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Posts Tagged ‘Knitting’

Baby Sweater

Baby Sweater Detail

Many of you know that there was another change that I was able to kick off the new year with…the Little One Mike and I are expecting to join us in just a few short (or maybe really long…?) months!  I started a baby sweater out of some yarn that my dear Holiday Gift Exchange partner sent to me.  The pattern I used coupled with the yarn color makes a gender neutral combo that I hope will translate well to either a boy or a girl.

Baby Sweater

But as all us crafters know, tragedy can strike our creations at any point in the process.  Halfway through I realized that I was using 8.0mm needles instead of the US8 needles!!  The sweater would probably fit a 2 year old right now.  Needless to say, I will start from the beginning, because I just can’t not make this cute little sweater.  One positive outcome of this whole mess is I was originally knitting this in the newborn size, but have since decided to make the next size up.  The baby will be born in June, just before the heat of summer begins in Colorado, so this might be a gift better suited for fall weather.  Besides, maybe then the sweater will last a bit longer by rolling up/down the sleeves.  I would like to get as much use out of this as I can.

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Often when I start projects, things come together much easier than I anticipated.  Everything just seems to fall into place.  Sometimes, however, I’ll work on a project in which everything seems to go wrong.  I feel like the prince in Sleeping Beauty.  Everytime I fight my way through the thicket, more seems to grow back in its place.

This is how one of my projects is going right now.  I am trying to complete this free baret pattern, and it just really isn’t coming together for me.  The first thing I noticed is I wasn’t consistent with my stitches.  The first few rows alternate knit and purl, and I would do a couple knit together and then a couple purl together, and then one knit and one purl…very scattered.  So, I unraveled my work and started again.  Then I noticed the second time around I had somehow dropped a few stitches.  Start again.  Then I was inconsistent with the main body part of the stitches.  Man oh man. 

I was trying to finish this up for today’s post, but that definately did not happen.  Oh well.  I am going to gather my thoughts and energy for the rest of the day.  Sometimes things don’t go as well as we plan them.  Tonight I will try my hand at this again and see if I can get anywhere.

build-your-wardrobeIn the mean time, I made this tag for the Build Your Wardrobe project.  You are welcome to grab it and use it on your blog.  Unfortunately, I finished it just a day too late for Nicki at Domestic Cents.  She posted about her Buttercup Bag today.  She shows how cost-effective sewing at home can be.  I love the fabrics she chose…so summery!

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Nicki over at Domestic Cents is starting a new series for the new year…Almost Lost Domestic Arts. I am really excited about this series because I see many of these arts making a comeback!  This week, she is talking about Knitting.  For this edition, I decided to share some of the resources and tips I turn to whenever I knit.

When I first started knitting, I went to the local library and basically cleaned out their whole section.  I brought home books on everything from how to’s to advanced techniques.

One of the most helpful books that I found was The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, by Clara Parkes.  She goes through all the different types of materials used to make yarn, as well as the differences between plys and spin techniques.  This book helps you choose the right yarn for the job.  It also includes some great patterns that you can try with your yarn selections.

Another book I really enjoyed was Joelle Hoverston’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts.  When you are first starting out, this is a great little book to have because there are a ton of projects that can be done in a short amount of time (granted,  it may take longer to make each thing if you haven’t been doing it for long…I know it definitely took me more time when I was just starting to learn).  If you are looking for a confidence builder, this is definitely the book for you.

For basic tutorials, none of the books at my library were very helpful.  Instead, when I was stuck, I would visit Lion Brand Yarn’s website.  They have some great, free, step-by-step tutorials.  They also have some free patterns that you can try out.  I did one of them here.  For the patterns, you have to sign-up for an account, but it is free to join.  This is great if you are looking to keep the cost down.

Some important things to remember when you are first starting out:

It is very important to do a gauge swatch.  Doing a gauge swatch will ensure that your finished product is the right size.  It also ensures that you have enough yarn to finish your project.  Usually a pattern will say what the gauge is.  For example, a pattern will say 24 sts=4 in. (10 cm).  This means that with the needles specified in the pattern, if you knit 24 sts, you will have 4 inches.  If you have more than four inches for the needles specified, try using a smaller pair of needles.  If you have less than four inches, try using larger needles.  Continue adjusting until you get the right size of swatch.  For more information on how to make a swatch, visit this website*Stay tuned for a detailed tutorial on how to make a gauge swatch*

If you are using re-purposed yarn, make sure all the knots are out before you start.  I know from first hand experience that this can be a huge pain!

Start with something easy.  Something like a scarf is a good thing to start out with.  It doesn’t matter if you make it a little too long, or a little too short.  A scarf is very forgiving.  If you have done that, move on to something a little more challenging, like the blanket I did here.

Your first project will not be perfect, and that is okay!  With each project you do, you will get better and better.  I have even grown to love the things I did when I was just learning.  Don’t be too hard on yourself!  Knitting takes a lot of patience (something that I had to learn when first starting out).

When you are first starting out, count your stitches often to make sure you have not accidentally dropped some.

If you are looking for something on the easier side to start out with, try my knit cuff below!

Knit Cuff

Gauge: 8 sts = 1 in.

What you’ll need:

  • yarn
  • 3.5 mm knitting needles (US size 4)
  • button
  • 2 safety pins (I could only find 1 safety pin, so I used one safety pin and one bobby pin)

Terminology:

  • Cast on = CO
  • Knit = K
  • Purl = P
  • Bind off = BO

Measure around your wrist.  This will be the length from the starting edge to where you start your button hole.

CO 10 stitches.  K2 rows. *P1, K1.  Repeat from [*] until length of fabric measures the same as your wrist, finishing with K1.  Transfer 5 stitches over to one safety pin.

With remaining stitches, *P1, K1.  Repeat from [*] until button hole is slightly smaller than the width of the button, finish with K1.

Transfer these 5 stitches over to another safety pin.  With first safety pin, transfer stitches back to your knitting needle.  *P1, K1.  Repeat from [*] until you have reached the same number of rows as the other side of the button hole.  Transfer these 5 stitches back to the safety pin.  Transfer all stitches to your knitting needles.  *P1, K1.  Repeat from [*] 2 more times.  K1. BO.

Sew button onto cuff with yarn.  Weave in loose ends.

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Lap Blanket Update!

You may remember my knitted lap blanket troubles from last month.  Since then I have found what I think is a pretty good solution….multicolor yarn!

I had such a hard time finding anything that would look even remotely ok with what I already had, but when I was about to give up, I ran across this:

 

It is 100% cotton, which is different than the wool/cotton blend I had been working with, but has the same thickness and feel.  The colors vary from white to pink to orange, and while none of the colors match exactly with my other yarn, the variety of colors tricks the eyes into thinking it does. 

I am so happy with how this came out, despite the fact that I ran out of yarn.  *note to self, take your own advice next time*

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This year, I decided to make most of our Christmas gifts by hand.  As you can imagine, I have quite the task ahead of me!  Luckily, a few bloggers have gotten together to feature Holidays by Hand. I am excited to sumbit some of my work and *hopefully* keep on track with the gifts!  This week, Knitting, is hosted by Laura at One of Three.

As the weather is getting cooler around here, I am happy to be moving on to my warmer, more comforting gifts.  I am making a lap blanket for my mother-in-law, Martine.  But alas, I did not heed my own advice and at 4/5ths completion, I ran out of yarn!  I have yet to figure out what I am going to do about this little problem.  Maybe it could just be smaller than planned?  Maybe I could use some contrasting yarn and do a single stripe down the middle?  Maybe I should try to match the yarn with something else?  Hmmm…

Anyways, here is the progress I have made so far.

If you are looking for a frugal gift to make for a family member or friend, you should check out Lion Brand Yarn.  They have a bunch of neat free patterns!  Here is the pattern for this blanket…you can see what it is supposed to look like…you know…when you have taken the time to plan.

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