Category Archives: OTN

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!

OTN: Ruffle scarf!

I just had to share because I know these are becoming really popular and I finally decided that I just had to try making one myself. And it’s such an easy and quick knit – for something that turns out so pretty… Perfect for gift-making!

RufflyScarf 001

The yarn I bought is called Starbella. There were several other types at the yarn store today too – some sparkly or fuzzy ones, but I really like the colors in this one.

The idea here is that the yarn stretches out and looks just about like a net – you knit through the top loops in short rows to create a cascading look…

RufflyScarf 003

This is the scarf that I started tonight – after about 20 minutes it’s almost halfway done! This scarf is 4 stitches per row – you cast-on just by slipping the needle through the holes in the top of the mesh, then you knit through the next open hole at the top and so on, turning after each row.  For a thicker scarf you could use longer rows – some of the samples I saw had up to 8 stitches per row.

The only complicated part is that you have to stretch out the mesh as you go and find the top loops – but the more I work on the scarf, the easier it gets.

RufflyScarf 002

I’ll probably finish this up tomorrow – I can’t wait to wear my pretty new scarf! And my girls are already begging to make their own ruffle scarves – this is easy enough that they should be able to!

To ‘frog’ or not to ‘frog’…

That was the question that faced me a few days ago.  See this partially knitted sock? The one I’ve been working on (rather slowly) for the past few weeks?

HannahsSock-PreFrogging 002

Yeah, so this particular sock no longer exists.

I’d gotten pretty far along – I finished the leg portion, knit the heel flap, turned the heel, and was finishing up the gusset decreases into the foot area when I got the bright idea of actually trying the sock on my 8-year-0ld daughter’s foot to make certain that it was going to fit her.

Can you guess where this is going yet?

Yep, not only did the sock not fit, but there was absolutely no way that any amount of stretching or force was going to get it over her heel. I thought briefly about finishing it anyway and giving it to my youngest – it did fit onto her foot. And my 8-year-old was rather understanding – she just asked that when I started her socks (again), that I use the same yarn and pattern.

And that’s actually what decided me. Making two identical socks from the same yarn and pattern is hard enough – but necessary in order for the project to be usable. But to make an extra two identical (although larger) socks beyond that is more than I think I could bear right now. I get tired of doing the same thing over and over again and this is a slow-moving pattern anyway. So rather than taking the time and energy to finish another sock-and-a-half and then knit a whole new pair for my 8-year-old, I decided to re-use the yarn I’ve already got, and I tore that entire sock apart.

Rip-it, rip-it, ribbit, ribbit… See where ‘frogging’ comes from?  ;)

Which of course, then left me frustrated to start back from scratch when I’d had an almost wearable sock in my hands just minutes previously – so I immediately began the new sock. With the same pattern and (very curly) yarn – but at the next pattern size up. I’m not sure what about the ankle/heel area on the first sock was off specifically – but I was winging the pattern a bit, since the actual pattern calls for something termed a ‘forethought’ heel that sounded very intimidating, since it involves a bunch of stitches done in a provisional cast-on, something I’ve never done before. So I had gone rogue and decided to stick with the same heel I already know how to do. I’d estimated the number of rows for the heel flap and figured out turning the heel with the help of my friends Google and YouTube… And it had appeared to work – sort of, at least until I tried the sock on an actual foot. So this time I think I may actually try the heel as written. I’ve read and watched a lot about provisional cast-ons over the past few days, so I think it’s worth a shot.

Especially since I love a challenge – and it’s definitely better than knitting the exact same sock four times over!

Here’s the current sock at the moment – I’m still in the curly, previously knitted yarn…

HannahsSock-2ndAttempt 001

Let’s just hope I can finish this and start blogging about a new project at some point before 2011 ends!

A pair of gloves – and just in time too

Very strange weather we’re having here in Michigan this week. For several days it was mild and sunny, and all of the snow that we got a couple of weeks before melted. This morning was still somewhat mild but cloudy. And right after lunchtime it began to snow. I don’t think it’s let up yet – and so far I’d estimate that we’ve gotten 4-6 inches of new snow on the ground.

I’d had to put my second glove on hold while waiting for the skein of yarn to come in at the LYS – I found out on Thursday that it had arrived, so stopped by on Friday to pick it up. On Saturday I picked up where I’d left off on the glove, and at this point on Sunday night, it’s 99% done – I just have to finish the decreases for the top of the mitten flap and graft it closed.

Here are a few photos from earlier today after I’d finished the glove portion (the extra yarn woven through was marking the stitches I needed to pick up to begin the convertible mitten flap):

SecondGlove 002SecondGlove 001

A couple of things I’ve noted about this second skein of Mini Mochi yarn:

  • The general color pattern is somewhat similar so I was able to pick up on the second skein and stay somewhat true to how the colors fell out on the first glove. They’re by no means exact, but close enough that at first glance it probably wouldn’t jump out at you unless you were studying the gloves side-by-side.
  • There’s definitely a difference in dye lots – the colors in the second skein are in general more muted than in the first skein. That’s really not a huge deal either but it is something I notice when I put the gloves next to each other.

You can see the more defined line running across the glove near the base of the thumb, where I switched skeins (rather than the rest of the color changes which are more gradual), but it’s something I’m ok with. Overall I really like this yarn and will probably use it again – but for a single item next time, not a pair of anything!

As soon as I have the second glove completely finished, I’ll post some photos of the pair. I’m glad that I’ll have them this week now that it’s colder and snowy out again!

Now to get back to working on the socks for my 8-year-old…  :)

One down, one to go!

I feel slightly like a Michael Jackson video at this point – although I don’t think I’m wearing my single glove out anywhere in public, lol. But I am pretty happy with how it turned out, although there are a few things that I’d like to do differently for glove #2. Whether or not I make those changes and end up with a slightly mis-matched pair will probably depend on my mood at the time as I get to certain points in the second glove.

Let’s back up a bit though – here’s how it looked when I’d finished the ‘glove’ part…

FirstGlove 005

FirstGlove 006

The colored fingers really don’t look as crazy as I thought they might. And it actually worked out extremely well with what I did next.  You see that extra piece of yarn woven through the back of the glove in the photo above? I decided as I was knitting, before I started the fingers, that I would make the ‘convertible’ option for the glove. Basically, it’s an added flap that covers the fingers and coverts it from a fingerless glove to a mitten. And I’m so glad that I decided to do that, because just by coincidence – the colors ended up working out perfectly to match what I’d already knitted for the body of the glove!

See for yourself…

FirstGlove 007

FirstGlove 008

The flap folds back really nicely to give access to your fingertips when you need them:

FirstGlove 009

And here’s how it looks with the flap folded back, on the palm side:

FirstGlove 010

My only issues with how this turned out is that next time I might make the pinky finger a bit shorter and a little looser on top – you can see how it sticks up on the finger a little too high. All four fingers actually have the same number of rows, although it looks like the ring finger has less – I counted and it’s the same. And the pinky one is the same number too – but I didn’t consider that it’s a shorter finger in general. I probably could undo the last couple of rows and then re-bind off and I might consider doing that at some point.

The only other issue I have is with how pointy the mitten flap part is on top. I actually made about 8 fewer rows when I knitted it because I was worried about having too much excess at the top of the mitten, and I probably could have gone another few rows fewer even beyond that. I don’t have long fingers and don’t like having a ton of extra fabric at the top.

I did start the second glove last night – I found a spot in the yarn that looks like it may repeat the color pattern fairly closely, at least at first. Apparently that is a known issue with this yarn – I researched it a little bit online. They dye the yarn before spinning it, so the color progression can differ. One website warns that any gloves, mittens or socks made with this yarn will most likely end up ‘fraternal’ twins instead of ‘identical’ ones. I guess I’ll find out as I go!

What’s there to do when snowed in…

But knit, of course! :)

I finally started a new project tonight – it took a little while for me to figure out what I wanted to do. And I’ll probably end up with 2 things going concurrently just so I don’t run into this whole thing again of not having anything to work on once I finish something.

Well, technically I do still have a baby washcloth that I started months ago, but for some reason I completely have lost interest in working on those. Maybe because I don’t know anybody who’s pregnant right now, so don’t have anyone to give them to. And I never did finish the smock top – but by the time summer rolls around again, it would be way too small for my youngest daughter, so I can’t really summon up the energy to get it done. I’m still really in sock and Magic Loop mode and want to keep working on those.

But what I started tonight isn’t a sock! I’m expanding my horizons yet again – this time in two ways. First, I’m adapting a pattern that’s written for dpns to Magic Loop – or at least attempting to do so. We’ll see how that goes. And I’m doing this for a type of project I’ve never made before – a fingerless glove.

Why fingerless? I realized on Black Friday as I stood out in the bitter cold, waiting in line outside of various stores while attempting to use the touchscreen on my iPhone, that touchscreens and cold temperatures don’t mix very well. I kept having to take my glove completely off, and my whole hand was freezing by the time I’d put my phone away each time. So I’ve had the idea of making fingerless gloves lurking around in my head since, and decided this is the right time to try – I was always intimidated by the idea of attempting fingers with dpns before, but I think Magic Loop will work a lot better for that.

I found a pattern that I downloaded – it’s from a physical book, but by downloading the book instead of purchasing a paper copy, it was very cheap. And I can load the pattern on my e-reader and my phone so I don’t even have to print out a physical copy of it either. It’s from a Paton’s book – Next Steps Seven: Mittens and Gloves, and I’m glad to have some good mitten patterns now too. The fingerless glove pattern also includes an option for a flap to use to cover the fingers with – I don’t know if I’ll attempt that right now or not.

IMG_1000000219I’m using a skein of yarn that I’d bought last fall, thinking I’d try it for socks – but I only bought one skein, and when I was at the LYS last week, they didn’t have any more of this same color. There should be enough in the skein for the gloves though – I think. I love the colors and the feel of this yarn – it’s Mini Mochi, in the pastel ‘Baby Face’ colors. So pretty!

Here’s the cuff of the first glove – so far just ribbing. Things will be more interesting when I have to try doing the thumb gusset, probably tomorrow during our snow day. I’m planning to run a lifeline through before I start, just in case – so I don’t have to start all over again if things don’t work the first time. Wish me luck!

IMG_1000000220

She’ll be able to wear them – barely

So let’s just say that I’m not exactly an expert at knitting socks. And apparently I’m even less of an expert at sizing them correctly. Next time I’ll make sure to measure the feet and knit the socks to the correct length – I was pretty much just excited to get them done at this point. And done they are – my first pair of kids knitted socks. :)

I finished the second one up over the New Year’s weekend while we were visiting friends – I tend to get to a certain point and have a hard time stopping until the project is done. My hands were killing me when I finished the sock – but it was worth it.

Here’s the second sock by itself – it looks pretty much just like the first one did, which is the point I guess:

KidSock#2 002KidSock#2 001

And here are the two socks together. I think there may be a smidgen of a difference in size – but the stripes made it very easy to count and compare rows, so they’re not too far off.

KidSocksDone 001KidSocksDone 002

My 4-year-old was extremely excited to get these socks and she wore them the next day. And to bed that night. She would have worn them the following day as well, if I hadn’t removed them myself, under protest from a very irritated preschooler. I think that means that they’re a hit. And comfortable too, I’d guess. ;)

BeccasKnitSocks 002

I did make one fairly noticeable mistake on the second sock – again, I was in a hurry when I finished it and not paying close enough attention. Can you see it? Here’s a picture where it’s a little more apparent:

BeccasKnitSocks 001

Yep, I somehow grafted the toe of the second sock in the wrong direction – vertically instead of horizontally. It really doesn’t make much of a difference when the socks are worn – and I guess I’ll always be able to tell the two socks apart this way. But still… Sigh.

The socks are only going to fit my daughter for a short while – her heel’s already pushing past the ‘turned’ part. They’ll work for now though – at least until her feet grown again. The way they’ve been going lately, that could be as soon as next week! But at least she’ll get some chances to wear them before she outgrows them.

BeccasKnitSocks 003

Both she and I wore our hand-knitted socks on the same day – she was pretty proud of them.

KnitSocks 002

And so am I.  :)

Next up OTN: I apparently need to make a new hat for my oldest daughter as hers was lost in a McDonalds away from home. On the plus side? The fact that someone seemed to have thought well enough of my knitting to decide to walk off with the hat. But it’s still frustrating to have put the work and time into something and then have it disappear… Oh well – at least it’s a chance to work on a quick, easy project before I decide how to tackle the next pair of socks.

It’s (still) all about socks…

I seem to be on a mission lately – I’m having so much fun making socks that I really haven’t had any kind of motivation to try anything else. And there’s nothing wrong with that – because socks are not only fun and cute to look at, but useful when it’s 20 degrees outside. Right?  ;)

I finished my first kid-sized sock the other day and am very happy with how it turned out. With one smallish exception – the sock size was listed as for ages 4-8. I figured that it might fit my 8-year-old or my almost-5-year-old. Working on the sock, I thought it seemed a bit small, so I tried it on my youngest’s foot before I started the toe decreases. It kind of fit, but I added an extra 8 rows to the foot anyway, just in case. I’m glad I did – because even with those added rows, it still barely fits her. She can wear it – but the second her foot grows any (or if the sock shrinks when washed), it’ll be too small.

Guess I need to finish the second one soon then, so she can wear them at least a few times!

Here’s how the sock looks from both sides:

KidsSock1 001KidsSock1 002

I love how the stripes turned out (loving the self-striping yarn!) and this was definitely better to work with than the stretchy stuff was. There’s still a little bit of laddering, but it’s noticeable mostly in the top ribbing without stretching the sock out. I knit this one on 4 dpns instead of 3, and I think that helped too. I definitely feel like I’ve got a good feel for how socks are structured now and by the time I finish the second of this pair, I think I’ll be ready to try something a little more challenging.

I keep looking at sock pattern books – there are so many different ways to make them! Toe-up, cuff-down, Magic Loop, 2 circular needles, dpns… I am somewhat overwhelmed when it comes to the different options and choices. I really want to see if I can figure out some of the ways on circular needles, but don’t know whether to try one long needle or two. I also would love to learn how to knit 2 socks at once so I can complete one whole project at a time.

A couple of months ago I did buy a book, called Knitting More Circles Around Socks: Two at a Time, Toe Up or Cuff Down (affiliate link) by Antje Gillingham. It’s a method using 2 circular needles and making 2 socks at once. I think I’ll try her basic sock pattern when I’m done with the second kid sock and see if I can figure it out. :)

Here’s how the first sock looks on my daughter’s foot:

KidsSock1 001

I’ve started the second sock – just finished the ribbing and started the stockinette stitch part today. I’m hoping to get it done during Christmas break.  :)

Kids socks are easier–and quicker. Who knew?!

Well, I’ve been moving along on my first kid-sized sock, knitted again on dpns. I’ve watched a couple of videos about Magic Loop and feel like I might be ready to actually try that next, but I want to make sure I’ve got the whole sock concept down first.

One thing I am doing differently this time is to knit the socks using 5 dpns, instead of 4. And I’m knitting them right-side out – I’m not sure how my last ones ended up being knitted inside-out, but this feels and looks much better. It’s definitely a quicker knit – if I weren’t so busy with other things this time of year, I think I’d have more than finished the first sock by now.

I did take it on my recent trip to New York – and was able to sneak in some knitting time while waiting around airports with my older girls. I had no trouble at all getting the needles through security – I’d left my craft scissors at home since I didn’t think those would make it through. But since I was only beginning the sock at the time, I figured I wouldn’t be cutting the yarn in the 3 days I’d be gone. And I was right.  :)

PopArtPixiesVIPEvent-Day3_015

I like the stripey yarn – although I think on the next pair I’ll knit the cuff, heel and toe in a matching solid color instead. The stripes just don’t translate well into the ribbed cuff.

I already have a new idea for a project in mind too – I’d love to try a pair of gloves where the fingers come about down to the first knuckle or so and leave the fingertips free. I realized that wearing traditional gloves while trying to use an iPhone just doesn’t work, so having fingertips easily available would be very helpful. I’ve seen a pattern that incorporates a hand flap that folds back to expose the fingers when necessary – I don’t know how difficult it would be to make, but after these socks are done, I might just give it a try. At the rate I’m going, maybe I’ll get them done – around oh, July 4th or so.  ;)

Learning more as I go along

It’s funny how much more I know now about knitting than I did when I started out a couple of years ago. And how much more I know that I yet need to learn… Sometimes lessons are discovered well after they happened – and past mistakes come back to, well bite me.

For example, a couple of the first projects that I made which were something other than scarves and squares – were hats for the girls, as I posted about previously. I’ve been rather proud of the hats that I’d made for Hannah and Becca last year – they’re cute, they fit and I did a pretty good job on them. Or at least I thought I had.

Take a good look at Hannah’s hat…

HannahsHat_003

I thought at the time that the pattern was interesting, because the main portion of the hat wasn’t straight stockinette stitch. I hadn’t looked at this particular pattern in a while though, because I’d misplaced the book it’s in. After finishing my socks though, I decided it was time to knit Becca a new hat since hers is getting a little small – and because she hadn’t picked out the yarn for the initial one herself, since it originally was meant to be for Hannah (just turned out smaller than anticipated). I thought about what pattern I wanted to use and decided that I really liked this one because it wasn’t just rounds of straight knitting like the hat I recently made for Abby was.

Looking at the pattern though, I was confused when I saw that it does indeed call for rounds of knitting in stockinette stitch for the main portion instead of the alternating rounds of knitting and purling that the completed hats have.

Then I realized…

Apparently on these first hats (my first attempts at knitting in the round) I hadn’t yet learned that since in the round you’re always knitting on the same side of the project -  you create stockinette stitch by knitting every round, instead of a flat project where stockinette is created by alternate rows of knitting and purling back and forth. So when this pattern called for “continuing in stockinette stitch”, I apparently did what I was used to, and knitted/purled in alternating rounds.

It really doesn’t take anything away from these early hats – they’re still cute, they still fit, and I’ve gotten several compliments on them. But, now that I know they were actually made incorrectly, it just bugs me.

So I knitted Becca a new hat this week – in a yarn that she picked out (from several options I gave her), and in this pattern. The hat fits, it’s cute – and I can be proud that I finally completed the pattern correctly.  :)

BeccasNewHat_004BeccasNewHat_003BeccasNewHat_002

Next up – more confusion reigns… This time back to socks. After looking through book after book, searching different methods online and asking opinions at the LYS – I’m going back to basics and am going to take the method that I already know (dpns) and try to get better at that before I throw different techniques into the mix. So I’m knitting another pair of socks – this time in a non-stretchy sock yarn (Bernat Sox to be specific). And I’m knitting them one at a time on dpns – but this time 4 dpns instead of 3, so hopefully the laddering will be less of an issue this time. The socks will go to whichever of the girls they end up fitting (my best guess from looking at the pattern is Hannah – any bets?). So we’ll see. The first one doesn’t look like much so far yet, but I just started it tonight so give it some time.  :)

KidsSocks