Friday, October 19, 2012

Tuesday Night Cowl

Check out the Tuesday Night Cowl we just finished with Misti Alpaca Chunky! It looks and feels so good (I knew it would) that I think these might be my gift project this Holiday. Misti Alpaca Chunky is a totally a petting yarn and I know the cowl will be very well received. 

We used 2 skeins of super-soft Misti Alpaca Chunky (total $33.94) and 6.5mm needles (but I think you can go up to a 7mm).  The pattern is free, via Ravelry, and we used the instructions for the thickest yarn. I think it would also look sensational as a long cowl, knitted twice the length and then wrapped around the neck. 

  • Use a Chained Cast On (alias: crochet cast-on) for your Provisional Cast on - it undoes so easily it's like a zipper! 
  • The texture is created with some very simple cable stitches, a real no-brainer, just use a big cable hook (the kind that looks like a fishing hook works best).
  • It is knit side to side, and then joined at the end. You can either go the easy way and finish with a 3 needle bind off, or take the high road and graft using kitchener stitch

If Baby Alpaca isn't in the budget this season try using 6mm needles and any of the following yarns:
If you want to go even bigger, try 8mm needles and 2 skeins of Berroco Peruvia Quick (total $21.94) or Malabrigo Chunky (total $35.94).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Top-Down Hallowig

Lucy's head is bigger than my doll, but the doll stays still longer.

My first Hallowig did not fit my niece, Lucy (she is 21 months and dressing as Dora the Explorer this Halloween). I've de-constructed the pattern and re-jigged it from the top-down, so if it is too short I can go back and add length, and if it is too long I can rip it back. Just one caveat - this is a more fiddly way to make the Hallowig, so beginners beware. Actually, here's another. I'm rushing this so you can use it before Halloween, but I haven't had the chance to knit a second version to check the pattern. If there are some small errors, I apologize. 

I used sport weight yarn (1 skein Cascade 220 Sport Superwash) and 2 circular 3.5mm needles.

Locking stitch markers
Yarn, see pattern for size
2 circular needles, see pattern for size (or a set of 5 double pointed needles)
scrap yarn
crochet hook

Special Techniques
Lifted Increases (LL1, LLP1, RL1, RLP1)
Crocheted Provisional Cast-On
Knititng on 2 Circular Needles

K ....... Knit
LL1 ... Left Lifted Increase
LLP1 . Left Lifted Purlwise Increase
P ....... Purl
PM ..... Place Marker on needle
RL1 .... Right Lifted Increase
RLP1 .. Right Lifted Purlwise Increase
SLM ... Slip marker
St/s ... Stitch/es

With scrap yarn, provisionally cast on 23 sts. knit 1 row with your working  yarn. remove provisional cast on and pick up sts on another needle. With right side facing, knit these stitches.  (46 sts)

From here on out you'll be knitting in the round on 2 circular needles (or you can work in the round on a set of 5 double pointed needles). 

R1. *PM, k4, PM, p1, (k2, p1) 6 times; rep from * one more time . (46 sts)

R2. *SLM, k1, LL1, k to 1 st before marker, RL1, k1, SLM, p1, RLP1, (k2, P1, RLP1) 5 times, k2, RLP1, p1; rep from * to end of round.  (64 sts).

R3. *K1, LL1, k1, p2, k1, RL1, k1, SLM, work in pattern to next marker, SLM; rep from *one more time. (68 sts)

R4. *K1, LLP1, k2, p2, k2, RLP1, k1, SLM, work in pattern to next marker, SLM; rep from * one more time. (72 sts)

R5. *K1, LLP1, p1, k2, p2, k2, p1, RLP1, k1, SLM, work in pattern to next marker, SLM; rep from *one more time. (76 sts)

R6. *K1, LL1, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2, RL1, k1, SLM, work in pattern to next marker, SLM; rep from *one more time. (80 sts)

R7 to 18. Continue to increase in this manner, maintaining the rib stitch, until there are 38 sts between first two markers (total of 16 increase rounds). (128 sts)

Work in rib until bangs measure appropriate length (based on original pattern: approx another 2"/10 rounds in yarn at a tension of 5.5 rows per inch). 

If you aren't sure how long the bangs should be, continue to knit the 32 bang sts (see below) separately and then you can either rip them back if they need to be shorter, or add more length if they aren't long enough. Seam the sides of the bangs to the main portion using mattress stitch.

Next row: knit 3, cast off 32 sts, knit 3, work in rib to end of row. 

Working back and forth, work in rib as established for length preferred (6.5" based on original pattern). 

Cast off loosely.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Belly Flops

Some times things just don't work out the way you wanted them to. I'm currently on a mis-sizing jag. The last 3 projects have ended up either too big or too small. Part of the reason I'm sharing the details is because people are always assuming that because I'm experienced, everything I make works out perfectly, if not flawlessly. Is anything in life ever like that? 

I finally got around to finishing this hoodie for my niece Lucy. I thought it would be a Christmas or birthday gift. I used some stashed Koigu Kersti, it was pink enough for her, and un-pink enough for me to work with. The pattern is a basic hoodie pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple. I especially liked this version on Ravelry. I worked hard to keep the colours from pooling, I knit the whole thing alternating 2 balls of yarn. On the arms I even threw in a third when necessary. 

I wasn't sure which size to make. Lucy will be 2 this January. The baby version of this pattern goes up to 24 months, but the child's version starts at size 2 to 4. I erred on the side of safety and went with the child size. I now know that when it comes to kids there is no such thing as a size 2 to 4, there is only a size 2 or a size 4. When finished, the sweater was a size 4. Not the end of the world, but she wasn't going to be wearing it this year.

The edges were curling up on the bottom and the hood, so I set about blocking it. I washed it in Eucalan and lay it out on the dining room table. It grew in a very unusual and unexpected way. Kersti is routinely used by other people as a worsted weight yarn, and I had taken this for granted. The manufacturer, however describes it as a DK weight yarn. It seems that while Kersti knits like a worsted, it blocks like a DK. Hence, my sweater was knit on too large a needle for the yarn, and when washed the stitches stretched to their normal size. The sweater jumped up another size. Lesson learned - always listen to the manufacturer, they know their yarn. 

Regardless, I took it over to my brother & sister-in-law's house, in the hopes of getting a picture of Lucy  swimming in it.  She refused, I guess it felt more like drowning. My sister in law held it up and yelled across the house to my brother "Hey, look what Haley made for Lucy! It's a sweater that'll fit her when she's six!"  Whatever, it looks great, and it'll fit her *some* day. 

So there you go, sometimes the universe has different plans. Lucy will be starting grade 1 when she's 6, maybe she will need a really special sweater from her aunt to help her out with the change that year. 

More flops to follow ... :-)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Tissue Box Woes

This is a "Meh" project - it is a tissue box cover that did not turn out properly. My Kleenex box is literally swimming in it, and I don't love how the colours worked out. That said, I actually really like having the tissues 'dressed'. The boxes are so ugly, I always want to always want to hide them.  I wish they would get Amy Butler or Kaffe Fasset to design them - I'd be grateful for anything by Rowan Fabrics or Marimekko. Anyway, I'm going to give it another shot in a different yarn and fewer stitches.