My Knitting Life

Fast and Easy Blocking

I need to finish this project in a hurry, but it is in serious need of blocking. Here’s a trick I do whenever I don’t want to plunge my project pieces into water and wait 36 hours for them to dry.

Put a towel (or two) on the floor, smooth it out, and then pin your pieces out to the dimensions listed in the pattern. Pin, pin, pin. (I was seriously hoping the squares on the towel were 1″ square, but that would have been too easy!)

Take a spray bottle and mist the pieces to your satisfaction. It’s not necessary to soak them, but they should be something between slightly wet and fairly wet. (Sorry, describing degrees of wetness is not my forte!)

I pinned and misted these around 4:30pm this afternoon, and hope to be able to sew the seams and do the finishing starting tonight or early tomorrow morning. What pattern is this, you ask? It’s Lexie (link takes you to Ravelry) by Elsebeth Lavold. If you like this yarn, you can buy it here: Quixotic Fiber You need 3 or 4 skeins depending on the size. I’m sure this LYS would appreciate your business!

My Knitting Life

Tragedy and Resolution

1/2 Turtleneck to go!

With half a turtleneck to knit, I ran out of yarn! I just have a few more grams of yarn and not enough to knit the rest of the turtleneck. That’s a tragedy! I’m using Dale of Norway Falk yarn (superwash sport weight), and Dale decided last year to stop distributing to the North American market. That is more tragedy because this is one of my favorite yarns to use. It is warm, looks great in stranded knitting, and wears like iron. It never pills, even after years of use. Please comment below if you have a great replacement for this yarn!

A possible resolution, however, is that I ordered another ball of a similar yarn (Dale or Norway Heilo–its hand-wash counterpart) in the same color. My thought is to use this different yarn right where the turtleneck turns, hoping that it won’t be noticeable. In the meantime, anybody got a ball of Dale of Norway Falk in color 0020? I’d be happy to buy it or trade something, not my firstborn, or anything like that, but something to make it worth your while! It looks like my Bang Out a Sweater for February will be on hold for a week or so.

That’s all the yarn I have left…sweater sadness!
Free Knitting Patterns

Off Piste Cable Sweater

A few years ago I bought a 6 skein set of gradient yarn at a fiber festival in Idaho Falls. Those skeins sat around and I admired them, but now in my motivated state to knit up the yarn that I have, I started to knit this yarn in a few patterns, but none of them seemed right. So I decided to just start knitting a sweater, without having a pattern. You can find the link below to this pattern. It’s really more of a formula for making a top down sweater.

Off Piste Cable Sweater Link:

off piste cable sweater pattern

Interested in this yarn? I bought it from Blue Savannah. Check out her offerings on Etsy!

Free Knitting Patterns · Home Projects Patterns · My Knitting Life

Diminutive Placemats

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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)!

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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.

Here’s the pattern for you!

Diminutive Placemats

My Knitting Life

End of an Era (or, It’s Not Done Until You’ve Blogged About it)

Blanket on chair

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.

Blanket on wall

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.

 

Free Knitting Patterns · Free Sock Patterns

Diamond Array Socks

About 15 years ago, I came to the happy realization that I was equally comfortable with purling as with knitting. I’m not sure why it took so long. But I remember as a child I would always finish with a purl row if knitting stockinette stitch, so that the next time I picked up the project, I would do so willingly because I would be on a knit row. Every project was subject to this rule. Hated purling. Doesn’t everyone, at first?

Brick Pic

But lately I’ve begun to realize how beautiful the knit stitch looks as it travels along in a field of purl stitches. Texture. One of the features that makes this craft of “knitting” so beautiful. Perhaps I should call myself a “purler” instead of a “knitter”!

So, here’s my latest free pattern offering, Diamond Array Sock Pattern, with a cute but true little story at the beginning.

 

Free Knitting Patterns · Hello World! · My Knitting Life

Diamondweave Hat

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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!

Diamondweave Hat