Beautiful Knitting

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

Archive for the ‘fun’ 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.


Tubular Cast On complete!

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

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!)

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Botanical Eye Candy

Posted by mtmom on February 10, 2011

Some visual miscellany for your mid-week.

pink geranium a week ago -- night shot, with flash

pink geranium in western window -- morining/noon light

pink geranium in western window -- afternoon/evening light

recognize this blossom?

spider plant!

Posted in fun, Yard/Garden | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Virtual Advent Calendar

Posted by mtmom on December 3, 2010

Check this out:  from Garnstudio and Drops Design, if you follow the link you’ll find a page with a little box for each day of December leading up to Christmas.  Each box has a knitting pattern “behind the door” (i.e., click on that box).

Fun! (Also available in other languages than “US”.)

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Sheep Days

Posted by mtmom on June 13, 2010

I didn’t post last weekend, but here is what I was doing — sheep wrangling 101.

These are freshly-shorn Churro sheep, traditionally raised by the Navajo in this area, waiting to go home from the annual Wool Festival in their trailer.  These particular sheep come from a flock owned by Joe Meehan of the Arizona Historical Society and also of Southwest Skye Pipes and Drums.  He and I were discussing old Scottish, Irish, and Welsh songs, and when the time came to get the sheep into the trailer at the end of each day of the Festival, I got to help.  I would stand at one opening in the fence and prevent them escaping that way, while the more robust helpers chased them around the pen and (eventually) up the ramp and into the trailer.

Knitting-wise, I’ve been working on writing the article on Bavarian Twisted Stitches for Cast On magazine and learning little bits about vector-based graphics versus pixilated fonts.  (My DS is so skilled with this stuff!)  And trying out new yarns and colors for kilt hose — need to be sportweight and manly.

Posted in fun, Knitting | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

In “Training” for Knitting Olympics

Posted by mtmom on February 2, 2010

The Winter Olympic Games are set to begin at 6 p.m. PST on 12 February, 2010, and Ravelry is hosting a parallel event for the online knitting/crochet/spinning community which they’re calling the Ravelympics.  (Logo designed by zzwhitejd, moderator of Ravelympics group.)

I’ve joined up with the TKGA team, and plan to cast-on along with all the other “athletes” when the Olympic torch is lit — in my own time zone that will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, the 12th.

My team event:  Single Skein Speedskating, for which I plan to start and finish the first group of my Master Knitter Level III swatches.

I may also enter individual events (being on a team is not required for any event).  Maybe a hat in the Hat Halfpipe and/or the Cable Cross-Country events.  Or a new design for Designer Original Dance (sample only), Designer Pattern Skeleton (instructions only), or Designer Biathlon (both).  Or a cat bed in the Bobsled event.  Or a throw pillow for DS “teen-genius” dorm room in the Platter Lift.  Maybe something for Charity Curling.  Lots of possibilities — mustn’t overwhelm myself!  Event-projects can be added at any time before the Games end.

“Training”, i.e. swatching, is allowed before event-time, so I’ve been looking up some references for the techniques required in the first swatches and giving some of them a mini-try.  Currently, that’s pairing unusual cast-ons and bind-offs of my choice; one pair must be tubular.   I find Master Knitter work satisfying!

Posted in fun, Master Knitter | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Funny (non-knitting-related) Video

Posted by mtmom on November 24, 2009

I so enjoyed watching this little spoof, I decided to share it with you all.  (Advent starts this coming Sunday!)

And, just so you know, I LOVE chant — but that’s not what this is.  I guess I love a wholesome laugh even more.  🙂

Posted in fun, Videos -- made by me | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Lots of Knitting (Scandinavian and Otherwise) and Girls in a Tree.

Posted by mtmom on October 25, 2009

Before we get to the knitting, I’d like to show you my DDs in their new favorite hang-out.

2_girls_in_tree And, just how high is that?  2_girls_how_high

They’ve gotten a few scrapes and scratches, but declare the tree to be “awesome”!

On to the knitting.

As you may recall, I finished the vest for Cast On’s spring 2010 issue, just in time to join a knitalong hosted by Schoolhouse Press.  The first design was a neck-scarf in the Icelandic style.

haze_1rep_day6 In the beginning, you can see the pink diamond shapes, above the green provisional cast-on.

But as you go along, the decreases fold the piece up the middle and in at the sides, making the diamonds look like grid squares.


When the 2 sides collapse together at top-center, you carefully decrease/graft the final stitches together, and then pick up the cast-on to begin the border.

haze_scarf_day10 .



The border gets pretty frilly toward the end.

I switched to a contrasting color midway through.










The Kidsilk Haze yarn knit up like a cloud on 4.5 mm needles (US size 7).

The scarf is light and, I think, oh so lovely!  Thank you Marilyn van Keppel and Meg Swansen and all at Schoolhouse Press!

haze_scarf_on_yellow_aspenIsn’t that a lovely, drapery, wispy thing?!

I’m planning to give it to my SIL for Christmas.  She loves pink.

While I was working on the scarf, I finished a 3-color spiral cap. I used my basic pattern (Ravelry link), but changed the cast-on to Judy’s Magic and began the other 2 colors right away.  I like that better  (– need to update the pattern soon!)

3-Greens Cap

3-Greens Cap

Once that was done, and once I finished the scarf, I went a bit nuts starting Too Many Things.

startitisI got hold of myself!

The green and white circlet to the left, I’ve pulled off the needles and laid aside for later.  (a cap to match the “Peek through the Windows” Cast On vest)

The gold lace cap, with the 2 green possible-yarns, I’ve returned to the get-around-to-it stack.  (I hope to write up the pattern.)

The blue is in that same stack.  (potential swatch for potential sweater)

The dark multi has progressed to half a hat, and moving quickly.  This is the first I’ve used Wisdom Yarns’ “Skye” bulky; it feels pretty good.


The dark Lamb’s Pride is way-way to the back of my mind, for one-day some-day nice color.

The pink is another Cast On submission in-the-making that I don’t want to show yet. . . .  The Cascade “Venezia” suits it well, I think.

Meanwhile, the second project in the Schoolhouse Press knitalong was posted on Wednesday this week.  Faroese footlets/slippers.FFootlet_1"

Another design in a Scandinavian style by Marilyn van Keppel:  first Iceland, now the Faroe Islands!  One more to go after this: modular footies (begins 2 November, 2009).

(link to the KAL)

I’m finding more slow going than the lace, and not as much chatter in the Yahoo group.




Today, I’ve done some knitterly playing around.  Two swatches.

One, of some stitch patterns used by designers in the book, 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders.

The lower pattern was a simple lattice, but the upper pattern involved twisted-st garter stitch, an ususual bind-off that I had to see to understand, and columns of dropped stitches.  Here’s a series of photos to show the process.

Every 4th stitch left live on needle during BO

Every 4th stitch left live on needle during BO

Pull needle out of remaining stitches

Pull needle out of remaining stitches

Drop down the freed-up stitches, one at a time.

Drop down the freed-up stitches, one at a time.

All stitch-columns now dropped.  See the ladders.

All stitch-columns now dropped. See the ladders.





Widens out substantially!




In the second swatch of the day, I tried to adapt the neck-scarf’s lace pattern-stitch to a rectangle.  After several false starts, I figured that out to my satisfaction, and added on Marilyn van Keppel’s border at the top.  Perhaps this idea could become a sister-scarf to the triangle.  (I wonder how my other SIL feels about pink/purple?  She usually wears black and other “strong” colors. . . .)icelandic_lace_swatch

Busy, busy!

I also posted some new videos to YouTube.  One on washing woolen handknits, especially intended for “my” pipers with special socks, and one (in 2 parts) demonstrating a tubular bind off for circular 2×2 ribbing.  (I’ll post the former here — not sure if it’ll link or embed.)

Posted in Cap/Hat, fun, Knitting, lace, Videos -- made by me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Back from Texas Travelling

Posted by mtmom on August 21, 2009

I spent the past Thursday through Sunday in Texas, delivering my teen-genius son to Rice University {sniff} and visiting family and old friends.

We said goodbye to DH/DF and DDs/DSisters at the airport.  (DS is a great big brother!)hst_airport_kids

hst_andrews.     .     .     .       During our layover, we met with cousins Dick and Angela from Ft. Worth.

hst_knittersAngela is also a knitter!  (She’s the one who got me involved in SockMadness back in 2007.)

Check out her blog, “Purls Before Frogs”.




Then, in Houston, we met up with cousin Briana and her husband Alejandro and baby-coming-in-October Gabriel.hst_valencias

hst_hallAnd had a really good visit with Mrs. Hall, my chaperone on summer overseas student-group travel during high school.  Now 92, she retired from teaching high school this past year (!) so that she and her daughter (and 4 dogs and 2 cats!) can move to Wasilla, Alaska at the end of August.  (That’s a BIG change from Houston!)





What did I knit on the journey?

I worked a little bit on The Sampler (mini-sweater) from Beth Brown-Reinsel’s book Knitting Ganseys.gansey_patt_band

gusset growing

But mostly I knit ’round-n-’round on this top-down cap in Noro Silver Thaw.silver_thaw_capAirport security had no problem with the 16″ plastic Bryspun circular.

Posted in Cap/Hat, fun, Knitting | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Videos: Piping and Weaving

Posted by mtmom on July 24, 2009

I spent most of yesterday wrestling with iMovie, YouTube, Facebook, and CyberDuck.  Here’s some of the fruit of that labor:  a short (31 seconds) video clip from Sunday’s Celtic Festival in which Robert Watt pipes while wearing his new kilt hose.  (He gave me permission to post this.  Thanks to Nanette Blanchard for requesting it.)

Follow this link to another interesting video I found from Knitting Daily TV:  Liz Gipson weaves on a rigid heddle loom (followed on that blog page by another video on weaving with knitting yarns.)

Posted in Celtic, fun, Socks | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »