Thursday, March 27, 2014

An Arm Knit Cowl

Has everyone else been seeing this arm knitting everywhere? One of the Knitters in our Monday night group had seen a demonstration and had a pattern for a cowl so we thought we would give it a try.  Yes, you really do use your arms in place of knitting needles! 
The pattern called for super bulky yarn.  I decided to use 3 strands of worsted weight and 1 strand of chunky held together.

I cast on by using the backwards loop method (still not my favourite cast on)

Then began "knitting" by holding the working yarns in the hand of the arm that the stitches were on and lifting the stitch on the arm over the working yarn held in that hand and let the old stitch drop. A new stitch was made with the yarn being held in the hand and that stitch was put onto the other arm.
Once you get your rhythm figured out it goes really quickly and is fun.  The pattern called for the cowl to be knit 60" long then seamed together.  It also said that this could be done in approx. 30 mins.  From the time of the first cast on stitch to the last end being woven in, it took me 50 mins to knit this cowl.  Not bad huh? Go to knitting, start and finish a project and wear it home :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hat Knitting Steps Part 2 - The Body

Hats make great knitting projects for so many reasons; the work in progress is portable - just toss it into your purse and you will always have some knitting with you, it knits up quickly using only one ball of yarn and you can get creative with the stitch patterns you use.

Once you have the ribbing for your hat knit, (part one on ribbing is here) you are ready to move onto the main body of the hat.  On the last round of ribbing you increased to the number of stitches required to get the fit you are wanting for your hat. Remember that you will be aiming for 2 - 3" smaller than the actual size of your head. 

Now comes the fun part, knitting the pattern of the hat you chose.  If this is a pattern that you are designing yourself, remember that the pattern repeat has to fit into the number of stitches you have on  your needle.  If you need to increase or decrease a stitch or two to make the pattern fit this is ok. Whether you go smaller or bigger is your choice.  On the Knit'n Purl hat that I designed for an advanced beginner knitting class the body of the hat is divided into 2 different knit and purl stitch patterns; seed stitch and a diagonal rib.  Before starting both of these patterns the number of sts on the needle had to be adjusted to match the stitch pattern. 

The next question is how long do you knit the body of your hat?  That is up to you.  For an adult hat I aim for 6-7" from the cast on edge but this is where you can decide on the perfect fit for you.  Do you like your hats a little shorter or a little longer for a slouchy look? Remember that you have to leave some space for the decrease rounds at the top of the hat.

seed stich and diagonal rib patterns

Happy hat knitting!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Knit Doily

I am on a mission to bring back the knit doily :)
Two months ago at our guild meeting doilies were our topic and since then the Knitters in our group have been showing up at our Monday and Friday knitting groups with finished doilies (yay!!).
Here is my second one in progress,
size 10 crochet cotton and 2.25mm needles

and here it is finished!
after blocking

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hat Knitting Steps Part 1 - Ribbing

I'm teaching a great group of Knitters how to knit their first hat at Ziraldo Alpacas.  Hats are a great beginner project; they are quick to knit and in a small project you have the chance to learn lots of new techniques. 

In this Knit'n Purl Hat we learned a new cast on, the Alternating Long Tail.  By casting on knits and purls you are setting yourself up nicely to continue with the ribbing while still keeping the stable but stretchy edge of the Long Tail cast on.

alternating long tail cast on in k2, p2

Once you have cast on and carefully checked that there are no twisted stitches you join your knitting in the round and begin your k2, p2 ribbing. This is a good ribbing pattern for new knitters to be able to see the knit and purl stitches versus k1, p1 where the purl stitches disappear behind the knits never to be seen unless you stretch your work to see them. 

an example of k1, p1 - see no purl sts (the pic is sideways for some reason, sorry)

once you stretch your work apart you can see the purl sts

Once your ribbing is the desired length one round of increases is worked to bring us up to the number of stitches we need to work the body of the hat.  We do this because the ribbing is worked on less stitches to ensure a nice snug fit but now we need those extra stitches added on the needle so our hat will be the size that we want and to have the correct number of stitches for the stitch patterns in the body of the hat.

Our original gauge swatch was knit in ribbing so this is a good time to double check your gauge.  Remember that having too many stitches per inch will make a smaller hat, having less stitches will make a bigger hat. Also, take a look at your knitting.  Do you like how it is knitting up?  Does it seem to loose or to tight? Now is the time to make adjustments to your needle size and if you have to reknit your ribbing that is fine.  A little extra practice casting on and joining your stitches is a good thing (really it is!) and you will have a finished hat that you will love wearing!

4.5 sts per inch will make a larger hat

5 sts per inch will make a smaller hat

Happy hat knitting!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Patons Project Update

Last year I challenged myself to knit all of the projects in the Patons Next Steps Eight Fair Isle Knitting pattern book.  Well the year is over and everything has been knit except for the last sweater.  It's on the needles and progressing nicely although slowly!  I 'll blog about this sweater when it is finished but for now I have decided to move onto this years challenge.
You all know that my favourite go to yarns are Patons Kroy and Patons Classic Wool but I'm not sure if I have mentioned that I also have a HUGE collection Patons pattern books.  It only seemed natural to combine some of these vintage patterns with my favourite yarns.  So, from now to December I'm going to be picking out some classic patterns from years gone by and knitting them with a few modifications with todays Patons yarns.
The first project is from Book No. 115 Bazaar Novelties and Gifts by Beehive.  Note the price of the book, 0.75 cents!
I was looking for a super easy slipper pattern to knit while I was watching the Olympics one evening and I thought of this pattern.  Hasn't everyone had a pair of these slippers knit for them or bought as a gift from a church Bazaar?

 One of my favourite things about looking through these pattern books is seeing the hand written notes on the patterns.  Some wonderful Knitter, a Grandmother or Mother maybe,  knit slippers for Chris taking the time to take note of the number of ridges needed for the perfect fit when she knit the next pair; or maybe just to make sure slipper number 2 was the same size as the first ;)  Either way, I like knowing that this pattern book was well used by a Knitter before me. 

With the invention of Ravelry, the Knitter using this pattern after me will have to check out my notes on my Ravelry project page.  How the times have changed! 

I heavily modified this pattern making it all garter stitch knit with 3 strands of Patons Kroy sock yarn with minimal shaping making them a quick knit and also a good beginner project.