Monthly Archives: June 2010

I haven’t forgotten…

Nope, haven’t forgotten about this site at all. Or about knitting. It’s just been crazy busy for the past couple of weeks since the girls got out of school. I’ve kept them (and thus myself) completely scheduled up with activities, and am finding myself therefore way behind in just about everything. Including blogging.

And knitting.

I have so many projects that I want to make – more than I could probably complete in a year. It’s hard during the summer though – especially when it’s sticky outside and my hands get sweaty. It’s so hard to knit when the yarn doesn’t slide as easily through my fingers. And when I am trying to get caught back up on a ton of blogging stuff.

I did start a new project this week though – and yes, even though I said I was done with them, I’m making a new Snookie. And this one is for me. I was amazed to have won a gift card in a giveaway, and between that and a little money I had saved up (not to mention a major price drop this week), I bought myself a Nook. So of course, it needs a comfy new case…  :)

I’m still using the same skein of charcoal gray yarn from Naturally Caron Country, which I like but am starting to get a bit tired of. So when I had a chance to walk around Michaels tonight, I picked up a couple of skeins of yarn to try out next. The first is also Naturally Caron Country – just in a medium sage green color. And the second is actually a wool yarn from Patton – I love the slight varigated look of it. I think it’ll make a slightly sturdier Snookie too.

Naturally Caron Country yarn Patton wool yarn

I adjusted the Snookie pattern a bit since I’m still knitting on size 8 needles instead of 9’s. And I decided to try knitting in the round again – this time with the cabled version. So I’m knitting a total of 68 stitches – with the pattern 8 centered in each side of 34. Having to split them evenly on 3 needles was a challenge that required assistance from my mathematically-inclined husband, but I ended up with 24 stitches on the first needle (with a pattern 8 in the center of them), then 18 stitches on the second and 26 on the third (with the first 8 on that needle being the other pattern 8). So far I think it’s working out ok, although it’s hard to see the pattern emerging just yet.

Another project I’d like to start working on at some point is to try knitting headbands – they seem like a simple and easy project for the summer, and I think I could really have a lot of fun with them. And the girls love wearing headbands. I’m also still working on the Smock Top, but am not terribly motivated with it right now since I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up too small for any of my girls. But I’ll still finish it and hopefully can find someone who can wear it. Live and learn.  :)

I have more links that I’ve found lately to share too – I’ll try and post those in the next day or two.

Woo Hoo! A success story

Let me just start by saying that mathematics and visualizing how something is going to turn out in the real world isn’t my strong suit. I also tend to be a ‘try it until it works’ kind of a person. Having said that, I am so proud of myself for actually being able to modify a pattern and figure out how to knit it differently.

Never mind that it took me at least a half-dozen starts in order to get there…  ;)

We’re back to the Snookie pattern from the Father’s Day knit-along. Once I tried the ‘twisted rib’ variation on two needles, I realized that I just didn’t want to have to deal with stitching up the sides afterward. So even though there was nothing wrong with what I’d done, I tore the whole thing out and started over again – in the round.

Again.

But this time I was determined to figure it out – and eventually, I did. The main issue came with stitch counts and making sure that I had the correct number of stitches – not just in total, but on each needle too. I also started a bit rough on what turned out to be my final attempt, and ended up with a bit of laddering on the first few rounds. But after that I had the hang of things and it was a fairly quick knit the rest of the way.

I debated about either decreasing the rounds at the other end like I did on the hats I made last fall, but instead opted to bind off and then seam up that one end. I wanted a flat seam to follow the edge of the device, since a PDA is flat – not round like a head.

Here’s the final result, with my husband’s PDA inside:

Ron's PDA Snookie

This one is slightly narrower but longer than my original iPhone style, but the PDA fits just about perfectly inside. All in all, I’m very happy with how it turned out.

I’m done with making these – for the moment anyway. Unless the universe opens up and dumps a Nook or a Kindle in my lap, that is…

Not that I would complain if it did – I’ve been drooling over eReaders for months now.  :)

Knitting in the summer

I’m discovering that I am so much more motivated to sit down and knit in the cooler weather than in warmer. Somehow I don’t think that’s very uncommon – having a lapful of yarn isn’t exactly something you look forward to when it’s hot and sticky out. I know I haven’t been knitting for very long – but here are some ways that I’ve found to try and stay motivated when the summer days keep us hot (and busy!)…

  1. Work on small, easily-manageable projects. This not only keeps the lap free of whatever you’re working on, but when you’re knitting in short bursts instead of long hours, it’s easier to stay motivated if the project is one that will be finished quickly. I’m really liking the Snookies and the baby washcloths for summer projects this year.
  2. It’s all about the yarn! Try for patterns where you can use cotton yarn or cotton blends – that breathe much more than wool or acrylics. That way, even if you do end up with a lap full of yarn, at least you won’t be quite so toasty.
  3. Even knitting a row here or there keeps your project moving along, albeit not quite as quickly. Pick a pattern that’s not too intricate so you can knit a little bit whenever you get the chance without having to spend all of your knitting time figuring out where you are in the pattern.
  4. Speaking of patterns… If you knit something lacy or loosely, a lot more air will get through and not only keep you cooler while you’re knitting – but will be something cooler to wear once it’s finished too.

Suggestions for possible projects:

  • Hats (there are summer styles out there)
  • Socks (even summer nights can get cool)
  • Baby items – booties, clothes, even blankets in a cool summer-weight yarn
  • Washclothes or dishcloths
  • Shawls
  • Headbands
  • Bags and pouches
  • Animals and other fun novelty items

I’m hoping that these tips – along with some nice cool air conditioning when it gets too hot – will keep me motivated to stay knitting this summer!  :)

Where did I go wrong?

So after successfully completing one version of the Father’s Day knit-along project from Caron and Vickie Howell, I decided to make a second Snookie – this time for my husband’s PDA that he carries for work. It’s slightly narrower but longer than my iPhone, but close enough in size that I figured I could use about the same measurements and be ok.

This time I decided to make the ‘Twisted Rib’ variation and being somewhat daring, also made the decision to try knitting it in the round, on dpns (double-pointed needles). I’ve knitted using dpns before – for one of the hats I made last fall and the sock that’s been sitting around unfinished forever is also on dpns. I have the general concept down – how to join in the round, how to deal with the multiple needles… But somewhere I still must be missing something, because after I’d gotten a few inches done, it looked nothing like the pattern was supposed to.

Near as I can figure (and this type of thinking inevitably makes my head hurt), I probably should have only knit the pattern row and other RS row and then reversed the two WS rows since I was knitting all in the same direction instead of back and forth. That’s something that had never occurred to me, probably because both the hat and the sock were simply knit with no real pattern involved. Straight stockinette stitch, which on circular or dpns means knitting every row – something I’d forgotten about.

So I pulled it all out and started over again, this time just on the two needles as written. This way I can get used to the pattern itself and then if I want to try modifying either of the versions to do in the round afterward, I’ll at least have a better idea of what I’m doing. Here’s a look so far – it’s the same yarn as the previous one I made, but somehow the color keeps looking off when I take photos with my iPhone in sunlight…

Ron's PDA Snookie

See, I am definitely a beginner!  But that’s how you learn – from making mistakes. And pulling out stitches. Over and over again.  :)

Fun knitting links and patterns!

From time to time when I run across interesting things around the Internet, I’ll post links to share here. In part this is a selfish move – that way I can find them later myself. ;) But it’s also to share these fun things with anyone else who happens along this blog too. If you use any of these patterns, please credit back to the original author if/as requested.  :)

Here’s what I’ve come across so far this week:

    Top-Down Design: Gloves without a Pattern from Knitting Outside the Lines
    ASE’s Broken Rib Cloth from ASE Knits & Crochets
    Knit Pencil Bag from About.com
    Garter Stitch Tie from About.com

If I find anything else during the week, I’ll add it into this post. Otherwise, check back in a week (or two) to see what else I’ve found around the web.

Happy knitting!  :)

OTN: My first ‘knit-along’!

So I’m a ‘fan’ of the Caron (yarn) page over on Facebook and I saw there that Vickie Howell was going to be doing a knit-along for a Father’s Day project this month. The project is called a ‘Snookie’ – basically a cover for an eReader like a Kindle or Nook. Now while I don’t have an eReader (nor does anyone I know), I do have an iPhone, and Vickie included instructions in the pattern for how to adjust the size down to fit a smaller device. So I thought I’d give it a try.

FathersDayKnitAlong-before

The pattern was posted this morning. It called for a skein of the Naturally Caron ‘Country’ yarn, which as luck would have it, I actually had on hand – thanks to a promotion earlier in the year where you could sign up to receive a free skein of either the Country or Spa new yarns from Caron. Mine is the Country, in a dark gray (Charcoal) color, which is absolutely perfect for a Snookie (or two).

The pattern also called for size 9 needles – and after searching through the various bags where I have knitting supplies stored, I realized that I have just about every size on hand. Except size 9. I meant to go out and buy a pair, but Vickie suggested trying to see if I could get gauge (4 stitches per inch) with size 8 needles. I ended up with a 5 stitch per inch gauge, but figured that I could make that work.

Other ways that I adapted the pattern were to cast on 20 stitches with the size 8 needles instead of 26 stitches and size 9 needles. That looked like it would fit my iPhone very well. And I made 4-1/2 repeats of the pattern instead of 7, also to size it down for my phone.

It really didn’t take very long to make at all, and the annoying part was having to stitch the sides up afterward – I think I might try knitting it in the round next time as several others in the group are doing. There’s also a non-cabled (twisted rib) variation that I might try too. My husband has a PDA that he uses for work that I think I’ll make one for next.  :)

Here’s the final result – first without the phone in it and then with the phone inside:

iPhoneSnookie_002iPhoneSnookie_001

The lighting is off in the top photo – I took it outside without the flash because I thought the detail showed up better. The bottom photo is a better representation of the yarn color.

What a fun project – and a very quick and easy knit!  :)