Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rainy Day Project

With all the rainy weather we've been having, this could be a perfect fall project. If you have a pair of cute wellies, like the hunter ones shown here, you can make these adorable cable-knit cuffs that fold over the top of the boot. It would be nice and soft on the top edge, and look great too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Daisy Stripe Baby Blanket

For this blanket, I wanted to play with color and not worry about it being absolutely perfect. I simply picked out four juicy colors of Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton that I liked, and bought an extra ball of the green. Each of the five balls is 50g and requires a size US 8 needle. The cotton is super soft and works well for the summery theme.

This is a small newborn blanket (or travel blanket).
Final size is: 21" wide x 29" long

I used size US 10 metal needles. I am a tight knitter, so I went up in size to allow more looseness in the stitches to make the daisy pattern. I would recommend going up at least one needle size for this pattern and using a slick needle, like metal.

Lastly, feel free to switch up the colors whenever you feel like it, and don't worry about the stripes being exactly the same number in each color. You could simplify and just alternate 2 colors as well if you don't want to use four. Just remember that this daisy pattern really works best if you alternate colors as it makes the flower shape pop.

CO 81 sts (or a multiple of 4 + 1)
Border Rows 1-10 :: K all sts in master color (MC)
Blanket Pattern:
Row 1 (RS) :: K all sts in MC
Row 2 :: K1 *p3 tog and don't drop them off the needle, yo (wrapping yarn completely around needle), p same 3 together again and drop them, k1; rep from *
Row 3 :: Switch colors. K all sts
Row 4 :: K3 *p3 tog and don't drop them off the needle, yo (wrapping yarn completely around needle), p same 3 together again and drop them, k1; rep from *, end K2

Repeat Row 1-4, then repeat Row 1-2 (in your MC) to create 5 Rows of daisies.
K all sts for 4 Rows for the garter stripe in between daisy sections.

If you want to see a video on how to knit the daisy stitch click here.

For my colors, I switched them up every couple of daisy sections and made sure to end with the same MC again for the end border. Remember to carry the other color yarn up the side of the blanket by doing a simple twist of both yarns. Only cut that color yarn when you are completely done with it. You'll have much less finishing to do at the end this way.

When the blanket is the desired length, end K all sts for 10 rows again in MC. BO.

With right-side facing and your MC, pick-up and knit down one side length of the blanket. Only K one Row, then BO. Repeat on the other side.

Make sure to block when finished as the garter stitch is slightly wider than the daisy stitch and you can even everything out by blocking. Weave in ends.

Color chart for this blanket:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Braided Knit Headband

After many attempts at this, I've finally decided on a pattern that works best and is most time efficient. Initially, I though I would braid three strips of stockinette stitch pieces. Of course, this stitch curls significantly on the edges. So I thought I would create tube shapes, where I stitched them closed on one side which would also make the headband reversible. Turns out that would take lots of seaming and became way too bulky.

SO, break out your cable needle for a braided cable that creates the same effect but all in one piece. (Thanks Amy for the idea!)

I used an alpaca tweed yarn that requires a size 8 needle. I pulled from 2 balls of yarn together and used #15 needles. This will curl a bit on the edge, so best bet is to block once you are done knitting, ideally before seaming. I've also alternated K and P stitches on the edge to help it stay a bit more flat.

CO 11 sts

Start Braid Pattern (multiple of 9 +2):
R1 (right side) :: K all
R2, R4, R6 + R8 (ws) :: K1, P9, K1
R3 :: K1, Slip 3 sts on cable needle and hold in back, K3, K3 off cable needle, K remaining sts
R5 :: K all
R7 :: K4, Slip 3 sts on cable needle and hold in front, K3, K3 off cable needle, K1

Continue in pattern until it measures slightly smaller than your head.
BO and seam ends together in mattress stitch.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lulu..... Quilts?

When I went to visit my parents in Boston, I was so excited to use my mom's new sewing machine since I don't have my own. We took a trip to the local fabric store and searched for some fun, modern, cotton prints that would be cute for a baby quilt. I wanted them to stay within the color palette, and avoid anything sappy sweet that you would typically use for a baby, like bunnies or pastel hearts.

Although I had some difficulty sewing straight to begin with (that glass of wine didn't help things either) I eventually got the hang of it and it became much easier and faster to sew each strip. I learned that by tearing fabric, you are more likely to get a straight piece. And I also learned that you should pin the pieces in place before sewing.

It was fun to add details to these as well, like a random patch sewn in place, or an area of wide stitching in the contrasting thread.

The back of each quilt is a solid piece of super soft flannel in a bold dot for the boy's quilt and a subtle pale pink and white polka-dot for the girls. For the quilting, I chose to use a contrasting thread color and designed abstract wave shapes. I drew each line on the back in chalk and then followed them as closely as possible for the finished result. It was great to take a mini-break from knitting and play with textiles and color in a new way. Plus, it's so much faster to sew a quilt than knit a baby blanket! Now back to my needles...