Knitting: February 2011 Archives
Designed to finish off remnant yardages of sock yarn to make newborn slippers, SockPixie's Magic Slipper Pattern can easily accommodate bigger kid slippers by upgrading your yarn gauge. This is a fast and enjoyable slippers pattern to make for any special kid in your life. My daughter is especially in need of slipper because of her delightful habit of pulling off her socks in the few minutes in the crib before she falls asleep only to be awakened later with cold feet. You would think the only way to tame this habit would be to duct tape her socks on but just putting slippers on over the socks seems to deter her. I have not deeply contemplated the logic behind this, only delight in the ease of the solution. Thus I make sure to have plenty of slippers on hand. I was delighted to find such a good looking and easy slipper pattern. I dismayed slightly when I saw it was for sock yarn, since I have an abundance of worsted weight yarn remnants. I decided to make it work and set to work. I found that since the yarn is bigger and my little one's foot is bigger that if I just knit the pattern as is but with the bigger yarn it would work out perfectly for the most part. One of the few changes I made (besides the worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles) was to knit the middle of the sole longer. My wee one wears a size 6. When the instructions say to keep knitting till you reach 2 ¼ in. I kept knitting to make my sole 5 in. long. You can also achieve this by making sure you have 28 garter ridges which will give you the correct length. You can adjust the size for a size 4-5 by using a size 5 or 6 needle and even smaller by using DK or sport yarn. The same for larger. You don't want to use anything bigger than a US 7 with worsted weight yarn but by using bulky or super bulky or doubling your yarns you can knit a much bigger slipper for even older children.
I used the remainder of my Berroco Vintage and it works very well with the slipper. It is a little slick on the bottom so I will need to add some puff paint or slipper bottoms for traction. My daughter loves them too and even brought her pair to me to put on before nap yesterday. I was delighted and already have another pair cast-on.
The feeling of accomplishment when you finally cast-off the last stitch on the last piece of a sweater is immense...until you realize that you know need to seam it all together. This can deflate you just a bit but chin- up; seaming is a breeze and in it own way relaxing and methodically therapeutic.
While I detest finishing (weaving in ends and casting off) I delight in seaming. It is much like I love embroidery, it is just a simple movement with instant gratification. It is the last step towards a finished project. It always feels like the last few days of senior year. I become nostalgic and remember the moments of each project. When my daughter grabbed my ball of yarn and ran all the way to the other side of the house. When I tripped on my own needles or which movies my husband and I watched together while I knit and he mumbled that I couldn't possibly be paying any real attention to the story. I don't usually go over these moments once I start wearing the sweater so I always cherish the seaming.
Like I said, seaming is easy; it is the placement that's tricky. The trick is to meld the 2 sides together so you can not see the seaming. I do this by making sure and tuck my tapestry needle under 2 strands on each side. This makes sure that the seam is not joining half a row on each side and ensure a strength that one strand can't be trusted with. You want to start at either the top of the bottom and hold your sides together with some sort of temporary binding. You can use bobby pins, bigger hair clips with teeth or chip clips. Use as many as you are comfortable with to hold the seam together as you stitch. This will also make sure the seam stays aligned so your seam will be straight. It is a simple mattress stitch you will be using and there is no need to make each stitch tight as you go. You can zip it up when you finish by pulling on either tail. You want to go from the outside through one side and the next and out the back and repeat. This will create a definite seam on the wrong side of your project but a seamless effect on the right. I have used a contrasting yarn on my Minimalist Cardigan to demonstrate. When you are seaming you can start with a bright yarn so you can see your stitches and then stitch over it with a blending yarn. Then simply pull out the bright yarn and leave the blended yarn and no one is the wiser!
You may remember that I recently used Berroco
Vintage for my Murphy
craft's Tofu the Gentle Dachshund Knitting Pattern and it was amazing. You
may also remember that I am a bit of a natural
fiber proponent. And while Vintage contains some natural fiber, its
majority is man-made with 10% Nylon, 50% Acrylic and 40% Wool. That being said
it is amazing stuff. It retains the stretch of wool and wool's stitch
definition but it is soft in a way totally different from any wool I have worked
with. Its hand was peculiar; I could have sworn that I was knitting up some
chenille. It had that soft, particular chenille feel to it but the tendencies
of wool. It was amazing and I loved it more than I thought I ever could.
Berroco Vintage is a worsted weight plied yarn which means it is several strands of thinner yarn wound together to make up a worsted weight yarn. However, I experienced very little splitting. I would say that it splits significantly less than wool and considerably less than cotton. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being no splits and 1 being all splits, I would rank wool at a 7, cotton a 5 and Berroco at an 8 or 9. It was very good. The color variety also makes it a good choice for a multitude of projects. This yarn would make a great choice for a Fair Isle sweater or multicolored baby blanket. The color selection is not limited to a few select colors for the season but a gradiation of colors in each family making it a 'go-to' yarn for any project.
This yarn is a good choice for beginners because of its forgiving nature or not splitting and stretchy nature. But it is also great for the experienced knitters because of the color choice and fantastic stitch definition. The super soft nature lends it well to children's patterns. The blend of acrylic and wool gives you the best of both worlds. There is no itchy wool feel and it is washable. This is a great stash yarn because of its many virtues.
If Magic Loop is not for you or should you find a project that needs a different method to make it easier/enjoyable or with more needles than knitting with 2 circulars is your cup of tea. I recently started a project that is perfectly suited to knitting with 2 circs: Saartje Slippers. Since these slippers are for a toddler they are small. But since they are knit from the bottom up they are starting out flat which makes it difficult to use Magic Loop (I've tried) so I cast onto 2 circs- which is also easier to manage the fancy cast-on called for: Magic Cast-on. These slippers are now going much faster and easier.
To knit on 2 circs first you need to cast on. You can either cast all your stitches onto one needle and then divide them among the 2 needles after or you can cast on half your stitches on to one needle and then let the first needle dangle while you cast the remainder on to your second needle. You will need 2 circular needles of the same size and the same or close cable length. It is very important that you knit from each left needle with the right needle it is attached to. If you just grab which ever needle is closest to you to knit from when you get to the end of the row you might find all your stitches on one needle instead of split onto 2. You are basically knitting on side of your project with the first needle and the other side with the 2nd needle- do not mix n match. To begin you will join without twisting and it will seem like flat knitting on a circular needle but once you reach the end of your stitches you will not turn. You will let the first needle dangle (making sure the stitches hang out on the middle of the cable so as not to slide off) and pick up the second needle and knit across that. Once you have knit the first needle and the 2nd that is one round completed. It is very similar to magic loop but allows more leeway for thicker fabrics or if you do not have a great inventory of longer cables needed for magic loop. It can also be easier to mark the beginning of your round or halfway point and you don't have to worry that your stitches may slide together as they might in magic loop.
I prefer knitting on 2 circs when knitting small items in bulky yarns, the beginnings of circular blankets and sometimes the bodies of sweaters. I find the 2 lengths of cable allow me to try on the sweater without having to transfer onto waste yarn, switch to longer cable or add to my cable length if using Interchangeables. This can also be used on hats too. While knitting on 2 circs does call for a double stock of cable needles, it is an indispensible technique to have in your knitting bag.