Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 New Year's Eve KAL - Knitting Help Forum

This year, I will be hosting our 5th Annual New Year's Eve Party on the Knitting Help Forum.

Every year, we knit a little project together, so we can keep it forever, to remember our party. :)

For our 2012 KAL, I've designed a little folding pocket to hold our knitting tools.  It has TWO pockets, folded together, with plenty of room for a small pair of scissors, a tape measure, some stitch markers, point protectors, a yarn needle, etc.  When folded, it is about the size of a deck of cards.

As usual, I am trying to keep the project simple, so knitters of all levels can participate.  Feel free to jazz up the design with your own ideas.

KH 2012 Knitting Tool Pocket - Complete

KH 2012 Knitting Tool Pocket

KH 2012 Knitting Tool Pocket - Back

Finished - Ready to Use

It is knitted all in one piece, then folded, and seamed on the sides with whipstitch.

Here is how it will look when you finish all the knitting:
Knitting Complete

And here is how you get started:

2012 New Year KAL Project - KH Forum
Folded Pocket for Knitting Tools

4 small skeins of worsted weight yarn in contrasting colors (2 dark, 2 light)
The model was made with KH logo colors - Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Size 7 or 8 knitting needles
Yarn needle for duplicate stitch embroidery
2 locking stitch markers

Gauge is not necessary for this project.

Skills learned:
Garter Stitch, Stockinette Stitch, Changing Colors, Simple Seaming (whipstitch), and Duplicate Stitch Embroidery

Color Key:
A - Yellow
B - Red
C - Purple
D - White

Using Color A, Cast on 14 stitches.
Knit 3 rows (Garter Stitch)
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit
(Rows 4 and 5 repeated make Stockinette Stitch)
Continue in Stockinette Stitch (repeating Rows 4 & 5), until you have a square in Color A.
As you knit in Stockinette Stitch, you will be knitting all stitches on the "right side" of the fabric, and purling all stitches on the "wrong side" of the fabric.

Right Side (Knit):

Stockinette - Right Side (Knit)

Wrong Side (Purl):

Stockinette - Wrong Side (Purl)

If you need an easy way to check if your work is square, just fold the bottom edge up at an angle, and make a triangle.  If the bottom edge is too long, you need to knit more rows.

Not Square Yet:

Folding work to check for square

It's Square!

Checking work for square - finished

When the piece is a good square shape, make sure you worked the last row on the "wrong side" (all purl stitches).

Now, you are ready for your first color change.

First, cut the yarn you were using, leaving a 6 inch tail of yarn on the project.  Now, get Color B, and tie it loosely to the tail from Color A.  (you can untie the knot when you finish the project)

Tying on new color after a Purl row

Now, start knitting with Color B.  (Your first row will be all KNIT stitches, because you ended Color A with all PURL stitches.)

Here is how your first row will look after knitting with Color B:
First row of new color (Knit)

Now, knit 3 more rows in Garter Stitch. This will create 2 ridges in your fabric.
Next, starting with a Purl row, knit in Stockinette Stitch until this next section is a couple rows longer than the first square. 

Just fold your work along the garter stitch rows to compare the two sections:
Comparing length of first two sections

It should look like this when you finish the Color B section:

Red section is finished.

2 sections complete

You should end that section with a PURL row, then cut the yarn leaving a 6 inch tail.

Now, you are ready to tie on Color C.

With Color C, Knit 6 rows Garter Stitch.  This will create 3 ridges in your fabric.
Middle Fold Complete

Now, beginning with a Purl row, work in Stockinette Stitch until this section is the same length as the Color B section.

End this section with 4 rows of Garter Stitch, creating 2 ridges in the fabric.  You should end your last row of knit stitches on the WRONG SIDE of the work.

Now, cut Color C, and tie on Color D.
Beginning with a Knit row on the RIGHT SIDE, knit in Stockinette Stitch until the last section is square - matching the first section that was knit in Color A.  End with 4 rows of Garter Stitch, creating two ridges on your fabric. 

You can check to make sure all the sections were knit correctly, by folding your project in half like this:
Folded in Half

Bind Off loosely.

Now, your knitting is complete, and should look like this:
Knitting Complete

At this point, you can fold the project, to make sure it will work correctly. 

Pockets Folded In:
Sides Folded In

Folded Completely:
Folded Completely

As you can see, the pockets will be folded to the inside, and seamed on the sides.  But, before seaming, you will want to do your duplicate stitch embroidery.

First, you need to decide where you want your embroidery to be placed.  You might want to finish up the project without ANY embroidery.  You might decide to embroider the design on the inside pockets of the item.  I decided that I want the embroidery on the outside of my project. 

Now, you need to place two stitch markers, marking where you want the TOP of your embroidery to be placed:
Markers Placed

Now, embroider the designs on your project. 
I'm not going to do an explanation of duplicate stitch embroidery, because Bella Knitting has already done a great job of that HERE.

So, here are my wonky charts.  I know....I should have asked my computer guru son to make them, but he's too busy being a programmer. :P

If you want to embroider different letters or numbers, you can use my free charts here:

The "KH" chart:
KH Chart

The "2012" chart:
2012 Chart

Here is how my embroidery looks on the red section:
KH Embroidery Done

And this shows my Purple Section in progress:
Embroidery Stitch Up Close

And here is my completed embroidery!  My "2012" section is a little off center, but I can live with it.
Embroidery Complete

After completing your embroidery, you can weave in all the loose ends of your project. 

Now, you are ready to seam together the sides of the pockets.  I just did a simple whipstitch seam, which gives my project a "rustic" look, which I like.  Some of you may prefer to seam yours a different way.

To do a whipstitch seam, just run your needle through both thicknesses of yarn, and gently pull your needle and yarn through the stitch.  Keep your stitches close to the edge, looking closely at your fabric, to keep the stitches even.  Just look at the edge of the fabric, and you'll start to see identifying marks in the yarn to help you place your stitches.
Seaming Sides with Whipstitch

Here is how one side of a pocket looked, after I whipstitch seamed it:
One Side Seamed

When you finish seaming both sides of each pocket, your project will look like this:
Seaming Complete

Now, you can weave in those ends, and you'll be finished!

Here is how the inside of your project will look:
Seaming Complete Inside View

Now, it's ready to use!  I hope you like your little folding pocket.  Just place some knitting tools inside the two pockets, and you'll have them ready to take with you.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Footississimo - Very Very Thick House Slippers

Okay, say you find the thickest yarn you've ever seen in your life.  For example - Red Heart Boutique Doodle.

Red Heart Boutique Doodle

Now, take it home, and try to knit or crochet with it, using the absolute biggest needles and hooks you can find.  It's a LOT of work to make stitches out of this yarn - but it is possible, if you are patient.  The yarn is actually made for non-needle crafters, who can just knot or braid the yarn by hand to make scarves.

I decided to give this yarn a try this week, buying 3 skeins at AC Moore (on clearance 50% off).  The yarn is very soft, and surprisingly lightweight.  After experimenting with a size S crochet hook (Lion Speed Hook), then with size 35 knitting needles, I decided I preferred the look of the knitted fabric.  The crochet fabric was just too thick.

So, after playing with the yarn for a while, I held it in my hands, and imagined what I could make with it.  Too bulky for a hat, and I didn't want to make a scarf.  I considered making a baby blanket with it, but didn't think I had enough yarn for that.  There are only 12 yards in each skein.

After some consideration, I realized it reminded me of house slippers!  I figured that I could make a thick, fluffy slipper pretty quick with this yarn.  So, I went to work.  After just 30 minutes, my first slipper was finished!

I then wrote out the pattern, and made the second slipper.  Just as quick as the first.  

These slippers are SO comfy, and toasty warm! They are very thick, so I named them "Footississimo".  My geeky musician way of calling them Very Very Big Feet!  :)
Footississimo Complete

Quick and simple - YES, but don't get me wrong.....the yarn is NOT easy to work with.  It's a real workout, pushing the huge size 35 needle into each stitch, then wrapping the yarn (WHAP!) around for each stitch.  When pulling the yarn through the hole, you have to really work to make it happen.  So, I guess you could call it a "knitting workout".

I also used my size S crochet hook, to make an edging around the opening for the foot.  When I finished the slipper, I wove in the loose ends with my fingers.  There was no WAY I would find a yarn needle big enough to sew in the ends. Ha!

Here's the pattern:

Very Very Thick House Slippers

Size - Women's Shoe Size 8 or 9
(knit more or less rows before Row 7, to make it longer or shorter)

2 skeins Red Heart Boutique Doodle
Size 35 knitting needles
Size S crochet hook

Directions (Make 2)
Using knitting needles, cast on 7 stitches.  Be sure you pull each stitch snug against the knitting needle (not too tight, though!).  Leave at least an 8 inch tail of yarn, because you will use that end for seaming up the back of the slipper.

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl
Row 5: Knit
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Slip first stitch knit-wise, knit next stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch (SKPSSO), Knit the next 3 stitches, Slip the next 2 stitches knit-wise, then stick the left needle through both stitches left to right, and knit the two stitches together through the back loop (SSK).
Row 8: Purl
Row 9: Knit
Row 10: Purl
Row 11: Knit 1 stitch, SKPSSO, Knit 2 stitches
Row 12: Purl
Leaving a long end (about 2 feet), cut the yarn, and run it through the 4 stitches on the needle.

Now, your knitting should look like this:

Footississimo Ready to Seam

Before seaming, decide which side you want on the outside of the slipper.  (Stockinette or Reverse Stockinette).  I made mine with the stockinette side showing.  To make the slipper, just fold the knitted piece lengthwise, and seam down the back of the heel, using your fingers to pull the yarn through openings on both sides - doing a whipstitch seam on the outside of the project.  Next, seam up the top of the foot, starting at the toe, leaving an opening big enough for your foot to slip in.

Crochet the Cuff
Next, tie the rest of your yarn onto the end that was left after seaming the top of the slipper.  Then, use your crochet hook to do a single crochet border around the opening for the foot.  This will make the slipper fit comfortably around your ankle, and keep your foot nice and warm. 

Weave in any loose ends, using your fingers to pull the yarn through openings in the project.

Wasn't that easy?

Now, put on your slippers, and have fun sliding across the floors in your house! :)

Footississimo Posed

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Living the French Scarf Fantasy

I am so in love with the French Scarf knitting pattern. 
So far, I have knit 3 of them, and I have plans (and yarn) to make many more.

It only takes about a week to knit one, and the finished product is GORGEOUS!
French Scarf Complete

That scarf was made for display at Yarnhouse in the NoDa district of Charlotte, NC.  I used Louisa Harding "La Salute", and Universal Yarn "Curly Mohair" to make that one.  When I finished, it was SO HARD to let it go.  I immediately made plans to make one for myself.

If you follow my blog, you've seen the other two I've made, but I'll show them here again for newcomers.

Wearing the French Scarf

That one was knit with ONline Linie "43 Punta", Plassard "Flore", and an unnamed Ormo yarn.  Orange is one of my favorite colors, and I really love wearing this beautiful scarf.  I get so many compliments!

Midnight Dream Complete

My third French Scarf was knit with Lion Brand "Moonlight Mohair" and Moda Dea "Dream".  I gave that one to my sister, when I visited her in California.  I have enough yarn left to make another for myself. ;)

It's been about 6 months since I made that last one, and now my fingers are itching to create another one.  I think that half the fun of the project is selecting yarns to make it!  Since I have such a HUGE stash of yarn in my craft room, I have LOTS of options for my next French Scarf.  In fact, I have so many options, that I'm not sure which one to choose.

I need to use light, frothy yarns for the scarf, so it doesn't get weighted down.  One should be a standard fluffy mohair type, and the other can be a fluffier curly mohair type.

When I first started planning my project, I sat in my craft room rocking chair, and perused my stash photos on Ravelry with my little Samsung Galaxy Tab.  (It sure is easier than looking through all my bins of yarn!)  I am SO GLAD that I have posted every single skein of yarn I have.  It just makes project planning so easy. :)

After awhile, I was getting confused, trying to remember all the yarn options I had.  So, I hefted my weight out of that rocking chair, put down my Tab, and went to my main computer in the living room.  The big screen on that computer, in addition to the old fashioned keyboard, just makes it easier to browse.  Plus, I can open several windows at once with my PC.

With a cup of hot tea at my right hand, and a small plate of cookies at my left, I got to work.  I opened up my Paint program, and then pulled up my Ravelry account.  I started out by sorting my stash by fiber, but then realized that I couldn't really see all my fluffy yarn options this way.  So, I just sorted it alphabetically, and scrolled down a screen at a time.  Whenever I saw a yarn that would work well for a French Scarf, I clicked my "prt scr" (print screen) button - then went to my Paint program to paste the image there.  In Paint, I would select the photos of the yarns I liked, and moved each image to the top of the screen.  Eventually, I had a very large document, with LOTS of yarn photos.

Next, I divided that Paint document up into several documents, sorted by color.  Then, I uploaded those photos to my Flickr account.  That way, I would have my documents online, so I could view them with my Tab anywhere I went. :)

So, after all those hours of work, here are my yarn choices for a French Scarf:

White Options
French Scarf - Whites

French Scarf Black

French Scarf Brown

Red and Orange
French Scarf Orange Red

Yellow and Beige
French Scarf Yellow Beige

Green and Grey
French Scarf Green Grey

French Scarf Teal

French Scarf Blue

Purple and Pink
French Scarf Purplish Pink

Like I said, LOTS of choices.

I wonder if I will ever actually start another French Scarf?  HA!!
I just have too many options to choose from.

Which combinations do YOU think would work well for a French Scarf?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blanket for Domestic Violence Center

In the midst of my craft room remodel, I got a request from the Union County Treehouse Children's Advocacy Center.   They need blankets and toys for the children and teen exam room.

When a child or teen in Union County, NC experiences abuse, they go to the Treehouse Center for support, counseling, and legal advice.  As part of the process, they receive a medical exam.  Unfortunately, some of the children have never even been to the doctor before, so that makes the experience more unsettling than normal.

So, they are given a handmade blanket and toy to keep.  They can hold onto the blanket during the exam, which helps alleviate some of their anxiety.  Here is a photo of how their supply looked when I gave them some handknit blankets and toys in the past:

Treehouse Exam Room

Right now, the center is low on blankets and toys, so they asked if I could help get some for them.  I want those shelves filled up again, like they were before!

This week, I cast on a blanket, using Lion Boucle yarn.  I have a HUGE bag of that yarn - most of it was given to me for my charity knitting.  So, now is the perfect time to put it to use.  These blankets should go FAST!
Treehouse Blanket
I'm using size 13 needles, and cast on about 70 stitches.  Just knitting every row.  I think the children will appreciate the bright, happy colors.

If you would like to help make blankets for the center, just let me know.  I'm willing to accept squares, and seam them together to make blankets.  I can also accept yarn donations for the blankets.

Craft Room Remodel #2

Things never seem to go as planned, do they?

I ended up catching a cold, and was stuck in bed for the last few days.  All that bedrest was needed anyway, because I had worked so hard getting everything out of the craft room, and installing new flooring.

So, after my cold finally went away, I got back to work.   This morning, I sawed and sanded all the toe molding I'll need for the room.  It will make the flooring look even better.

Ready to Learn Mitre Cutting

If anyone had been here to see me, they would have gotten a good laugh.  My craft room is at one end of the house, and my driveway is at the other end.  I had placed a table outside on the driveway, for me to do all the sawing and sanding of the toe molding.   All of my stuff is in the rest of the house - including a huge stack of boxes in the hallway, leaving just a tiny walking area.

Hallway Filled to the Ceiling

So, I was constantly walking sideways through that tiny bit of hallway, carrying a long stick of toe molding over my head the entire way.  I think this morning counts as an EXCELLENT workout session, don't you?

The good news is that all my sawing and sanding is DONE.  Tomorrow, I plan on drilling pilot holes for the nails, then sanding the sharp edges on the pilot holes, then painting everything white.  After it dries, I'll be doing the crazy walk down the hallway again, with the toe molding carried over my head.  (It kinda makes me look like I'm ready to throw a javelin. Ha!)

Hopefully, I'll be hammering in my toe molding tomorrow night.  Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Remodeling My Craft Room

Finally, I am re-doing my craft room!  I've been needing to do it for quite some time. 

First things first:  Get everything out of the room.
  This took a LONG time.  About a week. 

  Some of the stuff went to the living room.

Living Room Getting Crowded

All that stuff was not craft related anyway, so it's gonna stay OUT of the craft room from now on.  (Well....except for the sewing machine.)

More of the stuff went to the hallway.  Now there is a tiny pathway there, where I have to sneak through sideways.  And the rest of the stuff went to the big bedroom across the hall from the craft room.

Now, I can REALLY see how much craft stuff I've accumulated!  Yikes!

After several days of moving stuff out, I still had a pile of yarn bags in there:

Craft Room Almost Empty

And on the other side of the room, I had bookcases, filled with craft magazines and books:

Craft Room Still Has Lots to Come Out

I let myself take a break occasionally, as I was emptying the room.  I would work for about an hour, then take a nap, or have a snack, or play a computer game.

After I finished taking those photos, I took a little break, then went back in there to get all the yarn bags off the floor.  I decided that I needed to replace the flooring, because it's just in such bad shape.

Another View of Damaged Flooring

I installed those tiles over 4 years ago, and they were the thin, cheap version at Lowe's. 

After some consideration, I chose some new tiles at Home Depot.  They are thicker, and look much nicer than the ones I installed last time.

But before I could install the tiles, I needed to repair the holes and tears in my existing floor.  So, I went to Ollie's discount store, and bought some cheap tiles to use for the repairs.  I used a hair dryer and my hands, to pull up the bad tiles, and replaced them with mismatched tiles.  No need to worry about how it looked, because I would soon be covering the whole floor with new tiles.

It only took about an hour to replace all those bad tiles.  Sure looks funny with those mismatched tiles, doesn't it?  And now, I had a smooth floor, to use as a base for my NEW tiles!
Damaged Tiles Replaced

Today, I finally installed the new tiles over half the floor in the craft room.  I love how it looks!

Tile Done in Half of Room

Tonight, while everyone else in the world is celebrating Halloween, I'll be installing the rest of the tiles.  Then, tomorrow, I'll be sawing, sanding, and painting toe molding to go around the edges of the floor.  Hopefully, I'll be setting up my new craft room in just a few days!

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I'm a forum moderator and blogger for Spinrite Yarns (, and I spend WAY too much time there. :D You can also find me on the Knitting Help Forum occasionally