Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Are you having a relaxing Labor Day weekend? I often have mixed feelings about long weekends. Yes, many folks find them a great way to relax.  There’s another side to long weekends though. Sometimes you’re the person who is left behind.  For example, you may be the professional or family caregiver who works through the long weekend when everyone else takes a break.  And so a long weekend can be a source of stress including caregiver stress. Is knitting one of the ways you reduce stress? After a long working day of a long weekend, I often found it helpful to relax.  For many years... (Read More ...)

One of the nice things about a knitted dishcloth pattern is its gauge usually doesn’t matter. Which is a blessing for me, because I’ve been known to rewrite patterns to match my gauge. Yes, really!  I knit loosely, and use the pick or Continental method.  When I use the throw or English/American method, the gauge is much closer.  And my knitting is much tighter.  So I think most patterns are written by knitters using the throw method. Personally I find the pick method much easier, faster and smoother.  If you like a different method GREAT! What else makes knitted dishcloth patterns... (Read More ...)

I’m a fan of hand knit dishcloths. Every time I use one, I’m amazed at how long they last.  And how much better they are at scrubbing than manufactured dishcloths. Although they can be fancy with embossed-looking images, they don’t have to be.  A knitted dishcloth pattern can be as simple as garter stitch. I just finished knitting one in about three hours. Grandma's Favorite Knitted Dishcloth I used a dishcloth pattern that’s been around for years. It’s called Grandma’s or Grandmother’s Favorite Dishcloth. Its name suits. It’s a quick and easy knit. All you need to know is... (Read More ...)

Like many knitters, when I first learned to knit, I started with a garter stitch scarf. By the time I finished, I’d learned cast on, knit stitch, and casting (or binding) off.  As I recall it was a long scarf, so I had lots of practice on my knit stitches. The scarf was made of a single color. I didn’t try anything fancy. Was just happy to be using two wooden needles, size 11, instead of the spool knitting I’d done previously. At the time I thought spool knitting boring, and for children. It seemed as though there were only a limited number of things like placemats or hot pads... (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 ...)

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 ...)

When you’re bored with knitting the same old pattern, maybe it’s time to try something more challenging … Like Garterlac! This is my first attempt: Yes, it’s a work in progress. If you like the challenge of entrelac, but find the stockinette (stocking) version too flat or like both the front and back to look woven, you might like garterlac. Like garter stitch, it’s a nice thickness for dishes.  And dishcloths make a nice practical square to try out a new pattern. It’s not hard to envision using garterlac for a scarf, an afghan, or a pillow top. If garterlac is... (Read More ...)

Ever have one of those days? You know, you search for a clean dishcloth. Only to discover … Most of them are worn, many beyond repair. Amazing how they all seem to go simultaneously. And no, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy. More likely, I wait until I need more than one, and then make a bunch at a time. Dishcloths are interesting. They can be as plain or fancy as you like. Since I’ve recently been working with garter stitch, I thought I’d see how many variations of garter stitch I could make. This is one of my favorite patterns. I start with how ever many stitches I... (Read More ...)

Looking at my collection of darning needles, I realized I needed more organization. Each needle is blunt. The good news is blunt needles are harder to poke yourself with. The bad news is, they don’t poke through the fabric on my pin cushion. <Sigh …> Darning needles — and most sewing needles — come in cardboard and plastic packages.  To use the needles, the plastic usually needs to be ripped from the cardboard. While the plastic can be used as a tray, it’s a short-term not a long-term solution. As I was considering what to do with my needles, I suddenly remembered one... (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 ...)