Friday, December 19, 2014

Resolved: Arm Knitting!

Last January one of my New Year's resolutions was to learn how to arm knit. Apparently it was a crazy year because I didn't learn until last week. Better late than never, right? I was reminded in part by the customers at Marshalls; I was seeing so many people with these awesome infinity scarves and asking if they'd made them. One woman came in wearing a scarf exactly like the one I have in the picture, same yarn and everything. I asked her if she'd made it and her boyfriend said, "No, I did!" I was so impressed that I peppered him with questions about how long it took, how many stitches he'd cast on, etc. He answered the questions but I could tell his girlfriend just wanted to go shop. The next day he came back with a guy friend and I was able to talk with him a little more. I was so excited that the scarf would look that way with the yarn that I had that I was ready to learn. 

I watched a twenty-minute video by and got the gist very quickly. It's so easy, very therapeutic, and extremely satisfying. It's so quick! All of the sudden you have this fabric. The only thing that can be frustrating is gauge. It's hard to make your loops consistent and sometimes you get stretched loops that don't look so nice in the finished product. Joining at the end can also be tricky. The way they do it in the video I watched uses the yarn to join the two ends into an infinity scarf. Every other video I looked at bound off the end and required sewing to make an infinity scarf, which seems like an extra step to me.

I gifted the first one I made to a guy friend who appreciates handknits. The second one I made is a little looser but keeps me warm. My favorite way to wear it is over my head. It keeps my ears warm and is extra nice under a hood.

(Riddle me this: this webcam photo is pretty good quality, but I'd like to crop it. So I imported it into PictureProject where I edit all my photos, and the quality got really blurry! Why? I decided to use the original, non-cropped photo, so that I wouldn't lose the quality.) 

Hooray for learning a new skill! I want to play around with textures and holding two strands of yarn. Do you arm knit? 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Yes, OK, Gauge Really Does Matter...

Another lesson in why it is so important to do a gauge swatch first! Although this throw is supposed to measure about 45 x 55 inches when it is complete, mine was about 36 inches wide and maybe 45 inches long. It'll just cover a lap, or wrap around the shoulders of my dear friend, when it was intended to be a throw for her and her husband's bed. But it's beautiful and very, very warm. I enjoyed knitting it but learned that knitted afghans, unlike the pieced afghans I've done before, are a lot of work and a lot of repetition. At least pieced afghans give you a sense of accomplishment as you go along; big afghans like this just seem to be never-ending. I may think twice before I do another one just because this one took me almost seven months to do and the pattern isn't even finished. 

Lessons learned:

- Be more disciplined about how often you knit! (And blog... >.>)
- I can hold my yarn like I do when I crochet; I switch to that hold when my fingers start to get tired but perhaps I should do it more often. When I crochet I loop the yarn around my ring finger and hold it up with my index finger, picking up the yarn with my needle. When I knit I usually just squish the yarn between my ring and middle fingers which puts strain on my whole hand.
- I need some way to block stuff easily (though for how rarely I block pieces I don't know if buying anything is worthwhile).

The fabric will stretch, hopefully. I'm not sure how much larger I could have made it if I'd blocked the piece.

 But I put love in every stitch. <3

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Still Knitting...

I'm still here! I'm still knitting! I promise. I've just been so busy that it's been hard to have time. Perhaps I'm not up for knit-blogging... I just don't have time to read other people's blogs about knitting or write blogs about the knitting I've been doing. I would love to, believe me! I'm so behind on all the blogs I follow. But life just got in the way. 

Here in Appalachia for the summer I have time to just sit and knit. The volunteers, Fanchette and Martine, knit scarves to sell as fundraisers for the Fourth World Movement's Learning Co-op here in Virginia. So I added one as well. I chose a twisted rib pattern and size 15 needles to create a narrow loopy scarf. I hope someone buys it ! 

The colors are great. One of the women who quilts at the center was raving about it. I like it! 

Perhaps I'll have more time to read blogs now that things have quieted down a bit... I will try! 

What's on your needles? Feel free to leave a comment! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Knit Your Bit Reinvented - Row, Row, Row

This weekend I stopped into Joann Fabrics out in Metairie to buy yarn for a friend's gift and was hanging around in the foyer. I didn't understand what I was seeing right away - I though the table was a demonstration of arm knitting and other technique classes offered by the store. But then I looked a little closer and read the "Row, Row, Row" sign which urges passersby to donate a few minutes of their time and knit a couple rows.

(Check out the adorable little pun they use!)

There were two skeins of blue yarn and two long size 11 needles which already held 6" of a knitted scarf. I could tell that the knitted piece was by multiple knitters and was intrigued. Once I knew what I was seeing, I immediately picked up the needles and started knitting the double-knit stockinette stitch I've been using in the washcloths I made.

As I left the store, the clerk thanked me. I asked him how long the yarn's been there and he said a month or so. I think it's a wonderful way to do a knitalong. 

Well done, Ronald McDonald. If your JoAnn Fabrics has one of these, please help out! If your JoAnn Fabrics (or Michael's, or AC Moore, or any other craft store that sells yarn) doesn't have this, ask them to pick it up! 

What other ideas do you have for knitting to help those in need? 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Washcloths for the Love of It

Although I realize that this title is not grammatically correct, I stand by it. The ever illusive it - that article that can mean everything and nothing all at once. 

Mostly I want these images to speak for themselves, but I have to say a little bit about the lovely washcloths in them. I had this leftover yarn from a never-finished vest my aunt was making and hadn't used it in years. I've been holding onto quite a stash of yarn and started reflecting on how I have so much stuff, I fear I may be a hoarder. Or at least a clutterer. So I found one of those free patterns from Michael's and decided to start making washcloths. I've made two so far and can probably make a third out of that ball. What will I do with them when I'm finished? Not sure yet. All I know is how smoothly the yarn goes over my bamboo needles and how easy the pattern stitch is. (A note, though - casting on 34 stitches and increasing every other stitch will not produce 51 stitches. Someone didn't do their math right. Cast on 25 stitches and add an extra at the end of the increase row and you'll be golden.) 

The light was so perfect on my gramma's quilt. I hope you enjoy these squishy, delightful washcloths as much as I do, no matter what you do with them when they're FPs. 

Stitch on - 

Saturday, January 25, 2014


So in trying to surprise my friend with legwarmers, I actually posted photos of the WIP on this blog forgetting that the friend reads my blog! Whoops. Although I wish I hadn't blown the surprise, I was touched that she reads what I post. =)

Here is a photo of the finished product.

These legwarmers would look fantastic with the new pair of boots I just bought! 

They look even better, though, on my dear friend's tightrope. Her grace and determination inspire me everyday. 

A toast to you (and your warm legs!) Sarah - to my real life superhero. =) 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

That Time of Year...

Once again it is the end times, the last day of the old year. I'm in that limbo between finishing one half of a project and casting on the second half. A dear friend of mine in Philadelphia asked me to make her a pair of legwarmers and I'm taking my time on them. I'm ashamed to say that I started them on December 6 and finished the first one on December 28 or something. Got to get the second one done so that I can send it off before the weather gets warm! 

As with my food blog, my New Year's resolution is to take better knitting pictures. I know there are webinars out there for that, so I need to watch one and get crackin'. 

Before I get to that, though, let's look back a little. I wrote 18 posts over 9 months and got 650 page views. For a first foray into a knitting blog, I'm happy with this. I have posted over 50 projects on my Ravelry page, which I am super proud of. 

This year I figured out how to do lace, even though I still haven't figured out how to block. I knit a pair of amazing and functional hiking socks. I knit a few things in cotton that were really cool but didn't actually serve their purpose: the Hers Soap Holder that became my token holder for the Crescent City Farmer's Market and the Summer Cover-Up that is beautiful but that doesn't match with anything and that I hate to wear. I attempted to bring back the "What Not to Knit" genre of knitting blogs but was too afraid of offending people. It just wasn't funny when I tried to do it. Lastly, I designed a really funky necklace
that my co-worker loved. Her reaction was exactly what I was hoping for, except for "You should sell these!" It took me so long that I'd have to charge $30 or more for one. I haven't figured out how to make knitting profitable yet and probably never will.

Phew! Hooray for 2013. 2014 is going to be interesting... my GRE scores will probably expire soon so I have to seriously think about graduate school. I'm moving back home for a little while. Whatever happens, I will be glad to have another even-numbered year and say goodbye to 2013.

What's on your needles this New Year's Eve? I hope it's something sparkly and warm. 

Happy knitting, friends. Til next year...