Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Freeform

I've been fascinated by this concept for years. I found some pictures of projects that are simply an amalgamation of stitches, motifs and imagination that looked absolutely incredible. Freeform can be knitted or crocheted or both. They start with scrumbles-tiny pieces of knit/crochet stitches. Put them together and/or start adding to it by picking up stitches along an edge and knitting or attaching your yarn somewhere and crocheting. There is no pattern, though you may need templates if your final piece is going to be a garment.

There is no right or wrong to this, you simply use  your imagination, yarn and needles or hooks. I'm working on something and it's incorporating knit and crochet. I don't know yet what it is going to be, it hasn't told me yet. But I have lots of tiny amounts of yarn of different weights and looks, along with motifs and pieces of things I've done just to see what they looked like. So, I know it's going to be a large project to incorporate that stuff, but what will it be? Wrap? Afghan? Blanket Shrug? Even I don't know yet. But it seemed like a good idea to put it all together in a showcase of things that otherwise had no use individually.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Potholders

We need them. The skin of our hands just isn't tough enough to pick up a casserole dish straight out of the oven, or to hold onto a hot iron skillet handle. They're easy enough to make, whether you knit, crochet or sew. You can find any number of patters on the internet, most all of them free. Or you can make one up yourself. Any five to six inch square will do. Just make two of them and sew them together with the right sides facing out. Or crochet them together. As long as it's doubled, single thread squares make better dishcloths. However, don't make them too fancy, unless you're going to use them to decorate your kitchen with. I've found that if the potholder is too pretty I don't want to use it for its intended purpose, which will make it all grimy and greasy, eventually.

I've even come up with a simple pattern myself, called a Pot Grabber. It fits over iron skillet handles so you don't even need a potholder. Also, a Lid Grabber, which fits over hot pan lid handles. I'll have to write them out in my pattern blog, if they're not there. And I don't think they are. I put them on Crochetville a long time ago. Still, they're out there, and only take a short time to make. I don't sell my patterns, if I come up with one. They're usually so simple that giving them away is best. I like to share my work, not sell it.

Still, for plain, utilitarian potholders, one of the easiest, quickest and best ones I've found is the diagonal potholder

However, I do change it a bit. I'll work the first part of the round just like any other, sc down the ch and not worry about loops. There will still be an unworked loop to use for the second part. Also, for a smoother texture, crochet through both loops of the scs. When you go to sew it together, I don't use whipstitch. I'll do the first two loops as if I was going to, but then just move to the next sc on the side the thread came out of. I think this stitch has a name, like box stitch or something? Anyway, only going through the loop on the top as you see it, and moving down the same side as your needle comes out gives a better-looking seam. There's a video somewhere showing this. Yes, here it is Video

The next plain potholder is the waffle stitch, or Helena stitch potholder. It's also called the thermal stitch. It's double thick without holding two strands together as well, which is good. A good picture tutorial is right here Helena stitch potholder

Both of these are great for beginners, though the thermal stitch one can be fussy if you don't count your stitches and make sure you didn't miss an end stitch, as that sucker can hide. Otherwise, they make great plain potholders if you need one in a snap. They make great gifts too. Give them to brides, friends, family. They'll use them all the time. I made my daughter a couple of hotpads over a year ago and she uses them all the time. It's a round motif that I got from my mom and I sat down and figured out how to make it. Yes, you need two of them and you simply crochet them together with wrong sides touching. They're great for hotpads or potholders.

In conclusion, any solid square that you know how to make will make a great potholder. Use two strands held together if you don't want to do any sewing, or make two identical squares and sew/crochet them together.

Also, on another note, the double knitting technique of the Hoover baby blanket could  also be adapted to a potholder too.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Double knit

Not the yarn weight, actual double knitting. Where you have a double thick fabric. Like in the Hoover baby blanket.

You can actually do smaller projects to get the feel of working any of the variations. A potholder, a doll blanket, or a scarf would all be good. I'm actually working on about a half size blanket for a kitty mat. Also a potholder/dishrag/dishtowel. I think I'll do a potholder in all three versions. I can never find one when I need one, so they won't go to waste and I can use some scrap yarns that I always have around. I also think a scarf would be nice for people who live in areas of very cold winter weather. I'd probably suggest a short one where you sew the two ends together so it slips over the head to avoid dangly ends that will likely unwrap the scarf from the neck. I forget if these types have an official name, but I'd rather wear one like that rather than a long one.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why I like circular knitting needles even for straight knitting

It's simple. Circular needles hold more stitches than even fourteen inch straight needles. A twenty four inch circular needle will hold a couple of hundred stitches without dropping them.

Also, the needle ends are shorter, so they don't catch on chair arms or my long sleeves. They're more portable and don't poke through my bag as often as straight needles. They're more comfortable to hold than longer straight needles.

If I want to make socks/slippers in the round, I can use one very long circular needle or two shorter circular needles together, which makes them more convenient than dpns. They're more portable because you can slide the project down onto the cord(s) and it stays there.

So, in my opinion, for any kind of knitting, circular needles are superior to straight needles in every way possible. Others may disagree with me, but that's all right.

Knitting is an art, the knitter is the artist. The yarn is the medium and the needles are the brushes and we make beautiful things. There is no wrong way to knit. There is just each individual who knits in the manner that suits them best.

I have my preferences for crocheting too. I prefer plastic, acrylic or bamboo hooks because they're warmer to hold than aluminum. Yarns, I prefer to use Red Heart or other acrylics, not only because they're cheaper than wool, but because it's washable and dryable. These days, acrylics are much softer than their older counterparts, and some are even as soft as wool. I have nothing against wool and do use it when I can get it or afford it, but I have to use what's available in my area. I don't have a credit card to be able to buy online, not that I have the funds to pay off the credit card, which is why I don't have a credit card.

So don't diss my preferences, just knit or crochet in the way that's most suitable to you and allow me the same courtesy.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Neck Pillow Finished




It's finished! I said in the previous post that I was working on a neck pillow. And my inspiration was socks. Introducing the knitted Socks Neck Pillow. It works too. I slept really well (when I slept, I have mouth pain right now) It's so soft, squishy and comfortable. It supports my neck, and no matter which way I turn my head, there's support for it. Sleeping flat on my back in a slightly reclined position is now much more comfortable.

I am also working on a crochet version for all you hookers out there too. I hope to have the pattern out on my Ravelry before Christmas. I debated charging a pittance for it, then discarded that idea. My God-given talents are meant to be shared with whomever wishes to share them. I even debated asking for donations, but no, it will be like my three other patterns, completely free.

As you can see, one end looks slightly different from the other. I was using some old yarn and ran out, so I used some other speckled yarn in a slightly lighter off white to finish off the last five rounds and end cap. It was for me, I could care less if it looks all the same or not. It's comfortable and that's the only thing that counts. I only stuffed it just enough to hold its shape, to keep it squishy, I don't like a hard pillow, and I didn't want to put any strain on the corners. It's perfect though, squishy and supportive.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Neck Pillow

You know, those 'U'-shaped pillows that you use when you're traveling. Coincidentally, they're also called travel pillows. Well, I wanted one to sleep with in my bed. See, I can't sleep lying flat anymore. I broke my arm this past Father's Day and if I try to sleep lying flat on my back, that shoulder and arm will complain. Loudly.

So, my darling, loving husband fixed the mattress by placing old sofa cushions under there to raise it up enough so I don't have to sleep in the recliner anymore. But now I can't get my head comfortable. Then I thought about it and came up with a solution. You guessed it, a neck pillow. Since I like to knit and crochet I started looking for a pattern. There is one at Lion Brand that was close to what I needed, but it was too flat-looking. Others looked like dog bones. I didn't want a dog bone to sleep on. So, like always, I started thinking about how to create what I wanted, and the answer just came to me. Socks!

Toe-up socks start off with a provisional cast-on and then you make short rows to form the toe (Well, some of them do.), just like making a short row heel. Problem solved. So, I grabbed up a long circular needle and began knitting. I made a short row 'toe' and I am now knitting up one side of the pillow like it was a big, bulky sock. When I get to where I like how it looks, I'll make another short row 'heel', then make the back of the pillow, another 'heel', then down the other side, where I'll make another 'toe'. Whatever you want to call them, they're all made the same and I believe I'll have a neat little neck/travel pillow when I'm done. Oh, and for convenience sake, it's easier to stuff it as I go with all of those angles that will be in it. And since its construction is identical to socks, I'm calling it the Socks Neck Pillow.

Oh, and I'm translating it to crochet too. Good thing I'm making two of them, the husband will probably want one anyway.

The only way I'll probably finish them both is to work on them alternately. It'll also help alleviate the boredom or working in one stitch all the time. Maybe I'll make up some more decorative ones with different stitches later, I need these fast so sc and knitting around is the fastest.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Hoods/Scoodies

Okay, a hooded scarf is called a Scoodie, I can understand that. But what if you only wanted a hood without the scarf attached? I suppose you could make one with ties on it, sort of like a bonnet, but I had an idea to make a neckwarmer with a hood attached. Then what would it be? I pondered this for a few minutes and came up with:

Nhood.

Why even consider something like this? Well, I really don't like dangly scarf ends and I wanted something that would look nice and be practical.

A neckwarmer is basically a circular band that you wear around your neck in lieu of a scarf. So why not attach a hood to it and end the need to wear a separate hat?

So I've gotten out my knitting needles and crochet hook and am in the process of designing a knitted and a crocheted version for all my knitting and crochet friends out there. The patterns will be posted to my Ravelry as soon as I've completed them.