Where I write about knitting, crocheting and lace, and, on occasion general comments on other topics

FO: SFS Team Knit Socks

Written by: Lindy

February 27, 2010

I have finally finished my second pair of SFS (Socks for Soldiers) OD regulation socks. This pair was team knit with another SFS knitter who knit the legs on her circular sock machine. I am amazed at how long these socks are when they are finished.

While I was finishing up these socks, the President of SFS emailed a request out to members for cotton washcloths. So, since I needed a break from knitting on very small needles, I knit up three cotton washcloths to go along with the socks.

In addition to the socks and washcloths, I purchased a few toiletries and some non-perishable goodies to send as part of my package to SFS. All of this will get pooled with supplies from other knitters and placed into a larger shipment that will make its way to one of the military units on our list. It feels good to know that a soldier serving somewhere outside of the U.S. will be getting special treats from home.

WIP: Teddy Bear for Grandson

Written by: Lindy

February 23, 2010

I think every child should have a teddy bear to love, so I am knitting my baby grandson a teddy bear. The pattern is from “Knitted Toys” by Debbie Bliss. When completed, this will be about 16-19 inches — which is a good size for a teddy bear.

I initially started this project using Peaches & Cream cotton worsted yarn in teal blue. I knitted up the first leg and started on the second one — and then decided I didn’t like the way the yarn was knitting up and I also didn’t like the color for the teddy bear. So, I switched yarns and colors and started over.

The yarn I choose is Knit Picks Shine Sport yarn in Willow colorway. This first photo is of the yarn and the beginning of the right leg.

I have knitted both legs at this point and plan to work on the body tonight while watching the Olympics. I have been using right and left slanted increases and decreases to help make the shaping more defined. [One of the things that I have learned while doing the Master Knitter Level I swatches with different increases.]

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Master Knitter Level I – Swatches #1, #2, & #3

Written by: Lindy

February 11, 2010

I have completed the first three swatches for the TKGA Master Knitter Level I program. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I discovered an issue with tension that I did not realize I had. And over the last few weeks, I have done quite a bit of reading about tension and an equal amount of knitting, reknitting, and being much more aware of HOW I knit. This is one of the purposes of the Master Knitter program — it makes you think about your craft and helps you identify the bad habits you have developed over time.

I have decided to use this blog as I way for me to document the lessons learned as I proceed through the Master Knitter Level I program. Hopefully, others will find my notes and comments helpful and will also learn from them. So, here is the first of my “lessons learned”:

Swatch #1 — 2 X 2 Ribbing & Garter Stitch
Garter stitch (knit all rows) was fairly easy for me — the key is to maintain an even tension throughout knitting the rows.

Tension can be a real issue with 2 X 2 Ribbing, because most knitters tend to purl more loosely than they knit. [I do]. The result of this tendency is that your ribs are formed of uneven stitches and appear “wonky”. My first attempt at this swatch was definitely “wonky”. After much researching, knitting and reknitting, I determined that I was really out of practice purling because I had been knitting projects mostly “in the round” and this was part of my problem. So, I spent some time just purling and working on my tension — trying to get it more consistent. I eventually managed to obtain a fairly even tension with my ribs. From my reading, I think that the unevenness on the edges is normal and should be satisfactory.

Swatch # 2: 1 X 1 Ribbing and Stockinette Stitch
Swatch #2Tension was also an issue for me with the 1 X 1 Ribbing. With this ribbing, I found that my looser purl stitches really impacted the shape of the ribs. Again, I found that I really needed to practice purling and focus on keeping my tension even when doing the ribbing.

For the Stockinette Stitch, I was able to obtain the even fabric required — but only after I had worked on my purling. The evenness isn’t as noticeable on the right side — you need to look at the wrong side of the fabric and make certain that there isn’t a distinct difference in your rows between the knit rows and the purl rows. Along the way, I discovered that I knit fairly loosely and I had to go down one needle size to achieve a decent fabric.

If you are trying to correct uneven tension when ribbing, here are a couple of ways to do so:
1) Just try knitting with an even tension; 2) Give your yarn and extra tug when moving it to the front of the needle and before purling; 3) Try wrapping your yarn under your needle when purling — note, this makes the stitches sit on the needle with the back loop leaning forward — to avoid twisting the stitch you must knit through the back loop rather than the front when knitting; 4) Try purling using the Norwegian Purl method [link to video here].

Swatch # 3: Seed Stitch
Swatch #3
Swatch # 3 was a sample of Seed Stitch — which is K1, P1 across the row over an even number of stitches. The goal here is to produce a nice even fabric with no visible holes between the knit and purl stitches. This is another tension challenge. It took me three swatches to produce the swatch shown. I finally came to the conclusion that I was over-doing the tension, basically trying too hard — and once I relaxed a bit on this, I got a better result.

In summary, here’s what worked for me: 1) After practicing, I needed to relax a bit — I got to the point that I was pulling my purl stitches so tightly that I made my knitting even less consistent. 2) Remembering to do that little extra tug when putting the yarn in front to purl. 3) For the edges — giving the yarn an extra tug when knitting off the last stitch on the row, followed by giving an extra tug after knitting the first two stitches on the next row. Read more…

Hats for New Grandson

Written by: Lindy

February 8, 2010

My new baby grandson has a small head. This is a family trait, as both his father and paternal grandfather have small heads and this is always an issue when they are picking out new ball caps….

So, I have been making the little guy some smaller hats. I started out by checking on what the “newborn” head measurement is — which my references state is “14 – 15 inches”. I cast on the appropriate number of stitches for the gauge of the worsted weight baby yarn I was using — three rows in and I thought: “Too Big.”

After some experimenting, I got what looked like the right circumference and knit up a beanie type hat — one inch of 2 X 2 ribbing and then straight stockinette until the hat measured 3 1/2 inches. I used the standard K2tog decreasing to form the top of the hat. I guessed correctly, because the hat fit perfectly. The circumference of this first hat was 11.5 inches.

The new parents were impressed and asked me if I could knit up a few more in different colors so that they could use them to coordinate the baby’s outfits. Now, being a new grandma, I said, “Of course!” —

So — I knit 3 more hats — each one only took about 90 minutes to knit up and I varied them a little just so I wouldn’t get too bored with them. The bright green one and the baby blue one were knit using Berat Cottontots yarn and the aqua one was knit using double-stranded Baby Ull (Dale of Norway) washable wool.

BTW — I didn’t get a picture of the first hat — also knit with Bernat Cottentots yarn — but it was baby blue with a bright green stripe.

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FO: Socks for DS

Written by: Lindy

February 2, 2010

I finished the socks I started for my DS just before Christmas. These were a late started Christmas present — and I wrapped them up still on the needles to give them to him for Christmas. Then, he had to give them back to me to finish. [Sometimes, a knitter has to do what a knitter has to do… 🙂 ].

These socks were knit using Knit Picks Stroll yarn in the “Carbon Twist” colorway. I like the result. After washing, this yarn is soft and has a tweedy appearance. Best of all, when I gave them to DS — he put them on his feet and wore them! They fit well. He wanted socks that would wear longer — i.e. “not wear out at the heels or toes”. So, I knit the heels and the toes with size US 0 (2.00 mm) needles to make them denser. We’ll see how well they wear — this is the way the Socks for Soldiers socks are knitted, so I am hoping for a good result.

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