Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review :: Bee Count An Android App

This is a stitch count/row counter with the ability to keep track of pattern repeats, stitch repeats.  New projects can be added.  New items can be added to existing projects.


Be sure to SAVE your additions, editing, changes before downsizing to answer your phone, if used on your phone, or check time or anything else.  If you don't, you will lose whatever you put in.

I found this out the hard way.  I went to answer a local call only to find it was a telemarketing call and that I lost my additions to my new project.

Knit & Crochet Before the Yarn

Have you ever stopped to consider your yarn?  What is it?  How did it get into this usable form that we love?

Yarn, whether it's animal based, plant based, or petroleum based, is made of fiber that are spun. They are all treated roughly the same after a certain point.  

Animal based yarns are almost always made from the hair that is combed from, cut from or shed by the animal in question.  The only exception I can come up with is silk which is from silk worms.  The part used is the cocoon.  All animal fibers must be cleaned from veg matter.  Veg matter is bits of twigs, weeds, seeds and any other plant matter that becomes stuck in the hair as well as more unsavory items which we won't go into.  This last part is usually cut off in a process called skirting.

Plant based are actual parts of the plant.  I have not done much with plant fibers on the processing side.  I have done quite a bit with cotton on the knit, crochet, sewing and quilting sides. I'm working with linen and hemp.  I'd like to try other plant fibers but finding them locally is not so easy.  The plants are prepared according to their type which varies due to the part of the plant used.

The petroleum based yarns might have been originally mixed in test tubes but they are now mixed in vats.  These are designed to mimic various plant or animal yarn characteristics. The chemicals are mixed and fibers are created.

Now is the time when all varieties are treated the same, more or less.  The fibers or hairs are combed as needed to align them all nice and neat.  Now depending on the final yarn you are looking for, the fibers are separated into smaller and smaller sections (called pre-drafting, I think) and twist them.  This is spinning.  It can be done by drop spindle, foot powered spinning wheel or electric spinning wheel or in a commercial setting on huge machines that do multiple strands at a time.  The twisted fiber is wrapped on the shaft of the drop spindle or onto a bobbin on the spinning wheel.  This is called a singles.  Yes with an s.  Multiple singles are still called singles.  I don't know why.  I'm a beginner and have not asked all my questions yet to my teacher.  However, the twist creates friction on the fibers helping them to not just float apart.  To create even stronger yarn the singles can be combined with more singles and then they become plies.  Plies are twisted together in the opposite direction of the singles twist.  This makes the yarn stronger and helps prevent breaking.

So, in addition to purchasing new yarn or reclaiming yarn from finished garments that don't fit or flatter you, you can create your own from fibers from animals and plants.  The petroleum based fibers are not available to the home spinner, that I have found.  I don't know if we'd want to spin them if they were.  But I don't know that for sure.  All I can say is I wouldn't want to utilize them. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Year of Stitches week 6

Week 6 of a year in stitches series and I'm brought to a movie reference. I'm a fan of Sean Connery movies.  I was watching "A Hunt for the Red October ".  Way back in the 80s, many knitters were enamored with Alex Baldwin's sweater .

So to that end, the basics of the sweater.

Cast on a multiple of 8.  All the cuffing of the sweater is 2x2 ribbing.

Cast on 24.

R1-4: * k2, p2.  Repeat to the end.
R5: * k6, p2.  Repeat to the end.
R6: * k2, p6.  Repeat to the end.
Repeat these 2 rows until the piece measures 3.25 inches.
Now repeat R1-4. Bind off in pattern.

The original sweater was done in natural wool in sport weight.  The pattern for this sweater an be found at

Crochet stitches

This is a multiple of 2 plus 1 stitches.

Ch 26.

R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, * dtr in next st,  sc in next st.  Repeat from *to the end. Turn.
R2: ch 1, sc in each st.  Turn.
R3: ch 1, sc, * sc in next st, dtr in next st.  Repeat to the last 2 sts, sc in last 2 sts.
R4: rep R4.
R5: ch 1, * sc, dtr. Repeat from * to the end,  end with sc.

Repeat R2 - R5 for desired length. Then repeat R2.

This produces a loopy fabric with lots of texture

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Year of Stitches week 5

Back to the stitches.

Week 5 knit

This is a multiple of 10 stitches.   I have a parallelogram knit and purl stitch. It looks best done in a multitude of the stitch multiple.

Cast on 30 or any other multiple of 10.

R1: RS :: * k5, p5. Repeat from * to the end.
R2: WS :: k4, * p5, k5. Repeat from * to the end, ending k1
R3: p2, * k5, p5. Repeat from * to the end, ending p3.
R4:  k2, * p5, k5. Repeat from *to the end, ending k3
R5:  p4, * k5, p5.  Repeat from *to the end, ending p1.
R6: * p5, k5. Repeat from * to the end.
Repeat these 6 rows to the desired length.

Crochet week 5

This is a multiple of 5 stitches plus 4.  This is a lacy shell stitch using double crochet and chain stitches.

For the swatch, ch 24.

R1:  dc in 5th ch from hook (counts as dc, ch 1), * sk 4 ch, in the next st (dc, ch 1) 3x, dc. Repeat from *to the end, ending with dc, ch 1, dc in top of ch 3.  Turn.
R2: ch 4, * in center ch 1 space of next  shell,  (dc, ch 1) 3x dc. Repeat from * to the end,  ending dc, ch 1, dc in top of last dc

Repeat R2 for desired size.

My latest distraction

A new granddaughter is coming.  She's due in April.  What's a grandma to do?  Knit and crochet and embroider of course.

This is a baby surprise jacket hopefully done in time.  I'm on the last of the decreases.  I'm using red heart super saver in pink camo on size 4.5mm circular needles. I think this looks more like a rose bush my mom had when I was a child.  

Also in the works is a fleece blanket embroidered with butterflies.  A bib I will be embroidering with owls. A fleece jacket I'm planning more butterflies for.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Review :: Granny Square Crochet

This app is pretty neat.  There are 30 granny squares with patterns.  The patterns are charted not written.  Some are more motifs made into squares than actual grannies, but still a nice assortment. They are shown in gradations and in multiple colors.  There are solids to laces and plenty of texture for all.

There are ideas for using all your squares.  These run the gamut from the generic afghan idea to things like bags, purses, tablet cases, toys, and accessories.  You name it.  Each idea gives you a more blown up picture with a link to get to the pattern.  Usually the pattern is in a blog post. 

There is also a how to section.  This explains a chart, charted pattern and how to know what the chart is showing you.  Pretty handy.  The chart used in the explanation is for a standard granny square.

I like this for the ideas and some of the new and unusual ideas presented.  Almost makes me want to yarn bomb my own mailbox and the fire hydrant in my yard.   Ok.  Maybe not the hydrant. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Year of Stitches week 4

Due to illness in my family,  I've fallen behind. I hope no one else has been sick.

Knit stitch

A texture stitch is this week's choice.  This is an Estonian thing and adds a lot of interest to both the laces of that country and the knitting of those items.

Nupp (pronounced like soup)

Incorporate these into a stockinette based fabric.

When you reach the place you want to add a nupp, knit the stitch but keep the stitch on the needle,  yo, knit the stitch again, keep it on the needle,  yo, knit the stitch again,  keep it on the needle,  yo, knit the stitch again and drop it.  Continue working across the row.   On the next row, purl to the location of the nupp.  Insert the needle into all 7 loops of the nupp and purl it. This could be challenging. If it's too much, try doing a few loops at a time.  Continue working across the row.  

Crochet week 4

Little pockets

Last week we did a mesh of ch 2 dc to form a square mesh.

Let's start with the ch for the mesh and work the first row.

R2:  ch3, * 2dc in ch 2 sp,  2dc around the post of next dc, dc in dc. Rep from the * to the end. End with dc in top of ch 3.