Monday, March 10, 2014

Knitting in Action

So once again my intentions of writing regular posts lasted all of a few weeks. Thank you to those of you who are still following me. One of the reasons I haven’t posted in a while is because I had nothing to post, not pattern wise at least.
Me & my finished shawl

This year I completed my very first Mystery Knit Along (MKAL). One night I was casually browsing through patterns on Ravelry, as you do, and stumbled upon the Follow Your Arrow MKAL by the uber talented Ysolda Teague. I signed up immediately and I’m very glad I did. Not only did I end up with an awesome shawl, the format of the pattern was exceptionally fun. Each week we were given two pattern options to choose from, with each working equally well with whatever was chosen the previous week.  The mystery, the clever design and the unique format really got my designer juices flowing and has inspired me to start writing more patterns again.

So purrrty!
Lately I have been obsessed with stripes of rainbow colours paired with a neutral background (also inspired by Ysolda actually – she's one of my new idols!). Without having any specific patterns in mind, I ordered myself some lovely lovely yarn from Happy go Knitty and Spin Span Spun. I spent much of my free timing thinking about how I would work the yarn and the colours into something that was wearable but not too garish. So were born the Iridis mitts.

At some point this year I decided I wanted to make a stop motion video of one of my knitting projects. As I was going to have to stop and take a photo after each completed row, the mitts seemed like a perfect option as it was already a quick knit.

Here, I present to you, knitting in motion!
video
I’m still polishing the final product, but if you’re interested in these mitts, please keep an eye on my blog or on Ravelry as I hope to have the pattern released by the end of this month.

UPDATE 
This pattern has been tested and is now for sale on my Ravelry store. Follow the link below if you would like to help me support my knitting habit purchase the pattern.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hook Monster - Photo Tutorial

Thank you everyone for all of your interest in my Hook Monster pattern! I've had a few requests for a video tutorial for it. This is something that I'd love to do, but I just don't have the time and resources to do it. 

That said, I have been able to whip together a few photos. 

1. Chain the required number of stitches

2. Turn work so that the chain is to the left of your hook (opposite if you're working left handed). Insert hook into the loop at the top
(In this picture I have already worked 2sc so it's easier to see where I'm pointing the hook)

3. Yarn over and draw through. Work as usual SC. 

4. Continue in this fashion until you get to the end of the chain

5. Work a second stitch in the last loop. Turn work so that again it is to the left of your hook and work in the other loop down the chain. 
I have worked the first stitch on the second side here. 



7. Continue working SCs up this side of the chain until reaching the other end. 
I have used 8ply acrylic with a 5.5mm yarn. You'll see the holes in the middle. When making your hook monster, you should be using a much smaller hook so the holes won't be as pronounced. 

8. Slip stitch into the first stitch then just work SCs in all stitches around until hook monster case is desired length. 

This is just for the set up. If you have any other questions, please don't be afraid to ask and I will always do my best to help out. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Perfect Leaves Convertible Mitts

Last August I got to visit Melbourne for the first time. I was staying with a friend and we'd arranged to go camping at the Cathedral Ranges for a few days. I knew it would be extra cold, so I wanted something to keep my fingers warm but also allow me some dexterity. I had seen other convertible mitt patterns, but they were all quite plain. And so these mitts were born!

For more pictures, see my Ravelry project page
You'll see the top/left mitt has a closed thumb and the bottom/right mitt has an open thumb

Equipment:
Yarn: 8ply. I used Cleckheaton Perfect Day with Chocolate for the main colour and Chocolate Natural Marl for the contrast.
Needles: 4mm. I prefer 1 long circular (60cm+) in the magic loop or 2 shorter circulars. DPNs can also be used.
Sizing: These were designed for me, but should fit most women with averaged sized hands. The cuff circumference measures approx 16cm but will stretch to about 26cm. From the base of the thumb to the top of the mitt measures 12cms (this would be from the base of your thumb to the top of your middle finger. If you would like to know any other measurements, please leave a comment.
Approx gauge: 23sts & 32 rows to 10cm in stockinette

Pattern:
I have written a chart for the lace section of the pattern to keep the written instructions as easy as possible. You can view/download the PDF here. If you have any troubles with with the chart, please leave your questions in the comments and I'll respond to you as soon as I can.
Abbreviations:
K2tog - knit two together
SSK - slip slip knit
YO - yarn over
BC - border colours
MC - main colour
PM - place marker
SM - slip marker
RM - remove marker

Tip
In the lace pattern, there is a part where you have to do a yarn over followed by a purl stitch. If you're new to lace, you might have found this a bit confusing - I know I did the first time! The trick is to wrap the yarn around the needle - bring yarn to front under the needle as you would for a regular YO, take it back over the top of the needle then bring to front under the needle - then work the purl stitch.

I made my mitts using the magic loop method, as I find this the easiest way of working in the round. Choose whichever method works best for you. 

Cast on 38 sts. Join in the round. The first 19 sts will form the back of the hand and the second 19sts the palm of the hand and the thumb.
Work 10 rows of K1P1 rib using BC.
Change to MC. 
The lace pattern is only worked on the first 19 sts

Errata: On row 39 for both left and right mitts, ALL of the stitches between the markers are held.

RIGHT MITT
Use Right Hand lace pattern
Rnd 11-14: Work rows 1-4 of lace pattern with first 19 sts, K remaining sts
Rnd 15: Work row 5 of lace pattern, PM, KFB x 2, PM, (this will become the thumb). K remaining sts
Rnd 16-19: Work rows 6-9 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 20: Work row 10 of lace pattern. SM, K1, yo, K2, yo, K1, SM, K remaining sts
Rnd 21-24: work rows 11-14 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 25: work row 15 of lace pattern, SM, K1, yo, K4, yo, K1, SM, K remaining sts
Rnd 26: work row 16 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 27-29: Work rows 1-3 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 30: Work row 4 of lace pattern, SM, K1, yo, K6, yo, K1, SM, K remaining sts
Rnd 31-34: work rows 5-8 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 35: work row 9 of lace pattern, SM, K1, yo, K8, yo, K1, SM, K remaining sts
Rnd 36-38: works row 10-12 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 39: work row 13 of lace pattern, RM, K1, hold 12sts (use scrap yarn, a stitch holder or large safety pin) K1, RM, using backwards loop method cast on 2 sts, K remaining sts. 


(the pictures show 4 cast on stitches, that was my error)

Rnd 40-42: Work rows 14-16 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 43: work row 1 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 44: work row 2 of lace pattern, thread some yarn through sts just worked (these will be picked up again later to work the top of the mitt), K remaining sts
Change to BC. Work 11 rounds of K1P1 rib. Cast off using a stretchy cast off

LEFT MITT
Use Left Hand lace pattern
Rnd 11-14: Work rows 1-4 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 15: Work row 5 of lace pattern, K17, PM, KFB x 2, PM, (this will become the thumb).
Rnd 16-19: Work rows 6-9 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 20: Work row 10 of lace pattern, K17, SM, K1, yo, K2, yo, K1, SM,
Rnd 21-24: work rows 11-14 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 25: work row 15 of lace pattern, K17, SM, K1, yo, K4, yo, K1, SM
Rnd 26: work row 16 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 27-29: Work rows 1-3 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 30: Work row 4 of lace pattern, K17, SM, K1, yo, K6, yo, K1, SM
Rnd 31-34: work rows 5-8 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 35: work row 9 of lace pattern, K17, SM, K1, yo, K8, yo, K1, SM
Rnd 36-38: works row 10-12 of lace pattern to first marker, K remaining sts
Rnd 39: work row 13 of lace pattern, K17, RM, K1, hold 12sts (use scrap yarn, a stitch holder or large safety pin) K1, RM, using backwards loop method cast on 2 sts
Rnd 40-42: Work rows 14-16 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 43: work row 1 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 44: work row 2 of lace pattern, thread some scrap yarn through sts just worked (these will be picked up again later to work the top of the mitt), K remaining sts
Rnd 45-55: Change to BC. Work 11 rounds of K1P1 rib. Cast off using a stretchy cast off

If you want regular fingerless mitts, skip the instructions for the top of the mitt and move straight to the thumb instructions.

TOP OF MITT
Remember there are two charts, one for left and one for right. Be sure to use the correct chart for each mitt!
Rnd 1: Using MC, Pick up 19sts that you put the yarn through in Rnd 44 of the mitt. Work row 3 of lace pattern. Using backward loop method, cast on 21sts. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. 
Rnd 2-6: Work rows 4 to 8 of lace pattern, K1P1 rib on remaining sts (starts and ends with K)
Rnd 7-14: Works rows 9 to 16 of lace pattern, K remaining sts
Rnd 15-22: Work rows 1 to 8 of lace pattern
Rnd 23: Work row 1 of decrease chart, SSK, K 17, K2tog
Rnd 24: Work row 2 of decrease chart, K remaining sts
Rnd 25 Work row 3 of decrease chart, SSK, K15, K2tog
Rnd 26: Work row 4 of decrease chart, K remaining sts
Rnd 27: Work row 5 of decrease chart, SSK, K13, K2tog
Rnd 28: Work row 6 of decrease chart, K remaining sts
Rnd 29: Work row 7 of decrease chart, SSK, K2, SSK, K3, K2tog, K2, K2tog
Rnd 30: Work row 8 of decrease chart,  K remaining sts
Rnd 31: Work row 9 of decrease chart, SSK, K9, K2tog
Rnd 32: Work row 10 or decrease chart, SSK, K7, K2tog
Bind off edges using kitchener stitch

THUMB:
This section is worked the same for both mitts.
Using BC, pick up 2 sts - one from cast on sts of row 39 of mitt pattern and one st from the side of a worked stitch, pick up held sts then pick up another 2 sts as before. (I tried to take pictures of this, but the yarn was too dark to be able to see anything useful. Leave a comment if you need more help)
For open thumbs: work 10 rounds of K1P1 rib (K all sts) and bind off using loose bind off method.
For covered thumbs: work 14 rounds of stockinette
Next row: (K1, K2tog, K1, K2tog, K1) twice
Next row: K2tog to end
Break yarn, draw through stitches and pull tight. Weave in ends.

FINISHING:
Sew a button to the border between the ribbed cuff and body. Attach a loop of yarn at the top of the mitt big enough to go around the button. I used two strands twisted together.

Don't forget to link your projects with me on Ravelry so I can see how yours have turned out!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Twenty Twelve Tip #2 - Know your fibres

When I first started in yarn craft, I didn't know a lot about fibres. I based my choice of yarn on the colour, the squishyness/softness and, mostly, the price. As a result, I usually ended up buying acrylic yarn. It was cheap, easily obtainable, with lots of colours and usually felt silky smooth. I would use this yarn for all of my different projects. Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with acrylic or other synthetic yarns, when tasked with the right project. I saw natural fibre yarns as more expensive and more scratchy, so I didn't usually bother with them.

It wasn't until last year that I really clued on to the fact that different fibres had different properties and you had to find the right project to take advantage of those properties, and not be hindered by it.

For example, all of my amigurumi projects are made with acrylic. Initially this was due to the colour and price factor, but I later learned that acrylic doesn't have a lot of elasticity - the yarn itself doesn't really stretch - which is what you want with amigurumi, so it keep its shape. 
Mr Minion here is made of acrylic yarn. If I'd chosen a different fibre, he might not have held his shape so well. The pattern can be found here
This inelastic quality isn't so good in other projects, such as hats. In a hat, you want it to be able to stretch. Some of the stretch comes from the cast on and stitch you use - such as the ribbed brim. But, depending on the style of hat, you also want the body to stretch. When you're wearing a beanie, you don't want to feel like your head is in a vice (this is not totally reliant on the yarn, it also comes from the sizing). And with a tam or beret style hat you usually need to block it. Blocking doesn't work so well with synthetics, but it works very well with natural fibres (wool, alpaca etc).
I made this hat using an acrylic yarn. While it was the colour and weight (and price!) I wanted, it didn't work out too well for the hat. It has no stretch in the body so when I tried to block it, I didn't get the outcome I wanted. It isn't all bad, but I think I will make it again using wool. Find the pattern here
So when you're planning your next project, think about what properties it needs and choose the yarn accordingly. I've only covered a few things, but there are plenty of websites that cover that go into more depth about the different qualities of different fibres. But the best way to learn is to try! Get some different types of yarn, knit up some swatches or samples and get a feel for how each of the different fibres work.