Category Archives: Knitting

On the Needles: Herringbone Scarf

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday!

So, as usual, I’m behind on a crafted holiday gift. (It’s not my fault!) My husband asked if I could knit him a scarf, and being both a loved one and having begged asked nicely, two big requirements for a hand-knitted gift, how could I not do it? Yeah… Problem was that the request came in mid-November and I am not a fast knitter by any means. Had I thought of it on my own, I probably would have started it in September in order to make the Christmas deadline. Oy.

This is the third scarf I’ve knitted so far for my husband. The first one you may remember me mentioning in the Boyfriend Sweater Curse post. For that one, I used an OK yarn (100% acrylic) and it’s a little wimpy. The second scarf is really nice and chunky and perfect for very cold, wintry days. My husband calls it The Hoth Scarf. Maybe if Luke Skywalker had The Hoth Scarf, he wouldn’t have been so cold!

But like Goldilocks, sometimes you need something that’s just right.

Enter what I am calling, The Purple Pie Man Scarf. Where the other two scarves were knitted in neutral colors, this scarf is in an almost electric purple yarn. Honestly though, I’m not sure if this is even bright enough for him. If I could find a fluorescent-like purple in a nice yarn, that would have been ideal.

The yarn I chose to use is really heavenly merino wool, cashmere and nylon blend by Anzula in For Better or Worsted (could there be a more perfect name?). It knits up beautifully and holds fantastic stitch definition. Oh, and it doesn’t smell at all like the Purple Pie Man doll! Did anyone else have the Strawberry Shortcake board game from the early ’80s?

For the pattern, I’m using a free pattern on the Purl Bee’s site–the Men’s Mini Herringbone Scarf. I saw this last year and immediately pinned it on Pinterest for a later project. My husband wanted “just a regular scarf.” Oh yeah right–there was no way that was going to happen. Stockinette stitches are for sweaters. I love to knit new stitches on scarves. The herringbone stitch is an easy stitch, but it keeps your attention. It’s also a good project to knit when you’re watching a movie on TV you’ve already seen before (Clue, Practical Magic, White Christmas).

Now I just need to queue up more movies on Netflix and finish knitting it before winter is over! Hmmm, haven’t watched The Empire Strikes Back in a while…

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Completed Project: The Clapotis Wrap

Woo-hoo! I finally finished Kate Gilbert’s Clapotis pattern in Knitty! Yes, I started the project in March, but I had put it aside this summer to sew.

I was concerned that now that it’s cooler outside that the wrap wouldn’t be warm enough, but with the Noro Silk Garden yarn, it’s very cozy. Also, since the width of the wrap is pretty substantial, when you wear it as a scarf, it can almost be too warm. I’ll have to let you know when the temperatures dip below 30 degrees, though. I’m sure I’ll be thankful for its warmth! 

Overall I’m very happy with the result. The Noro Silk Garden yarn was a little difficult to work with when dropping stitches, but other than that, no complaints.

I’ll be adding this to my winter scarf wardrobe.

So far for 2012, the completed knitting project tally is 1 sweater, 1 scarf/wrap, 1 pair of gloves and 3 hats. I think that’s pretty darn excellent, if I don’t say so myself.

I have already cast on stitches for my next project. All I can say now, is that song in my head when I’m knitting it is from an 80’s commercial. “So say goodbye a little longer…Make it last a little longer…Give your breath long-lasting freshness with Big Red!”

 

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Completed: Simple Knitted Hat for Sandy Relief

Important update for the Sandy Craftalong! The deadline for donations is now Friday, November 16th.

For up-to-the-minute updates, visit the Sandy Craftalong here. You can also check out their progress with donations on their Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/SandyCraftalong

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Sandy Relief Craftalong

Last week, my husband and I were very fortunate to be of the few not affected by the storm, Sandy. We were glued to our TV, watching what the devastation had wrought. Our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone who has lost their homes and/or are shivering without power. The last couple days have been frigid outside. I heard on the news last night that some people, especially in Long Island, may not be getting their power and heat back until Thanksgiving.

Besides donating money, I searched online to see how I could help as a crafter. Two bloggers, Brett Bara from Manhattan Craft Room and Natalie Sound from A Dose of the Delightful, have organized a craftalong called, Make It Better – A Craftalong for Sandy Relief, for those who want to donate handmade items. They are looking for hats, scarves, gloves, mittens and blankets — basically anything that can keep people warm.

They need these items ASAP so that their volunteers can distribute them to those in need next week. If you want to send your handmade items, click the link above for additional information and the shipping address.

They also recommend some easy and free patterns online. I’m knitting a simple hat pattern that’s free on Lion Brand’s site. I cast on some Lion Brand Homspun yarn I had in my stash last night and I’m about halfway done. I expect I’ll be able to send the hat off tomorrow.

Lion Brand Simple Hat pattern

Speaking of Lion Brand, if you are in the New York City area, they are hosting a Stitching for Sandy event on November 14th. They’ll be donating free yarn — you just have to BYON (bring your own needles). You can also bring by your finished scarves, hats, gloves, mittens or blankets by the Lion Brand Yarn Studio between now and Nov. 16th.  All donations will go to World Vision for Sandy victims.

If you can’t turn around a project quickly, there are other ways you can help. The Occupy Movement has taken their social mobilization savvy and created regional Occupy Sandy chapters.  You can volunteer or even donate through their Amazon registry, which lists items that they need — like batteries, diapers and cleaning supplies.

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Completed – Put a Yo On It Sweater

Pattern: Carnac by Heather Dixon from Army of Knitters
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted
Color: Gray Heather
# of skeins: 6
Needles: US 10 and size US 15 circulars, US 15 dpns

Gotta say — this is the quickest sweater I’ve ever knit. It might be the first time that I’ve completed a sweater in time to still be able to wear it in the current season! Woo-hoo! So from start to finish, it only took me 6 weeks to knit. And honestly, I could have finished it at least 2 weeks ago, but I had put the sweater aside to work on some other stuff.

I do have a couple of notes on this Army of Knitters pattern – which is officially called the Carnac. I had read on Ravelry that the sleeves of the sweater were pretty tight, so I initially knit the sleeves a couple of sizes bigger. When I tried on the sleeves, they looked really baggy, so I frogged it and knitted up the sleeves as they were designed for my size. It’s really all about the blocking. Yes, the sleeves are a little tight, but if you block the sleeves wide enough, it should be comfortable. Also, using 100% cotton yarn really helps the sweater stretch out a little.

Also, I have no idea how anyone could cast on the sleeves on circular needles – at any size! It was pretty tough. I ended up knitting the ribbing on double-pointed needles and switched to circulars when knitting the mesh pattern. Even then, it was still a little awkward. So, to anyone who hasn’t knit this sweater yet, I highly recommend getting a set of size 15 dpns.

 

End result? The sweater is really comfortable and flattering. I wore it out shopping this weekend in Soho and it’s perfect for the 50-60 degree days we’re having in New York now. Can’t wait to bring to Boston — my sister is nearly finished with her own Carnac. Hello, sister blogger photo-op!

I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment. So, now what? Oh right….Need to finish a couple scarves

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On the Needles: Put a Yo on it Sweater

OK, so I know I haven’t finished many knitting projects in the past year, but I couldn’t resist starting this crocheted-looking sweater from Army of Knitters. I first saw it on Ravelry in the Anthropologie Knits group.

It’s a great pattern and very easy. Once you complete the band of ribbing at the base of the sweater, it’s just a series of yarn overs (a.k.a. yo’s). Also it’s a great project to knit while watching new Fall TV. (Pssst – Once Upon a Time, Revenge and Homeland all start on September 30– my DVR is going to be on overdrive!)

I’ll never look like this model, but you get the idea. Carmac sweater from Army of Knitters

I figure, since it’s a transitional-season sweater, I’ll need to complete it sooner rather than later. From the looks of it on Ravelry, people have completed it in a matter of days! I’m not so lucky, but I am proud to say that I’m about 1/3 of the way through — woo-hoo! Next post on this project will be the finished piece!

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It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…Wait, Is That Plane Wearing a Sweater?

A DC-3 like this will be yarn bombed and on display starting August 11. Photo Credit: Caleb Howell via Flickr

In the crafty world, you’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about yarn bombing – or as I call it, knitty graffiti. Although popular items that typically get yarn bombed are telephone poles, mailboxes, and bicycles, to name a few, it was reported in the Toronto Star that on August 11, the Yukon Transportation Museum in Canada will be unveiling a knitted cozy on a 70-year old DC-3 plane.

Knitters from across the continent have been submitting squares for the project and the museum has enlisted a local construction company to wrap the cozy around the plane.  The knitted plane will be on display for two weeks before it will be deconstructed into blankets and donated to charities and shelters (I hope Oxyclean can get the fuel stains out of those).

Personally, I first became aware of yarn bombing last year when the Astor Place Cube sculpture in New York was covered with crocheted fibers, but its roots go back about 7 years. Magda Sayeg is considered to be the first yarn-bombing artist, having knitted a small door handle cozy for her Houston boutique, Raye, in 2005. According to the New York Times (yep, it even caught their attention), Sayeg moved on from that door handle to bigger projects and founded the graffiti crew, Knitta Please. After photos of her graffiti art appeared online, she started receiving requests for larger installations. Below are two of her awesome projects (check out the Knitta blog for more).

Knit graffiti in Sussex Lane by Magda Sayeg in Sydney, Australia. Photo credit: JAM Project via Flickr

“Plan Ahead” on Kent Ave in Brooklyn, NY. Photo credit: Couche Tard via Flickr

After 2005, yarn bombing steadily became an international phenomenon. In London, the group Knit the City has been guerilla knitting (or yarnstorming as they call it) all over town. Their mission? To paint the gray London streets in tons of color. They’ve yarned over phone booths, decorated a fountain in Piccadilly Circus with little creatures, and surreptitiously hung knitted bears, snakes and frogs in Berlin.

English: Phone Box Cosy by

English: Phone Box Cosy by (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s kind of sad though – so much work is put into this street art, but they don’t last that long. Knitters have to be careful of what type of yarn to use – acrylic is best since colors won’t run. And since projects are exposed to the elements, the yarn disintegrates within a couple of weeks. Luckily there are plenty of photos documenting this expressive graffiti on blogs and Flickr:

Photo credit: noeud.noir

Yarnbomb Fish & Frog!

Yarnbomb Fish & Frog! (Photo credit: jillmotts)

Photo credit: Queenie & the Dew via Flickr

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On the Needles: Clapotis Scarf

Along with practically every knitter in the known knitterverse, I’ve jumped on the Clapotis (pronounced “clap-o-tee”) bandwagon. This wildly popular free scarf/pattern was originally published on Knitty in Fall 2004 and it’s still going strong nearly 8 years later. Some fun stats:

  • Google “Knitty Clapotis” and it comes up in 366,000 search results
  • The Craftster knitalong of the Clapotis has 178 pages
  • On Ravelry, 15,388 users have completed the scarf, 1,975 are currently knitting it and there are 2,252 blog posts devoted to the topic

So why is this pattern so darn popular? For one, it’s gorgeous. For another, it’s a pretty straightforward pattern. The recommended yarn is multicolored wool/silk blend from Lorna’s Laces, however the skeins are pricey at $32-$40/skein (pattern calls for 4 skeins). But, many knitters have found other yarns at a lower price that are just as nice, like Noro Silk Garden (which I’m using) or Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.

I originally printed out the pattern in late 2006 and added it to my pile of future knitting projects. Finally this March I bought the yarn and started to knit. Woo-hoo! I got a little tripped up on a couple of knitting terms though, but now that I’m halfway through the pattern, I’m pretty comfortable.  Here’s my little tutorial so you don’t have to look them up.

K tbl (Knit through back of loop)

This stitch is used before and after each knit stitch that will eventually be dropped to create the lace effect of the scarf. It twists the stitches so that the scarf keeps its body. Instead of knitting into the stitch through the front loop as you usually would (see picture above left), you insert the needle into the back of the loop instead (see picture above right).

Kfb (Knit into front and back of stitch)

This term comes up a lot in the pattern. It also appears in the beginning of the pattern as “Pfb,” or purl into front and back of stitch.  Both stitches are used as an increase method.

  1. Knit into the stitch
  2. Before lifting the knitted stitch off the needle, insert needle into the back of the original stitch and knit that as well — just like k tbl.

Now you have increased by one stitch. For Pfb, use the same technique, except purl instead of knit.

Yarn Choice

As far as the yarn I’m using, Noro Silk Garden 320, it’s OK. There’s a lot of very dark sections and for some reason I thought the color would be more pastel-colored. The transition from light to dark is pretty drastic, but that could be because the pattern is so wide. I’m sure it will look fine to wear in the fall though.

Also, dropping stitches with this yarn is difficult. The mohair in the yarn makes the stitches “stick” and I have to pull the yarn a lot to get the stitch to drop to the bottom of the wrap. It’s a little irritating, to say the least. If I were to knit pattern again, I’d probably choose a silky blend without any mohair. Kind of missed that little detail!

All in all though, it’s a fun pattern. Using the multicolored yarn makes the pattern look interesting while I’m knitting and I’m finding that it knits up pretty quickly. I’m now in the middle of the pattern in the dreaded “straight rows” section.  Six more repeats to go and I’ll be onto the decrease section. Yay! Maybe I’ll complete this in the next couple weeks…before I get distracted with another knitting project!

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