Using Up the Little Bits

Most thrifty knitters find that the leftover yarn for their projects can begin to accumulate over time, and eventually, you have to figure out what to do with them.  I have three different leftover categories:

  1. Enough to knit something.  Often the item is small – like a potholder, scrubbie, iPod cozy, etc.  There is enough to do something with it.
  2. Needs to be combined to make something.  This is often a few yards left-over even from a knitted mitten, sock or hat.  On it’s own, probably not going to make anything, but with something else, Walla!
  3. The bitter ends.  This is the trimmings of ends after weaving in.  I save them for stuffing little cat toys that I knit out of #1 and #2 yarns.

Today I present a hat knit out of category #2 yarns, mostly leftovers from Afghans for Afghans projects. I’ve been collecting wool worsteds in a tote bag, and try to use up the small bits in stripes and the like.  But this time, I realized it was all mostly #2, so I adapted the Slip-a-Color pattern in Knit Hats! for a colorful hat that won’t make this shipment for Afghans for Afghans, but will make someone warm in the future:

 

SlipStitchHat1a

The Slip-Stitch pattern (which I’ve adapted and written entirely on my own) is a six-round pattern with even number of stitches:

Round 1: Knit with Color A
Round 2: With color B, * k1, slip 1 (with yarn in back) * for the whole round.
Round 3: With B, * p1, slip 1 (with yarn in back) * for the whole round.
Round 4: Knit with Color C.
Round 5: With Color D, * slip 1 (with yarn in back), k1 * for the whole round.
Round 6: With D, * slip 1 (with yarn in back), p1 * for the whole round.

Repeat 1 – 6 rounds, switching in colors as you feel like it!
If I only had enough yarn for a round, I used it for a Round 2 or 5, since that creates the purl bump, and gives a “pop” to the round.

Edited to add: This is now a free pattern as a pdf download on Ravelry. Enjoy! Go here to download.

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A Toe-Up Book That’s a Keeper

Notice to the FCC – I did not get this copy of Chrissy Gardiner’s lovely book: Toe Up! Patterns and Worksheets to Whip Your Sock Knitting Into Shape as a review copy – I bought mine like everyone else.

With that out of the way, I want applaud Chrissy Gardiner on a great book for the toe-up fans.  This is a book that will stay in my library for a while.

  1. It includes the basics:  construction of a toe-up sock with lot’s of photos and instruction.
  2. A good variety of sock patterns for the whole family, including slippers and knee highs.  Everyone can get socks!
  3. Some fancier patterns for the (mostly) women who will knit them.  These are lovely ones that rival the patterns I’ve seen in sock of the month yarn clubs.
  4. Worksheets. The best part of the book is that Chrissy has developed worksheets for the knitter to create basic or fancier socks with their own choice of yarn and a worksheet to calculate all the requirements for a particular style.  I used her hybrid heel worksheet, and it was terrific!  The worksheets can be downloaded on the book’s web site (although they won’t make sense unless you have the book), so I can print out the ones I need anytime!

My only quibble, and this one is with the publisher, is that the book is not spiral bound, so that the pages will lay flat, and the paper is a bit light.

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FO: Mitten Magic

I’ve been knitting mittens for the youth campaign for Afghans for Afghans as well.  They take less time than socks, and less yarn.  I used the leftovers from the sweater, plus a black skein I’d bought at the same time:
a4a mittensIVa

Ann Budd’s basic mitten pattern from her Handy Patterns book. The center mitten has the same spiral top, but I changed it up for the other mittens to side decreases just because. I’m like that.

And my last project for the youth campaign is finishing a pair of socks.  I was afraid they might look like a Franken-sock, but on the feet, they are comfortable and look pretty good! I’m doing them toe-up from Chrissy Gardiner’s lovely book: Toe Up! Patterns and Worksheets to Whip Your Sock Knitting Into Shape. I must say that this is a wonderful book, with many great features. Maybe I’ll do a mini-review soon.

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FO: Youth Raglan Sweater for Afghans for Afghans

The sweater is completely done – including blocking and ends tucked in:

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I’m very happy with this, especially since I fudged my way through the pattern.  It’s one of those sweaters where the appealing colors and design help disguise the fact that a.  I did not plan the colors or the patterns ahead of time for the yoke, and b.  the stitch count for the yoke was off, and I just hid that little problem along one side of the back.

This points out a really important thing about knitting:  most of the time, little problems are things only you will notice, and others will look at the big picture.  If it is an item going thousands of miles away, where you will not see the little error daily, then it is a great time to simply let it go.  Really, you can.

I did have to re-do the ribbing at the neckline.  I started with doing a tubular cast-off which worked very well for the sleeve and body:

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but turned out way too tight for the neckline.  So, I regrouped and used the new Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off, which worked like a dream, and meant that I, the big-headed one, could get the sweater over my head with no problem.

YouthSweaterIVj.JPG

I must also sing the praises of this lovely yarn (Misti Merino), which I got in the spring sale from WEBS.  It is very soft, gains a wonderful drape in the blocking, with a lovely halo.  My plan for the leftovers was to make socks, but the softness and Merino wooliness makes me cautious, so I’m making mittens instead, and will hunt my worsted leftovers for more appropriate sock yarn.

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Back from the Mountains

I was a lucky girl who got to teach up at Lake Tahoe for the second time this year. The beauty of the place is pretty amazing. This is the view just a couple of steps outside of our meeting room for the week:

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Experiencing the storm was pretty cool – the winds blew through the area, swinging the lamps, and blowing through the sealed windows. We had snow up at the tops of the mountains (about 7500 feet), but by the lake (6000 feet) we just had cold crisp weather. By the time we left, the weather was warmer and crystal clear.

I had a great time working with newer pastors, and the whole week was lovely. I could even knit when I wasn’t leading the session, so I’m happy to report that my sweater is done with the knitting, just needs some ends woven in and a good blocking:

YouthSweaterIVf

I used a tubular bind-off for the sleeves and bottom of the body, but when I applied this to the neck, it came out too tight – I could barely get it over my head. So I took it out, and decided to use the newly-published Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff. It worked perfectly! Brandy approves of the sweater too:

YouthSweaterIVe

I have lots of leftover yarn, so I think I’ll work on a pair of socks, and maybe a pair of mittens after that.

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Back on the Afghans for Afghans Train

The September announcement of a campaign for Afghans for Afghans was for blankets. I organized a big blanket effort as you might remember, in the spring, which was followed by another campaign here, so let’s just say I’ve blanketed things pretty well this year.

The blanket making I was doing? Not so good. I made three more squares to finish a baby blanket, but they sat on my bed like this.
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Izzie and Brandy began to think the squares were just for them. So I put them away so the poor baby who will get the eventual blanket won’t be covered in cat hair.

This week, we learned there’s a quick-quick campaign for youths 7-14 years old, for sweaters mittens, socks, vests (and hats, but they don’t need that many hats). And it’s with Church World Service (which is way better to donate to than the American Red Cross, don’t get me started). And lookie what is flying off the needles:

Youth Sweater IV b

It’s the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan sweater. I made in a cardigan version for the Ravelympics 2008. I’m using a closeout yarn I got from WEBS – Misty Merino at less than 20 microns. OMG! It is SO soft and squishy. And not a blanket.

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The Knitting Teacher

I am back from the Big Easy, and it was awesome. Sometimes the best trips are the ones where you don’t spend months planning, it just comes together and you go with the flow. That was this trip. But I haven’t finished my photos – you can check out the ones I’ve posted to Flickr here.

But onto knitting. I did a bit of teaching when I worked in an in-between part of my life at Marin Fiber Arts, which has sadly closed. I really enjoyed it, but then I was working a whole bunch and didn’t have time for it anymore. Now life is back to less busy, and I’m happy to report that I’ll be teaching some knitting classes at Bluebird Yarn & Fiber in Sausalito in late October and through November. Toe-up socks? Yep. Triangular lace shawls – you’re covered. Very cute stranded baby hats – oh yeah! There are a couple more classes too.

Check out the offerings – there are other way-cool classes at Bluebird as well. Mirto’s crochet classes are tempting me – I did a bit with her at the freebie day she did, and I learned so much~

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