Moving On

In a flash I had finished another bib and realized that I had three bibs that needed buttons, ends woven in, and embellishments.  And once I had taken care of those details, the fever to knit cotton baby bibs was…gone!  And it’s a good thing, too, because I have a lot of other knitting and sewing I’d like to get done!

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  • Pattern: Baby Bib ‘o Love from Mason-Dixon Knitting (Ravelled here)

  • Yarn: Various remnants of Sugar ‘n Cream and Peaches ‘n Cream kitchen cotton

  • Needles: US size 7/4.5mm

  • Mods: Slipped the first stitch of ever row to neaten the edging, changed colors when the previous yarn ran out.

Once I got all of that out of my system, I was free to revisit the Tiny Shoes booties.  You may remember I knit a pair in leftover pink sock yarn, but they came out very differently and were not a matching set.  I put the whole project in time out, and after thinking it over decided to give it another try.

The right bootie had come out perfectly, so I set about knitting a 2nd left bootie.  The construction of these wee shoes is interesting yet fiddly.  Most importantly, the construction of the front of the shoe is slightly different from shoe to shoe as you are working in opposite directions.  So where the right bootie has a neat purl ridge above the yarn overs at the front of the shoe, the left is a new cast on that got a little bit stretched out.  While these two shoes are now the same size, the details are not exactly perfect.  Oh well, I’m sending them off to my expectant friend anyway. After all,

Handmade=imperfectly beautiful.

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  • Pattern: Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague from Whimsical Little Knits (Ravelled here)

  • Yarn: Holiday Yarns Flock Sock Yarn in Bubblegum, leftovers

  • Needles: US size 2/2.75mm

  • Mods: None.

Aren’t those little bunny buttons swell?  I have some angora yarn I’d like to make some booties out of, using these buttons as well.  Get it?! Fiber nerds we are…

Now I’m planning on finishing my Ishbel shawl and perhaps casting on some other single skein accessories.  I’ve been wanting to knit some new fingerless gloves, and I just bought the pattern for the Verity hat…Looks like I better get off the computer and start knitting!

Bet You Can’t Knit Just One

Not much to report on this Monday.  We had a quiet weekend full of relaxing, completing some little projects around the house, movie watching, and some sewing and bib-knitting.  Seriously, I cannot stop knitting cotton bibs.  I don’t know what has come over me, whether it’s the Lays potato chip phenomenon (“Bet you can’t knit just one”), or an inability to focus on anything other than garter stitch, but it’s out of control.  I have literally pulled all the cotton out of my stash and put it next to my knitting chair and am methodically knitting my way through it.  When I realized I had a skein each of white, cream, and a different shade of cream left, I had to go out and buy some colors to go with all those neutrals.  And thus the cycle continues.

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My main knitting spot.

After listening to the most recent episode of Stash and Burn, I am feeling validated in this approach.  Not only am I using up more yarn than I have purchased (at least for this particular project set), I am ostensibly getting a head start on Single Skein September.  This is a little thing they do over there each September which urges listeners to knit smaller projects to use up some of the single skeins in our stashes.  I’m fairly sure I participated last year by knitting one neck-warmer after another.  Hmmm…another knitting phase I went through…

Anyway, I am thinking about participating since all I can really handle these days is the smaller, instant-gratification type knits.  Plus, I have plenty of single skeins in my stash that I have accumulated over the last year.  I even have some single skeing projects on the needles that I would like to finish up in September, so any way you look at it I’ll be playing along.  If you want to play too, go over to the Stash and Burn Groupies group on Ravelry and check it out.  There will be prizes…

Bib ‘O Peace

I have found a fun new game to play with my knitting.  It’s called “Grab some leftover cotton from the stash and knit crazy bibs.”  Sound like fun?  It is!

Not only is it fun, it’s a practical way to use up leftovers of all that cotton from my washcloth phase and channel it into a new phase.  Plus, I am challenged to come up with interesting combinations of colors and patterns, some of which are more successful than others.

A winner:

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  • Pattern: Baby Bib ‘O Love from Mason-Dixon Knitting by Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne (Ravelled here)

  • Yarn: Lily Sugar ‘n Cream cotton, more red than turquoise, approximately 50g.  I used up every strand of the blue; didn’t even have enough to sew on the button!

  • Needles: US size 7/4.5mm

  • Mods: I slipped the first stitch of every row purl-wise to keep the edges neat.  Added an embroidered embellishment.

This pattern is very easy– any level of knitter could churn one out in no time.  It could be adapted to play canvas to a variety of stitch patterns and color combinations.  I did a button hole for the closure on this one, but I am guessing it would be more practical to use a snap or Velcro underneath a cute decoy button.

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I am deep in the throes of a love affair with garter stitch.  I love the texture and ease of the fabric.  I love the way you can choose to show off a color change and add a bit of spunk to an otherwise plain piece of knitting.  I love how it is so basic and beautiful at the same time.

I use hand-knits every day, whether it be in the bathroom washing my face, or in the closet or sock drawer getting dressed.  I look forward to forcing sharing this practice with the wee one, and I’m amassing quite a collection of functional and charming little knits for him/her.

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One drawback to garter stitch: it is not an ideal surface to embroider on.  But like the ineffable Tim Gunn says, “Make it work.”  Are you as happy to see Project Runway back on as I am?!

Poof! A Finished Object

A couple of weeks ago I was taking my morning shower when I noticed the pathetic and disgusting state of my nylon bath puff.  It was coming undone and had long, floppy appendages of droopy mesh that I had to scrunch up in my hand when I wanted to use it.  And there was a suspicious patch of darkness spreading from the center where the cord was attached.  Time to say goodbye.

Instead of buying a new one, i decided I would try to knit a replacement from my cotton stash.  NutmegKnitter was kind enough to lend me her copy of One Skein which contains a dead simple pattern: knit a tube, knit some i-cord, combine.  I made it even easier on myself by knitting it using Magic Loop instead of on double-pointed needles and omitting the 19-inch i-cord.

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  • Pattern: Knitted Bath Puffy by Leigh Radford from One Skein (rav here)

  • Yarn: Sugar ‘n Cream in Landscape, 1 skein/120 yards

  • Needles: US 10.5 circular

  • Mods: I knit this in the round using magic loop. I knit until I only had a couple of yards left & cast off. Then I put the tail on a tapestry needle, folded the piece as directed in the pattern, and ran the yarn through the center. Then I turned the piece into a circular shape and wrapped the tails around and around the outside, using the remaining ends as a hanging loop. no i-cord needed!

This took a little bit longer for me to knit than I had anticipated, and I have been showering poofless for about 2 weeks.  Those beaded socks may have had something to do with it, I suppose.  In any case,  I am eagerly anticipating our first rendezvous this morning…

Come here, poof.  I’ve got plans for us.

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Retro Rib Hand Towel: Free Pattern

Retro Rib Hand Towel

What better way to brighten up your kitchen or bathroom than with a colorful hand-knit towel?  Use your imagination to create color combinations that speak to you and get started on this fast and fun knit!

PDF pattern now available: Retro Rib Hand Towel

Materials
  • Peaches & Creme 100% cotton yarn, 1 ball for main color and 1/4 ball for contrast color
  • US Size 7 needles
  • 1 button
  • Tapestry needle

Finished Measurements
7 inches wide and 12 ½ inches tall unstretched.  Garter stitch strap measures 2 inches wide and 5 ¼ inches long unstretched

Abbreviations
CO—Cast on
MC—Main color
CC—Contrast color
K—knit
P—purl
Sts—stitches
Sl 1—slip 1 stitch as if to knit
WS—wrong side or back of work
RS—right side or front of work
K2tog—knit 2 stitches together
BO—Bind off

Notes:
Slip the first stitch of every row in pattern to create a neat edge.  Do not slip first stitch when changing colors or decreasing.
Color changes happen on the right side rows until you get to the garter stitch strap where they occur on the wrong side of the fabric.  When changing colors it is helpful to carry the old color up the side of your work every 2 rows during the striped sections.  Less ends to weave in!

Pattern
CO 60 sts in MC.

Row 1 (RS): Sl 1 * K3, P2 * to last 4 sts, K4
Row 2 (WS): Sl 1 * P3, K2 * to last 4 stitches, P4

Repeat these two rows until piece measures 1 ½ inches from CO edge.
On the next RS row, add CC and work in set pattern for 4 rows.

RS: add MC and work 4 rows in pattern
RS: add CC and work 4 rows in pattern
RS: add MC and continue in rib pattern, slipping the first stitch of every row, until piece measures 11 inches from CO edge.
RS: add CC and work 4 rows in pattern
RS: add MC and work 4 rows in pattern

The following decrease rows are worked in garter stitch:
Row 1 (RS): k2tog across all stitches (30 sts remain)
Row 2 (WS): knit
Row 3: same as row 1 (15 sts remain)
Row 4: same as row 2
Row 5: k2tog twice, k7, k2tog twice (11 sts remain)
Row 6: knit
Row 7: k2tog, k7, k2tog (9 sts remain)

Knit in garter stitch (knit every row) for 5 rows.  You will now change colors on the back of your work.
WS: add CC and knit 4 rows
WS: add MC and knit 4 rows
WS: add CC and knit 4 rows
WS: add MC and knit 5 rows

Buttonhole
RS: k3, BO 3. K3
WS: k3, CO 3, k3
Knit 5 rows in garter stitch
WS: add CC and knit 3 rows
BO in CC

Attach button to the center of first MC garter stitch section. Weave in ends.

© Sonia Ruyts 2008

I hope you enjoy this pattern!  As always, please let me know if you find anything to be unclear.

The Fabric of Our Lives

When my mother first arrived for her recent visit, she was a crocheter.  She knew how to knit long ago, and even told me there was a sweater-in-progress lurking somewhere in her past.  On her previous visits we talked about yarn, and she even bought some, later using it to crochet.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it was like the two of us were speaking different languages.

That all changed a couple of weeks ago when she said she might want to knit something.  I could hardly contain my excitement as we drove over to the yarn shop.  She knew she wanted to make a slouchy, rolled brim hat to match her knew coat, so we were on a mission.  After a preliminary stroll through the store and a few false alarms, she found The One: Misti Alpaca Baby Alpaca in a subtly variegated combination of brown, burgundy, and deep green that matched her coat beautifully.

The ladies at the LYS helped her pick out the proper needles, a pattern, and even wound up the yarn for her.  My mom had that hat knit up in no time, and had a sudden urge to knit a cowl to go with it.  Don’t know where she got that idea…

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Then after a trip to Michael’s to look at picture frames and holiday decor, a trip in which about 87 balls of yarn found their way into our basket, she started knitting washcloths. Thanks to some encouragement from friends at knit night, she got the idea to practice different stitch patterns on the cloths.  After looking through one of my stitch dictionaries, she copied down her favorite patterns on individual index cards.  Such a good idea!  She was off to a great start…and couldn’t stop, apparently.

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She told me that she knit another whole dishcloth on the plane ride home! Now that’s what I call being in “the zone”!

Watching my mom play with brightly colored cotton inspired me to tap into my own cotton stash.  This summer I had knit up a dishtowel out of red and turquoise cotton and put it on my Ravelry projects page.  Someone recently contacted me about getting the pattern, so I thought I’d take some time to knit another one from my notes and write it up.  The process started off really well, but hit a few snags when I got to the top.  After knitting and ripping it out about 3 times, I opted for the simplest approach and it worked.

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These are the Retro Rib Towels, and the pattern will be available for free very soon.  Start looking at your cotton stash and thinking about color combos–they make great gifts.  I plan on giving the new one to Sweetie’s grandmother for Christmas!

My mom and I shared a nice long visit, one that brought us even closer.  And now that we can both speak the language of knitting, there’s no limit to what we can do.  I can’t wait to see what she creates next!

The Comforts of a Washcloth

When I need comforted, there are a few core things that I can eat, read, watch, or do repetitively for relief: chicken pot pie, chocolate cake, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, You’ve Got Mail, Last of the Mohicans, and knitting a dishcloth.

I find comfort in being able to produce something so familiar you can let your hands guide themselves through the familiar territory of knits and purls. Knitting with yarn I already have on hand to create something bright and cheerful and useful is also immensely satisfying. In my career as a knitter I have probably whipped out a dozen washcloths for myself and others, and my degree of happiness with the process never wanes.

Here is my latest comfort, something I knit when I wanted to start a new project that I could finish in a couple of hours while catching up on TiVo.

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  • Yarn: Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton
  • Needles: Size 7
  • Pattern: Ballband Dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting

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What do you knit when you need a fresh start?