New kitchen needs new placemats. But any placemats that I own are so large that I can’t fit 4 of them on our table or kitchen island without overlapping. So I went shopping for placemats, but they’re all HUGE! And I couldn’t find any that I liked. Additionally, they’re all pretty expensive (times four)!
In an attempt to solve this problem, and since I like the stuff that I make, I thought I would knit some smaller placemats. They’re 12″ x 16″ (as opposed to the usual 14″ x 20″). I have one placemat finished and three to go. I used Lily’s Cream ‘N Sugar yarn in Earth Ombre colorway. They’re machine washable too, unlike many I saw at the store. I like the ikat looking print that the variegated yarn automatically made.
It’s that time of year already. It’s time to put the sandals away and start wearing socks again. Because of this, and because I had quite a few skeins of Cascade’s Fixation yarn, I created a pattern for anklets. Choose between striped or one-color socks! You’ll love how they hit right at the top of your shoes! Check out the photo:
What IS IT about stripes? They make my eyes happy and my feet are happier. Here’s the link if you want to buy the pattern:
I’m currently pretending it is winter and that I don’t live in an arid and hot part of the U.S. I bought this yarn a few weeks ago. It’s “vintage” which means it came from a thrift store. In my defense, when I see 15 skeins of ecru bulky wool for $15, I feel like I need to get my knitting needles clacking and knit something fabulous.
So I made a muse n. (click for link to free pattern!) shrug by Isabell Kraemer and gifted it to my dear daughter. This looks like a manta ray, but it’s pretty cute when on, and certainly it’s going to be a warm sweater!
Here I present the end of an era. It’s the end because I started this leftover sock yarn blanket in the fall of 2008. After almost 9 years, a lot of changes have happened. It’s inevitable. The kids grew up, we moved almost across the country, went from a house to a condo, and now we own e-bikes, for crying out loud! Change happens! It is time to knit other things. Or, finish other things, because of the way my year went, with teaching almost a full schedule at school, and then throwing teaching 3 graduate classes for SLC teachers on top of that! I have about 5 projects that are mostly finished, but need a little more attention.
Back to this blanket-afghan-throw thingie. I wasn’t sure how big I was going to make it; I was just enjoying the process. But 8.5 years later, I’ve decided to finish. And by finish, I mean, squaring it off, not adding any height or width to it, and most importantly, edging it in i-cord! The edging, you see, is like a stopper; it prevents me from adding more rows. Smart, huh? Done.
But at the end of this crazy-sock- leftovers-turned-into-a-blanket era, I have a crazy urge to come up with something else “scrappy” because I’ve still got a small tub of sock-yarn leftovers. Maybe in a year I will have a new pattern to show.
I briefly entertained the idea of putting this on Etsy for a ridiculous sum of money. I was thinking something over $2500, just to see if anyone would “bite.” But that’s cheap. Way too cheap. I calculated my labor at $10/hr (hey, I’m a skilled knitter!), 30 minutes per block which takes into account tucking in loose ends and knitting the i-cord edging. So, with 380 blocks @ 30 minutes per block, that’s 190 hours. Multiply that by the $10 per hour, and the labor cost on this blanket is around $1900. That doesn’t include the yarn. And it takes a lot of sock knitting to accumulate a great variety of yarn. (That was my excuse, anyway). So, the next time someone knits something for you, they don’t do it to save money or time. They do it because they LOVE you!
For now I’ll just sit on my balcony on cool mornings and enjoy the warmth of this throw.
Not tight enough to be a beanie, yet not loose enough to be a slouch, Diamondweave Hat delivers highly textured diamonds that float over background purl stitches. As you know, “textured” means you’ll be moving a lot of stitches around, so be prepared. But the payoff is a beautifully patterned hat that has depth and drama.
Click on the link below for the free pattern pdf. Enjoy!
It’s raining and my back hurts. I guess I’ll blog.
Knitting has been a bit rough lately because my back is aching. The good news is that I’m on the mend, after many physical therapy (brutal!) sessions, and now visits to a chiropractor. I am now able to sit and knit for a bit. Sigh…
But the little knitting that I have been doing has been creative! I test-knit a pattern for a friend, and I’ve come up with a simple design for a checkered heel and a stripey toe. Even though I only have one sock finished, I think you’ll get the idea about what’s happening. And I’m not the type of knitter to leave a sock unknit. I want to wear these! I used Brown Sheep Company’s Wildfoote Luxury Sock Yarn (75% Washable Wool/25% Nylon), color: Licorice. Love it!
For the checkered heel, I grabbed some contrasting yarn and knit the first 2 heel flap rows, slipping every other stitch on the right side and just purling the wrong side. Then I changed back to the main color for the next two rows. The heel flap is about 28-32 rows long. At the point where I turned the heel, I used the main color only.
For the stripey toe, on the decrease rows I changed to the contrasting yarn, and used the main color yarn for the other rows. Except I did the first decrease on needle 1, and then I started the contrasting yarn on (what I refer to as) needle 2, so that the woven-in-end wouldn’t be on the bottom of the sock. This made for a perfect end with the kitchenered main color.
Wouldn’t it be fun to use up lots of crazy sock leftovers doing this? I think it adds a bit of charm.
Good News! I am no longer held hostage by a huge stash of yarn! My current stash consists of: enough Jaeger fingering yarn for a lightweight sweater (in last year’s Pantone color of the year), some Dale of Norway superwash Falk for future use (since I live in the mountains again, I feel the need another Norwegian inspired sweater!), about 5 skeins of sock yarn, 2 skeins of a worsted Noro and 2 skeins of ivory worsted, and a few skeins of yarn leftover from sweaters. I also have a small container of fingering yarn scraps and leftovers for my mitered square blanket, and some leftovers from my nine patch afghan, in case I want to knit another row of nine patches (probably not!) or in case I want to knit some hats for kids at church (a better option). That’s it. THAT”S IT!
So, I encourage you to take an honest look at your stash and make some changes. It will free you up to knit what is new or current! I can walk to my LYS (local yarn shop–Blazing Needles) and buy something for a new project with very little guilt. This makes me smile. And the fact that I can walk to a yarn shop makes me giddy with excitement!
If you read my not-very-frequent posts, you’ll know that my husband and I moved from a very small town in Indiana to the very large (large for us, our 2nd time here) Salt Lake City. I started looking for a job; I’m a teacher by trade. I love kids, teaching English as a Second Language, watching kids learn, expecting them to try their hardest. I still feel fresh and ready for the demands of this profession. (BTW, if you’re a teacher and you feel lackluster in your profession, make a change! Read a few books, go to an excellent workshop, or even retire and find something else. You might find joy again, even if it the joy is outside of education!)
I was on a serious learning curve during the first month, new acronyms, new colleagues, new students. But I’ve hit my stride and the students and I are making good progress. Whew! So happy to be teaching again! I’ve even started a 3rd grade knitting club during the last recess. Twelve or so students give up their last recess to come and knit for a bit. The students (all girls right now, but a few boys have come) are knitting little headbands to keep their ears warm. Here’s a photo of their beginning stages of knitting:
During the first week of school I won a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 from the Teacher’s Union! I love gadgets and new technology, so I vowed to use this at school with kids. I bought a kid-friendly protective cover and put a few apps on the tablet. But after a few weeks, I realized my little Tab 4 needed more protection. So I knitted a protective cover. I really like how this turned out! Here’s the basic pattern, and it’s free!
Size 6 (US) knitting needles for knitting in the round, worsted weight yarn, tapestry needle, safety pin
Know how to use: Judy’s Magic Cast on, Knit 2 Together (K2tog), YarnOver (YO), attached i-cord, traditional 3-strand braid (for closure)
Gauge: 23 stitches = 4″ Row/round gauge is not important. Check your gauge, or at least be familiar with your gauge with the yarn you’re using. My gauge is fairly tight for worsted yarn on this needle size.
Start Knitting: Using Judy’s Magic Cast On (many YouTube videos available), cast on 60 stitches, placing 30 stitches on each needle. Round 1: Knit. Round 2: increase one stitch at each end (62 stitches). Round 3: Knit. Round 4: increase one stitch at each end (64 stitches).
Knit until cover is 8″ long (about the place where the tablet peeks out a bit when inserted into cover). EYELET Round: *K2tog, YO* repeating between *s around the row.
Knit one more round. Then work an attached i-cord, tie off, and use yarn tail to sew i-cord ends together. Turn inside out and weave in the yarn tail from the start of your cover.
Make tie: Take nine strands of yarn, about 25″ each strand. Separate the nine into three groups of three strands. Tie all nine together near the top, begin braiding and when it’s long enough, use a safety pin to secure to an arm of a chair and braid until braid is 18″ long. Tie off the end. Trim yarn ends about 1/2″ beyond the knot and fray with end of safety pin. Thread the tie through the eyelet openings (from the K2tog/YO row). Tablet Protection is Achieved!
You know that look, right? That look someone gives your handknit sweater, wishing they had one too. Well, recently while back in Indiana, my mom gave my sweater that look. Ok, I get the hint. It’s high time I knit something large and meaningful for her, not just socks or a scarf. I owe it to her. I mean, she kept three of us kids in mittens (her specialty) and hats while we were young. I’ll never forget that variegated red, white, and blue yarn, probably Red Heart, and the mittens that could work on either hand. If we lost one, she would dig into her stash of already-knit mittens. No more cold hands. (Although, for the life of me, I can’t see how Red Heart yarn would keep anything warm!) So, Mom, this one’s for you, and it’s my pleasure!
It’s going to be a cardigan–I had to talk her into a cardigan. Its going to be a little longer–I had to talk her into that too. I think she knows cardigans are more trouble, and longer sweaters take more yarn. It’s ok, Mom. It’ll make up for all those mittens we lost!
I am not a fan of the garter-stitch button and buttonhole band. They need to be seriously blocked so they are the same length as the sweater. What pattern am I using? I’m just kind of winging it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write it up someday, like I did my Olympic sweater. And speaking of my Olympic sweater, I still need to finish the back, as in, stitch on those 2 moose and 1 Christmas tree (see photo below).
I’ll admit it. I’m a stash and project hostage. Through the process of moving I saw my accumulation of yarn. The quantity of that yarn stash was paltry by some standards, but it was just too much. (As I teach my students who are learning English, that word “too” followed by a quantity word is never a good thing, e.g. I ate too much, Its too far away, etc.) I questioned myself: Why do you have so much? What are you missing out on by already having a lot?
By having that stash, I’ve missed out on yarn trends that I really wanted to try. Like knitting something, anything with Kauni Effektgarn, any new lux fiber, something in Spud & Chloe, a little Madelinetosh number, anything and everything! I’ve passed up simply because of all that yarn that used to be in my basement. I mean, how can I justify spending more? I hope you can feel how long this guilt has gone on, I mean, some of this yarn has been out for a decade!
So I gave away and sold lots of that bondage in those cute little fiber balls. I still have 2 smallish tubs full (yes, that kind of full, the kind where you almost have to sit on the box lid!), but it’s still only 2 tubs. In the meantime, I’ll continue to finish and knit, and when I do, I’m going to participate fully in trends and fibers, classes and shops.
Sorry to wax so philosophical here for two posts in a row. Let’s get unserious now. Here are a few UFOs that I’m motivated to finish with accompanying captions below the photo:
Socks for my brother who, strangely, wears out the toes! Just search for my basic ribbed sock pattern.
The knitting is done on this nine patch mitered square blanket, but I have about 5 squares worth of weaving in those darn loose ends!
I don’t want to knit gloves…what was I thinking? Too much fussy-work on the fingers. So I’m making a change to:
MITTENS! Once I decided to change from gloves to mittens, I was suddenly motivated to finish these.
And last, but certainly not least:
Yes, the famous moose hats. It takes about 1.5 hours to duplicate stitch each moose on the hat…x 4 moose = 6 hours just of duplicate stitch! My son better not wash this, or it’s curtains for him!
Big life changes here…we sold our big house on the prairie (Jackson Prairie, to be exact) in Indiana, loaded a truck and drove to Salt Lake City, Utah (for the second time, I might add) to begin life anew here in a 7th floor 2 bedroom condo.
Big House on the Prairie
Little Condo in the City
So much of that old life was holding us hostage: too much stuff in the house, too much outside maintenance on a house that was now too big for us. We sold, doled out and donated to anyone who wanted what we weren’t taking. Why?
It all started two years ago when dear hubby and I were walking. I had just posted on Facebook how I missed seeing the mountains. He noticed that the clouds on the horizon, the very flat Indiana horizon, looked like mountains and said he missed living in the west. Now two heads are better than one, as they say, so we began to consider, think, pray, talk, and pray some more about moving.
Oh, I could go on about how hard leaving was. I cried 3.72 rivers on the way out of Indiana, but began to get excited as the U-Haul chewed up the miles. Let’s face it, this is kind of exciting for a simple person like me.
That’s all I’m posting for today, but stay tuned for another post next week when I explain about my stash holding me hostage!