Category Archives: knitting

Baby in Red (sweater)

Word Lily knitsYay, I finally tried the sweater on the babe and even got photos, all in the same day! Let’s pretend it isn’t nearly a month after the last end was woven in …

The pattern is Gavyn.

While I didn’t love everything about the pattern, or the knitting, I do think I quite like the finished sweater.

Baby in red

This was my first bottom-up sweater, my first non-raglan sweater. I made the 12-month size and added an inch to the length of the body of the sweater and about 3/4-inch to the sleeve length, because my boy is tall and long-torso-ed.

It doesn’t look as big on him (at 7 months) as I thought it was, as I was aiming for, but it will still hopefully fit him all this winter.

I used recycled sweater yarn, in 100 percent cotton; tripling the yarn gave me gauge on the recommended needle size.

I’m linking up with FO Friday and Fiber Arts Friday; visit these places if you want to see more projects! 🙂

Advertisements

Blanket of Many Colors (WIP)

Word Lily knitsApparently I started knitting this blanket in May. It’s still a very long way from completed; I think it will be one of those projects I work a few rows here and there on, between other knits.

I was inspired by this 64 Crayons pattern, which I originally found at the designer’s [Amy Swenson, aka Indigirl] blog.

I fell in love with the idea of all the colors! Stripes! And I reasoned to myself that the strips would be less annoying to piece together than smaller things, like squares. (I don’t like seaming.)

But of course I took it my own direction.

Blanket of Stripey Colors

That’s one strip completed, about 6 feet long. The second, narrower, strip, is still in progress. I’m using recycled sweater cotton, in as many colors as I can find! And oh yes, I am definitely dreading all those ends to weave in. I envision this as a blanket that’s cosy to curl up under, that can be draped over the couch, that will hopefully be used to make tents indoors in a few years. (Hey, it’ll take that long before it’s finished at this rate, anyway!) And then when it’s seen such love, I can throw it in the washing machine, and even dryer, if need be.

Am I alone in my love for ALL THE COLORS?

(I’m linking up with Tami’s Amis for WIP Wednesday.)

Knitting in the dark

Word Lily knitsI started these socks as we were on a 7-hour (one-way) road trip. I knew I’d have the chance to get a bunch of knitting in, and I wanted something small and mindless but not too quick to finish. Simple socks it is (Rav project page)!

On that one trip (there and back), I nearly finished the first sock.

The skein (Patons Kroy Socks Stripes) for the second sock had a knot and a color change that completely messed up the progression (you can see it at the top of the sock on the right of the photo), which bugged me but I just went with it.

They fit really well (tweaking, ever tweaking that recipe), but of course when I got them finished my husband said he liked these better than the ones he had and would totally wear them. But by then, they fit me, not him. (Also, not nearly enough yarn left to make them bigger.)

During that first day in the car, I put them down when it got too dark to see. But then, maybe 40 minutes later, Paul asked why I’d stopped knitting. He figured since knitting was such a tactile activity, I would be able to knit without benefit of eyesight. Well, I’d heard of people who capably knit simple things in dark movie theaters, so I decided to try it. The results were less than pretty.

See all the snags and awfulness? And that’s after I fixed the really bad stuff

So, I learned that I need to practice being less dependent on my eyes while I’m knitting, while I still have access to light (say, when I’m watching football). I’m not quite there yet, to the point where I can knit beautifully in the dark. Although circular needles would help a lot, instead of using double-pointed needles. I seemed to have trouble at the start of each needle.

And these socks will remind me of that trip, to my sister’s baby shower. (Welcome, baby!)

Knitting tools and tips

Word Lily knitsI’ve had a couple requests for a post about knitting tips for beginners. So, here goes. 🙂

First of all, knitting is one of those things that many people find it easier to learn hands-on. Even for me, who has eagerly learned from books for so much of my life. When it comes to learning something I’ll be doing with my hands, it’s really nicest to learn hands-on, person to person. If you don’t have a friend who knits who can show you, or even if you do, a local yarn shop (LYS) can be useful. They often have classes, specifically for beginning knitters, to help you get started. These classes are often three or more hours, and from everything I’ve heard, they’re generally worth the expense. Also, for what it’s worth, when I said “local yarn shop” I didn’t mean Michael’s or Joann’s. Those definitely have their place, but in my experience, you’re more likely to get good help from a smaller local place (non-chain) that specializes in yarn/fiber/textiles.

Speaking of local yarn shops, how local “local” is can really vary. I have two yarn shops about 45 minutes away, and I sometimes go to them, but my favorite yarn shop — that I consider local to me — is two hours from home.

If you have a local yarn shop or a knitting friend, you’re pretty much set. They’ll be there to help you get started (and pick out yarn and needles) and later when you get stuck, or when you forgot something.

If you don’t, though, or if you want a little extra reassurance, places that have been helpful to me: KnittingHelp.com, YouTube, and — of course — Ravelry.

When I’m first learning a new stitch or technique (or need a refresher), the first place I go is KnittingHelp. They have quality videos of tons of knitting skills, plus comparison photos of increases and decreases, etc. The videos are short, and sometimes I watch the one I’m studying over and over, pausing as I complete that step, then viewing and copying, pausing, etc.

On YouTube, it’s good to search for the specific skill you’re looking for, rather than just for knitting, because there are lots of vids for specific advanced skills. If you’re first starting out, that might be:
• stockinette stitch,
• the knit stitch, or
• purl.
And it’s often helpful, on YouTube, to watch several videos that come up in a search, since quality differs, as can explanations. Obviously, some videos/teachers are better than others.

Ravelry has tons and tons of patterns (easily searchable), plus so much more. It’s actually so awesome and useful that’s it’s hard to describe. There’s a database of yarn, with users’ ratings and comments. The patterns include users’ projects, and project notes and photos. YOU can keep track of your yarn, needles, patterns you own (or even keep a digital copy in your Ravelry library), projects you’ve made and notes about them. And there are forums. Sooo many forums. There’s a group for nearly everything you can think of, and if you get stuck, you’re likely to find help there when you need it.

Another option altogether for the actual learning-to-knit part is to take an online class, like this one:

Annie Modesitt (@modeknit) is offering a free how-to-knit class on Udemy, a new online teaching platform. She will be teaching Combination knitting and traditional western knitting.

Now. I’ve given you many, many resources, here are a few tips:

  • In general, start with basic, smooth yarn (not the trendy ruffle yarn or anything too fuzzy), in a medium weight, probably worsted. Hopefully in a color you like. Made of something somewhat stretchy, probably wool or acrylic.
  • I’d also recommend needles in a medium size, anywhere from size 6 to size 8 (4-5 mm).
  • A person is more likely to stick with learning a new craft/skill if the project is one she really wants to make, rather than just a “learning” project, so pick a pattern you really want to make! Something that really draws you in. My first knitting project, I learned a year or so after I made it, was supposedly an intermediate level project, rather than a beginner project, because it used short rows. But since I didn’t know it was supposed to be hard, and because I really wanted to own the finished object, I made it, without too much difficulty.

That’s it! Any more questions? I hope you feel empowered to start knitting today.

#hexchat and my own unsewn hexis

Word Lily knitsLisa of Books. Lists. Life. posted a paper-piecing quilting tutorial, and Trish of Love, Laughter, Insanity kind of ran with it, and it’s turned into an informal quiltalong. They’re having fun chatting on Twitter, using the #hexchat hashtag, and I kind of joined in the fun, tweeting them when I saw a post of beautiful hexagon quilts at NJStacie’s blog.

I love the look of so many quilts, many variations of hex quilts among them, but I’m not ready to start a quilt. I’m still scared of my sewing machine.

The eye candy and the talk, though, have me yearning to get back to my own hexagons and get my Beekeeper’s Quilt finished. (Pattern here.) I had all the hexipuffs knitted as of this spring, and I started piecing them together this summer, but it’s been stalled for months. I really want to get it done before Christmas.

Tying my Beekeeper's Quilt

Each hexagon is knitted, then stuffed and closed up, then I’m tying them together where the corners meet like you’d tie a quilt.

I’m quite a bit further along in the tying than this, it shouldn’t take more than a couple dedicated afternoons (or the equivalent in shorter spurts) to get it all done. In that photo, the wrong side is up; the ties basically stay on the wrong side and aren’t visible from the right side.

Mmm, hexipuffs …

I love how we can draw inspiration from each other, across mediums!

Finished Object Friday: Ribbed socks

Word Lily knitsI said the other day that I’d only knit two non-baby things in 2012. I already blogged about one of them; here’s the other:

Blue stripes ribbed socks

(Ravelry project page)

I made these in July. They’re really basic, just a basic sock in 3×1 rib, continued all the way down the leg, over the top of the foot and through most of the toe. I didn’t use a pattern, I’m trying to discover vary aspects of the sock to find the best fit, and this was a step (heh) in that direction.

While not exciting, they’re definitely easy to wear, since I practically live in jeans. I do love sock knitting.

(Posting this as part of FO Fridays and Fiber Arts Fridays.)

Baby blankets for cousins

Word Lily knitsAsa has two cousins due within two weeks of each other, and I knit them each a baby blanket.

Wanna see?

grellow with pink
(Project page on Ravelry)

Their nursery colors are yellow and grey, and they’re having a girl. The blanket is two-thirds yellow and one-third grey, with a thin stripe of a bright pink in between.

Concentric squares
(Ravelry project page)

They’re having a boy, and their nursery theme is polka dots. I tried a polka dotted blanket, but it wouldn’t work within the constraints it needed to, which is sad. But hopefully this one is good, too. I like the proportions of the stripes.

Both of these patterns were pretty boring as far as the knitting goes, but the stripes one at least had color changes to keep track of and look forward to. Although it also had about a million ends to weave in after the knitting was finished.

Both of them are knitted in recycled (unraveled from old sweaters) cotton, which is super soft, but also machine-washable and -dryable, which seems like a must for baby blankets.

More pictures of the blankets (you can click on them to view them larger):


Also, if you haven’t yet, please vote! Gnomes or Snowmen? Here’s some background information so you can make an informed decision on this vital issue.

Hats

I checked a week or so ago and I’ve only knit two projects in 2012 that weren’t baby related. They weren’t all for my little one, but they were all for little people (or impendings).

Here are just a couple. All the hats I’d made for him before he was born, he outgrew. They grow so fast! So, I knit him a couple more, since cold weather approaches (and has been here for a day or two, actually, but has since given us a reprieve).

Here’s the first one I made:

(You can see his first tooth in the left-most two of that montage; he now has two teeth and has started working on the next one. You might need to click on the photo to view it larger, though.)

Here’s my project page on Ravelry. I used Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted yarn, in the color Bit of Blue. Nice things about this hat: it keeps his neck warm, and it won’t fall (or be too easily pulled) off.

And, hat number two:
Teo Hat

This one was super-fast to make, albeit a bit fiddly. And the yarn was from the bottom of my stash, so it was nice to find a good use for it! It’s a tiny bit too big, but with the ties I’m thinking it will still stay on. And this yarn is soo thick and warm, too (the long-discontinued, I believe, Lion Brand Bolero (100% wool, thick and thin singles)). My project page is here, with more details.

So, that’s it for today! Plenty more knits to show (and even some other stuff to talk about soon). I tried to make a hat for myself from that second pattern (different colors), but it ended up too small or too short, or both, even though it should have worked. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do about that, yet.