Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hat Knitting: Alternating Cables Cap

Alternating Cables Cap
Knit in Berroco Vintage DK
I've been doing a little hat knitting this week.  My local yarn shop has a great selection of Berroco Vintage DK. I was curious to see how this yarn would knit up in my Alternating Cables Cap pattern.  Turned out really nicely and it was a relatively easy and quick knit.  Turns out the hard part was taking a decent "selfie" to show off the hat. 
Ummm, this photo is no good. Try again...
Mmmmm???  Fail!

Okay, keep trying.  Don't get that weird angle where it looks like you have a big 'ol double chin.
Oh, okay.  I can live with this picture.  Hat looks great and I don't look like a total dork.

When I originally came up with this hat design, I used Berroco Comfort DK. I love his hat in both Berroco Comfort DK and Berroco Vintage DK.  I think Berroco Vintage DK may just be my new favorite yarn.  I think this colorway is called Lilac and it has a very delicate tweedy quality, with subtle flecks of other colors in the fibers.  LOVE it!

A little sewing: Easy Pot Holder Tutorial

When I've visited my Mom and Dad in Oregon the last two summers, I have found myself drawn to this book my Mom has.  It's called "Ready, Set, Serge" and it's by Georgie Melot.
The book is written with serger sewing machines in mind. I do have a serger but have not used it in years. I need to get it out and figure out how to thread it again.  Last I recall, one of four areas had become unthreaded.  If you are not familiar with sergers, they are amazing.  They use four threads and two needles. When you sew, you get two lines of straight stitches, two threads that create an overlock stitch over the raw edges of the fabric, and the serger also cuts the fabric as you go.  You can kind of see that in the photo above. 
I love a lot of the patterns in the book and I plan to get the book. When I was at my Mom and Dad's place a few months back, I took some photos of the potholder project and tried it out at home.  The amazing thing about Georgie Melot's patterns in this book is that there is virtually no finish work in the projects.  You simply layer the fabrics in such a way that when you turn things inside out, the unfinished edges are concealed with in the project.  Love that!
Let me show you how you layer the pot holder.  I used an 8 1/2 square of  batting which is intended for use in pot holders.  The batting goes on the bottom.
Then I added this cute purple Halloween fabric with ghosts (8 1/2 inch square), right side up on top of the batting.
Then I cut two pieces of the black fabric with white polka dots. These are actually rectangles which measure 7 1/2 inches by 8 1/2 inches. These pieces are folded in half, with the folded sides to the center and the raw edges to the outside of the square. I also added a bit of ribbon which is black with white polka dots.  So in the photo below, the layers are as follows: batting on the bottom, purple ghost fabric on top (right side up) and then two flaps with the folded edges toward the center, and a little ribbon which will become a little handle.

Next you need to make another 8 1/2 square.  I used a third fabric.  On one side of the square, you need to finish the raw edge.  I folded one raw edge over about 1/4 inch and then folded it over another 1/4 inch, and stitched a straight stitch.  You can see that little hem in the photo below.  This "square" needs to be a bit smaller than the rest of the pot holder. It will make sense in just a minute... I promise.  It's magic I tell ya!
So now you add this square with the little hemmed edge to the other layers.  Batting on the bottom,  purple ghost fabric on top (right side up) and then two flaps with the folded edges toward the center, and a little ribbon which will become a little handle, and on top of all that is the square with the little hemmed edge (right side down).  Pin around all four edges.  Sew all four sides with a hem which is a little more than 1/4 inch.  Important: Looking at the photo below... when you sew along the side where there is that little hemmed edge, you will be sewing to the right of the little hemmed edge.  Do not sew on top of the little hemmed edge. That way, you have a place to turn your pot holder. 

Clip your corners on all four corners (pictured below).

Now for the magic. Turn the pot holder inside out once.  In the photos below, you will see the two sides of the pot holder.  In the left photo, you will see there is one area where the batting is exposed beyond that little hemmed edge... no worries. In the right photo, you can see what the pot holder looks like on the other side.
Now fold the flaps made out of the black and white polka dot fabric to the opposite side of the pot holder. Viola!  No raw edges are showing and no more finish work or hand sewing is required.  Brilliant, right?!
I made two identical pot holders.  In photo below, you can see what the two sides look like.  You can insert your fingers and thumb in the fabric flaps when you grab hot items.  

I have tried the project with 6 1/2 squares and 8 1/2 inch squares. Next I think I'll try 7 1/2 inch squares. You can use two fabrics or three; the possibilities are endless. The pattern calls for rounded edges which would make it easier to stitch with a serger.  These little pot holders are a great last minute gift.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall events

Fall is extra busy this year. Tennis season is over.  Senior pictures. Done!

Cap and gown ordered.

While Zach was having his photos taken, I snapped a few photos myself. Here are my favorites. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Neon Ribbed Socks

Happy Feet!
I have slowly been finishing up my socks. I've actually had them finished for a few weeks except for the grafting the toes closed with the Kitchner stitch and weaving in the loose ends. I wore them to Zach's tennis match on Friday (yesterday). Good thing I had some new socks; it was cold outside!

Oh, that turned out a little blurry but isn't this yarn amazing?!
It's called Manos del Uruguay Alegria and I got it "For Yarn's Sake" in Beaverton, Oregon.
I snapped this photo at my local yarn shop. They always have cute fabric on the table in the shop.
The pattern for these socks is called "Ribbed Socks for Bigger Feet" by Susan B. Anderson (the pattern is FREE).  They are for adult sized feet, as opposed to child size feet... not BIG feet per se.  The pattern makes the best fitting sock since the sock leg and the top of the foot is all knit in k3 p1 ribbing. You can find a CHILD sized version of this pattern HERE.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mini-Mittens: My FIRST Knitting Class


What fun! On September 27, 2014, I taught my very first knitting class!  I had six participants in my Mini-mitten class. I think the participants had a good time and learned what they hoped to learn.  Truth be told, this being my first teaching experience like this, I learned a lot as well. 

Would you like to see what we made?

Above you see Mrs. C's mini-mitten knit in fingering weight yarn.
This is yarn she had left over from a pair of socks she had knit a number of years ago. 

Above:  Mrs. B knit her mini-mitten in Berroco Comfort DK.  She knit a seed stitch cuff instead of a k1 p1 ribbed cuff and it looks super cute and feminine.  After the class, Mrs. B knit up a second mitten and sent me these two adorable photos of her handy work.

Above:  Mrs. G also knit her mini-mitten in Berroco Comfort DK. 
I love the little flecks of color in this yarn.

Above:  Mrs. C knit her mini-mitten in a hot pink fingering weight yarn. I love how her mitten turned out; the thumb is especially nicely shaped I think.

Above:  Mrs. F knit her mini-mitten in Plymouth Encore worsted weight yarn.  This lady is a perfectionist and made a super cute and tidy mitten. She even turned her mitten inside out to work in all the loose ends. 
Above:  Mrs. S knit her mini-mitten in Plymouth Diversity.
Mrs S. had started off her mittens with a dark purple yarn with dark colored double pointed needles and it was difficult to see her stitches well. She opted for this lighter colored yarn that I brought to the class which was ironic because this yarn was leftover from a pair of socks I knit for Mrs. S.

After the class, Mrs. S finished up a second mitten and sent me a photo of her beautiful mittens (below).
For the class, I brought some apple cider with a cinnamon stick; it was simmering in a Crock Pot while we knit.  When folks took breaks, they could have a nice cup of hot cider. I also brought some Vegan Molasses Crinkles and some store bought cookies.  It was a really fun time. After the class, Mrs. S and I went out for lunch.  We talked about the class; what was good, what could be improved, what would make the class better.  I appreciated her giving me feed back like this so I can improve on my teaching skills. If you interested in make mini-mittens, here are some pattern links.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Yarn bowl and socks

My good friend, Mrs. W, has been painting ceramics for years. She's gifted me lots of cool things since I've known her, usually at Christmastime.  In exchange, I've give her a number of hand knit items. I drive by the local ceramics shop (Hobby Hut) when I drive to my local yarn shop (The Yarn Shop at Words of Life).  Sometimes I stop at the ceramics shop when I see Mrs. W's car there.  A few weeks back, I stopped in to say hello and you'll never guess that I saw sitting on the shelves?
Yarn bowls.  
Ready to be painted.
I needed to do that!
So we made a day of it. We painted in the morning, took a break for lunch at our favorite lunch spot (MoMo's Japanese Restaurant), and then we went back to the ceramics shop to paint a bit more.
I was totally lost when it came to selecting paints, finishes, and techniques for my project.  But Mrs. W and the shop's owner helped me out.  I am sure I am using the wrong terminology for things, but I painted on three coats of a "glaze" that is supposed to be a dark chocolate brown when fired.  I had to wait for each coat to dry before applying the next coat. After lunch, I applied paper punches.  The paper punches were made out of card stock and they reminded me of fancy cut outs that folks use in scrap booking.  Essentially, my paper punches were very detailed dragonflies (the bowl has five dragonflies on it).  We soaked the paper punches in water until they were rather pliable and, when applied to the surface of the bowl, they stuck.  Then I painted on three more layers of  a "glaze" which was supposed to be a rosy sort of color when fired.  Painting over the paper punches was a drag. They kept lifting and I was worried all the glaze was seeping under the paper punches, thus obscuring the cool design.   When the third layer of rosy colored glaze was dried, I had to remove the paper punches. This was kind of stressful, too. I was afraid I would lift the soggy paper punches and too much of the glaze would pull off with the stencil and ruin my project.  Once the paper punches were lifted away, I could see some of the imperfections and I could scrape away some of the rosy glaze that had seeped under the paper punches.  I was told I had to wait for the project to completely dry before it could be fired.  I had to wait about a week to go back and pick up my yarn bowl. 

So I kept knitting on this pair of socks while I waited and a week later, Mrs. W sent me a text to tell me that my yarn bowl was done.  I sure love the way it turned out.  I was so surprised how the rosy colored glaze "moved" and the dragonfly designs look even more delicate.  I can see why Mrs. W loves ceramics so much.  I don't need another hobby but painting ceramics is a lot fun.  It's kind of like Christmas morning when you drive down to the ceramics shop and see what magic happened in the kiln.

As for the socks, these are my indulgent souvenir yarn socks.  Manos del Uruguay Alegria yarn from a shop in Beaverton, Oregon, called "For Yarn's Sake".  The colorway is Locura Flou.  This is what then yarn looked like when I bought it. 

Interesting to see how it knits up.  The pattern I am knitting is one of my favorites for socks.  Socks for Bigger Feet by Susan B. Anderson on 2.50 mm needles.  This is a great fitting sock since it's mostly ribbing.  I am working on the heel flap on sock #2 right now.  I'll post some photos when I am all done. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Transfix! Complete!

Yarn:  Berroco Boboli Lace (a DK weight yarn)
Pattern link can be found HERE.

Sometimes it's really fun to make an easy project using the yarn recommended in the pattern. No guess work; this pattern and this yarn are a perfect match!  The yarn and the pattern are both from Berroco.  The pattern calls for using two balls of Berroco Boboli Lace and casting on 60 stitches on US Size 7 needles. I used just one ball of yarn and cast on only 30 stitches.  I wanted a narrower scarf.  My scarf is plenty wide and plenty long.   It took me about a month to complete this simply because I am not find enough time to knit lately.  I do love how this turned out.