Knitting: October 2011 Archives
I often try to see new ideas when I am knitting up a project. My mind churns through, almost like a program running in the background. I am focused on the project but sometimes a stitch or a new technique will trigger an idea. Just such a thing happened a few weeks ago when I was scanning a knitting magazine, reading an article on lace. I must have had Halloween in the front of my mind because after I had read 2 sentances the light bulb went off: Knitted Spider Web. Of course, it goes hand in hand with halloween and can easily be pulled off. Making one is simple and can be made to any size. Here's how to make your own knitted spider web.
1 skein of worsted weight cotton, cotton blend or acrylic yarn in any Halloween color (Shown in Lion Brand Cotton Ease)
US size 15, 24 in. cable needle (or longer if you are making a bigger web)
Cast on 8 sts
Row 1: *k1, yo; repeat to last end
Row 2: *k2tog, yo; repeat to end
Row 3: *yo (twice), k2tog; repeat to end
Row 4: *k1 into first yo, drop second yo, yo; repeat to end
Repeat Row 3 & 4 until your web is big enough for your spooky plans. Bind off very loosely. If you used a cotton or cotton blend yarn, you can block your web bigger. However, acylic yarn will hold up outside much better than cotton and hold it's color- the choice is yours.
Add this crocheted spider by Sandsteel Designs
Or this knitted spider by Dawn Riden
Either one dangling from this knitted spider web is sure to creep out your dearest friends and help your kids really scare the neighborhood!
We still have plenty of time to finish our Holiday gift list but most of us will procrastinate or worse overestimate our free time and fill the list with complicated, involved masterpieces worthy of induction in MOMA. Not everything needs to be 100% knitted or works of art incorporating 14 different stitch designs. Most, if not all, of your gifts just need to be from the heart and well thought out. You can achieve both of these goals by knitting parts of your project and adding them to completed items. Since I love ruffles (along with the rest of the fashion world) and know from my window shopping that they can make anything look better, I decided to add ruffled project to my Christmas list. All I need do is knit the ruffle and add it to my gift. Since I am knitting such a small part of my gift and will be saving so much time, this leaves me with the freedom to spice up the ruffles and try something new. It is ok to complicate it up if you are going for something small because mistakes will not put you back very far.
I am gifting a friend a set of vintage dish towels I found at a local antique store but since her taste is a little funky I knew a knitted ruffle would be right up her alley. The towels are in a gingham style so I decided not to make my ruffle too fancy since the towel was so busy but I did knit it in a contrasting color cotton yarn, like Lily Sugar n' Cream Yarn. To make my ruffle, I worked up a swatch to find my gauge and then multiplying by the width of the towel calculated how many stitches to cast on. I worked my first 4 rows in garter stitch to give me a solid flange to attach to the towel.
Row 5: *knit 1, yo; repeat to last stitch, knit 1
Row 6: purl across all stitches
Row 7: knit across all stitches
Repeat Row 6 & 7 for 1 in.
Work 4 more rows in garter stitch
You can make your ruffle as long or as wide as you like by adjusting the number of rows worked or stitches cast on, respectively. You can layer your ruffles for a bolder effect or knit them with a fine gauge yarn for more flutter. You can add ruffles to shirt necks, capes, placemats and pashminas. You can spice up new store bought items or scored vintage treasures. Adding ruffles can not only save time but also increase your stitch library since they are a great way to experiment.
To attach my ruffle, I pinned the flange to the wrong side of the dish towel, letting the purl bumps peak out just a little. Then with a size 12 needle and a straight, medium length stitch, I sewed 2 lined of stitching, one at the top edge of the flange and the second at the bottom edge of the flange. These two stitches secure the ruffle in place and keep it from flipping over to the back side. A stretch stitch is not needed since we are attaching to a woven but if you are attaching your ruffle to a knit, a zig zag stitch is needed in a size appropriate to the density of your knit and knitted ruffle.
It is important to note that you should match your yarn to your gift by taking the washing instructions into consideration. Since a dish towel will be washed a lot, choose a washable yarn like cotton or acrylic. If your gift is delicate like pashmina it is appropriate to choose an equally delicate yarn like silk or cashmere. For a knitted ruffle added onto a top, choose a non-irritating fiber like superwash merino which can still be blocked to the right shape.
As Christmas gets closer, the panic sets in and you are straining to finish a unique, gorgeous and stunning hand knit for everyone on your list but just realized that there is no way to do it...RELAX. There is an easy way to turn simple, quick projects into stunningly unique gifts that you will feel proud to give and the receiver will be just as amazed. Incorporating simple texture stitches to simple patterns can take your projects from boring to "Holy Cow"! I will show you three stitches below; the first is your standard stockingette, the second is a half twisted stitch that gives your fabric the texture of a herringbone wool or chanel-esque suiting, the third is a full twist that gives the illusion of a fine textured ribbing when coupled with a variegated yarn lends a boucle look to any project and all are so simple!
Half Twist Stitch: Row 1 (WS): Purl
Row 2 (RS) Knit all stitches through the back loop
The twisting of half of the rows in the above stitch are not enough to delineate into a ribbing like our Full Twist Stitch but gives enough to break up the monotony of stockingette without destroying the smooth background that is one of the best features of stockingette. The slight texture is a great pairing with cables and bobbles (like stockingette) but also great on its own for use with a fine yarn with properties to stand on its own. I love subbing this stitch in for striped scarves and hats so my fast projects look amazing!
Full Twist Stitch: Row 1 (RS): Knit all stitches though the back loop
Row 2 (WS): Purl all stitches through the back loop
This stitch also gives a slight texture that can easily be subbed in for stockingette without looking bland and also gives a faint ribbing effect that cannot be mimicked with even 1x1 ribbing. This mock ribbing/texture stitch can take any basic pattern up 5 notches and dazzle under the tree. I love using backwards knitting with this stitch to nix all purling!
The bonus with the 2 great simple texture stitches given above is that they do not need to be worked over a certain number of stitches. You can take any simple pattern and apply them as-is. This will ensure that you can enjoy making all your gifts, you will get them done in time and that they will look like you spent 10 times more times and money than you did (that leaves more time and money for you!)
The above swatches were worked in the amazing Lion Brand Martha Stewart Alpaca Blend
One important thing you should know about me is that I am a Harry Potter Fan. One reason for my JK Rowling fanaticism is that she is a fan of knitting and so are the costumers for the movies. I love curling up on the couch with my sketch book waiting for inspiration to come on the screen. The subject for today's posting is courtesy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies. The lead female character wears a cardigan with a cabled button band that I fell head over heels for. It is such a fun and unique idea that I decided to experiment with my own.
You can really see the bar tacks on this picture
For my cabled button band swatch I knit only the button holes. Knitting a button band for the buttons is the easier of the two and I want to figure out the right cable and button hole combo for me. I started with a 9 st cable with a 3 st purl center (see Twist Cable instructions below). I added a horizontal one row button hole but found that it left a bar tack on the right side of my cable that I didn't like. Next, I tried the same cable with a vertical button hole. This button hole/cable combo seemed to work well together but I prefer horizontal button holes on my cardigan to reduce button slippage.
Third, I tried a simpler cable that didn't cable across the whole of the sts like the Twist Cable above. The Honey Comb Cable just twists over half the sts on each side. This greatly reduces the tension and allows the button band to lay flat and means you can cable between fewer rows so you can have more button holes. I coupled this cable with a double yarn over button hole. The combo of the Honey Comb Cable with the simple button resulted in a very polished button band. The light cable will not pull on the sweater when the button band is attached (making blocking easier) and the simple button hole was easy without distorting the cable.
The yarn used for this sample is Lion Brand Cotton Ease
Button Hole Instructions can be found here
9st Right Twist Cable: Cast on 9 sts
Row 1 (RS): knit 3, purl 3, knit 3
Row 2 (WS): Purl 3, knit 3, purl 3
Row 3: Slip first 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, slip second 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, knit third 3sts then purl second 3 sts from cable needle then knit the first set of 3 sts from cable needle
Repeat Row 1 & 2 twice (or more depending on the size of your button hole) then repeat Row 3
Honey Comb Cable: Cast on 12 sts
Row 1 (RS): knit 3, purl 6, knit 3
Row 2 (WS): purl 3, knit 6, purl 3
Row 3: Slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in front, purl next 3 sts then knit 3 sts from cable needle, slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold to back, purl next 3 sts, knit 3 sts from cable needle
Repeat Row 1 & 2 once
Row 6: Slip 3 sts onto cable needle and hold in back, knit 3 sts then purl 3 sts from cable needle, slip 3sts onto cable needle and hold in front, purl next 3 sts and then knit 3 sts from cable needle