Saturday, September 07, 2013

The things we notice

When we're watching a tv show or a movie. That is, it depends on your hobby or interest. Mine happens to be crafting. Specifically, knitting and crocheting, not necessarily in that order.

When you're an avid crafter, whether or not you make a lot of things or just a few things a year, you begin to notice things when you watch tv, and not necessarily anything having to do with the plot.

For instance, one of the tv stations ran Wayne's World yesterday and I couldn't help but notice the afghan on the couch they used during their broadcast. It's made out of large hexagons, each in a different color. I focused on that to the point that I googled images of Wayne's World to find a still of it. Then I tried making one. After several failed attempts, I got something similar by using clusters and chain spaces. I got an eight inch across motif out of some blue.

Now I'm determined to make a similar afghan by rummaging through my yarn and using whatever I find. I know it won't be just like it, but since that's what inspired it, I think I'll call it Wayne's World Inspired Afghan, or WWIA.

Now, onto other things. I knit and crochet both, so when, in an early season one episode of CSI: NY, a lady at a dog show told Mac that she had knitted the afghan in her lap for her dog I immediately said "No way did she knit that." It was a granny square afghan, and you can only get granny squares by crocheting them. The prop person obviously wasn't a knitter or a crocheter or they would have at least acquired a knitted afghan for the lady to brag about. I'm pretty sure most people didn't see that goof, but I did and was very amused by it. A quick look at the ep "Recycling" on Imdb shows that someone else did. I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw it.

Now, every time I watch tv (which isn't often anymore since most stuff is boring these days) I tend to notice when an actor/actress is wearing a handknit/crocheted item, and I will sometimes look up pictures of it (or attempt to), to see if I could possibly duplicate it. I've seen hats, vests, sweaters, scarves, etc.

You know it's bad when you're more interested in props/costumes than you are in the show itself...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


You know, just when you think you've seen it all, along comes something you haven't seen. Or, just when you find a favorite heel method, along comes another method that's just 'that' much better.

What am I speaking of?

Fish Lips Kiss Heel

Funny name for a gorgeous heel. The pattern is only $1, and since I had a couple dollars in my paypal, I bought it today. I haven't tried it yet, naturally, but after reading it and checking the pic tutorial at the end, it looks like this is going to be my new favorite heel. Now all I'll need is to make some cardboard feet.

The only thing that bugged me about short row heels doing them with YOs, is that it left a ridge of sts inside the sock that I could sometimes feel. This method doesn't use any kind of extra stitches and it looks like it would be easy to do once you memorize the method.

Of course, I have been knitting for most of my life, so just about anything would be easy to me once I've done it at least once or twice, but still, even beginner sock knitters should be able to do this. For them, I would recommend the linked videos from the pattern. Or I'll just provide them here.

Sox Therapist

That will take you to her two vid tutorials for the short row method she uses in her sock heels.

Seriously, this pattern is worth it if you make a lot of socks. You can use it on any sock pattern and throw away the heel flap/gussets forever.

Then people will start asking you where you bought your socks at ;)

Seriously, I would be flattered if someone asked me that.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Toe Up vs Top Down

Now that I've actually completed a pair of toe up socks (on double pointed needles) I think I can compare them to top down.

I like both methods, but I think toe up edges out top down in that, when you're finished, all you need to do is hide two yarn ends. I'm not a fan of the figure eight cast on, probably because I haven't practiced it enough. Really, since I like the looks of the short row toe, there's no need to master the figure eight unless it's for ego purposes to say "I can do it."

Anyway, in my opinion, any sock pattern can be converted from top down to toe up, the pattern will just run upside down, unless it's something symmetrical like a diamond pattern. I don't see much problem with that. If it's a case of stranded knitting, then following the color chart upside down should fix that.

So, yes, I like toe up socks, the short row toes and heels look very neat. The biggest plus to toe up socks is that it appears to me that they're also faster to knit, and to a slow knitter like me, that's a big plus.

So, if you're not a fan of doing kitchener stitch, and it's kept you from giving socks a try, then I say look up some toe up sock patterns and give them a try.

If you're not doing socks because you're leery of trying knitting in the round on double pointed needles, then look up some tutorials on using magic loop or two circulars. With two circulars, you can drop the project onto the cables and not worry about losing stitches. I can do either, but since I haven't completed anything using magic loop, comparing the two methods is something that will have to wait for another day. However, making socks using two circulars means that I can make the entire pair at the same time by using two balls of yarn. I wouldn't say it's any faster than making them one at a time, but when you're finished, well, you're finished.

Now, someone will probably ask me how would I do two toe up socks on two circular needles. Well, the answer is simple. Since I do short row toes, which requires a provisional cast on, I would do one toe on one circular and the other toe on the other circular needle and then, very carefully, transfer both sets of live stitches to one circular (making sure the working yarn ends are both pointing in the same direction. Then I would unzip the crochet chains (that's the provisional method I prefer) and place those live stitches on the empty circular needle. Voila! I can then do both socks at the same time up to the heel. Then you would do one heel at a time (Placing the other sock on the cable until you're finished with the first one. Once you're finished with the heels, you then do both legs at the same time. Doing socks this way makes sure that your gauge will be the same on both socks.

Boy, I start off comparing two sock methods and end up talking about four. Go me.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Found a new hat pattern

Well, the pattern is new to me.  I found while browsing other patterns like I do on occasion, and I ran across this one:

Braid-Edge Hat

I've started one in dark blue Simply Soft yarn and another in a dark red RHSS. The pattern is not difficult and is giving me practice in making cables without cable needles.

What is cables without cable needles? Exactly what it says. Here's the link:

Cable without cable needles

As I said, the pattern is not difficult and you should memorize the repeat by the end of the first one. I did make one adjustment-I'm using stitch markers so I don't have to do so much counting. One marks where the braid goes and the other marks the short rows so I don't have to count stitches. It makes for much easier and faster knitting of this pattern.

Monday, July 01, 2013

I give up

Yeah, I posted that I wanted to do a pair of socks using the double knit method on dpns. Well, I quit.

Knitting is supposed to be fun, double knitting socks is not. I hadn't even gotten the 12 rounds of ribbing done before I started running into trouble, culminating in two needles somehow getting pulled out of the stitches. And once I pulled the two socks apart, I also had crossed yarns.

Therefore, I have concluded that the knitting Goddess does not want me to do double knit socks. Therefore, I have started a pair of toe-up socks instead using the yarn I was using for the double knit ones, Bernat Softee Baby in Sweet n Sunny.. I'm going to use the Tadpole pattern, which is one of my favorite sock patterns to do because the pattern is easy, yet not mindless and boring. Yes, I know this pattern is done top down, but it's easily done toe-up too, the pattern will just swirl up instead of down. Neat, huh?

I used a provisional cast-on, using a length of crochet chain and picked up half the number of stitches I would need, which was 32. I then made a short row toe using the YO method, which is m favorite method of doing short rows. I'm not up to the foot, have frogged the crochet chain to expose the live stitches and have started the tadpole pattern. One word of advice. You will always have one less stitch on the newly-exposed stitches than you need, so you'll have to m1 to get the correct number of stitches. Easy enough to do on the end. That way, you have 16 stitches on each of four needles for a five needle set (which I recommend). Otherwise, you could also use two circular needles. It would be possible to do both socks on the circulars, you'd just have to do each toe separately, then proceed to do both together.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning, I've given up on doing double knit socks, I'll stick to the tried and true methods that don't have nearly the opportunities for errors as that method does. I prefer to have fun with my knitting, and that's what I'm gonna do from now on.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Still haven't done anything with the Brown Sheep Wildfoot yarn

I'm a notorious procrastinator. I'll start a project, put it down and start something else. I might pick up the other one days, weeks or months later, sometimes years.

You could call me a really good starter and a very poor finisher. Sometimes I'll end up frogging a project if I can't remember what I was knitting or if I don't really want the project.

I'm sure there are others out there like me. Sucks, but such is the nature of human beings.

I will finish projects if I'm making them for someone else, though.

Double Knitting

Every knitter knows what this is, creating a two-sided fabric using two balls of yarn. A baby blanket pattern by Eleanor Roosevelt uses this technique. But there is also another use for it. Creating two identical items using one set of needles.

Case in point-socks. Knitty has an article on the technique and how to do it using double pointed needles (which is the only way you could knit a pair of socks with them). I've adapted the method to my personal style of knitting, however, I've not finished a pair of socks using the technique. It's so easy to cross the threads and I sometimes don't catch it until I've done several rounds, and then just fixing the one crossed stitch as indicated in the instructions doesn't account for if you continue to use the wrong yarn end on the socks. The only method of fixing crossed threads is to carefully un-knit back to the crossed threads and uncross them, then continue. This is tedious and usually has me putting the project down or simply frogging it and redoing on separate needles.

Okay, to avoid having to un-knit a bunch of rounds in the case of crossed threads, I would recommend that you check every few rounds by pulling the inside sock up and out, then check between them. Crossed yarns are easy to spot. While this will slow you down a bit, it's not much different from checking your pattern every few rounds on more complicated patterns. Still, overall, the process is much slower than doing a pair on circulars.

So, why am I making another post about double knitting? I'm still determined to do a pair of socks to completion. Would I recommend this technique to do a pair of socks regularly? No. Why? Because doing a pair of socks on two circulars or using the magic loop method is tons easier. To alleviate the 'Second Sock Syndrome' I do recommend doing both socks together.

To be able to double knit a pair of socks, the knitter would need to work on them with no distractions (this is not a mindless project to be done while watching tv). The knitter must keep their mind on their work or else they will cross their yarns. To have to remove the heel stitches and put them on separate needles to do the heels is also tedious, and this is where using two circulars or magic loop and keeping the socks separate is the superior method. Because once you get your heels knitted (and I recommend short row heels for this), you then must arrange them all back on one needle to continue in the round (tedious again)

Then there's the matter of the toes. Again, you have to divide out your stitches and put them onto separate needles (in my opinion) and finish them individually, as you did the heels.

So why am I doing this? Like most who comment on the technique, just so I could say I did. Once I finish a pair doing this I will likely not do this technique again, unless I'm making double-sided baby blankets, throws or potholders where crossed yarns won't be a problem. It's just a method for those who want to draw attention to themselves by doing it out in public so they can act smug and superior as they explain what they're doing. Personally, I wouldn't act so smug about this technique, you'll more often than not make mistakes that will likely be tedious to undo. You'll make fewer mistakes using the other two techniques for knitting a pair of socks at the same time. And the last plus about the other two methods? You can use any pattern you want and make fancy-schmancy socks. double knitting is best done using a basic, no-frills, plain knit sock pattern.

However, your socks will go quicker by doing them on two circulars or using magic loop and keeping them separated the whole time. You'll still have to do the heels individually, but not the toes.

An addendum: While you can get into a rhythm with double-knitting socks, don't be fooled into thinking it's mindless knitting. One little moment of inattention and you have crossed yarns. So, unless you're doing as the article recommends and knitting with two contrasting colors, I wouldn't recommend letting yourself get distracted while doing it.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Crochet cables vs knit cables

Yes, you can make cables in crochet. They don't look exactly like knit cables, but you can do as much with them as you can do with knit ones, and if you don't knit then it's nice to know that you can still make nice-looking cables.

You're basically using post dc stitches to make the basic rib for your cable. When you go to twist them around each other, you'll use post tr stitches to keep your work flat. It's a bit more involved than making knit cables, but the end result is the same, you're twisting a number of stitches around each other, the way you do it will determine what your cable will look like.

All you really have to do is Google 'crochet cables' to find any number of written or video directions on how to do this.

I like the option to be able to put cables on my crochet things too.