Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you haven't eaten as much candy as I have...

While waiting around on the Trick or Treaters, I put together another free PDF of instructions on LoomKnittingDesigns.com. This one is on blocking. When to do it, why you would do it, and most importantly how. I have a quick and painless way of blocking and I've made it available for you! If you own the Waves of Lace Shawl pattern, go download these. It's an essential part of the lacy lace process :)

The new PDF is in the instructions section:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Flat Panel Bind Off - a how to for loom knitters

So tonight, before working on another pair of needle knit socks I thought I'd type up another set of free instructions. Then I thought, heck...why not put a little post on my blog, too. Since I've heard a lot of questions about this on the yahoo loom knitting boards, I wanted to help clarify. Hopefully everyone will find these helpful.

Go to LoomKnittingDesigns.com in the "Instructions" section and download the PDF or see below for some step by step instructions on binding off a flat panel of knitting from a single rake (like the knifty knitters!):

Materials Needed:
  • Any knitting loom used as a single rake. Here I use a red Knifty Knitter loom.
  • Lion Brand Thick N’ Quick – or similar Super Bulky Weight yarn for practice
  • Knifty Knitter yarn pick
  • Large Crochet Hook (about the diameter of a pencil)
  • Scissors
Set up:
For the purpose of these instructions, I cast on to 5 pegs across using the Knifty Knitter red loom and knit a total of 5 rows before beginning the bind off instructions below. If you are practicing, I’d recommend having at least 5 rows of knitting on your loom before binding off. Any less then this and your knitting might be a little tough to maneuver.

Step 1:
You have your panel of knitting and you are ready to stop knitting. Since I’m right handed, I like to end on the right side away from the thumb tack if possible. If you are a lefty, it might be easier to end on the left side next to the thumbtack.

Step 2:
Pick up the first loop from the first peg and place it on your crochet hook.

TIP: It may be easier to grab the loop with your fingers.

Step 3:
Without cutting the working yarn, lay the working yarn across the end of your crochet hook between the loop you placed on in step 2 and the hook end.

Step 4:
Now pull a loop of working yarn through the loop from the loom. The loop from step 2 should now be off your crochet hook and you should be left with one loop of working yarn.

Step 5:
Now pick up another loop from the loom from the adjacent peg. If you are a righty, it’ll be the next peg to the left. If you are a lefty, it’ll be the next peg to the right.

Place this loop on your crochet hook just as you did in step 2

Step 6:
Then pull the loop you just placed on your hook from the loom through the loop you made in step 4.

You should now be left with one loop of yarn on your hook.

Now repeat steps 3-6 above until you get all the loops off your loom.

Final steps:
To end the last loop, cut the working yarn leaving a 6 inch tail. Then wrap the end of your crochet hook with a loop of working yarn. Just as you did in step 4, pull a loop of working through the last loop.

Now pull the 6 inch tail all the way through that last loop. Give that tail a little tug after it’s through to tighten that last stitch.

Weave in this tail using a yarn needle.

Socktober socks!

Well...I finished another pair of socks. These are for a Christmas gift and also for SOCKTOBERFEST - which I joined last week. Since I am on a mad dash to finish the socks I need to knit for Christmas, I though the Socktoberfest celebrations were a perfect kick in the rear. 2 pairs down - at least another 2 pairs left to go. Wish me luck!

Here are the stats on these bad boys:
Yankee Knitter "Classic Socks for the Family" designed by Melinda Goodfellow
Yarn: Sockotta self striping yarn
Weight: Fingering
Needles: wood, #2 Double Pointed
Comments: Love these. Great yarn, great pattern that I've used over and over and over. My aunt will love these!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

On (and off) the bookshelf

I woke up this morning, and I found the second snow of the season on the ground here in Boulder. Greg and I went out for drinks and some dinner in Denver with some friends and just made it home before the storm began. The snow is always nicer when you don't have to drive in it!

Although the view off my back porch isn't spectacular, I thought the snow this morning was beautiful. The unusually wet snow (for this area) was weighing down all the tree limbs and sticking to everything. I couldn't help but take a picture.

As I took the Waves shawl off the loom this morning, I realized I hadn't shared my latest vintage knitting magazines with you all. This was a few weeks back now that I found them. Greg and I were rummaging around in our local thrift store and I found them hiding on an empty bookshelf in the corner. At only 10 cents a piece, I just couldn't leave them there. This Fisherman's sweaters from the 1960's is my favorite of the lot. It has great cabled sweater patterns AND the best hairstyles :)

The pattern I want to make out of it is a little cardigan. It's close fitting, 3/4 sleeved, and simple bobbles, and Aran work. Classic enough to still be in style and stay in style.This will be great for fall and spring weather - not too warm.

Really, though...the smirk on the model's face seals it! And the hair which wouldn't even fit in my photo is a nice touch.

The other two I got are good too. There is one from Reynolds that is all "Icelandic" patterns. This stuff I have never tried so it'll be in my more advanced "will try in the future" pile. I've done two color work but never anything so intricate. The other one is a later magazine from the 1970's. I usually don't like these, but this one had some nice ones in it. The cover is garish and the pictures are cheesier then most - but nice patterns inside.

I also just got a new Knit Simple magazine in the mail. As I looked through it this morning with my morning tea I found some great things to add to my "to knit" list.

Above: Simple scarf but I think it's beautiful. Looks warm, too!

Above: Nice close fitting pullover with bell sleeves and collar. Simple but beautiful!

Above: Again, simple but beautiful and comfy looking ribbed cardigan.

Friday, October 20, 2006

What I did over vacation

Along with visiting my parents and seeing Maine again for the first time in almost a year, I also did a whole lot of knitting while I was gone. As my boyfriend says "It was an awful long way to go to knit" - but really it doesn't matter where I go, knitting is never far from my finger tips!

So to update my knitting WIPS and FO's - I thought I should make one big post. Hopefully you'll enjoy :)

So, I left for Maine on the 7th of October. I had two flights and a longish layover in Newark. I had brought with me two balls of Moda Dea Sassy Stripes sock yarn in color "crush" for some sock knitting. Socks are a great way to pass the time on airplanes and they are very portable! Something I look for in a plane knitting companion...

The first sock I had 1/2 done by the end of the first flight (about 4 hours) and 3/4 done by the end of the second flight (1 hour) and by the time I went to bed that night that first sock was off the needles! The second sock I finished by Tuesday (3 days later). I think these are going into my Christmas knitting box that is still far too empty for this time of year. :( I gotta get my needles fired up a bit, I think!

Here's a little closeup of the stripey pattern of the yarn. When I first started knitting with it I didn't really like the color. But it started to grow on me the more I worked with it and now I really like them.

As you can see from the Joanne.com reviews in the link I posted above, the color of that yarn is a little deceiving. I had no idea it was so red when I bought it. I was expecting for pinks and purples. But I think they came out OK. Someone in my family will like them anyway. I even have enough left over to make myself a pair of footie socks!

I also visited a little yarn shop in Cornish Maine - Rosemary's Yarn Shop. It's a shop I go to every year while I'm home. She has the best prices I've seen so of course I purchased some more sock yarn for my flights home. I got another whole sock done and the beginning of the cuff of another. These are done in Sockotta self striping sock yarn. I've used this yarn before and I love it. Great quality and a nice feel to work with. This yarn is much thinner then the Moda Dea, so they take longer to knit up. But, I don't knit for speed :)

I also finished another Waves of Lace shawl for my boss at work. It's been in a holding pattern since I returned, though. She couldn't decide if she wanted me to fringe it or not. She made a decision yesterday, though, so I'll be blocking it and fringing it for it's final presentation to her. I love the color and it came out great. I hope she likes the final shawl as much as I like mine! Here's a pic of the finished shawl - pre blocking and finished. It's still on the loom right now, but soon the be bound off!

That's all my work since my last post. Man! When did I get anything else done...?

One final bit of news - I had a great class in Longmont last night. I had a whopping 7 students for my Beginning Knifty Knitter class! That's the most students I ever had in one class. It was a fast paced two hours and I think they learned a lot. I think they'll all be coming back for my Beyond the Basics classes next month. We'll have a new group of loomers soon!

Sorry this post is so long! I'll have time to post more regularly now.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Been a while...

Oye! Sorry, it's been a while since I've posted. Been busy with Michael's teaching and demoing and starting Christmas knitting. This time of year is when it starts to get busy, busy.

Anyway - I have been working on stuff. I'm working on another Waves of Lace shawl for someone. This one is out of 100% cotton Sonata from Elann.com. I love the color she picked out: Periwinkle (6319). It's a color I would wear myself, so it'll be fun to knit up. I'm going on vacation back to visit my family in Maine in a week and this will be the project I'm taking with me. Hopefully I wont have a problem taking the loom through security. I can't find anything that says I can't take it - so we'll see. Anyone have experience taking a loom onto an airplane?? I hate checking baggage, so I'd prefer to take it in a carry on...

I'm also looming a Zig Zag scarf for display in the Longmont Michael's store. I taught a Beyond the Basics Knifty Knitter class and the Zig Zag scarf was my pattern selection for the month. My students loved it. It was a great choice because it built on skills they have learned so far from me. It really drills in the garter stitch pattern (e-wrap and purl) - great for novice loomers!

This Zig Zag is done in Color Waves by Lion Brand in color 'Sunset Red'. The color is great for fall and I love the way it's coming out. The color waves moves into subtle stripes of bright colors and works well with the geometric zig zags. I got this yarn at Michael's.

In other news, I updated the design of loomknittingdesigns.com a bit. I added a header to the pages with links to contact me, a link to this blog, and a link to my Looming store at Amazon. Check it out if you get a chance. I think it brightens up the page a bit and helps with site usability as well.