Kniftybits's Blog

All knitting, all the time.

Great Minds and All That June 20, 2011

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “Great minds think alike.” Well, it is definitely true and definitely not something a knitting designer wants to discover at the toe decreases of her finished design.

I had this great spring green yarn (that apparently has been discontinued or I would’ve linked to it) and I was thinking it should have an organic pattern to correlate with its springy color, but a leaf pattern seemed too obvious. Lo-and-behold I came across this great undulating pattern that looks a lot like cabling without the hassle of cabling.  After the appropriate testing I got started.

Fast forward a bit and I was wondering why my spiral toe decrease didn’t seem like it was coming out quite right. One google search later and by some knitting coincidence I happened upon feministy’s blog and her sock Maeby.

Holy frijoles! That is the exact same stitch pattern I’m using!

Oh, there are some differences in the socks — my cuff is longer, my heel is boomerang, my toe spiral, and I didn’t continue the pattern across the entire foot, but still the stitch pattern makes the sock, so we basically had the same sock. So, I thought, hmm, if she used this stitch pattern and I used this stitch pattern I bet we’re not the only ones.

And no we are not.

There is also Luminare by Bex Femme and River Rapids by Sockbug. And those are just the one’s I found in the comment section of Maeby on Ravelry.

Oh well. At least I found out at the toe decreases and not after I was just putting the finishing touches on the pattern fresh back from the tech editor. 😉

My finished socks! They make me happy!

If you enjoy this pattern, please patronize any of the three talented designers ravelry shops. 🙂

 

Pastel Candy Sock June 13, 2011

It occurred to me the other day that for as much as this blog is about knitting, I don’t really blog about what I’m knitting very much. I will confess that it is due to an equal mixture of laziness and busyness. Because, to blog about what I’m knitting means taking pictures. There are so many wonderful knitting bloggers out there who are excellent and diligent about this, some of them taking pictures of such profound beauty that it makes you think they’re wasting their talent on knitting and should become professional photographers instead. Unfortunately, I don’t fall into this category.

However, I decided to challenge myself and share a recent project known affectionately as the Pastel Candy Sock. I call it that because the yarn colors reminds me of pastel candies you get in the spring around Easter, especially the purple hued socks, and the garter chevron pattern sort of forms Ms.

Pastel Candy Sock in the large size.

Pastel Candy Sock in the small/medium size. No one near me has small feet so I couldn't have it modeled.

There are several things I love about this pattern:

1) The undulation of the garter chevron makes it fab for variegated yarns, unfortunately this doesn’t eliminate color pooling if that is the sort of thing that bothers you.

2) No Kitchener stitch toes.

3) Easy two round repeat for this awesome result.

4) Boomerang heel – my new favorite! This will be a recurring theme in all my sock patterns henceforth.

5) Did I mention no Kitchener required?

6) Stitch pattern is super easy to memorize.

7) Features a rounded toe.

8 ) You don’t see many garter stitch socks out there.

Unfortunately, I wrote the pattern for Bernat Sox yarn, which I later discovered was discontinued! Blarg! But, you can still find it on Amazon, so there’s always that option. Otherwise, the pattern can be knit to any sock that falls on the thicker side of things.

I am still finishing the final sock (the fourth) and then I will be done with the pattern and will get it posted!

 

What happens when a knitter and a sewer live together? February 10, 2011

This is the true story… of two family members… who live in a house…one a knitter and the other a sewer… and what happens… when people stop being polite… and start…. crafting.

For the first time in years we have a tv room. This is exciting for two reasons 1) If you don’t like the programming (another evening of the History Channel, snore) you can sit in the living room and 2) It’s a new room to personalize with handicrafts!

A chunkier lace edging works best with this bold fabric.

After multiple trips to different fabric stores we finally found some fabric that fit the pillow paramenters at Sew-N-Save in Clearfield, UT.

Resident sewing person cut fabric rectangles measuring 15 1/2″ by 22 1/2″, providing a 1/2″ for seams. Sew, sew, sew (can you tell I don’t sew?).

Meanwhile I knit, knit, knit, a lace trim with one ball of Patons Shetland Chunky in Leaf Green, as follows:

C/O 7 sts

 

 

 

 

 

When the lace is the desired length, in this case 15 inches, bind off on Row 4.

Sew to the pillow using the remaining yarn (and a pair of pliers, because this is some thick yarn!). Enjoy!

Lace detail

 

 

Airy Lace Panel Sock October 28, 2010

Airy Lace Panel Sock

Let me set the scene, it was the evening of December 25 and Santa (my hubby) brought all the knitting goodies I asked for – I guess I was good in 2009. 😉 I was higher than a cat on catnip!  After I cuddled my sock yarn, sock knitting book, and new interchangeable set (kind of pokey, not a good idea), I immediately balled up the most gorgeous skein of gifted yarn, flipped through the book and set to work swatching.  Before I knew it I had cast on and I was off.

Except, I wasn’t off to the races, I was knocked off kilter.  How could a seemingly easy sock require me to labor over the instructions just for the cuff?   I peered down the loooooong pattern, and realized I was in over my head.  I’d previously knit several pair of straightforward socks and was ready to advance, but not this far.  So, what to do?

After Christmas = no money,  so….  Eureka! I know sock components!  I own tons of stitch dictionaries!  I will make my own sock pattern!   Something mostly easy with a little twist thrown in!  Perfect for the advanced beginner sock knitter, like me.  (Imagine me rubbing my hands together and cackling.)

And thus, the Airy Lace Panel Sock was born.

I nervously submitted it to the Knit Picks Independent Designer program and was overjoyed when it was accepted.  And I’ve been, oh-so-slowly, designing ever since!

Thanks for looking!  If you’d like to purchase this sock pattern follow one of these links:

 

Knit Picks Airy Lace Panel Sock Pattern Download

Ravelry Airy Lace Panel Sock Pattern Download


 

Linen Stitch Scarf Pattern October 26, 2010

It’s done!  It’s done!  The Ultimate Winter Scarf is done!  And I think it’s pretty ultimate!  Whew, that’s a relief.

Long? √   Colorful?  √   Three colors integrated seamlessly?  √  Soft and warm?  √

Scarf in situ

So, here it is, the pattern for the Three Color Linen Stitch Scarf.  Some notes, or lessons learned, are below.

Lessons Learned:

I recommend a thumb or backwards loop cast on.  I did a long tail cast on and it used up too much yarn, so I ran out of that color first and had to resort to cutting the remaining two balls at each end so I could keep working with them.  It wasn’t necessarily a big deal, since the cut strands were incorporated into the fringe, but it would’ve been easier not to.

I did a purl bind off on the right side of the scarf; I felt it matched the cast on edge better.  I bound off with the next size larger needle i.e. U.S. 15 10mm, because I am notorious for binding off too tight and the thought of tinking 310 bound off stitches of ‘grabby’ yarn, made me a little sick to my stomach.  The trade off, however, is that I feel my bind off stitches are a little too obvious.  Oh, well, I’ll live with it.  You know your knitting tendencies, so bind off the best way for you.  I did not recommend it in the finished pattern.

Some of you might notice, the finished length and the gauge I included in the pattern doesn’t match what I was aiming for or the gauge my swatch produced.  Yep, once again the knitting whimsies were out and about messing with my gauge swatch.  So be warned!

The stitch pattern I used doesn’t look identical on the back, however the reverse reminds me a lot of seed stitch, and I think it looks pretty cool, so I would say it’s reversible, regardless!

Front side: I like how the stitch makes little triangles

Reverse of linen stitch

Reverse side: Reminds me of seed stitch & is very cool!

For more information about the yarn used, check out my yarn review.

So what do you think?  Does it fit the bill?

*Note: I wanted to add that I believe any chunky multicolored yarn will work for this pattern, it doesn’t have to be the Lang Mille Fiamme.*

 

Ultimate Winter Scarf cont. October 20, 2010

What makes an Ultimate Scarf in my humble opinion?

First things first, it needs to be long; as long as my store bought go-to scarf, maybe longer, I want to be able to wrap myself like a mummy if need be!  Plus, I love the drama of a long scarf.  So, I measured my current winter scarf and it’s 80″ excluding fringe.  I’ll aim for 80″, because I’m sure there will be some stretch when there’s that much fabric.

Since I am knitting this length wise, I need to figure out how many stitches to cast on to get this length.  My gauge on 9mm US 13 needles is 19 sts to 5″.  3.8 sts per inch.  So, that means I need to cast on 310 sts.  Wowzer!  I hope my circular cable is long enough to handle it!

Second, in addition to long, it needs to be colorful.  I use scarves much like men utilize ties.  It’s a splash of color, expresses my personality, enlivens bleak winter days and neutral coats, plus if it’s colorful, it should go with everything!  And I love versatility.

What constitutes your ultimate scarf?

******

Miracle of miracles I actually measured out the correct length for my long tail cast on and managed to cast on 310 sts on the first try.  Here’s hoping I continue to be so lucky.

After casting on the 310 sts I immediately began the first row of linen stitch with my second color.

******

Etcetera –

  • When coming back to the project after a break, the side you need to start on is the side with two strands coming off it.
  • It took me 17 minutes to complete a purl row and 15 minutes to complete a knit row.  Now you know.
  • The most common error I made was slipping two stitches, which would disrupt the pattern repeat.
  • You know which stitch you need to work by the following indicators A) It’s the longer stitch, because it was slipped the previous row. B) The color difference between stitches. C) Looking to see which stitch already has a strand in front of it.
  • It is easy to make the ends too tight, since you’re working with the yarn below the row you finished.  Just don’t tug and you’ll be fine.

If you missed the first instalment of this endeavor, you can read up on it here.

 

Ribbed Brim Hat Pattern October 16, 2010

 

Ribbed Brim Hat Pattern

By Nicole Nance

*Updated with clearer decrease instructions (I hope) and pictures!*

Hats are quick, easy knits – so much faster than scarves, and not much more difficult.  Soon you’ll be churning out hats for all your loved ones.  This basic pattern utilizes essential components of knitting – cast on, knit, and purl.

Materials:

Yarn: Any yarn, will work, but smoothish yarn is best i.e. not boucle or eyelash, etc.  This is where a swatch will be important.

Needles: Two sets of circular needles in an appropriate size for your yarn, or one circular needle and one set of double pointed needles of the same size.

Notions: Tapestry needle, measuring tape

Gauge: To determine how many stitches to cast on for your hat knit a gauge swatch in the stitch you’re using for the project, in this case you’re using two stitches – a K2, P2 ribbing and stockinette.  Knit your gauge swatch in stockinette because it is the dominant stitch.  If you’re knitting your swatch flat, instead of in the round, ribbing is done differently.  For more info visit https://kniftybits.wordpress.com/translating-circular-to-flat-knitting/

Cast on 20 stitches for your swatch and work until it measures 4” long.  Bind off your swatch.  Lay the piece flat and measure how wide it is in the middle.  Next measure your recipients head.

So, let’s say your swatch measures 4” wide; you figure out your gauge as follows: Divide the number of stitches cast on by the number of inches wide to determine the number of stitches per inch.   20 sts / 4” = 5 stitches per inch. Now, your head measures 21” around, so how many stitches do you need for a 21” hat?  21” x 5 stitches per inch = 105 stitches.  Since you need multiples of 4 stitches for your ribbing pattern you know you need to cast on 104 stitches to knit your 21” circumference hat.

Pattern:

  1. Loosely cast on the number stitches indicated by your gauge swatch, divisible by four.
  2. *K2, P2 for 2” (longer if you want to fold up your brim)
  3. Now switch to stockinette (by knitting every stitch) and knit even until hat measures 7” from cast on edge (or folded edge, if you made a folded brim).  Note: This size works for most adults, but a good rule of thumb, provided by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, is to place the recipients hand on the hat, when the piece is the same 

    My hat had 98 sts. K5, K2tog = 7 for a total of 14 decreases

     

    length as the distance from the base of the palm to the tip of the longest finger it is time to start decreasing.

  4. To decrease,  divide your number of stitches by a number between 5-10 that divides into your total evenly.  So, using our previous number 104 / 8 = 13.  So, you can now decrease one of two ways.  If you want more decreases, such as on the hat pictured, then you’ll use the number you divided by as how often you decrease.  So you would knit 6 sts and then knit 2 sts together, this totals 8 (6+2=8).  Repeat to the end of the round and by the end of this round you’ve decreased 13 stitches (and have 13 decrease points).  Conversely, if you want to have a slower decrease then use the other number that resulted from your division, in this case 13.  So, you’d knit 11 stitches, then knit 2 together 11+2=13 and by the end of the round you’ve decreased 8 stitches (and have 8 decrease points).  If you opt for the slower decrease, you might want to start decreasing before the hat actually measures the same as the recipients hand, as it will take longer to use up all your stitches.  Whichever number you chose the next round is knit even – no decreases.  So it would work as follows
  • For your 8 stitch decrease                                     For your 13 stitch decrease
  • Knit 6, K2Tog                                                                       Knit 11, K2Tog
  • Knit                                                                                         Knit
  • Knit 5, K2Tog                                                                       Knit 10, K2Tog
  • Knit                                                                                         Knit
  • Knit 4, K2Tog                                                                       Knit9, K2Tog
  • Knit                                                                                         Knit
  • Knit 3, K2Tog                                                                       Knit 8, K2Tog
  • You see how the number of stitches between your decreases continues to decrease?  You continue in this fashion until you have few enough stitches to cut the yarn and thread it through the stitches.   Note: Switch to a second circular needle or DPNs when sts are too few to work with one needle.  For a video on small diameter circular knitting working with DPNs or two circulars, visit www.knittinghelp.com.  To finish weave in all ends.

Abbreviations:

R – Row, K – Knit, P – Purl, k2tog – knit two together, mm – millimeter, sts – stitches, ” – inches, DPN – double pointed needle

Copyright 2010, Nicole Nance, All Rights Reserved