Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday knitting, and inching towards simplicity

My mom asked for a hat to match her winter coat, and chose a nifty design called Ardelle by Ellen Bartz. (Don't tell her I filtered out the fingering and doubleknit patterns before she got to choose. Christmas will be here soon, and there are only so many knitting hours left.) The hat has a sideways cabled band from which you pick up stitches to knit the crown. Here's the work in progress:
I chose a super-soft yarn by Misti Alpaca. It feels like it will be really toasty, which is just what she wanted.

So today is World AIDS Day. The folks at Starbucks emailed me to say they're giving five cents for each drink ordered today to an AIDS-related charity. That's a nice gesture, but I decided to just make my own chai at the office and give the whole five bucks to the Colorado AIDS Project. So there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

All designers start as tweakers, right?

Scarf and hat set
I keep finding more pink skeins of Cascade Lana Grande leftover from my Abrazo vest. I knit up a hat from Paulina Chin's Speedy Cabled Beret pattern, but wasn't as excited about her cute matching cowl. Then I found the super-fast Pidge Podge by knitnutt, and started tweaking. I'm excited to have something to share with the knitiverse.

I started right into a cabled design after casting on - here's the cast-on end, sans blocking.

Cast-on end of scarf

I realized that it would look nicer ending with ribbing instead of just letting the cables fall off the end. The pattern below is exactly what I did. If I did this again I would probably start with 5 rows of ribbing and then switch to the cable repeats to make the ends symettrical. It hardly matters, as the cast-on end doesn’t show when you button it up.

I would enjoy seeing other folks’ ideas for a neater transition from cable to rib, or just more variations on the Pidge Podge theme.

Cabled Pidge Podge:

Cast on 20 stitches.
Rows 1,3,5 (WS): p1, k1, [p4, k2] 2 times, p4, k1, p1
Row 2 (RS): k1, p1, [k4, p2] 2 times, k4, p1, k1
Row 4 (RS cable): k1, p1 [c4f, p2] 2 times, c4f, p1, k1
Row 6 (RS): repeat row 2

Repeat these 6 rows 11 more times, until work measures about 25 inches.

Repeat Row 1.


Rows 1,3,5 (WS): p1, [k2, p2] 4 times, k2, p1
Rows 2, 4 (RS): k1, [p2, k2] 4 times, p2, k1

Bind off in pattern.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Knitting tools from found objects

So I'm in the midst of my first two-stranded knitting project, a felted bag with a swell bit of colorwork. Being the gadget fan that I am, I was alarmed to discover that my local knitting shops don't seem to carry yarn guides, the little plastic gizmos that help keep the two color strands separated for those of us who are too new and clumsy to manage two yarns at once.

Impatience prompted me to devise my own yarn guide from household objects. Exhibit A - the play ring:

Large lay ring separating yarn strands

I was hoping that the impressive size of this ring would keep the two strands separated. It certainly does that, but the stretchy band is just sticky enough to catch the strand that runs behind the ring. Drat!Over lunch at work, I arranged with the ever-helpful Mary Carol of the Lamb Shoppe to order a yarn guide. It's on the way. Meanwhile, I wondered if I could improve on the original design. While glancing around my cubicle for parts, I set upon on a piece of plastic spiral binding. But how to attach it? Scratchy wool yarn? A quick rummage through the desk drawers unearthed an old name badge with elastic lanyard still attached. Yes!

Witness Exhibit B, the new and improved yarn guide:

Yarn guide fashioned from spiral binding and elastic

It works so well that it may actually outperform the Clover model. I'll report back when the order arrives.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Being careful not to twist...

Practically every hat, sock, and mitten pattern begins:

  1. Cast on xx stitches. Join into a round, being careful not to twist.

I hate that last part... but then, I suppose nobody likes a Mobius strip hat. Last night I had to rip out several rows of knitting I had finished before noticing my twisted cast-on. Luckily we had a church council meeting, where I was able to reknit those rows plus a couple more.

Article I

Last December I picked up a brochure for Denver's Knitting for Our Troops marathon. Being the perennial joiner, I had to dive in. In the course of a few days I discovered three fine knitting shops in the Denver area: Fancy Tiger, a small but impressively funky shop which is conveniently located near my office; the Lamb Shoppe, which has a great selection of wools, a friendly sit-down-and-knit vibe, and an espresso machine; and Showers of Flowers, which is off my usual path but is huge and stocks lots of Euroflax linen yarn. While shopping for 100% wool for the K4OT project, Lamb Shoppe owner Mary Carol asked me to contact Susan Greene at the Denver Post for an upcoming article. I try to periodically embarrass myself and my family in the media, so of course I had to call.

Our dear friends Bob and Michelle are thorough newspaper readers, and apparently spent much of an afternoon giggling over the new moniker Ms. Greene ascribed to me in the article, which appeared on New Year's Day. So there you have it.