Sock Yarn Variations

Sock Yarn Variations

Premier Yarns Wool Free Sock Yarn

I do not make a lot of socks on the knitting machine. Truly, I have not found them to be that comfortable inside my shoes. Even on the standard gauge where the stitch size is small, I can feel those stitches and just prefer purchased socks. But they make the cutest sock yarns and they only take a few minutes to make a pair on the knitting machine. I was checking out our new Hobby Lobby and saw some really fun sock yarn from Premier Yarns and it was even on sale – so I could not resist. I got them stitched up today and they are a bit snug. Not bad, but not great. So I got out some different sock yarns I have to do a size comparison of the yarn strands and I am amazed at the different sizes of sock yarn. I am the queen of making swatches and rarely knit anything except charity blankets without a swatch. But I mistakenly thought sock yarn was sock yarn.  Nope. 😊 I have used a wide variety of brands and had them turn out well. So…I guess from now on I need to do a swatch just to make a pair of socks. Then I ended up with the second sock finishing with a tiny bit of the next color repeat on the toe, despite my working really hard to make sure I started in the same place on both balls. You can see one toe has a couple rows of the next color repeat. Not great. But, on a positive note, maybe these snug socks will feel great inside my shoe. 😊

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Swatching in Cotton

Swatching in Cotton

I thought I might make a summer t-shirt type top for myself so found a cone of off white cotton in my stash and proceeded to make some swatches. I knit the first 2 swatches on tension 6 with this thin, slubby cotton and washed and dried the swatches in the machine to see how much the cotton would shrink. I was pleased with the feel of the fabric after that treatment, but I was surprised to see how much both the plain stockinette and the one with the tuck stitches biased -as you can see in the photo.

Biased swatches

That would never work to make a garment! I knew some natural fibers want to bias depending on how they are wound. So, I made a swatch with 1 by 1 rib in tension 4, because I had read that making both purl and knit stitches in the row makes a yarn that wants to bias into one that is workable. It did indeed fix the bias problem – as per the second photo.

Ribbed swatch

I now had a workable swatch. I am not one that knits with a lot of cotton, but this was an exciting discovery for me to find a solution. Swatching seems like a time-consuming pain, but there is absolutely no substitute to find out how your yarn is going to respond before you put a lot of work into making something. Now… onto knitting! 😊

Cuddly Baby Hoodie

Cuddly Baby Hoodie

As I was perusing a knit and crochet site, I saw a really cute crocheted hoodie and thought I would replicate it in a machine knit pattern. I was pleased with the outcome and think it would look adorable on a baby. I wrote the pattern in 6, 12 and 18 month sizes. The pattern is above in the drop-down menus. I used #3 skein baby yarn and I usually use that size on my bulky machine. But I made it on the standard gauge at tension 10 and it made a great feeling fabric. Soft and cuddly! If you have a baby in your life to knit for, I invite you to try it!

April Showers Cardigan

April Showers Cardigan

I finally got a sweater made. Sounds easy. But it was my second attempt. The first being unraveled when still in pieces because I did not like the looks of it. And it was even pink. So, onto another schematic. But, then this April Shower Cardigan had its problems. I did a cut and sew V neck on it and then put a machine knit sandwich band on it. I did not care for how it laid at all. I removed that and crocheted an edge. Nope. Too flimsy. Next, I bought some fabric and made a bias binding. That seemed to work. Thus, my saying…I finally got it made. Do things like that happen to you or just me? 😊 It is knit at tension 9 on the standard gauge machine with Tamm 3 ply. I wanted a light weight spring sweater and the loose tension accomplished that. I experimented with some lace for a band on the lower sleeves, but no matter what I did it just wanted to drop stitches. I guess the loose tension was to blame. (Surely not my inexperience) 😊 So I did a few rows of thread lace with 1 strand of a good serger thread and was ok with that result. I put flat ribs on it, so they would not pull in like regular ribbing and I did a decorative decrease on the raglan sleeves which leaves a row of eyelets. And it fits to a T. So, success at last! I was going to write up a couple sizes for a pattern, but I made so many adjustments to my original pattern, I thought I’d just share my knitting tale with you. Even the lavender color says spring! 😊

He’s Alive!

He’s Alive!

Today, millions who are followers of Jesus Christ are celebrating Easter. The celebrating is all about the fact Jesus rose from the dead.  But, many more millions in false religions are also commemorating this day but are sadly only mentioning the fact he died. They cannot ignore the fact He lived. The evidence of the historical proof of the life of Jesus Christ is too overwhelming to ignore or discredit. And they would admit He died. But they are not celebrating the fact He rose from the dead and to this day He lives. The resurrection validates the fact that Jesus Christ died to pay for our sins – the crux of Christianity. But to say there is no resurrection discredits who He really was. He was born to this earth to die for the sins of mankind – that was His whole mission in coming. And because He lives, so can we live with Him forever if we place our trust in the finished work on the cross. He paid a debt for our sin we could never pay on this earth with good works. The cost to us is free, but some day, rest assured Dear Friend, we will all face Him and if we counting on our good works outweighing the bad and you have not placed your trust in Him, in this short life He has given us, then it is too late and we will have to pay for our sins ourselves forever and ever. Don’t let it be too late for you. We never know when we will breathe our last. I invite you to join me in celebrating the true meaning of Easter. He is alive!!

Lap Robes and Baby Blankets. Oh my!

Lap Robes and Baby Blankets. Oh my!

Design #259

I have been doing a fair bit of knitting lately, but no posts. 😊 For the most part I am making charity blankets – baby blankets and chemo lap robes. My sudden interest in so many blankets is due to my new toy…a KE100 Brother motor that I have attached to the standard gauge. I avoided blankets on the standard since it takes so many rows and it just took a toll on my body. So, I only made a very few on the bulky gauge because it took so many less rows to make a decent sized baby blanket. And I made no lap robes that are even bigger. But this motor has allowed me to avoid the major, physical part of machine knitting so…lots of blankets. I want a variety of designs, so I also purchased a disk drive and some disks. I have a new, sudden interest in Charlene Shafer’s disks. 😊 I have a friend that has written some designs and put them on disk and she graciously shared with me. I even took Eileen Montgomery’s punch card design and input it into my electronic so the vertical lines in the design come out on the edge -making it curl minimally when finished and steamed. Made a lovely blanket! I saved that to disk for future use. http://www.eileenmontgomery.com/Freebies/Patterns/tuckpunchcardafg.html
I wanted to see if any of the designs in the Stitch World 1 book would knit up in a similar manner so decided to try design 259 in the Stitch World 1 book. If I choose 85 at the yellow light, then the vertical lines in the design end up on the edges – again, making it look good and reduces the curl – especially after steaming. It is a lovely, soft blanket. I used tension 8 with 2 strands of matching 2/24. The pattern notes are in the drop-down menus above.
I might get back to garments, but I am having too much fun now! 😊

Vertical Striped Ribbing

Vertical Striped Ribbing

Denver Bronco Hat

I hope your Christmas was wonderful – mine certainly was! I have a little down time this week so thought I’d try a new technique I learned – vertical striped ribbing or 2-color brioche. I made this hat for my husband today. He’s a Denver Bronco fan, but even though they have not done so well this year, he agreed to wear it. 😊 I combined several things into this hat. The vertical striped ribbing, fair isle for the Bronco name section and then regular ribbing to make the top of the hat fit snugly. It fits great! If I did it over again, I would make the striped ribbing longer so the brim was deeper and the last color, at the top of the hat, shorter – but it was an experiment and I came out with a usable hat. I entered the name into the electronic machine – it is about 60 sts by 11 rows. Since the vertical ribbing is full fisherman’s rib, made with tucking alternately on both beds, it came out wider than usual ribbing so I began with less stitches than I usually do for an adult hat. It does not have quite as much give and stretch as regular ribbing either, so I am not sure I would use this technique a lot. Although the vertical stripe is interesting and unusual. Because I was using a tighter tension due to it being a band, I found I needed the fine knit bar for it to knit off. If you are unfamiliar with the Brioche or Vertical Striped Ribbing, see the Technique Section for some instructions. I wish you happy knitting in the new year!

Beaded Christmas Ball

Beaded Christmas Ball

I enjoy making ornaments each year for our Knitting Club Ornament Exchange. This year, I thought I’d try my hand at beading on the knitting machine. It is a very simple process and I had fun doing it! I have a great little beading tool for this purpose. It looks like a latch hook tool but the end and hook are miniscule – so they will fit through a tiny bead. It can be done with a thin wire, as well and the instructions are on the blog for that. I prefer the glass beads and the ones on this ball are about 6 mm. But there are all different sizes of holes in beads so it has to be large enough for the doubled yarn loop. The pattern for the ball is above in the drop-down menu. It is knit on the bulky machine with Vanna’s Glamour Yarn that has a silver sparkle thread in it and the beads are clear that look silver through the side. I purchased the yarn at Joann’s. Try your hand at this Christmas Ball – so pretty on the tree! 😊

Are you comfortable?

Are you comfortable?

Comfort

We strive to be comfortable, don’t we? When I first thought of what it means to be comfortable I thought of my bed that calls my name every night or the comfy slippers I put on my tired feet or perhaps watching my cat curled up in her favorite chair. We all desire to be comfortable. But comfort has a much deeper meaning than just physical. In my bible reading time this morning I was in 2 Corinthians, the first chapter and Paul is writing instructions to a local church. But what jumped out at me was the use of the word Comfort. He used it 9 times in the first 7 verses alone. God must have felt this was a very important word that He wants us to understand and apply in our lives. When one wants to understand what God is truly trying to relay to us, it is very helpful to go to the original langue that the Bible was written in – which in this New Testament book was the Greek language. In these verses God is talking about relationships not physical comfort. To comfort someone or to receive comfort means to call near to help, or to summon help, console, exhort or instruct, admonish or to encourage and strengthen. It is all about how God deals with us as he comforts us and how we are then, in turn, to comfort others in our lives with that same help we received. That is so much more meaningful than just thinking of our physical comfort alone and draws us into closer relationships with others. And in all reality, when we are comforted in our emotions and spirit, then we are certainly more physically comfortable, aren’t we? As we near this upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving, let us remember to bring comfort to those around us – as we are reminded of how we have received comfort. It might be someone in your home or in your social or work realm or the homeless person on the corner. May we all display God’s love and comfort.

Speedy Cowl

Speedy Cowl

I am not one to wear scarves much, but I like cowls. Truthfully, I have never worn them much either because I have had reading glasses hanging around my neck for years. And years. But I have finally decided I need to get some progressive bifocal glasses I leave on all the time.  How many times do you think I will subconsciously take off those glasses and let them drop to the floor? Ha-ha… But back to the cowls. Even though I love them, I could not wear a scarf or a cowl that would interfere with the glasses because it snagged them. But since the glasses are on order my thoughts turned to cowls. Now, I am rather particular about my cowl. I do not want it too heavy in weight so that it makes me hot. It can’t be too wide or hang too low. I know…so picky. So, I set about coming up with a pattern on the standard machine that would suit me. I used 1 strand of 2/24…I did say lightweight. And I wanted it to lie flat off the machine, so I decided on a tuck stitch in Full Needle Rib.  I came up with a pattern and I had so much fun knitting them I did 3 in just a few minutes. They are super quick to knit so if you are looking for something quick and pretty for a gift or for a craft show this might be a good seller. The pattern is above in the drop-down menus – titled Speedy Cowl. I think winter is finally coming to Colorado since it is almost November – but the weather man did say mid 70’s for the upcoming weekend. My cowl wearing may have to wait. 😊