6.20.2018

Too much knitting? Stretches for your body!

This summer I’m participating in a number of KAL’s (knit along s). If you have never signed up for one I would encourage you to do so. The first one I did was the Berroco Lopi Sweater. It made me try new patterns and get out of my comfort zone. Plus I met so many nice people online and learned a lot.

There are all kinds of KALs available to you, for practically any type of knitted project.  I’ll include more info on KALs soon. Ravelry is a great resource on finding/checking them out. Go to Ravelry, search in groups and type in KAL, and check the box (active in the last year). Browse around, if you see something that interests you click on that and the "guidelines” will be listed. The pattern may be free or need to be bought. Yarn can be your choice or sometimes from a specific company. The time it runs is stated.

But along with lots of knitting comes hand/arm/finger stress, and repetitive injuries. Protect yourself by doing some of the below stretches so you can knit for many years to come trouble free.

Don’t forget to stretch your neck and shoulders also!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOpDVR4UGTs (you tube link if the above vid does not work)

https://blog.weareknitters.com/knitters-life/hand-exercises-for-knitters/

https://knitfreedom.com/top-5-stretches-for-knitting-pain-relief/

http://www.dummies.com/crafts/knitting/ten-hand-and-shoulder-exercises-for-knitters/

https://www.theloopyewe.com/yarn-shop/blog/2017/04/exercises-for-knitters

https://www.sheeptoshawl.com/charity/archives/2007/02/entry_232.html

Enjoy your knitting and take care of your body!

6.17.2018

Double Moss Stitch Cowl (knitted flat, free pattern)

This yarn was an impulse buy, I had other yarn in my cart and decided to try it, since it was on sale. I bought it from Craftsy, it is the Sprightly brand, the acrylic wool worsted (link) It is similar to the Lion Brand Wool ease I believe from the label info. 80% Manufactured Fibers – Acrylic, 20% Wool. I’m hoping it does not pill up and is nice and warm. It is very springy and light, but not as soft as I had hoped. I’ll review it in a later post or on Ravely after my cowl gets some wear.
Double Moss Stitch Cowl (knitted flat, free pattern)

I used two strands held together and made up my own pattern, but looking on Ravelry I found one that was similar, so I’ll link to it also. This linked pattern is wider than mine (link)
Super simple and fast to knit, It was not boring, due to the knit, purl combo and it was so quick to keck out. I could have done it in two days easy. It took me longer because it is summer out and I wasn’t knitting steady on it. But I still had it done in 3 days.
Double Moss Stitch Cowl (knitted flat, free pattern)
Double Moss Stitch Cowl
Size of my cowl was 10 inches wide by 68 inches around, for a double wrap
I used size US needles 13 or 9 mm.
Yarn: (For Double wrap around the neck, you can use half and get a single wrap one)  I used two skeins of the Sprightly worsted weight yarn (total of 432 yards), but you could use around 220 or more yards of bulky weight yarn. I think Lion Brand Thick and Quick (2 skeins) or if you want acrylic I have made another cowl using Lion Brand Hometown which is 100% Acrylic and super soft! (2-3 skeins)
Cast on 25 stitches, or more if you want it wider, in an odd number.
4 Row pattern, (First 2 and last 2 stitches are Knit to prevent curling)
Row 1: K2, (k1, p1)* repeat to last 2 stitches and then K2.
Row 2 : same as row 1
Row 3: K2, (pl, k1)* repeat to last 2 stitches and then K2
Row 4: same as row 3
Repeat these 4 rows until cowl is desired length, bind off.  Then sew together. (I’ll add some mattress stitch links for info. on joining the ends together)
This is how I joined the ends of the scarf to make a cowl (link).
May your knitting needles fly as fast as Dragonflies

6.15.2018

Twin Rugs (free crochet pattern)

I have a friend who wanted me to reproduce a crochet rug that she has. It was a wedding gift and was wearing out. She loves it and had someone reproduce it about 10 years ago. So I’m the 2nd person to remake it. Each rug lasts her about 10 years!  I told her OK, but don't consider myself an expert in crochet, by any means. so I held my breath with what I imagined the rug looked like. I was relieved when it turned out to look fairly simple!
She wanted it duplicated, that was actually not so hard. It was hard not to tweak the pattern. I kept wanting to make it thicker or change the stitches, definitely change the fringe, I wanted more of it, thicker, denser. But no she wanted the same rug.
Twin rugs (free crochet pattern)
New rug vs: Original rug, colors were picked out for me to use
It was difficult for me to figure out what stitch this was, I tried a cluster (bobble) stitch, popcorn and finally found a video explaining the differences between them! I had never done the puff stitch.
The difference between puff, bobble and popcorn stitch.
Thank you Bella Coco for making this helpful video!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct3TvXeHCkc
I finally found a pattern with a puff stitch. Bingo, we were in business. This puff stitch makes the rug nice and cushy on the feet. We picked out Red Heart 100% Acrylic yarn for easy care (that is what the original one was made in and what she wanted again) I’m giving her a copy of the pattern for 10 years from now, in case I’m not around, or if I am I probably won’t remember what I did.
original rugoriginal rug2the beginning
Original rug                                       close up of original center                   My reproduction, the beginning
Pattern that I used is linked below, Thank you charissapraydesigns.com, for sharing! The only thing I did different was make it bigger to match the original rug and add the fringe that she wanted. Her rug had lasted in front of her toilet for 15 years so I think it can be considered a sturdy rug. This pattern calls for a cotton/acrylic blend chunky yarn. I would try that if I was making it for myself.

on the right trackgetting bigger
Trying to make sure it is the same size!             Getting bigger!
Rug pattern: (link)

6.10.2018

High Plains Poncho (Reinvent your Knitting)

I knitted a shrug pattern a bit ago, and it turned out very nicely, but I wasn’t happy with how it looked on me, or the functionality of it.
High Plains Knitter Poncho
The Shrug is often seen as a bridging item for beginning to intermediate knitters. An item for the “I’m tired of knitting scarves, hats and shawls etc.., but don’t feel like I’m up for a sweater yet”. It attracted me because I thought it would be easy mindless knitting for watching TV or visiting, and also a useful addition to my wardrobe.
It was a lot of knitting. The pattern I picked was all stockinette stitch. Whew….really long and boring. I would recommend picking one with a simple pattern to keep it interesting. And while it looked nice, I didn’t find it to be very useful, for myself. My husband called it my buttwarmer, and that is a good description of it.
It stayed open in the front, where I was cold, and bagged in the butt area, which I don't need to emphasize. I did like the shorter sleeves and  that it was large enough to put over another sweater, or large top.
shrug to ponchoshrug to poncho1shrug to poncho new bottom seed stitch
Original Shrug                                 Laying it out after frogging               Adding the new bottom edge
After looking at it, and trying to decide if I was going to frog it. I had an idea to turn it sideways so that the sewn together edges would be the back and front bottom edges, pick up stitches at those edges and make it a little longer. (I used a seed stich here)  And steek a neck area. See end of post for some steeking info and video tutorials links. Hopefully this would give me the best of both garments, shrug vs poncho. Short arms, easy movement, yet warm and easy to toss on over other garments.
steek neckline inside lookshrug to poncho with Jodishrug to poncho neck ribbing
Inside of steek with neck ribbing       Neck stitches picked up                   Decrease at the sides                                                                                                                                   of   neck  ribbing
I started by just frogging the sides that were sewn together, to make the armholes. I looked at it, and since the sides were stockinette stitch it rolled. So I picked up stitches along the edge and did a seed stitch for about 2 inches on each side. I thought it could be a blanket if I decided to go no further. Went to bed to sleep on it.
Got up in the morning and decided to go for it, and cut the neck. I ran a zigzag stitch (with my sewing machine) around the entire area that I wanted to cut for the neck. Easy and fast, then I cut it and picked up stitches all around for the neck ribbing. It was incredibly easy. I used a needle two sizes smaller for the neck ribbing and did a k1p1. I marked the end stitch on both sides of the neck and then did a knit two together twice on either side of the marked stitch every other round to make sure it laid flat. (either purl 2 tog or knit 2 tog, depending on what stitch is needed in the ribbing pattern on the decrease stitches) The neck hole stretched & ended up larger than I anticipated, but it turned out ok.
I’m happy with how it came out and think it looks a little “Spaghetti Western” (Wiki link) I remember me and my Mom watching a lot of Clint Eastwood.
spaghetti-western-heroes
It was pretty easy and now I have the best aspects of the shrug with the ease of a poncho.
Steeking info
Blog articles below:
TinCanKnits crochet steeking method (link)
SeeEunnyKnit, great article on steeking, this covers, everything about steeking that you need to know (link)
YouTube Videos below (steeking)
VeryPinkKnits crochet method steek (link)
Jjones209 shows how to steek with the sewn method (link)
Arnie and Carlos show the sewing machine method (link)
Arnie and Carlos have great videos to watch, you should check out more of their videos!

6.08.2018

Crochet Hot Pads (double thick, free pattern link)

I have a girlfriend whose Mom crochets this pattern. She has so many and loves them. I made a few and they quickly became a favorite! These are great to make for gifts!
Pattern is fast and fun. I use any cotton yarn, even scraps. Due to diagonal nature of the pattern and the double thickness of the hot pads they lend themselves nicely to color changes. These hot pads are very effective and almost indestructible.
Hot pad pattern link Thanks mielkesfiberarts.com !!
The pattern calls to chain 26, but I have made all different sizes! Smallest = chain 15, Largest = chain 45. The size I found was most useful was chain 36 for a larger potholder. Experiment!
Diagonal double thick crochet hot pads (free pattern link)Diagonal double thick crochet hot pads (free pattern link)

6.03.2018

7 Day Sweater ….Done

I’m trying to get more adventurous with my knitting, well maybe that is not the word I’m looking for, although I need to be adventurous also. More fearless, I think. I hold myself back and wasn’t sure why, until I read a post (I’ll link it if I can find it here), about creativity and perfectionism. The fear of not finding the “right” pattern or it not turning out “good” keeps me from starting or finishing projects. I’ve tried to embrace the “it’s only yarn” mantra. This sounds silly but has helped me to finally bust out of a creative slump. The fear of not performing up to my expectations.
7 Day Sweater (free pattern link)7 Day Sweater (free pattern link)
Jodi gives the sweater a tail wag!

Check out all of the lovely versions of this and get your own creativity going….
In that celebration of going all in and creating something, I cast on a very simple sweater, knitting flat in garter stitch. Although it looks super plain, that is the beauty of it. Oversized and cozy, it has immediate appeal. Scrolling through the Ravelry lineup of those that had knitted it, I was amazed that this sweater seemed to look good on everyone, big, small, young and old.  I cast on and then got excited, due to the quick progress and I decided that I would attempt to make it in 7 days. I’m going to knit the #4DayKal from #Oliveknits (link) and after reading why and how she attempted this (the first one was in 2017), I decided, what the heck.
This 7 day sweater is the pattern from Maria Skappel it is the Mammas hjemmestrikkede genser! Skappelgenseren" which translates to Mom home-knitted sweater in English. Her blog post about it is linked (here) English translation of the pattern is (here). I modified mine due to yarn substitution, the original sweater is knit with two strands of yarn, one bulky and one finer. It is beautiful, but I’m in stash busting mode and decided to use some hand dyed yarn. It was described as worsted weight. I’ll add all of the info below….including tutorial links I used on grafting shoulders, sides and arms to body.

My version of the Mammas hjemmestrikkede:
I used worsted weight yarn
Worsted weight yarn a total of approx. 1600 yards.
Size approx. 50 Men's, length approx. 26.5 inches (front), back 2 inches longer
I made the arms wider, because my husband always wears flannel shirts under sweaters.
Arms: increased to 20 inches (flat measurement) at top.

My Gauge was approx. 3.8 to 4 stitches per inch.
(15.25 stitches per 4 inches)

I’ll put my finished measurements here and modifications:
CO 100 stitches for both the front and back. (approx. 25 inches wide) I made the back about 2 inches longer than the front.
CO 44 stitches for the arm. inc to 78 stitches.
I used a k1p1 for the neck ribbing.
I cast this on 5-22-18 (in the evening) and decided I would try and complete it in 7 days. It is pretty hot and muggy out and am staying indoors more right now. I’m going to use yarn from my stash, not sure I have enough yardage, but I’m going to “make it work” (maybe a stripe?)
5-23-18 knitting on front all day, had to make a critical decision of color change vs. Stripes . Think I would have run out of yarn . So decided to color block the top using a neutral color I had in my stash . This is after looking at the Ravelry knitters finished projects, Inspiration was the red and greyish sweater, I love it!
Destash with color blocking
5-24-18 Done with the front of the sweater. Taking a break before casting on the back.  Love how my colors turned out!
   IMG_6624
5-25-18 I had cast on back last night and worked about 3 inches. Worked on the back all day. Had some other things to do so I didn’t get as far as I wanted.
5-26-18 still on the back, almost to the color change! Trying to decide how much longer to make the back.
Knitted all of the way up to the bind off of the back & quit. Was undecided on the neck. Pinned the front and back together and the neck felt too small. Added 4 more rows to the front, with a decrease at the neck edge on each side twice. (2 ridges, 4 rows)
5-27-18
Decided to bind off some middle stitches for the neck as per front directions. Now the neck feels and looks better. Grafted the front & back together. Time to start the arms, knitted first arm 2/3 of the way, & tried to decide when to switch colors. (around 15 inches)
5-28-18
Finished 1st arm and started 2nd arm. Pinned it together & had my husband try it and it looks pretty good. Finished arms and pinned it together to see how it looks, trying to decide if arms are wide enough. If they are I’m all ready to knit the neck ribbing.
Destash with colorblocking!
5-29-18
Ok frogging the arms back and going to make them wider. Did some math=painful. Restarted the arms.
5-30-18
Reknit the arms wider and it looks much better. Going to knit the neck ribbing k1p1 and then sew it together.
Destash with colorblocking!
5-31-18
Knitted the neck ribbing and cast off, but it was not stretchy enough, I ended up knitted twice around in stockinette and then doing the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn cast off, because it is so stretchy. Looks good.
6-1-18
I’ve never grafted together garter stitch (the arms and shoulder, in different directions) watched some videos & found one. Got them sewn together. Started weaving the sides together.
Side by side garter stitch tutorial by VeryPinkKnits on YouTube (link)
Horizontal to Vertical on shoulder to body by Arenda Holladay on YouTube (link)
Garter stitch grafting tutorial links

6-2-18
Finished the second side of the sweater and although it wasn’t blocked yet, took some photos! It fits and I’m really happy.This turned out to be an 11 Day Sweater instead of 7, but considering I had some frogging in there I’m really happy. It is the fastest I’ve ever competed a sweater and it fits and looks good!
I am planning on making another one of these!