Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Scrappy and Blended Handknits

I actually do this a lot - I will use a number of different yarns to hand knit something.  I have made several afghans using different colors and textures for something beautiful -

Here's a very pretty one at Yet Another Canadian Artisan - listed under "Easy Chair Stash Busting."

It SO hot here - I vote for the easy chair!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Video for August - Beautiful Buttonholes on a Folded Stockinette Band

Sometimes we overlook doing a plain folded buttonhole band, but it gives a great result.  It does not require a ribber or any fancy stitches, so you can do it on any machine.

I've seen a lot of different buttonhole techniques for this situation over the years, but I want my buttonholes to look perfect, or at least, look so good that if something's wrong you won't even notice it.  I do not want any lumps, bumps, tight or loose spots, or changes in texture.  Over the years, I've tried all kinds of things and I've finally come up with two preferred techniques that give the effect of the knitting just continuing right inside the buttonhole.  This is the one for a band knitted vertically. I have a little different way to do it if your band is knitted sideways, and I'll put up a video about that later.  It's grafted, and the buttonholes look incredible. 

Yes, this buttonhole can be also used for hand knitting. 

Best of all - if you can do a Kitchener graft from the wrong side, you can do this - it's easy.  And if you don't graft, this buttonhole is do good that it's a great excuse to learn how.

More Adorable Advent Mittens

Over at Rhythm of the Needles, there are several more cute advent mittens:

I really do admire this project!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mini-Mittens at Rhythm of the Needles

Here's a little hand-knitting inspiration - cute little mittens that make a garland for aChristmas tree.  Have a look!

I admit, I knit a lot of crafty things, but I doubt I'd have the patience to knit a whole garland of these cute little mittens.  Scroll through the blog - I've been looking at these as she puts them up - and each one is different, all beautifully made.  This looks like something I'd much rather machine knit than hand knit.  I love small projects, but you'd have to make quite a few of these.  I suppose, if you ran out of patience, they'd be really cute hung on the tree singly.  As a matter of fact, I have little hats and mittens my girlfriend made that I hang on our tree every year.

While these must take a long time to hand knit, the machine would knock out the little Fair Isle mittens quickly.  I'm impressed at her patience and beautiful workmanship.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mid-Gauge Shawl Finished

I've been ever-so-slowly working on a new book for mid-gauge knitters, and just finished one of the pattern items for the book. 

This is a large triangular shawl, just the thing for some of the overly-air-conditioned meetings I sit in.  It's made from a slubby mohair blend.

To give a sense of the size, spread out, it's longer than my queen-size bed, and had to be partially blocked, moved and then steamed again.  Steaming was all it needed.  Perhaps it should be brushed a bit to bring out the nap.  Because it's so large, I've been knitting on it, a few minutes at a time, for about a week of found moments. 

The shawl was made in two sections with an invisible Kitchener graft in the middle along the center point.  I started on the tip at one end of the machine and increased as I worked.  The piece was scrapped off when I ran out of needles.  That folded end showing the purl side has a little bit of a rolled look - well, it's not rolling, it's actually a built-in I-cord style slipped edge.

The lace edge is worked as the shawl is knitted, not sewn on later, a hand-tooled increase along with a full-fashioned lace to make a three eyelets each row.  It's easy and goes fast using the triple transfer tool.  I liked the way it looks and the way it lies. 

The mitered corner where the lace changes directions match beautifully, and all I did was Kitchener that center seam.  Even though this fussy yarn hides flaws, it really does look perfect.  Maybe next time I make it, I'll use a plain yarn so the lace shows more. 

This book is intended to be like The Goldilocks Challenge, my bulky beginner project book, but this time, for LK150s and other mid-gauge machines.  The patterns will be accessible to beginners, with the easiest things in the book first and moving to more complex items.  Each project will teach techniques.  I am creating a whole new batch of different, gifty projects.  So far, I have an afghan, baby blanket, baby pants, baby sweater, baby kitty cat hat, sock, earflap hat for all sizes, tam (yes, I'm repeating the good ol' tam, for the folks who have been asking for it in mid-gauge - I do love it for teaching short rowing!), a mitten, a shawl, and now I want to get at least one classic garment for multiple sizes prepped for the book.  I may add another item or two - don't know.  I am subject to bursts of enthusiasm!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wonderful Short Video

I hardly ever do non-knitting posts, but I enjoyed this so much I just had to share it -

A short video, Kurt Vonnegut on the "shape of stories."

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Inspiration at Rhythm of the Needles

Really pretty socks at Rhythm of the Needles.

I sure am glad somebody besides me is blogging about knitting this summer!  It's been awfully quiet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Video for July - Intarsia Cable

I think this contrasting two-color cable is pretty enough to get you to try out your Intarsia (picture knitting) carriage!  Have a look at how Intarsia is done.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Fouth of July!

I'm going to have a great Independence Day - going to knit a bit, and we'll attend an amazing fireworks show this evening!  I hope you have a wonderful day, too.  To get you in the mood, here's Josh Groban!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Miscellaneous Updates...

I haven't blogged much lately, but I do keep on cooking along.

Our club decided not to do a seminar in August. As a matter of fact, Knit Natters is in flux with our president resigning because she has too much going on, and attendance down for the summer.  Gosh, I've known since I had my own yarn shop that most folks don't knit during the summer, just us crazed diehards. 

Barbara and I are very concerned about the general downturn in attendance.  We're going to have the July meeting at my house.  That way, we don't have to carry anything to a church.  My knitting room is upstairs, but I think everyone who is active right now can handle the stairs.  I better clean it up, though!  And see if my poor Passap is stuck tight.  I haven't had time to knit on that one in a long time.  We are going to finish up the Raggedy Ann and Andy demonstrations.

I took a bit of a hiatus from knitting and designing, not intentionally, just too busy with work and life. 

Our son Steven purchased his first home, and we are excited for him.  It's a great house, close to his work, and we were busy for several weekends with helping him pull it all together.  We even showed up to help him move, but he has a roommate who generously helped out.  The two young, fit guys almost made it look easy - except that it was a very hot day, and their clothes were soaked through.  Steven has so much left to do!  His washing machine is leaking and needs a repair, the house hasn't got a single window covering, he wants a contrasting rug for the living room to add color since everything in the room now is dark brown, some furniture needs moved, bathroom hardware needs installed, and a light fixture needs fixed.  He plugs away at it.

As thousands of people have moved to Austin, home prices here have risen quickly and there is very little for sale.  In order to afford his house, Steven will have roommates. 

I continue to be busy with my weight loss group.  I'm in this non-commercial, volunteer program that helped me lose all my extra weight, and now I'm hoping to help other people as well as stay motivated to keep up my own new habits.  A while back, some of us started a group in my own neighborhood, so I've added that to my schedule.  Then there's a study group I attend and a weekend meeting, as well. 

In September, I'm teaching a seminar in Milwaukee.  When I get the surveys back, I'll build the handout book.  We haven't been to Milwaukee, and John and I are looking forward to it.  It will still be very hot here with that classis long Texas summer.  We're trying to get in a trip to Southern California to see family, and we also have another fun trip planned for November. 

My hope is to get back to my main knitting project soon, a mid-gauge book.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kind of Fun - Prngle of Scotland Animated Video

This is a fun little video that I picked up at the Rhythm of the Needles blog, and I thought y'all might enjoy it.

Of course, I went over to Pringle's website to see what this spring/summer collection looks like. 

Hmm.  A lot of these don't look like knits.  At least, not the sort of knits we make!  Maybe they're very finely knitted fabrics, cut and sewed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Matched Socks from Self-Striping Yarn

Getting your socks to turn out like a matching pair isn't always easy in self-striping yarn, especially if it's a large repeat of various color stripes.  The other day, I was looking down at my feet and realized that this pair I had made for myself matched up just about perfectly.  Not only that, but look how random those stripes look, since it's such a long time before the pattern repeats again.

So, goofy as I am, I rolled up my pant legs and took a picture.

Yes, there's an element of luck in this.  If you are unlucky enough to get yarn that isn't dyed evenly, it isn't going to match up.  However, most high-quality sock yarn that is dyed in stripes will  have the same length stripes each time the striping pattern repeats.

When you start the sock, start just at the beginning of a new color, that is, try to make that first stitch be knitted in that first bit of the new color. When you start the second sock, you have to wind off enough of the yarn to get to that same point in the repeat, and then use that same color for your first stitch.  That starts both socks with the same stripe, and the rest follows along.  Yes, it usually wastes some yarn, but you can use that yarn later for something else.  I find that when I purchase two 50-gram balls of yarn for a pair of socks in my size (ladies' medium - I wear a size 8 show) that I always leftover yarn.

One more thought - if you rewind the yarn before knitting the socks, make sure that you rewind each ball the same number of times.  That is, if you elect to wind the yarn more than once - for instance, because you think it's wound too tightly or you had to rip out, well, rewinding will reverse the direction of the yarn. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Great Article About Tension at Susan Guagliumi's Site

Ahh, learn from an expert:

When I was struggling with my first knitting machine - and lost, since the manual seemed like a poor translation from the Japanese and its sketches were, well "sketchy," I phoned my father-in-law.  He came over to have a look.  He was originally trained as a textile engineer, and he gave me one great piece of advice:  with machinery like this, the tension is critical!  Get the tension right, and everything else is easier.

Get the tension wrong, and well...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Post About Maintenance at Canadian Artisan

This post over at Yet Another Canadian Artisan has some nice photos and instructions about cleaning and de-fuzzing your sinker plate to make your machine work much better.

Lint and strings under the knitting brushes will cause terrible edge looping problems and make your machine difficult - or impossible - to use.  Take a few minutes and check yours!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

New Video for June

Knitting machines make lace by transferring stitches from one needle to the next, so it's all about the direction.  Wouldn't it be cool if you could easily flip an asymmetrical pattern so it went in the other direction?  Well, you can.  With an electronic machine like one in the video, you push a variation key to reverse the pattern, and you also reverse the position of the main carriage and lace carriage.

With punch card machine, you turn the card over - right to left, not top to bottom - and then you also reverse the positions of the carriages.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rhonda's Shell Stitch Afghan

I just have to brag about Rhonda's shell stitch afghan.  Check out these pix:

Check out the bumpy texture and the beautiful edging.

I did a video showing how to do this stitch:

And here's a video showing how to do the honeycomb ribbing that Rhonda used for the edging:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New Video - Short-Row Shaping of Lace

This month's YouTube video shows how to shape lace with short-rowing, using a ravel cord.  This is a basic technique for working lace, and once you practice a bit, very straightforward.  It gives a very professional look to the finished garment to shape in this way.