Monday, February 10, 2014

Slouchy Boy


It seems that one of the family's favorite hats had gone missing.  Of course,  this could mean nothing less than  it was  time for me to  design a new hat to meet the assorted needs of the "hat wearers"  of this  household.  They happily chimed in with their opinions and requirements and said they wanted something that was very warm but, trendy too.  It needed  a snug fit, but not too tight.  It needed to cover the ears. Hence, this long rib does just that. In fact, I chose to knit the rib section  just long enough to make it interesting and still offer the option to  fold it up for the  more traditional appearance of a watch cap. I love the modern slouchy look so  I designed  the top portion to be longer and fuller, but not so much so  as to be sloppy.   Thus the Slouchy Boy Hat was born.
I chose to knit this in the luscious Artyarns UltraBulky not only because it is a mainstay at the Salon, but also because it is a  a bulky, 12 ply merino which knits up quickly  and feels  soft against the skin.  It is machine washable, though I recommend hand washing with all my knits, just because after I've spent the time knitting something, I'd prefer to hand wash and take better care of it.

Best of all, this is a one skein project.  Using all of the 110 yards is exactly what I aimed to do.  There is but one caveat - regrettably, the manufacturer is no longer selling it- alas, what a pity- however, we still have plenty in stock.  Just email knittingsalon@gmail.com and we will let you know what colors are available.

  
SLOUCHY BOY


Design by Laurie Kimmelstiel

  


A modern beanie with a long wide rib and a bit of a slouch at the top.   The rib can be worn flat over the ears or turned up for a more traditional cap


Materials:    1 skein  Artyarns Ultra Bulky, 100% Merino Wool   100g 110 Yds per skein,
Needles: US#9/5.5mm circular  needle and 1 set US #9/5.5mm 6 or 8” double pointed needles; stitch marker;  tapestry needle.
Gauge: This is a very stretchy hat.  21 sts = 4” in stockinette pattern.
Measurements: 17” around x 10” high approximately without stretching.                                                                                                      

Instructions: Cast on 71 sts.  Slip 1st st on right needle to left needle, place marker on right needle.  Join to knit in the round with a k2tog.  K2, p2, *k3, p2   repeat from * to end of round.

Rib pattern: *K3, P2, repeat from *

Continue in Rib pattern until ribbed section measures 5” or desired length from bottom edge.

Next Round:  Knit, increasing 5 sts evenly across round. (75 sts)

Continue knitting in the round until hat measures 9 ¼” from bottom edge. 

Begin Decrease section:
Round 1: *K3, k2tog, repeat from * across round - 60 sts
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: *K2, k2tog, repeat from * across round - 45 sts
Round 4: Knit
Change to DP needles.
Round 5: *K1, k2tog, repeat from * across round - 30 sts
Round 6: Knit
Round 7: *K1, k2tog, repeat from * across round - 15 sts
If you still have enough yarn, continue to Round 8.
Round 8: Knit

Cut yarn leaving about 12- 15”   Thread  thru tapestry needle and draw needle through remaining 15 stitches on your needle. Pull snugly to reinforce top of hat with yarn.  Weave in ends.


Friday, December 06, 2013

Opulent Knitting this Holiday Season

Opa's Royal Alpaca Scarf
Busy, busy, busy with lots of projects.  Just finished, and just in time, with Opa's scarf, a soft alpaca  ( Blue Sky's amazing Royal Alpaca,  an absolutely heavenly fiber that mimics Cashmere- well, I'd say it's so divine, those cashmere goats should be worried about their employment status).
The pattern is in the latest Salon newsletter.  Sign up for the newsletter so you knit one up real quick.
Qiviuk Basketweave Scarf
Finished and blocked tonight was another  fiber indulgence  scarf.  This  basket weave pattern was knit with a qiviuk blend - (combined with extrafine merino and mulberry silk so I didn't need to take out a loan to buy it).  but, you'd be hard pressed to find competition for this extraordinary yarn.   To say it is divine, is an understatement.

Topping off a season of sumptuous knitting was  an extravagant rabbit fur and cashmere cowl, sure to keep one lucky recipient extra warm this winter.





Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beginner Knitting II ....................................................................... How to choose the best needles for new knitters

Now that we've established the need for quality yarn for the first time knitter, it's time to learn which needles will be most comfortable in the newbie's hands.
Five criteria are essential:
1. Type
2. Length
3. Size/circumference
4. Material
5. Color

1. A set of straight needles
2. 8-10" in length. Longer ones are more awkward to manage and shorter than eight inches may just be uncomfortable in certain hands. Smaller hands of children may, however, have an easier time with a shorter length.
3. 5.0-6.0mm/Size 8 -10 U.S.
4. Choose a material that will feel good and one that is not too slippery. Best choices for the new knitter: bamboo, birch, rosewood, ebony and certain plastic needles such as: the Pony needles made of reinforced plastic are among my favorites. Some are  designed  specifically for children  but adults too, will find them suitable and quite comfortable to use.Pleasantly smooth and flexible,  these plastic needles  are available in an assortment of colors according to size so they are easy to keep in pairs.
5. It is important and helpful to use a needle where one can  easily identify  their stitches. As such, a lighter colored needle is best used when knitting with a darker yarn and a darker needle such as a rosewood or ebony is ideal when knitting with lighter colors.

The key is making that first experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible by using the right tools to ensure the love of the craft. 

Monday, April 08, 2013

Beginner Knitting I - Changing the Mindset of the New Knitter

I've been teaching people to knit for a long time.  Whether in my studio, in the shops where I've worked, in schools or in an airport waiting lounge  (something about knitting while waiting for delayed flights  encourages conversation and fiber education)- So it may come as no surprise to you, that I have developed a few thoughts on the best way to share  the craft- 

I've neglected my blog for a few months, so I've decided to start a series of short entries for new knitters and those who introduce  others to the craft. Starting today with: 


Changing the Mindset of the New Knitter. 
 A new knitter is not doomed to failure and despite their own fears of such -  most new knitters will pick up and master  the basic knit stitch in little more than 15 or 20 minutes. 

 But so many are afraid, fearful of being incapable or whatever and,  are really surprised and pleased when they learn to manage a couple of sticks and some string. 

And of course, I've  come across it even more often.  Beginner knitters and their well meaning" teachers"  anticipate failure - always  insisting  on using some old and itchy or cheap quality  acrylic yarn ( nothing really wrong with knitting with  acrylic yarn  but, it is about the worst choice for learning to knit). Why waste the money, they say, "it's a first project"   Pity the  newbie  knitter learning  to make their first stitches  - at the side of the experienced grandma, auntie or friend, - the new knitter  who is convinced that the first project will be a failure so why spend  any money on nice  soft yarn.  The problem with this, however, is  the yarn has no give, adds to the frustration and fear of the newbie, not to mention,  it is simply too unattractive to want to complete, let alone wear.

I have a wholly different philosophy.  In my studio,  knitting begins with some nice bamboo sticks and some  practice yarn which is  usually a  soft merino or standard worsted weight wool.  Anything else  is usually doomed to failure. Choosing a cheap acrylic fiber is actually a waste of time and of money.    It feels lousy, it has no natural elasticity and it looks even worse. Why would you spend your precious  and valuable  time knitting  with something you'd never ever want to wear or use.   It  usually gets stuffed in a drawer, never to be seen again and knitting  becomes a forgotten hobby almost as fast as you can say " I got  the yarn for  two bucks at Walmart".   Start with  a basic worsted or bulky (no, not too bulky) and you don't need a whole skein, just some left over worsted from a fellow knitter.   Practice on this durable,  but pleasant fiber. The natural elasticity just lends itself to the tension of a new knitter’s hands and its stretch will allow plenty of room for a few random mistakes.   I is  also sturdy enough for repeat use should you need to  take out some stitches  and reknit. It's simply positive reinforcement.  You'll like how it looks, and how it feels and you won't want to put it down.   

Then, start your first project (immediately)  with  a lovely  skein of  soft 100%  merino in  a solid color (easier to see your stitches)  which  can easily  be found   for under $10. Knit some simple garter stitch ( all knit) fingerless gloves- quicker than a scarf and  you'll have a finished pair in no time.  

Next blog: Choosing the best needles for first projects.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

My Baby Knitting Marathon

Windowpane Heirloom Blanket

Not sure how or why, but this  seems to be the season for  babies - lots of them.  In the past month, we have celebrated the arrival of perhaps a dozen new little ones - (surprisingly, all were boys) 
 As a result I have been on a knitting for babies marathon, almost to  the exclusion of all else. 



"Wool Leaves"  a Jared Flood design.
The Stash Busting Cotton Baby Blanket
Knitting baby blankets is so much fun - though clearly not a quick project, these sweet blankets offer you an opportunity to try out lots of stitch patterns
or create one of your own signature designs.   I loved using my stash for this recent cotton treasure: The Stash Busting Baby Blanket.  The pattern for this beautiful, colorful and soft baby coverlet can be found in our Ethelridge Road Knitting Salon, Summer 2012 newsletter. Please email me at: knittingsalon@gmail.com to receive a copy.


The Windowpane design was created from  a mere 6 skeins of luscious and soft, Artyarns Supermerino - just a tad over 600 yards for this precious and versatile crib blanket or carriage/stroller cover.  This yarn is ideal too for all things baby - from hats to sweaters and booties so you can gift a set of matching garments for any special baby.  As a superwash, it is perfect for a baby's soft skin. I always stress the pleasure and the quality of using a natural fiber over the standard acrylics so many seem to choose for their baby projects.With a superwash merino like this one, you can keep your baby swathed in a soft and natural yarn and a washable one to boot. Reasonably priced too, this is certainly a go-to yarn and pattern  for all the babies awaiting knitted gifts. This supermerino yarn is one of my personal favorites and a mainstay at the Salon -  and I am always  happy to order some for you.
This Windowpane design baby blanket  is sure to become an heirloom gift for  a very special baby - hence the name-
And I am delighted to share the pattern with you here:

Windowpane Heirloom Baby Blanket


Materials: 6 skeins, Artyarns Supermerino, 100% merino, 104 yards per skein. Color #: 170

needles: US #7/4.5mm  32" circulars; row counter and 10 stitch markers.
Finished measurements:  27" x 28" approximately after steam blocking.
Gauge: 4 1/2 stitches to the inch
Abbreviations: 
pm: place marker
sm: slip marker

Instructions :

Cast on 126 sts
Bottom border: Knit 11 rows in garter stitch (knit every row)

Set up row: K5, pm, K20, pm, K4, pm, K20, pm, K4, pm, K20, pm, K4, pm, K20, pm, K4, pm, K20, pm, K5


Window Pane:Row 1: K5, sm, P20, sm, K4, sm, P20, sm, K4, sm, P20, sm, K4, sm, P20, sm, K4, sm, P20,  sm, K5

Row 2: K5, sm, K20, sm, K4, sm, K20, sm, K4, sm, K20, sm, K4, sm, K20, sm, K4, sm, K20, sm, K5
Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until this section above the garter border measures 4.25" ending on Row 1.

Garter frame: K 6 rows


Beginning with Row 2, repeat Rows 1 and 2 until Window Pane section measures 4.25" ending with Row 1, then repeat the Garter frame pattern.

Continue in this manner until you have completed 5 Window Panes separated by 4 sections of the Garter frame pattern.
Complete top border (you can now remove markers) with 11 rows of garter stitch and bind off loosely.  Steam block and weave in ends.


Copyright Notice: The entire contents of this pattern and the knitted design to which it refers are subject to copyright.  Please use this pattern for your personal non-commercial use only. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Sparkling Ocean Blue Drawstring Purse

Sparkling Ocean Blue Drawstring Purse

I love knitting with fine yarns and small circumference needles.  For this little number, I used my 9' circulars and size 4 needles.   The photo doesn't do this pretty purse the justice it deserves. It has the most beautiful tiny Swarovski glass beads and sparkles just enough to make it glisten!   It didn't take long to knit either.  It measures just 6" long and 4" wide,  It's quite delicate looking,  but sturdy enough and stretchy enough to hold a     lipstick and a hankie.
 Here's the pattern if you'd like to knit one up yourself. There's lots of room for your design elements here too, so feel free to improvise the design.  I only request that if you use this exact pattern  you respect my design and use it for personal use only, but feel free to knit up a bunch for the whole wedding party or whatever - this makes a really sweet gift. 
What you'll need: 1 skein of Berroco Seduce,  a rayon, silk, linen blend, this yarn is 100 yards per skein and I probably used less than half of my skein. I used color #4448.  A similar weight mercerized cotton, silk or linen would also be lovely; 1 spool 2 ply metallic thread (I used Finca Metallic color #0003/silver, 55 yds per spool); 
US 4/3.5mm needles, 9" circulars and 1 set dps or just the dps;  crochet hook: .75mm or size to fit through the opening of your beads , a twisted wire beading needle (Colonial Needle), about 75 small glass beads, a tapestry needle  and a stitch marker.
Gauge was approximately 5.5 sts per inch. 
PB:  purl bead
tbl: thru back loop 

With your beading needle, thread about 30 beads onto your yarn.  Cast on 43 sts, slide last st from right needle to left needle, pm on right needle, and knit the first 2 sts on left needle tog to make a secure join. (42 sts)   Knit in the round for 2 rows.
Row 3 -Bead row: * K2, pu next stitch, pw, slide your 1st bead up to this stitch and now purl this stitch (PB),  repeat from * across row.  
Knit 2 rows
Row 6: *K2tog, YO, repeat from* across row. 
Knit 2 rows
Row 9:  Eyelet row for drawstring:  *K5, k2tog, YO,  repeat  from across row 
(6 eyelets created) 
Knit 2 rows
Repeat Row 6
Knit 3 rows
Repeat Row 3- Bead row
Knit in the round for 2"

Next Row, Add metallic thread (you will now be knitting with your main yarn and the metallic thread together) 
*K2, add bead with crochet hook
  Slide the bead onto the crochet hook and let it slide down the shaft.  With your crochet hook, lift the metallic stitch only and pull it through the hole in the  bead and then  replace this part of your stitch back to its place on  the left needle. (Your bead will now be sitting firmly and securely on the metallic thread). Knit this stitch thru the back loop (tbl) of both yarns and voila: your bead has now been integrated into your knitting.  For a more detailed and visual explanation see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r1LEYbSu-8  . 
*Continue adding a bead every 3rd st across this row. 
Knit one row
Repeat this bead row using a crochet hook, as described above,  every other row 2 more times. (you will have 3 rows of beads).  Knit one row.


Decrease section: 
Row 1: *K4, k2tog, repeat  from * across row
Row 2: *K3, k2tog, repeat  from * across row
Row 3: *K2, k2tog, repeat  from * across row
Row 4: *K1, k2tog, repeat  from * across row
Row 5: *k2tog, repeat  from * across row (7 sts) 
Cut yarn, leaving a 10" tail, thread this tail thru a tapestry needle and draw thru the remaining 7 sts.  Carefully and securely weave in your ends.

 Drawstring I-cord:  With size US4/3.5mm needle and both yarns, knit a 30", 
 2 st i-cord.  Weave thru eyelets and graft ends together.  



Thursday, January 26, 2012

I am just bowled over by these




I love simple projects with awesome results. I also love to create unconventional designs for all of the many yarns in my stash. Combining the two with the ability to knit or crochet something quickly is, well, my idea of a perfect craft. I've been knitting felted bowls for several years and have been very attracted to a range of beautiful colors and fibers that can produce really spectacular results.

I recently discovered this wonderful T-shirt yarn from http://besweetproducts.com/ and crocheted this beauty in just about an hour. It was fun and it was easy and I used barely 60 yards of Be Sweet's T-shirt cotton. Looking forward to seeing the range of colors available so I can experiment with other shapes and sizes.

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