Friday, April 18, 2014

April Guild Meeting

This past Wednesday night was the monthly guild meeting for the Knitting Goddesses.  We always have a great night and this month was no exception.

We always start off the night with show and tell.  Rebecca had finished another beautiful shawl.

I did a short demonstration on Lucy Neatby's Navaho knitting technique.  This lets you knit from one ball using 3 strands of yarn.  It's a neat trick to have in your knitter's tool bag.

The last hour of the meeting was spent on arm knitting.  I'm sure you've all heard about this by now.  It seems to be the newest knitting trend.  To be honest, when I first started seeing this pop up on facebook, knitting blogs and twitter I wasn't all that interested and thought I would rather spend my time on "real" knitting. 
As the saying goes, never say never!  I ended up helping another Knitter figure out arm knitting at our Monday night group and you know what, it was fun! 

Earlier in the week I had challenged the Goddesses to bring some yarn to give arm knitting a try and knit a cowl before the end of the meeting.  I knew a lot of them had felt the same as I did about this new fad and I has happy to see that most were up for the challenge!  Everyone picked out 4 balls of worsted or chunky weight yarn and I passed on all the info that I had learned about arm knitting (there isn't much to know!) and we were off and knitting.

At the end of the hour this is what we had finished.  Once you get the hang of what you are doing a cowl can easily be knit in 30 mins. 

What does everyone else think about the idea of arm knitting? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sweater Repair

This beautiful sweater was dropped off at our Monday night knitting group to see if it could be repaired.  This poor sweater had quite a few areas with holes and dropped stitches.  The first thing I did was gather all of those live stitches and put them on stitch holders and safety pins to prevent any further damage.

Here are some close up shots.  Knitters, view at your own risk; some of these are pretty scary!! 



under the arm - before

underarm stitches saved

set up for grafting


dropped sts under other arm hole

rescued sts

finished repair job
Not perfect, but wearable once again.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It Feels Like Spring!!

Saturday was a beautiful warm Spring day that just made me want to go for a walk along the river.

Winter could still be found in a few places but if you look closely, you can see water droplets falling from this pile of snow!!


 There were a few signs of Spring to be found.

When I arrived back home 1 1/2 hours later I was ready to sit and knit for the evening.  I was thinking of starting a pair of socks but ended up working on my lace shawl for the night.  Slowly it is getting longer. Almost half finished.

I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy this wonderful Spring weather!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hat Knitting Steps Part 3 - Top Shaping

Here we are at the final step in your hat knitting, shaping the top!

So far in part 1 we talked about knitting the ribbing, in part 2 we talked about knitting the body, so all that leaves us with is working the decreases for the top of the hat.

To work the decreases the first thing to do is find a number that divides into the number of stitches on the needle. Example, if you have 95 sts on your needle, this divdes by 5.  You will work your decrease rounds like this:
Round 1  *k3, k2tog* (note how these sts add up to 5.)  This will be repeated to the end of the round
Round 2  knit
Round 3 *k2, k2tog* (note how the knit sts has decreased by 1, it was k3 now it is k2)
Round 4  knit
Round 5  *k1, k2tog* (the knit sts have decreased by 1 again)
Round 6  knit
Round 7 *k2tog*

If you are designing this hat you might choose to have a different look to your hat shaping.  These decreases were done quickly over just a few rounds which gives this Knit'n Purl hat a puffy, gathered appearance.  If you were wanting a more gradual, smooth shape to the top of your hat the decreases could be worked over more rows to achieve that look. Example you could divide your 95 sts by 10.  Your decrease rounds would be worked the same as above (a decrease round followed by a plain knit row) but you would start with  *k8, k2tog*. Again, see how these add up to 10.

When designing your hat you would work out how you want these decrease rows to look before you get to this point so you know when to stop knitting the body of the hat. The more decrease rows you will be knitting the fewer rounds you will knit the body of the hat.  You will want to measure your row gauge.  Once you know how many rounds per inch you are knitting and how many rounds it is going to take to work all the decreases, you can calculate how many inches it will take you to knit all the decrease rounds and you can adjust the length of the body accordingly.

measure row gauge
If you have been knitting on a 16" circular needle you will have to switch to a set of double pointed needles after a few decrease rounds once you have too few stitches to fit around your needle.  If you have been knitting using the magic loop or with 2 circulars you will be able to continue with all the decrease rounds with no problems.

Once you have finished the decreases, cut your yarn and pick up the remaining sts and pull tight.  Sew in your ends.  Congratulations, you have a finished, perfect fitting hat!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

An Arm Knit Cowl

Has everyone else been seeing this arm knitting everywhere? One of the Knitters in our Monday night group had seen a demonstration and had a pattern for a cowl so we thought we would give it a try.  Yes, you really do use your arms in place of knitting needles! 
The pattern called for super bulky yarn.  I decided to use 3 strands of worsted weight and 1 strand of chunky held together.

I cast on by using the backwards loop method (still not my favourite cast on)

Then began "knitting" by holding the working yarns in the hand of the arm that the stitches were on and lifting the stitch on the arm over the working yarn held in that hand and let the old stitch drop. A new stitch was made with the yarn being held in the hand and that stitch was put onto the other arm.
Once you get your rhythm figured out it goes really quickly and is fun.  The pattern called for the cowl to be knit 60" long then seamed together.  It also said that this could be done in approx. 30 mins.  From the time of the first cast on stitch to the last end being woven in, it took me 50 mins to knit this cowl.  Not bad huh? Go to knitting, start and finish a project and wear it home :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Hat Knitting Steps Part 2 - The Body

Hats make great knitting projects for so many reasons; the work in progress is portable - just toss it into your purse and you will always have some knitting with you, it knits up quickly using only one ball of yarn and you can get creative with the stitch patterns you use.

Once you have the ribbing for your hat knit, (part one on ribbing is here) you are ready to move onto the main body of the hat.  On the last round of ribbing you increased to the number of stitches required to get the fit you are wanting for your hat. Remember that you will be aiming for 2 - 3" smaller than the actual size of your head. 

Now comes the fun part, knitting the pattern of the hat you chose.  If this is a pattern that you are designing yourself, remember that the pattern repeat has to fit into the number of stitches you have on  your needle.  If you need to increase or decrease a stitch or two to make the pattern fit this is ok. Whether you go smaller or bigger is your choice.  On the Knit'n Purl hat that I designed for an advanced beginner knitting class the body of the hat is divided into 2 different knit and purl stitch patterns; seed stitch and a diagonal rib.  Before starting both of these patterns the number of sts on the needle had to be adjusted to match the stitch pattern. 

The next question is how long do you knit the body of your hat?  That is up to you.  For an adult hat I aim for 6-7" from the cast on edge but this is where you can decide on the perfect fit for you.  Do you like your hats a little shorter or a little longer for a slouchy look? Remember that you have to leave some space for the decrease rounds at the top of the hat.

seed stich and diagonal rib patterns

Happy hat knitting!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Knit Doily

I am on a mission to bring back the knit doily :)
Two months ago at our guild meeting doilies were our topic and since then the Knitters in our group have been showing up at our Monday and Friday knitting groups with finished doilies (yay!!).
Here is my second one in progress,
size 10 crochet cotton and 2.25mm needles

and here it is finished!
after blocking