Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Very Long Rows

I was right about this new job eating into my knitting time. 

That's ok -- and it's not nearly as time-consuming as I thought. I'll be doing almost completely remote work and so a lot of it is working from home, so no, the new job isn't cutting into my knitting time that much.

And Shadowrun Returns is still fun, but the 'ooh, new!  shiny!'  has now worn off.

No.  My current time-sink is the Hooded Scarf.

This picture has me finally at the 6 row mark (the pattern calls for 14 rows).

You can't see scale, in this picture, but this thing is finger-tip to finger-tip on me.  It's really -really- long.

So, since getting one row done on it takes a while, my other projects are. . . well, kind of languishing, unfortunately.

I really need to get back to work on my Birthday Socks.   That August deadline isn't going away, and I still only have 1 sock.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Crochet, Christmas Presents, and Distractions.

Hello all!

So I'm still working on the Hooded Lace Scarf.  

No photos yet, right now it just looks like a long, annoying snake.  I know that's an odd description, but with a pattern that has a foundation chain of 448, it is -long-.

Long and annoying.  Each row takes me over an hour.  The pattern itself it not hard at all and easy to remember.  But the rows just take -forever!- It's great as a brainless project, because I can just kind of keep going until I hit the end, but it's unfortunately, not a very interesting project, even if it also crochets up relatively quickly.

This is not helped by the fact that a friend was kind enough to gift me a copy of Shadowrun Returns.

It's a lot of fun! It harkens back to some of the older CRPGs; and also manages to capture the feel of the Shadowrun universe quite nicely . . .

And with it as a distraction, I've done very little knitting over the last few days.  I've put in the odd stitch or two during loading scenes, but that's pretty much it.  Despite it using a turn-based combat system, I can't really knit while the enemy is throwing grenades or fireballs.  I need to be paying attention, I find.

So yeah. 

I'm trying to tell myself that come Monday, I'll buckle down and actually knit more.

Maybe.  I'll see.   No promises.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Blocking Tutorial -- how to block an acrylic (or partially acrylic) project:



I have to block my Test-Knit socks.

And I promised a tutorial on how to block acrylic a few posts ago.

So, here we go.

You'll need four things.

1) Two towels.They should be ones you won't worry about too much if they get a bit of dye bleeding out.  It shouldn't happen, but it can; and the last thing you want is your nice towels with a stain on them.

2) An Iron that has a steam setting.  If you don't have a steam setting, there is a work-around.

3) The object you want to block, in this case, my sock,

4) And water.  I figure that doesn't need a picture. 

Take your object and get it really wet with cold (or at least room-temperature) water.  For this sock, running it under a tap for a few minutes should suffice. 

If it's a bigger project, you might have to immerse it in water. Try not to rustle it around too much, you don't want to accidentally felt any natural fibers, or cause any ends to come out.

Put it on a towel to transfer it to a flat surface.  Here, I've got it outside on our balcony.   Then, cover it with a single layer of the other towel.  (The single layer part's important.)

Now, iron the object with the towel over top of it.  Use the steam setting. 
Be cautious, though.  Since this sock is partially acrylic fibers, we don't want too much heat.  Blocking acrylic is permanent, as you're actually melting the fiber just a bit  (acrylic is basically plastic, after all!).   If you over-block acrylic, you 'kill' it, which takes away all elasticity and gives it quite a bit of drape.  "Killed" acrylic can be useful for some things, but a sock isn't one of them.  And because this is a mixed fiber project, killing the acrylic would be a bad thing, since the wool wouldn't change nearly as much.  I'd have hideous tension problems.   So, block anything with acrylic in small increments.  It's better to do too little and have to do more, then do too much.  You can't undo blocking acrylic, unlike blocking natural fibers.

You want a single layer of towel between the iron and the object.  This allows heat and steam transfer without scorching the acrylic (you'll scorch and melt the acrylic if you put the iron on it directly, this is a no-no!)

If you want to be cautious, you can do a double-layer of towel and take more time. 

If you don't have a steam iron, boil some hot water and keep a small bowl of it nearby.  Pour it onto the towel in small amounts, making sure it soaks through both the towel and the finished object.

Here, we're blocking up near the cuff.  Since again, "killing" acrylic is irreversible, I've pulled the towel down so I can see and don't accidentally "kill" the cuff, because the cuff is acrylic, and the one spot in the sock where I really need the elasticity.

Once you do one side of the object, flip it over (if necessary) and repeat on the other side.

And there you go, there's your finished object, all set to wear.  Put it on as soon as you can stand the heat, so it will dry into shape. 

Finally, since no project is complete without kitty-assisted blocking (as demonstrated by this Ravelry thread,  and to a lesser extent in this Ravelry thread) I had a fuzzy little helper, who also liked to get in the way!
 Isn't she cute?

So, I hope this helps some people, and proves that acrylic (and mixed-fiber projects) can be blocked.   If you're looking for more information on blocking, there's oodles of info and examples on this Ravelry thread (which is where I got a lot of my information from, too!)

New Job!

Ok, so I know it's not knitting-related, per se, but. . .

I have a job!

I haven't been employed since my last contract ended.  I've been doing some volunteer work, and I love it, but it doesn't pay the bills.

Now, I have a job -- and even better, it's a job in my field!

I start next Tuesday with training.   They want me to jump right in after that. It's an 8-month contract, and one of my questions, when I get the chance, is going to be about the possibility of renewing it if they like my work.

It's part-time, but that's a good thing for me right now.  I'm dealing with some health stuff, and don't know if I'm up to handling a full-time job.  Also, I don't really want to give up my volunteer work if I don't have to, either.

So, less time for knitting, but more impetus to knit on the TTC . . .and more money to buy yarn!  :D

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Kitchener Stitch and the Knitty e-zine

Let me preface this rambling with:

I hate seaming.  I always have when it comes to knitted stuff.

So I can't believe it took me this long to learn about the Kitchener Stitch -- I mean, I was looking for ways to avoid seams in my knitting since I was a teenager.   How did I not know about this?


Anyway, I've finally finished the toe on my Test-Knit socks.  I've just got to do the Kitchenering.  (Spell check insists that is not a word, I disagree!)  But, despite my love of this relatively new technique, it's not second nature to me yet.

So, I hunted through my web history for the tutorial I found last time.  It's nice to have something up on the computer screen for reference, and Knitty is a great resource -- not just for techniques and tutorials, but for patterns, too.  I've already made a few things using patterns from Knitty, and have several more in mind.

You can find most (I'm not sure about all) of the Knitty patterns via Ravelry, and best of all, they're free!

I hope you can find something you like!

New Project! (That is, more Christmas Knitting. . . )

I had the goal of trying to clear out a few projects from my needles.

Really I did. . .

And I guess I'm not exactly breaking that goal, since my newest project uses a hook, not needles.

I've started into a Hooded Lace Scarf.  It's my first foray back to crochet in over 10 years, but now that the foundation chain is done, it's actually looking ok; and not as scary as I thought.

When I first saw this pattern years ago as a teenager, I really thought it was pretty.   But as a teenager, there was no way I was wearing a lace hooded scarf; and I didn't have the crochet confidence to make it.

Flash forward, and that pattern still appeals to me.  (I'm -so- glad I kept my old pattern books!) 

But it's still not my style.  But I want to make it, and the challenge of a simpler crochet project is appealing. (Even if I did have to go to tutorials for single and double crochet to remind myself of what I was doing!) 

And then I had a brainwave.  I know someone who's style it is, who would actually appreciate and have opportunity to wear such a thing.

Yeay for a new Christmas project!   

The yarn I'm using is Handmaiden Fine Yarns Lady Godiva.  It's a silk/wool blend that has a gorgeous sheen.  I ordered some from EatSleepKnit, since I couldn't find a place near me that stocked it (this was the order that had my winning ticket for a skien of Malabrigo, which is still awesome!)

Why did I start this now, though.  When I've got so much other knitting to do?

Well, part of it is because the Lady Godiva yarn has been calling my name since I got it.  It's really pretty. . .

But the bigger part is that I needed a brainless project.  My volunteer work, while I love it, has me sitting through very long meetings.  Knitting/crocheting keeps me from getting too fidgety, which means I actually pay attention.  But I need a brainless project, something that I don't have to think about, and this pattern, with a foundation chain of 448 stitches and a 1-row repeat, is pretty brainless.

So there we go.  More Christmas gifts started.  Maybe I'll actually finish some of them!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Deadling Knitting and Progress!

So many things to knit, so many deadlines!

First, I promised you an update on the Birthday Socks.

I'm almost done the heel flap.  I find I'm actually pretty productive at a Knit Night.  That's part of why I go.

Next up is my Test-Knit. These have a July 31 deadline, so they're rather looming over me right now.


 But, there's not a lot more to do with them.  I've only got 10 more rows of the chart, and then the toe decreases.  Since I'm stuck at home today waiting for a repairman to show up (and discovered that due to an emergency call somewhere else, they're not coming today. . . urgh!) I might as well make good use of my time.

And finally, a new project to this blog, my Christmas Scarf.

It took a few tries to get a photo of this that was remotely ok.  And yes, I've started Christmas knitting in July (actually I started this in April!).  :D  I don't want to be knitting on Christmas Day, like I was last year.

/I made my father fingerless gloves last year for Christmas (this was before I was on Ravelry, so the project isn't there), and I was weaving in ends while in the car to his place on Christmas morning.

He just laughed about it, and didn't really mind./

So yeah.  Lots of deadline knitting over the next few weeks.  The ability to play video games and knit is really helping me get through all of it. I'm currently re-playing Mass Effect 1 but I've bumped the difficulty to Hardcore.  It's not easy.  I get lots of knitting done while waiting for the Mako's* shields or Shepard's health to regenerate. . . 

In addition to this stuff, there's other things on my needles too, as you probably well know if you've read some of my other posts. This includes the Birthday Gloves, which I haven't really touched since last update.  There are also more Christmas/Birthday gifts in planning -- you can see them on my Ravelry Queue here, if you're curious.

And yes, some of those are Christmas/Birthday 2014 plans.  Those are things where I've already teased out subtle hints about design and colour from the recipient so that I know they'll like it, and I'm not really worried about those at all beyond having things written down.

It's going to be busy. 

*the Mako is a drivable tank that you can take to various planets in-game. It has shields, but they take a while to recharge after getting shot.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sale Timing and my Bad Luck

So I went to The Knit Cafe tonight for their Knit Night.

I often go there, Knit Night is a great motivation and a chance to hang out and be social while knitting. (That and their tea is awesome, plus they stock these organic fizzy lemonades that I love!) 

When I went tonight, they had a sale on.  There were 5, 10 and 15 dollar remnant bins, and most of their regular stock was 15% off.  It runs until this Sunday, so if you get the chance, go in and take a look!

Unfortunately, it came at a bad time for me, since I get money at the end of the month, and the sale will be over by then.   The even more sucky thing is that I actually have several projects planned using the Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton, which the Knit Cafe does sell. (They sell both the Worsted Cotton and the Skinny Cotton).  I would have loved the chance to pick some up on sale.   That's how I try and buy a lot of my yarn -- wait until it goes on sale, and this time I completely missed my chance.

Oh well.  I still have lots of other things to knit, and there will be other sales.

Procrastination and Project Ideas

So, you know how I said I would drop off my Yarn Lotto ticket from EatSleepKnit on the Monday?

Yeah. . . I only did that today, and only because the Post Office is on the way to Knit Night.

I could give all sorts of excuses, but the honest truth is that I procrastinated on it.

However, I think I've at least figured out why it didn't rate as important in my immediate perception (because seriously, free yarn?  Why was this not more exciting!).

I think it's mostly because I don't have a project idea for anything using Malabrigo Sock (even though the colours look -gorgeous!)  Nothing's inspired me yet.  I am, however, very glad it's superwash.  But reading through the reviews of the yarn on Ravelry, although the description gives enough yardage for a pair of socks, I'm not sure how well it will hold up in socks without nylon or silk. 

I'm probably going to make a. . . something else.

And that's where I pull a complete blank.

I love the colourway I chose, Solis:

I really do, even if it is my usual colour palette.  But I just don't know what to -do- with it.  If' I'm not going to make socks, I don't know quite what else it will suit. I'm not a huge scarf person, and I already have (or have plans for) several hats and mittens, so I don't need more of those.  I would do a shawl, but it's 440 yards to a skein, so there's not enough for a big comfy wrap-around shawl (which is my personal preference.)

So, right now, I'm stumped.   The only thing I have a vague idea to do with it is a pair of Little Arrow Fingerless Mittens, but then I feel bad because I had those queued up to use up some stash yarn.

It's all alright in the end,  the yarn won't be arriving for a while anyway.  It's going to take a bit for my mail to get down there in the first place, and then they ask for 4 weeks to process your order. . . and right now, Solis is out of stock there anyway.  So it's not like this yarn will be arriving quickly (and I'm totally ok with that.  It's free, it can take as long as it needs!).  I have lots to work on in the interim, so it's not like I need it at all.

So yeah.

On the plus side, I got to the heel of my Birthday Socks at Knit Night tonight!    I don't have pictures yet since it's getting too dark, but they should be coming soon.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Finished the Rag Rug!

It's done!

Seriously, I want to jump for joy.  My Rag Rug is done.  I finished it tonight.

It took me -forever- and it really hurt my hands because of the tightness.  And yes, it's kind of deformed.  Some of the strips of fabric were a lot wider then others.   Also, the bind-off didn't quite work right -- it's too tight.  I'll have to find a stretchier bind-off for the next one.

Still, I figure not bad for a prototype.   Definitely needs more practice, though. :)

I know I promised a pattern after I finished the prototype, but I'm going to hold off on posting a pattern until I start the second one.    That way, I can give my hands a break, and I can take pictures as I go to make a photo-tutorial.

All my Stash. . .

Well, the post title pretty much says it all:

It all fits on my single bed.  There, not that bad!

I went through and sorted it into shelves:

Top shelf is lace-weight and finished gifts,

Middle shelf is sock/fingering weight, sport weight, and dk,

Bottom shelf is worsted weight and up.

It's nice to know it'll be easier to find everything again, though one of my balls of Classic Elite Yarns Liberty Light decided to make a bid for freedom and roll under my bed while I was doing this!  I was confused, because I was -very- sure I had one more ball!  Kitty helped me find it; (and didn't do any damage to it), so I'm good now.

Also, I have to be honest -- there's a tote under the bed that has inherited yarn.  If it didn't come with a ball band and I don't know what it is, it's in there. That's about half-full, but my huge binder of pattern leaflets is in there too.  I'm not going to bother sorting that out -- it's usually used for scrap yarn or for small 'odds and ends' projects.  There's not enough of anything in there for sweater quantities; and only a few things in 'small project' quantities.

Stash Organization Time.


I used to not have a stash.

Then I found Ravelry.

Now I have a stash.


Now, inspired by this thread, I want to organize said stash.

Before everyone starts freaking out, however, almost all my stash lives here, in a 3-shelf glass cabnet, that was (until the door-latch stopped working) kitty-cat proof.

I know it looks disorganized, but I can basically name almost any yarn in there from sight, believe it or not.

That being said, I look at this and realize that yeah, there is not a lot of organization to it, and it would probably be nice to have it separated by weight.  The yarn's just kind of tucked in there wherever it will fit. 

So, I'm going to re-organize it, and post up my results.

Wish me luck!

P.S.  Sorry about the oddity of the pictures -- my cupboard's in an area that doesn't get a lot of light, so the flash throws off the pictures. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

More Useful Links -- or, What on Earth is an RKI?

Hello again!

Quick post tonight before I wander off to bed --  I knew there was a resource I'd forgotten to post, and now I remember.

It's this.

The Birthday Socks are a pretty complicated pattern, and while I was working it, I found what was labeled as an RKI stitch.  I had no clue what this was.  It seemed to be some sort of increase, but I couldn't figure it out.

While the pattern included directions, the written directions for this particular stitch just didn't quite make sense for my head.

So, Google and a bit of sluthing gave me this resource, including a page all about lifted increases.  And the photos just made a lot more sense then the description in the pattern did.  That's no slight on the pattern, that's just how my head works. I have some issues regarding spatial and kinesthetic sense, so it's always hard for me to figure out exactly where the needle/hook goes, and it make take several different descriptions and tutorials before one sticks.

(And now I actually really like the lifted increases.   They're almost invisible.  If a pattern doesn't specify,  I'll either use these or an M1 increase, depending on what, specifically, I want.)
Anyway, hope that's helpful, and alleviates some confusion.

Happy Crafting!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Knitting and Math -- an Example and a Really Helpful Resource

Ok, hello folks!

So, I'm just getting to the cuff of my Birthday Gloves, and, as to be expected, the pattern calls for an 18 stitch increase on the last row of ribbing.

. . . except that it doesn't. It notes that depending on what Fair-Isle chart you use (the pattern presents two different chart sets) you might need more or less stitches.

That sounds scary, I know, but I'm going to show you how to do stuff like this, and make it less scary.

So, onto the specifics of my example:
Pattern says cast on 42 stitches. 42 stitches + an 18 stitch increase = 60 stitches.

Not so hard so far, right?

For the Traditional Star variation, which is the one I'm doing,  Chart A, which is the back of the hand, is 27 stitches across.


Good so far, right?

 Charts B through D, which are for the palm, are all 4 stitch repeats.

 This gets a bit more complicated, but bear with me.

33 isn’t divisible by four. If you punch that into the calculator, you get 8.25.  Since you can't have .25 of a stitch, we need to make this something that's divisible by four.   32 divided by 4 is 8, and 36 divided by 4 is 9.  (This is the most complicated part, I promise. )

Since I’d rather these be a touch too big then a touch too small, (and I know I knit really tight in Fair Isle), lets go to 36 stitches for the palm (that means 9 pattern repeats).

Now, 27 (the back of the hand), + 36 (the number of stitches I need for the palm) = 63.

There's my total stitch count for around the hand.

I will have to remember this, because I'm going to have 3 extra stitches for the hand that I'll have to work in somewhere when I split the glove to do the fingers. I can easily add 1 stitch to the last three fingers of the glove, but it is something I'm going to have to remember. 

Now, to figure out the increase row:

We're going from 42 stitches to 63 stitches.

63-42 is 21.  So it's a 21 stitch increase.

Now, here's where I cheat a little.  I could do all the math to figure out balanced increases all the way around the cuff . . . or I could just use KnittingFiend's tools.  She's put up a calculator that does things like increases, decreases, and other useful things.

Since we've already done enough math for one day, I'll go with option number two.  Plugging the numbers into her increase calculator, gives me my increase row.

(k1 m1 k1) repeat 21 times.

I can do that, and it saved the rest of my brainpower, and took a lot less time, too!

Hope this helps, and that calculator has saved me a lot of trouble, so I'm glad to be passing it on. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

More Birthday Knitting

So, not only do I have the Birthday Socks, I also have Birthday Gloves.  I started them just tonight for a September Birthday.  Unlike the socks, I intend to give myself lots of time.

I just started the cast-on with 2.25 mm needles.

It's my first major project using Knit Picks Palette, and I have to say, I'm liking it so far.   Shipping to Canada was really quick, (about a week, by my memory) and they actually do Canadian customs/taxes for you so you don't get surprised at the door by customs fees.

I do still prefer local yarns when I can get them.  But, for the cash-conscious, like most of the Knit Picks line, it's not expensive, and if you can make a 75 dollar order, shipping to Canada is 7 dollars.  (In the US shipping is free over 75 dollars!)

So, yes.  I just added to the pile of gifts for knitting.   But these should go together pretty quick, I hope.   They're seamless and knit entirely in the round, so there's no seaming to take up my time, and the ribbing can happen basically on automatic.   The slowest part will be the Fair-Isle, I suspect.

How to YO between a purl and a knit stitch

Hello again!

Well, this post is prompted by a few things.

1) I was working on my Alpaca Lace Legwarmers, which has a lot of YO's between purl and knit (and knit and purl) stitches, and I've always found that I actually have to think just a touch, or I'll screw the YO up and/or not make them consistent.

2) I was talking to a woman at Knit Night three weeks ago, and she was working on an eyelet pattern in seed stitch, and the YO between knit and purl (and vice-versa) was giving her grief.   I was actually working on my Legwarmers at the time, so I had the ability to show her what I was doing and how I remembered the distinction.

Well, with those two things, it occurred to me that I really should share, because it seems to me that there are some knitters who struggle with YOs between knit and purl stitches. 

So, onward!

Here is a row where you want a YO between purl and knit.

My sneaky little trick to remember this is:  when I was little, my mother taught me how to knit, but I learned YO as YF -- that is, an abbreviation for Yarn Forward -- which is, in a way, exactly the opposite of what you're doing.   (That will make sense, I promise!)

In this case, the yarn's at the front of the work, since you just finished a purl stitch.  You want to go all the way around the needle, and end with the yarn at the back of the work (since your next stitch is a knit stitch). So,  my trick to remember is you're always wrapping the yarn over the needle from front to back  (hence, the opposite of Yarn Forward towards you!)

So, you've got your yarn over the needle to the back, you then knit the stitch as per normal.  If this weren't a knit stitch, you would have the yarn continue around the needle to the front.

And there you have it.  It doesn't look like much now, but it'll show when it's knitted up on the next row.

Hope that helps!  It's a trick that's saved me a lot of grief in my knitting, and like I said, I figured I should share. :)

Author's note:  It took several tries to get the explanation I had in my head out onto the page in a way I thought worked.  If you viewed this post early, it probably didn't make a lot of sense.  Apparently, the heat is melting my brain . . . 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Lost Stitches -- Or, how to Avert Panic Mode When you Realize you've Dropped a Stitch

So yep, it happens to all knitters.  

I dropped a stitch this morning. Quite spectacularly, too, I might add.  I couldn't figure out why my stitch-count on my Cable Sweater was one stitch short. 

Lo and behold, I found the offending dropped stitch, seven rows down from where it should be.   I'm just grateful that it was one of the increase stitches in the sleeve, so that it could only unravel so far.  Once it hit the M1 increase(video link),  it had nowhere else to unravel. 

If it had been in a cable, this would have been a lot more complicated.


The first thing you do when you've dropped a stitch is panic.

The second thing you do is secure the offending stitch where it is.  I like to use safety pins.  Especially if you have several dropped stitches, this becomes a necessity so that more stitches don't unravel.

The third thing you do, is you take a crochet hook, stick it in the offending stitch, and work (in this case, from the back, since it's a purl stitch) up the knitted work. If it were a vertical column of knit stitches you'd work from the front.  You can't see it very well on this picture,  but there will be laddered 'bars' of yarn where the stitch unraveled. You hook those with the crochet hook and pass the previous stitch over, until you get to the top of your knitting where you should be.

And the last thing is to rejoice that your knitting didn't need to be unraveled.  I know this picture isn't the best, but it should give you an idea.  The stitch that fell is the second last one on the left, which, as you can now (hopefully) see, is back on the needles without a problem.

Also, in the last picture, you can see that this left some residual tension weirdness (there's still some laddering, you can see my hand showing through).  That happens sometimes.  It should sort itself out as you continue to knit, and if it's a serious issue, blocking the finished piece can also help.  In the absolute worst case-scenario, if you're not willing to frog back to fix the laddering, you can stitch it closed (carefully, or it'll show) with a tail end of yarn, but it's rare that you'll have to do that.

So, I hope that helps at least a few people.  

And I promise I'll get better at photographs as soon as I figure out how have two hands on the knitting while holding the camera at the same time.  :D Maybe I should invest in a camera stand or something. . . 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Knit Night and grubby hands

So. . . remember how I mentioned I was going to work on my Birthday Socks at knit night?

Didn't happen.

Why not?

Because wheelchair plus hot ash-fault is asking for hands stained with black goop, which is exactly what happened. My hands were covered in what looked like soot.  It happens every summer, and I wasn't going to work on a relatively pale gift with goop on my hands that didn't come off easily.

(I didn't get pictures of my sooty hands, I didn't want to get that stuff on the camera!)

So, instead, I worked on these.

I'd already finished one mitten a bit ago (hence the not-so-great picture), and I started working on the second. I decided to make them as a solution to this exact problem (stuff on my hands and sleeves when using a manual wheelchair), and I'm going to be very glad when they're done.

I got about half-way through the cable pattern before I was concerned that I might not have enough yarn with me to finish the pattern that night  . . . and I'd forgotten my back of scrap yarn at home (I needed stitch markers to do the gusset increases).

So I came home early from knit night, but all is good anyway, since I came home to sushi for dinner. :D

Simple Ribbed Bag Pattern

Hello all!

I've had a couple of people ask me (or my roommate!) about a pattern for the headphone pouch I made my roommate.

So, as requested, here it is!

Simple Ribbed Bag

Gauge:  18 sts = 4 inches in k1 p1 ribbing (gauge isn't super important for this, though)

Yarn:  140 yards of  Red Heart Sport Solid (DK weight).

Cast on 56 stitches with a 3.75 mm circular needle or double-pointed needle set. (Use whatever size you need to get gauge, I usually knit on pretty small needles).  Join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Knit 7.5 inches (or however long you desire) in k1 p1 ribbing.

Eyelet row:  *(K1 P1) twice, YO* repeat between * 14 times total.
Next row: *(K1 P1) twice, k2tog* repeat between * 14 times total. 

Work 3 more rows (or more if you want a longer edging), then cast off in ribbing.


Sew the bottom end (the end without the eyelets) shut.

Create a twisted cord:  Cut 2 lengths of 3 to 4 feet of yarn, anchor one set of ends to an object, (tape it to a table, for example) and begin to twist them togther.  Twist it until it kinks up on itself.  Then, place both ends together and fold it in half. It should twist up on itself.  One end will be the folded end, the other end will be all 4 of the loose yarn ends.   Knot those ends together in an overhand knot.

(Sorry I have no pictures for this part -- if people want, I can get some!)

Feed the twisted cord through the eyelets of the bag.  If you want a shorter twisted cord, cut the knotted end and re-knot it at the desired length (be careful not to let it untwist!)

You can either tie it like that, and have two drawstrings, or you can 'button' the overhand knot through the small loop at the end of the twisted cord and have one drawstring (if the loop is too tight, gently untwist it for a moment and put the knot through.  It should re-twist itself.)

And there you have your very own Simple Ribbed Bag.

Final measurements are about 13 inches around and 8 inches tall, (without blocking) but this is extremely customizable if you'd like.

I suspect this would work well in any larger-weight yarn (worsted, aran).  I would suggest a fiber with a bit more stretch that won't sag out of shape over time.

Author's Note:  I'm sorry my pattern isn't as exact as I would like, I originally just made this on the fly and didn't really take copious notes at the time.  If anyone's having any trouble, or finds any errors, please don't hesitate to drop me a line -- you can leave a comment here.

Hope you all enjoy!

Project Updates -- July 16, 2013

So, I've got a few updated projects on my Ravelry Projects Page, and thought I'd show the pictures here too.

1)  My current test-knit (test-knit thread is here, for those who are curious)

I've just finished the heel and am continuing on the foot.  I'm quite loving the pattern (pattern's not live on Ravelry yet, sorry!)

( Edit: Pattern went live and is here.)

It's funny -- I was worried about these not fitting, but they're actually a touch too small before blocking.  (And yes, before you ask, you -can- block acrylic no problem, when I get a suitable project done, I'll show you how I do it!)

Edit: And here's the tutorial, for those who are curious!

2)  Birthday Socks

Yes, the crazy birthday knitting (for the moment) payed off -- I'm 3 rows short of the heel.

And, with a bit of practice, the pattern is actually memorable.  It just took a bit longer to 'stick' in my head then other projects did, it seems (or I'm getting better at memorizing patterns -- that works too!)  That makes these my convenient transit project now, since I don't need to have the chart out in front of me any more!

Well, that's it for now.   I'll be heading off to my local Knit Night tonight, and I'll see how much I get done!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Knitting with Rags

Ok.  So not only do I have the crazy birthday knitting,  but I also have my other regular ongoing projects as well, one of which is a Knitted Rag Rug.

When I finish my prototype Rag Rug, I'll put the directions up here.  It's a really good way to get extra use out of old t-shirts, shirts, that kind of thing, and I've already had people ask me about how to make it.  Since I do want to make a second one, when I start the second one, (which may be a while, just so everyone knows!) I'll take some photos as I go and actually post up a semi-proper pattern.

That aside, I did it with as tight a tension as I thought I could manage.  Strips of fabric on 7.5 mm needles is a very tight knit.  I wanted a tight knit so it would be durable and stand up to washing, which is great, but makes for a brutal (and slower) knit.

This means, however,  that I usually only do 1 or 2 rows on it before I move on to something else -- and that's definitely something I'll note in the final pattern.  This is not a quick-knit, instant-gratification project.  I just finished 1 row on it, and today, that's it.  Anything more and my hands start to cramp.

Crazy Birthday Knitting

So, we've already mentioned that I'm not a fast knitter, right?

But yet I'm knitting socks for an upcoming August Birthday?  And that this is the most intricate sock pattern I've done yet?

. . . . I know, I'm crazy.

But, seriously, now that it's back to a Monday, the fun knitting goes away for a while, and I buckle down and work on the stuff that has looming deadlines.

These have to be done for mid-august, and as you can see, I'm not very far with them.

I love the pattern, but it's unfortunately fiddly enough that it's not easily memorable repeats (and having a page of charts is just not conducive to transit knitting.)  So these are my stay-at-home-and-knit socks (though they do come with me to knit-night.)

Lets see how much I can get done on these in the next few days.  Even just getting to the heel would be a huge milestone (and a boost to my sanity!)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Knitting and Gaming

So, I had someone ask me at one point: "when do you get the most knitting done at home?"

I know I'm a major transit knitter, but where/when else do I knit?

I answered, much to their surprise, "while playing video games."

I think that needs a bit of an explanation.

First off, I should be specific.  I'm talking about computer games here, not console games.  That does make a difference for this purpose.  The reason it doesn't work as well with console games is simple -- the controller.  It's hard (at least for me) to switch between controller and knitting needles, it's far easier to switch between keyboard and mouse and knitting needles.

But, in answer to the question, yeah, I do a lot of knitting during video games. I knit during cutscenes, while waiting for mana/shields/energy to recharge, while traveling on the world map, while waiting for something to load. . .  the list is pretty endless. Right now I'm playing Arcanum, and while the game is fun, combat either runs super-fast real time, or super-slow turn-based.  I'm opting for super-slow turn based, and knitting (or right now, ball-winding) while all the other characters act.

So long as it's something I can put down, this works really well for me.

As an interesting point, I'm a television knitter, too, (it's exactly the same principle, at least to my head) but we don't watch a lot of televsion, and don't have cable.  So unless I'm purposely putting on a show or movie, we just don't have the TV on a lot. 

Fun news!

I figure I should also include the happy news in my early posts, too . . .

I put in a yarn order at Eat.Sleep.Knit, which arrived on the Friday. (I love these folks for stuff my LYS doesn't stock, and shipping has been nice and fast so far!)

Anyway, one of the things that they do is include a scratch-and-win card in every order.  So, I won a skein of Malabrigo!  They even are nice enough to let you pick the base and colour, so I'm going to get a skein of Malabrigo Sock -- I wanted something where 1 skein was enough for a project. 

Even better -- I've yet to use Malabrigo.  I've got 2 skeins of Silkpaca that I got at the Toronto Knitters Frolic stashed away, but I haven't had a chance to try any of their other yarn, so this is perfect!

I've got to mail back the filled-out card, which I'll do on Monday when the post office opens.  So it's going to be a while before I get my yarn, but that's ok -- I don't mind in the slightest.  I can be patient when it comes to free yarn. :)

Knitting on a Sunday Afternoon. . .

Ok, so with the summer heat, you'd think I wouldn't be knitting winter things, right?

Hah, think again!

I'm not a fast knitter, so pretty much everything I'm working on is winter stuff, or is birthday and Christmas stuff.  So, in my intelligence, I sat down in front of my computer with my knitting to work on. . . my Spring Coat.

I call it a 'Spring Coat,' but  it actually will probably end up being a 'Fall Coat', given my knitting speed.  I don't mind that, per se, but it's a very heavy thing to have an aran-weight cardigan on your lap in the summer heat.

Oh well.  I'm actually really enjoying working on this.  It's why I chose it as my relaxing knit for a Sunday.  And right now, I'm actually balling up the next skein of yarn for it, so right now I'm not arguing with the actual cardigan itself.

I'm also thinking. . . I think I have some leftover buttons from a store-bought sweater that got turned into rags.  They're a deep brass colour, though they're actually plastic, if I remember right, and they would be perfect for this.

I'll have to raid my button jar later. 

Hello, and first post!

Hello and welcome!

I usually keep my thoughts and knitting adventures in my various Ravelry pages, but I decided, oddly enough, that I ought to compile them all into a single spot.  This way, I can chronicle my progress in the same stream-of-consciousness method I do on my Ravelry pages, but now everything is in one place. 

It will also (hopefully) be a place for me to post my own thoughts and designs, as well.  I have a few small things that I've made my own designs for, and ideas for a few bigger projects, too, and I'd love to be able to just have an internet space to place this sort of stuff to share.

Well, that's it for now.  If you've got any questions, I'm usually around online!

-- Serena