Thursday, March 31, 2005


When I'm done with the chores for the day, I'm making progress on the blue striped cardigan. The stripe pattern really takes on a different character with higher contrast yarns, especially with the complimentary colors of blue and orange. This sweater is definitely too bright for any child who isn't a toddler hehe.

Here's a little bit of web fun, you never know what kind of quiz you'll find next:

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

this quiz was made by the lycanthropes at Spookbot

You are dishcloth cotton.
You are Dishcloth Cotton.
You are a very hard worker, most at home when
you're at home. You are thrifty and seemingly
born to clean. You are considered to be a Plain
Jane, but you are too practical to notice.

What kind of yarn are you?

Brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Acrylic Yarn

I hope you're all enjoying this fine Easter day. Church is over, the eggs have all been found, and the children are in a sugar-induced semi-comatose state in front of the TV. A few moments of peace for blogging.

I'm beginning work on another striped cardigan. This time it's for a little boy and I'm using worsted weight yarn.

Yup, that's good ol' Red Heart Super Saver. I'm going to test my baby cardi pattern with the worsted weight and see what changes I need to make for a toddler size 2 or 4 sweater. I'll keep you posted.

And speaking of acrylic yarn, here's a sneak peek at one of my Flash Your Stash photos.

This is most of my acrylic and acrylic blend yarn stash. You don't have to worry about the moths eating it, so I keep it in these cubbies in the closet. Very easy to get to.

The upper left and upper right cubbies contain 40 balls of Patons Beehive Shetland Chunky (75% acrylic/25% wool) and a few odd balls of other stuff, like Brunswick Limeric (93% acrylic/7%wool), Brunswick Fore-'n-Aft Sport (100% Orlon Acrylic), Brunswick Heather Boucle (75% Orlon/18% wool/7% nylon), and Lion Brand Wool-Ease (80% acrylic/20% wool).

The center left and lower left cubbies are filled with Red Heart Super Saver (100% acrylic) and a few skeins of Caron Gold Sayelle (100% acrylic).

The center right and lower right cubbies have my Lion Brand Homespun stash (98% acrylic/2% polyester). And, no, that isn't the 'Regency' color that is used in the Martha Poncho, that is 'Edwardian' that I bought to make a nice, thick prayer shawl.

Not shown in the photo is the basket sitting on top of the cubby that holds some more Red Heart being used in a project, a playmat for my toddler. There are project bags in various other spots strategically located around the house that hold the rest of my 'squeaky yarn' projects. These projects are mostly sweaters or playthings for little children.

You'll have to wait until April 1st to see the 'good' stuff!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Poncho Question

It's been a busy week without a lot of knitting going on, just some afghan squares I have been working on while watching tv.

I can't believe the hubbub about The Poncho. First Bernat posts a pattern, then Lion Brand announces that they will be posting one. My first reaction was this:

What about the woman who created it in the first place? Has anyone talked to her? Give her credit! Have the woman write up her pattern in her own words and pay her for it for crying out loud! Deposit some cash into her prison account so she can buy more yarn! Heck, give her a lifetime supply of yarn! Sheesh!

We hear all the time about copyright. Give credit where credit is due and all that. As knitters, we all enjoy free patterns on the web. We all know it's wrong to post someone else's pattern on the web, especially commercial patterns. If anyone posts a pattern from a pattern company they can expect all kinds of nastiness from the company's legal department.

I have heard arguments that the woman who created the poncho pattern is a criminal and shouldn't profit from it. I say hogwash. Criminals are not allowed to profit from their crimes, and the poncho has nothing to do with her crime. Everyone has the right to their intellectual property, even prisoners. Besides, whatever happened to rehabilitation? If people enjoy her designs, should she not be able to profit from them?

Since then, Lion Brand has posted their crochet and knit versions of the pattern and Interweave has posted one as well. Interweave is giving credit to the original designer and donating books and magazine subscriptions to the women at the prison. Bravo!

I certainly have not heard all the news about how these companies are dealing with the poncho maker. I do hope they are all doing what's right and respecting her copyright the same way they want the rest of us to respect theirs.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Baby Cardigan

It's finished! I made up the pattern as I went along, and I am sharing it with you here. If you need some pointers, here are some cool video instructions or you can check out these articles in Knitty for making increases and decreases, picking up stitches, weaving in ends, and using Mattress Stitch and Kitchener Stitch.


Baby Cardigan in Garter Stitch and Seed Stitch Stripes

The yarns I used may no longer be available (Pingouin Pingofrance, 75% acrylic 25% wool, 50 grams 150 yards in peach, orange and purple; and Brunswick Fore-'n-Aft Sport, 100% Orlon acrylic, 50 grams 175 yards in white and pink). You may use any DK or sport weight yarn that knits to gauge. If you would like to make a solid colored sweater, allow 4 (50 gram) balls of yarn to be on the safe side. If you would like to make a striped sweater like the one I made, you'll need one ball each of 5 colors.

This is a close-fitting sweater for a baby of 12 months of age. You will also need knitting needles and 5 buttons about 3/8"-1/2" (about 10-12mm) in size. 14" straight knitting needles (or any length circulars if you prefer) in US sizes #2 and #3 (2.75 mm and 3.25 mm or UK/CAN #12 and #10).

Gauge: 23 stitches x 46 rows = 4" (10 cm) in garter stitch.
Chest: 22 inches
Armhole Depth: 5"
Body Length: 12" from back neck
Sleeve Length: 12.75" from center back, 7.5" from armhole
These measurements have been taken from the actual sweater.

The Pingofrance yarn band says 23 stitches x 30 rows using US#3-4 needles. I used the 3's because I tend to knit loosely. I did a swatch first in a single color in garter stitch over 30 stitches and 60 rows to make sure that I had at least 4" of knitting in both directions. Do take the time to check your gauge if you want the sweater to be a specific size. The bigger the swatch the better. If you aren't picky about what size it turns out to be, then you can live dangerously and just knit it up using the needles recommended on the yarn band. As long as you are using yarn of the same weight and you are getting a gauge close to mine, then you will have a sweater that can be worn by someone's child. If you stray too far from the gauge, you may end up with a sweater that has bad proportions and will be disappointing. How close is close enough? If you're getting about 6 stitches to the inch, you'll get a size 12 months sweater (chest about 22 inches). If you're getting about 5 stitches to the inch, you'll get a size 18 months sweater (chest about 25 inches). If your gauge is about 7 stitches to the inch, you'll get a newborn size sweater (chest about 18 inches). I don't recommend straying beyond that range without some adjustments.

I knit the body of the cardigan in one flat piece, then knit the sleeves separately. I chose not to knit the sleeves in the round in order to avoid having an obvious jog in the stripe pattern, since sewing the seams to make the garter stitch stripes align neatly is easy to do.

When making stripes, carry the yarn along the side of the work, twisting and wrapping the yarns every other row to secure them as you go along. Instructions are given for unisex or boys style sweater (buttonholes placed on wearers left front) with instructions for girls style (buttonholes placed on wearers right front) given in brackets where needed.

Garter stitch: knit every row.
Seed stitch: On even number of stitches, Row 1 *knit 1, purl 1* across row. Row 2 *purl 1, knit 1* across row.

A note about the stripes in my sweater: I used this color progression, that I copied from the photo in Candace Key's article in Knitty *6 rows seed stitch in color 2, 2 rows garter stitch in color 1, 2 rows garter stitch in color 3, 2 rows garter stitch in color 4, 2 rows garter stitch in color 5, 2 rows garter stitch in color 3, 2 rows garter stitch in color 2, 2 rows garter stitch in color 1, 6 rows seed stitch in color 5, 2 rows garter stitch in color 4, 2 rows garter stitch in color 3, 2 rows garter stitch in color 1* repeated continuously.

The Sweater:

Body: Cast on 122 stitches using US#2 needles. Knit 5 (6) rows garter stitch. Change to US#3 needles and continue in stripe pattern or plain garter stitch for 72 rows.

Right Front [Left Front]: Knit the first 31 stitches in pattern. Place the next 60 stitches on a stitch holder for the back. Place the last 31 stitches on another stitch holder for the left front [right front]. Continue working the 31 stitches on the needle in your chosen pattern for another 15 [16] rows. Start decreasing 1 stitch at neck edge every other row for the next 28 rows. Knit the remaining 17 stitches in pattern for 10 [9] rows. Bind off.

Left Front [Right Front]: Take the 31 stitches from stitch holder and place them onto knitting needle. Work in pattern for 16 [17] rows. Start decreasing 1 stitch on neck edge every other row for the next 28 rows while continuing to knit in pattern. Knit remaining 17 stitches in pattern for 10 [9] rows. Bind off.

Back: Take the 60 stitches from stitch holder and place on knitting needle. Work in pattern 54 rows. Bind off.

Sleeves: With US#2 needles, cast on 36 stitches. Knit 5 rows garter stitch. Change to US#3 needles and knit in pattern, increasing one stitch on each side of the sleeve every 6 rows, for a total of 54 stitches. Continue working straight until 5 rows ribbing + 80 rows pattern have been completed. Bind off. Work second sleeve just like the first.

Assembly: Sew shoulder seams together using kitchener stitch. Sew sleeve seams using mattress stitch. Sew sleeves to armholes using mattress stitch. Weave in yarn ends.

Neckband: Starting at the wearer's lower right front edge of the sweater, pick up 47 stitches along the front, 18 stitches along right v-neck edge, 5 stitches along right side neck, 26 stitches along back neck, 5 stitches along the left side neck, 18 stitches along left v-neck edge, and 47 stitches along left front edge. 166 stitches.

Row 1: Knit across row.
Row 2: Knit across row.
Row 3: Knit 106 stitches, *YO, K2tog, knit 9* 5 times, knit 5.
[Girls Row 3: Knit 5, *YO, K2tog, knit 9* 5 times, knit 106]
Row 4: Knit across row.

Bind off. Weave in ends. Sew on buttons opposite buttonholes.

Footnote: For those who want to use odd scraps of yarn and need yardage estimates, I used most of a ball each of 3 colors and a little less than a half ball each of 2 more colors to make this sweater. The proportions of the yarn for this stripe pattern are:
3 parts color 1 (purple)
4 parts color 2 (orange)
3 parts color 3 (peach)
2 parts color 4 (white)
4 parts color 5 (pink)
Add one more part for the cuff 'ribbing' and bands (I used color 1, purple). I estimate there are about 5 parts in a ball of this yarn, or about 30 yards per part.
This sweater can certainly be knitted using only one size knitting needle, it just looks a little better if you knit the bottom and sleeve edges (the 'ribbings') a bit tighter than the rest.

Edit: Here are the directions to add a hood to this sweater!

To add a loose hood to this sweater:

Knit the fronts without shaping the v-neck: you will have 14 extra stitches on the neck edge. Don't bind them off with the shoulder stitches, instead place them on a stitch holder or a bit of waste yarn.

When knitting the back, bind off the first 17 stitches, place the middle 26 stitches on a holder, and bind off the last 17 stitches.

Knit the sleeves and sew up the sweater as usual, leaving the extra stitches on the fronts and the center back on holders.

Knitting the hood:

Place these 54 stitches onto a knitting needle and continue knitting in pattern, increasing 2 stitches in the middle of the row every 2 rows 8 times; 70 stitches. Continue knitting in pattern until hood measures about 6.25 inches/16cm (about 72 rows).
Next Row: Knit 35 stitches, fold the hood in half and either 1. perform a 3-needle bind-off or 2. sew the left and right halves of the hood together with kitchener stitch.

The neckband: Pick up 47 stitches along the right front, 36 stitches along the edge of right side of hood, 36 stitches along the edge of left side of hood, 47 stitches along the left front edge: 166 stitches. Proceed as directed to finish.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Stripey Goodness

is almost finished. Thank you Christie for the cool title! I am really pleased with the way this sweater is turning out.

As you can see, I'm working on the second sleeve. Next, sewing the sleeves to the body, the front band and choosing buttons. I have 4 or 5 different choices in my button stash, but I'm leaning toward a simple 1/2" matte pink button that just blends into the background.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Pinkie Peachiness

I have to admit that I have things in my yarn stash that I haven't used in 15 years. I can't get rid of perfectly good yarn. I just haven't figured out what I want to do with it yet.

Here's an example. I bought a bunch of Pingouin Pingofrance from the clearance bin at my local yarn shop about 15 years ago. I bought as many colors as I could find. It was a great yarn for childrens things, 75% acrylic 25% wool and machine washable. DK weight meant that I could knit it by hand or by machine. I made fairisle sweaters out of it back then and had some left over and it has been sitting in the stash ever since.

I read Candace Key's article in Knitty on charity knitting and had admired the photos she had included of some of her projects. I had particularly liked the striped v-neck cardigan at the top of the page. When I came across this small collection of pink and peach yarns in my stash I knew I had to try them out in that textured stripe pattern. They are now well on their way to becoming a baby sweater inspired by Candace's work.

I've finished the body of the cardigan and one sleeve is half done. I'm surprised at what a quick knit this is turning out to be, even though I'm making up the pattern as I go along. It must be all those garter stitch rows. I'm experimenting with different ways of dealing with the consequences of that stripe sequence. Weaving in the ends, carrying along the edge, knitting flat and seaming vs knitting in the round, all the different choices one can make. What fun!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Dishcloth Derby

What a pile of dishcloths we have here for the String Scrubbie Project. These things are quick and so much fun to make, won't you make a few for a good cause? Here are some of the ones I've made so far out of Lion Cotton and Sugar'n Cream worsted weight cotton yarns.

A. A simple knitted black textured cloth using the pattern that came with the ball of Lion Kitchen Cotton, which can also be found here. B. This one is Grandmother's Favorite, found here, and I recently found it here too, a simple knitted cloth using garter stitch on the diagonal. C. A 2-color knitted slip stitch pattern. Find it here. D. Another slip stitch pattern using 2 colors, pattern here.

E. This crocheted cloth is made from a popular afghan stitch pattern. F. This crocheted cloth is called Navajo Ripples and can be found here. G. Spike Stitch wash cloth crochet pattern is here. H. This one is a knitted basket stitch pattern of my own design, and here is the pattern.

Instructions for Basketweave pattern knitted dishcloth.
Using worsted weight cotton yarn and US#7 needles (or size of your choice), cast on 44 stitches.
Row 1: *Knit 2, purl 2*. Repeat from * to * across row.
Row 2: *Knit 2, purl 2* across row.
Row 3: *Knit 2, purl 2* across row.
Row 4: *Purl 2, knit 2* across row.
Row 5: *Purl 2, knit 2* across row.
Row 6: *Purl 2, knit 2* across row.
Repeat these 6 rows 10 times more. Bind off.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mail Call and Beginning Dale

I worked on some scrubbies and some other projects this week and now my hands are sore, so I'm taking a little break from hand knitting.

I ordered the yarn pack for the Fair Isle Sampler Hat in Interweave Knits Winter 2004 a couple weeks ago. They said it wouldn't arrive for 4-6 weeks. Boy was I surprised to find it in my mailbox yesterday!

Here are all the little balls of yarn laying on the open magazine where you can see the photo of the hat. Before I actually start knitting the hat I will measure how many yards of each color are included in the pack so that I can use up scraps of yarn to make another version of this hat in the future.

My order from Elann has also arrived. I ordered several shades of Sonata cotton from purple to green to play around with. Aren't they luscious?

I don't have a specific project in mind, but on the website they show a sample of the yarn knitted into a mitered square that is very pretty. No doubt this yarn is destined to become something domino-like.

The prospect of knitting on little bitty needles for many many months just didn't seem as entertaining to me this week as it did in January. I think the achy knuckles had something to do with that. So, I decided to try knitting the Dale Rocking Horse sweater on the machine.

After much swatching and calculating I have begun. I am working on a Studio 360 punchcard knitter with ribber attachment. I am not using punchcards, however, I'm manually selecting my needles for the fairisle pattern. I also opted for a simple 1 x 1 rib that is much easier to work on the machine than the 2 x 2 garter rib used in the pattern.

Here is the front of the sweater on the machine, left (top), and on the blocking board, right (bottom). I'm pleased with the way it is turning out in the red-white-gray colorway and can't wait to see it when it's finished.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Thrift Shop Finds

Last week my local thrift shop had sweaters for $.50 each. They had too many of them, so lowered the price to get rid of them. They had a great selection and I was able to find quite a few that had 'good seams' and could be unravelled for reknitting.

I found a lot of cotton sweaters, my personal favorite fiber for garments. Living in southern California as I do, the climate is just too warm to wear wool most of the year, but cottons are great and can be layered for warmth in our mild winters.

On the left (top): 5 worsted weight long-sleeved cotton sweaters. On the right (bottom): 1 linen/cotton blend and 4 all cotton sweaters, all in a fingering weight.

Here are some special finds: a man's shetland wool long sleeved pullover, a woman's virgin wool striped pullover and a man's silk/cotton blend pullover.

I have the wools and silk blend processed and wound so far. They are the more difficult ones to unravel. The wool is very fuzzy and clings to itself and it is very fine and if you tug too hard on it the yarn breaks. The silk is smoother but it still breaks if tugged too hard. The others are all cotton, nice and smooth and strong, and will be easy work with.

It is going to take quite a bit of time to frog all those sweaters. What a haul!