Saturday, April 28, 2012

Knitting Wish List

I got The Knitter’s Life List for my birthday, and have compiled a list! As a new knitter, I have a lot of things I haven’t done so my list is quite long. I’m going to post it here as a reference, and I’ll refer back to it as I complete projects! On to the list!

ETA: If the entry is bold, that means I've completed it but have not yet posted about it. If there is a link, that means I've completed it and linked it to the blog post.

0. Find out what the yarn in the basket on the back cover is. I want the entire basket!! (Not sure this can actually be done...)

1. Find color inspiration in quilts, carpets, saris, rusty bridges, old trucks, industrial buildings, paintings, landscapes and gardens, textiles, pottery, butterflies, insects, birds, etc.
2. Buy yarns (and fleece) direct from the source.
3. Collect your experiments with various yarns in a notebook.
4. Hand paint or hand-dye some silk yarn.
6. Knit socks from the toe up, with nicely rounded heels.
7. Recycle an old or secondhand sweater by unraveling it, and knit something new with the yarn.
8. Include care instructions with hand-knit gifts: you’ll find them on the yarn band.
10. Learn to spin.
11. Knit swatches from yarn with different numbers of plies and observe the differences.
12. Learn the intarsia technique.
13. Choose one of your favorite colors and find out what it symbolizes to people in different cultures.
14. Learn to wind a center-pull ball of yarn by hand.
15. Visit a fiber farm.
16. Use these yarns: Wool from at least ten different breeds of sheep, angora, cashmere, mohair, qiviut, bison, yak, alpaca, camel, guanaco, llama, vicuna, bombyx silk, tussah silk, cotton, hemp, linen, bamboo, corn-fiber yarn, metal-wrapped yarn, milk-fiber yarn, paper yarn, ramie, seacell, soy silk, sugarcane-fiber yarn, tencel
17. Designs: Ann Budd, Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, Debbie Bliss, Jil Eaton, Vivian Hoxbro, Marianne Isager, Kristin Nicholas, Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett

18. Start a notebook with your swatches, and jot down what you knit with each one.
19. Take part in a Knit Along.
20. Knit a sweater from the top down.
21. Knit a baby hat.
22. Create a hand-knit toy.
23. Knit a baby blanket.
24. Make some baby booties.
25. Felt a knitted Mobius basket.
26. Make a Christmas stocking for everyone in your family.
27. Knit a hat from the top down.
28. Make a hand-knit cowl.
29. Knit socks — and more socks!
30. Read up on nalbinding.
31. Sign up for a knitting class.
32. Locate the yarn shops within a 50 mile radius of your home, and explore each one.
33. Sign up for a class in one of the “sister” crafts to knitting.

34. Read at least one of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books.
35. Knit a: sweater with a yoke, pullover, cardigan, set-in sleeves, raglan sleeves, saddle shoulders, scoop or jewel neck, turtleneck, crew neck, V-neck, long sleeves, vest, hoodie, kimono-style sweater, shawl collar, tank top, a gansey, twisted-stitch sweater, a classic Fair Isle design, Aran sweater, stranded Scandinavian pattern in red and white, Bohus, Baby Surprise Jacket.

36. Meet Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
37. Designs: Cat Bordhi, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, Ann Budd, Charlene Schurch.
38. Knit: argyle, cable motif, lace, an ethnic pattern.
39. Memorize kitchener stitch.
40. Work on ways to avoid laddering.
41. Use the Magic Loop to make socks.
42. Use a picot bind off for toe-up socks.
43. Explore different techniques for turning a heel.

Scarves & Shawls
44. Choose a reversible stitch pattern and knit a scarf.
45. Learn to “read” your knitting.
46. Use a “lifeline” when knitting lace.

47. Knit: watch cap, ski hat with earflaps, ponytail hat, balaclava, klein bottle cap, ski hat with gathered top.

Gloves & Mittens
48. Knit a pair of thrummed mittens.
49. Knit fingerless gloves.
50. Create some lovers’ mittens.

51. Teach someone else to knit when you travel.
52. Look for stitch patterns that don’t stretch and use them for bags or bag straps.

53. Knit a baby blanket.
54. Knit a pair of wool soakers.
55. Knit matching sweaters for a child and his/her doll.

Home Dec
56. Learn about “mathematical knitting”.
57. Knit: an afghan or throw, placemats, napkins, pot holders, dishcloths, bath mat, electronic gadget covers, Christmas tree ornaments.
58. Systematize yarn stash.
59. Collect needles in one place and inventory them.
60. Learn to knit backwards.
61. Find out about “illusion knitting”

Fiber Lover
62. When you’re ready to buy your own spinning wheel, try out a number of different kinds first.
63. Learn to spin.
64. Buy, borrow, or make a hand spindle.
65. Take a spinning class.
66. Learn to weave.

Knitting History
67. Anne Macdonald’s No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting
68. Richard Rutt’s A History of Hand Knitting
69. Susan Strawn’s Knitting America

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Upcoming Projects

I'm afraid I had to take a little bit of time off knitting this week, and only have one dishcloth I can show you. I made it for myself, and I think it came out quite nicely! The picture looks rather blue, but I definitely used the Orchid color from Peaches and Creme, which is a light purple.

Pattern found here.
Today I went around town to various shops and picked up some new yarns. On the left is Serenity sock weight yarn from Hobby Lobby I will be using to make a lovely Afternoon tea shawl. I also picked up a bit of I Love This Cotton (not pictured) because it was on sale and I wanted to see how it does when made into a dishcloth. In the middle is some Red Heart Crochet Cotton size 10 from Wal Mart that I am going to attempt to weave tea towels with. Finally, on the right is some Ella Rae Marl that I am going to make some sort of hat with, I think. This last one I got from Tuesday Morning, which I had been to once years before and did not realize even sold yarn. I found this out from Ravelry, and decided to check it out. Of course, the knitting section (er...endcap on an aisle) consisted mostly of GIANT size straight needles in sets of three or four. I wasn't particularly tempted by any of those, but they had some interesting novelty yarns, as well as the ball I purchased. It was half off! I might go there again in a month or two to see if they have any new items, and if I see one around when I'm in KC or Wichita I'll definitely be stopping to check them out too.

Finally, I also picked up some of the crochet cotton in black and I'm making myself what will basically be an ACE bandage. I started this project because I wanted a very simple project to knit while watching a long T.V. show with subtitles, and also realized that we had no long bandages after banging my ankle on the dishwasher hard enough to need ice. I had no way to hold the ice on or to apply pressure without ice! It's a little too late to help my ankle feel better now, but I might be able to prevent this problem in the future!

Next time I should have a lovely new pattern for you, but I'm not quite done editing it. Pattern has been test knit, pictures have been taken, and the chart is ready to go. I just have to translate that to a written pattern, and proofread and it'll be ready for other's eyes!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Camera Dishcloth Pattern

I seem to be suffering from second sock syndrome, but I have something else for you! I’ve written a pattern! I was searching around for a few things I knew some of my aunts and uncles like to make dishcloths for them and found that there weren’t any good patterns for several of the people I was considering. One of the things I was looking for was something related to photography. I searched around on Ravelry pretty extensively, but couldn’t find much. I did find a very simple chart here that someone used to make a pillow, and decided to modify it to my own liking and came up with this pattern. 

Camera Dishcloth
Materials: 1 ball worsted weight cotton yarn
                Size 7 (4.5mm) needles 

Cast on 37 sts.

Rows 1-4: Knit
Row 5: K3, P31, K3
Row 6 and all even rows: Knit
Row 7: K3, P31, K3
Row 9: K3, P31, K3
Row 11: K3, P3, K25, P3, K3
Row 13: K3, P3, K25, P3, K3
Row 15: K3, P3, K25, P3, K3
Row 17: K3, P3, K10, P5, K10, P3, K3
Row 19: K3, P3, K9, P7, K9, P3, K3
Row 21: K3, P3, K9, P7, K9, P3, K3
Row 23: K3, P3, K9, P7, K9, P3, K3
Row 25: K3, P3, K9, P7, K9, P3, K3
Row 27: K3, P3, K10, P5, K10, P3, K3
Row 29: K3, P3, K25, P3, K3
Row 31: K3, P3, K19, P4, K2, P3, K3
Row 33: K3, P3, K19, P4, K2, P3, K3
Row 35: K3, P3, K25, P3, K3
Row 37: K3, P3, K25, P3, K3
Row 39: K3, P5, K3, P3, K10, P10, K3
Row 41: K3, P11, K9, P11, K3
Row 43: K3, P31, K3
Row 45: K3, P31, K3
Row 47: K3, P31, K3
Row 49-52: Knit

Bind off and weave in ends.

Chart (click to enlarge):

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Housewarming Gift Set

I started out innocently enough. I saw a pattern I knew was perfect for one of my cousins, PLUS it had these adorable bobbles. How on earth could I resist? Honestly, I didn't even try. It turned out to be so excruciatingly cute, I think I'm going to make one for myself. It was a little difficult to photograph because it's been cloudy, but it says "tea" at the bottom and then has a tea cup with cute bobbles as accents.

Pattern found here.
Then, I sent her a Facebook message to get her address, only to find out that she was moving sooner than I'd thought. So I had about a week before she was going to be in her new place and didn't want to risk mailing it so late. I finished blocking the cloth, folded it up, and placed it in a padded bag along with a note. It filled up maybe half the bag. It looked so lonely. SO. I made a coffee cozy because I know this cousin also likes coffee!

Pattern found here.
This is 2x2 rib. Stripes are knit only to hide the purl bumps.
I finished that in a night. I still had a bunch of pink. This pink is something I originally got to make something for a friend. I am not a fan of pink, though working with it on my blue needles was rather pretty. I decided to  make a reusable produce bag. I was looking for something lightweight, so it wouldn't add to the price of something at the register, and so that it would be easy to carry into the store.
Pattern found here.
The ends of the I-cord looks a little funny because I didn't make the knot tight enough, oops!
It's the smallest size because I was now worried about all of it fitting inside the padded bag I'd already addressed. Folding it up was difficult, reminiscent of my fruitless attempts to make a neat bundle out of a fitted sheet. Anyway. I got it all into the bag, which has gone from sad and empty looking to rather stuffed.

I think I'm getting better at this knitting thing. Also, my birthday was the 6th, and I got several lovely books related to knitting to stoke my knitting obsession. I'm almost done with Knitting Rules! by the writer of the Yarn Harlot blog my boyfriend knows I'm obsessed with. I've also looked through The Knitter's Life List and copied down all the different types of yarn for myself, because I've so far only made things with cotton and wool. Of course, to fulfill this list I'll need a job, and I'm not sure when that's going to happen. Oh well. It's good to have dreams.

Friday, April 13, 2012

First Sock Saga Pt 1

To begin making socks, I had grand plans. First, I was going to make a miniature sock, then graduate to a pattern I had that was specifically for “my first socks” then move on to something a little more complicated, because at that point I’d have 3 socks under my belt. Unfortunately, things never work out the way you plan them! I have no pictures of my poor, sad mini sock, but let me tell you about it. I was gung ho when I started. Excited! Of course, I started it the night before the Boy’s spring break visit home which I was accompanying him on.

Undeterred by this minor detail, I stayed up late into the night knitting. In fact, I started late into the night. I cast on with some cheap acrylic yarn I made a kindle case with. I got the ribbing for the cuff done. Then I did the rest if the leg in stockinette. Alright! It was just like knitting other things so far. I even did the heel flap and turn perfectly. I didn’t have any ladders. I was proud. Then I tried to read the instructions for shaping the gusset. I tried to follow these instructions. No dice. I pulled out the ugly, terrible row I’d just made and tried again. Same problem.

I decided a little research was in order, and found a newer, much updated and differently laid out version of the sock. It was much clearer. After the research, I realized exactly how late in the day/early in the morning it was and put it down for the night. The next morning all I had to do to be ready to go was pack a few things, and one of them was my knitting. I decided not to take the mini sock since it was on DPNs and I was worried about how it would travel in my boyfriend’s trunk (I get carsick in his car as it is, and I don’t want to make it worse by trying to knit on the road so I have to stare out the window for most of the trip) and instead packed enough yarn to make a few dishcloths while we were there instead.

When we got back a week later, I had a few other things to do. Eventually, a week or two later, I got back to the mini sock. I created the gusset. I did all the decreases. I was just about to start the foot when I realized something. At some point I had stopped making stockinette and was now knitting reverse stockinette without meaning to. I texted a friend who knits, but we couldn’t figure out how I’d done it. I got mad and started frogging. I frogged right past the place where I’d gotten mixed up and into the heel flap. Instead of slowing down to examine what I’d done wrong or to try to fix it, I ripped out the whole thing. Not my proudest moment.

On the other hand, I made these cute dishcloths and a few other things I'm going to feature as part of two different gift sets. =) First up is Kansas! I modified the pattern a little bit because I didn't think it looked very much like Kansas, and since I'm from and live here I think I get to make my dishcloth pattern look more like my state.
Pattern modified from here.
I also made this Octopus dishcloth. I thought it'd look great in the multicolor blue, but forgot that variegated yarns often get in the way of a pattern instead of enhance it even if it's cute. It's difficult to see in person too, but the pattern is great and I might try it again in another color.
It's an Octopus! Pattern found here.
 Finally, I'd started this and brought it along because I thought I might need some monotonous knitting to do in front of the television. Except that this time we didn't watch a movie or much television. I got bored and switched cables quickly. I think this yarn is cursed. It's the same one I used for my mom's giant flower dishcloth/tea towel Frankenstein. Both of them ended up larger than expected (EVEN THOUGH I read "Cast on 52 stitches" without being phased) and both ended up languishing on a cable in a box for far longer than any of my other WIPs. Maybe I'll finish it during our next Star Trek marathon...
Pattern found here.
While taking that last picture, I noticed I hadn't moved the chair far enough away from the table and had a visitor. Cortez! She really wants to play with the yarn, but only when I try to photograph it. She pretty much leaves it alone if I'm knitting with it or if it's sitting on/next to the couch while I do other things. My knitting notions on the other hand go missing all the time. She loves stitch markers and counters and my plastic darning needle, so I have to be careful to put those away after every use.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I recently found a great sale on sock yarn. To be more specific, I got 10 skeins of SRK’s On Your Toes. 5 solid and 5 self patterning skeins. Here they are for your viewing pleasure: 
Self patterning
I had originally decided to use the self patterning full of pinks and reds on the top left first with a basic sock pattern I’d found. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account that it required the only size of DPNs I’m missing from sizes 0-7. Size 5 *shakes fist* I will buy you some day! I switched to a different pattern in which my gauge worked with size 6 needles, and all was well. I was more attached to the yarn and pattern combo than I’d expected, and instead decided to pick the one I suspected was the ugliest. I didn’t want to screw up yarn I liked on my first pair of socks. The solids were all immediately eliminated because I have other plans for most of them, as well as two of the self patterning ones. That left three, and I decided I thought that the one with red, yellow, and blue was the least matched set of colors, in the top right.

So far it’s working out to be as bad looking as I thought, and I’ll show it to you as soon as I’m finished with the pair!

I also have plans for several other skeins. I'm seriously considering making a pair of socks for my boy with the two grey skeins, and I think I'm also going to somehow pair up the green solid with the one that has a lot of the same green in the lower right of the self patterning ones. It kinda depends on the pattern. I'm also kinda hoping I'll have some grey left over so I can use it to put some pretty heels and toes on a pair of socks. =)

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Goodness, it's been quite a while since I posted. I haven't made much progress on my socks, but I'm getting the urge to try again. I was originally stymied by a tiny sock pattern I printed off without realizing there was a weird mistake in the heel turn, got frustrated, and put it down. After some research, I figured out that there was an updated copy, and that most of it was exactly the same except for the part I had the problem with. I made a few gifts before my sock problem, but I didn't want to post the pictures until I actually gave them away. SO! Here they are.

I actually blocked all of these, since I was giving them as gifts! Up first is a nice leaf. It turned out a little smaller than I was hoping despite using worsted weight cotton, so I think next time I will use the largest needle size in the range. I like the subtle variegation in it, though I'm considering making another one in a darker green too.

Pattern found here.
Since the leaf ended up being rather small for a washcloth, I also made one with a rose on it in a more traditional size and shape. It turned out really well, and I am a huge fan of this pattern. The person I gave it to said she thought it should be in a frame, not used, so I might make a second one she can actually use! =)

Pattern found here.
Another aunt and uncle used to raise Labradors, and still have one as well as a wonderful, GIANT mutt they found and couldn't bear to give up. It's safe to say they love dogs. I saw this dishcloth pattern, and thought it would be perfect for them. This aunt also said she thought it should be framed. I'm sensing a pattern here, and as much as I love making these pretty picture dishcloths, I also want to make something people will use!

Pattern found here.
That is where simpler patterns come in. I made this and gave it to my Grandpa because he made me a lovely yarn cone holder. The blue is a little washed out in this picture for some reason, and the red towel I blocked it on didn't help, but you can see the pattern pretty clearly. This pattern is one that looks trickier than it actually is if you're just glancing. It's basically K3, P1(Of course, since it's a pattern with a multiple of 4 + 3, your last three stitches will be knit as well) on one side and K the other until the desired length.

Pattern found here.
I think patterns like this are more likely to be used as actual dishcloths, and I like giving useful things too! Of course, as soon as I give the finished object away, the person I give it to can do with it what they will. On the other hand, I think I'll be trying to find a few more of these simpler patterns so I can package two as a gift from now on. I hope all my gift recipients will enjoy their dishcloths in the way they choose!

I have another gift set to mail off, and hopefully a post about it soon. It doesn't exactly follow my latest idea of giving both a patterned and picture dishcloth, but it does have some other things which I found quite fun to knit.