Thursday, August 30, 2018

Mesh Shopping or Beach Bag

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I made this bag several years ago and kind of forgot it was in my stash until a group of gals brought it to my attention again by starting a KAL for shopping bags.  My inspiration came from a bag done by Linda (Lanz) Tsekoura of 'dancingbarefoot' fame on Ravelry.  My bag looks a lot like hers but knitting is a bit different than hers.  She uses a ribber with her standard gauge machine and mine is developed to be knit on a KX350 midgauge machine with no ribber.  I thank Linda for her pattern at https://dancingbarefoot.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/susitna.pdf

Here's how I did it:  (Please forgive the appearance of this post; sometimes blogspot doesn't like my formatting).

Machine:  Brother KX350, Midgauge
Yarn:  Cotton carpet warp,  8/4, 2 strands throughout

            8.5 oz ea cone,  5 oz total

Gauge:   Unimportant

Tension:  Variable

Size:     16”H x 14W” unstretched, without strap

NOTE:  Double stranded cotton will be pushing the limits of your machine, so work your carriage slowly but deliberately.  Use both hands and it may help to put a bit of downward pressure with back hand when moving the carriage.  Use yarn spray if needed.   

BOTTOM

1)  Leaving a long tail for sewing the side seam.  Scrap, ravel cord  and loosely e-wrap CO 65 sts.  Pull the e-wrapped stitch thru the ravel cord when casting on.  This will make it easier to knit the first row.  Pull needles out to hold position.

2)  RC000, T8.  K1R to the left.   (May need to manually knit the first row.) 
3)  Carriage on Hold, shortrow decrease by putting the 1st needle  next to the carriage in hold til 5 needles are in hold on each side.

4)  Increase back out by putting the needle opposite the carriage into working position and knitting across each row til all needles are in work again.

5)  Backstitch bind off and leave work on machine.                                                                                                    

SIDE

1)  RC000, T4, K40R.  (More or less rows as desired for length.

2)   Beginning with the 2nd needle, remove every other stitch from the needles.

NOTE:  A stitch must be on the end needles.

3)   Move empty needles to working position and even out needle butts. 

TOP BAND

1)   RC000, T8, K10R total on all needles, reducing tension by one click every 2 rows.

2)   T9, K1R.

3)   T6, K9R, increasing tension by one click every 2 rows.  End with COL. 

4)   Remove weights from the front and reposition them on the back side of knitting on the upper portion of the band.

5)   Move needles out to UWP (position D).

6)   Pick up and hang the top of the knit stitches from the beginning of the band row.  Hang the new stitches on every other needle, making sure that the end needles are hung with the new stitch.

7)   Pull the front hung stitch thru the back stitch on the needle.

8)   Loosely, back stitch bind off.

9)   Remove from machine.  Lay work flat and pull on the BO stitches to flatten and shape the stitch.

10)  Unravel the dropped side stitches down  to the beginning row at the bottom.  This will create the  meshwork.

11)  To make the 2nd side, with wrong side facing, rehang 65 sts from the other side of the bottom. 

NOTE:  Must be an odd number of stitches.  Repeat the steps from the first side for the 2nd side and top band.

12)  Loosely mattress stitch the side seams, stretching to keep the same gauge as the meshwork. 

STRAP


With wrong side facing, pickup 2 bars between stitches and hang 16 sts on the side seams of the top band.  (8 sts on each side of seam).   E-wrap and manually knit the first row as you e-wrap. 

Option 1:

1)   RC000, T7, K90R (for shoulder length), or for length desired. 

Option 2:

1)  RC000, T7, K1R across,

2)  With the 2 prong transfer tool, *move  sts 2 and 3 to needles 1 and 2 on each side.  K2R. *

3)  Repeat from * to * for desired length. 

Option 3:

1)  RC000, T8, K1R across,

2)  **Pull needles out to hold position and with an extra strand of yarn, weave over and under every   other needle.  K2R**

3)   Repeat from ** to ** for desired length. 

FINISHING the STRAP

Back stitch bind off and sew to other side of top back evenly spaced over the seam line.         

MORE STRAP IDEAS:
1)   Make the straps, then sew in both ends in place after bag is completed.
2)   When hanging the first end, to make the 2nd end match, knit only half the length and scrap off.  Then hang the bag and knit the 2nd half the same as the first.  Scrap off and graft the 2 ends together at the middle top.
3)   You may also make 2 straps instead of one by evenly placing them on each side of the top band for desired length. 
4)   For drawstring straps, do not sew the top bands together and run a  4 or 5 stitch I-cord thru each side. 
HANGING THE TOP BAND 
Release EOS and knit top band






Pick up the top loop of the first row of knit stitches






Hang the stitches on every other needle, with a hung stitch on each end.






Pull the hung st thru the st on the needle bed to have one st on each needle.  







Back stitch bind off. 
FINISHING:
Weave in ends.
You may add a closure to the top band by making an I-cord loop on one side and an I-cord knot button on the other side.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Felted Slippers, Fairisle

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(Click on photos to enlarge)



I’ve been busy the last few weeks, among other things that is, developing and doing trial runs on a felted fairisle slipper pattern.  I think I have size and proportions down pat now so I’m ready to share.  I’ve had this worsted yarn on hand for several years so I thought it was time to put it to good use.  It’s a bit thinner than most worsted yarns and I wanted a hefty slipper so I chose an alternating 1x1 fairisle pattern to double the fabric weight and it worked wonderfully.

These are probably one of the easiest slippers I’ve ever made.  They can be worn as is or attached to a sole of choice, embellished by adding a faux strap across the instep, some needle felting, bows, buttons, etc.   
My schematic is very easy to read and explains how to knit from the heel toward the toe.  Please ask if I can elaborate on the instructions. 
 
I made the pattern to fit my foot but would be very easy to alter any of the measurements to fit any sized foot, just increase or decrease stitches and rows as needed. Felting is not an exact science, too many variables, so I would suggest making a swatch and felting it first to determine gauge. 
I felted them in the dryer. They took a couple extra 5 minute cycles most likely because of the thickness. And I did find that felting went better with a couple old bath towels in the dryer with them. Love dryer felting!  See my previous post. 
After felting and drying, I inconspicuously weave a strand of woolly nylon thru the toe area, especially over the big toe, which keeps the toe from wearing out too quickly. 
The fairisle patterning left quite long loops of yarn on the edges which left a sloppy seam over the instep and it was quite noticeable after felting. So after I got done seaming and before felting, I used one strand of yarn and loosely went back over the seam and whipped through those long loops. The seam looks fine after I did that. 
Hope you like them as much as I do.







Friday, February 2, 2018

The Art of Dryer Felting

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A couple years ago I got a new washing machine which put a sudden halt to my felting days. It’s a top loader but doesn’t do fabric any favors in the felting department. I know a lot of the front loading washing machines aren’t designed to be opened during a cycle so felting with them is a nonstarter too. I think my new machine agitates too strongly with less water so it pulls the yarn apart widthwise before it can pull together. I’m no engineer so I have no idea really, just speculating on that but it doesn’t felt no matter what the technical issue is. So I basically had given up any thoughts of felting anymore knit projects….until ‘Ozlorna’ of Ravelry fame mentioned in a group conversation thread that she felted in her dryer.  I asked more questions, tried a couple swatches and am now a believer.  After the swatches, I proceeded to a hat pattern that I’ve been wanting to try and now I have 3 hats!  I’m onto my felted clog/slippers next.  ‘Ozlorna’ has had many successes with the dryer method to include slippers, hats, bags, etc.



Here’s the ‘how to’:

Give your finished project a quick wash and rinse by hand.  Squeeze out excess water and put in the dryer on high for 5 minutes.  Remove and rinse with cold water.  Put back in the hot dryer for 5 minutes, then rinse in cold water again.  Continue with the cold rinses in between the 5 minutes in the hot dryer until it felts to the size you want.  Watch it carefully.  It will go fast towards the end so I checked it every 2 minutes or so then.  Depending on the item you’re felting, the yarn and how far it needs to felt, it may only take 2 or 3 times in the dryer.  Honestly!   One of my hats took 3 five minute cycles and the other took 3 cycles plus a couple extra 2 minute cycles.  Then block and air dry as usual.  Note that you don’t put any other clothes in the dryer with it, just put it in by itself.  Of course, you can add more items to the dryer but it's not necessary.  Just don't overload the dryer.


If you’re lucky enough to have a washing machine that felts predictably and you’re happy with it, by all means continue to use your machine.  But this is a fine alternative if you don’t have a machine that will dependably felt.  Other than not felting because you don’t have a machine that cooperates, I can see a couple other plusses to dryer felting.  There’s far less time involved and much less water used.  

Happy felting!!

P.S.  This wonderful hat pattern is available for purchase in Marg Jones' Ravelry Store.  The title of the pattern is Felted Hat on Bulky Machine.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Chemo Turban, Revisited

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Click on photos to enlarge
A knitting friend, Bonnie, has knit several chemo turbans for those in need, bless her heart.  As we’re in the middle of a long, cold upper Midwest winter, she used a heavier yarn than I have specified in my earlier posted pattern and has graciously given me her consent to share her patterns.  Here are a couple of her concepts using the same yarn but with different gauges.  Both are great but she said she prefers the feel of the one knit in a tighter gauge.  Either are very acceptable because we fortunate ones with hair can’t predict what will feel good on the skin of those without.  From my previous experiences, my sister’s head was very tender and she preferred the smooth, soft yarns like Simply Soft or Berroco Comfort.  Then another friend’s head wasn’t tender and she preferred the fuzzier type yarns.  So use up that yarn, someone will make good use of them. 
A big thank you goes to Bonnie for her patterns. 

TURBAN  #1

Machine:  LK150 midgauge
Yarn:  Deborah Norville Everyday,  aran weight, 1 – 3.5 oz skein, 180 yds
Tension:  T7 and as noted
Size:  Woman’s medium 

1.  Cast on 78 stitches with several rows of waste yarn and ravel cord.
2.  E-wrap from L to R.
3.  RC000, T6, knit 6 rows.
4.  *  Remove fabric with a garter bar or several rows of waste yarn, turn work and rehang on
      the same needles.
5.   Knit 6 rows. *
6.   T7, repeat from * to * to RC054 with 9 total repeats.
7.   T6, knit 4 rows.
8.   T5, knit 4 rows.
9    T4, knit 4 rows, COL.
10.  Decrease for crown by transferring every other stitch to adjacent needle.
11.  T3, knit 1 row to right.
12. Gather live stitches and secure.
13.  Sew side seam. 
Band:
1.   With right side facing, pick up 5 stitches in top center of the hat.
2.   T4, knit about 32 rows, hang on other side of hat and bind off. 
An I-cord or 1x1 ribbing for the band is also an option.
Embellish as desired.

TURBAN #2

Machine:  LK150 midgauge
Yarn:  Deborah Norville Everyday,  aran weight, 1 – 3.5 oz skein, 180 yds
Tension:  T6 and as noted
Size:  Woman’s medium 

1.  Cast on 90 stitches with several rows of waste yarn and ravel cord.
2.  E-wrap from L to R.
3.  RC000, T5, * knit 6 rows.
4.  Remove fabric with a garter bar or several rows of waste yarn, turn work and rehang on the
      same needles. *
5.   T6, repeat from * to * to RC054 with 9 total repeats.
6.   T5, knit 10 rows.
7.   T4, knit 6 rows, COL.
8.   Decrease for crown by transferring every other stitch to adjacent needle.
9.   T3, knit 1 row to right.
10. Gather live stitches and secure.
11. Sew side seam. 
Band:
1.   With right side facing, pick up 6 stitches in top center of the hat.
2.   T3, knit an I-cord for about 80 rows, hang on other side of hat and bind off. 
A rolled stockinette stitch or 1x1 ribbing for the band is also an option.
Embellish as desired.




Monday, October 2, 2017

Self Striping Sock Blank

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So, just as I was finishing the blanks in my previous post, ‘Laylor ‘ in the Sock Blank Artists group on Ravelry posted a self-striping blank that she had done and I just knew I had to try to mimic her results.  I like stripes and she produced such nice stripes with her blank.  However, there is a bit of pre-planning involved if you want somewhat precise striping.  If not, just wing it with a 150 stitch width blank knit with double stranded yarn.  Then when dyeing, shade the colors from dark to light or light to dark.  A 150 stitch blank gave me sets of 4 stripes in each color set.  
Any midgauge knitting machines that I know don’t have 150 needles to accommodate knitting a blank this wide.  But I just happen to have an extra KX350 plastic midgauge machine that I ‘robbed’ 2 needle sections and inserted them into my machine.  With a machine and ribber, a blank with this many stitches can be knit in ‘U’ shape, half of the stitches on the main bed and half on the ribber.  The beginning row of ‘U’ knitting will be a zig-zag row as used in circular
knitting which will have to be clipped and removed
before dyeing to let the blank lay flat.
To achieve precise stripes, first off I need to know how much yarn it takes to knit one round in my socks to fit comfortably around my foot. So I knit a few rows in a sock that fits with the yarn I’ll be using. I unravel one row and mark the ends of one row with a washable marker or pencil. Then on my midgauge machine at T7,  I knit a couple rows with double strands of yarn in stockinette and counted how many needles it takes to go from marker to marker on the sock yarn. This will tell how many stitches needed in the blank to make 1 round in the sock.  I’ve made enough blanks and socks to know that it takes approximately 32” of yarn to make one round in my socks, about 40 sts in my blank depending on the yarn and gauge.  With the yarn I’m using now, 37 sts was the magic number.  If you want to be this precise with a different yarn, I’ll have to measure and calculate again.
So with the magic number for one round in my socks, I can now determine how wide my blank needs to be.  For 3 rounds of each color set in my sock, my blank would have to be 112 sts (3 x 37) wide, 148 sts (4 x 37) for 4 rounds of each color, 186 sts (5 x 37) for 5
rounds of each color.  (Round up to an even number).  

Again, using my KX350 midgauge machine at T7, I start my blanks with 6 rows of acrylic or cotton waste yarn, then change to double stranded sock yarn and knit even til the yarn runs out.  Then I knit another 6 rows of waste yarn.  I drop a stitch at the halfway mark and at each color change to keep the dyes from bleeding into each other.  Then I cut a long tail of yarn and run it thru the live stitches on the needles, skipping over the dropped stitches.  Secure the end of the yarn tail.  Run the dropped stitches down to the beginning and remove the blank from the machine….ready for the dye process.


I've detailed my dyeing techniques in a earlier post  on 30 Sep 16, entitled 'Dyeing a Sock Blank'.  You can find it quickly by clicking on the 'sock blank' label.  Keep in mind that my way is not the only way, just the way it works best for me.

So now I have all these blanks knit up and dyed, I'd better get to knitting socks before the snowflakes fly.  

Attempts at Variegated Sock Blanks

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I’ve neglected my blog for far too long but this has been a busy year so far and I haven’t done much crafting.  Tending to garden produce is pretty much done now so I’m devoting some time to myself and some fun times.  Which brings me to….dyeing sock blanks.  I’ve been gathering some ideas and now trying to refine some techniques that’ll give me what I want.  
I like variegated yarns, but only if they don’t flash or pool.  So my first attempt was to randomly place ‘giraffe spots’ on a blank.  The resulting sock turned out interesting but not what I was striving for.  Most likely if I’d used more than just the two colors, I would’ve had different results.  Love the socks anyway.  I cast on 60 sts on my KX350 midgauge machine and knit at T7 throughout with double stranded yarn. 
I always begin and end my blanks with about 6 rows of waste yarn.  This eliminates the tighter cast on edge for better dye penetration and gives me a bit of yardage to ‘play with’ for arranging and hanging on to while painting on the dyes.  At the end of the blank, I also knit about 6 rows of waste yarn and run either a straight knitting needle or a blocking wire through it.  This lets me easily flip the blank over to apply dye to the backside.  
To give a solid color band at the top of the cuff, I knit about 6 rows of waste yarn, 6 rows (or as desired) in double stranded sock yarn, then 6 more rows of waste yarn, then finish the rest of the blank in sock yarn.  The 6 rows of waste yarn prevent the dyes from bleeding together and gives a nice crisp band edge. 


  
Ok, with that done, I moved on to a technique that I’ve used before and knew that It would not flash or pool.  But this time, I left a bit of white between the strips of color.  These blanks are 100 sts wide and again knit double stranded at T7 on my midgauge machine. I like them lots.

I've detailed my dyeing techniques in a earlier post  on 30 Sep 16, entitled 'Dyeing a Sock Blank'.  You can find it quickly by clicking on the 'sock blank' label.  Keep in mind that my way is not the only way, just the way it works best for me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Crocheted Sock Blank

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(Click on photos to enlarge)
As ya all might have guessed by now that I'm a machine knitter but I learned to crochet long before I learned to knit and I do enjoy a bit of crocheting now and then.  And I love dyeing too so put the two together and came up with a plan for dyeing sock blanks.  The blank didn't take long at all to crochet with double strands of yarn and I really like the results.  I did a bit of calculations for number of stitches per row on my blank to come up with the length needed for a full round of knitting in my socks but was worth that effort.  I got a lot of inspiration from the Sock Blank Artists group on Ravelry and finally took the step.  Here's what I did. 
Sz N Crochet Hook (I crochet tightly)
Crocheted blank
1 skein sock yarn, divided in halves
1.  With a worsted weight acrylic or cotton yarn,
      Ch 200 sts to make the foundation chain. 
2.   Change to 2 strands of sock yarn and work
     shells into loops of chain.
3.   Attach sock yarns and ch 3, work shell into
      next ch, Ch1, skip the next foundation
      chain and work shell into the next chain.
      Repeat til end of chain or end of pattern
Soaked and laid out ready to dye
      repeat.  Turn.
      SHELL:  YO 1x, pull up thru 2 loops,
      YO 1x, pull up thru 2 loops 3 times,
      Ch 1.
4.  Chain 3 to turn and repeat shell pattern across 
      row, inserting the shells into the front loops
      only of the previous shell. 
Determine number of shells:
Approx 2.5 shells (30”) makes 1 round in a 70 or 72 st circular sock.
So for 2 rounds of color in the sock, you’ll need 6 shells in the blank. 
Keep in mind that the end color sections will be doubled when knitting the sock.  
Color Scheme and number of shells
Intended Pattern
Dyeing:
ProChem One Shot Very Hot Pink & Deep Purple
               1 tsp per pint of water & 2 tsp vinegar
Dharma Carribean Blue
               ½ tsp per pint of water & 2 tsp vinegar
Very intense colors at this ratio, maybe use ½ tsp dye per pint, except for purple  which needs the intensity. 
Use a towel/rug as base and foam paint brushes to apply dyes.  Flip blank over onto clean towel and reapply dye to cover any white spots, wrap in plastic wrap, steam for 30 min.  Let cool naturally.
Wash & rinse til clear.

Steaming
Resulting sock in progress


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pop-Up Flowers

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(Click on photos to enlarge)
I seem to keep finding new and fun things to do.  This time it’s pop-up flowers.  While surfing  thru You Tube for something totally unrelated, I ran onto a video showing how to make pop-up flowers for greeting cards.  Oh my.  I’ve been making my own greeting cards for just ages and have always wanted to do pop-ups but never took the time to explore.  There are several videos on You Tube showing the technique, search for 'pop-up card'.  Most of the tutorials show how to do the flower design with markers or colored pencils but I don’t have enough colored markers on hand and don’t intend to buy a bunch of the right markers.  So I chose to make them in Photoshop. Getting a perfectly proportioned template was the hardest but I think I have a couple good designs going now.

The basic technique is to cut 7 squares of paper about 3.5” to 4” or whatever size you want.  Fold them onto themselves into halves 3 times so there are 8 layers of paper.  Remember making paper snowflakes when you were a kid?  This is the same concept.  Then cut the petal end into shape desired.  Unfold and there should be 8 petals on the flower.  Using markers or colored pencils, design each petal as desired.  The You Tube videos show some nice examples on how to do that.  Then cut out one petal, overlap the first petal by the cut onto the next one by the cut and glue.  Voila, a pretty flower.  

In Photoshop, I designed and colored the flower, saved and copied/pasted into a Word document.  By decreasing the side margins of my document, I can get 4 flowers on a sheet of paper.  Print and separate the flowers, fold and cut as described above.  Another glory of Photoshop is that the color can easily be changed without making a whole new flower.
The videos also show how to glue the flowers together.  I put together a tutorial on how to do that cuz I didn’t want to open the video each time and at that point, I really didn’t want to mess up the gluing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In this picture, I saved the petals that I cut from the flower and made a design on the front of the card.  And in the last photo, I printed the pink flower on light pink paper instead of white. 
 
Use your imagination.  I’m really having fun with it.  I’d really like to try other pop-up too, lots of ideas running thru my brain.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuck Foldover Scalloped Border

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(Click on photos to enlarge)
I needed a border to put around the tuck baby blanket I just completed in my previous post, of 20 March 17.  Because I had one unsightly side because I had yarn ends to do something with, I thought the easiest way around that was to do an edging that enclosed them.  I ran onto Diana Sullivan’s Scalloped Foldover Trim  on YouTube and thought that would work perfectly plus look very nice.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-8n2X8vlGo&t=10s  However after I got the blanket done, I thought that I wanted something a bit wider so I experimented and came up with a nice border just by adding another tuck row to Diana’s trim.  It still folded over great and does look nice. 

I started with waste yarn and ravel cord because I wanted to have live stitches to be able to do an invisible graft to the other end when I got done.  I made the blanket on my KX350 at T5 with sport and DK weight yarns.  The yarn for the border was a bit heavier and I wanted it nice and soft so I went up to T6.  But this border can be done on any machine with appropriate yarn and tension.
1.   CO 11 stitches with waste yarn and ravel cord, knit 1 row to the left,
2.   *  Put machine on hold, pull needles 3, 5, 7 and 9 out to hold position,
3.   Knit 4 rows,
4.   Push needles back to working position and knit 2 rows. *
Repeat this pattern from * to * for 1800 rows!  Yes, 1800.  Then scrap off to leave live stitches to be able to unravel and adjust for size and grafting to the other end later.
I used a 3/15 thinner weight yarn and a running stitch to sew the border to the back side.  Make sure to adjust stitching so the edging lays flat without flaring or puckering.  Gather up the border on the corners to make nice turns.  I then sewed the front side down.  I was afraid that it wouldn’t lay flat during the trips thru the washer and dryer so I loosely ran another running stitch thru both layers of the border, next to the inside row of tucks. 
I did a bit of experimenting to see how I wanted to attach the edging and decided to go under the ladder after the first full stitch of the border (much like mattress stitching), the picked up a stitch on the edge of the blanket.  Then go back and pick up the ladder, then over to the blanket.  Snug up the sewing yarn but don’t pull it tight.  It may take a bit of practice to see what you like best.