I've been a VERY busy girl

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Spiral Rib Hat

You thought that I wasn't doing anything because I haven't posted since August? Well I actually have been a VERY busy girl! These five knitting projects are part of a directed independent study which I blog about over at Yarn-On. The details for each of these projects are over there too.

Beaded Eyelet Rib Socks

                       Shades of Grey

Ripple Stitch Socks


Friday, August 14, 2009

Yarn-On is a side blog I have going about the adventures of a directed study in spinning, dyeing and designing with yarn.

How a Compulsion Starts
(my first pair of knit socks)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009
I traveled to California to visit my family last month and I forgot to claim my laptop computer after putting it through the security checkpoint in Boston. I flew all the way to San Francisco and drove all the way to Santa Clara before I realized that my computer bag was "light". Luckily, it was safe and sound in the hands of the TSA in Boston. I had intended to get caught up on a few web design projects while visiting and now that was not going to happen. I felt like an idiot for losing my laptop and needed a challenging project to occupy my mind so I went to the yarn store! I decided it was time to tackle the challenge of knitting a pair of socks.

I've crocheted a pair of socks (read about the adventure here)but I never intended to knit a pair of socks. Why? There were a couple of reasons. One reason is that I'm a bare foot person. When I'm at home I don't wear anything on my feet and I'll wear sandals until there's three inches of snow on the ground or my toes start to turn blue, whichever comes first. I crocheted a pair of socks for the challenge .... I don't actually wear them!

Another reason was that I didn't like knitting with double pointed needles. It wasn't until I taught myself how to knit in the round with two circular needles that I "got" the whole concept of multiple needle circular knitting. The double pointed needles took a little bit of practice but it became much easier after my success with two circulars. Double pointed needles are much cheaper too and that leaves more money for yarn.

The final reason I've never knit a pair of socks is because I believed the hype about their difficulty. Turning the heel and grafting were techniques I kept hearing knitters struggle with and I felt that my knitting skills weren't up to the task. However, a number of years ago I learned to graft and I figured now was the time to teach myself how to turn a heel. At the very least it would help keep my mind off that forgotten computer.

I found a free pattern for this pair of pedicure socks. How cute! I decided I would make a pair of them for my daughter. I started knitting away and had NO problems following what I later learned was the most basic of sock patterns. I turned my first heel without a hitch and with a great deal of pride! I had almost finished knitting the first sock when I was quietly informed by my daughter that she would never wear them!!!!! It wasn't that she didn't like or appreciate them but 1) she didn't get pedicures and 2)she only wore ankle socks.

What to do? I could continue and finish and try to find someone to give them to (they weren't the right size for me) but now I had "sock fever" and I decided that my first sock was going to be for ME and I was willing to frog everything and start knitting new socks, this time with toes!

I read every sock book in the library and I scoured the internet for sock blogs and forums. I quickly learned that people who knit socks are very passionate about their work and that socks are pretty darn easy to design and knit to your own specifications. I was now completely enthralled!

The three books that helped the most were:
1) Knitting rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.
--This book is mostly a humorous and practical information book about knitting but there is a section that breaks down how to knit a pair of socks without a pattern and this was my inspiration and springboard for giving it a go myself.
2) Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd.
--My sock bible. The best beginning sock book I found.
3) Socks A La Carte by Jonelle Raffino.
--A fun flip book with lots of different cuff, body, heel and toe patterns.

Sock Notes:
  • 2 balls of Patons® Stretch Sock Yarn - Olive
  • K3,P1 for cuff and body
  • K1, slip1 for the heel
  • Double decrease for the toe

  • I love knitting socks! All I want to do now is design and knit socks. I want to learn everything there is to know about socks. I am hopelessly addicted and have a serious new compulsion. I am already in the process of hand dyeing yarn and picking out a stitch pattern for the next pair. I may need an intervention. I'm definitely going to have start wearing them.

    My Ravelry project page for My First Pair Of Socks.

    Kitchen Scrubby

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    This kitchen scrubby is a great use for scrap pieces of worsted weight cotton yarn and an easy three step process.

    1) The wash side is made using a J hook and worsted weight cotton yarn. Work three rounds of the basic granny square. Bind off and weave in ends. Instructions for the basic granny square can be found here.

    2) The scrubby side is crocheted from netting (the coarse petticoat netting not the soft bridal veil netting) made into a long 1½" continuous strip by *cutting the fabric to within ½" of the edge then making another long cut parallel to the first (going in the opposite direction) to within ½" of the edge --repeat from * until all the fabric wanted is cut. Wind into a ball. Using a K hook, make a chain from the netting strip as long as the granny square plus one chain more. Each row is single crocheted through the back loop only until the netting square measures the same size as the wash square. Bind off and weave in ends.

    3) Using the worsted weight cotton single crochet the wash square and the netting square together. Bind off and weave in ends.

    That's it! The kitchen scrubby pictured measures 4"x4" but by altering yarn, hook size or the number of rounds for the granny square you can custom size your scrubby.

    My Ravelry project page for Kitchen Scrubby.

    Bouquet of Booties

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009
    This is a project done bb (before blogging) that I wanted to document for uniqueness. It's a baby shower centerpiece of booties folded to form flowers which are secured with floral tape to wire and leaves.

    The pattern and idea was in the July 2003 issue of Crochet! Magazine. There are four different cuff patterns and the foot is the same pattern for all the booties. I worked them using Herrschners Afghan and Apparel Yarn which is a 2 ply, 100% acrylic, fingering weight yarn.

    There were no problems with the patterns and they were easy to follow. It was my first exposure to the reverse single crochet (also know as the crab stitch)and I am happy to report that I was able to execute the stitch without fuss, although it is not on "my favorites" list. The only difficulty I had was making myself stop crocheting them --I think I made well over a dozen pairs before I managed to apply the brakes!

    My Ravelry project page for Bouquet of Booties.

    Bunny Blanket Buddy

    This darling toy has been knit and in my work basket for THREE YEARS!! Why? Because I have a face phobia. Whenever I make something that entails putting a face on it -- I freeze. I have no sense of proportion or spacing when it comes to placing eyes, noses and mouths and that's in addition to the technical difficulties of embroidering circles on knit or crochet items. *sigh* I always need help from my daughters or my husband to verify that I have a pleasant looking face (eyes placed too close together produce a rather creepy look). A couple of days ago I had a bout of "face confidence" and managed to finish this cute little toy!

    Bunny Blanket Buddy is a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns and available here.

  • I substituted Red Heart Baby Teri for the Lion Brand Velvetspun. Apologies to Lion Brand Yarns for not using their yarn with their pattern but, in my opinion, Velvetspun sucks and it really is an awful choice for a baby toy. The Baby Teri is a much better yarn for this project.
  • I worked with two strands of the Baby Teri.
  • I used size 6 needles for the head (instead of the size 8 recommended for the Velvetspun)
  • Wrap the first stitch of each row tightly when doing the double knitting of the head so that the ends do not gap.

  • Thanks to my Hubby for designing a face that I liked and one that was easy to embroider.

    My Ravelry project page for Bunny Blanket Buddy.

    Thousand Ends Lapghan

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    I love to challenge myself but sometimes I have brain farts and wind up being appallingly stupid. This lapghan was meant to be a nice way to use up scrap yarn. Instead, it was tedious and boring and ended up surpassing the Endless Ends Afghan for the number of ends that needed to be woven in.

    The afghan is a combination of yo-yo's and Priscilla Hewitt's flat braid joining. It's cute, I love it and I'm going to keep it for myself but when am I going to learn??

  • There are 389 yo-yo's (made from scrap yarn)
  • Joined together with Red Heart Super Saver Aran Fleck using the flat brain join.
  • The border is a row of three single crochets in each of the unattached loops around the edge.
  • The afghan measures 44" x 35"
  • There were 1558 ends. 778 (389*2) for each yo-yo + 778 (389*2) for each flat braid join + 2 ends for the border = 1558.

  • My Ravelry project page for Thousand Ends Lapghan.

    I really can't complain too much about this afghan because it did inspire the design of the adorable Romi-Yo!

    Tiny Striped Turtle

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009
    I found this cute little amigurumi turtle pattern here. No problems with the pattern. I used scrap yarn and 9mm eyes. I'm on the fence about the size of the head. Sometimes when I look at it -- it's fine, other times when I look at it -- it's too big. Either way it's cute!

    My Ravelry project page for Tiny Striped Turtle.

    Upside Down Sweater

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009
    This is an Upside Down Sweater, you can wear it two ways -- one way is with the k2p2 band as the collar and front edges (left picture) or "upside down" with the k2p2 band as the bottom edge of the sweater (right picture). The design intrigued me immediately upon seeing the pattern and I had to knit it! I've listed my changes to the pattern below and while I do love the sweater I love it only with the k2p2 band as the collar. The upside down way feels slightly twisted and the collar, which is now 1" of k1p1 ribbing doesn't lay nicely.

  • The pattern was written for Plymouth Yarn - Ashton (50% Baby Alpaca, 40% Fine Merino, 10% Silk) but I substituted Naturally Caron - Country (75% Microdenier Acrylic, 25% Merino). I used 9 skeins (185 yards, 85 grams) of Charcoal.
  • Because the sweater is suppose to be worn upside down, I didn't really understand why you would have a shoulder seam for one version and not the other, so I put the last rows of the back, the left front and right front on stitch holders and eliminated the shoulder seam entirely by grafting the front pieces to the back.
  • The k1p1 ribbing needs to be more than 1" -- maybe 2" and even consider doing a k2p2 ribbing to match the big band.
  • I lengthened the sleeves (I like lonnnng sleeves!) and knit them in the round so I didn't have to seam those as well. Increasing a circular k2p2 pattern by 2 stitches every 6 rows proved a challenge! There was a lot of frogging and experimenting. How you increase and where makes a difference as evidenced by this:

  • Pretty increasing

    Not so pretty (frogged!)

    My Ravelry project page for Upside Down Sweater.

    Victory Junction Afghan #4

    Monday, May 11, 2009
    This is the second summer I've been able to make and donate two blankets (The other afghan is here) to Victory Junction, a summer camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. At the end of their camping experience each child gets to take home a hand-made afghan and a hand-made teddy bear.

    This blanket was made from a granny square called "Fox's Little Boxes" and it worked up incredibly well in the Victory Junction colors of red, yellow, green and blue. It's a quick and easy pattern to use and follow.

  • Each square measures 7" using a J hook.
  • Red Heart Super Saver colors Cherry Red, Paddy Green, Bright Yellow, Royal and Aran.
  • A total of 30 squares -- 8 green, 8 yellow, 7 red, 7 blue
  • The squares were staggered in a pattern of:
  • The afghan measures 35" x 41". This is a little short of their requested minimum of 35" x 45" so next time I'll add another row to the length.

  • Edging:
    Row 1: Dc into each stitch and ch 1 space of the last row working (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) into each corner.
    Row 2: *Sc, fpsc* (front post single crochet) around the blanket working 3 sc's into each corner.
    Row 3: Sc around the blanket working 3 sc's into the middle sc of each corner.

  • The last row works (3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc) into each corner and all of the previous rows worked (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) into each corner. I kept forgetting to add the additional dc's for the last row!!! In the end I had to take out about 1/2 of the last rows and rework them. I kept the (2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc) pattern because if I corrected with the right amount I would have been short and had to add yarn which would have resulted in weaving a bunch more ends -- something I try and avoid at all costs!

  • Most of the rows begin by slip stitching to the corner to start the round and I adjusted the beginning of a few rounds by starting the new round where the last round ended. I know the pattern was easier to write by having each round start in the corner but it did reduce bulk slightly by making this adjustment.

  • I think this afghan would look great in random scrap colors and I will try out that idea when I make the next one.

    My Ravelry project page for Victory Junction Afghan #4.

  • Romi-Yo

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    I had a few crochet yo-yo's left over from making a scrap yarn afghan and the idea for making this guy popped into my head. I was inspired by a fabric yo-yo worm that I made years ago from a commercial pattern. My daughter Sarah came up with the name Romi-Yo and ta daaaaa ... an amigurumi worm is born!

    Romi-Yo Pattern

    Valentines 2009

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Every year I craft something small for Valentines. The project this year was lollypop covers!

    There is not much to note. The pattern was perfectly written. I used red, pink and white Red Heart Super Saver Yarn and the recommended hook. Soooo cute, soooo fun, ...... awhhhhhhhh ;)

    I found this pattern years ago, copied it and filed it away for "someday". The pattern use to be offered for free over at www.crochetmemories.com but I can't find it there anymore (thank heavens I saved a copy!) and they are blocking their site from the Wayback Machine. It's not a difficult pattern though, so maybe you can pick it out from the photo ;)

    My Ravelry project page for Heart Lollypop Cover.


    This wristwarmer pattern is one of my first designs. I like keeping my hands warm and I also want use of my fingers. These have been a favorite item of my daughter Sarah for whom I have made many pairs! Through the years I've fine tuned the pattern by adding shaping across the top of the wristwarmers (giving it a snugger fit) and around the thumb.

    The pattern is free and can be downloaded here. Enjoy!

    First Felting Project

    Sunday, February 08, 2009
    I've been wanting to try a felting project for some time but have never gotten around to it -- other projects always crowded ahead of it. During the fall 2008 semester I took a fabric structures class and one student chose felting for her semester project and from her work I was inspired to push it to the front of my "to do" list and give it a try.

    This bag is called "Snaps" by Laura Kochevar from the book Bags - A Knitter's Dozen. It turned out "ok" but the fabric of the bag is very thick -- I felted it too much :( -- Also, the design did not have a bottom for the bag, it is just two pieces of knit fabric sewn together and because I over-felted it, this is accented even further. I love the knit design but I'm not sure when or what I'll find a use for this bag.

  • I used Classic Wool Merino by Patons
    --2 skeins - Black Tweed
    --1 skein - Rich Red Tweed
    Both these colors had flecks of colored yarns woven in and I had hoped that since these yarns were acrylic and not wool that they would "pop" out when felted. Unfortunately, there was no "pop" of flecks -- because I over felted I don't know if the flecks felted into the fabric or fell off.
  • Before felting, the bag measured 19½" across the top, 23½" across the bottom and 21½" deep.
  • After felting, the bag measured 15½" across the top, 16½" across the bottom and 12½" deep.
  • To make the handles the pattern called for knitting a strip of fabric in stockinette stitch, sewing it up and then felting it. Well, that was too much work for my taste, so I hauled out my icord spool and knit the cord around a doubled piece of twine.

    My Ravelry project page for First Felting Project.

  • Little Teddy Bear

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009
    Amigurumi is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and I just had to give it a try. This cutie is the Little Teddy Bear from the book Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! Amigurumi by Tomoko Takamori.

    There were a couple of aspects with the book worth noting (I didn't buy it, I borrowed it from my library). The patterns are written using an interesting mix of words and symbols that I hadn't seen before but they were explained well in the book and I found this method easy to read and follow. The biggest problem was missing instructions. Both the arms and legs were incomplete -- an additional 8 rows had to be added for each. A search on the internet for the answer found that other patterns in the book had errors too and for many people it was a frustrating aspect of the book. The assembly instructions were VERY clear and precise and I appreciated that because it's not my favorite part of making stuffed animals.

  • I used scraps of Red Heart Super Saver Yarn. Other people report successfully using Lion Brand Wool-Ease and Caron Simply Soft.
  • Because Super Saver is stiff, I threw all the parts into a laundry bag and washed them before assembly.
  • I used a H hook and it turned out fine but a G hook would work too (producing a slightly smaller bear)
  • The eyes are 9mm solid black eyes with a washer back from Darice.
  • He measure 8" (stretched out) from the tip of his ears to the bottom of his feet and 6" high when sitting.

    I think he's just the cutest and he joins "the boys" who sit on the bookshelf overlooking my desk!

    My Ravelry project page for Little Teddy Bear.

  • Grrlfriend Market Bag

    Thursday, January 22, 2009
    I've been busy making things ... I promise! I have quite a few small projects to blog about and one HUGE one that I haven't figured out how to write about so I'll start with the little ones.

    I love making bags and this one intrigued me by the way it was started using the Emily Ocker's Circular Cast On, which is another knitting technique from Elizabeth Zimmerman's book Knitting Workshop.

    I learned about a technique when knitting a lacy pattern that would save a LOT of heartache and prevent a headache if you have to rip out rows: After the last row of a repeat (or whenever you want, just remember to write down the row number) using a yarn needle with a piece of waste yarn, thread it through the stitches on the needle. If you ever have to ripe back then these stitches will be held in place and can easily be put back on the needle.

    The lace pattern of this bag is very simple and when I did have to rip back I didn't have too much of a problem, but if I was working a more complicated pattern I would want to use this technique!

    I stash bushed my Bernat's Organic Cotton:
    1) The bottom portion was knit using yarn which was dyed in my Fabric Structures class using just yellow onion skins!
    2) The body of the bag is the color Hemp
    3) The top band and strap uses the color Mineral Spring

    I forget which size needles I used. The pattern lists ranges of needle sizes for the various parts of the bag and is not specific (that's the beauty of the pattern, wing it for any size and a one-of-a-kind bag!) I think I used 6's for the bottom, cuff and strap and 8's for the body. I wanted a small netting for the body so I did not go up to suggested size 10's for the body.

    The pattern for Grrlfriend Market Bag is available for free over at Ravelry.