Monthly Archives: October 2012

Off the Needles! Athena Socks – Take 2

AbbisSocks 008Back in January, I set out to knit my oldest daughter a pair of socks. Nine months later – she finally has a pair that fit! And I am planning on waiting a very long time before knitting anything else in pink. ;)

The first pair of socks did not fit Abbi – I think that I actually messed something up in the gusset decreases because while that pair of socks does fit Hannah, they’re very difficult to get over even her heels. And there was no way they were going to fit over Abbi’s heels. So in March, I set out to knit a second pair of the same socks – same pattern, same yarn. The only differences were that I went up one needle size and knit the largest pattern size (Large instead of Medium).

AbbisSocks 007This time, the socks slip over Abbi’s heels easily and they fit her perfectly. Or almost – I deliberately made them slightly long for her feet so she’s got some room before outgrowing them. Although with a shoe size of 8-1/2 already, I can’t imagine that her feet have a ton of growing left to do – but she’s not even 12 years old yet, so who knows.

This particular pair of socks has been hanging over my head for months now. I took a break from them (and almost any other knitting) over the summer and when I picked my needles back up this fall, I knew that I had to make myself finish these before starting anything else. That didn’t quite work – I just plain needed something else to work on for some variety, or I would’ve never been able to get these done.

But they are done! And I am so, so happy. I love this pattern, but after making two pairs of these socks, one right after the other, in the same exact yarn – I am terribly burned out on it. And ready for a new challenge.

Autumn Fern Mobius 003Which I am finding in the way of the Dream in Color Dream Club October 2012 Knit-Along project – the Autumn Fern Mobius cowl. The yarn is so pretty and I love the pattern too. I’ve cast it on and finished one set of pattern repeats. Now that the socks are done, I can really get working on this and also finish up the poncho that I started as well.

And yes, I’ll probably cast on more socks again soon too. I love how portable they are, not to mention useful. Or maybe I’ll try some mittens for the girls for winter. And then there’s holiday gift knitting… Oh the possibilities are endless!

Now if only my knitting time were as endless… ;)

Crocheted Towel Topper

CrochetTowelToppers 012Twelve+ years ago, I received four dish towels as either a bridal shower or wedding gift. Actually I received more than four altogether, but these four were different – because they each had a crocheted top with a loop and button, so you could hang them on something. I can’t remember who gave them to us (probably one of Ron’s aunts, we think), and for several years they languished in my kitchen drawers.

Until I had toddlers – and realized that ‘pull the towel down’ is one of the very best games ever. To the toddler, that is. Not so much to the parent who wants to keep things like dish towels hanging up off the (not always clean) kitchen floor. Not long afterward, I discovered that these towels were one of the best things I’ve ever been given. Over the years since the girls have outgrown the game, but any time I try hanging regular towels from our oven door handle, they invariably do still end up on the floor (apparently cats and toddlers like similar games, lol). So these are still my go-to towels and are used on a daily basis.

For the past few months, I’d had in mind the idea to try and make new towel toppers – the original towels are threadbare and falling apart. Plus they don’t match our kitchen and never really have. I do crochet, but wasn’t sure of how to get the holes in the towel to start the process, and had never found a new dish towel that I really liked that would match our kitchen well. But, this past week I finally found a new dish towel at the store that I really liked – so I decided it was time to figure out how to make a topper that would work.

I’d looked at the original towels pretty carefully and determined that they really were half a towel, instead of a full towel – they’d simply been cut in half, which makes sense because once you add the crochet part to it, a full towel would probably drag on the floor.

Between a Google search and a few various YouTube videos, I found and adapted a pattern that worked out very well. You can find the original pattern here – my main change was that since we don’t own an awl, I used an alternate solution to put the holes in my towels. In a couple of the videos I watched, a yarn needle was used to create the first row of stitches, that were crocheted into later – and this method worked very well for me.

Here are the steps that I used:

CrochetTowelToppers 0011) Choose your materials – you’ll need a dish towel (one where the pattern will look ok once it’s cut in half to make 2 towels), worsted weight yarn (something sturdy and washable, like acrylic or cotton), crochet hook(s), yarn needle, button, scissors, iron, sewing machine, thread, and hand sewing needle.

2) Fold the dish towel in half (putting the short sides together) and cut the towel in half to create two towels that are each the same width as the original but half as long.

CrochetTowelToppers 0033) Fold a short hem (1/4” or so) along the cut edge and iron in place. Use sewing machine to stitch along this hem. Alternatively, you could hand-sew the hem if you don’t have access to a sewing machine. Or you could use double-sided tape or another method to make sure the hem stays in place so that the towel doesn’t fray along the cut edge over time as the towel is used and washed multiple times.

CrochetTowelToppers 0054) Thread a yarn needle with a length of yarn that is 2-3 times the width of your towel in length. It’s better to be left with extra than run out, so be generous. Start with one of the top corners of your towel, along your newly-created hem, working on the back side of the towel. Push the needle through in the corner from back side of towel to front, just at the bottom of your hemmed edge.

5) Bring the yarn almost all the way through the towel, leaving a 4-5” ‘tail’ hanging on the back side of the towel. Bring the needle up over the top of the towel and back to the back side, then push the needle through again, along the bottom of your hemmed edge, about 1/4” or so from your first hole. Pull the yarn through – but before you pull the yarn all the way tight, pull the yarn needle through the loop you created in the direction that you’re going with your holes.

CrochetTowelToppers 0046) Continue by adding additional holes along the bottom of your hemmed edge, about 1/4” apart, and pulling the yarn needle through each loop before you pull it tight, to create a running ‘blanket’ stitch along the top of your towel.

7) Once you reach the opposite corner, pull the yarn needle through the loop one last time to create a knot. Cut the yarn, leaving a 2-3” tail and use the yarn needle to pull the tail back through the stitches you created in the opposite direction. Tie a knot back at the beginning corner, cut a short tail and weave it through the first few stitches you created similarly.

8) Pick up the end of yarn attached to your ball or skein and create a slip knot several inches from the end. Insert your crochet hook into the loop of the slip knot.

Note: I find that using a smaller crochet hook for this first row works best – I used an E hook then switched to a G hook for all subsequent rows.

CrochetTowelToppers 0069) If you look at the top of your towel, your running blanket stitch had created a series of sections right along the top, running horizontally along the top edge of your towel, in between each of the vertical stitches where you had pierced the towel. The gap between these horizontal stitches and the top of your towel are where you’re going to create a row of single crochet stitches along the top of your towel, from one top corner to the other, with the front side of the towel facing you.

Note: In the first and last few stitches, I also made sure that the sc stitch picked up the yarn ends that I’d woven through. This will keep them more secure and less likely to unravel over time.

10) Do not cut your yarn. Switch to the G size crochet hook. Here is where I used the free pattern that I found online – I will list the 15 pattern rows or you can view or print the entire pattern here. The only change I made to this portion was to add two additional repeats of Row 6 for a total of 15 rather than 13 rows.

CrochetTowelToppers 007

Row 1 – ch 3, turn, dc in each sc across.

Row 2 – ch 3, turn, * dc in next dc, skip the next dc, dc in next 2 dc, skip next dc, repeat from * all the way across.

Row 3 – ch 3, turn, * skip 1 dc, dc in next dc, repeat from * all the way across.

Row 4 – Repeat Row 3.

Row 5 – ch 3 (counts as first dc), turn, 6 dc all evenly spaced across the row (total of 7 dc).

Row 6 – ch 3, turn, dc in each dc.

Rows 7-13 – Repeat Row 6.

Row 14 – ch 3, turn, dc in next 2 dc, ch 1, skip 1 dc and dc in next 2 dc (button hold made).

Row 15 – ch 3, turn, dc in next 2 dc, dc in ch 1 space, dc in next 3 dc.

Fasten off yarn. Weave in all ends. Hand sew on button.

CrochetTowelToppers 011And there you have it – one crocheted towel topper that will keep your towels from slipping (or being pulled) off and onto your kitchen floor. :)

I think I’m going to try making more of these – they’d be really fun holiday gifts, especially if made with festive towels and yarns. And they’re a quick project – I made the two towel toppers (from the one original towel I purchased) in one day.

Just a couple of quick notes – you may have to go back and tuck the yarn tail through the very first blanket stitch you made in order to have your stitch run right to that first corner where you started with your yarn needle. Also, make sure that your button is going to fit through your buttonhole before sewing it on. :)

Enjoy!

A portion of this pattern is not of my own design, but comes from a free pattern I found on http://www.freecraftunlimited.com. I have noted where I’ve made changes or adapted the original pattern for my own use. You can find the original pattern at http://www.freecraftunlimited.com/dish-towel-crochet.html.

Summer Knitting

Enjoying beautiful weather on this Sunday by knitting out on the deck. :)Yes, I know -it’s been forever and a day since I posted over here.

Not that I haven’t been knitting… Although I do find that during the summer I don’t generally do as much knitting as in the colder months. It’s just too hard to knit when your hands are sweaty.

But I did actually knit more this summer than usual – probably because it was SO hot out that we spent practically the entire summer inside, in air conditioning. And then 3 weeks on vacation – and yes, I did take my knitting with me. And I even worked on it. For a few minutes here or there. Sometimes. ;)

I only finished one project over the summer though, and you can see all about it in the review that I did post back in June, for the Fair Isle video e-book from KnitFreedom. And I have another project that’s just about half done as well – I’m trying a poncho from a book that I purchased, called More Knitting in the Sun. It’s my first foray into lace knitting and is a very simple pattern that’s extremely repetitive – which is making it a very easy knit. The poncho is knit in two panels that are then attached – I have the first panel completed but am waiting to start the second.

CabledSocks 002The reason I haven’t started the second panel for the poncho yet is because I still have that pesky pair of pink Athena socks left to finish for my oldest daughter. I’d knit a pair last winter/spring which turned out to be too small – I’m not sure how I miscalculated, but even my 9-year-old has trouble getting the socks over her heels to put them on and take them off.

This second pair that I’m working on seem to be better – I finished the gusset decreases last week at Hannah’s soccer practice so am to the point of just working on the foot length. I am so tired of this pattern though – one reason why I’m making myself finish these socks before starting anything else. Poor Abbi has never had hand-knit socks yet, while both of her sisters have. Whoops.

After I’ve finished the socks and the poncho (I’ll post more details about that project when I start the second piece of it), I’m not totally sure what I’ll try next. I do want to have a pair of socks on the needles at all times though, since they’re an easy and portable project. And I think I’d like to try to learn how to knit them toe-up, since I’ve now pretty much mastered the 2-at-a-time method. Other projects I think I’d like to try are:

  • a lightweight, slouchy hat for myself
  • A sweater
  • fingerless gloves/wrist warmers
  • a new Fair Isle project (may be combined with an of the above if I can find a fun pattern)

I also have bought several skeins of the ruffle yarn to us to make scarves for holiday gifts – I know I’ll make one for my mom and possibly for my mother-in-law, although I made her a scarf last year. I might make a couple to use as teacher gifts for Hannah and Becca as well – Abbi has a male teacher this year, so I’ll have to think of something else for him. :) I like the ruffle scarves though because they’re a fun, quick knit that doesn’t look like it takes as little time as it really does. <grin>

Speaking of ruffle scarves, I did teach Abbi how to knit them, and she finished one – which she gave to her best friend as a birthday gift over the summer. I’m working on teaching Hannah, and on getting Abbi motivated to try making another. Maybe I’ll be able to delegate the gift-making for the grandmas to the girls… Hmm, that idea is worth considering!