Crochet: June 2011 Archives
Doubled Fingering Below, Sport Above
Rare is the knitter who chooses the exact yarn as recommend by a pattern. Substituting a yarn can happen for many reasons: 1) you have a different yarn in your stash 2) you don't like the colors in the recommended yarn 3) you are allergic to the recommended yarn 4) you have another yarn in your cart needing an excuse to purchase, etc. The reasons for substitution are as varied as the day is long. And substitution is generally a pretty easy business, unless the yarn you want to use is a different gauge, and then it gets tricky. Sure subbing Aran or Worsted is no cause for puzzlement but say you want to trade Fingering for Sport or DK for Worsted or, even crazier, fingering for DK. Don't get your underwear in a twist-it's easy if you know how.
Doubled Sport below, DK Above
Subbing yarn is all in the rule of doubling and as long as you know the hierarchy of yarn gauges-Lace, Fingering, Sport, DK, Worsted, Bulky & Chunky- you'll be fine. Each hierarchy level can be reached by doubling the size below. For example, to trade a Fingering weight yarn for a Sport weight yarn you will need to double the fingering yarn, so you will generally need double the yardage. To trade Sport for DK, double the Sport weight. For DK to Worsted, double the DK, and so on up the hierarchy. This also makes it easier to make great leaps in the hierarchy: to sub Fingering for DK, you will need 4 strands of fingering. This is because you need Sport weight doubled for DK and Fingering doubled for Sport so that makes 4 strands of Fingering weight. It can get to be a handful if you trade Fingering for Chunky so I would not recommend jumping up the hierarchy more than 2 steps.
To knit with more than one strand is just as easy as one strand; just hold all your strands as you would one (just check to make sure you loop them all in each stitch until you gain confidence. Doubling is also a great way to create your own variegated colors (by holding different colors) or add tone-on-tone variations or add a punch of color or texture (by holding 2 strands of the same size by different types of yarn. i.e. 2 sport yarns, 1 wool and 1 silk) to a simple pattern. Using this technique can also flesh out your stash, give you new ideas and encourage you to purchase that special yarn that you would otherwise have no idea how to knit up. I love using this with Mohair, since I am not a big fan of mohair given its lightness and fuzziness that loves to disobey my every wish; I combine it with wool to add softness and ease of knitting. This it does something special to both the mohair and the wool. This is one of my favorite tricks for feisty yarns!
Man, was this little guy fun. I am really getting the hang of crochet and I am really enjoying it as well. I originally fell in love with the Lion on the Cover of 'Leisure Arts Easy Crochet Critters', until the book arrived. Then I took one look at the Hippo and was hooked (oh geez, please excuse my puns). Though something went wonky along the way- I think I left out an increase on the nose. I am still not very good at row counting in crochet so I can't really look back and see where the mistake might be, so my Hippo resembles more of a pig than a hippo but he is cute nonetheless. I am already shifting through my stash to make all the other animals, lion first, and redo the hippo to make sure I get it right this time. I am head over heels for that cute little tail. I made sure to use the right size hook this time, which was tricky but given the practice I was able to adjust in just a few minutes. My confidence is growing. I used the delightful Berroco Weekend in Orchid, which is just a very light purple, perfect for a hippo or the seal. The yarn crocheted up beautifully, with no splitting or snags.
The bonus, that I didn't see coming, is that my little 2 yr old loves the booklet as much as I do. She thinks it is another of her animal books. I get a few minutes of wiggle free lap time where she points to all the animals, we name them and then make the noise. It is bliss. The projects are small and quick so they make great car companions and fit inside a diaper bag or into the back of the stroller. I have also been able to fine tune my Magic Circle technique and use it instead of chaining and then crocheting into the chain. I just magic circle the same number as I would crochet into the chain and pull it up tight. It gives a flawless look. I cannot wait to get started on the other 9 animals and I hope Leisure Arts comes out with even more Amigurumi books like this one!
Doilies-My initial mental picture is a plastic covered living room bedecked with coarse cotton doilies on every available flat surface, Oh and shag carpet. But that is just a stereotype perpetuated by Hollywood and is no longer the true reputation associated with Doilies. Doilies are cool now- no seriously, cool!
Just check out what Jared Flood has done to help the Doily
on its way up the social ladder with his Hemlock
Ring Blanket. Doilies do not have to be just doilies either. You can knit
or crochet them up to be just about anything these days, blankets (as above),
shawls, bowls (with some setting spray) or adornments. You can control the size
of your doilies by using different size yarn, needles and altering the
patterns. I choose to make some different doilies to embellish a plain tank
top. I choose several doily patterns
and some worsted
weight yarn. However, no matter how small I tried to make the doilies, they
still came out too big to embellish my tank. So I just knit the centers of the
doilies and cast off once I had the size I liked. Some of the edges curled and some
didn't and I like that. I used a 100%
cotton yarn to make it washable and durable as I am a big tank top wearer
in summer and these will get lots of wash time since Potty training is set to
start soon in my house. I originally tried to glue each flower on with fabric
glue but that didn't work for several reasons:
1) the fabric glue ruined the stretch of the rib knit under each flower
2) The fabric glue darkened the tank top under each flower so the glue had to be applied perfectly
3) My little girl could easily pull off the flowers
So I hand sewed each flower which was better in the long run than the glue because I could keep the shape better by hand tacking each doily in place and in the shape I liked.
What I really like about most doilies is the openness of the design which really makes it perfect for summer time projects. You could work up a bunch together for a hem detail or even some to adorn a matching headband. The options are endless and they only take a few minutes for each.
Summer is iconic for sprinklers, running outside until dark and playing in the grass but it gets so stinking hot outside some days that I just can't bring myself to bear it after 11 am. So since a good part of these days are set inside, I get to looking around and redecorating in my mind. I love to bring my 2 loves of sewing and knitting together whenever possible but it can be tricky when dealing in Home Décor. Knitting is most often shawls, sweaters and mittens. Clearly it is apparel heavy but just a little bit here and there and knitting lends itself very well to Home décor.
Yes, I am familiar with knitted afghans and pillows but those are so definitely winter items and not a good fit for summer decorations. Flowers, however, are just what we need to bring knitting into our living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Knitted and crocheted flowers are quick, fun and challenging (if you want them to be) and with a few swipes of the hand needle can be applied to pillows, duvets, table cloths, and chair covers to bring the outside in. Should you like wildflower bouquets, you can choose several flower patterns and mix them up together either in one color or complimentary colors. For those who prefer a huge monospecific bouquet might, instead, choose a favorite flower pattern and knit up as many as you need in either one or multi colors. Some patterns are meant to be felted, others are not and I would suggest an acrylic blend yarn to make them washable.
Since my Burlap Transfer Pillow was such a success, I decided to make a complimentary pillow out of the rest of my burlap with one huge, magnificent flower in the center. I used Berroco Weekend in Orchid and #154 from Vogue Lace Stitchionary but I recommend any of these great free flower patterns on Ravelry. You can adjust the size of your flower by your yarn gauge, needle size, doubling your strands and continuing a pattern. Be sure you take into consideration where this knitted piece will be used. Mine is strictly decoration (not too many want to lay their heads on burlap) but given that I have a toddler, it is all washable. I followed the same instructions as for my previous burlap pillow but I left the edges raw to contrast with the neat, precise lace flower in the center. I do not suggest fabric glue for joining knits to Home Décor pieces, hand sew when possible. The amount of use these items are likely to see coupled with the weight of the home décor fabric is not a good combo for glue.
Check back tomorrow for an exciting blog post. Here's a hint: June Weddings!
In 3 months a better part of the country will see temperatures drop and a fall chill creep into the air. It seems 100 years away since it just got hot but before you know it you will be reaching for your wooly sweaters, silk shawls and alpaca scarves. If you don't get busy now you will be left out in the cold. And why not start now. The kids are home from school and in need to activities to keep them entertained. Teach them to knit or crochet and they can create their own scarves. Once they learn to knit or crochet, they will love the activity and creativity. You can take your yarny projects to the park, soccer practice or sit at a local coffee shop while the kids play at camp. It is a great excuse to hide away in the air conditioning for a while.
I have scoured the internet for some great knitting and crochet patterns that you will want to get started on right away. You have 3 short months to put a dent in your knitting & crochet projects before the cold weather creeps in.
This is an amazingly constructed sweater- Seamless from the top down, making it easy to try on while knitting. This would look great in tweed!
Such a great idea to make a 2-in-1. I recommend a bright Alpaca
This sassy number needs a tonal stripe to make is just right for fall. I can see it in Teal and Lite Green Superwash Merino (pic © Mia Edvardson)
Great for everyone- it can be a stash buster or to bump your cart up to $35/free shipping
Crocheted delight for kids. My little one loves her poncho and so do I. It makes buckling into her car seat much easier than a coat.
I MUST make this in a trendy, spicy color. I am thinking Candied Yarn Mix! (Pic © madelinetosh)
Elise Shawl: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elise-shawl
This is simply amazing and I love it in a tightly wound red as featured.