Mittwoch, 14. November 2018

Sternchen - Star-Shaped Ornament

Now that we're in the middle of November, Christmas decorations are starting to be seen again. To get into the right mood, I tried to a knit small 3-dimensional star. And once I finished one, I couldn't stop and did quite a few more - because they really look cute and it's fun knitting them.
Even though these stars are 3-dimensional they are knitted flat. They have six points, are constructed of short rows and knitted (nearly) all in garter stitch. They come in two sizes and can be used to decorate your house for Christmas.
As to the name, "Sternchen" is the German word for little star.






The pattern is available as a PDF on Ravelry here. Until the first sunday of Advent (Dec 2nd), 2018 - there is a 25% discount available - no coupon code necessary.

The pattern PDF contains
  • a written pattern for two sizes
  • a chart for two sizes
  • photo illustrations for various stages of star

Skills
In order to knit one of these stars, you need the following knitting skills:
  • Provisional CO
  • Short rows with wrap and turn - there is also an explanation how to adapt it to use german short rows
  • Grafting in garter stitch
  • Grafting in stockinette
  • kfb and ssk

Materials
To knit these stars you need
  • yarn - leftovers will do, when using fingering weight yarn, I used about 5 grams of yarn to knit a bigger star, with Sports weight it was about 10 grams
  • straight knitting needles - I used a size that was a bit too small for the yarn to get a tight texture
  • crochet hook and scrap yarn for provisional CO
  • stuffing - I used old yarn ends that I had collected from my last knitting projects
  • a tapestry needle for grafting and to weave in ends
  • one stitch marker



Freitag, 2. November 2018

The Right Yarn for the Right Pattern

For #socktober I wanted to knit a pair of short row socks - with a similar toe construction to the Tipsy Toe Socks, but with a bit more of a short row pattern for the main part. At first I wasn't quite sure about the effect I wanted to achieve. That's why I tried it a few times - and with different yarns. But once I had roughly settled for a pattern (or rather a pattern idea), I found out that not every kind of variegated yarn worked for it and - as a general rule - how important it is to choose the right yarn for the right pattern.

Here's how it went for me when trying to knit these socks:


  • Upper Left - 1st Attempt: This was my first attempt and done with Lang Yarns Twin Wash - the yarn worked beautifully for the shape I had in mind - especially with the longer dark yarn between the lovely rainbow color changes, but I hadn't quite fixed how exactly the socks were supposed to look. I tried once with a shadow wrap heel and once with a sweet tomato heel, but I wasn't quite happy with both. So in order to save this yarn (i.e. not to frog it too often) I tried the same shape with different yarn. 
  • Upper Right - 2nd Attempt: For the 2nd try I used yarn from years ago (to be exact from the second pair of Pieces of Eight Mitts) - a beautiful autumnal dark-green, red and yellow combination of Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Mexico. When trying the socks with this yarn, I found out that the color change was a bit too long to look nice. I finished the sock anyway, just to frog it later on. But at least I figured out, the actual pattern I wanted to knit.
  • Lower Left - 3rd Attempt: So I tried again, with a yarn that had much shorter color changes: a Regia Mosaik Color colorway I bought this year on holiday. The yarn is beautiful, but the lack of longer strands of one color results in a lack of color blocks that you usually get from short rows and therefore the shape wasn't quite visible. But while knitting the tip of this sock, I finally figured out, how to best do the short rows in the round (hint: with shadow-wraps). 
  • Lower Right - 4th Attempt: I then dived into my stash again and found some of last year's cheap Aldi yarn. Since I knew what socks pattern and what heel I wanted to knit (plus I had figured out a way to do nice looking short rows in the round), it worked a treat - and I finished a pair of them and I am really happy with the look.

Since the pattern also fits the first yarn I tried it with, I have started another pair with my Lang Yarns Twin Socks yarn. I guess I will also write and publish the pattern for it.

As an aside, this sock was the first time, I tried to use shadow-wrap short rows for something other than a heel - and I really liked how neat they looked.

Montag, 22. Oktober 2018

Finished Objects or Good Train Knitting

Time spent on public transport - especially over longer distances - can be quality knitting time. But when you knit on a train you need a knitting project that is suitable for the environment. For me, a suitable project usually has to fulfil the following criteria:
  1. only one skein of yarn is needed
  2. the yarn weight is quite light (fingering or below) so
  3. no additional knitting accessories are needed (e.g. cable needles, stitch holders ...)
  4. the pattern is not too complicated or - even better - it's so easy that you don't need the pattern
Basically the same criteria apply, when I'm knitting something that I have designed myself on the train. But then it must also be so easy that I do not have to take notes while knitting on the train. But in order to have a good self-designed train project, you need some inspiration.

This year, I ran out of inspiration quite a few times - and unfortunately, this coincided with the times I went on longer train journeys. So I had to fall back on knitting somebody else's patterns.

In June - when I went to Zurich, i.e. 2 x 5 hours on the train - I decided on knitting Garnomera's Durkslag (free pattern available on Ravelry).  It's a gorgeous shawl, in half-circle shape with many small holes - so that it looks like a colander (or durkslag in Swedish). I had seen photos of it on instagram a few years ago and loved the look of it. Even though I was quite reluctant to knit something that wasn't designed by myself, I was quite happy once I had started. Plus it beautifully matched the yarn I had (Puk Puk by Bilum).


For my holidays in September I needed something even bigger because I planned to go to the North Sea (about 2 x 6-7 hours by train) and afterwards again to Switzerland. Plus, I wanted to knit something multifunctional, i.e. something that can be worn as a poncho, shrug or scarf - using a skein of Wollmeise Lace (300 grams, about 1500 meters). I bought the pattern for Smooth Sailor by Strickmich (Martina Behm) - a paid pattern available on Ravelry. I did the cast on and the first rows (the part where you actually need the pattern) at home and knitted the rest (really, REALLY easy) during my holidays. I changed the last rows a bit by not knitting a ruffle (as suggested in the pattern) but a garter stitch edge. The piece has a great construction and I love wearing it.


Since both of these projects are knitted with Lace weight light yarn they took quite a while to finish. But I am really happy with both finished objects - and I highly recommend both patterns!
How do you choose which projects you take on a journey?

Samstag, 13. Oktober 2018

Pointy Hat

Ever since I went to a Discworld convention a long time ago and saw so many people dressed as wizzards and witches, I wanted a pointy hat. At the time, I couldn't get one and later I didn't have many occasions where a pointy hat would have been useful :-)
But lately I thought about it again and decided that I would knit such a hat for myself - to wear on Halloween and also during carnival.
This pointy hat is really easy to knit and adjustable to your head circumference. The hat knitted top-down and in the round - starting with a cone in plain stockinette and ending with a brim in stockinette with some purl rows (but not quite garter stitch).


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This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.




Materials
  • yarn - I used about 80 grams of worsted weight yarn
  • knitting needles (dpns or circulars to knit in the round) - I used 2.5 mm circular needles, in any case, use smaller needles than your yarn calls for to get a stiff texture of fabric
  • 4 stitch markers
  • a tapestry needle to weave in ends
The pattern is written in a way that you can adapt it to any yarn weight. It is important - however - to use needles that are smaller than the yarn usually requires in order to get a very tight fabric. This is necessary to get a hat that supports itself.


Instructions

Cone

CO 6 stitches and join in round. Place a stitch marker to mark the beginning/end of a round.
From now on until the hat fits around your head, you need to increase by one stitch per round at a random point in the round. I used kfb's to increase, but you can use any increase you like.

To get a better distribution of the increases, I did divided the number of stitches into 4 parts (with stitch markers) and would increase in the 1st part in one round, in the 2nd part in next, then in the 3rd, then the 4th and then start again with increasing once in part 1.

Repeat until the hat has a circumference that fits around your head.
Knit about 10 rows without increases and then continue with brim.


Brim

Round 1: * k2, kfb repeat from * until there are fewer than 3 stitches left, k to end
Round 2: k all
Round 3: p all
Round 4: k all
Repeat rounds 2 - 4 three more times or until the brim is as wide as you'd like, then BO.

Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Since the texture is very stiff, the hat stays in shape without any help.
The "hat band" that you see in the photos is actually made up from two lifelines I put in when I was still deciding how to knit the brim (and expecting that I'd have to frog it at least once :). In the end, I quite liked the look so I kept them in.


Freitag, 5. Oktober 2018

Biased Brioche Cowl

I like to experiment with my knitting and to combine techniques. This time, I wanted to try out short rows in combination with two color brioche. The result is a comfortable piece with a squishy texture that is perfect for autumn and winter.
This cowl starts with a provisional cast on, is knitted flat and finished with grafting in garter stitch.


The pattern is available for purchase on Ravelry here.
Get a 40% discount on my latest cowl pattern. Discount ends Oct 14, 2018.






Materials
  • about 130 grams of fingering weight yarn in main color (MC) – I used Wollmeise Pure – colorway “Ballerina”
  • about 60 grams of fingering weight yarn in contrast color (CC) – I used a speckled yarn by Lanartus
  • scrap yarn and a crochet hook for provisional CO
  • 3.5 mm knitting needles - I used circulars, but straight needles will do as well
  • a tapestry needle to weave in ends


Gauge and Size
In garter stitch 10 ridges (i.e. 20 rows) gave 5 cm in height, 11 stitches gave 5 cm in width. This was measured on a blocked piece.
The finished cowl measures about 27 cm wide, and measures about 130 cm in circumference.


Skills
To finish this cowl, you need the following skills
  • Provisional Cast-On
  • Short Rows with Wrap and Turn
  • Two Color Brioche
  • Grafting in Garter Stitch



Dienstag, 25. September 2018

Bath Rug

In the beginning of this year one yarn store in Cologne had a closing-down sale. I still had a gift voucher for them. So I went there and - among other stuff - I bought a skein of Hoooked Zpaghetti, and I decided to use it to make a bath mat.
There are quite a few patterns around on how to crochet a bath mat (e.g. this one), but I prefer knitting to crochet and I also really liked the idea of doing something in garter stitch; not only because like the look of it, but also because it really feel nice and squishy under naked feet (something I knew from the time I knitted a t-shirt yarn rug on the basis of the Ten Stitch Blanket by Frankie Brown).
I wanted to knit a rectangular shape, but also do something with short rows, so I first tried something in a different yarn. My first attempt of shaping this mat wasn't quite to my liking - the ratio wasn't quite right, but it worked as a place mat or doily.
Fortunately, the second attempt worked better - and here is the pattern for it. Enjoy!
Of course it can also be a washcloth or a doily, if you do it in another yarn.


Creative Commons License
This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.






Materials
  • T-shirt yarn - I used one skein of Hoooked Zpaghetti that I had bought at a sale, it weighed a bit more than 650 grams and (according to the lable) was about 100 metres long
  • appropriate knitting needles (12mm needles in my case)
  • a crochet hook and some bulky-ish scrap yarn for the provisional cast

Techniques
  • Provisional CO: My favorite method for a provision CO is the crochet provisional CO - it is shown in this Youtube video by New Stitch a Day.
  • Short rows with wrap and turn (w+t) - as shown in this YouTube video by Very Pink Knits.
  • Picking up and knit stitches from the side: Insert the needle into the front leg of the edge stitch from back to front and draw your working yarn through. In case of this pattern you only need to pick up one stitch at a time.
  • Grafting in Garter Stitch: A technique to get an invisible (knitted) seam - this technique is shown in this YouTube Video by knittinghelp.com.

Construction
When knitting this piece you start with a provisional CO (in red t-shirt yarn on the photo). During the first part, the rows are getting shorter (one stitch every two ridges). In part 2, the ridges are getting longer again (two stitches for every ridge). Parts 3 and 4 are parts 2 and 1 backwards. You have then knitted a square and turned your knitting by 180°.
Parts 5 to 8, are a repeat of parts 1 to 4.
After knitting around four corners and the two sides (CO and last row) are grafted in garter stitch.


Yarn "Management"
Since the amount of "yarn" was finite - and I wanted to use up as much as possible - I had to adapt the size. So I weighed the skein before beginning (657 grams) and after finishing part 1 (570 grams).
All parts use up the same amount of yarn, i.e. there are 8 equal parts.
For the first part I had needed 87 grams (657 - 570). 87 grams times 8 would be 696 grams - which would be more than I had.
So I frogged and the next time I started with a shorter CO of 18 stitches. After part 1 I had 576 grams. For the first part I had needed 81 grams (= 657-576). 81 times 8 = 648 grams - which is close enough to the amount of yarn I had and - more importantly - I had enough :)


Instructions

The pattern is written in a way, that you can adapt it to the size you want. To calculate the final size, multiply the width of the CO sts by 2 for the height and by 3 for the width.

Provisionally CO the calculated number of sts with scrap yarn and knit the first row with your working yarn. I did a CO of 18 sts.

Part 1
Ridge 1: k up to last st, w+t, k to end
Ridge 2: k to 1 sts before last wrap, w+t, k to end
Ridge 3: k up to last wrap, turn (without wrapping), sl1, k to end
Ridge 4: k up to slipped st of the last row, w+t, k to end

Repeat ridges 2 to 4 until your last row was only 1 st long. If you did a CO of 18 sts (or any other multiple of 3) you will end on a ridge 4. Depending on the number of sts you cast on, you may end on a different ridge.

Part 2
Ridge 1: k1, w+t, k to end
Ridge 2: k up to first wrapped stitch, pick up 1 st (from a slipped stitch), w+t, k to end
Ridge 3: k up to first wrapped stitch, w+t, k to end
If you didn't end part 1 on a ridge 4, you may have to do a ridge 3 before knitting a ridge 2 for the first time.

Repeat ridges 2 and 3 until all stitch on your needle are used.

Part 3
Ridge 1: k to last st, w+t, k to end
Ridge 2: k to 1 before last wrap, w+t, k to end
Ridge 3: k to 2 before last wrap, w+t, k to end

Repeat ridge 3 until the last row is only 1 or 2 sts long

Part 4
Ridge 1: k1, w+t, k1
Ridge 2: k up to first wrapped stitch, k2tog, turn (without wrapping), sl1, k to end
Ridge 3: k up to and including k2tog of last ridge, w+t, k to end
Ridge 4: sl1, k up to first wrapped stitch, k1, w+t, k to end

Repeat ridges 2 to 4 until all sts on your needle are used.

Inbetween Ridge: sl1, k to end, turn, sl1 k to end

Part 5
= Part 1

Part 6
= Part 2

 Part 7
= Part 3

Part 8
= Part 4

Finishing:
Put the stitches from the provisional CO on the second needle - cut your yarn, but leave a tail long enough for grafting.
Graft in garter stitch.
If there is a small hole in the middle of the piece, use the end to sew it closed.
Weave in ends


Mittwoch, 19. September 2018

Wriggly Cowl

In my stash there are a lot of leftovers of my former knitting projects - and many of them in fingering weight. So I am always searching for new ideas to use these leftovers in an interesting manner.
So for #scraptember I decided to use up my purple, lilac and similarly colored leftovers to knit this new cowl. It is knitted flat, starting with a provisional CO and finished by grafting.



Creative Commons License
This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.






Materials
  • about 200 grams of fingering weight yarn - of course you can use other yarn weights as well, I used yarns of similar colors, but it might be interesting to use mixed colors as well
  • 3.5 mm knitting needles
  • 5 stitch markers
  • a removable stitch marker to mark the RS of your piece
  • more scrap yarn for provisional CO
  • a tapestry needle for grafting and for weaving it the many, many ends

Techniques and Abbreviations
  • Provisional CO: My favorite method for a provision CO is the crochet provisional CO - it is shown in this Youtube video by New Stitch a Day.
  • Grafting in Garter Stitch: A technique to get an invisible (knitted) seam - this technique is shown in this YouTube Video by knittinghelp.com.
  • Carrying yarn up:  When you're knitting the short row sections at the edges you have to carry up your yarn. This can be done by twisting the unused yarn with the current yarn at the first stitch of the current row - this technique is shown in this YouTube video by Knit Purl Hunter.
Since this cowl is made from leftovers, there is a high potential for many ends to weave in. Here are two techniques that may be helpful to avoid this:


Using Your Leftovers
Choose some leftover yarn from your stash - of the same weight (or nearly the same weight) - I used fingering weight yarn of the same part of the color spectrum (violet-ish) plus white for contrast. You always work with 3 skeins at a time, the one row is knitted with the skein 1, the next with skein 2, the next with skein 3, and then you start again with skein 1. Once one strand runs out of yarn, just connect the next one to it.
As with my Skein Hash Cowl, I wanted to be rather consistent color distribution (or as consistent as possible). That's why I seperated some of the leftover skeins into two and used them at different times. This will even increase the numbers of ends to weave in, but I prefered this over a color change that seemed to abrupt.

Pattern "Construction"
It is based on a basic wave or chevron pattern - one row with alternating increases and decreases and the next row k all. To make it a bit more interesting, there are short row sequences over one and a half "chevron repeats". There are markers to indicate the end of one chevron repeat.
There are four place to start the short row sequences: 1) at the beginning of the row (called short row section 1), 2) in the middle between M1 and M2 (called short row section 2), 3) at M3 (called short row section 3) and 4) in the middle between M4 and M5 (called short row section 4). This is shown in the schematic below.



Instructions
With scrap yarn, do a provisional CO of 96 stitches

From now on you will always work with three colors which are used alternatingly. After each row, change to the next color. If you run out of one yarn, just attach another one.
After knitting a few rows, mark RS with a removable stitch marker.

Setup row (WS): k 16, place marker (M5), k16, place marker (M4), k16, place marker (M3), k16 place marker (M2), k16, place marker (M1), k16
The markers indicate the end of one chevron repeat, the short row sections are over one and a half chevron repeats.

Basic Knitting Sequence
Knit a neutral ridge (see "Component Parts" below).
Knit a short row section 2.
Knit a neutral ridge.
Knit a short row section 4.
Knit a neutral ridge.
Knit a short row section 1.
Knit a neutral ridge.
Knit a short row section 3.

Repeat until the cowl measures the desired length.  Cut yarn but leave a tail long enough for grafting. Put the stitches of the provisional CO on the second needle. Graft in garter stitch.
Weave in (many) ends.

Mixing It Up
I had not only solid yarn, but variegated yarn as well - and when knitting a short row section it looked better (i.e. stood out better) with a solid color. That's why I occasionally included another neutral ridge to avoid knitting a short row sequence knitted with a variegated yarn.

I also like a kind of random effect in my patterns. That's why I didn't cling to the basic sequence but mixed it up. Here you need to make sure, that you knit all of the 4 short row sections before you start knitting the next sequence. (If you knitted e.g. short row sections 4 three times in a row, the cowl would be askew.)

Component Parts

Neutral Ridge
Row 1 (RS): *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk (now you're at the next marker) repeat from * to end
Row 2 (WS): k all

Short Row Section 1
Row 1 (RS): ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk, ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, (you're in the middle between M1 and M2), w+t,
   (WS) k to end
   (RS) ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk, ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, w+t,
   (WS) k to end
   (RS) *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk  repeat from * to end
Row 2 (WS): k all

Short Row Section 2
Row 1 (RS): *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk repeat from * twice more (i.e. you're at M3 now), w+t,
   (WS) k24, w+t
   (RS) kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk, ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk (you're back at M3), w+t,
   (WS) k24, w+t
   (RS) kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk, *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk repeat from * to end
Row 2 (WS): k all

Short Row Section 3
Row 1 (RS): *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk repeat from * three times more (you're at M4),  ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, w+t,
   (WS) k24, w+t
   (RS) ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk, ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, w+t,
   (WS) k24, w+t
   (RS): *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk repeat from * to end
Row 2 (WS): k all

Short Row Section 4
Row 1 (RS): *ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk (now you're at the next marker) repeat from * to end, turn (stranding up the next yarn)
   (WS) k24, w+t,
   (RS) kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk, ssk, ssk, k2, kfb, kfb, kfb, kfb, k2, ssk, ssk , turn (stranding up the next yarn)
   (WS) k24, w+t,
Row 2 (WS): k all