Archive for December, 2008

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first step towards a more colorful kitchen

December 30, 2008

img_1559Never pass up the chance to make a thing of beauty out of something mundane. It’s one of the secrets of happiness if you ask me. Take, for example, the humble dish towel. Why need they be drab? I found myself in need of a couple, so instead of buying some run-of-the-mill factory made ones, I decided to buy myself some cheerful (and cheap!) cotton yarn and knit my own. For the one pictured at left, I used Vogue Knitting’s embossed vine and leaves pattern (free online here) and the other is a simple stripe using three colors and super easy stitch patterns: garter, moss and seed. The yarn cost me less than $4, and the effect these cheery towels have on my mood when I dry my wet mugs is priceless. Now that I’ve seen what a little splash of color can do, I think I might have to knit myself a pair of cafe curtain panels to match!

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bobbles and twists

December 15, 2008

Happy to say that I’ve achieved my goal to complete all my Christmas presents by the 15th! Woohoo!

This is also a milestone post for me, as I’ve attempted to write out my very first knitting pattern. I wanted to make some arm warmers/gauntlets that had both cables and bobbles, but found none that I liked, so I took a stab at designing my own — and I think they came out alright. I’m a little bit nervous about sharing my first pattern, but here goes. Please do tell me if there are any errors.

Note: I tried, at first, to knit them in the round with double pointed needles so I wouldn’t have to seam, but it wasn’t fun making the bobbles and cables while contending with all those needles, so I switched to straights. If you absolutely hate sewing and you’re more adept at DPNs than me, then they’d definitely be the better choice.

Bobbles and Twists Arm Warmer

US Size 9 (5.5 mm) straight needles
Gauge: 4 stitches in stockinette = 1”
Worsted weight yarn of your choice.

MB = Make bobble. [k1, yo, k1, yo, k1] all in one stitch (you have turned one stitch into 5), turn and p5, turn and sl 2, k3 together, pass 2 stitches over the first stitch. For video instructions on how to make a bobble, click here and see “Creating Basic Bobbles” under Decorative Stitches.

(Bobbles and Vines panel from Reader’s Digest Ultimate Sourcebook for Knitting and Crochet Stitches.)

Right arm warmer:

CO 34
Rows 1 and 3: *k2, p2, repeat * to the end
Rows 2 and 4: *p2, k2, repeat * to the end
–Start Bobble/Cable pattern between stitch markers with reverse St st on either side of markers–
Row 5 (RS): p6, pm, k16, pm, p12
Row 6 (WS): k12, p16, k6.
Rows 7 & 8: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 9 (RS): p6, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in front of work, k4, k4 from CN, k3, MB, k4, p12
Rows 10 – 14: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 15 (RS): p6, k4, MB, k3, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in back of work, k4, k4 from CN, p12

Repeat Rows 5 – 15 until the arm warmer is the desired length (not including the lower ribbed edge). Mine have three full bobble/cable pattern repeats before beginning the ribbing.

Next row (RS): *k2, p2, repeat * to the end of the row
Continue in k2, p2 rib for 9 more rows
Cast off in pattern.

Left arm warmer:

CO 34
Rows 1 and 3: *k2, p2, repeat from * to the end
Rows 2 and 4: *p2, k2, repeat from * to the end
–Start Bobble/Cable pattern between stitch markers with reverse St st on either side of markers–

Row 5 (RS): p12, pm, k16, pm, p6
Row 6 (WS): k6, p16, k12.
Rows 7 & 8: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 9 (RS): p12, k4, MB, k3, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in back of work, k4, k4 from CN, p6
Rows 10 – 14: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches
Row 15 (RS): p12, slip 4 stitches on CN and place in front of work, k4, k4 from CN, k3, MB, k4, p6

Next row (RS): *k2, p2, repeat * to the end of the row
Continue in k2, p2 rib for 9 more rows
Cast off.

Finishing:
Sew the side seams to make a tube, leaving a gap approximately 2.5 inches long for a thumb opening. If desired, you can pick up stitches around thumb opening to create a thumb gusset in the round with DPNs—but I’m lazy and never bother. 🙂

Please let me know if you make them yourself. I’d love to see!

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more christmas knits

December 8, 2008

***CHRISTMAS PRESENT SPOILER ALERT!!!***

More Christmas knits to report.

First off, how adorable are these miniature sweaters?! They’re meant to be tree ornaments, but I thought (if made slightly bigger) they would make terrific gift card holders. So I made these and that’s what I intend to use them for. Might also make one for myself to hang from my rearview mirror. This pattern (and many more) are available free here at the Berocco site.

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A chunky cabled neckwarmer (no pattern used — pretty straightforward cable pattern done over 6 stitches with seed stitch on either side).

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And some fingerless mitts, one embellished with very simple embroidery and the other with an ultra easy fair isle pattern.

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warm things for winter

December 3, 2008

**CHRISTMAS PRESENT SPOILER ALERT! Friends and family, read on at your own risk!**

I was that high school slacker who pulled caffeine-fueled all-nighters banging out term papers begun just that evening but due the next morning…and my lousy grades reflected my habitual lack of planning. After much determination and effort to put that all behind me, I’m proud to say that I’ve learned to get (most) things completed way ahead of time—including taking care of my Christmas list before the holiday crunch. This year, pretty much everyone’s going to get a knitted/crocheted item—but of course I’ll try to throw in a sewn one here and there as well.

So, needless to say, every free minute I’ve had for the past couple weeks has been spent knitting gifts, as my goal is to have them all completed no later than December 15th. We’ll see how I fare!

So far, I’ve made this crocheted Peruvian style earflap hat using this pattern…

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…a basketweave stitch scarf (not pictured), and some neckwarmers…

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…using this very pretty lace scarf pattern, free here. I cut the scarf in half lengthwise (cast on 17 instead of 34 as the pattern calls for) as the lace pattern was repeated once on each row, and I used a thicker weight yarn — and I love the result!

Last but not least, get a load of this ultra kitschy 70s-style clutch, complete with pom-poms, that I made with some leftover yarn. knitted it up on a whim just this evening, but I’m not sure if it’ll get stuffed into any stockings this year. Think the kitsch factor might be too high on this one to consider it a serious gift!

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