Beautiful Knitting

Where Mt.Mom knits, crochets, designs, and seeks Beauty as food for the soul.

Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Tubular Cast On How-to, plus Fun Cooking Videos

Posted by mtmom on April 9, 2011

DD and I found this fellow Nicko and his YouTube cooking videos this week, and have been enjoying watching them.  I used to live where folks spoke with an accent similar to the host’s, so that aspect is fun for me as well.  I’m planning to make something just a BIT like this tonight — using commercial bratwurst “mince” as filling.

My camera has been lost since 25 March (!!), so I haven’t been able to take photos to share for a while.  I could talk about some slightly older stuff. . . .

Here are steps for one way to work a tubular cast-on.

Crocheting stitches over knitting needle with smooth scrap yarn

Begin with a provisional (i.e. temporary, removable) cast on.  I favor ones that use a crochet hook.  Here, I’m crocheting loops over a knitting needle with smooth scrap yarn, unto half my desired total number of stitches (12, to end with 24).

Then, with project yarn, work 4 rows of stockinette, beginning with a knit row (this is different from what Montse Stanley says in her reference book, Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook).   I like to work a few plain chains after all my over-the-knitting-needle loops are done.  Pull the far end of your scrap yarn through the last chain to “finish off”; perhaps tie a small knot in the end, to distinguish it from the beginning end.  (This will matter later!)

Now join the bottom and top edges of this short piece of knitting into a long, shallow tube (hence the “tubular” name) as follows.

Knitting and purling from alternate ends of piece

Knit 1 stitch from knitting needle.

Purl 1 st from CO edge.  (See the loop of project yarn peeking out from between loops of scrap yarn?  That’s what you purl into.)

Continue across. alternating a knit from the needle with a purl from the CO.

The final loop to purl is hard to see — fiddle until you find it, so that you’ll end with an even number of total stitches.

Final gray loop in CO edge

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Continue in 1×1 ribbing, knitting the knits and purling the purls as established.  After a few rows, you’re piece looks like this.

A few rows of ribbing above CO

(You may notice that my crochet chain has some extra links in it.  Because my scrap yarn was considerably smaller-gauge than my project yarn — the largest I had in cotton — I worked a plain chain after each over-the-needle stitch to give extra stretch.)

You may remove the provisional cast-on now.

Removing provisional cast-on

Pull the knotted end of the scrap yarn back through the last crocheted chain to free it up, then gently pull the strand, popping each chain one at a time, undoing your provisional CO.

This is amazing to watch — so clever!

Chains all unpopped.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Pull strand entirely free from your knitting.

Done!

Tubular Cast On complete!


Posted in fun, Knitting | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tweedy Knitting and Glove Repair

Posted by mtmom on March 20, 2011

I’ve had the treat of marathon knitting and designing this past Friday and Saturday, as DH and DDs went on a Spring Break camping excursion to someplace warm and remote.  Turning this . . .

Rowan Felted Tweed yarn, 10 balls

into this (etc.).

Swatch for decreasing in pattern

It kept me VERY busy!

And will continue to, until I get through that whole bag of yarn!

(another design project for Cast On magazine)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

In the meantime, I thought I’d tell y’all about some mending I did recently.

First request was for the thumb of a pair of Latvian mittens, bought for me by a dear friend on her trip around the Baltic, and then gifted by me to DS.

Glove, holding "hoot!", both to be mailed to DS at college.

hole in end of thumb, loose stitches stabilized by safety pin

repair made with darker brown yarn

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Second request was for several tears in a pair of Norwegian gloves well-loved by our church organist.

Charly's Norwegian gloves

Observe: Norwegian's do NOT tuck in ends -- they knot and leave them!

And unused colors are twisted and carried up at end-of-rds. Also see hole in finger end.

I do not have “after” photos, because a super-cold day came and I really RUSHED to finish these and get them back to their owner!

At least you can know that your “loss” was definitely his “gain”.

 

Posted in Design, Knitting, Mending | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pi Day and Yak Yarn

Posted by mtmom on March 14, 2011

It’s Pi Day today — you know, the number 3.14 etc from geometry, denoted by the Greek letter pi — and today’s date is 3-14.

In one of her books (Knitting Around, maybe?), Elizabeth Zimmermann tells the story of how Gaffer explained to her the concept of pi:  “Whenever the distance from the center doubles, the distance around doubles.”  Thus, the Pi Shawl was born; doubling the number of stitches whenever you’ve doubled the number of rounds:  say, CO 7 sts; rd 2, inc to 14; rd 4, inc to 28; rd 8, inc to 56; rd 16 double your sts again; and so on.

I’m hoping to make something round and yummy.  “Pi Pie”!  (well, actually, bars made in-the-round.)

"Pi Pie"

In other “yummy” news,
I received as a gift some yummy “yak down” yarn, and am considering what to make with it. I’m thinking a lacy shawlette. Any ideas or recommendations, y’all?

Bijou Spun, fingering weight, 1 oz., 100 yds

BTW, the cat decided she preferred the tissue paper for chewing.  (Phew!)

Posted in fun, Knitting, Yarn | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper and Dishcloths

Posted by mtmom on March 9, 2011

I always love going to our church’s pancake supper on the last night before the Lenten season begins.  Always a cheery evening with good food and good friends.

One of the students even provides some musical accompaniment.

The college students and their chaplain do the cooking: pancakes & bacon, plus fruit, syrup, OJ, milk, coffee.

Younger and older eat and chat together.

.

.

.

.

Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying some low-key knitting.

Dishcloths!  — Doesn’t matter that they turn out Just So, and one can easily try out a new stitch pattern.  (The Chinese Waves pattern, by Margaret K. K. Radcliffe, is free and available as a 224K PDF from Maggie’s Rags by clicking here.)

3 variations on heel stitch make a dense, sturdy dishcloth

"Chinese Waves" stitch pattern -- like Eye of Partridge on a garter st base

Posted in Biblical/Spiritual, Knitting | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Adding Button Finally Finishes Short Scarf

Posted by mtmom on February 27, 2011

Yarn-mixing Scarf fastened with button

The yarn-mixing scarf I’ve been working on (on and off) since December is now done!

double buttons

It had reached  only about 3 feet (1 meter) in length when one of the yarns ran out, and I didn’t want to join in something different.  So I decided on adding a button. . . but where and how?  The gauge is loose enough that a button can be pushed through the fabric pretty much anywhere, so I picked out 2 buttons, joined them together back to back with yarn, and the wearer can attach the scarf’s ends together as high or low as desired.

6 yarns, knit together

Almost all of these yarns, light-to-medium neutrals, came in a box of leftovers I “inherited” from a knitting friend.  The last one is a fine-gauge metallic.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

And how did I deal with all those ENDS?

One at a time!

running one end up along the side of a rib

Hey, note my right sidebar: I’ve been adding more links to instructive videos. Check out Kristin Nicholas’ series of videos on adding embroidery to knitwear!

Posted in Knitting, scarf | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Calorimetry Headband FO

Posted by mtmom on February 16, 2011

Calorimetry was first published in the Winter 2006 issue of knitty.  I just knit a red tweedy one in a yarn by Naturally called “Allsorts” from their “Magic Garden” line.  Only took me 9 days, which is quite fast for me.

Pattern opinion:  “Potato chip knitting”, as one podcaster called it — keep wanting to do one more row, as they get shorter and then longer, and then you’re done.  I added stitches to get the turns to fit symmetrically within the ribbing.  Bound off with EZ’s “Casting-on Cast-off”, which may be found in her book, Knitting Without Tears.  Kinda’ fun to make, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with how the wedge shape of the FO fits my head; time will tell.

Yarn opinion:  Not fluffy or especially soft, almost string-y feeling like cotton eventhough it’s wool — probably somehow due to the extra long bits of pulled colored threads that give the yarn its tweedy appearance.  DD finds it “a bit itchy”.

the yarn and CO

Knitting done!

choices, choices. . . .

back view -- every tried to photograph the back of your own head?

front 3/4 view

Posted in Cap/Hat, Knitting | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Phoebe the Mouse

Posted by mtmom on February 4, 2011

Have any of you read this book?  Phoebe’s Sweater, by Joanna Johnson, illustrated by Eric Johnson, about a mouse and her mouse-doll who have matching handknit sweaters.  The author has a Ravelry group here, with KALs etc., here, and the “mouse” also writes a blog here: http://phoebeontheroad.blogspot.com/

I ask because I enjoyed this cute, time-lapse video of the author knitting the little-girl-size sweater from the book — in a day.  (Notice the background action!) 

Posted in Knitting, Videos -- made by others | Leave a Comment »

Galaxy Tams — Design Process, Part 2

Posted by mtmom on February 3, 2011

Continued from previous post.

I hope you all find this interesting — I didn’t know about much of this before I actually started publishing patterns with a magazine, so I figure it will be new to most of you.

The Yarn.

After the senior editor of Cast On magazine let me know they wanted me to make TWO hats, one in EACH of the 2 yarns I’d suggested as possibilities, and once I had agreed to the proposed fee, she then asked about an alternate choice for the mohair-blend yarn, “Yarn A”.  Another project in the issue would be using the yarn I’d used in my swatch and proposal, and they want to include a broader range.  I went online to yarndex and started hunting for other yarns of similar composition (70% mohair, 30% silk) and gauge (laceweight, but usually knit at DK gauge because of fluffiness).  I chose several yarns that I thought would work, eventhough I hadn’t actually used any of the new options.  The editor contacted the yarn companies, to see who would be interested in supplying yarn to a designer for their upcoming issue.  Berroco agreed for 2 skeins of Ultra Alpaca, and Knit One Crochet Too said they had 2 balls left from open bags, but they were from different dye lots.  We agreed that this would be OK, since I would be double-stranding the yarns and that would blend them (vs get stripes where I changed balls).  Each yarn company mailed their yarns directly to me.  When they arrived, my knitting would begin!

The Pattern-Writing.

While waiting for the yarns to arrive, I started in on the writing.  The general outline of any pattern begins the same:  skill level, title, materials, gauge, special techniques, abbreviations; all these come before the actual instructions and I could get these (all but final gauge numbers) done before even beginning the knitting.  I looked up the Craft Yarn Council’s standards for skill level:  because the hat would use double-pointed and circular needles, and contain 2 simple eyelet patterns, it fell into the “Intermediate” category.  The title came pretty quickly in the process, especially because my DS had spent last summer working at our local observatory:  “Spiral-Armed Galaxy Tam”, or “Galaxy Tam” for short.  The yardage of each brand of yarn I could have found online, but instead I waited to copy this info from the ball bands.

What took longer was writing out directions for the circular cast-on and tubular bind-off.  The magazine always includes a glossary of basic techniques at the back, so I checked a past issue to see if these were already covered.  Kitchener stitch, the final step in the BO was in there, but the directions were for a flat piece.  I had to add extra details into my pattern about beginning and ending the grafting in a round project.  I wrote up a paragraph for the CO and for the BO, and repeatedly read and checked them for accuracy and clarity.

I even began writing up the instructions, because I already knew the basics of what I planned to do.  I went back and forth about including markers, and ended up including them because it shortened the amount of detail I needed to include before I could say, simply, “rep from *” and “continue”.  I think writing the Technique Tips and Designer Notes may be my favorite part.  I can explain and suggest and instruct, beyond just enabling a knitter to reproduce a hat to match the model.

Much of this was edited later, as I went through the knitting and discovered how things actually measured on the needles and then when I came up with a modification to the ribbing that very much pleased me but took some explaining.  I ended up having to use * and ** and even *** for those instructions!

Knitting the Prototypes.

2 tam tops

I began with Yarn B, the alpaca, because I had it in hand first.  I finished the top and then paused to catch up with Yarn A, the mohair-silk, to make very sure that they turned out THE SAME size.  I would have to include different numbers for the 2 yarns in several places in the pattern.  Lots of arithmetic:  2 yarns, in 2 gauges, in 4 sizes each.  I was glad I would have several weeks to do this (about 4 – 5), so I wouldn’t need to rush beyond my ability to keep my wits (and my notes) about me.  As I came to each new section of a hat — switching from increasing to even and then to decreasing, or beginning the ribbing — I would take care to write down or add to my draft EXACTLY what stitches I needed to make:  Should they (p1, k1) or  (k1, p1) at this point?  How did the YO fit into the ribbing rhythm?  How did the even vs odd numbers in the panels of the different hat-sizes affect this?  I have learned that I mustn’t presume I’ll remember later!

I liked knitting both, but think I enjoyed the mohair-silk more.

about halfway done with the pink

When each tam was complete, including tucking in ends, I blocked it over a pair of dinner plates, separated with several washcloths to add depth.

white tam blocking, top view

pink tam blocking, side view

I did lots of measuring, both during the knitting and after blocking, because these numbers were ESSENTIAL to the arithmetical magic that is Pattern Grading, i.e., the figuring of stitch and row counts for the sizes I didn’t actually knit, but that others might want to make.  Oh, the agony over the calculator!  (and I have a math degree)  Predicting other knitters’ results. . . !  What can I tell them that will help them succeed?!

The Parting.

When all the knitting and all the writing (and re-writing, and re-re-writing, etc.) was done, it was time to pack up my “babies” and send them out into the world.  I used lots of tissue paper and a sturdy box, rechecked EVERYTHING, and took several deep breaths.  It was DONE!

I hope you’ve enjoyed journeying along with me!

Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Galaxy Tams — Design Process, Part 1

Posted by mtmom on January 25, 2011

I thought I might share a bit about how my design process went for the tams I just submitted to Cast On magazine.

The Idea.

Years ago, I borrowed a copy of Barbara G. Walker’s book, Knitting Counterpanes — about preserved examples of an old tradition of bedspreads handknit of tiny cotton yarn.  (Interlibrary loans are a WONDERFUL thing!)  In it, I saw several spreads/counterpanes constructed of small, repeated medallions.  I recall swatching a few of them, and sketching several others.  I made a child-size beret out of one of them by working a center-out medallion for the top, then a sort of turning ridge of several rounds of reverse stockinette, then I decreased back down while trying to maintain as much of the patterning as I could.  A plain ribbed band finished it off.

Pink Swirl Tam, side view

Pink Swirl Tam, top view

The Opportunity.

Cast On sent out a call for designs for the summer 2011 issue, with a special emphasis (among other topics) on tams and berets.  I remembered the pink tam and the gears started turning.

The Swatches.

I no longer had the Walker book, and I didn’t keep the pink tam in front of me to check.  I went from (fallible) memory while also keeping in mind some changes I wanted to make.  I started knitting at the center, and when the swatch was large enough I began to think of an edging that would lie flat.  I decided on garter stitch, but didn’t want the spirals to just STOP at the edge of the border –  hmmm, could the spirals continue THROUGH the garter st background, as they had over the stockinette?  YES!  I liked this very much.

I had 2 different yarns I was considering working with:  the white yarn was new to me, but came highly recommended; the purple was left over from a shawlette KAL 2 autumns ago, and I had thoroughly enjoyed working with it back then.  I made a swatch from EACH of them and decided to send both.  I would let the committee consider both and choose.

Swatch in white alpaca/wool worsted weight

Swatch in purple mohair/silk laceweight doubled

.

.

The Sketches.

I figured the different yarns would make different fabrics that would drape differently, so I sketched out the 2 options:  one floaty, one droopy.  I traced the bare essentials of 2 faces from a clothing catalog and added in the hats freehand.  The results were not bad, and they communicated the ideas.  I described how I would construct the hats and how I expected each version would look.  I filled out the rest of the paperwork (yarn brands and alternatives, gauges, sizes, etc.) and mailed it all off to Ohio.

The Decision.

The editorial committee wrote back and asked if I would knit BOTH hats, to show the different looks!  OK, I’m in!

Next chapter (Lord willing):  the yarn, the pattern-writing and the prototype knitting.

Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

FOs and Repairs

Posted by mtmom on January 22, 2011

My weekend schedule changed a while back, so Sundays are not always blog days.   I haven’t really settled into a new rhythm yet. . . .

I have finished several things, some fresh and some long latent.

white tam

pink

Firstly, I finished and mailed in to Cast On magazine, the 2 versions of my Galaxy Tam.  The pattern I e-mailed in a few days later.

Also, I finished a second little “hoot!”, by Ysolda Teague.

hoot! #1

hoot! #2

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

One is for my DS, away at university.

The other is for his girlfriend.  She said of hers that it is “adorbs”.  (I translated that to mean “adorable”.)  :)

.

And then, I FINALLY seamed up a knit/felted bag I started about 1 1/2 years ago.  I don’t think the shape and size will be adequate for a daily bag, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.  (It measures about 10″ – 12″ across, and 5″ – 6″ tall in the middle, where the stuff would sit.)  Yarn is Poems; design is my own.

"back" side

"front" side

I’ve had some more requests for repairs; this time for unusual gloves.

Glove from Latvia, here with hoot-owl

The first pair were a gift to me, purchased by an old friend when she traveled to Latvia one summer.  I’ve let my son wear them for a couple of winters, and one thumb developed a hole.  This past week I mended that.

Thumb "Before"

Thumb "After"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The second pair are Norwegian.  I haven’t started to work on the repairs yet, but I’ve enjoyed studying them.

Norwegian gloves. Thumbs replaced by another knitter.

Finger with a hole. Notice the spare color carried between stripes up by twisting strands.

See how the ends are NOT woven in -- just knotted and left! Amazing.

Posted in Cap/Hat, Design, Knitting, Mending | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.