2010-06 Cabled Pillow #1

I love cables and decided to make a few little things with yarn I already have in stock. These pillows make great gifts and are a lovely simple adornment to any home.

I used Caron Simply Soft yarn and size 5 needles. The gauge is 5 stitches and 6 rows = 1 inch in stockinette stitch, creating a pillow that is about 10 x 10 inches in size stuffed.

Front:

Cast on 48 stitches

Row 1 Knit

Row 2 Purl

Row 3 K2, P4 C4B (P4, C4B)twice P16 K6

Row 4 P6 K16 P4 (K4 P4) twice K4 P2

Row 5 K2 P3 T3B (T4F,T4B)twice T3F P15 K6

Row 6 P6 K15 P2 K3 P4 K4 P4 K3 P2 K2 P2

Row 7 K2 P2 T3B P3 C4F P4 C4F P3 T3F P14 K6

Row 8 P6 K14 P2 K4 (P4 K4) twice P2 K2 P2

Row 9 K2 P2 K2 P3 T3B T4F T4B T3F P3 K2 P14 K6

Row 10 P6 K14 (P2 K3) twice P4 (K3 P2) twice K2 P2

Row 11 K2 P2 (K2 P2) twice C4B (P3 K2) twice P14 K6

Row 12 as 10th row

Row 13 K2 P2 K2 P3 T3F T4B T4F T3B P3 K2 P14 K6

Row 14 as 8th row

Row 15 K2 P2 T3F P3 C4F P4 C4F P3 T3B P14 K6

Row 16 as 6th row

Row 17 K2 P3 T3F (T4B T4F) twice T3B P15 K6

Row 18 as 4th row

Repeat Row 3 – 18 two more times

Knit 1 row

Purl 1 row

Bind off

Back:

Cast on 48 stitches

Row 1-24: K24 P24

Row 25-48: P24 K24

Bind off

With right sides together, sew together the edges of the pillow. Leave about a 2-3 inch opening. Turn pillow so that right sides are facing out, stuff with fiber fill of your choice and seam together 2-3 inch opening. Using Caron Simply Soft yarn and size five needles, this creates a 10×10 inch pillow.

C4B : Cable 4 Back Slip 2 stitches onto cable needle, hold to back of work. Knit next 2 stitches from left needle. Knit 2 stitches from cable.

C4F: Cable 4 Forward Slip 2 stitches onto cable needle, hold to front of work. Knit 2 stitches from left needle, knit 2 stitches from cable needle.

T3B: Twist 3 Back Slip 1 stitch onto cable needle, hold to back of work. Knit 2 stitches from left needle, purl stitch from cable needle.

T3F: Twist 3 Forward Slip 2 stitch onto cable needle, hold to front of work. Purl 1 stitches from left needle, knit 2 stitches from cable needle.

T4F: Twist 4 Forward Slip 2 stitches onto cable needle, hold to front of work. Purl 2 stitches from left needle, knit 2 stitches from cable needle.

T4B: Twist 4 Back Slip 2 stitches onto cable needle, hold to back of work. Knit 2 stitches from left needle, purl 2 stitches from cable needle.

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Making Moolah with Knitting

How to make money knitting? If you find out, please let me know!!!!

There aren’t too many people who actually make money knitting. Most of us try hard not to spend too much of our hard earned cash on the prized strings in our local yarn stores. There are a few people who are making money and even a couple who earn a regular income off of knitting in general. Most of us don’t have the resources to go out there and open a yarn shop. From what I can tell, it is hard to keep up the enthusiasm after awhile. If you are a really talented knitter, there are wealthy people who will pay good money for a hand knit sweater or fancy shawl. I think bags are good too, as long as you can find someone who will pay for your labor as well as the cost of yarn. So far, I haven’t earned even close to mininum wage.
There are companies that will pay to have you test their patterns. Once again, you have to be an experienced knitter. I’m not sure how much they pay, but I’d assume the more experience, the more your income potential.
A great website to visit is etsy. On etsy, people can set up shops (similar to ebay) but can only sell vintage, supplies, and hand-made items. It is fun just to browse around or to find gifts for other people. I have my own shop set up- but I haven’t tried selling anything up to this point.

Most of us don’t knit to make money, but it is definitely a plus if possible.

Ode to Knitpicks

Most avid hobbyists have a favorite store/a favorite brand/ a favorite website to browse around. I have an activity that I liken to window shopping online. I’ll go to a webpage, add everything I could ever want into the shopping cart, and then eventually close out the page. Some places, like amazon, have a wish list so that later on I can decide if I really wanted that thing-a-ma-bob or not.

One of my favorite sites to do thing is Knitpicks. I know this is a not a new company and if you’ve ever favorited anything to do with knitting on Facebook, you’ve likely had an ad from them pop up in the right hand side of your window. Yet, I still love the site. I have the Harmony Options Interchangeable Needles. They are colorful and sharp. Some people may not want pointy objects that are that sharp, but I don’t mind the occasional jab at my fingers as long as they help me tear through some rows faster.

A favorite part of the Knitpicks site is their enormous amount of accessories. Yes, accessories are not always necessary but they are almost always wanted. I don’t mean in that -I need a stitch holder while making this collar- kind of useful way. No- I want the Crafty Critters Knitting Tool Holders because they look cool! I want something shaped like a crocodile to hold my needles. Why not? I do have a GoKnit Pouch which is very useful. I like to throw my small projects in their and I can take them in the car, to work, and to the lunchroom with me as I need to. The best part about it is that it is waterproof, so I don’t have to worry about a loose cap on my water bottle messing up my yarn.

There are tons of great gadgets and gizmos, quality knitting needles, and plenty of yarn on the site. If anyone is looking for a sturdy set of quality interchangeables, I recommend the wood harmony options set. I have no doubt that any of their products will be loved. Happy Knitting.

Sticks and Needles Part II: Shapes and Sizes

Most of us picture a pair of knitting needles, long and skinny with a knob at the end.  I’d imagine them being aluminum and purple.  Those were my first pair of knitting needles bought at the local store, Raindew.  I loved the click click sound they made as I create each stitch.  It was not until years later that I learned about the variety of needles out there.

Straight Needles: These are the long skinny needles with a knob at the end.  They are good for scarves, small blankets and smaller simpler projects.  The knob at the end prevents the stitches from falling off and the stitches are passed from needle to needle with each row.

Double Pointed Needles: These are shorter, skinny needles, usually coming in packs of four or five.  Both ends are pointed with nothing to prevent stitches from falling off.  These are used for socks, i-cords, stuffed animals and small shaped projects.  The stitches are knitted in the round, going from needle to needle with two-four needles holding yarn and one ‘working’ needle.

Circular Needles: These are two straight needles connected by a cord.  The yarn is knit from one needle onto the other, with the stitches sliding on or off via the cord.  These are used for round projects such as hats and sweaters, can be used using two needles to make objects that would normally require double pointed needles (knitting with two circulars), or can be used for knitting flat objects such as scarves by turning the work at the end of each row as if one was working with two straight needles.

Cable Needles: These are used for cables.  They are a smaller needle, usually in the shape of a hook or similar to a ‘V’.  These are used for holding stitches behind or in front of the work, while other stitches are knitted and then knitting the cable needle stitches to create a bump, design or cable.

Time

I am afraid I have been overwhelmed of late and my knitting has been neglected.  Working on two group projects with school, busy work week, and trying to write for another personal project is taking up so much time.  I still have the shawl on the needles because I ran out of yarn.  Yes, I know- I should have gotten enough when I bought it.  I think I might just pull the whole thing off anyway.  I have another project a few rows in.  I want to make another felted bag, but this one in brown.  I have so many tan and brown items of clothing and no bags to match.  I have a few shades of galway yarn that look good together.  Now, I just need time.  I think my idea in my head would make a great pattern that I can’t wait to share.  I love felting bags.  The great thing about felting is that the gauge is really unimportant.  I can even knit and read at the same time without having to focus on an intricate steps of a pattern.  Of course, now that I’m listening to books, I don’t have to do that. 

I’m trying to cover knitting topics little by little since it takes so much time to get a pattern/project done.  Please let me know if there are any topics or questions you would like me to cover.  I’ll get to more about knitting needles in the next post. 

Happy Knitting.

Sticks & Needles Part I: what’s your needle made of?

Knitting needles are those indispensible tools of the knitting trade that seem so simple and yet are available in an immense variety.  Many people remember the long skinny metal sticks that their Grandmothers used and the sound of the click click click, stitch by stitch.  Today, needles are found in just about any material.  The most popular ones are:

Metal: smooth, good for quick stitches, can be more difficult for slicker yarns.

Wood: Warm to work with, more mailable will flex while working, better for slick yarn and tighter stitches. 

Plastic: Light, smooth, flexible.  Can become very warm while using.

Bamboo: Has a lot of the same qualities as wood needles but are lighter.  They are also more abt to breaking (as I have broken my share of cheap ones).

If you are just starting out, try different needles to see what is most comfortable.  As with everything, different people like different materials.  My favorites of the moment are my Knitpicks Harmony needles and the Lantern Moon Sox Sticks.  I do go through phases where I prefer to use metal needles.

Happy Easter

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter, a Happy Passover and a joyous Spring.  This is the time of year for rejuvenation.  As the weather calms and the trees begin to bloom, it is a change of pace for most knitters.  While many concentrate on scarves, hats and sweaters during the fall and winter months, these are too heavy for many as nature begins to warm.  Spring is a time for making lighter garments and experimenting with more delicate materials.  It’s ok to put away the wool and pull out lighter cottons, linen, and (yeek if I could only afford it) silks.  There are an assortment of spring and summer yarns available at your local yarn shops, online and even at the big box craft stores.  It’s a great time to make that light tank or even a cardigan set.  Have a spring jubilee with other knitters in the area.  Make a baby blanket just because you can.  Ok, maybe I’m the only one who does that. . .

Seed Stitch Belt 2010-03

I wanted a quick project and while I was hunting down a new belt in Kohls, I had an idea!  Rather than paying $20+ for something I really don’t care for, I’d make my own.  This is a great beginner pattern, no shaping necessary.  Think of it as a skinny scarf that has a little sewing involved.

Caron Simply Soft

Gauge 6 stitches 7 rows = 1 inch

Size 4 needles

1 Belt Buckle (try a craft store or take a part an old belt)

Cast on 7 stitches

Row 1: K1, P1, Continue to end.

Row 2: K1, P1, Continue to end

Repeat this row until desired length- remember that the belt will stretch (a lot) so put it around your waist to check.

Take Belt clip with tong and fold over one end.  Seem this to the belt.  See Picture below.

Knit loop- cast on five stitches and knit in seed stitch as above.  Bind off after 3 inches.  Seem together around belt (near belt clip.)

Wear with pride!

Oops, I don’t have enough yarn!

One of the first things that you learn when you begin knitting, is that when working on a project, make sure you have enough to finish it.  Patterns tell you how many skeins you’ll need or at least usually how many yards.  It’s better to have more yarn than necessary that not enough.  It’s also best to have enough of the same color lot so that you don’t have those pesky differences in shading.  Normally, when yarn is made, the dye is created and all of yarn is made with that/those colors.  For example, XYZ wool dyes 200 skeins of purple wool on Tuesday.  On Thursday, it will dye 200 more skeins of wool.  Those two dye lots are going to be a tiny bit different, no matter what.  So, if you want to knit your purple sweater, it’s best to get all your yarn out of one dye lot to make sure the front and back (or top and bottom) are the same shade of purple.

With this in mind, you have to know what you are using your yarn for before you buy it.  I had bought about 6 skeins of Paton’s Baby yarn about a year ago when my friend was pregnant.  I made a small baby blanket and set the rest aside.  A little over a month ago I decided to make another blanket and figured I could go out and find more if I needed it.  After all, it is a popular company with yarn available in Michael’s and Jo-Anns.  I was at the end of the last skein and went out to find more.  Paton’s Beehive Baby Sport Yarn in Natural Girl was nowhere to be found.  Rather than keep searching, I decided to finish the blanket early.  The border had to be finished in 10 rows rather than 12.  All in all, I was lucky and the blanket looks fabulous- but I was lucky.  Did I learn my lesson?  Absolutely not!

Ravelry

It seems like there are now social network sites for everything.  I’m one of those people who are completely addicted to Facebook but do not want to admit it.  I’m an online junkie who needs to recheck everything, including my knitwerks site, regularly.  I wake up, take a shower, go online. 

There are many knitting social network sites out there, but my favorite and probably the most popular is Ravelry.  It is a community for knitters, crocheters, spinners and dyers to join, share, and talk about the crafts they love.  There are thousands upon thousands of patterns available both free and for a fee.  You can search by yarn, by needle size, or even designer.  Their notebook section allows you to add yarns, needles, books and projects.  It is a great way to organize that mess of a stash you may have!

  One of my favorite features is the groups.  You can join other crafters based on favorite tv show, region, school, or similar interests.  There is a group for Knitty fans, for tea lovers, for cat people, for House fans and for nearly every local knitting shop.  Inside, you can commiserate, discuss events, and share projects that you are working on and have finished.

I love to browse the patterns.  You can use key words to help guide your search, but I generally wander aimlessly through page after page of recently added items, favoriting the ones I like the most in hopes that I come back to it.  This is a great inspiration and makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Block Baby Blanket 2010-02

I started knitting away without really knowing what I wanted to do.  Before I knew it, I was using left over soft baby yarn and creating a blanket.  I am a little less than midway through it, but wanted to post the pattern anyway.  People keep asking me who I am knitting it for.  My response, “By the time I’m finished, someone will be pregnant.”

I am using Patons Beehive Baby Yarn in 11421 Natural Girl colors.  It has tones of pink, blue, beige and white.  There is a double seed stitch border, with alternating squares in stockinette and seed stitch.

6 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch in stockinette

Size 4 circular knitting needle at least 16 inches long.  Using stich markers every ten stitches will help keep track of the changes.

Cast on 170 stitches (@36 inches wide)

Row 1: K2P2, continue to end.

Row 2: K2P2, continue to end

Row 3: P2K2, continue to end

Row 4: P2K2, continue to end

Continue for 12 rows total

Row 13: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *K1P1 (5 times), K10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times) K2

Row 14: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *P1K1 (5 times), P10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times)

Row 15: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *K1P1 (5 times), K10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times) P2

Row 16: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *P1K1 (5 times), P10, continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times)K2

Repeat Rows 13-16

Row 21: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *K10, K1P1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times) K2

Row 22: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *P20, P1K1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times)

Row 23: P2K2 (4 times) P2, *K10, K1P1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, P2K2 (4 times) P2

Row 24: K2P2 (4 times) K2, *P10, P1K1 (5 times), continue from * to last 10 stitches, K2P2 (4 times)K2

Repeat Rows 21-24 through Row 30.

Rows 31-40: Repeat Rows 13-17

continue in this manner until you’ve knit the desired length of blanket.

Ending: Repeat Rows 1-4 for a total of 12 rows.  Bind Off.

Listening to Books

A while ago I was at the library, wandering around, when I discovered these little playaway books on preloaded mp3 players.  First of all, I am one of the few people out there who do not have an ipod or an mp3 player or even a smart phone.  I found these little devices that have one book recorded on it, and that you can borrow for three weeks at a time (longer if you are a chronic renewer like me).  I listen to them at work, at the gym, and while knitting.  So far I’ve listened to Marley & Me, Songs of the Hunchback Whale, Blue Diary, and Water for Elephants.  I started The Time Traveler’s Wife but it bored me.  I couldn’t stand the speaker for Beach Road.  I’m currently listening to The Wednesday Wars, which is directed at children, but is written (spoken) well and is a perfect cutesy book to have at work.  My next one will be The Joy Luck Club. 

I’ve read most of these before with my absolute favorite being Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  The narration is split between the 90 or 93-year-old Jacob Jankowski and his 23-year-old memory.  He described both his life at a nursing home, his aging body and loneliness at a point when his children are too old to take care of him.  Across the street, the circus is setting up and a fellow resident begins to claim that he used to carry water for elephants.  Jacob becomes angry at this, saying Mr. McGuinty is a lyer.  A nurse, Rosemary, takes pity on him and begins to treat him like a human being instead of another body. 

We listen to him tell about being 23, days away from taking his final exams in Veterinarian School at Cornell University when his parents are killed in a car accident.  This occurs during the Great Depression.  Jacob finds out that the bank is foreclosing on his parents’ home and goes to take the finals.  He walks out of the room without answering a single question.  Fate takes him to the railroad tracks where he jumps into a car only to find out that he’s on a circus train. 

The rest is an adventure.  Jacob discovers circus life and the meaning of love for both the beautiful Marlena and the surprising elephant Rosie.  This is an absolute must read- or listen.  There is even a movie in the works, which is planned to come out in 2011.

Songs of the Humpback Whale was also a fantastic experience.  Listening to it was even better because there are five narrators in five voices.  I believe that this brings it to life far more than actually reading it could- and Jodi Picoult is a great writer.  This is a journey of self discovery by five very different people who are connected by life and events that are beyond their control.  A mother, father, daughter, uncle and lover all reflect on the actions that take them to a quaint apple orchard in Massachusetts.  While listening, you salivate at the description of the crunching apples, shiver when the cool northeastern winds blow, and feel the characters as if they are standing next to you.

Happy Listening!

Interweave Knits

I received my first issue of Interweave Knits magazine.  I, the knitting maniac, have no subscriptions to any knitting magazines and have not even bought a single one at a store.  I’ve clipped patterns out of my Mom’s old ones, but have never sat down and read through one.  Yesterday I spent time at the kitchen table flipping through the pages.  I’m almost stunned at seeing full-page, colorful ads for yarn and knits and shops.  Turquoise, plums, and mandarin shades pop out of the pages until you begin to salivate.  I just want to reach in and pet the sweaters and blankets.  My absolute favorite ad is the model for Addi needles.  Standing in the back of a warehouse is a tall, man donning a goti, a leather jacket and jeans knitting what appears to be a long, white scarf.  I know men knit and I wish more did.  There were some interesting articles including one about Nancy Bush who is known by many sock knitters.  In the end, with a super sweet voice, I asked my husband if I could stretch our tight budget to include a year’s subscription to the magazine.

Someone requested me to mention that he said “Of course” to my subscription request.  Now I just have to remember to send them money.  I do accept donation$ to help support my yarn addiction.

Felted Heating Pad 2010-01

We all have aches and pains and what a great way to soothe them than with a heating pad.  To create your own knitted or felted heating pad, begin with natural fiber.  Acrylics are likely to melt with heat.  If you are not sure how the material will react to heat, make a swatch and apply a hot pan to it.  If it melts/scorches, don’t use it.  If felting, use 100% wool.  Other materials will not felt as well.

For the heating pad above, choose three colors of 100% wool yarn.  I used Galway from Gabriella’s knit shop.  Gauge does not really matter because of the shrinkage, but the gauge in this case was 5 stitches x 4 rows = 1 inch with size 7 needles. 

Cast on 50 stitches.

With colors A,B,C

Row 1:  K2A, K1B, K2A, continue to end

Row 2: P1A, P1B, P1C, P1A, continue to end

Row 3: K1A, K3C, K1A, continue to end

Row 4: P1A, P3C, P1A, continue to end

Row 5: K1A, K1B, K1C, K1A, continue to end

Row 6: P2A, P1B, P2A, continue to end

Work these six rows until it measures about 14×9 inches.

Work another panel as you did above.

Sew these two with right sides together leaving a small section 2-3 inch section open.

Turn so that right side is facing out.

Throw it in a pillowcase rubberbanded closed or zippered shut.  Place in washer machine to felt.  To felt, put washer machine on lowest water setting with highest heat setting and use a pair of jeans or tennis balls to help with agitation.  Put  longest cycle and check regularly.  Finished project should be about 11×7 inches, unless otherwise desired.  If necessary, let machine cycle again- do not let it go into rinse cycle.  Take felted project out, rinse manually, and allow to completely dry.  (See my entry on felting https://knitwerks.com/2010/02/20/felting/.

Fill with buckwheat husks (better at maintaining heat), rice, or beans.  Sew up the small hole and toss in microwave.  Relax.