Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Free yarn!

Three years ago I knit a couple of Schmattas, then never got around to sewing buttons on them. Yesterday I pulled them out of the WIP pile with every intention of adding the buttons, when I wondered, "Why bother?"

No offense to Mason-Dixon Knitting, but no one I know would want to wear one of these, including me. Do I go ahead and sew on the buttons, then tuck the neckerchiefs into the gift drawer, never to be gifted? Or do I salvage the yarn and make something someone would actually wear, like felted slippers?

Do you have items in your gift drawer that you knit reflexively but that will never see the light of day? Or items that served their usefulness in a few short weeks, never to be worn again? In the latter category are some infant outfits I knit my g'daughter. Seriously, knitting infantwear other than booties and hats is a bit of a waste because babies grow so fast; better to make a blanket that will be used for years to come.

So I'm thinking of recycling the yarn from some of those ungiftable knitted objects. The baby outfits were knit from fingering, but since it is 100% merino (no nylon), I don't want to make socks with it. Maybe gloves? Or a fine gauge scarf? If this frigid weather keeps up, underwear is definitely an option.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another watch cap

Last spring, while visiting Massachusetts, I shopped at Webs in Northampton and grabbed a few skeins of Encore for knitting hats. I like to have a few extras around because sometimes people forget theirs or (ahem) some people lose theirs. I've knit this pattern before, so no surprises there. It's easy and quick and produces a perfectly serviceable winter hat.

Pattern: Watch Cap, by Judith Durant
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore Worsted
Needles: US8
Modifications: none

Hand knit hats always seem much warmer than store bought. Some would say it's because they are knit with love, but, as my stepmother once pointed out to me, you can buy hats with love. I think it is because the process of hand knitting traps more air in the fabric. What do you think?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Who needs needles?

I was in some store like Walmart or Meijer when out of the corner of my eye I saw something about "arm knitting". Have you ever heard of this? I had not, so of course I Googled it.

Are you going to try this? I might. Someday. When I don't have anything else to do.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Warm hands, warm feet

That should be the new motto for knitters. Mittens and socks for little ones are fairly quick projects, and since little ones grow, mittens and socks are in frequent demand.

Pattern: Basic Mitten Pattern, by Ann Budd
Yarn: Cascade 220, colorway 9478 (I'm on a fiber diet, so I stole the yarn from a UFO)
Needles: US7
Modifications: None

Question: When a pattern says to do something like "increase every x rows until stitch count reaches y", what do you do when you reach the stitch count? Do you knit the extra rows before continuing or do you just carry on with the next instruction? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deja vu

These socks are not the same as these socks. I used the leftover yarn to make g'daughter a pair. These have been finished for a while, but I forgot to take photos until just recently.

Pattern: None to speak of, just Turkish cast on, 40 stitches around, gusset heel, taller than usual for wearing with boots, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind off.
Yarn: ONline Supersocke 6-ply, colorway 1617
Needles: US3
Modifications: I did the toes on two circs, then switched to DPNs for the rest.

I thought about saving these for xmas, but after repeated "fittings" to make sure they were sized correctly, it seemed unfair to hold onto them until then.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Laura Ricketts came to town

Indiana is a state most travelers pass through on their way somewhere else. Fort Wayne is even more so. Consequently, when someone worth seeing hits town, you go, because unless it is B.B. King, the opportunity might not come this way again.

Even though I had never heard of Laura Ricketts, her encounters with the Sámi people and her efforts to collect their mitten patterns sounded interesting. Last night I attended the talk sponsored by Knitting Off Broadway.

Laura's presentation included a slide show, a description of her recent journey through Sápmi (a.k.a. Lapland), and a pile of mittens she had knitted using the designs she collected along the way. As intriguing as the mittens were, after a while my eyes glazed over. I wish I could take the class she is offering tomorrow, to learn more about the actual techniques, but it's full. Maybe next time.

As she talked, Laura mentioned this knitting museum and that folk art museum, which gave me pause. When I travel, I frequently check out local yarn stores, but it hasn't occur to me to look for museums that specialize in fiber arts. I don't need more yarn or roving, but I could certainly learn something new by visiting these places, especially if my trip can coincide with a class or workshop. Must make note to self.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

In the mean time

While Tuckernuck has been drying after a good soak (sweaters are easier to assemble after the pieces are blocked), I've been experimenting. Pre-retirement, I didn't have much time to just play with knitting, so this is something new for me.

So is colorwork. My goal for the winter to to learn to knit with more than one color at a time. The easiest first step is to knit a check pattern, one stitch per color, across an odd number of stitches.

Since I now know how to knit with either hand (Continental with the left, Irish cottage with the right), it's not too difficult to hold one color in each. The stranding on the back is manageable with single stitches. Next I'll graduate to two stitches of color at a time.

Serendipitously, TECHknitting is publishing a series of posts on color knitting. Check it out!