Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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As a child, I learned to knit. My knitting was a mixture of: what my mother taught me, what I learned from a knitting pamphlet, and my own invention. Amazingly enough, it worked. Actually, it worked quite well. That is, until I attempted circular knitting and lace. 😯 They were much less forgiving than knitting, purling, and even cables. Over the past few years I’ve been seeking new ways (for me) to cast on. In retrospect my original cast-on either never made it to the knitting manuals or I remembered it wrong. Which is probably why it was so difficult challenging. 😕 When I learned a... (Read More ...)

A couple of days ago, my cotton worsted yarn was calling. Instead of the usual dishcloths, I decided to knit  washcloths. You know, the kind that are often referred to as spa washcloths. Many patterns for spa washcloths use garter stitch, which makes a good scrubbing surface. However, it’s not as fancy as I wanted. I like the two colors of a Ballband dishcloth. And making one the opposite or negative of the other economically uses 2 small balls of cotton yarn almost completely. In looking closely at some of the dishcloths I’ve made from the Ballband knitting instructions, they looked... (Read More ...)

A few days ago, I started two knitting projects, with patterns I haven’t used before. Only one had a knitting gauge; the other one’s knitting instructions were well — pithy. I think of myself as an intermediate to advanced knitter. Usually I can figure out the knitting instructions as I go. This time, however, both patterns presented challenges. And after a few inches, I realized they weren’t going well. Time to restart. So, I frogged the knitting. You know, ripped out the stitches. [Everyone say it quickly: rip it, rip it, rip it! :D] And the result is: When knitting instructions... (Read More ...)

When reading about dyeing wool yarn, the instructions usually say to dye the yarn before you knit it. Since I wasn’t sure how much my project would take, I decided to finish the baby jacket first, then dye it. Baby Surprise Jacket before dye I used Kool Aid and food coloring for a nontoxic dye, and am happy with the results: Baby Surprise Jacket after dye The dye looks as even as dyeing the wool first, both inside and outside. I first soaked the jacket for 20 minutes in cold water with white (distilled) vinegar. It took 1-1/2 quarts of water to cover the jacket in the pot. After 20... (Read More ...)

While I prefer to let dishes air dry, sometimes I still need to dry them by hand. The other day, as I used a dish towel, it left the water untouched. Next I tried a second, then a third. All of them refused to wipe the dishes dry. The best drying towel seemed to be one that’s probably at least 15 years old. Unfortunately, it also has a large hole in its center. 😕 Have you noticed most if not all the dish towels lately in the stores are manufactured outside the USA? The ones I’ve had the most problems with are new. Perhaps it’s the yarn, the dyes, or even the manufacturing... (Read More ...)

It’s with some amusement I made my first Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ). Most knitting patterns let you see the garment as it’s being made. Sometimes, as in the case of knitting a hat on circular needles, socks from the toe up, or even a sweater in flat pieces you can try on the garments as you work, customizing as needed. Even when knitting a sweater in flat pieces, you can still check your measurements as you go. The BSJ though is different. It’s more of a puzzle than most knitted garments. And it uses one of my favorite stitches, garter stitch. Here you can read garter stitch knitting... (Read More ...)

Earlier this year, I knit a bag. It’s made of hand spun wool, which I dyed with Kool-Aid.  Two packages of black cherry, and one of orange. The original color was grayish brown. Or was it brownish gray? 😉 The bag is knit on circular needles, because I decided to minimize the number of seams.  It has one seam at the bottom.  And even that one I closed without sewing. How? Well, more on that later. The pattern is actually fairly simple. I used a combination of garter stitch and stockinette stitch. Stockinette because, well it’s easy on circular needles.  You just knit every stitch. ... (Read More ...)

When most folks think of “plain knitting” they usually mean stockinette stitch. Because it’s smooth, and looks like the same stitch on the right side, it’s often thought by non-knitters to be the first stitch knitters learn.  Usually garter stitch is practiced first, because garter stitch uses only the knit stitch.  That is, every stitch is knit (no purl stitches). Its ridges often make it seem more complex. On two needles, stockinette stitch is a row of knit stitches followed by a row of purl.  For circular knitting, whether using a circular needle … two circulars... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia May in South Carolina. The weather here is turning warm. Good news for those eager to plant crops or just end what seemed like an unusually long winter. At least for here. After all, we did get snow twice! 😀 And spring is running behind normal.  At least that’s what the farmers tell me. For knitters the changes in seasons bring new challenges. For one thing, it’s time to consider changing fibers and maybe patterns. Like considering fibers other than wool. Even in air conditioning, somehow wool yarn and the Southern heat just don’t mix … at least I don’t... (Read More ...)

What’s the first knitting stitch most of us learn? Plain knitting, also known as the garter stitch! On two needles, garter stitch is all knitting.  Every stitch. So, once you’ve cast on, it’s only one stitch to learn or practice. Of course, if you knit in the round, it’s one round (or row) of knitting alternating with a round of purling. There is a symmetry to garter stitch not found in stockinette.  10 stitches is the same length as 10 ridges, or 20 rows.  I think that is so cool, but then I’ve always loved math! 😎 And garter stitch knit on 2 needles lies... (Read More ...)