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11  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Twirly, swirly, little girl dress on: July 11, 2014 04:27:52 PM
It took about a month, but I finally finished this dress for a young friend of mine who like twirly things.

It's from this pattern, and is a great, easy knit.  http://knitting.about.com/od/childrenspatterns/ss/girls-sundress.htm

The pattern calls for fairly slender straps that seemed a little too thin to hold up the weight of the cotton of the dress, so I used short rows to add tiny cap sleeves.  (The dress itself used an entire giant skein of cotton, with about a yard to spare, so I just pulled another color out of the stash.  Doesn't excatly match, but good enough!)

I learned how to do a Picot Cast On with this dress, which I quite liked; a Picot Bindoff, which I didn't, and ended up not using.

I think if I do this dress again, I'd make the cap sleeves a little longer, maybe a little fuller, and probably in garter stitch or reverse stockinette, to better match the texture of the bodice. 

I think I'd purl the first worked row after picking up stitches on the neckline. And I'd reduce the number of stitches in that first row.  (It flops just a little bit.)

But mostly, the next time I make this dress, I'll make it for a smaller child!

12  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / DIY playoff beard! on: July 08, 2014 02:57:18 PM

I love the tradition of players not shaving during their playoff run as a sign of their dedication, and when my hockey team made the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history, I wanted to play along.  

So, I started my Blue Jackets beard, making it up as I went along. (Photo below)  I knit the base, the part that covers your face in blue.  Then I knit two rows for each game; red (their secondary color) for a Jackets win, or black for a Penguins win.

Unfortunately, my team didnt make it past the first round, so I bound it off in lime green (also a Jackets color!) and started a beard for my first love, the Chicago Blackhawks. (Photo above!)

I did this one a little differently; made the ear loops a little larger, and the beard itself a little narrower.  And I stuck with one color, Blackhawks red, for Chicago.  But I added in another two rows for each period of over time.  (There were a lot of OT periods in this series!)  

This beard stretched thru the Blackhawks series with the St. Louis Blues, the Minnesota Wild, and their ultimate defeat at the hands of the purple-clad LA Kings.  But it was fun while it lasted!

13  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Cap'n America crib blanket for a small superhero... on: March 18, 2014 12:15:01 PM

This blanket got shelved for a month or two, but I'm so pleased with it I wanted to share.

I wanted to try out this pattern from Ravelry  -- http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baby-shane-blanket -- (some day I'll figure out how to do the "just the name, clicky link thing")

I was looking for affordable, so I went with Red Heart Soft, and was very pleasantly surprised -- these skeins really were soft!  And I love the vintage American vibe of the colors.

It ended up being really large, 47"x47" and has a lovely drape.  The only drawback is that I'm not really wild about the look of the backside, so I may go back and line it before gifting it.  And if I knit it again, I will try to figure out the provisional cast on, so I can do it with no seams.  But over all, I'm really pleased!
14  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Tubular, dude... on: January 15, 2014 09:34:33 AM
I don't buy knitting books.  Between Ravelry and the library, I have access to more patterns than I can ever knit.

But that doesn't stop me from reading them at the craft store!  And browsing thru a copy of the cleverly named Cowlgirls: The Neck's Big Thing to Knit, I found a pattern for this cowl, called Put A Ring On It. Knit in the round, alternating several rows of knitting with several rows of purl make these very clever accordion tubes.

I had some super soft Heartland yarn, and a small amount of Paton's Metallic, so I doubled and tripled and used #13 needles -- and it was done in 2 short nights of TV!  It's exactly what I like in a cowl; not tight, but not floppy, looks cool tucked in under my coat or over a sweater, and you can pull it up to cover your ears (or even balaclava style) in bitter cold.  (The colors are much richer IRL.)

If I make it again (rainbow stripes? variegated and solids?) I'd start the flare a little sooner, and do a second row of increases towards the end.

Whaddya think?
15  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Stripes ahoy! on: November 20, 2013 11:35:08 AM
Every year my knitting group makes hats, scarves and gloves for an area homeless shelter, which we drop off the week before Thanksgiving.  A lot of the hats I'm making for the "13 in '13" knit-along are heading there way, but I wanted to share the quickest, most satisfying pattern I've found.

Margaret Radcliffe, in her Circular Knitting Workshop book, calls it the Helix Hat; it's a simple roll-brim cap with jogless stripes.  It's a quick knit, and I've used up a lot of small bits of leftovers in a delightful way!  You can make them short and perky, long and slouchy, decorate them with pompoms, tassels or buttons, dress 'em up or down -- and still finish them in a night or two!

(In fact, it's kinda addictive -- I can't stop making them!)

16  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Serenity -- now available in cotton! on: October 17, 2013 09:10:54 AM
A year or so go I took a stab at Laura Wilson-Martos' Serenity baby blanket, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/serenity-2  mostly to use up an enormous skein of grape purple yarn.  And then I fell in love with the blanket!  Once you figure out how to enlarge the charts for easy-reading, this pattern is a real joy.  and I promised myself I would make it again, in white cotton.


The inspiration for the patterns was a line from the TV show 'Serenity' -- "Like a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar..." and you can see the leaves fluttering in the pattern.

It's about 42" square, and I'm trying to decide which small child I like best, to give it to.  If I give it to a child, I think I'll put a backing on it, to help it survive frequent washings.

And I'll start looking at ways to make one larger.  For me.  I cotton, of course!

17  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Lacy toddler's sweater on: May 30, 2013 01:41:54 PM
I know it's time to move to summer-weight projects, but...  this is kinda lightweight, no?

I started with thr Lion brand eyelet yoke cardigan.  since I'll go a loooong way to avoid seams, I knit the sleeves (in the round) then knit the body as one piece, then joined them all for the yoke.  Super easy pattern, and I finished this in about a week.  It's for the daughter of a co-worker, and I left the final tail sticking out, in case it needs another row or three once she tries it on.

The eyelets are a simple K2tog, YO, set off by rows of purl.

Fun sweater -- I'm saving the pattern!

18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Strimma Time! on: May 23, 2013 01:17:33 PM
I've discovered a new favorite pattern for a little girls swingy top/dress -- I imagine with some mods you could make a nice easy top for little boys, too!  (Oddly enough, all of my friends have little girls.)  No seams, foolproof construction, a lot of potential for embellishement - you can find it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/strimma

I made the "Sunny Days" version with handknitters cotton and a size 7 needle for a nearly 4-year old friend.  She's very tall for her age, so I lengthened the dress a bit.

I bound off the arms and hem with a picot edge, and gave the sleeves a little flare.  I hope the trim will lie a bit smoother after a wash or two, but it does make it seem very swirly as is.

I made this "Lilac Time" version with Deborah Norville's no-pill acrylic and a size 8 needle for a 2-year old friend.  

I bound off the hem and the arms with 4 rows of garter stitch.  Next time I'll start the dress with 4 rows of garter instead of two, to give it a little more body.

(I like that purple varigated yarn, 'Lilac Ridge' so much I could have just used that, without the dark green stripes.)

Each dress took less than a week to knit, mostly done while watching TV in the evening.  I'm sure I'll be making more this summer, with cap sleeves, and this fall, with longer sleeves...

If you're looking for a quick, fun summer knit, give it a try!
19  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Slip stitch mosaic knitting in the round? on: January 16, 2013 12:03:52 PM
I feel like I should be able to wrap my brain around this, but has anyone used Barbara Walker's mosaic knitting technique in circular knitting?

I've done a couple of squares I really liked, but I'm thinking of making a hat with the slip stitch, and I'd like to knit it in one piece.  How do you handle the instructions to knit the "wrong side" when you're only doing the "right side"?
20  KNITTING / Knitalongs / Hat-along -- 13 in '13! on: January 09, 2013 01:54:13 PM

In the crochet forum, there is a craftalong to make 13 hats in 2013.  I'd love to join, but I'm a two-stick gal -- how about starting our own hat-along this year?

We can work on the same hats in our own way, or all do our own thing and use this thread as a hat rack of sorts, a place to collect our hats.  

I love making hats -- they're usually quick and easy and don't use much yarn.  You can make them out of almost any kind of textile, and they're small enough to try out new techniques without much committment.  And having a couple on hand is great for last minute or impromptu gifts.  A big stack in different sizes and styles makes a wonderful (and tax deductible) donation to homeless shelters in the fall.  Many hospitals accept donations of chemo caps, premie hats or hats for newborns to head home in.  We all think of wool hats in the winter, but cotton hats are wonderful in the summer, for kids and adults.

Anyone interested in joining me this year?  I can post a few easily available patterns at the beginning of the month, just to help if you're stuck for something new, but I'd love it if you post the hats you like and recommend.  It's a big ol' world of knits out there, and I only see a tiny fraction of it!

Here's a couple to get started:

Easy Peasy Hat for newborns
This is a lovely little cap using leftover sock yarn.  I've got some sock yarn I need to unload...er... use up.  My knitting group often does a year long side project; blankets, toys, stuff for newborns -- I think I'll make a few of these to set aside for a donation.

Super Easy Seamed Cap
This straight knit cap looks thick and cozy, and would be a nice project for commuting, lunchtime, TV-time and the like.  And nice for people who don't like to knit in the round.

Capucine Hat
I've made this tassled cap several times, and everyone from old to young has loved it.  I liked it so much when I made a batch last year that I actually kept one for me!  Lots of opportunities for embellishment, but it looks lovely in either fancy or simple yarn as well.

Lion Brand Quick Cabled hat
A friend calls this "The Kitty Cat hat", and it does make a cute hat with peaked corners that look like cat ears, and the draped section in the back is great for little kids, who always seem to get snow down their collars....  It's also a nice introduction to cables, and is knit straight and seamed up the sides, which makes it easy for people who don't like to knit in the round.  (In fact, I think I need another one of these right now!)

So whaddya think?  Shall we get our hat on?
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