Why I want to knit a sweater in November

Every year people try to write a complete novel in November, of the 430 thousand people who entered last year 40 thousand managed to write a 50,000 word novel.   Knitters have a slightly version of it called NaKniSweMo, knit a 50,000 stitch or more sweater in one month.

Now I had no plans to do this at all because a) I have to write a 20,000 word thesis b) I have to do the research involved to write said thesis.  In other words I am already struggling under the weight of my previous commitments.  However, I am also wasting time in many little ways.  I know this because I am a self confessed data nerd. I track my time and habits and I know that there are lots of minutes lost to facebook, instagram, sudoko (yes this is a big problem for me) and lots of stuff I can do without.  It has also been my experience that the better structured my time and days are the more productive I am.  So instead of taking things off my plate, I just spooned myself a huge serving of knitting.

I did the math, without any lengthening to the sleeves or body of the sweater, it needs 70 thousand stitches.  I am also starting a week late.  Again, crazy person here.

Anyway. I am knitting Pavement by Veera Valimaki in Cascade Heritage Silk in black. 

This is happening. #knitting #nakniswemo

A post shared by jessyzz (@jessyzz) on

 

If you are interested in joining check out the Ravelry Group.  There is still enough time if you think like me, if not then maybe next year? Next year I hope to be writing a novel.  I would have done that too, but I am already writing something else anyway that is just as exciting 🙂

Knitty Kitty Cat Hat {Free Pattern and Friday’s FO}

Knitty Kitty Cat HatI really had no intention of knitting a hat.  It has been in the 40s (celsius) for weeks, so (a) there is no need for hats (b)I had other things to do.  I was browsing Pinterest and found a really cute crocheted Hello Kitty hat and thought I need to make one of these.  I didn’t want to crochet it so I thought I would just knit it instead.  There was no pattern and I did not feel like finding one.

I grabbed some worsted weight yarn, swatched with 2 different sized needles, then started knitting.  I remember when I first started knitting and crocheting and I had no idea what I was doing.  I still don’t know what I am doing most of the time.  But that night, I knew exactly how to construct a hat, how to measure gauge, how to use that gauge to figure out the number of stitches and how to get this done.

Basically, I told myself “I got this”.  When we are just learning something we struggle with all of its elements, then practice and knowledge start replacing that frustration, more time and muscle memory takes over most of it.  Have you even been some place, then found yourself at home, without even thinking how you drove home, maneuvered the roads or even thought about directions? 

The hat is started with the ear flaps, they are made first, bottom up then the rest of the stitches are cast on in between them.  This hat fits children and has a circumference of 18 inches

 

Materials

250 meters of worsted weight yarn.

Tools

4mm DPNs and or circulars

A stitch marker, scissors, darning needle

Gauge

6 stitches/inch in stockinette

Abreviations

K Knit

P Purl

M1L Make 1 left (instructions)

M1R Make 1 right (instructions)

CO Cast on

K2tog Knit two stitches together

Instructions

Ear Flaps

On a DPN cast on 3 stitches, without turning, scoot the stitches to the other side and knit the 3 stitches, keep on knitting and scooting to knit an I-Cord.  If you have never knit one or find these instructions confusing, check out this video.  Knit until it measures 14 inches. 

From now on you will be turning each time as usual.

Row 1 P all stitches

Row 2 K 1, M1L, Knit to last stitch, M1R, K 1.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have a total of 21 stitches.

Row 1 P all stitches

Row 2 K all stitches

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for a total of 7 times. Finishing on the wrong side.  Leaving a long tail cut the yarn.

You have completed the first ear flap, do not cast off, leave it aside on the needle or on a lifeline.

Repeat the process, but this time, knit one more row, do not cut the yarn, CO 33 stitches.  This page explains how to cast on in the middle of the work. Knit the stitches on the first ear flap, now it has the same number of rows as the other one.  CO another 33 stitches, add a stitch marker and join with the first stitch from the first ear flap to join the round. The total number of stitches should be 108.

Continue knitting in the round until the peice measures 5 inches, from the edge of the brim (not the ear flaps).  The brim might be rolling so make sure you measure it while flattening it.  Crown decreases can now begin.

Round 1: *Knit 10, K2tog*

Round 2: Knit all stitches

Round 3: *Knit 9, K2tog*

Round 4: Knit all stitches

Round 5: *Knit 8, K2tog*

Round 6: Knit all stitches

Round 7: *Knit 7, K2tog*

Round 8: Knit all stitches

Round 9: *Knit 6, K2tog*

Round 10: Knit all stitches

Round 11: *Knit 5, K2tog*

Round 12: Knit all stitches

Round 13: *Knit 4, K2tog*

Round 14: Knit all stitches

Round 15: *Knit 3, K2tog*

Round 16: Knit all stitches

Round 17: *Knit 2, K2tog*

Round 18: Knit all stitches

Round 19: *Knit 1, K2tog*

Round 20: Knit all stitches

Round 21: *K2tog*

You should have 9 remaining stitches, cut of the yarn, thread the darning needle and insert the yarn into all 9 stitches, pull tight and weave in the end.

The hat itself is now complete.

Ears

CO 24 stitches, Join in the round.

Knit 7 rounds.

Start decreasing the ears.

Round 1: *Knit 6, K2tog*

Round 2: Knit all stitches

Round 3: *Knit 5, K2tog*

Round 4: Knit all stitches

Round 5: *Knit 4, K2tog*

Round 6: Knit all stitches

Round 7: *Knit 3, K2tog*

Round 8: *Knit 2, K2tog*

Round 9: *Knit 1, K2tog*

Round 10: *K2tog*

Finish off and weave in the ends through the remaining 3 stitches.

Make second ear.

Finishing

Attach the ears.

Weave in all remaining ends.

 

Enjoy your hat.

 

Sometimes you need to do things again

I have been getting questions on my Curvy Pouch pattern recently about the decreases. I can’t see where the problem is so I decided to cast on one myself and follow the pattern to see if I can find the problem.

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New Knitting Reference Cards {Free Printable}

Back in 2010 I created some Handy Reference cards for knitters and crocheters.  I have been meaning to update them for a while. Something cleaner and clearer.

 

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So I present the new Handy Reference cards.

They include a knitting needle conversion card, crochet hook conversion card and a yarn weight reference card.  I also added a blank card so you could add whatever it is that you want to write instead of having to look up every once in a while.

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All you have to do is print on card stock, cut out then glue every two together, back sides together.  Add your notes to the blank card and laminate.

I added 4 inch marks to mine so I could check gauge if I need to without having to find my ruler.
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{Technique Tuesday} Contigous set in sleeves

SQUEEEEE!!!  Yes I am that excited about this technique and I am loving it.  For some reason I had been putting off learning this.  Actually turns out there is nothing to learn.  It is just as easy and simple as Raglan sleeve shaping but looks so much more polished and finished.  I am a lover of top down seamless knitting.  I just feel that it is less of a hassle and uses knitted fabric’s attributes.  Knitting can be three dimensional using increases and decreases and can be shaped to fit your body.
Contigous Set in Sleeves

This method was created by SuzieM on ravelry. She has a wonderful, very helpful and amazing group there too to help you with any questions.  This method has been around since 2010 and is quite popular, the group has a page listing many of the patterns that use this way of making sleeves.

You should totally check it out.

Knitting for kids 101

Knitting For Children
Knitting for my daughter is my favorite knitting. Kids are smaller, can wear bright and fun colors and are generally cute in anything you put them in. Last week I talked about knitting for babies. This week I thought about telling you what you need to consider when you knit for kids.  There are some similar points but it is also a totally different world.

  1. Pick out the right yarn: Pick a yarn that is machine washable. You can of course use anything you want but kids are not exactly the world’s best carers of clothing.  They take off their shoes and run around in their socks, they spill stuff and throw things in the laundry basket when you are not looking.  I have shrunk a couple of because they got thrown in the laundry basket by mistake.  Also make sure the yarn isn’t itchy.  Have you ever tried making a child wear an itchy item of clothing? It is impossible.  Touch the yarn and make sure it is nice and soft.  Also cotton is great for summer items and keeps them nice and cool too.
  2. Pick out the right pattern: Some patterns are really great, but just not suitable for YOUR child.  Does it have a gazillion buttons and your child is still struggling with buttons, maybe a zipper is better.  Or maybe it is a glove pattern with fingers but your child can’t put them on by himself, maybe mittens are better.  Also if you are knitting for a smaller child, be mindful of safety, make sure there is nothing that they can use to hurt themselves or others with like a long cord or something.
  3. Be bold with colors: You don’t necessarily need to use bold colors but you can be bold in your choices.  You might not be able to wear neon pink, but your little girl might love it.  Maybe your little boy loves purple and wants a cardigan and you can’t find purple cardigans, go for it.  Why limit yourself to conventional color choices when the world can be your oyster.  You can go as crazy as you like. Most kids are pretty fierce when it comes to accepting color.  I also suggest not to just knit colors you like, but ask the child what they would like, and yes if they ask for a purple, lime green and yellow sweater, make one.
  4. Measure the child properly: While clothing on kids are more forgiving on adults a good fit makes clothing look  much better, it can make the garment look adorable instead of just homemade.  Read the pattern carefully and make sure you take measurements where you have to.  Measure every time you start a project, because kids have a tendency to grow quite quickly all of a sudden sometimes.  If the child is in between sizes, I think it is always smarter to knit the larger size because while they will definitely grow, they almost never ever shrink. Knit a gauge swatch.  Make sure it is big enough. Measure it, wash it, block it then measure it again.  If you are knitting a scarf or a beanie gauge might not be super important but if you are knitting shorts or a t shirt, then gauge will matter. Measure twice, knit once is always a good motto.
  5. Don’t be afraid to make modifications: Sometimes you have the perfect pattern, and sometimes you should look at it as a starting point.  Does your child love to collect things? Maybe add a pocket or two.  The pattern is a short sleeved one, but your little one gets cold, then make the sleeves longer.  The pattern calls for buttons but the little one likes zippers, go for it.  Most modifications are easy and straight forward, but if you need help you can always google it and find something on youtube to help you out.
  6. You can smallsize that:  If you are a capable/brave knitter you might even consider small sizing an adult pattern.  You could try using thinner yarn or just adjusting the stitch counts.
  7. Include them in the process: You never know what they might ask for.  Sometimes they might push you to learn a new technique or do something so awesome you might surprise yourself.
  8. The options are endless: You can knit so many wonderful things for children like toys, socks, hats, bags, pillows, blankets and clothes.  My daughter has been asking for a mermaid tail since forever.  I will knit her one someday :-).  She goes stash diving and asks for specific things and is always very grateful when she gets an FO.
  9. Teach them about giving: It is always great to teach kids a new thing.  You love your children and you would probably knit them stuff anyways, but it is always great to teach them that you spent a lot of time and energy making them something.  Explain that you chose to use up your time to make them happy and ask them to make something for someone else.  My daughter has learned the value of handmade gifts from watching me gift other people things I made.

Sunday’s Swatch: entrelac

I can't believe I have never tried entrelac before. It is awesome. It is time intensive but totally worth it. It is fun working back and forth on the little squares. And watching it take shape is amazing. If you have never tried it just google entrelac videos because it really is easier to understand when you have seen it being done before.