Updated patterns!

I'm in the process of updating my old patterns, particularly the bibs, to include charts. I'm rewriting some of the directions to make the patterns even easier and including alternative methods for beginning the bibs and for making the ties. Look for these patterns in the sidebar to see which ones have been added. It's a slow process, but eventually, they'll all be there!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Who me? A snob?

I learned to knit from my grandmother when I was six years old. She taught me using some old, pink plastic needles that were slightly bowed in the middle.  I still have that set of  U.S. Size 8 needles and they're one of my most prized possessions. I used a lot of Red Heart acrylic in those days, since I hadn't discovered the joys of using natural fibers.  However, every once and while, a project will pop up that calls for some acrylic yarn and I go back to that stiff, plastic stuff that's torture for me to use. I wouldn't exactly say that I've become a yarn snob, but I do wrinkle my nose at the notion of using acrylic. In any event, awhile back, I was surfing around Ravelry searching for the perfect infinity cowl.  I wanted one that could be doubled, had a neat texture, and was knit back and forth with a few stitches, rather than a huge circle with tons of stitches. I finally hit on the right pattern, it had all of my requirements and I loved the sample that was done in gorgeous shades of blue.  Imagine my surprise then, when I saw that the yarn was 100% acrylic. Not only that, but it was bulky! Blues Infinity Scarf is a free pattern that's knit with James C. Brett's Marble Chunky. I know that I could have used other yarn, but I loved the look of this one so much, I decided to give it a go and I'm happy that I did.
The yarn was actually quite nice to knit with and it has a "woolly" feel to it.  You only need one ball as it's very large with 341 yards.

Here are the modifications I made. I did a provisional cast on of 27 stitches using U.S. Size 10 needles. There are only two rows to the pattern and one of them is a knit row. I began and ended with the second pattern row so I could graft the ends together easily. For the second pattern row, I began and ended with knit 3. In other words, instead of "p1, k1", I did "k3, (p1, k2) x7, p1, k3". This produced a nice garter stitch edge on both sides.  The length of  54" that the pattern calls for, was perfect for doubling.
I will say that I found it a little boring to knit, so I kept it in my car and only worked on it when we were travelling.  It does knit up rather quickly with the bulky yarn and large needles. I knit half of it on our trip up to Maine and the second half on the way home!

As luck, or fate, would have it, my husband came back home from one of his walks around the block, and announced that our local sewing shop was having a yarn sale. First, I didn't even know that the shop carried yarn. I mistakenly believed that all they did were alterations and repairs. I had no idea that they had any sewing or knitting inventory at all!  I immediately got in the car and drove downtown, not expecting to find much!  As it turns out, she had several really nice lines of yarn, including the Marble Chunky!  Not only that, but the sale was for 30% off as they aren't going to continue the retail part of their shop.  How could I resist that? I picked up a couple more balls as I'm fairly certain my sisters will want to take my scarf as soon as they see it.  I thought it would be good to be prepared!

With one of the balls, I knit this cozy shawl for myself. The colors look slightly washed out in this photo, but they're wonderful fall colors!
This is the TVG (High Speed Knitting) pattern by Susan Ashcroft.  It's designed for any weight of yarn.  She has some wonderful patterns and they're all very well written and test knitted.
Again, this only used one ball of yarn with the U.S. Size 10 needles, and I still had some leftover!

This post wouldn't be complete without a huge thank you to my beautiful niece, Eliza, for helping me out with the modeling. She came to visit us for a few days. I jokingly told her I was going to tell all of you that the pictures were of me! LOL!  Oh to be young and thin!! I just wish that I had my other shawl blocked so she could have modeled that as well.  I guess she'll just have to come back for another visit!! Thanks Eliza!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Whale of a Blog

Don't get used to seeing a brand new pattern every time you come and visit me! LOL!! This is just luck that the last three posts all have had patterns.  This new one is brought to you because of a very nice email that I received asking me if I had a pattern for a whale.  I didn't, but then I remembered that I had started one a year or so ago.  For some unknown reason, I abandoned it.  Thanks to Sheila, I decided to revive it.
I thought it would be another good summertime project.
I purposely kept it to the same dimensions as the Baby Starfish and the Baby Seahorse so if you wanted to make a set, they'd all go together.
I've now added charts to the Baby Seahorse pattern and I've updated the Baby Starfish Cloth and added charts to both that one and the bib. My goal is to eventually add charts to all the old patterns. In any event, I want to thank Sheila for prodding me and, more importantly, for test knitting the bib! That's a luxury I don't get to enjoy very often!

Here's the pdf for A Whale of a Bib and here's the pdf for A Whale of a Cloth.  Links are also in the sidebar.

I hope you have a "whale" of a good time knitting them!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Berry Time!

As you all know by now, I knit hats for the babies at my local hospital. They give me the "head" count for the upcoming month and I go to work!  I don't like to keep knitting the same thing over and over, so I change up the designs depending on the season.  In the summertime, I like to knit lacy hats for the girls, but I also do some with a berry theme.  My all time favorite is this little strawberry hat.
It's pretty easy to knit and I think it comes out so sweet.  I've tweaked it a bit here and there over the years,  It's a compilation of three different free patterns.  Because I "borrowed" the instructions, I can't really claim it as my pattern, but I can share how I put it all together, in case you'd like to make one for a berry sweet baby!

First, you need to gather these three patterns.  Honey Badger for the body of the hat.  Berry Baby Hat for the leaves and Knitted Flower Tutorial for the little white blossom.

I used Plymouth Yarns Jeannee in the worsted weight and U.S. Size 6  16" circular needle for the body and either double pointed needles for the crown or a larger circular needle for magic loop.

Cast on 63 stitches. (Note:  Knit the first row without joining it in the round. It's so much easier to knit this one row and then close up the stitch when you weave in the ends.)  Knit nine rounds.  Knit the next round through the back loops.  This gives you a twisted round that will hold the rolled brim in place. Knit one round. Begin the pattern as follows:

Rounds 1 - 3:  knit
Round 4:  *yo, slip 1, k2, pass the slip st. over the 2 knit sts., k6*, repeat to end of round.
Rounds 5 - 9:  knit.
Round 10: * k4, yo, slip 1, k2, pass the slip st. over the 2 knit sts., k2*, repeat to end of round.

Work rounds 1 - 10 a total of four times. 24 rows total.  Note: On the last round 10, increase one stitch to 64 stitches.

Switch now to the Baby Berry Hat pattern and follow the instructions for making the leaves.  When you're finished, knit the I-cord for only 1 1/2".  This will give the hat a little stem. I will tell you that I read somewhere that the leaves looked a little better if you did the decreases using the "old-fashioned" method of slipping one stitch, knitting one stitch and then passing the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch or a psso.  I don't know if that's true or not, but that's the way that I do my decreases, rather than the knit 2 tog. I think it probably just makes the leaves swirl in the opposite direction. You can do them however you want!

Blossom.  I used a thinner yarn for the blossom.  Tahki Cotton Classic Lite and I knit it with U.S. Size 3 needles.  The Knitted Flower Tutorial (in my opinion) makes the nicest flowers.  For these, you follow her instructions except that you only need to cast on 41 stitches.  Knit one row and purl one row.  Then you cast off 7 stitches for each blossom, instead of 9.  This makes a smaller and very neat little flower.  To finish it off, make a french knot in the center. (Hey, french knots are easy!  The trick to making them is to remember not to go back down the same hole.  Also, if you want a bigger or a thicker knot, use a double strand of yarn.  Don't just wrap the yarn multiple times around the needle or it will be floppy.) Attach the blossom to one side of the stem.

I used to use this different pattern for the flower, Knitted Flower Pattern, which was also cute.  It does make a "bulkier" flower and it is a little fiddly, but it does work.

If you know how to crochet, you can even make one of your own creations!  

I hope you have fun knitting this little cap. As I said, it may be my all time favorite!