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ColorPlay Scarf

October 27, 2014

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Have you ever knit anything with Rowan Kidsilk Haze?  If you have, you know how gorgeous this Italian yarn is.  It is a lace weight blend of mohair and silk that is light as a feather.  It is an expensive yarn, but it’s very special.  Whatever you make from it is very warm and has fantastic drape.

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This pattern is, once again, from one of my favorite pattern resources – Churchmouse Yarns and Tea.   The pattern calls for four solid colors, but I used six because I wanted a much longer scarf.  The yarn is to be held double.  The pattern has you knit one of the solid colors for a big block and then cut one yarn and add in one yarn of another color.  Now you are knitting with two colors at once and you get a great new color.  Then you cut the first color and add another end of the second color and knit with just that color.  It’s fun to see the colors that two different skeins produce together. I did not follow the pattern regarding how long to knit in one color – I just knit until I felt like switching colors.

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The scarf is all stockinette stitch, except for a 7 stitch border on each side done in seed stitch, to keep it from curling.  It’s very effective.  All that stockinette makes for easy knitting while you watch TV.  The scarf lies very nicely.  I damp blocked instead of wet blocked it.  I figured it would be way too heavy to handle if I wet blocked it.  I just threw two towels in the washer on rinse and spin and then wrapped the scarf up in there overnight and then pinned and blocked it the next day, as the pattern suggested.  It worked really well.  The scarf ended up being 82″ x 13″ after blocking, a really nice length.  I did not quite use completely all six skeins.

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I’m definitely going to knitting more of this pattern, it’s so great.  I can see all kinds of terrific color combinations. Kidsilk Haze is about $15 a skein, so it’s ends up being about $90 to knit one of these scarves in this length.

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Pattern: ColorPlay Scarf
Needle: US 7 Addi Lace Circulars
Yarn:  Rowan Kidsilk Haze in 6 colors:
Hurricane, Steel, Smoke, Anthracite, Tornado and Heavenly
Ravelry Page

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Peu de Pluie Scarf

October 13, 2014

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Often, I have two knitting projects going at the same time – one that’s so simple I don’t have to really follow a chart and can do it while I’m watching TV and one that’s complicated and requires attention.  This pattern is one of those that requires your full attention.  It’s lace knitting and a whole lot of fun, actually.  I loved this pattern and the design and it was thoroughly enjoyable to knit (although I had to start it three times because of mistakes before I got really going with it).  It’s knitted in two halves and then grafted together. Second half went much smoother.

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Although I loved doing this pattern, I’m was not super happy with the outcome of this scarf for two reasons – no matter how much I blocked this scarf, the sides keep curling.  Badly.  If you look at the opening photo in this post, you can really see it. It really takes away from the finished look, because I don’t really care for skinny scarves.  I blocked this baby twice and even steam blocked it with an iron, but the curling stayed despite the fact that the designer put purls on the edging to counteract the curl.  So I’m not sure if it was just me or what.

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Also, I have used Madelinetosh yarn for lots of projects. I realize it is a hand dyed yarn, where there will be slight differences in the skeins. And Moorland is one of my favorite colorways and I have used it before for my awesome Stockholm Scarf and my Guernsey Wrap. However, this time the difference in the skeins was amazing – you can see it in the photo above.  The yarn was all purchased at the same time. I was really disappointed with this.  It just has never happened before. Oh, well.  I guess when it’s all wrapped around your neck you won’t really notice it too much.  The Tosh is still super soft and squishy. I love it.

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Pattern: Peu de Pluie Scarf
Needles: US 6 Addi Lace Circular
Yarn: Madelintosh Tosh Sport in Moorland
Ravelry Page

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Turkish Bed Socks

September 8, 2014

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Here’s a fun little project I recently finished.  These little socks are super easy to make and make great use of all that sock yarn laying around. I guess a lot of people like to wear them with clogs, but I made mine just for something comfy to wear around the house.  The pattern is from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas shop on Bainbridge Island.  If you’re ever in the Seattle area, it’s a great little shop to visit. And they have a lot of terrific patterns on their website.

 

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I made little tassels to go onto mine and I really like the look.  The yarn I used is from Pagewood Farm - it’s hand dyed, super soft 80% merino, 20% nylon. The color is Lavender Fields. I used #3 circular needles and this made a perfect size for my foot, which is an 8-1/2.  I loved the pattern because there was hardly any purling and I could just go round and round on my circulars using Magic Loop.  These knit up really fast and I’m definitely going to make another pair in a different color.

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Pattern: Turkish Bed Socks
Yarn:  Pagewood Farms Sock yarn in Lavender Fields
Needle: US 3 Addi Lace Circulars
Ravelry Page

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Mitered Squares Throw With a Fabric Lining

March 3, 2014

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This is one of my favorite projects ever.  This pattern has been around for a while and I was late to the game on it.  It is the Mitered Crosses Blanket that Kay Gardiner made for Japan tsunami relief a couple of years ago.  There are over 900 project pages for it on Ravelry.  I loved this pattern so much and really loved making it.  One of the best things about this pattern is that the project, up until the time that you assemble all the blocks, is very portable.  I took these squares everywhere with we while I worked on them.

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I changed quite a few things from the original pattern, though. The original called for mitered crosses, of course.  I decided I didn’t want to do the crosses and did squares instead.  I really like the way they turned out. The squares are super easy to make and after a short time, you don’t even need the pattern.  There’s no counting of rows – yay! – you just have to remember to do the decreases on the right side and none on the wrong side. Just make sure you have a stitch marker to mark your corner, where you do your decreases.

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I also did not use Noro Silk Garden for two reasons:  I feel it’s a little scratchy and it’s very expensive.  So I searched and found a striping yarn that substituted very nicely - Crystal Palace Mochi Plus.  The colors in Mochi Plus were stunning and it was a hard decision on what colorway to use.  I loved Lake Trail and Leaves & Sprouts but eventually settled on Autumn Rainbow because I started this in the fall and the yarn exactly matched the colors I was seeing all around me.  The  yarn stripes slowly, which I really liked for this.  It is a one-ply yarn so it could be a little felty.  For the background color, I used Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers in Doeskin Heather.

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I blocked all the squares first before I sewed them together.  And I did sew them together. I did not do the three needle bind off.  I just thought that sewing them together would be a lot faster.  If you want to do the three needle bind off, be sure to read Kay’s post about how she did it.

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The i-cord edging takes a while to do but it is SO worth it. It really finished the throw. I did the edging in the striping color instead of the background color, which the pattern called for, and I really think it adds something.  It took me several days to do it, just working a little bit on it every day.  Some people are intimidated by the thought of i-cord but it’s so easy.  Here is how you do it:

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you start out with three stitches on your needle (left).  With the left
needle, pick up a stitch (right). Knit that stitch.

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You now have four stitches on your needle.  Transfer all those stitches
over to your left needle (left).  Knit the first two stitches (right).

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Knit the last two stitches together, through the back loops (left).
Now you have three stitches again.  Repeat.  Easy!

After I finished the edging, I decided the “wrong” side of the throw was so unattractive I wanted to cover it up.  Plus, I  felt the throw needed a little bit more structure.  So I decided to add a flannel fabric lining.  I wasn’t sure how to do this – I knew I could cut the fabric, hem it on my sewing machine just fine but then I wasn’t sure how to attach it.  This post from TECHKnitting helped me a lot.  It’s about how to use an overcast stitch by hand so that the stitch gives a little, which is required because of the stretchy nature of the knitting.

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the overcast stitching shows but it is still
preferable to doing a blind stitch because

it gives ease to the knitting

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name labels from  
  Ananemone Etsy shop 

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The finished blanket is about 44″ x 33″.  Each block is about 11″ square. I did 12 blocks so it’s not a huge blanket, but rather just a nice throw to put over your lap. Between the 100% wool yarn and the flannel, it’s pretty toasty.

Pattern:  Mitered Crosses Blanket
Yarn: Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in Autumn Rainbow
Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers in Doeskin Heather
Needle:  #6 Circular Addi Lace
Ravelry Page

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Crochet Squares Throw

January 21, 2014

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Well I finally got my grey crochet throw finished and I’ve written up the pattern for the square.  I had to teach myself crochet to do it, but I’m glad I did because I am a crochet fan now and have been crocheting lots of little other things, too:

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I crocheted 30 squares in all and then just crocheted them together, using a single crochet stitch.  I put a touch of purple and green here and there, but overall the color is gray which I love.

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I have gone over the pattern with a fine tooth comb so that it reads correctly.  Since I am a novice crocheter, I hope the pattern reads okay for you guys.  Let me know if there are any problems with it.

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The “Leaf” Row is probably the hardest row to get down but once you do it a few times I swear you don’t even need the pattern anymore for that row.  The “yarn overs” in that row are very fun to do, I think.  And it zips right along.

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The yarn I used produced the specific drape that I wanted in this throw.  For the first time, I didn’t use wool and it was very different.  The cotton was stiffer to work with but created a more defined stitch than most wools would.  It was a beautiful yarn from Cascade – Ultra Pima. The main color was the Taupe – go to my Ravelry page to see details.

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ELAINE’S CROCHET SQUARE:

for a printable version of this pattern click here

each square is 9 rows

(stars are repeats)

ch 5, join into ring or do Magic Ring

Row 1: Chain 2 (counts as 1 partial dc), 1 partial dc, yo and through the 2 loops, ch1. *Work 2 partial dc & then yo and through all 3 loops, ch1* 7 more times.   8 clusters total.

Row 2:  sl st to 2nd chain,  ch 1.   *1sc, 3 dc, 1 sc  in next chain loop space*.  Repeat in each ch loop around.  8 total.

Row 3:  sl st between two petals, ch 1, 1 sc in center of petal, ch 5.   *1 sc in center of next petal, ch 5.*  Repeat. 8 total. sl st to beginning ch 1.

Row 4:  * 1 sc, 5 dc, 1 sc  in the ch5  loop space *   repeat in each ch5 loop space around – 8 total.  Sl st at the beginning of the next petal

Row 5: (leaf row):  ch 1 (=1 hdc)  *ch 4, 1 sc in center of petal, ch 3.

Make  Leaf: yo twice, hook into last sc of petal, yo = 4 loops on hook.
yo and through 2 loops 2 times – 2 loops remain.
yo twice and insert hook into same sc of the petal work, yo = 5 loops on hook
yo and through 2 loops 2 times  = 3 loops remain
yo twice and insert hook into first sc of next petal, yo = 6 loops on hook.
yo and through 2 loops 2 times = 4 loops remain
yo twice and insert hook into same sc, yo = 7 loops on hook
yo and through 2 loops 2 times = 5 loops on hook
yo and through all 5 loops, (this completes 1 leaf)

ch 4,1 sc in center of dc of next petal, ch 4, 1 hdc between next 2 petals

Repeat from * 3 more times

ch 4, ending last repeat with sl st to 2nd ch at beg in rnd instead of 1 hdc.

Row 6: ch 3 (counts as 1 dc),   *4 dc in the ch 4 loop, 1 dc in the hdc.
make corner:  3 dc, , 2 tr, ch 4, 2 tr, 3 dc, 1 dc in the hdc*  repeat all the way around, ending with a 4dc and a sl st to 2nd ch at beg of round

Row 7:  ch 3 (counts as 1dc), dc in each stitch all the way around. When you come to a corner: 3 dc, ch2, 3 dc in the ch 4 space makes a corner.

sl st to 2nd ch at beg of round

Row 8:  (skip space row) ch 4 (counts as a dc) ,* sk next dc, dc in next dc, ch1  all the way across. Make  corner:  2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc in corner ch 2 space.    Repeat all the way around.

sl st to 2nd ch at beg of round

Row 9:  ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), dc in every ch 1 sp and every dc across.  Corner:  2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc

I made 30 squares and crocheted them together, just using single crochet.

For the edging, I did a series of 9 stitches all the way across, making little arches, working one stitch in every stitch on the throw:  1 sc, 2 dc, 1 tr, 2 dc, 1 sc, 2 ss.   I just repeated that little arch all the way around.

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adding the edging

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Here is the same square crocheted up in some fine linen thread that I’ve been experimenting with on a tiny crochet hook – so fun!

Crochet Squares Throw
Hook:  3.5  mm (E)
Yarn:  Cascade Ultra Pima
Ravelry Page

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Yvonne’s Purple Knit Stars

January 15, 2014

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I made some of these these knitted stars last year and loved them so much that I made more last month for my friend who loves the color purple.   Her colors in her house are beautiful plums and ivories, so that’s what I made for her.

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This is an easy pattern and fun to make.  It only takes about an hour and a half to do one star.  I used various sized needles to get various sized stars.  You can stuff the yarns just with the weaved in ends or, for a puffier look, with some polyfill.

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The yarn I used was Stonehedge, which is a great soft yarn made right here in Michigan.  I love it and it comes in lots of colors.  I crocheted a little hanging loop on each star and slipped a white satin ribbon through each one so they could be hung.  These would also be pretty, though, without the hangers and just thrown in a bowl on the table.

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Pattern: Knit Stars
Needle: various for various sizes
Yarn: Shepherd’s Wool
Ravelry Page

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Finding the Time to Knit

January 5, 2014

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I’ve knit for 24 years now and in that time, I’ve been a very busy person.  I’ve raised three children, worked full time, worked part time, and then finally stayed at home and now I write a food blog. But in all that time, I’ve always found time to knit. Always.  And when people see my knitting projects, the one remark they always make is, “Gee, I wish I had time to knit”.  But they do.  They just don’t know it.

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Here is a photo of me 23 years ago with my second child, Nick, the day I am leaving the hospital.  Note the item on the bed as I am waiting to go home.  My knitting bag.  Yes, I knit in the hospital after having him.  I always take my knitting bag with me if I think I might get the chance to get in a few rows.  That is how you get a project done.  It may take a while, but you get it done.

I think the biggest problem with people thinking that they don’t have time to knit is that they think they have to have an actual block of time to just sit down and knit. Well, I can tell you that I almost never do that.  I knit when I’m watching TV or a movie, when I’m riding in the car, when I’m on a plane or maybe when I’m sitting and chatting with someone. I almost never sit down and just knit.  I might listen to an audiobook as I knit or talk on the phone. I take my knitting sometimes if I know I’m going to be waiting in the doctor’s office.  If you watch TV in the evening and knit for just 20 minutes every night while you watch, you will get something done.

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I usually have two projects going at the same time – one that maybe is a little more complicated, that requires me to follow a chart and so demands that I have to focus a little and a second project that is just “idiot” knitting and doesn’t require that I follow a pattern.  Then I can decide which one I can work on in any situation.

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I hope for 2014 you will be inspired and start a project with the commitment that you are going to pick it up whenever you can.  I have my knitting sitting in a basket on the sofa so that it’s very accessible.  I have a knitting bag that I can just throw it into and take it with me if I need to.

Also, if you haven’t joined Ravelry yet, do so right away.  It’s a community of knitters worldwide who share projects, thoughts and tips about knitting.  It’s a constant source of inspiration for me and might be for you, too.  Reading good knitting blogs like Yarn Harlot and Little Cotton Rabbits helps, too.

Now go forth and knit!

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