Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Combination Knitting Class

I have so many things on my needles right now - and yet I cannot blog about these things! Some are gifts, some are classes I'm developing, some are just not to the point where I can show them yet. 

So instead I'll take a moment to talk up a class I'm teaching this Saturday at Woolwinders Yarn Shop -- Combination Knitting! This is a class that I've wanted to teach for a long time so I'm really excited for it. I plan on teaching the Western, Eastern and Combination knitting methods, as well as discussing different types of knitting styles including English, Continental, Bosnian, cottage and a couple others. It's going to be a thinking class with a "lecture," discussion, demo and practice of all the knitting methods and styles. It is going to be a jam-packed 3-hr session! But it should be fun - I'll let you know how it goes! Or if you are in the area, please feel free to call the shop or visit the website to register (link to the class registration here).  

And here is a picture of all the swatches I made for the class! I can't wait!  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Alice Mitts

A friend gave me some of her leftover Malabrigo Rasta so I decided to make something for her.  Knowing she had made herself a cute scarf from the yarn I thought she could use a pair of fingerless mitts.

Pattern: None
Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta in Baya Electrica
Started: January 18, 2014
Finished: January, 19, 2014

I've knit fingerless gloves before so I figured I could easily whip these up.  And that I did!  Finished in a weekend - and another weekend of sitting on the blocking mat waiting to get mailed out.  In my defense it was too cold to walk to the post office.  Although that means my peeps could have USED these mitts.  Ooops!  

I had less than 1/2 of a skein but had precicely enough yarn for these.  Ribbing for the cuffs, stockinette stitch, slight thumb gusset with two or three increases (I should have written it down), then 4 bind-offs for the thumb, a decrease row or two then ribbing to finish it off.  

One little weird thing that I noticed was that one mitt turned out more pink, the other purple.  It was leftover from the same skein.  So that is odd. But it will match her scarf so that's all that matters.  Overall, a fun, cute, quick, knit! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Who Knits?

I think every Whovian/knitter has to make one.  As you know I've done other Who-inspired knits (Rosie's Tardis scarf comes to mind).  But now that I have knit THE SCARF, I think I can officially make the notch in my belt.
Image from: http://vampiric-time-lord.deviantart.com/art/Tardis-Wallpaper-DW-339047215
For my Whovian peeps you know what scarf I'm talking about.  For those of you that don't know - think over 12 feet of garter stitch.  That's right folks, I finally knit the Tom Baker, Doctor Who Scarf!  

Pattern: By Chris Brimelow
Started: December 24, 2013
Finished: January 29, 2014
Needles: US 5

Folks he's a tad over 6'2" and look at how long that silly scarf is!  But it's iconic.  

The Pattern - Because this was for the hubs, I let him pick out which season he wanted.  He chose the original (season 12) scarf.  While watching the 50th Anniversary specials we learned this original scarf was knit by Begonia Pope in a mere 2 weeks!  Mine took a little longer, and then another week of it sitting on the table needing ends woven in.  Poor hubs saw the finished scarf (with ends hanging out) and made a couple comments about wishing he could wear it during the coldest January we've experienced in Maryland.  I should have taught him how to weave ends in himself!

Also I should note that the original has tassels but he's not a fan of scarves with the fringe so he's still debating.  I told him even though the "real" one has it, if he's not going to wear it I'd rather leave the stuff off.  I'll let you know if the hubs ever makes a decision.  :)

The Yarns - I ended up using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes because it was cheap and the color selection.  Plus I wanted a nice, worsted weight wool.  To match yarns I used the color recommendations from www.doctorwhoscarf.com which seemed to match the original (Baker, season 12) colors nicely.  But also because I loved the color guide:
http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/s12.html
Because this color guide referenced common items, I felt a little more confident in selecting yarns for the scarf.  I ended up with:  Almond, Chestnut, Cranberry, Lava Heather (the only color I wasn't 100% satisfied with), Thyme, Tumeric, Onyx Heather, and Chocolate.  All are linked appropriately in my Ravelry page.

This picture was taken in direct sunlight so the colors are a little brighter and lighter looking than in real life.  But I think it works out well.

Even though this was a very simple (looong) striped, garter-stitch scarf, I still utilized a number of resources.  And it appears that many others who have taken to knitting this iconic scarf have too felt the need to gather other like-minded peeps.  First was the Ravelry group: The Dr. Who Scarf Support Group , an excellent group of knitters always available for a gripe or picture of their scarf.  I didn't participate in too many conversations, but I had a lot of fun lurking and found a number of helpful posts on weaving in ends (oooh all the ends!), color selection, and how to get through hundreds of rows of garter stitch.  I also used The Witty Little Knitter's website.  It seems that she has dedicated her life to knitting and studying the various Dr Who scarves!

Overall it wasn't a bad knit.  It was nice to have something so mindless.  If I ever knit a stripped item again (I don't think I'll ever embark on this scarf again) I think I'll weave ends as I go.  It was little much at the end. 
But overall I'm happy.  And I think the hubs is happy.  Actually it's the first item I've ever knit for him.  It only took what 8+ years?  
Yeah he's happy! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Arm Knitting and Felting FAIL

People have been asking me, "What else can you do with arm knitting?"

I typically tell them that in addition to a regular scarf an infinity scarf you could make a blanket/afghan, or a chunky poncho.  And a while back I was optimistic that I could create something truly different with arm knitting.  I decided I would create a skirt out of arm knitting.  But not just a skirt, but I would use arm knitting technique to create the fabric that I could then (slightly) felt and make into a cute skirt (with a sewn in liner).  

So using my only skein of Cascade Yarns, Magnum Paints (a 100% chunky wool), I arm knit a long rectangular piece: 


And then I attempted to throw it into the washing machine.  

And it was an EPIC FAIL: 





I know, I know.  You need the stitches to be near to one another to cling and "meld" together during the magical felting process.  I really don't know what I was thinking but as soon as I pulled the garbled mess out of the washer I knew exactly where I had gone wrong.  

But there are others who have the right idea.  For example Creating Laura has done this: 
Creating Laura: http://www.creatinglaura.com/2014/01/the-triplet-shawl-arm-knitting-pattern.html 

Pretty cool huh?  

Well... even when you fail, at least you come out with some good lessons learned!