Friday, December 28, 2007

Long, Colorful Scarf

Now that the holiday knitting is over, I'm taking time to make a list of all the delicious things I would like to knit next. I find it so amusing because the list is so long that I doubt I will ever knit them all. But still, it's fun to think about knitting all that stuff.

Joel's Scarf in progress, about 1/3 finished.I'm not thinking about all those knits idly, oh no, I am working on projects while I'm thinking about other projects to come, of course. And what better time to start next year's gift knitting than now, hm?

On the left you can see what I'm working on today, a version of Joel's Scarf from The Knitting Experience Book 1: The Knit Stitch. Sally Melville was inspired by the Doctor Who Scarf when she designed it, giving it her own colors and stripe pattern to suit her own aesthetics. I wholeheartedly approve. I always did love the idea of a very long striped scarf, but never felt the need to make an exact replica of any of the originals.

This scarf I'm making for my eldest son, who loves to wear unusual accessories. He has grown to expect a gift hat from me each year, the wackier the better. I hate to disappoint him. I guess I'll have to make a hat to go with the scarf, won't I?

I've had to substitute some of the colors in the scarf. Some of the colors have been discontinued and some simply aren't available at my local shop. As for the rest, well, I really didn't like that Patons olive green at all. So, here's what I'm using:

Patons Classic Wool Merino in leaf green, old gold, royal purple and paprika.
Lion Wool in cadet blue and dark teal.
Cascade 220 Heathers in rust.

I like the way these colors play off one another. The feeling is cheerful without being too bright or garish. I also like the fact that you can almost knit this in the dark. It's a great tv knitting project, yards of garter stitch, easy peasy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

3 brightly-colored washclothsThese were the last of the knitted holiday gifts. I finished them yesterday, wrapped them up and sent them off with the rest of the booty to be delivered on Christmas Eve.

3 washcloths for boys in brightly colored stripes that make them easy to find in the laundry. Their mother hopes that when they have their own garter-stitch goodness they will leave her dishcloths alone. We will see.

I am taking a break from knitting today. I'm going to spend some time planning and deciding what I want to knit next. I want to make some more baby hats and socks for afghans for Afghans, finish the second half of my plum socks and start a cardigan for myself. There are dozens of other things that have caught my eye, and it helps to at least make a list to remind me of these delightful knits waiting to be made. I'll work on that later this evening.

My holiday tableJust now, I'm finishing up dinner preparations. We're having a simple meal, some of it prepared ahead of time and reheated, some of it made fresh this afternoon, but none of it was complicated. Roast turkey with gravy, stuffing, cranberry orange sauce, crudites, sparkling cider and panettone for dessert. For my eldest son, it's all about the stuffing.

I hope you all are having a wonderful day with your families.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Yet More Holiday Knitting

Bulky hat for 12-18 month girl.The holiday knitting continues between batches of cookies and loads of dishes and laundry, with Christmas carols playing in the background. Sometimes peaceful, sometimes crazy stressful, such is family life.

On the left you see a little hat I made as a gift for my cousin, who will be celebrating her first birthday next month. It was a very quick knit, made from super bulky yarn. You can make this hat while watching tv in an evening. Yes, even you! The pattern is Omly's Action Baby Hat and you can find it here. I don't have any circulars or double points in the proper size for this yarn, so I used straight needles, knit it flat and seamed it up the back.

Red mitt and dishcloths, child sized.On the right is a little group of kid's play kitchen accessories, 2 'dishcloths' and a pretend 'oven mitt'. Or, they can be a set of bathtime accessories for your favorite toddler. Either way, the kids just love the squishy texture of garter stitch and if you give them these, they will leave your dishcloths alone. Maybe.

Inexpensive worsted weight cotton yarn is all you need to make them. The mitt pattern is in the previous post here, and the dishcloth is Abigail's 4-Corners dishcloth here. I made changes to her pattern to make it smaller, I cast on 12 stitches, then short-row decreased down to 3 stitches for each quadrant. If you cast on about 8 stitches, you get a great coaster.

You still have time to knit a couple of little projects like these for last-minute gifts, so get busy!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Child's Mitt Pattern

A pair of child-sized garter stitch mitts made of worsted weight cotton yarn.As promised, here is the pattern for the bath mitts I made for my 4-year-old. They have been knitted flat in garter stitch in one piece and are seamed along the outer edge of the hand and inner edge of the thumb. They are designed to fit a preschool aged child loosely, which makes it easier for them to put them on by themselves.

You will need 1 ball of worsted weight cotton yarn, a pair of size 7 US/4.5 mm needles, a tapestry needle and a stitch holder or a bit of contrasting yarn to hold thumb stitches.

Stitches used:
Garter stitch = knit every row.
M1 = increase a stitch by knitting into the front and the back of the next stitch, or using your favorite method.
K2tog = decrease by knitting 2 stitches together.

Cast on 30 stitches. Knit 16 rows in garter stitch (8 ribs).

Mitt with thumb gusset completed, placing thumb stitches on a holder and continuing palm.Row 17: Knit 14 stitches, m1, knit 2, m1, knit 14; 32 stitches.
Row 18: Knit across row.
Row 18: Knit 14, m1, knit 4, m1, knit 14; 34 stitches.
Row 19: Knit.
Row 20: Knit 14, m1, knit 6, m1, knit 14; 36 stitches.
Row 21: Knit.
Row 22: Knit 14, m1, knit 8, m1, knit 14; 38 stitches.
Row 23: Knit 14, place the next 10 stitches onto a holder, cast on 2 stitches, knit 14 making sure to not leave a gap (see photo right); 30 stitches on needle.

Mitt (with thumb gusset stitches held by red yarn) about to begin decreases at fingertip end.Knit 24 more rows in garter stitch (12 ribs). Your mitt should look like the photo at left.

Row 48: *K2tog, knit 3* repeat between *'s across row; 24 stitches.
Row 49: Knit.
Row 50: *K2tog, knit 2* across; 18 stitches.Palm of mitt complete, picking up thumb stitches.
Row 51: Knit.
Row 52: *K2tog, knit 1* across; 12 stitches.
Row 53: Knit.
Row 54: *K2tog* across; 6 stitches.
Cut yarn leaving a 10"/25cm tail, thread the end onto a tapestry needle and draw the yarn through the remaining stitches and pull up tightly. Fasten off. It should now look like the photo at right.

Put the thumb gusset stitches back on the needle, as shown.

Row 1: Cast on 2 stitches onto right-hand needle, knit the 10 stitches from left needle, cast on 2 stitches; 14 stitches.

Thumb stitches complete, ready to sew up mitt.Mitt, ready to sew up.Knit 14 rows (7 ribs).

Row 16: *K2tog* across; 7 stitches.

Cut yarn leaving a 6"/15cm tail, thread the end onto tapestry needle and draw yarn through remaining 7 stitches. Pull up tightly and fasten off. It should look like the photos at left and right. The knitting is done, now it's time to sew up.

Finished mitt.Finishing:If you're new at sewing up garter stitch using mattress stitch, Knitty has a great article with lots of photos that shows you how.Red mitt

I recommend that you start sewing up the longer seam of the outer palm first. This stabilizes the mitt and seems to make it easier to work on the more fiddly thumb.

Start sewing up the thumb by seaming the length of the thumb seam, and finish by grafting those extra 4 thumb stitches to the 2 cast on palm stitches they match up with, smoothing and pulling up any little holes you come across. Weave in ends and you're done.

Mitt with simple crocheted ruffle.Want to put a ruffle on the cuff for a feminine touch? I embellished this mitt with a simple crocheted edge.

Round 1: 2 Single crochet in each cast-on stitch around the cuff, slip stitch in first stitch to join, chain 2.
Round 2: Double crochet in each single crochet around the cuff, slip stitch to top of chain, fasten off. Weave in ends.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Holiday Knitting

Cotton dishcloths and scrubbiesThis is the latest batch of holiday knitting, cotton dishcloths and scrubbies to be sent along with cookies and such to relatives out-of-town.

These darlings have all been made with free patterns available on the web: Abigail's 4-Corners dishcloth (the 3 cloths made with ombred yarns) and Tribbles (the 3 little round scrubbies) are my favorites, Bernat's Knit Eyelet and Simple Ridge Dishcloths (green cloth in the center) and Eloomanator's Diagonal Knit Dishcloth (green cloth on the left), which is only available on Ravelry right now.

Child's bath mittsI've also made a pair of these child-sized bath mitts in Lion Cotton. I think they will make a great gift for the 4-year-old. He can use them in the bath, of course, but he can also use them for imaginative play. He likes to pretend he's an Iron chef and I believe he will use these as oven mitts in his play kitchen. It will be interesting to see what else his imagination will make of them.

I will post the pattern for these soon.

Edit: Pattern posted here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Baking Frenzy

I have a few more pieces of holiday knitting completed, but I'm in the middle of my annual holiday baking frenzy right now. I'm too busy to photograph the new knits and blog about them today, but I will do so soon.

In the mean time, I thought you might enjoy a quick photo of the contents of one of the tins I've been filling with cookies to ship to friends and family far away. These are quick and easy cookies to make, simple drop cookies for the most part, without decoration because I just don't have time this year for fussy stuff.

The contents are, moving clockwise beginning upper left: Chai-Spiced Cookies from Pillsbury Classic Cookbook #320 (This year's Holiday Cookies book), Strawberry Drops made from a cake mix, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from the oatmeal box, and Surprise Chocolate Bites from Better Homes and Gardens Easy Baking magazine.

I must go, I have more cookies to bake, and a mountain of washing up to do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Paying it Forward

I signed up for "Paying it Forward" on Kat's blog.

I felt no hesitation whatsoever over signing up for this, I make handmade gifts all the time. I'm always trying out new patterns, ideas and different media. This should be a breeze.

The guidelines:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

Want to participate? Be one of the first 3 people to leave a comment on this post and make the same promise on your own blog.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Knitting

Last 3 squares for Oliver's blanket project.I managed to squeeze another 3 squares for Oliver's blanket into the mail to Kay before the deadline. That makes a total of 17. Those squares were fun to make, especially the miters because each one was done in a different color, no two alike.

Every now and then my family would hear me chuckle over my knitting for no apparent reason. They don't know how much it amused me to think about Kay and company arranging those hundreds and hundreds of squares. That's going to be some sewup party.

2 ribbed caps in Noro Kureyon.A simple cap in Noro Kureyon.I have dug in to my holiday gift knitting with the same gusto as my charity knitting. I have just finished my 4th adult-sized hat for various undisclosed relatives. Undisclosed because one never knows when they will decide to visit the blog and I am big on keeping gifts a surprise.

I will share the patterns, however. The 2 'Ribbed Caps' (photo upper left) are from Vogue Knitting On The Go Caps & Hats Two. The cap on the right was made without a pattern, cast on 80 stitches and knit until you run out of yarn basically. The self-striping effect of Noro Kureyon provides all the interest in these hats.

pink capThe pink hat on the left is the '11th Hour Hat' from Nevermore Knits. Yes, she posted the pattern yesterday, I must be one of the first people to try it out. I started the hat early this morning and finished late tonight. It was fast tv knitting, I want to tell you. I'll definitely be using this pattern again.

I got my Ravelry invite! You can find me there by the name Ariliss. What a fun place to go play!