Friday, February 25, 2005

Buttonhole Bags and String Scrubbies

Kay over at Mason-Dixon Knitting made a cool felted buttonhole bag and shared her Unpattern with the world. Since then everyone seems to have joined the craze. How can I resist?

Here's my first ever felted bag using the Unpattern. I didn't use the same yarn, I used what I had on hand and converted the numbers of stitches and rows in the pattern to my gauge. That's 2 strands of Cascade 220 knit with size #11 US needles (that's 8mm or #0 UK/CAN). My gauge on those needles with that yarn is 3 stitches to the inch, or 12 stitches to 10cm. After felting it measures 12 inches long, 6 inches tall and 3 inches deep.

The short 6" height of the bag made me feel insecure, so I added a zipper to mine. I have an annoying tendency to spill my purse contents all over the floor in awkward places, usually in public at really inconvenient times. With the zipper I feel quite safe - I could throw this thing fully loaded across the street without anything popping out. What a bag!

And, speaking of Kay and her projects, she's got another one to hitch yer wagon to on her blog today - the String Scrubbie Project. It's a charity project. Go on, knit some dishcloths and help Unicef help the tsunami victims. As you can see, I have pulled out my dishcloth book and my most recently knit sample and I plan on knitting those string scrubbies until my knuckles ache. They have free patterns at the website and links to more so, people, go there now!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Recycling Sweaters That Can't be Frogged

When shopping for sweaters to recycle, we look for garments that have been 'fully fashioned', that is a sweater that has been made to the shape of the pattern pieces by knitting rather than cut out of a larger piece of knit fabric and sewn together with a serger.

Sometimes I goof and buy a sweater that can't be frogged. But that doesn't mean I can't do what the manufacturer originally did and cut and sew the fabric into something else. Why not, I do that with woven cotton shirts for quilting all the time, I can do that with knits too.

A few weeks ago I bought some sweaters at my local thrift shop. Some of the sweaters have been cut and sewn from knitted fabric, so they cannot be frogged and reknit, but they have interesting patterns and textures that make them good candidates for recycling.

This one, in a fine gauge cotton, has stripes of contrasting textures and a color scheme that would make for a great tote bag for summer trips to the beach.

The fabric is very dense without a lot of stretch, so if made into a tote it wouldn't stretch out of shape.

This fairisle patterned sweater is a really pretty one, and I had originally intended to wear it, but even though the yarn feels soft in my hands it feels very itchy and scratchy when worn. The label reads 69% acrylic 17% cotton 7% wool and 7% other fibers. Makes me wonder just what those 'other fibers' really are.

Still, it's a great looking design that can be cut and sewn into a bag or pillow. I will come up with a good use for this.

This tunic is made of a fine gauge cotton in a seed stitch pattern using stripes that makes a nice pebbly texture. It is not a flattering sweater for me to wear, but it would make a great handbag or two.

The scale of the striped pattern is very small and reads as almost solid at a short distance, so I think the bag will need some embellishment. Perhaps some leather, metal and beads?

I will post as I work on these projects.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Simple Socks

I had some spare time this weekend, so I got out the old Studio knitting machine and did a little 'production knitting'. I made a few pair of plain, everyday socks. These are simple tubes with short-row heels and toes added on in contrasting yarn.

You can see 3 finished pairs of socks in the photo, and on the right is one pair of unfinished tubes waiting for heels and toes. The socks are Lang Jawoll with the reinforcement yarn added to the toes and heels of the adult sized ones. I'm not fond of the stiffness the reinforcing yarn adds to the sock, but I am testing it out on the machine-knit socks to see how they feel and wear over time. Before I use the reinforcing yarn in my hand-knit socks, I want to find out if I like it or not.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Crochet and other things

No knitting content today, I'm afraid. I have been doing some other crafty things instead.

I reaquainted myself with crochet after a hiatus of a few years by starting a pair of crocheted baby socks for the Feet Need Socks Crochetalong. It's always fun to try something new, and crocheted socks are new to me.

One can never have too many baby booties around to give as gifts.

I had purchased an inexpensive hat a few weeks ago. It was a good basic hat, but it was, well, a bit too plain and uninteresting. I felt that it needed adornment of some kind. I gave it some thought and decided it needed a big flower to set it off. I finally found some that seemed just right, some big silk peonies.

There we go, just what it needed, a big blue floppy flower that would never occur in nature. Something cheerful for a grey and drizzly day. I suppose you could say that I'm practicing for the time when I will be mature enough to wear that red hat. For now, I'll have fun with the white hat.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Sunny Side Up

Here we have the egg and bacon for the Fry Up Knitalong, done in Tahki Cotton Classic and Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. The pattern can be found here. Because I don't like to sew seams if I can avoid it, I've knit the egg in the round. It needed blocking before it looked quite right. It seems to be a common problem, Ann described it well. I'm glad cotton steams into shape so nicely.

My youngest is quite pleased with these, he thinks I've knitted them solely for his amusement. I must admit, they do make for some nice toddler toys. I think that will be their ultimate fate. I just don't see myself wearing a beret topped with breakfast food more than once or twice. It's good to think they will have a practical purpose after all the fun is over.

I am still undecided about the plate color. I'm thinking of using a solid colored yarn for the center and a variegated yarn for the rim. I will make some swatches and see what I like best.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dark and Muted

I've started my pair of Stashbuster Spiral socks, the new sock this month for the 6 Sox Knitalong, in dark and muted colors of Froelich Blauband from my stash (that yarn is about 15 years old, in case you're wondering). My gauge is a little loose, so these will be man-sized socks.

I think one of the boys will like them. Warm and cozy without a seam across the toe to annoy, my middle son will appreciate them best.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Frogging We Go

This is what is left of an old sweater from the thrift shop, some grey and white ragg yarn to make into something new. The yarn is a worsted weight, about 4.5 stitches per inch (about 18 stitches per 10cm) and very soft to the touch. The brightly colored bits are the 2-row stripes that ran through the sweater every 20 rows or so. They aren't long enough to make a ball, but they will be fine for scrappy projects where you just need a little bit of a color. I forgot to take a 'before' picture, I will try not to repeat that mistake.

I found several sweaters to recycle at the thrift shop. I will post each one as I work on it, so stay tuned for some crafty ideas to remake your own good stuff.

I haven't been knitting very much during the last week, I've been catching up on some scrapbook swaps I joined a while ago. I have been working on this little item today.

It's a miniature baby afghan to decorate a baby shower scrapbook page. I'm using sock reinforcment yarn and size US#0000 steel lace needles and the Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth pattern. The finished item measures about 2 1/4 inches square.

This is the first time I've used those tiny needles, and it may be the last hehe.