Sunday, November 29, 2009

November Needles

I've been brushing up on my cables lately and found a fun pattern through Ravelry. The Swampfield Cowl was designed and shared by Sara Amaroso on her blog, Penguin Purls. Thanks so much, Sara, for sharing this wonderful design. I'm planning to make another one, but this time, I'll know how to do a better bind-off thanks to Cat Bordhi and youtube. I used Cascade 109 Tweed LE. Also, thanks to Interweave Press for starting me on this quest to find various bind-off techniques. In their recent newsletter, they featured three different bind-off techniques. I've found that I learn knitting skills better when I can watch someone doing it rather than just reading and looking at drawings. So, I read the instructions, then go to youtube to see if there is a demo out there, watch the demo, then come back to the written instructions. After that, they usually make much more sense. I'm still a little foggy on the invisible rib bind-off instructions, but I'm assuming it's the same as the rib stitch bind-off. Instead of knitting off each stitch when binding off (which gives a fairly inflexible edge), you knit off the knit stitches and purl off the purl stitches. This gives a much more "natural-looking" edge and a much more flexible one.
I've subscribed to all of Cat Bordhi's videos on you tube. She's not only a wonderful knitter, but also a wonderful entertainer. The way she describes each technique is like reading a novel. The stitches become characters in a story that one is not likely to forget. She has the best explanation for wrapping the heel that I've seen. The imagery of ladies with their hairdo's and not mussing them when the stitches are carried over them will stay with me each time I knit a pair of socks. I also love the way she did this using a flat panel so that the technique is what you're looking at instead of the sock which can get into the way of seeing exactly what she is teaching. I've put several of her books on my Amazon wish list this year. Her video on knitting a moebius without having to graft is amazing. I understand that she demonstrates this technique behind her back during classes. As I've said, amazing.
I've also finished two other projects. The first is adapted from a pattern from Lion Brand called the Knitted Tube Scarf and was knitted with their Landscapes yarn. I added a keyhole near the end of the scarf and shortened the length. I'm not too sure I like the keyhole with this size yarn, but it's there.
I also knitted a pair of fingerless gloves, based on E A Kelly's pattern Lovely Lichen. It features the moss stitch. I used Plymouth Encore Chunky yarn. They're very warm and wear very comfortably while knitting. Stay tuned for more projects. I now have my new 32-inch rigid heddle warped and have a new project in mind for it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Loom Knitting Socks

I finished my first sock using the small, blue Knifty Knitter loom and Isela Phelps' book, Loom Knitting Socks. It was a lot of fun and the sock that I finished wears like a glove. I tried the easiest one to start with, Socks 101, with Lion Brand's Wool Ease Thick-&-Quick. The cuff is done in a simple 2x2 rib stitch. The heel and toe are done exactly alike, which makes it very easy. The instructions are clear, but I think it did help having some knowledge of sock construction. I finished the entire sock in aobut a day. I've enjoyed this so much, I've ordered one of Isela's fine gauge sock looms to try some smaller sock yarn. I even managed to Kitchener stitch the toe together. But, and here's where years of teaching exceptional children comes in, I'm going to go back and highlight certain words in the instructions. Once you get past the first two steps in the Kitchener, or graphing the toes, it boils down to: Front/Knit/Off, Front/Purl/Leave On, Back/Purl/Off, Back/Knit/Leave On. This continues until the last stitch when you pull the yarn through the last stitch and weave in the ends. After a few minutes, this becomes kind of a mantra. I may even go back and write these simple instructions in the margins. When it comes to knitting socks, simple is much better than complicated.
The book uses the smaller looms which Isela and her husband sell for the rest of the patterns in the book. I do wish that they had included more patterns for the Knifty Knitter loom, but there are patterns on the internet for this. My other wish is that Provo Craft would develop a sock loom. I may be able to adapt one of their smaller rectangular looms with the loom clips, but they still wouldn't have as many pegs as the DA Looms provide.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Irresistible Ewe Yarn Shop Coming Soon

Great news! I've decided to open a yarn shop! I've wanted to do this for years, but I'm still a few years away from retiring from teaching in public schools. We looked around this area, then made a decision to open online to start with. I'm hoping to open officially by January 1, 2009. This will allow me to keep my full-time job, not worry about employees yet and operate in my own time frame. I also plan to do knitting classes (loom knitting and needle knitting basics) as well as holding yarn tastings for local groups. Delivery can be arranged locally. Please visit us in our online location. We are slowly building our site and should be adding merchandise very soon.

Mug Rug Sale

The Fiber Arts Club that I sponsor at the middle school where I teach is gearing up for a holiday sale. The students are making handwoven mug rugs using their Todd Looms and my Cricket Loom. They each had a go at the Cricket a few weeks ago and all did very well. This really speaks for the ease of using this loom. We're meeting again tomorrow and I hope to wrap up this segment of our fiber skills training. Of course, my cats had to get into the action while I was trying to take pictures of the mug rugs.
We meet again early December and I'd like to start them on knitting. Holidays are fast-approaching and it would be good to get them started so they can use their needles over the holidays. I'm hoping to use my knitting videos to instruct them. I think I'll teach the knitted cast-on. Just a slip knot, then start knitting the stitches onto the needle. They should be able to pick up a garter stitch - hopefully in one session. One of our office personnel visited last time and stayed to learn the weaving herself, taking home a loom to work with. It was great to have an extra set of hands and eyes. Thanks, Caryl!If the mugs don't all sell, I'll post them on Art Fire if anyone is interested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Picking up Stitches Video

I've been given permission from Jimmy Beans Wool to show their you tube video on my blog. I found it very helpful in learning to pick up stitches. I've tried knitting socks several times, but always seem to get stuck on this part at the heel. I think the method is shown very well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ending Blog

I wanted to let my viewers know that I will be ending this blog within the next month. I've enjoyed this blog, but find I don't have the time to devote to it that I would like. I will incorporate these articles into my other blogs, Crafterdays and my new online yarn & craft store blog, The Irresistible Ewe. I'm hoping to open the store on January 1, 2010, so please watch for it.I'll continue to look for ideas for our furry friends. Thank you so much for visiting and supporting this blog.
Kathryn Jacoby

Wednesday, November 4, 2009