropping stitches, finding that the yarn wasn't wear it was supposed to be, making accidental yarn-overs, and having no idea why your piece turned out like this:
This is the first project of one of the girls I babysit. She is a wonderful girl, full of love, who wanted desperately to wear her creation to school. As it was, her scarf didn't really scream "Finished Object!" so I decided to intervene. Fortunately for me, she is very open to my crazy suggestions, and this one was--"Buttons!" (Wait, isn't that my crazy suggestion for everything? I'm not sure.)
We draped the fabric, cowl-style, around her neck and found the accidental yarn-overs, which we used as button-holes. We sewed the buttons on, and it turned into quite the fashion piece--she's quite the fashion model, yes? A wonderful thing about her is she can't fake a smile. She will only smile like this when she's positively glowing from within, and she has a lot to be proud about!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Piece o' Cake

Recently I've been moving. It is NOT FUN. I bruise like a peach, I'm not made of muscle, and I got stung by a bee (true story). Also, a bed that Steve and I were going to get from storage was apparently locked up until the super got back from vacation. He had left every key with his sub except the one that was locking the storage place where the bed resided. So Steve and I are going to rent a truck again next weekend just to move the bed. Fun!

OK, enough of my whining. Nobody likes moving, and everyone's doing it these days, so I'm really not that special when you think about it. But it got me thinking: just because moving's not a piece of cake it doesn't mean nothing has to be! Inspired by going to the Foiled Cupcakes 1-year-anniversary party, I decided to de-stress by knitting the following:

Ah yes, the ubiquitous knit cake. It's silly, yes, but enough to get my mind off the stress of moving. I thought I'd share my recipe with you!
2 small balls of different-colored yarn from your stash
1 cicular, convex button
1 set of US size 5 dpns
1 tapestry needle
1 scrap of cloth, about 16" x 16"
1 scrap of cloth, about 4" x 8"
Cast on 3 stitches on one dpn. With a second dpn, knit 2 stitches into the first stitch. With a third dpn, do the same with the next stitch, and with a fourth, work 2 stitches into the last stitch. Now you have 6 stitches in the round, 2 on each needle. Work 2 stitches into the front and back of each of those stitches, resulting in 12 stitches total. Continue increasing as follows: Round 3: knit 1, knit into the front and back of the next stitch; repeat till the end of round (6 times total).
Round 4: knit 2, knit into the front and back of the next stitch; repeat till the end of round.
Round 5: knit 3, knit into the front and back of the next stitch; repeat till the end of round.
Round 6: knit 4, knit into the front and back of the next stitch; repeat till the end of round.
Round 7: knit 5, knit into the front and back of the next stitch; repeat till the end of round. (You will have 42 stitches total.)
Now you will work the ridges of the cupcake paper. Knit 2 stitches and purl 1, repeat this till the end of the round. For the next round, knit 1 stitch and purl two, repeating this till the end of the round. Repeat these past two rounds until the ribbing measures an inch and a half.
Switch to your second (frosting) color. Knit into the front, back, and front of all the stitches in the round, increasing your number of stitches from 42 to 126, 42 on each needle. Try to make these stitches loose, as they will put a strain on your needles. Next, knit for two rounds. To decrease the ruffle, knit 3 together 6 times, knit 2 together, and knit 1. Repeat this till the end of the round. You will have 48 stitches.
Next, purl 5 rounds, knit 2 rounds.
Insert the stuffing:
Fold the 16" cloth in half, and then half again, lengthwise, making a 16" x 4" folded strip. Holding one of the short ends, roll tightly until you have a 4" tall cylinder. With the smaller scrap, fold it in thirds, lengthwise, so you have a folded strip a little more than an inch wide. wrap it around the middle of the cylinder, and insert it into your knit cupcake.
Now you will start decreasing:
Round 1: purl 6 stitches, purl two together; repeat till end of round.
Round 2: purl
Round 3: purl 5 stitches, purl two together; repeat till end of round.
Round 4: purl
Round 5: purl 4 stitches, purl two together; repeat till end of round.
Round 6: knit
Round 7: knit 3 stitches, knit two together; repeat till end of round.
Round 8: purl
Round 9: purl 2 stitches, purl two together; repeat till end of round.
Round 10: purl 1 stitch, purl two together; repeat till end of round.
Round 11: purl two together; repeat till end of round.
You will have 6 stitches left. Cut your working yarn, leaving a 3-inch tail. Pass the tail through all six stitches, taking them off their needles, and pull. Use this tail to thread though the button and use the yarn needle to sew it in and then weave in the ends.
Now, with a 12" piece of yarn, sew the increase part of the ruffle (the first thing you did with the frosting yarn) to the decrease side, making the ruffle more ruffly. Weave in ends, and you have a cupcake!

...Do not eat it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Design (Probably): Paulina

I've been experimenting with short-row hats a la Leethal, but with my own twists. Earlier, in my recent FO post, I demonstrated my failed attempt to do an "illusion hat," something that I'd been warned might not work because heads happen to be round. "Round schmound!" I said to that, only to find that I'd wasted a couple days drawing charts and following them and glean the result of a weird, kind of nubbly, hat.

But I prevailed! Not with that concept, because it was drenched in fail-sauce, but I had another idea: what if I cast on a few stitches and made some short row ear-flaps! It would be so cool--you could apply it to any short-row hat you could want! Just add some stitches at the end (or beginning) of a couple wedges and you have an ear-flap!
These guys got a little long:
But that actually made them long enough to fasten to a button at the very center of the crown--a fun touch.
What do you guys think? Should my next try have more reggler-sized earflaps or should I keep them long? (I'll probably try doing shorter ones to compare, anyway.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wolcott is Available!

Hello, all my dozens of fans! Wolcoott is now available in the Ravelry store! It's the hat that goes from tam to toque in a tick!

So yes! You can !

eBay, Gartigan

I recently discovered that I could buy yarn on eBay. That was a dangerous discovery! I ended up with 6 skeins of Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk dk, 5 skeins of Malabrigo silky merino, and one skein of sock.
Gorgeous, right? One thing, and it's a big'un: I don't have a ball winder. Is it worth it to buy one? I don't work at a yarn store, so I'd feel like a big pain if I asked if I could use theirs, especially considering how sticky Malabrigo tends to be, what with the kettle-dying. It's so pretty, though!

Anyway, the Debbie Bliss comes in balls already, so I searched and found the perfect pattern for this lovely cardigan:
I love it! It's way way way too warm to wear anywhere these days, but come fall I will get tons of use for it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

And designs!

Also, my Wicker Park has hit the shops! If you buy it now, it's only $5, but I may raise the price to $6, because it's really complex and worth it! It's been so amazing working with the testers, solving their problems (hopefully!) and viewing their progress. I owe them so much!The next pattern to hit the store soon is my Wolcott, a fun, versatile hat that's "much easier than it looks," according to my internet friend Alex who test knit it for me. Mine turned out a lot slouchier than the testers, so I may have to knit another to see if I wrote the instructions wrong. I don't think I did; I may just be a super loose knitter or have an abnormally-small head. We shall see, and the pattern should be ready in a week or so!
This hat can be worn two ways--slouchy:
Or as a beanie! I hope you guys love it and buy it and make me millions of dollars! ;)

Holy FO, Batman!

When I get obsessed with knitting--truly obsessed--I forget to blog about it. Well, I am still obsessed, but I'm working on a cardigan right now and those tend to bore me a little, no matter how soft the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk is on my fingers. Here are a few recently finished pieces!
I test knit this pullover for Jennifer Thompson late this spring. It was a really simple, quick knit, and flattering, too! I'm new to sweaters, and this was a pleasure--changing colors helps with the boredom of knitting a sweater, a tiny bit, and since it was bottom-up, all the exciting stuff happened at the end, making me stay up really late until I'd finished it!
This guy, Vahl, was test-knit for the creative Alexandra Tinsley. I kind of stink at changing colors in the round, so there's a seam-like thing going up the back, but it's way fun! I gave it to my friend Tirzah at her bachelorette party last night! Pom-poms!
And as payment for the test, Alex sent me the Maelstrom Beret pattern I'd been coveting. I gave this as an engagement gift to my brother's fiancee, Liz. This is not Liz wearing it, but I bet it looks great on her!
And then I attempted to design an illusion hat. I failed because head happen to be round and illusions need to be long. Stupid long illusions and round heads! But I like how this stripy hat looks, and I'd probably like it better without the nubbly illusion attempts. I have an idea, but I think I'll surprise you with it!
And down here is Reagan Rush's Leafprints Hat, bought with cold, hard, honest Pay Pal, but it's only $3.50! And I like it a lot.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wicker Park

Wow, I'm really excited. I just finished writing the pattern to this shawl and I posted these pictures in the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry--a day and a half later I had to edit the post, allowing more test-knitters, so many wanted to do it. (I have some local testers up my sleeve, as well.)

This is making me think about what other projects I could do. I like the Wicker Park shawl because it has such interesting construction; I love being a short-row architect, which is what I'm calling it now. Maybe I'll make another short-row hat like Lee Meredith, but you know, different. Oh, here's my hat that I made of her design!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sweater Completed!

So, my first sweater was a success! I finished it a while ago, but I forgot to blog the finished product! Also, I made buttons. Thinking of making more and selling them on Etsy and/or local yarn shops.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chamber Tie Pattern

The other day my friend Brooke, from the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, mentioned he was starting a blog about ties and wondered if I could knit him a tie. I'd never knit a tie before, but how hard could it be? I took on the challenge and gave it a couple nice personal touches: a seed stitch border and a single cable down the center. I used Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic, which has a nice sheen to it, as well as being very sturdy. I also took some notes so I could write up the pattern for you here!

Yarn: 1 skein Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic
Needles: US 4 - 3.5 mm

16 stitches and 22 rows in seed stitch = 2 inches

CO - cast on
p - purl
k - knit
s - slip stitch from left to right needle purlwise
p2tog - purl 2 stitches together
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together
c4f - slide 2 stitches purlwise to cable needle and hold to front, knit next 2 stiches from left needle, knit stitches off cable needle
c2f - slide 1 stitch purlwise to cable needle and hold to front, knit next stitch from left needle, knit stitch off cable needle.

CO 16 stitches
1: s1, (k1, p1) 7 times, k1
2: s1, (p1, k1) 7 times, p1
Repeat two more times.

Cabled area
1: s1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k4, p3, k1, p1, k1
2, 4, and 6: s1, p1, k1, p1, k2, p4, k3, p1, k1, p1
3: s1, k1, p1, k1, p2, c4f, p3, k1, p1, k1
5: s1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k4, p3, k1, p1, k1
Repeat cable rows 1-6 seventeen times, then work from 1-3 once.

After row 3 of the cabled area, you'll be starting on the wrong side (ws).
1: s1, p1, k1, p1, k2tog, p4, k2tog, k1, p1, k1, p1
2: s1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k4, p2, k1, p1, k1
3: s1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p4, k2, p1, k1, p1
4 and 5: Repeat rows 2 and 3.
6: s1, k1, p1, k1, p1, c4f, p2, k1, p1, k1
7: s1, p1, k2tog, k1, p4, k1, p2tog, k1, p1
8: s1, k1, p2, k4, p1, k1, p1, k1
9: s1, p1, k2, p4, k1, p1, k1, p1
10 and 11: Repeat rows 8 and 9.
12: s1, k1, p2, c4f, p1, k1, p1, k1
13: s1, p1, k2, (p2tog) twice, k1, p1, k1, p1
14: s1, k1, p2, k2, p1, k1, p1, k1
15: s1, p1, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1
16: s1, k1, p2, c2f, p1, k1, p1, k1
17: s1, p1, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1
18-29: Repeat rows 14-17 three times.
30: s1, k1, p2, k2, p1, k1, p1, k1
31: s1, p1, k2tog, p2tog, k1, p1, k1, p1

The Rest of the Tie
1. (rs) s1, (k1, p1) three times, k1
2. s1, (p1, k1) three times, p1
Work those two rows until they equal the length of the first part of the tie. Bind off.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Pattern!

Oh boy! I just added my first pattern to the Ravelry store! It's free because I'm not a pro yet. Anyway, you can find it here! (You need to log in to the site, so if you don't have an account, get one!) And here's a picture of my test-knitter and me, wearing hats that the other one knit!

Friday, March 19, 2010

That Time Of Year

I thought I would share with you the first leg of my trip to work. Yeah, I keep my balance by shouting at the top of my lungs like Tarzan.

My First Sweater!

OK, so it's been a long time coming. I usually favor smaller crafts that can be finished in a day or two--keeps life from getting boring and all, right? And seriously, a sweater...that's BORING! Each piece takes at least a day, then you have to sew it together and everything.

One thing I did that was fun I used short rows to continue the border from the front to the neck of the back. I then learned how to graft from this website and joined the back collar to the front border of the other side. Doing short rows is one of my favorite things in knitting--it gives you freedom to do wacky things like add borders and shape things!

Now for my next experiment--for the sleeves, I picked up stitches around the arm holes and started doing short rows to form a slight cap sleeve. Now that I've finished that, I'm knitting in the round. My round needles are all 16", however, so it looks like a pretty thick sleeve. We'll see if it continues to look that way! If it does, no biggie, I'll just have some wide sleeves.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hats for the Kids!

Here are a couple more projects from the lovely Hattitude book I bought a couple weeks ago. I also made them matching arm-warmers. Oh! Quiz! Which one has which favorite color? Can you guess?

Everything is made with Malabrigo Worsted. It's so soft and the kids loved the color choices!

Also, I recently sent a fan message to Cathy Carron (author of Hattitude) and she wrote back! Ask anybody who sees me on a day-to-day basis and they'll confirm it's all I talk about. Not really, but I've definitely mentioned it to everybody in passing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I found my camera!

See? Anyway, I recently got a great book called Hattitude by Cathy Carron and have made three hats from it so far, adjusting two of the hats to fit the kids I babysit. The one I made for myself has gotten a lot of compliments in its short lifespan. Here it is!

I'm going to ask my boss if he'll allow his kids' picture on my blog so I can show you the adorable hats and arm-warmers I made for them. I hope I can share it with you guys!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Camera Boggart?

I can't find one of my cameras, and the one I can find has lost its battery charger. In fact, now I mysteriously have two chargers for the lost camera while previously I had one charger per camera. I have NO IDEA how this happened. I don't think any of my roommates have Cannon cameras. How do I have two Cannon chargers that both refuse to fit my one not-missing Cannon camera? This is too weird.

Anyway, I know somebody with an extra charger, and unless it has also changed shapes, I'll be able to update with my newest projects. I've knitted three hats and two sets of arm-warmers since my last post. This is how bad the situation has gotten! I'm almost done with a hood! It's pretty! And nobody gets to see them!

I will try to rectify the situation.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Deserted Island Chilaquiles

I made chilaquiles for Teri Jo and Steve today, and they turned out delicious! There's really no way you can go wrong with fried tortillas, eggs, refried black beans, orange peppers, cilantro, salsa verde, habinero-jack, avocados, and sour cream. That's all you need, except if you remember to buy red onion, as I did not. Simple recipe: fry corn tortillas in canola oil, heat up refried black beans (I added cumin), slice things, fry eggs, and arrange how you please.

Teri and I think hers looked like a deserted island, especially on the blue plate!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finishing Old Projects Time!

A lot of cleaning up my stash area involved finding bags filled with old projects. Some half-finished fingerless gloves were sitting in one of those bags, so I finished them up, and made a neck-warmer with the additional thread. It's not quite a cowl--hardly--but it looks kind of fancy and elegant! It makes every shirt into a turtleneck, even when the shirt doesn't even go up to the neck!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chipotle-Cheddar Biscuits

I felt like making biscuits this morning, but normal ones can be so boring! Therefore, I simply added two ingredients to the normal Jiffy recipe to make these scrumptious little guys.

2 cups Jiffy or other biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk
1 canned chipotle, chopped up
a few handfuls of shredded cheddar, a little set aside
salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°, then mix all the ingredients except to for the extra cheddar until it's sticky. Roll or press the mixture down on a surface that's been dusted with biscuit mix and knead it 20 times. Cut it with a round cookie cutter or a glass that looks like the right size (I used a wine glass), and place the biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. Put a pinch of shredded cheddar on each biscuit and bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

I drank lapsang souchong with it. The smokiness of the tea compliments the chipotle!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cowl Crisis!

I have a confession to make--I have not figured out the cowl. I always make them way too long and they turn into tiny shawls, but with buttons. I want one that floofs up to my chin. Nevertheless, I got a pretty result with my most recent failure:
It's not foofy or cozy, but it makes a nice ornament to a regular black tee.
Possibly next time I should use a pattern? Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Flower Headband

So on with my battle with the stash leftovers! This is some of the extra yarn from Steve's Jayne hat, but a much girlier product!
This is me being girly.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Very Small Project

My friend and roommate Teri Jo happened to babysit Rachel's friend, so they came over for a play date with the hopes of making a snowman. We then figured out that although the day was sunny, the snow was unfortunately quite powdery, so Teri suggested we make miniature snowmen. We went in to the kitchen to get baby carrots and raisins, and the product was adorable. Then I remembered how I had promised to make some small projects for my blog, so I set to work on making tiny crocheted scarves for the two mini snowmen we made. Snowmen have no necks, however, so they turned out to be a little short. They are quite cute, though!
All was fine and good until the one on the left decided to have an opinion about Teri's footwear. She asked her mom for snow-boots, alright?
No, the snowman didn't actually die. I mean, it is so cute! How could you destroy anything so cute, even if it did hurt your feelings just a little? (Story of my life as a nanny, BTW.)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Head Start on Spring Cleaning

My stash, which is in a hard-to-reach corner in my tiny bedroom, needs to be pared down. This may be the perfect time to make some new fingerless gloves, cuffs, or crazy mismatched stuff I'm usually too shy to create. I hope to amuse you all with my frustrations in de-tangling and figuring out where all my double-pointed needles and crochet hooks have gone. I don't have an awesome picture of that mess right now, but maybe that's for the best.

Does anyone have any ideas for small projects?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Making a Pom-Pom, and Finished Product!

Today I finished the Jayne Cobb hat, and in the process I made a pom-pom. I thought using two CDs would make a good frame. The hole in the middle isn't quite big enough to fit as much yarn as I usually use for a pom-pom, but with enough trimming, it turned out well! These are the steps I took.

I slipped yarn through the center of two CDs held together, enough times until I couldn't anymore:

I cut the yarn along the edge of the CDs:

I separated the CDs with my thumb:

I slipped some string between the CDs and tied a double knot to hold all the strings together:

I separated the two CDs, making sure not to pull any strings from the bunch:

After much trimming, the pom-pom turned out as so:

Yay! He likes it!

Oh wait, he should be frowning, in order to look like Mr. Jayne Cobb: