Knit Flower

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It's taken me a very long time to make the knitted version of my crochet flower but here it finally is:

  • Step 1: Starting with a 12" or longer tail, cast on 3 stitches and work 22" of i-cord using a knitting spool or double pointed needles.
  • Step 2: K1, work a bobble stitch (How to Knit a Bobble Stitch), K1.
  • Step 3: Bind off, leaving a 12" or longer tail.
  • Step 4: Keeping the bobble unattached and out of the way, fold the length of i-cord like a fan into five petals, arrange into a flower shape and using the starting tail, stitch together.
  • Step 5: Position bobble over the center of the flower and using the yarn from the end of the bobble, tack down.

    Looks almost identical to the crocheted version. Now you can enjoy it both ways!

    Crochet Flower pattern

  • Baby Crinkle Toy

    Thursday, December 03, 2015

    Every blog post should start with the picture of a beautiful baby! My nephew Miles had a very tough bout of colic for the first couple of months after his birth and there were only a few toys that could diverted his attention from the discomfort. One was a simple fabric square which made a wonderful noise when crinkled and almost always brought him (and us) a few moments of relief. I loved playing with this toy too and became fascinated with making one.

    The only difficult part about recreating the crinkle toy was finding the right plastic to use for the inside. The plastic needs to keep its shape after repeated crinkling and at the same time make an interesting sound. I struck gold with the outer wrapping bag used for these Kirkland (Costco brand) seaweed packages.

    Here are the project details:
    2 - 6" x 6" pieces of flannel, polar fleece or other soft fabric.
    1 - 6" x 6" piece of plastic whose shape will bounce back after being scrunched and makes an interesting sound.

  • Place right sides of fabric together with plastic on top and stitch all three pieces together, using a 1/4" seam allowance and leaving a 2" - 3" opening for turning.

  • Trim the corners and, if necessary, grade the seam allowance (I needed to do this only with the polar fleece.)

  • Turn right side out and stitch 1/8" from the edge all around square being careful to make sure the the opening gets closed with this stitching.

    This is the simplest version and there are lots of variations to try. A few of them are:

  • Different shapes such as circle, rectangle, star, heart.
  • Sew folded bits of ribbons in the seam to add visual interest and something additional to play with.
  • Make small simple stuffed animals and incorporate the plastic all over or in strategic spots to be discovered.

  • Not only do I love this toy but the now happy (non-colic) baby Miles does too!!

    A Knitting-Book of Counterpanes

    Saturday, October 03, 2015
    The Knitting Collections held by the University of Southampton Library has a treasure trove of digitized 19th century knitting manuals. Among the selections that have been put online is A Knitting-Book of Counterpanes**.
    image courtesy
    University of Southhampton Library Digitization Unit
    Finding this was the perfect opportunity to use a vintage pattern and reproduce a knitted piece for a counterpane like the ones I wrote about in Anne of Green Gables - Cotton Warp Quilts.

    I purchased a tube of white Maysville 8/4 cotton warp. It is the kind of cotton warp yarn that would have been available when A Knitting-Book of Counterpanes was published as well as the Anne of Green Gables stories.

    The book has patterns for square, triangle and stripe pieces and some of the square patterns were knit on the bias (knitting on the bias involves starting with one stitch and evenly increasing each row until the desired square size is reached and then evenly decreasing back down to one stitch). I chose a bias knit square called The Cable Square Pattern (page 8) and got started.

    I began knitting with size 3 needles but that gauge was too loose. I restarted two more times before being happy with the result from size 1 needles. The terms used were different from current terminology but explained well enough that I was able to match them up. For example, plain=knit, pearl=purl, M=knit in the front and back and T=knit two together. The pattern was remarkably easy to follow. When finished the piece looked more like a parallelogram than a square! However, it did block into a very nice 6"x6" square.

    There are a couple of considerations when knitting a square on the bias:
  • Knitting on the bias does not initially produce a square. The piece has to be blocked into a square shape. Did 19th century women block individual pieces before stitching them together into a counterpane? It wasn't difficult or time consuming to block one square but it takes dozens of squares to make a blanket and that seems like a bit too much work.
  • Symmetry of design. Increase and decrease stitches do not look the same and when the shape or design is mirrored by using them the look is different and slightly off. On this square you can see it in the middle with the chevron design and along the edges.

    Ravelry Project Page - The Cable Square Pattern

    Final Thoughts: I initially thought I would like to make a vintage counterpane but it would take a lot of time and work so now I don't think so! However, I did very much enjoy working this piece and might work more samples from the book just for fun.

    **As of 10/3/2015 this book is no longer included in their collection. At some point, the University of Southampton revamped how their digital collection is displayed. Hopefully, they will have it back soon.

  • A Wedding Present Afghan

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015

    My niece got married this summer and a wedding is an afghan giving event! As soon as I heard the news I scoured through all of my saved blanket patterns and found one that I've been wanting to make for a long time --Floral Cables by Diane Poellot from the book Top Technique & Special Stitch Afghans.

    The pattern was written for worsted weight yarn but when I was shopping for the yarn the two that spoke to me were Lion Brand Heartland (an aran weight yarn) and Lion Brand Tweed Stripes (a bulky weight yarn). Could I make these two completely different yarns work for this pattern? The only way to tell was to buy the yarn and give it a try!

    After working a few samples I felt confident that they were going to be compatible but the pattern would need a few adjustments. In some areas it took a couple of tries to make things right (and a fair amount of ripping back) but ultimately I was able to tweak the pattern and make the two weights of yarn work.

    The result is spectacular and I may very well be making this afghan again for me! I love how using the heavier weight yarn not only provides the contrasting color but also "pops" the details of the cables and flowers.

    Here are the most important changes I made:

    1. The pattern called for an I hook but after experimentation I settled on a K hook for both weights. The K hook is the recommended size for the Tweed Stripe yarn but I did make an effort to crochet tightly when working with it. The Heartland yarn is listed on Ravelry as an Aran weight yarn but it feels like a lightweight worsted (I found it similar to Caron Simply Soft) however, it worked well with the Tweed Stripes using the K hook.

    2. I struggled with the given instructions for the star stitch so I switched to this DROPS version (including using a half double crochet (hdc) instead of a single crochet). It took a few attempts to make sure that the "stars" aligned because if a hdc was forgotten or the star stitch was incorrectly executed they didn't line up in the next row.

    3. There were a couple of places where I added additional rows to balance the yarn weight differences:
  • I repeated row 4 of the center panel two more times.
  • I added a row of single crochets between rows 6 and 7 of the cable panel to balance the edges.

    4. The pattern for the cables needed to be rewritten to accommodate the bulky weight of the Tweed Stripes and got changed to:
    Ch 2, skip next 2 sts, sc in next st. TURN, work 3 sc in ch-2 space just made, TURN, holding cable to the front, sc in each of 2 skipped sc on last row.
    Ravelry Project Page - Floral Cables Afghan

    5. I worked three rows of single crochet for the border but turned each row (rather than the usual way of working in a round) to achieve the same look as the background behind the flowers.

  • 2 Skeins of Unforgettable & How Long to Make a Cowl

    Thursday, July 30, 2015

    Unforgettable by Red Heart is an acrylic roving yarn and it's very soft. The colors, the Tidal colorway in particiular, are so gorgeous that I bought two skeins to play with and make things.

    The color runs in Unforgettable worked exceptionally well for this entrelec sample.

    But I like it even better in this crocheted cowl.

    Ravelry Project Page - Cowl

    A while ago I researched and blogged about How Long to Make a Scarf and I needed to do it again for a cowl.

    How Long to Make a Cowl:

  • A short cowl has a circumference (the distance around) of about 22".
  • A long cowl measures around 44" in circumference.
  • An extra long cowl has a 60" or longer circumference.

    The width of a cowl can vary from 7.5" to 12". The the cowl's length, the drape of the fabric and personal preference influences this measurement.

  • It didn't take much yardage to also make this jumpsuit for a Baby Whimsey Doll from Playful Little Knits - costumes and clothes for simple sewn doll by Rachel Manring.

    And I STILL have yarn left over!

    Knit Kitchen Hand Towel

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015
    Ravelry Project Page - Knit Kitchen Towel

    My reworked version of a classic knit kitchen hand towel pattern. I smoothed out the transition from the body to the top and rewrote the top to be wider and adjustable for desired length.

    Kitchen Towel

    Materials: 100 grams cotton yarn; 9 needles. 5/8” button

    Cast on 64 stitches.
    Knit 3 rows
    Row 1: K7 (P2, K4) across to last 3 stitches, K3.
    Row 2: K3, P4 (K2, P4) across to last 3 stitches, K3
    Row 3 to 6: Repeat rows 1 and 2 alternately.
    Row 7: K3, P4 (K2, P4) across to last 3 stitches, K3.
    Row 8: K7 (P2, K4) across to last 3 stitches, K3.
    Repeat Rows 1 to 8 seven more times.
    Repeat Rows 1 to 6 once more.

    Row 1: K3, P1, P2tog, P1 (K2, P1, P2tog, P1) across to last 3 stitches, K3. (54 sts.)
    Row 2: K6 ( P2, K3) across to last 3 stitch, K3.
    Row 3: K6 (P2tog, K3) across to last 3 stitches, K3. (45 sts.)
    Row 4: K3, P3 (K1, P3) across to last 3 stitches, K3.
    Row 5: K3, K2tog, K1 (P1, K2tog, K1) across to last 3 stitches, K3. (35 sts)
    Row 6: K3, P2 (K1, P2) across to last 3 stitches, K3.
    Row 7: K3, K2tog (P1, K2tog) across to last 3 stitches, K3 (25 sts)
    Row 8: K across.
    Row 9: K1, K2tog across. (13 sts.)

    Rows 10-36: K across.
    Add or subtract rows here to fit where the towel will hang.

    Row 37: K2tog, K4, YO for buttonhole, K2tog, K2, K2tog. (11 sts.)
    Row 38: K across.
    Row 39: K2tog, K7, K2tog. (9sts.)
    Row 40: K across.
    Row 41: K2tog, K5, K2tog. (7sts.)
    Bind off. Weave in ends.
    Sew button to middle of row 9.

    Working with Vintage Patterns

    Friday, March 13, 2015

    Working with Vintage Patterns

    1) The vintage patterns I post here are worked mostly thread and the thread weights used are the same standards today. However, anything that is not worked in thread will be using a yarn that is no longer manufactured. At Vintage Knits they have compiled an extensive listing of discontinued yarns, arranged by weight of yarn, by brand name, and if known, with fiber content and yardage. This information is a big help in finding a subsitute yarn to work with.

    2) The patterns found at lady_n_thread are American but if you get your hands on a pattern that is British/Australian then you will need to use a stitch conversion chart.

    3) Very early vintage patterns may have a different interpretation of stitches and the abbreviations of terms may also vary from today's. This site has collected the stitch instructions from a number of publications published in the early 1900's — Pre 1930 Crochet Stitch Instructions.