Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hats!! And Head Things...

For everyone wondering why the heck I'm not knitting with all the b-e-a-utiful yarn I recently stashed, I will let you know. When I first started searching all the knitting patterns on the internet, I came across the Jayne Cobb Hat patterns and I knew that I wanted to make one for myself because I love the Firefly TV series and the Serenity movie. So, I recently promised myself that I would not start another project until I finished a Jayne hat. Unfortunately, I couldn't start the Jayne hat because I was knitting another hat for a friend with the same yarn I planned to use.

But, I finally finished the hat for my friend and here it is:

(It huge on me, but that's good since it's for a boy with a big head.)

Pattern: Ribbed Beanie by Woolly Wormhead (free)
Yarn: Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids - I can't remember with exact color name, but it's a bright orange.
Needles: US 8, bamboo circulars
Size: Large
Made For: Britt
  • CO 80 sts with yarn doubled.
  • Worked in 5x3 rib for 7 inches.
  • Started decrease rows as listed in instructions, except used p2tog instead of k2tog for the first 2 decrease rows.
  • Decreased until 10 sts left. Because I’m lazy. And tired.
Britt is a huge fan of the University of Tennessee football team and these are their team colors. Here's a closeup of the logo I duplicate-stitched into the side:

US 8 needles are kind of small for 2 strands of worsted weight, but I wanted a thick fabric so that it would be more durable and denser for warmth.

I got to start the Jayne hat a couple days ago, and looking through all of the different patterns, I didn't really find one that I really wanted to use. A lot of them call for bulky weight wool, which I don't have... Haha, I only have Red Heart acrylic in the right colors. So, I'm just making it up as I go along. I haven't finished it, but will post pictures and write out what I did when it's done.

I also made a little progress on the Quant headband:

You know, a little progress ;) It's turning out kind of cool... I think the color changes in my yarn aren't gradual enough to look as nice as the one the designer (Star Athena) made, but it's still fun.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cameras, Cast-Ons, and a Finished Object

Look at my new toy!

(I know, a terrible photo taken by my laptop camera. It's a Canon SD1100 IS. Here's the Apple Store website for it.)

It came in the mail a few days ago :) I gave my old camera to my brother. It was a good camera, but a bit heavy and slow for my taste. This one isn't lightning fast, but it's very slim. And pretty :)

And I finally finished the second wrist warmer. I used a Cable Cast-On for this one so I can't even get my hand into it.

Pattern: Women's Hand/Wrist Warmers by Joelle Hoverson (free)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in Orange Creamsicle
Needles: US 6, aluminum DPNs
Size: Small! But mostly because of my tight knitting. CO the recommended 32 sts and followed instructions for the most part, but did 12 rows after the thumb opening.
Made For: someone else (not sure who yet...)

Here's another thing I've learned in my knitting: So far, I have been using the Knitted Cast-On (another explanation here), which is the first method I learned. I recently figured out, from reading the instructions for River, that it's more of a lace cast-on method - I had previously noticed that the cast-on edge was quite loose after knitting from it, which is why I've recently been searching for a new "default" cast-on method. Additionally, I have just learned from this Knitty article that I have been Knitting On With A Twist; i.e., I have been transferring the new stitch as if to knit (with needles parallel), rather than as if to purl (with needles antiparallel). Transferring stitches the other way would make the cast-on edge tighter.

Anyways, I've read that a lot of knitters prefer the Long-Tail Cast-On, but I'm not really sure why. I've tried it, but it just seemed too complicated (especially since you have to estimate how much yarn you need) and I did not like how the yarn tail kept unraveling. It seems to me that there are other methods that are just as stretchy, strong, and neat. One other positive that I see though is that it seems like a very fast method.

So, I've found a new "default" cast-on: the Cable Cast-On, which I learned from the video on the Knitting Help website. Yes, it's a bit slow and hard to work, but it's neat and stretchy, but not flimsy.

I think maybe I'll just have to keep practicing more.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Free Knitting Pattern! - Staggered Neck Warmer

I'm calling this my first free pattern because I'm still tweaking the first pattern I posted (I've discovered that I don't like non-reversible scarves).

Thus, I present to you the Staggered Neck Warmer!

So a few days ago, I was thinking about all the different stitch patterns I had learned and looked at so far. I really like reversible stitch patterns, mainly because I'm still knitting mostly scarves, and I like uniform stitch patterns like moss/seed stitch. And if I only have to knit one row, it's a plus, so I don't have to figure out which row I'm on after I take a break (believe it or not, I knit the wrong row on the Seeded Rib Easy Reversible Scarf and inverted the ribs in the last part of the scarf).

So I came up with a staggered 2x2 rib stitch that would also create columns of garter (also staggered), instead of columns of stockinette like in regular ribbing. The good thing is that it's completely reversible, thick, and stretchy both vertically and horizontally. It's a great alternative to regular ribbing or plain garter and has a really nice texture to it. It could be used wherever you need a thick, textured fabric that also has plenty of ease. And you only have to knit one row if you have stitches in multiples of 4 + 2, but it's super easy to use in any number of stitches as well. The negative thing is that it might get boring for more experienced knitters and even for beginning knitters.

Yarn: Lionbrand Homespun (I think - yes, this was another unlabeled yarn I bought, but pretty though, right?? I wish I knew which colorway it was...).
Yardage: I'm not really sure. I used what looked like half a skein (~80-90 yards).
Needles: US 10
Gauge: 14 stitches in 2x2 rib unstretched = 4"; 24 rows in garter unstretched = 4"
Size: 4" x 19" unstretched

CO 14 sts
Row 1: (K2, P2) x 3, end with K2

Repeat this row for 18-20 inches, until it fits comfortably around your neck.

Then make a row with 2 buttonholes. I made them 3 sts wide:
(Slip 1 st from the left to right needle knitwise with yarn in back.
Move yarn to the front of work and leave it there.
* Slip 1 st from the left to right needle knitwise.
Slip first slipped st over second slipped st and off the needle.
Repeat from * two more times.
Slip the last remaining slipped st back to the left needle knitwise.
Turn your work and bring the yarn to the front.
Tightly CO 4 sts onto the left needle - one more st than you bound off. I used a Cable Cast-On.
Turn your work.
Slip one st from the left to right needle knitwise.
Slip the last cast-on st over the next st, then slip this st back to the left needle knitwise.)
K1, P2, K1
Repeat instructions between (the parentheses) to make a second buttonhole.

[Other buttonhole options can be found here. The instructions above were adapted from Buttonhole 5 - I just had trouble with the Twisted Purlwise Cast-On.)

Work two more rows of (K2, P2) x 3, K2.

Sew two buttons onto the end opposite of the buttonholes. (I used two wooden beads and sewed them on with doubled embroidery thread because I couldn't find good buttons.)

And there you have it! Easy, right?

(Since this is my first complete pattern ever, any and all suggestions and criticisms are welcome!)