You are currently browsing articles tagged knitting.

Last night I broke into the new Jacquard acid dyes despite not having found any citric acid powder which is used to fix the dyes. Instead I used white vinegar which some instructions warned is much smellier but since I have a cold it made absolutely no difference to me and no one else in the house complained. I didn’t purchase the citric acid by mail order with the dyes since it is supposed to be available in grocery stores, just not the one closest to our house. I was dreadfully unscientific about the process, despite my best intentions to take care with measurements and such. But this was already a pretty mixed up yarn.

hand dyed hand spun blue yarn on the swift

So all that to say, the yarn is now a pleasantly variegated stormy autumn blue after a soak in vinegar water and a dye bath in a low oven. Dried overnight, wound into a ball this afternoon, cast on with a provisional cast-on (that screaming white stripe of crochet cotton at the bottom), and about an inch into becoming a hat that I have no pattern for! Yes, are we surprised? I am making it up as I go along. How quickly my tendencies with other crafts have invaded my new knitting skills. I did knit, wash and block a test swatch however. Does that count for anything?

knitted swatch of hand dyed, hand spun fingering yarn

cake or ball of hand dyed hand spun blue merino corriedale fingering yarn provisional cast-on with contrasting white yarn

Tags: , ,

I decided to try making some stitch markers out of polymer clay. These slide on to your needles to help you remember where you are in your pattern when you are knitting. I simply marbled two tones of clay together, ran it through the dedicated pasta machine and then cut out the leaf shapes with tiny canap√© cutters. I sandwiched twisted wire loops between two clay leaves and then pinched the edges together and baked them. I’m using a set of fall colored ones on my current knitting project.

marbled green leaf polymer clay stitch markers for knitting or

This set of green leaves was sent to the treasure chest of the New England Textile Arts yahoo group.

Tags: ,

The before: one $.99 stretchy plastic coil keychain bracelet thingy and a random assortment of double pointed knitting needles threatening to get out of control.

stretchy plastic coil bracelet assortment of double pointed knitting needles

The after: organization. Simple and inexpensive. Can you believe they sell these things 3 for $5 in knitting stores? From one $.99 bracelet I cut 8 little coils which will each securely hold 4-5 double pointed needles size 2 through 8. Pretty versatile for a $.12 DIY thingamajig, yes? Works on straights and probably other things I haven’t thought of.

DIY plastic coils holding together double point knitting needles dpns

PS. I forgot to take a picture of the blue one before I cut it up. The rainbow colored one belongs to one of the kids.

Tags: ,

I offered to barter my tie dye for knitting needles on a Ravelry forum and a kind knitter responded with an offer of her extra needles in a great selection of different sizes (all small sizes) and materials. Clockwise from top: two sets of long metal dpns, faux tortoise shell casein (milk protein), bamboo, nearly clear nylon circulars and birch in the middle. This will be great for trying out the feel of different needles with different yarns!

assortment of narrow gauge double pointed knitting needles dpns

And in return I sent several tie dye outfits for her granddaughter. One long sleeve onesie stamped with little flowers, a sleeveless romper with hand colored butterflies and a skirted onesie with a watermelon green stripe. I sewed the gathered skirt on before I dyed the onesie. I think it turned out pretty cute and it wasn’t hard to do thanks to the serger.

pink tie dye baby outfits with socks embellished with rubber stamps

Tags: , , , , ,

knit and crochet  pink ballet slippers

The girl loves to dance and is especially enamored with all things ballet and pink. So we’ve signed her up for a dance class at the Maine State Ballet School, just down the road. She was a bit shy at first about the going to the open house last week but she and the boy both sat entranced watching a class of teenagers warm up. Her class starts next week and all she wants to do is wear her leotards and ballet shoes, all day, every day.

So I made up these slippers for her to wear in the house, hoping to save the real thing for class. I’ll let you know how that works out, ha! I crocheted the sole out of cotton to mimic the stiffness of the leather sole shape on real ballet shoes. The upper is knit from some unknown pink soft stuff I picked out of the remnant bin at my LYS. I picked up the stitches in such a way as to make a contrast line of pink on the sole that looks like sewn stitches. Both yarns about sock weight. The reason I mixed crochet and knit is because I wanted a stable sole but a stretchy upper. I think it worked out pretty well and I managed to make them both about the same size despite not writing anything down as I went along. I think I’ll make a pair for me. The weather has turned and it’s getting too cold to go barefoot all the time.

Tags: , ,

dye, dry,
spin, ply,
knit, block,
click, clock!

handspun and knit swatch dyed with kool-aid, blocking

Just a bit of superwash merino/tencel fiber that I dyed with black cherry Kool-Aid and then spun, knit up into a swatch and blocked last night. Pretty but not really what I want. That’s what swatches are for!

And a pumpkin-shaped grape for your amusement.
pumpkin shaped grape

Tags: , , ,

Meet Nutkin

knitted and crocheted acorn amigurumi

This is Nutkin, about 1.5 inches long. Made with handspindled silk dyed by Annie and handspindled Corriedale I dyed with Kool-aid. Knitted knut and crocheted cap. Alliteration, I crack myself up. Puns! Am I driving you nutty yet?

I didn’t have a pattern, just winged it. I think I’ll have to make some more. Just too cute.

I was inspired by this much larger crocheted acorn bag by Roman Sock.

Tags: , ,

So I’ve got to buy some new batteries before I can take any pictures but I’ll let you know what I’ve been up to anyway.

  • WIP: A little knitting with some of my own handspun!
  • My first Etsy listing: two sister skirts for a friend’s daughters, this is going to turn into three, one for the mom as well.
  • A skirt for me out of a really soft rayon jacquard woven scarf, from Nepal I think. I never wore it as a scarf so I decided it needed a new home or a new incarnation. Definitely more wearable as a skirt.
  • A trial pair of knit shorts for me to test a new Mom skort pattern I am working on. Needs a little more tweaking but will work for pajamas.
  • More Sculpey projects than you want to know about or I want to remember.
  • A little amigurumi nutkin combining crochet and knitting made from my own hand-spindled yarn. Appropriate since “ami” in Japanese can actually refer to either skill even though the compound word, amigurumi, has generally come to mean cute animals or objects made with single crochet in the round.

In other news, the girl is finally interested in learning to spell her name. I dropped the garden snips point down into my foot, earning myself a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics.¬†Next time I’ll wear different shoes.

    Tags: , ,

    knitted wallet size pouch

    I knit this wallet size pouch out of sock yarn remnants for my friend Jan. I practiced Judy Becker’s Magic Cast-On for knitting socks from the toe up (which will be my next knitting project). So the pouch is completely seamless and knit in the round. The less finish work at the end, the better in my book! I used a random combination of knit and purl rows to add a little textural interest. The strap was crocheted to length. Not really a pattern, just made it up as I went along.

    This was a quick and easy project and would be great for using up bits of yarn from other projects. You could easily add a closure or change the size or proportions of the bag to suit yourself. It would also be a good project for making little gift bags or for making useful practice swatches for patterns for bigger projects.

    wallet sized handknitted pouch on 5x8" notebook

    Tags: , ,

    knitted wool potholder

    I bought a bag of wool fiber samples when I bought my spindle. The spinning came out thick and thin and did not have enough spin in it but I was determined not to waste it so I decided to ply it and knit it up into potholders! I used a bit smaller needles size so they would be fairly tight, they knit up nice and thick and I did a row or two of single crochet around the edge. The first is just regular knitting, the second one I knit on the bias so I could practice making increases and decreases. They look much better knit up than the spun yarn did!

    So I sent them to my dear friend Amy because I know she will love them because I made them, even if they are not so pretty! Maybe her little girl can use them in her play kitchen. These were done a while back but I waited to post them until after Amy got her “brown paper package”.

    bias knitted wool potholder

    Tags: ,

    We went to see my parents last weekend and my mother gifted me with several odd contraptions and a book I can’t read. Ha ha!

    This one is a yarn swift which is used for winding yarn into hanks or skeins. It folds up like an umbrella into that cute pink box.

    yarn swift

    This one is a ball winder which will wind yarn from skeins into center pull balls. I remember helping my mother wind yarn with this when I was a kid. You’ll see I immediately put it to good use.

    yarn ball winder

    And this book about how to make seams in knit and crochet pieces. Really amazing, all in Japanese but with great pictures and illustrations of each technique. There are some incredible pictures of invisible seams in what seems like pretty complicated knitted pieces.

    vintage Japanese knitting and crochet finishing/seam technique book page detail from Japanese book on knitting and crochet seams pages from Japanese book on knitting and crochet

    These will come in handy for my spinning and knitting projects.

    Tags: , , ,

    first handknitted spiral socks

    Actually they’ve been done for a while but this is the best picture I’ve been able to get since the girl appropriated them. She wears them constantly but has been rather coy about allowing me to take a picture. And they look positively silly without feet in them. The pattern is free from from Vintage Purls. I did make a number of modifications (see my project notes on Ravelry if you are really interested in making this sock for children) for size and just because I can’t follow directions to the letter even if I’m doing something for the first time. It’s a disease I’m sure.

    Tags: ,

    Generally when you need to wind a skein of yarn into a ball before use, you would use a ball winder and a contraption called a swift to hold the skein. Since I own neither of those mechanical aids, I had to do it by hand. The first skein I did completely by hand and it was quite a mess. I resolved to find a better way to wind the second skein.

    At the transfer station (otherwise known as the dump) I spied this old folding mug rack. Once home, I set it on a lazy susan and clamped it with bulldog clips into the right position to hold the skein taut. And presto! Not perfect, as the oval shape made the whole thing turn in fits and starts, but certainly passable. On the other end of the yarn is the crafter’s oft used but least praised tool, the empty toilet paper tube. While it makes a decent center-pull ball of yarn, I think I’ll be looking for an alternate method there as well.

    makeshift swift using an expanding mug rack and a lazy susan

    Tags: ,

    sock knitting on dpns

    This is what has been keeping me away from the sewing machine. And probably some other things I ought to be doing. I’m knitting wool socks, in May, I know, but maybe they’ll be done by fall. Of course this is Maine, I wish they were wearable right this minute.

    I’m sure I mentioned in an earlier post about having a sudden desire to knit but having no yarn in the house, which lead to some knitting with crochet thread and spinning silk and making some homemade knitting needles. So last week I had taken the girl out to the playground and she wanted to go for a drive before heading home (it’s just a bit too far for her to walk.) So I headed out of town on Main Street and was just about to turn around when I saw a little sign that said yarn shop. Out here? So I followed the sign and ended up at a nice little house with a garage that had been converted into a tidy array of yarn. The proprietress was patient and helpful and the girl was fairly patient once I handed her a $2 ball of pink yarn out of the clearance bin. It took me a while to decide but I picked out a superwash merino wool with nylon blend called Happy Feet in an autumnal colorway that will go with just about anything I own. I also picked up some size 2 double pointed needles aka dpns. I already had a pattern picked out, some ultra simple socks with no heel shaping from Vintage Purlz. Yes, I’m afraid of heels. But really I just wanted to start my first knitting in more than 15 years with something simple. I guess I could have gone with a scarf but I’m always reading about and her socks . . .

    I admit to already having modified the pattern. I know, I know, what am I thinking? I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m modifying the pattern? Well, as someone I know recently said, if you mess up with knitting you can always take it apart and still have what you started with, yarn. That’s pretty comforting when compared to cutting fabric. So I’m enjoying the fact that I can do it anywhere in the house and that it’s fairly mindless since this is a simple and easily memorized pattern. Which makes for a soothing craft, almost no mental energy needed. Which is probably why I keep picking the knitting up instead of sewing already cut out garments and several pairs of the boy’s pants in need of knee surgery. Tomorrow. ;)

    Tags: , ,

    long time no knit swatch bottom up
    So while I was rummaging around for black rubber cord to string my fern pendant on I found this! It’s cotton, probably for crochet, can’t remember what I bought it for, maybe tying up packages? It’s a nice weight, not to small, maybe something you would knit or crochet baby washcloths out of. Anyway, I immediately thought, I can knit with this! Because I’ve had this knitting bug for the last few weeks but I didn’t think I had any yarn. I immediately grabbed some needles and cast on. How crazy is that? For a split second I thought I should really grub around for a book but I decided to wing it and just see what I could remember from the very few times I have knit anything.

    So this is the result. I did go to Ravelry part way through because I started to have lots of questions, not about how to do what I was doing but more of the curiosity killed the cat type. While there I figured that it might be okay to learn to knit right needle to left needle (considered backwards by most I think). I was only wondering about this because I hate to purl. Ah, yes, that is why I never really got into knitting. Although after a few rows of knitting backwards I decided that maybe purling wasn’t so bad after all. My left hand is far better at tensioning evenly than my right hand. No surprise, my left hand also has far better rhythm on the piano or playing percussion. I don’t know why but it’s a very good thing for a pianist, if one of your hands is going to be worse than the other I mean. You’d much rather your left hand have better rhythm, but I digress.

    I also think that I cast on using the long tail method, can you tell, knitting people? I really have no idea, I just did what my hands wanted to do. I’m not good with remember the names of stitches but I think besides the plain knit and purl sections there is also seed stitch?, stockinette?, and 3×2 rib which is rather hard to make out.

    So the other thing I figured out is that I think I knit Continental style which means I hold the yarn in my left hand. I tried holding it in my right hand, that was pretty well impossible. I couldn’t really wrap my brain around that so I decided not to try tonight. But I am curious because I’m sure that there would be instances where you want to know different methods just to have different options, if I get that far.

    So if my knitting friends are reading, bring it on! You know you want to tell me what yarn to buy, what pattern to try, what your favorite knitting style is, etc. and probably more things I have no clue about. I finally figured out what LYS stands for. Local Yarn Shop for you other non-knitting types. ;)

    I was going to just rip this out but then I decided that it was kind of cute and I might be sorry since this is one of the more enjoyable pieces of knitting I’ve ever done. So bottom up the way it was knit it looks like a house since I decided to try decreasing there at the end when I was running out of steam. But turned over it looks like an overgrown patch pocket. I thought that was kind of cute. Maybe I can turn it into something.

    knitting sampler patch pocket?


    Newer entries »