Friday, March 16, 2012

What's Next?!!

How do you figure out your next project? How do you get some inspiration to even consider another project?? 
Once in a while even I.. Schi-Schu (the great! LOL) needs some inspiration. Something to get me out of my rut. I'm challenging myself by making myself finish the socks for Jax, but.... I'm already looking ahead.... I only have the socks on my needles. AND I'm almost done!! The second sock will be done today!!  What do I do when I finish those?   Maybe I should finish them first, but I don't have the patience to focus on just one (gasp!) project at a time!!
I spent some time today and wrote down what I've made the past year...
blanket(s) for several babies, hats (baby hats by the boatload for a charity) hats for Big & Boy and PPU (Paternal Parental Unit- my Dad) and of course many other little things... beaded bags, scarves... booties..., neck warmers, dress for Butter...the list goes on.
So much for inspiration huh? I got so sidetracked that I hadn't  come up with another project..... until I saw this...
This adorable child in an adorable dress (made of course by her bestest Schi-Schu ever!!) !!  How's that for a little inspiration?!! Go me! 
Maybe if I make her another one... in a bigger size and a different colors will she smile?? Ha! She's a very serious baby and has to consider everything carefully!
Finally I've found my inspiration! Baby Butter!!
I think that's what I'm going to do! Make another dress, a bigger size because looking at this one, it might become a shirt to wear over another shirt & some leggings very soon! Ms. B  is getting so big!!

There! Project considered! Pattern is picked out... good thing I bought this last year before she was even born!! Yarn is ready to go!!
shh.... I haven't finished the socks yet.... but I've already started on this new project!

I'm using Cascade Ultra Pima, 100% Pima Cotton. Yoke is going to be in white, red,blue, (one of those colors!)  but here's where I get stuck.... should the dress be red with a big blue stripe or blue with a big red stripe? Hmmmmm. Decisions, Decisions. Maybe I will just go finish my sock first!!  I also have to adjust my needle size a bit because the yarn isn't a worsted it's a light DK, which means it's a bit finer than what the pattern calls for.

Pattern Link *it's from my favorite pattern place! Knitting Pure and Simple!
Yarn Link  *it's maybe a little fine for this project but should be nice & cool! I'm actually going to have to play around with gauge to find a needle that makes it work!
If you are using DK or light worsted (size 3) you will use a size 6, 16inch circular and a size 8, 16 inch circular.  Once you make the straps and the little front part it is joined and then worked in the round!
So off I go... got my projects all mapped out for the day!! Multi-projecting I guess!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finishing Up ('s still the first sock)!!

How do I end these socks? Somehow I have to end up with a completely closed toe (so no piggies stick out!) and have it feel good and look good. Hmm.... how about Kitchener Stitch?
The Kitchener stitch is also known as grafting (kind of a weaving) and joins two sets of live stitches (still on needle) by using a tapestry needle threaded with yarn. It creates a row that looks like knit stitches between two rows of live stitches.   Sounds a little imposing doesn't it? Really it's not. The big benefit is that it looks really great when it's done and makes for a nice, smooth join! So..a little aggravation in this instance is totally worth it!~
*For those of you who made the Wonderful Wallaby Sweater - the weaving of the underarms and the top of the hood was done using the Kitchener stitch*
I highly recommend practicing first on some scrap yarn and not learning it on something you've worked hard on!  It's kind of easy to mess up.  I also recommend that when you do the Kitchener DO NOTHING ELSE!
I can't chew gum & walk so that was a no brainer for me, but.... seriously! Turn off the TV, turn of the kids and just Kitchener!
... Sounds a little imposing doesn't it? I admit... I'm still intimidated by it, but I still do it! That's part of the fun I think?! Conquering the Kitchener AND of course finishing a project! Plus.. that bonus of making it look lovely when I'm done is just icing on the cupcake!

I can never remember just exactly how to Kitchener so I usually go HERE
This tutorial has a nice series of pictures that walk you through it.
finished Jax sock!

1st things first - get all of your live stitches divided up evenly onto 2 needles - leaving a long tail *my pattern said to leave a 15" long tail
Next thread your tail into your tapestry needle and get ready to Kitchener!
The first little part you only do once - it's the set up row. After that you follow the steps 1-4 over and over until you are all done!
I'm not going to put the directions here.... please go to the link HERE ~someone went through a whole lot of trouble to make the tutorial and I think we should use it!
 So? Now what to do.............. maybe toe up, two at a time socks? Hmm? We'll see.............

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baby Sock Day 4

I somehow managed to squeeze in some knitting yesterday... after coffee & a lesson with a friend (MM!!) but I couldn't stand to be inside anymore so outside I went! It was 82 degrees & sunny on my patio yesterday afternoon!

Here is my wittle sock.. finished heel, made the gusset and now working on the instep... heading for the toes!

Only have to knit 2 1/4 inches for the foot so I had to measure often! Not used to making stuff this small and I hate to rip stuff out.

Cute huh?? I'm done! I'm done! Oh wait... no, I'm not.... just have to complete the toes!       Kitchener Stitch here I come!      *I'm saving it for later today... with no distractions! ONLY way I can Kitchener is to have absolutely no distractions!  Eeven though this is only 7 stitches... it's pretty easy to mess up so I'm taking no chances!

Yay! I've made it to the end of my foot! Yay! It even looks like a sock! A real one!!
I've made a couple of mistakes, but I'm not pointing them out!  With the ribbing pattern I used all the way across the top of the foot you can't really tell anyway!

How's that for a little inspiration? See? I told you the process was fairly simple! Oh all right... it was confusing... but... it's all good! Only one more sock to go and it's a pair! ~insert happy dance here!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Madness....

Socks, socks & more socks! EVERYwhere I look lately it's socks. Unpaired socks in my laundry basket, lovely print socks at the grocery store... yes! At the grocery store, and even socks in my head. I dreamed about socks last night. Turning the heel specifically.... the heel got away from me and my dpn's turned into more than one octopus... sigh... Madness. Total madness.
Yep. I think I'm stressing about socks way too much. Not sure why though... intimidating? A little. Fairly simple process? Very much so!! Really!! I think I have been putting a little too much thought into these itty bitty baby socks I'm making. So much that yesterday I put it aside and ignored it on purpose for most of the afternoon. Frustrated much? Um yeah... but.... once I sat down and focused... oh my!!  It's not that hard... really!
I just needed to see how a sock went together from top to bottom!!
Look at the picture of my baby sock (yes.. it's cute!) I started at the top - CUFF. I used a k3,p1 rib and continued it into my leg part. No direction changes yet...
Heel- start with making a heel flap which is knit separately from the instep (2 of the needles remain on the front part and just are parked). Once the flap is done, has to change direction and made into a heel. That little cup like part that holds the heel! Simple decreases is all it takes to make this direction change.
Now on to the gusset. Yep! Another direction change. Pick up the stitches along the edges of the heel flap and bring it all in together to start making a foot. Oops- too many stitches here so direction change (a bit!) again. Decreases once again! Simple!! Once that's done all I have to do is knit in a tube again (just like the cuff & leg) and head out on to the toes!!
Heel flap
Heel- getting ready to start the gusset

So now it's all straight shootin' - err knitting in the round! I have to continue for 2 inches then it's toe time!!
I've turned the sock so you can see that the bottom (sorry it's blurry) is now going to be knit into a tube heading down to the toes. Because we made those direction changes! Knit the cuff/leg in one direction, change it up to make a heel flap and a heel, change it again to begin another tube to put the foot in!
Pretty cool huh?!
I'll be ready for the toe later today but the weather is supposed to be nicer than yesterday...... not sure I'm going to be inside long enough to knit much!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Madness Continues...

Now I know another reason why I don't knit socks.
Baby socks, big kid socks, socks for me... well.. that one is a given, I don't wear them!!
BUT the main reason is socks are confusing!
Knitting is a process. I love the process. LOVE IT! I should be knocking this one outta the park... BUT why am I hitting the wall? Why am I doing this? Oh yeah... Jax's tootsies are cute. Sigh. Grand kid toesies....
Why are socks so confusing? Why are the patterns so confusing? No matter where we start (top or toes) they all have the same parts... toes, instep, heel and cuff. So how do I change direction when I'm knitting in the round for the cuff.......... oh wait! That's the problem!! I have to change direction!
Changing direction! Knitting this way, then that way, and around and around!! More than just straight knitting! Yay. That's why they are so darned confusing! Oh yeah... don't forget the kitchener stitch.......... eeegads. But that's what is going to make them fun to make!!
You knit a tube for the cuff, turn the direction and make a heel flap (Eye of Partridge Heel is cool!) and then you gotta turn it all again to make a little heel cup thing. AND then you have to turn it again to make the tube for the rest of the foot.  AND just think..... two feet. 2. Yep. I have 2 feet. That means two socks. Sigh.
LOOK HERE for the link to yesterday's post and exactly what I am up to!

I knitted the little cuff... all 2 inches of it! I used a K3, P1 ribbing so it was a little bit stretchier! I also used 5 needles (size 1's... toothpicks) instead of my usual 4.
To make the heel flap, all you do is divide your total of stitches up (my pattern told me exactly what to do!) and instead of knitting in the round... you work only on the heel! The rest of the stitches, which will become the instep, just get parked on their needles until later!                                                                                             
*always slip the first stitch of every row when doing a heel flap!! Makes it lots easier to pick up stitches later!!
MAKE HEEL FLAP:  Row 1(RS) Sl 1 st purl wise wyib *k1, sl 1, rep from* to last st. K1
Row 2: (WS) Sl first st, purl wise wyif, purl across.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2;  4,(5,6,7,8,9) times [5,(6,7,8,9,10)]sts at each edge of heel flap.
**wyib - with yarn in back **wyif - with yarn in front
My pattern uses the Eye of Partridge Heel directions, but if you want to do this in any sock...all you have to do on your heel flap is;  Sl first stitch, then k1, Sl 1 across on all RS rows. Return row, sl 1, purl across! This makes the heel a little more sturdy and will extend it's wear. It works great on grownup socks because it has a little more stretch and give and will sort of mold itself to your heel!
NOW it's time to "Turn the Heel"     ooooooh.... a direction change! A challenge!
All it requires is a series of decreases that make the heel flap turn into a little cup like thing - see it at the end of my fingers there? It turns the direction of the knitting from straight up and down, back toward the instep and heading toward the toe! You could of course totally make tube socks... but you get no style points for tube socks!
Row1 (RS) sl 1 purl wise wyib, knit 9(11,13,13,14)sts SSK, k1; turn
Row 2 (WS) sl1, purl 5 (all sizes), p2 tog, p1; turn
Row 3 (RS) sl 1, k to within 1 st of gap, ssk (sts on either side of the gap), k1, turn
*the gap is made on the previous row where you k2 tog*
Row 4: sl 1, p to within 1 st of gap, p2tog (st on each side of gap), p1, turn
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until all heel sts have been worked.
Omitt the final k1, and p2 sts in last rep rows if necessary [10,(12,14,14,16,16)] sts.
Divide heel sts evenly onto 2 dpns. The beginning of round is now between the 2 heel needles.

That should keep you busy for today!!
This part was/is pretty easy... it gets a little trickier when we do the gusset pick up and instep... so I'm taking a break & going outside to play!!
See you tomorrow!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Project - March Madness?

I love sock yarn - who wouldn't? I'm just not crazy about knitting socks. Seems like crazy madness to me!  I do like the process of knitting and socks are made using a process. How could you not like that?  Um... probably just the pair thing (pairs usually means more than one) and the fact that I don't usually wear socks. Why would I want to knit some? I can buy them right?
Well... what happens when a new friend (gee thanks TW) wants your help to make some pedicure socks? You help of course! AND unfortunately you begin to obsess about the process. The sock making process.  Yes! I know you would do the same! Obsess? LOL maybe not... but you would definitely pick up your sticks and get to knitting!
So that's just what I did! I started knitting the pedicure socks (click for link)  out of some lovely stretchy green (bright) green) yarn! Do I think I'm going to make two? Dunno yet. I know I'm going to make this one so that way I can help TW out along the way, but two?
Let's re-think this process.......
What do I need to make a pair of socks?
#1  A pattern. Easy. There are a ton of free patterns out there on the web! The pedicure socks pattern is free!
What about this one?  Spud & Chloe is so cute. Stinkin' cute!
It wasn't free (okay.. I splurged... go figure!) but I got it anyway.

#2  yarn. Yep. Got yarn. Got lots of yarn!! AND I even have sock yarn. I'm using this one... I had it.. shh that's my story & I'm sticking to it! It's Crystal Palace, Panda Cotton! (bamboo&cotton)

#3 Start the Project! Sometimes this is the worst part...
This is what I'm doing and if you want to start with me..........
Pattern:  Spud & Chloe Lot's O socks!
Take a minute and highlight or circle the sizes for what you are going to make!  I bought mine at Fibre Space in Alexandria.
Needles: Size 1 dpn's (Fibre Space, Yarn Cloud, Nature's Yarns, Inc. & even Joann might carry them. )
Yarn - Spud & Chloe fine (I'm using a yarn that uses a similar yarn -just check the gauge ) Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace 
Other Stuff:*How to keep a stitch marker on your dpn's? I put it on after the first stitch -between it and the 2nd. You could use a locking stitch marker, just hook it in the leg of the stitch and just move it up every few rows. Most of the time I just use my cast on tail...
Pattern Specifics:
Baby Sizes 0-3mos(3-9mos, 12mos, 24mos, kid sizes 2T,3T)
Cast on 32,(40,44,48,52,52)sts. Divide onto 4 needles. Place marker and join in round. Be careful not to twist!
** CAST ON ALL STITCHES ONTO 1 NEEDLE then divide them up on your 2nd row**
There are lots of options with this pattern but I'm going to just use Option 2 &3. I like the k3,p1 rib it will make! May help it stay on a chubby little leg?!

Rnd 1:  *k3, p1; rep from* around.
Repeat Rnd 1 in desired option color sequence until leg measures 2,(2,2.5,3,3.5,5.5)inches or desired length.     ~I'm using self striping yarn so I'm not worrying about color sequence! NOTE this will make a ribbed leg all the way to where I want to divide for heel.
Don't like that? Try this...
Rnd 1:  *k2,p2, rep from*around. Rep Rnd 1 until CUFF measures 3/4, (3/4,1,1,1.5,1.5)inches or desired length. NOTE makes a definitive cuff and leg portion*
Work in St st until (stockinette stitch - when knitting in round it's knit every round) leg measures 2,(2,2.5,3,3.5,5.5)inches or desired length.

That should get us going until tomorrow!! Stay tuned for More March Madness on Monday - woot! That's 4 M's all in a row!!  KNIT ON!!!

Favorite Product of the Week...

I'm not sure that this little thing is actually going to be THE favorite product of my week.... it is only Sunday after all and the week is just beginning...
but right now this is IT!!

What is it??
It's a dpn holder! A very simple two cap thingy that's attached to with a bit of elastic! Wow.  The caps go on the dpn's at each end of the knitting and the elastic stretches to the other side! This way when I throw my knitting into my bag, the dpn's won't wiggle themselves out of my knitting! Whoop!! 

See the little black caps at each end of my knitting?  A stretchy bit of elastic keeps the caps in place!

Dang I seriously wish I would have thought of this before.  I normally just wrap my yarn around each of my dpn's and hope like heck it would all stay together - which it usually didn't.  I can't believe I bought this way back before Christmas (yeah.. a little hard to believe that I (me) would buy a knitting gadget at any time I know...) and didn't even use it!!

Now I don't think I have to worry!! 
 2 little end caps and one little piece of elastic, that's all there is to it!
This one fits 7 inch needles sizes 0-3. I just happen to have it on size 3's. It's called the... insert drum roll here because it's pretty original and not very descriptive...
STRETCHY Needle Keeper..
(This one was $4.99 less military discount at Yarn Cloud)
Yep.. endorsing products now I know... sorry! BUT it's super fabulous and you gotta get one!
 Or get two!!  I have the one for the next sizes up as well!! 2 little red caps on that baby!
I'm sure I could craft one of these up using my very crafty brain... but gadgets are so cool aren't they??