Monday, June 26, 2017

Everyday Things

Recently I had reason to travel by plane.  This is not going to be a rant about the airlines,  planes, or the TSA.  Instead this is a positive post about what can be done  with everyday objects in your knitting and crocheting.   I knew before going that there would be limitations.   Yes knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed on the plane.  They are allowed through security for the most part, unless the security person who is checking you is having a bad day or determines that such implements are maybe weapons. Space to work is also at a premium.

Due to a misunderstanding of the rules about what I could bring on the plane,  I knew I had to pack lightly and the things I did take needed to do double duty.   I had a very large tote bag for clothes and my knitting and crocheting as well as the normal purse stuff and stuff for designing.  So what did I take?

I was working on something for loom knitting.  But I couldn't take a loom and the yarn for the project.  I did take a very large wide toothed comb and used that as a loom.  A knitting loom uses super bulky weight yarn and is bulky to use in and of itself, especially for on a plane.  So everyday object number 1 that can do double duty is a wide toothed comb.    

I took a bunch of different colored pens along with sheets of graph paper.  Those work for designing charts.  The pens did another duty to help me with the loom knitting on the comb by pulling the loops up and over using one of the new pens that still had the plastic tip on. This prevented the ink from staining the yarn. 

I had a small make up bag with office supplies.  Paper clips held together theknitting for your  sheets of graph paper.  But they do more by being stitch markers and by marking rows on both the pattern and the project. The clips also hold on to the end of the yarn in the ball.

So with a comb and some paper clips and pens, I can knit.......

Friday, June 9, 2017

Desserted Island

A very odd title for a post on a blog about knitting and crocheting. I freely admit that.  But I recently read an article about what motivates people.  Specifically the motivation behind Gilligan's Island,  what caused it to be, Sherwood Schwartz in college was intrigued by the politics of how people get along with each other and wondered what might happen in a confined space  or on a desserted island.  This sparked a thought of naked and afraid and what I could bring to the table in a situation something along those lines.  Then the thoughts turned to.....if I was on a dessered island what would I want with me?

I suppose it would be futile to want a boat to get off said island. So if I could have only a foot locker full of yarns and tools, what might it be?  I know right now that list would change over time.

I think if the island is tropical, I would appreciate linen, cotton, hemp in dk weight and finer. 

I would want a couple of Barbara G. Walker's stitch dictionaries. I think Ann Budd's book of patterns for any size yarn would be great.  I would want a complete set of circular needles and a complete set of crochet hooks.  I would have to have 2 crochet stitch dictionaries of comparable quality.  I would also want a comparable book of crochet patterns like Ann Budd's for knitting.  I don't know if these exist. But these are what I want.   With basic pattern templates and stitch dictionaries,  you can usually create anything.

In another time I might do this with a different climate.  I know I can come up with a boatload of ideas

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sock Yarn v. Fingering weight yarn:: What are the differences? What are the similarities?

Recently when I was in a yarn shop with students, I was corrected by the owner.  We had been discussing yarns to make a lace cowl.  I had been suggesting a sock yarn could be paired with a lace weight to make the finished look desired as well as give the lace weight some heft since some were not used to working with something so fine.  What I was corrected on was the fact that the yarn she saw me pointing to was in fact fingering weight and not sock yarn.  I carried on with the lesson on yarns and the shop owner gave input where needed.  She after all should know her stock.

But besides the fact that we were both right (angle of perception has a great deal to do with what you see and think you see), it gave me pause to consider.  Am I shortchanging students in knowledge?  Better still, does anyone care?  I figure yes we do care.  Possibly this discussion is suitable for intermediate students though,

Sock yarn is yarn that is used to knit or crochet socks.  That is the base answer and while true is also untrue.  Sock yarn should be slightly stretchy.  It has very definite crimp in the fiber allowing for a lot of twist in the spin, thus allowing a lot of twist in the plying.  Sock yarn, if they are to be worn in shoes, is almost always fingering weight or a light fingering weight.  Much more and shoes won't fit over the foot and sock.  But is the goal for boot socks?  Then heavier weight yarn can be used.  Is the goal for bed socks or house socks?  Still heavier yarn can be used.

Fingering weight yarn on the other hand is any yarn that has 19 - 22 wraps per inch (how many times the yarn wraps around a ruler or pencil or any even object in an inch)  and knits up at a gauge of 7 - 8 stitches per inch.  It is fairly fine but not thread like.  The fiber may or may not have a lot of crimp.  The yarn may or may not be highly twisted.  The plying will match the twist.

On the surface, they seem to be one in the same.  But consider this.  All the sweaters, shawls, hats, scarves, you name it don't have near the friction  that a sock does inside a shoe, or even just being worn.  We don't walk on sweaters or shawls or hats.  This means that all that extra twist is more surface area for the yarn to wear evenly.   You won't get a wear hole in the sock nearly as fast as a yarn that doesn't have all that twist.  This is an important thing to consider. 

The shawl that is done in fingering weight yarn will usually have a lot of drape.  Fiber and gauge have a lot to do with this, but so does the amount of twist in the fiber as well as the amount of twist in the plying.  The shawl done in sock yarn but the same gauge and fiber won't drape as much.

So what is your preference?  Did you know there was a difference??

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy birthday Ravelry

May 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Ravelry.

I know it's hard to believe. It's grown steadily from tens of members in the beginning to millions today.

Their blog post about their birthday can be found here

Do you utilize ravelry? What are your favorite parts?

I utilize it, but definitely not to its fullest.  I hunt for patterns.  I might see how yarns are used by others.  I check other people's projects.

I don't use the project page to my benefit or its fullest. I have not even used the stash section.  I try to keep my library up to date and fail.

Stash Dash by TheKnitGirllls

Ever since I heard about this event,  I have thought it was a great idea.  The basic idea is not to run thru your stash of yarn. The basic idea IS to finish wips, ufos, and things that are hibernating.   Rules for the way they run it can be found here from last year. The main rules stay the same.  

Sadly I don't get a lot of time to participate. I have a huge commitment each July that takes many, many hours for my church.  So I make my own time frame rules. I don't declare how much distance I'm working towards.  If I do, life conspires against me.  If I don't,  I have a better chance of time being available all over.

Check my list of wips from earlier this year.  I already know I have no chance of whipping through these. I started crochet dolls for my granddaughters birthday at the end of the month.  The girls are Star Wars fans and I'm doing Chewbacca and Yoda. There are also "Little Golden" books  with Star Wars themes to accompany.   And now to get to work on them.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Where do you look for YOUR local yarn shop?  As a little girl,  there was one place.  The yellow pages of the phone book.  Sadly I no longer get a phone book.  I miss it but can see how it's been mafe obsolete.

Today there are a plethora of options.   A few years ago, we got a Garmin gps.  In the search parameters you can put in yarn shop or knit shop and will give a list of shops in an ever widening circle from your location. Side note: it made every road trip much more pleasant by eliminating arguments. I wholeheartedly suggest getting a Garmin,  rand McNally gps, Google maps or Apple's gps.

You can Google this information. A little less reliable but not by much. 
I found the knitmap app for Android devices.  It's backed up by a website for those who can't download the app.  This relies on shop owners and customers to keep it up to date.  This is just for yarn and possibly fiber.  It covers major international cities as well.

There's also needle travel.  Needle travel is almost exactly like knitmap.  The big differences?  Needle travel covers quilting,  needlepoint,  cross stitch,  weaving,  and spinning in addition to knit/crochet.  Another difference is that the people who put this together call each shop to be sure it's still operating.  It's also a book (reminding me of a AAA travel book) and a website.   There is no app, but you can

A quick look at any/all of these resources gives me this list of shops.  Within 2 hours of driving i have this rich abundance of yarn shops.  For those I've visited,  so far, everyone in those shops has been kind and knowledgeable.

Little owls knit shop               
2209 paxton church rd         

Knitter's dream
2340 mockingbird rd

Tucker yarn
950 Hamilton St.

Knitter's edge
1001 w. Broad street

Stormy hill criations
52 York Street
717-818-9691 or 717-225-0780

Lancaster yarn shop
3519 Old Philadelphia Pike,
Kitchen Kettle Village
Intercourse, PA 17534

String theory yarn shop
829 state st.
Suite 2003

39 e. Main street

Ball & skein
2 e. 28tg division hwy

Kraemer yarn shop
240  s. Main street

I know from research that most people don't have this abundance.  These people rely on big box craft stores or just plain big box stores or online ordering from a variety of websites. For them, I'm sorry. A big part of the experience is to touch and smell and see in a variety of lights the true colors.

Where is your local yarn shop?  What do you think of the things it offers?  How are the people?  Are they friendly and knowledgeable?  Where do you go for help if not there?

The closer it gets the further away it is

As I typed this title,  strains of the song "the closer you get" by the group Alabama  flickered through my mind.  It has very little to actually do with this post though.

With a wedding one week away and counting,  I've been hunting for the little things that are needed.  I lost a camera and have been hunting high and low.  There's a good camera for stills, but I thought it would be great to have video of the exchange of vows.  The only camera we have that can do it was missing. I have found it.

I  also found several wips that I really want done.  One is a design of my own for a crocodile stitch shawl. The yarn is patons lace in cream.

Another one is a flower sweater. The yarn is ella rae chunky acrylic/ alpaca blend.  Instead of the blue/beige ombre in the pattern, I'm choosing a golden yellow with dark brown  and gingerbread. I have an affinity for sunflowers. The yarn in the pattern is a fine weight but I zipped it up to a bulky weight.

The last one i found is Cancun Boxy Lace Top.  The yarn i chose is Tahki Stacy Charles mercerized cotton dk weight in shades of blues and greens.  I'm also making it longer than indicated. 
So as you can see,  I am closer to having no wips by virtue of frogging and dismantling the kits i made but have changed my mind about.   But I'm further away because I added 3 more.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Are my knit stitches crossed or twisted?

If someone were to ask you what is the difference between crossed and twisted stitches in knitting,  would you be able to help?  I ask because it came to me as I worked on a guild project called wingspan by maylin Tri'Coterie Designs.  This project is from several years ago and older than that from its designing. It's a really nice shawl and I look forward to finishing it sometime soon.  Because then, I can wear it.

But back to the question at hand. Let's explore this. 

Cables are crossed.  Anyone who has seen Aran sweaters, whether machine knit or hand knit, knows about cables.   The background is one stitch pattern.   There are ropes snaking around the surface that lay over each other at regular intervals.   The point where they lay over each other is the cross.  Cables are at least 2 stitches over at least 2 stitches.  They usually use a cable needle.   Some knitters are adept at crossing cables without a cable needle.    

Now for the slightly harder part. What if there's only one stitch over one stitch?   Is that a cable?   No.  But what is it? Those are called twisted stitches.  They don't use a cable needle. You would drop it if you tried to use one.  Twisted stitches are crossed when doing the actual knitting rather than before.

So that leaves crossed stitches.  What are those?   If you think of a knit stitch as a pair of pants, the top of the stitch that goes on the top of the needle is the part of the pants that goes around hips and waist.  Each leg is a leg of the stitch. Cross the pant legs at the ankle and that is what a crossed knit stitch looks like.  Crossed  stitches are formed by a combination of where in the stitch the needle is put and the direction of the wrapping of the yarn around the needle.

But there are also knit stitch patterns called cross stitch.   They are very lovely to see and fun to knit. Below is a favorite cross stitch of mine.  It's a variety slip stitch knitting.

Earth day

I'm late but happy earth day!

Locally,  earth day is about cleaning up the streams and abandoned areas and volunteering at non profit organizations and charities.   As most of us know,  it all started back in the early 70s when Americans were guzzling petroleum products and just starting to be concerned with the state of our land and waterways.   We've come far but there's still a lot we can do.

"How can we tie knitting and crocheting with earth day" you ask.   Let's start with the easy stuff of the mantra reduce, re-use, recyle, make do or do without.

1.  Use reusable shopping bags.   Then we don't have to have so many of those cheap grocery bags.  These are being made to disintegrate in the landfills.  If they don't get used quick enough from date of manufacturing they start falling apart in the boxes and that spells trouble for shoppers. Have you had a bag split in the parking lot dropping something breakable?  This  is annoying and expensive.   You can purchase reusable shopping bags or you can make them.

Some would have you use those plastic bags to make something more permanent and sturdier.   I encourage you not to do this.   Kitchen cotton such as sugar and creme peaches and cream are fabulous.  Acrylic yarns can do a great job, possibly better than the cottons.

However,  in the reduce, re-use and recycle vein, what about tarn?  Have you heard about this?  Recycle your old t-shirts.  I have a bunch that have seen better days. Over the years,  tiny holes open in the fabric.  These shirts then make it to my ok for cleaning or other dirty activity wardrobe. But eventually even that part of the closet becomes overflowing and something must be done. So I make tarn. 

Here is a quick run-through of my process.
     1. Lay shirt flat on a solid surface. Smooth wrinkles.
     2. With a scissor or rotary cutter (think pizza wheel for fabric) cut across shirt from under arm seam to under arm seam.  Remove the neck/sleeve portion.
     3.  Using a yardstick,  cut across the body in even and straight strips,  ending 2 inches from the fold.
     4.  Pick up the fabric.  Using scissors,  cut, angling up from one cut to the very next one.  Taper ends if desired.  This will give you a continuous strip. 
     5.  Stretch to cause curling as you wrap into a ball or wrap in a ball and stretch as you knit or crochet with it.

Patterns abound for shopping bag and market bags.  Choose from flat to those with a more boxlike shape to string bags.

Oh and don't toss those bits not used.  They are great for dirty jobs instead of buying paper towels.

2.  I've talked before about frogging sweaters to get a luxury fiber that is either out of my budget or just not available to me.  But, have you changed shape? Kids grown?   Usually our wardrobes are centered around a few colors that mix and match.   If you've shrunk, first congratulations on your weight loss.  Second consider donating the clothes outgrown so others can utilize.  Third, frog appropriate garments that work well together and rework into a garment that will fit your new body.

3.  Make due with what you have.  This is a harder one.   Are some of your clothes and soft home furnishings looking i bit faded?  Maybe you can't stand the dated colors but can't afford new.  Or perhaps you can't see spending  $$ when there's nothing wrong with the things except for the color.   Here's where dye can be a huge help.

Any natural fibers can be dyed.  Synthetic fibers are a mixed bag.   Some will take dye, some won't.   Rit dyes found in most grocery stores and craft stores are readily available. They work well with natural fibers.  They even say that synthetic fibers will work with their dye.  The few times I tried synthetics, i didn't have success.  Light colors can go darker. Dark colors can go darker. Plant fibers can be bleached out with rit color remover.  Animal fibers will be damaged by the color remover process. Synthetics have the color in the structure of the thread and is part of the processing. These can't have the color removed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Moebius for knit and crochet

Recently at a guild meeting,  I taught how to knit a moebius shawl or cowl. As Cat Bordhi taught, a moebius not only has no beginning or end but grows from the center up and down and has a twist.  The right side is always the side you see when knitting.  I use Cat's method to cast on.

It also reminded me of one of the hats I saw at another retreat.   The ribbing had a twist, making it look & to u.   But.... it grew up from the edge in one direction.   I suggested rather than the knitter ripping,  she should keep it.  Knitting around the twist can straighten out the rest of the project but leaves the twist in the ribbing.   Add an embellishment and it's fabulous.

These seemingly separate and random things have led me to think about moebius and crochet. As usual,  while washing dishes, the thoughts turned to how to combine crochet and moebius.  Each time I tried to work it through in my mind, I ran into one particular problem. The cross kept getting wider and thicker.  It goes to show,  having yarn and tools in hand can let you see things that the mind can't.
YouTube can be very helpful.   I found two different approaches to the same end.  One followed my idea (working in the chain on both sides)  but showed a different stitch pattern than the same old same old. Another showed a much nicer and easier to work option.  This is from Kristin Omdahl.  Her solution allows you to work around the chain on both sides. It's fast and easy.

The one thing I found was I could not do was crochet a twisted, one edge worked piece of fabric. Possibly there is a way, but since I wasn't looking in that direction I didn't find it, nor did I explore to hunt down a solution.  I did like the process so much I made a bunch of samples. I also thought of a couple of prayer shawl patterns for this technique.

Prayer shawl

16 oz worsted weight yarn, color of choice
J or K hook

Ch 4, dc in 4th ch from hook.  Rep this sequence 25 - 35 times.  Join with a sl st in the first ch of the first eyelet.

Ch 3 (counts as a dc now and throughout), 2 dc in same eyelet.  3 dc in each of the next eyelets until you reach the beginning.  Twist the eyelet chain 180* so the empty side of the eyelets is facing out.  3 dc in each of the eyelets around.  Join with a sl st in the top of the ch 3 at the beginning.

You now have a ring that is double sided and has one twist in it. 

Ch 3, 2 dc in same sp. work 3 dc in each sp around.  Join with a sl st in top of ch 3. 
**Ch 2, 2 dc cluster over next 2 sts, end with yarn around the hook and pull through 3, ch 2, * 3 dc cl over next 3 dc, ch 2.  Rep from * around.  Join with sl st in top of ch 3.

Rep from ** until the yarn is gone with a whole round finished, or you have 15" of depth. 

Give with joy or keep for yourself and gift the next one.  It's like giving a hug to the recipient even if you aren't there.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Year of Stitches Week 15

I remember telling you all of the wedding happening in my family.  For this installment of  stitches, wedding bells are on my mind.  I'm just glad I don't have to add any of this to a gown or veil or anything else for that matter.  A swatch will do me just fine for now. 

Wedding Bells Knit Border and Crochet Wedding Bells Border

Crochet Wedding Bells: Materials
It is helpful to know that the shells of this pattern run along the top of the bells but you are crocheting one bell at a time.  So, you will begin by crocheting the shells above the first bell and then making the bell itself. At the end of that, you will work back along the side of the bell to get back to the top of it where you will crochet the next set of shells and the next bell.
Starting Chain: Ch 4.
Row 1: 2 dc in 4th ch from hook, ch 2, 3 dc in the same place as the last dc's were worked, ch 6, turn.
Row 2: 3 dc in ch-2 space, ch 2, 3 dc in same ch-2 space (shell made).
Row 3: ch 5, turn, shell (see directions above).
Row 4: ch 2, 1 dc in 3rd ch of ch-6 (this ch-6 is between the first shell made and the second shell made), ch 6, turn.
Row 5: Shell in next ch-2 sp (in center of last shell made).
Row 6: *ch 5, 9 dc in ch-5 sp (that's to the left), turn.
Row 7: ch 3 (counts as first dc), 1 dc in each of next 8 dc (9 dc). Turn.
Row 8: ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc in same stitch as ch-3 just made, 1 dc in each of next 8 dc (10 dc), turn.
Row 9: ch 3 (counts as first dc), 1 dc in each dc (10 dc), turn.
Row 10: ch 3, dc in first dc, 1 dc in each of next 9 dc (11 dc).
Row 11: ch 3, sc between the first and second dc; ** ch 3, sc between the next two dc, repeat from ** 8 more times.
Row 12: ch 12, sc in ch-5 sp at top of bell.
Row 13: ch 5, shell (in center of last shell made).
Row 14: dc in third ch of ch-5 (the ch-5 is to the left, at top of edging), turn.
Row 15: ch 6, shell, turn.
Row 16: ch 5, shell, turn.
Row 17: ch 2, 1 dc in third ch of ch-5, turn.
Row 18: ch 6, shell
Repeat: Repeat from *
Additional Important Note: After making 11 dc of second bell, ch 1, slip stitch to first ch of ch-12; repeat as over first bell.
Wedding Bells Knit Border 
Bell Edging (↓) top down
Multiple of 4 sts plus 3.
Row 1 (RS): *p3, k1. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row2 (WS): *k3, p1. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.
Row 3 and 4: Repeat rows 1 and 2 once more.
Row 5: *p3, (k1, p1tbl, k1) into the next st. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 6: *k3, p3. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.
Row 7: *p3, yo, k3, yo. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 8: *k3, p5. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3. When you work the yo (i.e. yb and yf) made in the previous row, make sure to twist these sts to prevent holes being made. The same applies to the subsequent rows.
Row 9: *p3, yo, k5, yo. Repeat from * the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 10: *k3, p7. Repeat from * until end.
Row 11: *p3, yo, k7, yo. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, p3.
Row 12: *k3, p9. Repeat from * until the last 3 sts, k3.
Row 13: BO.
And now I will be back to altering the wedding gown and shopping for my own dress. 
As I get to the swatches of the various stiches, I post pictures on my twitter feed.  follow me @Wendyteaches.  You can also see them on my Instagram feed.  follow me @Wendyteaches.  They are also on my Facebook page.  Like my group at
I realize not everyone is on all forms of social media.  I'm not.  But these are the forms I am utilizing.  I might utilize more in the future.  You never know.  Also never say never.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gauge and the measurement of

I'm going to offer some ideas about gauge and the measurement of.  Back before the turn of the last century gauge was not talked about nor was it really measured.  Children learned to knit and crochet at mom or grandma's knee.  These experienced Knitters and Crocheters could see at a glance if the kids were getting the proper number of stitches and take corrective steps.   Nowadays most don't have that kind of almost instant access.

In today's world,  we might have a friend or family member who has taught us the basics or maybe a little more.  But more and more,  we are learning from teachers at yarn shops and possibly big box craft stores, teachers at conventions like Stitches, or from classes purchased online or for free on YouTube.  Podcasts can offer help for questions,  if you know what the problem is.  The impersonalness of learning has brought up all kinds of problems that weren't a big deal in times gone by.  Gauge is one such thing.

The impetus for today's post about gauge is an episode on the verypink podcast. You can check out their website at  There was a bunch of gauge questions and one stood out.  The question was asked about why patterns are telling us to measure gauge mid project.

Let's go over the quick list of steps to measuring gauge.

1. Cast on and knit the swatch.  Note the brand, color and weight of yarn and size of needle or hook.

2. Measure in the center of the swatch the number of stitches and then of rows per 4 inches.  Note these on the same place as yarn and tool info.

3. Wash and block the swatch as you will be treating the finished product. Follow the washing instructions on the yarn label. 

4. Measure the same locations again for gauge.  This is the magic set of numbers for determining the size to make for the intended recipient. Note these and highlight.

5. Repeat as needed to get the stitch and row gauge in the pattern after washing and blocking.   Use new yarn for each swatch.  Knitting, washing/blocking  and ripping out can stretch the yarn after a few times.

Ok back to the question of mid project gauge measuring.  In a previous post about gauge,  I discussed how emotions can influence gauge, in addition to the way you hold the tool and yarn.   It's been shown time and again most people tighten up muscles when stressed.  Tight muscles usually means that your hands are going to hold tightly to the tools and yarn. 

Now, most of us will need to put down our project from time to time.   A quick drop to answer the door or grab a drink up to many days, months, years of not working on  something because life can intervene in a wide variety of ways.  Over time your personal gauge can change due to age or life circumstances.  

There is not much chance of gauge changing while you get a drink or eat something  (wash your hands to keep things clean).  But gauge can change especially for new knitters and crocheters  as you gain experience over a short time period. For those of us who are more experienced,  it takes more time or emotional upheaval to change our gauge.

There is a special class of people who use knitting or crocheting as a stress! reliever or as a way to keep occupied during crazy times such as waiting for the birth of a child or a teen to come home who's late.  Try measuring gauge after that type of event.  You'll find a difference.

Now you can see why mid project gauge measuring could need to be done. 

Look back at the list of steps to measuring gauge.   Remember when I said to measure gauge before washing?  This is the gauge the you need to match so when washing and blocking are done after finishing or wearing you get the proper gauge for the size desired. 

Make sense?  I hope so.  Questions can be asked in the comments section below.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fit for a Prince or Princess

At long last, I have the directions and picture for a crown.  The crown can be embellished as you see fit.

A Wendyteaches Original

By Wendy Stumpf

Materials Needed:
Any yarn you choose

Hook 2 sizes smaller than you normally use for your yarn choice

Gauge: dependent on your choices

Finished Size: Newborn 15”, Infant 17”, 1 ½ years – 4 years 19”, 4 years – Adult small 20”, Adult M – L 22”

Notes:  Measure the head you want to fit.  Make the crown 1 – 1 ½ “ smaller than that size.  This is a multiple of 8 sts.

Stitches Used: Chain - ch, Single Crochet - sc, Half Double Crochet - hdc, Double Crochet - dc, Slip Stitch – sl st, Foundation Single Crochet - fsc, picot - p

R1:  FSC to the desired size, making sure to have a multiple of 8.  Join with a sl st to first fsc being careful to not twist.

R2: Ch 3, dc in next 2 fsc, *sk 2 fsc [(dc, ch 5, dc) shell] in next fsc, sk 2 fsc, 3 dc in next 3 fsc.  Rep from * around.  Join in top of ch 3.

R3: Ch 3, dc in next 2 dc, * ch 2, sc in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, dc in next 3 dc.  Rep from * around.  Join in top of ch 3.

R4: Ch 2, hdc in next 2 dc, hdc in ch 2 sp, ch 4, join in first ch (p made), hdc in same ch 2 sp, hdc in sc, 2 hdc in ch 2 sp,  ch 10, turn, sl st in top of ch 2, turn (ch 2, 6 hdc, 3 p, 7 hdc) in ch 10 loop, * hdc in 3 dc and once in ch 2 sp, p, hdc in same ch 2 sp, hdc in sc, 2 hdc in ch 2 sp, turn, ch 10, sl st in first dc of rep, turn, (ch 2, 6 hdc 3 p, 7 hdc) in ch 10 loop.  Rep from * around.  Sl st in top of ch 2 of first rep.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Local Yarn Shop (lys)

My Local Yarn Shop.  Those words should invoke a warm wooly feeling with sure knowledge that help can be a few short miles away. Sadly not everyone can have such a rich resource near them.  Even more sad, shops are closing due to online sales and poor economy.  Online sales can give us access to a plethora of choices in fiber and color.

I am lucky enough to have wonderful shops to the North, South,  East and West  of my home within two hours or less.  These, coupled with the big box stores, give me access to many fibers and colors, as well as a wide variety of price points. 

Allow me to give a glimpse into the shops.  Most have a selection of acrylic yarns in weights,  colors and prices.  There are wools again in a selection of weight,  colors and prices.   There are blends, wool/acrylic,  cotton/acrylic, wool/cotton,  cotton/linen,  wool/alpaca,  you name it,  I can point you to a shop where it can be found.

Classes, books, magazines are available in a variety of levels of experience.  The teachers are knowledgeable and sometimes nationally recognized.   Class needs are just an arm's length away if something was forgotten.   Help can always be found for small questions or problems, although the shop owners usually prefer that the project components were purchased at the shop.

Some of the big box craft stores also have teachers from the local area.  Many of these people are wonderful help with problems,  questions and choices about projects.   Check your big box craft store and lys.  You will be amazed at the variety found.

Monday, February 27, 2017

National Crochet Month

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Stash Appreciation, Part 2

How is a large stash affordable, you might ask.   Some of the ways were answered  in the last stash appreciation post. 

More ways to afford yarn include using coupons at the stores, yard sales,  estate sales, getting a job at a craft store.

The coupons can be mailed to you,  found on an app on your cell phone,  they can be found in newspapers and emails.  Coupons can be sometimes used in conjunction with sales, but most often not.  Check your stores for their policies.

Yard sales,  garage sales,  boot sales, flea markets and estate sales are pretty much the same thing.  Someone with too much stuff or in need of money hauls all their unwanted stuff out to the yard or garage or packs up a car or truck and goes to a location where other like minded individuals have assembled.  Set up tables or blankets and lay out the stuff that needs to go.  Some will have a small amount of yarn, needles/hooks or pattern books.  Sometimes a whole neighborhood will get together on specific day to hold yard sales.  If this is an opportunity you want to pursue, go early and with cash.  You might also want to go towards the end of the day and make an offer on remaining items you want.

Getting a job at a craft store might seem strange but hear me out.  The pay can go to support your habit.  You are surrounded by the stuff you love.  You can talk knitting and crocheting with people,  usually customers. You get the early scoop on sales.  

Once upon a time i worked at a craft store.   One of the managers made me an offer i did refuse due to space limitations.    The skeins of yarn that were without labels were unable to be sold.  There was an enormous bin of them.  I  was offered this yarn to take home.  I don't know if this is a practice still going on. 

One of the other questions I get frequently,  does your husband know how much you have?   To an extent, yes.  An actual count,  no.  Not even i have that at this point.  Do i want him to know? For me it doesn't matter.   He has his hobbies and the associated tools,  hardware,  raw materials. I have mine.  If a purchase is going to be beyond a certain limit, we discuss it.

For those who feel a need to be covert about purchases, I'm sorry to hear that.   You can sneak a few skeins in with other "more legitimate" purchases.  Wait until your other half is at work,  away from home or asleep before bringing in the large purchase.

Where can it all be kept to keep someone from knowing the truth about stash?  Again,  if this is your reality, I'm sorry.  Some places to keep yarn,  besides out in the open such as bookcases and armoires or plastic storage bins stacked up, might include behind the furniture in the living room,  under the bed, in the closet in old purses, in drawers that are less than full.  You might try down coat sleeves in the off season,  the drawer under the oven for pan storage  (wrap in zip top bags).  A more controversial idea that i have employed is above a dropped ceiling.  Put skeins in zip top bags with or without the air removal port.  Use small bags.  Tuck them up on top of a ceiling tile away from electric lines, light fixtures and the wires that hold up the groundwork. You don't want the section to fall because of yarn.  Floppy tiles can safely hold 5 pounds spread out on each tile.  Hard tiles can safely hold between 10 and 20 pounds spread out. Make a map so you can find quickly what you want. This is not an attempt to be covert on my part.  It's more a way to keep yarn I don't want to get rid of yet safe for future use and out of site.  Yes I have a map to keep it mostly organized. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A year of stitches

Sadly I will have to revise my year of stitches for knitting and crocheting.  I severely over estimated the time available to me.  I will do a stitch a week from here on out.   The reasons are short but enormous.  Weddings are in my near future.  Babies are in my present.  Classes are on-going.

I had asked my sister who is one of a few brides for this year if she wanted a shawl for her wedding.  I may have dodged a bullet when she said no.  I thought it would be nice to do, but it's doubtful I could have done it for her and her matron of honor (me) without serious crazy making.  Had she said yes, I would have done my very best for her.  She declared the weather to be too hot for the need at the time of the wedding.  She might be right. 

I had a couple of patterns to steer her to, if she had said yes.  These were my choices.  Colors would have been ivory and a light blue.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Circular shawls

This is the last installment on my shawl shape series.  They all stemmed from a conversation with my daughter in law last year when she asked me about how to create a triangle shawl.  It sparked my thoughts as I washed dishes.  It commanded time in my dreams during the time of not quite asleep yet not quite awake.  It's amazing what you can come up with during that time.

Circles are the last shape I will be tackling.  5+ sides are better suited to motifs rather than whole shawls.  My mind has come up with 3 ways to create a circle.  One is possible on paper but not in practical knitting or crocheting and so won't be mentioned except here.  Start with 3 - 5 sts and in rows keep increasing out so you create rounded edges on the "sides".  Work 3 - 5 rows straight then follow the amount of increases back down to the same beginning 3 - 5 sts.  In practice this doesn't work.  It cups horrendously because of the rapid rate of increases/decreases.  Cupping will be worse depending on the stitch used. 

Method 1  Start with either a magic circle and 8 or 12 sts worked into the circle in crochet or 2 dpns and 12 sts evenly distributed.  When knitting, follow Pythagorus' rule and every time you double the number of rounds, double the number of sts on the needles.  An example of this is rd 1, k, rd 2 kfb around, rd 3 k, rd 4, kfb around, rd 5-7 k, rd 8, kfb, rd 16 kfb, rd 32 kfb.  Keep this increasing pattern until you have the diameter you wish.  Any increase can be used.  YO, k1 can be used instead to add to the lace effect or to give a very definite line of demarcation.  Any stitch can be worked in the solid bands between the increase rds with the exception of things that cause waves such as feather and fan pattern stitch.  These don't fare well without extensive planning due to the changing stitch count every increase round.

When working with crochet, double the number of sts on rd 2, work 1 single stitch and a pair of sts all the way around on rd 3, work 2 singles and a pair all the way around on rd 4, 3 singles and a pair on rd 5 and continue in this fashion until you are large enough.  Pythagorus doesn't work as well for crochet due to the less flexible nature of the fabric created.  This is in my experience. 

This is fabulous for adding a border and edging due to all live stitches on the edge.  You will also have a really ;nice "bag" to hold your ball of yarn and needles once you get onto a large circular needle.

Method 2 Starts at the outside edge and works into the center.  Follow the same pattern for increasing here except decreases will be substituted.  Again be mindful of the stitch patterns you choose.  The first rds will be extremely long but once you start the decreasing, they happen quicker and quicker as you go.  This can work great as long as your edge is not too tight.  You also don't have to worry about having an ever increasing number of live stitches to drop.

Method 3 uses motifs.  Pick one major motif and a secondary smaller motif for filling in during the joining up phase.  These can be very elegant but not necessarily easy to wear. 

There are no pictures this time.  We all know what a circle looks like and with this few  methods, I didn't deem it necessary.

Go forth and knit or crochet.  Have you chosen your shape?  How about a stitch pattern?  Many of the stitches I'm sharing here during the #yearofcrochetstitches and #yearofknitstitches can be used successfully for almost any shawl shape.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 32 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Cat's Paw Lace and Crowns Lace

Cat's Paw Lace

Multiple of 7 sts

Row 1: Purl to the end of row.
Row 2
: K1, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, S1, K1, PSSO, K1, repeat across to end of row.
Row 3
: Purl to end of row.
Row 4
: K2tog, YO, K3, YO, S1, K1, PSSO, repeat across to the end of row
Row 5: Purl to the end of row.
Row 6
: K2, YO, S1, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K2 repeat across to the end of row.
Rep R1 - 6 until you have a square, ending R5.

Crown Lace

With this stitch pattern we can feel like a princess.

Day 31 a Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Openwork Leaf Pattern and Leaf Stitch

Openwork Leaf Pattern

This is a close relative of the openwork diamonds from 2 days ago.  Both are fabulous.  This one reminds me of the leaves of the greenery sometimes included with roses one sometimes gets for Valentine's day, birthdays or Mother's day.

Multiple of 8 + 1

R1: (WS) and all other wrong side rows - P
R2: k1, * yo, k2, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k2, yo, k1.  Rep from *
R4: k1, * k1, yo, k1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1, yo, k2. Rep from *
R6: k1, * k2, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3. Rep from *
R8: k2tog, * k2, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl 1, k2tog, psso; rep from * ending last rep ssk instead of sl 1, k2tog, psso.
R10: k2tog, * k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, sl 1, k2tog, psso; rep from * ending last rep ssk instead of sl 1, k2tog, psso
R12: k2tog, * yo k5, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso; rep from * ending last rep ssk instead of sl 1, k2tog, psso.

Leaf Block

Leaf (make 4 worsted weight or 8 sport or fingering weight)

Ch 6.
Rd1: Working around the chain, sc in 2nd and 3rd ch, 2 hdc in next 2 ch, 3 dc in last ch, 3 dc in same ch as 3 dc, 2 hdc in next 2 ch sc in last 2 ch.  Join with sl st.
Rd2: ch 4, dc, hdc, sc in first sc, 2 hdc, dc, tr in next sc, dc, 3 hdc, dc in first hdc, hdc, dc, tr, in hdc, dtr, tr, dc, hdc in dc, hdc, sc in dc, ch 4, sl st in each ch, work back to the tip following the reverse of the first side.

Join the tips of the leaves to form a "snowflake" shape. 

Block:  Ch 23
R1: Dc in 4th ch and each remaining ch.  Ch 3, turn.
R2: Dc in 2nd st and each remaining st, dc in top of turning chain.

Rep R2 until you have a square.  Make 1 or as many as needed to finish your project.  Tack the leaves to the block at the outward and inward points plus the tip of the stem.

This is a great scrap square.  Make each leaf either a different shade of green or different autumnal colors.  Join and border with either browns or greens.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Day 30 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

English Mesh and V stitch

English Mesh

Popular, Pretty, what more could we ask for?

Multiple of 6 plus 1

R1: (wrong side) and all other wrong side rows - P
R2: k1, * yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from *
R4: k1, * yo, k1, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1, yo, k1; rep from *
R6: k1, * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1; rep from *
R8: k2, * (k1, yo) 2x, k1, sl 1, k2tog, psso; rep from * to last 5 sts, end (k1, yo) 2x, k1, ssk

Rep R1 - 8 until you have a square or you have reached the desired length


V is for Valentine's Day, V is for Victory.  Sometimes these are viewed as the same thing.

Multiple of 3  plus 4

Ch the desired number of sts

R1: in 5th ch from hook, dc, (ch4 counts as dc and ch 1), * sk 2 ch, (dc, ch1, dc) in next ch.  Rep from *
R2: sl st into ch 1 sp, ch 4, dc in same ch 1 sp, * in next ch1 sp, (dc, ch1, dc).  Rep from *

Rep R2 until you have a square or desired length

Day 28 A Year of Stitches

Todays Stitches will be

Diamond Medallion Pattern and Diamond Puffs

Diamond Medallion Pattern

Panel of 19 sts.

This is a slight elaboration on Mrs. Montague's pattern.  It also uses 3 types of decreases to make the pattern shine.  Try it with just one after to see the differences.  This panel can also be made into a whole fabric by making each panel one repeat.

R1:  (WS) P
R2: K
R4: k7, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k7
R6: k6, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k6
R8: k5, (k2tog, yo) 2x, k1, (yo, ssk) 2x, k5
R10: k4, (k2tog, yo) 2x, k3, (yo, ssk) 2x, k4
R12: k3, (k2tog, yo) 3x, k1, (yo, ssk) 3x, k3
R14: k2, (k2tog, yo) 3x, k3, (yo, ssk) 3x, k2
R16: k1, (k2tog, yo) 3x, k5, (yo, ssk) 3x, k1
R18: k2, (yo, ssk) 3x, k3, (k2tog, yo) 3x, k2
R20: k3, (yo, ssk) 2x, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2x, k3
R22: k4, (yo, ssk) 2x, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, (k2tog, yo) 2x, k4
R24: k5, (yo, ssk) 2x, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2x, k5
R26: k6, yo, ssk, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k2tog, yo, k6
R28: k7, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k7
R30: k8, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k8

Rep R1 - 30 until you have a square or desired length. 1 Repeat should be a square.

Diamond Puffs

These sound like they should be a breakfast cereal

Multiple of 4 plus 2

Popcorn: 4 sc in st, drop loop from hook, insert hook in first sc of 4sc, hook dropped loop and pull through. ch 1, pc made.  Popcorns can be sc thru to tr.  Number of sts can be 4 or as many as desired.

R1: sc in 2nd ch and in each remaining ch, ch 1, turn
R2: (RS) - sc in sc; * ch1, sk next sc, pc in next sc, sk next sc, sc in next sc; rep from * across, ch 1, turn.
R3: sc in first sc and in next ch 1 sp; *ch 1, sc in next ch 1 sp; rep from * across, ch 1, turn
R4: sc in first sc and in next ch 1 sp, * pc in next ch 1sp, sc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; rep from * to last 2 sc, sk next sc, sc in last sc, ch 1, turn.
R5: sc in first sc and in next ch 1 sp; * ch 1, sc in next ch 1 sp; rep from * to last sc, sc in last sc; ch 1 turn.
R6: sc in first sc, ch 1, pc in ch 1 sp; * sc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1, pc in next ch 1 sp; rep from * to last 2 sc, sc next sc, sc in last sc; ch 1, turn.

Rep R3 - 6 for the pattern until you have a square or you have reached the desired length.

Day 29 A Year in Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Openwork Diamonds and Diamonds Block

Openwork Diamonds

This is a very old lace and there are many variations.  This version is common.

Multiple of 8 + 1

R1: (WS) and all other wrong side rows - P
R2: k1, * k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k2; rep from *
R4: k1, * k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1; rep from *
R6: k2tog, * yo, k5, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso; rep from *, end last repeat ssk instead of sl 1, k2tog, psso.
R8: k1, * yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from *
R10: k1, * k1, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k2; rep from *
R12: k1, * k2, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k3; rep from *

Rep R1-12 until you have a square or desired length

Diamond Blocks

Multiple of 10 + 7

shell:  (dc, ch5, dc) in specified st

R1: dc in 4th ch from hook and next 3 ch, * sk 2 ch, shell in next ch, sk 2 ch, dc in next 5 ch; rep from * across; ch 3 (counts as dc of following row), turn.
R2: dc in next 4 dc, * ch 2, sc in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, dc in next 5 dc; rep from * across, ch 3, turn.
R3: sk next dc; * shell in next dc, sk 2 dc, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in sc, 2 dc in ch 2 sp; sk next 2 dc; rep from * across to last 5 dc, sk 2 dc, shell in next dc, sk next dc, dc in turning ch; ch 4;(c0unts as dc ch 1) turn.
R4: * sc in 3rd ch of shell, ch 2, dc in next 5 dc, ch 2; rep from * to last shell, sc in 3rd ch of shell, ch 1, dc in 3rd ch of turning ch; ch 3, turn.
R5: dc in next ch 1 sp and in next sc, 2 dc in ch 2 sp; * sk 2 dc, shell in next dc, sk 2 dc, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in sc, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, rep from * to last ch 2 sp, 2 dc in ch 2 sp, dc in sc, dc in 4th and in 3rd ch of turning ch, ch 3, turn.

Rep R2 - 5 for pattern until you have a square or you reach desired length.

Day 27 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Antique Diamond Pattern and Diamonds in a Row

Antique Diamond Pattern

This is one of the oldest openwork diamond patterns.  It uses yos and decrease on both sides of the fabric in the Spanish fashion.

Multiple of 10 plus 1.

R1: (RS) - k1, *yo, ssk, k5, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from * across.
R2: p1, *p1, yo, p2tog, k3, p2tog-b, yo, p2; rep from *
R3: k1, * k2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3; rep from *
R4: k1, * k2, p1, yo, p3tog, yo, p1, k3; rep from *
R5: k1, * k2, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3; rep from *
R6: k1, * k1, p2tog-b, yo, p3, yo, p2tog, k2; rep from *
R7: k1, * k2tog, yo, k5, yo, ssk, k1; rep from *
R8: p2tog, * yo, p1, k5, p1, yo, p3tog; rep from *, ending last rep p2tog instead of p3tog.

Rep R1 - R8 until you have a square or desired length.

Diamonds in a Row

Diamonds wrapped all around a ring?  If this pattern is worked wide enough, then sewn together, it could make a very nice cowl.

Multiple of  6 + 1

Cluster: (cl) - keeping the last loop on each dc on hook, dc in each of next 3 dc; yo, draw through all 4 loops on hook. cl made.  This is the standard cl when specific directions are not given.

R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each rem ch; ch 4, (counts as dc and ch 1 of following row), turn.
R2: sk next 2 sts, 3 dc in next st, * ch 1, sk next 2 sts, dc in next st, ch 1, sk next 2 sts, 3 dc in next st; rep from * to last 3 sts, ch 1, sk 2 sts, dc in last st; ch 5 (counts as dc and ch 2 sp) turn.
R3: * cl over next 3 dc, ch 2, dc in next dc, ch 2; rep from * across. end last rep with cl over next 3 dc, ch 2, dc in 3 ch of turning ch; ch 1, turn.
R4: sc in first dc, * 2 sc in ch 2 sp, sc in cl, 2 sc in ch 2 sp; sc in next dc; rep from * across, end last rep with sc in last cl, 3 sc in ch 5 sp, ch 3, turn.
R5: dc in base of ch, ch 1, sk next 2 sc, 3 dc in next sc, ch 1, sk 2 sc, dc in next sc; rep from * across, end last rep with ch 1, sk 2 sc, 2 dc in last sc, ch 3 (counts as first dc of following row), turn
R6: dc in dc; ch 2, dc in next dc, * ch 2, cl over next 3 dc, ch 2, dc in next dc; rep from * across, end last rep with ch 2; holding back last loop of each dc, dc in last dc and in 3rd ch of turning ch (end cl made); yo and draw through 3 loops, ch 1, turn
R7: sc in end cl; * 2 sc in each ch 2 sp, sc in each dc and sc in each cl; rep from * across, end last rep with sc in last sc (sk turning ch); ch 4, turn.

Rep R2 - 7 for the pattern until you have a square or the desired length.

Day 26 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Little Lace Chain and Diamonds

Little Lace Chain

This is a panel of 8 sts.  This can be a fabric if repeated.  It will be a linear fabric.

R1 and all wrong side rows: (WS) - P.  **NOTE** On R5, work k1p1 in double yo of prev row.
R2: k1, k2tog, yo, twist next 2 sts (k2tog, but do not slip off, insert right needle tip between the two and k the first st. sl both sts from needle together), yo, ssk, k1
R4: k2tog, yo, k2tog, (yo) twice, ssk, yo, ssk
R6: k2, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k2.

Rep R1 - R6 until you have a square or you have desired length


With Valentines day coming up, it seems that diamonds, love and weddings are on my mind. 

Multiple of 5 + 1

Petal: (dc, ch3, sl st, ch 3, dc) all in one ch or ch sp

R1: (RS) - dc in 4th ch from hook; * ch 1, sk 4 ch, work petal in next ch; rep from * to last 2 ch, sk next ch, dc in last ch; ch 3, turn.
R2: dc infirst dc; * ch 1, work petal in ch 1 sp between next 2 petals; rep from * across, end last rep with petal in last ch 1 sp, sk next dc, dc in top of turning ch, ch 3, turn.

Rep R 2 for pattern.  Rep until there is a square or desired length is reached.

Final Row: sc in first dc; * ch 4, sc in ch 1 sp between petals; rep from * across, end last rep with ch 2, sk next dc, sc in top of turning ch.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 25 A Year in Stitches

Today's Stitches will be

Lace Chain and Delightful Diamonds

Lace Chain

Panel of 10 sts.

R1: (WS and all other wrong side rows) - P.  ***NOTE:  On row 7, work k1p1 in double yo of prev row.***
R2: k2, k2tog, yo, k2tog but do not slip from needle, insert RH needle between the sts just knitted tog and k 1st st again; then sl both from needle together; yo, ssk, k2.
R4: k1, k2tog, yo, k4, yo, ssk, k1
R6: k2tog, yo, k2, k2tog, (yo) twice, ssk, k1, yo, ssk
R8: k2, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k2
R10: k3, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k3

Rep R 1-10 until you have a square or desired length.  This panel can be multiplied to create an allover fabric but it will be linear in nature.

Delightful diamonds

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Multiple of 16 + 10

R1: RS - sc in 2nd ch from hook, * ch 5, sk 3 ch, sc in next ch, rep from * across, ch 5 turn.
R2: sc in first ch 5 sp, * ch 1, Vst in next sc, ch 1;  (sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 5) 3x, sc in next ch 5 sp, rep from * across, ending last rep with sc in last ch 5 sp, ch 5, dc in last sc, ch 1 turn
R4: *sc in ch 2 sp of next Vst, ch 1, Vst in next sc, ch 1, sc in ch 2 sp of next Vst, (ch 5, sc in next ch 5 sp) 2x, ch 5, rep from * across, ending last rep with sc in ch 2 sp of next Vst, ch 2, dc in sc, ch 2 turn.
R5:sc in first dc, * ch 5, sc in ch 2 sp of next Vst **, (ch 5, sc in next ch 5 sp) 3x, rep from * across, ending last rep at **, ch 5, sc in turning ch loop, ch 5, turn.
R6: *sc in next ch 5 loop, ch 5, rep from * across, ending ast rep with sc in last ch 5 sp, ch 2, dc in last sc, ch 5 turn.
R7: rep R6, ending last rep with ch 2, dc in next ch 5 loop, ch 5 turn.

Rep R 2 - 7 until you have a square or desired length.

Vst is dc, ch2 dc in same st.  This is different from a standard Vst.

Day 24 A Year in Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Ribbon Stitch Cable and Lacy Mesh

Ribbon Stitch Cable

This is the "miscabled" cable.  It really is a stitch. 

Panel of 10 sts

R1:  WS and all other wrong side rows - k2, p6, k2
R2: p2, sl 3 to cable needle and hold in back, k3, k3 from cable needle, p2
R4 & 6: p2, k6, p2
R8: p2, sl 3 to cable needle and hold in front, k3, k3 from cable needle, p2
R10 & 12: p2, k6, p2

Rep R 1-12 until you have a square or reach desired size. 

Lacy Mesh

Multiple of 4 plus 2.

R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, and in each rem ch, ch 1.  turn.
R2: (RS) - sc in first sc, *ch2, sk 1 sc, cl in next sc, ch 2, sk 1 sc, sc in next sc, rep from * across, ch 5 (counts as tr and ch 1 sp), turn.
R3: sc in top of first cl, *ch 5, sc in top of next cl, rep from * across, ending last rep with ch 1, tr in last sc, ch 1, turn.
R4: sc in tr, *ch 2, cl in next sc, ch 2, sc in next ch 5 sp, rep from * across, ending last rep with sc in 3rd ch of turning ch, ch 5, turn.

Rep R3 & R4 for pattern.

CL =  * yo, insert hook, and draw up a loop to height of a dc, yo and draw through 2 loops; rep from * once.  yo and draw through 3 loops.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Day 23 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Mitered Knit and Mitered Crochet

Mitered Knit

This is also know as domino knitting and modular knitting.

Odd number of stitches.

Cast on twice the number of stitches needed plus 1.  Mark the center st.

R1:  K to one stitch before the center, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k to the end.
R2: k

Rep R1 and R2 until there is 1 st.

Mitered Crochet

Ch twice as many sts as needed plus 2.  Mark center sc

R1:  sc in 2nd and rest of the ch.
R2:  Sc to 1 st in front of marked st, sc3otg, sc to the end.

Rep R2 until there is 1 st left.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 22 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Eye of the Partridge and Hairpin lace

Eye of the Partridge

This is another popular slip stitch pattern utilized for heel flaps on hand knit socks.

Odd number of stitches.

R1: (RS) - * k1, sl 1 wyib.  Rep from * across, ending k 1.
R2 & 4: P
R3: k1, * k1, sl 1 wyib.  Rep from * across, ending k2

Rep  R 1 - 4 until you have a square or your project is finished.

Hairpin Lace

You will need a hairpin lace loom.

Place the tines of the fork 1 inch apart.

Use the instructions that come with the loom to create the strips.  Before removing the strip from the loom, run a strand of yarn along the tines in the loops to keep them in order and from getting lost.  Count the loops.  Make the same number of loops for each.  Create 5 strips.

Lay strip 1 & 2 side by side, hook one loop from the left through one loop on the right and go back and forth.
Lay strip 3 next to 2, hook 2 loops from the left through 2 loops on the right and go back and forth.
Lay strip 4 next to 3, hook 3 loops from the left through 3 loops on the right and go back and forth.
Lay strip 5 next to 4, hook 5 loops from the left through 5 loops on the right and go back and forth.

Attach yarn to a corner, sc in each loop along the side, * ch across to sc in the center sc, ch across to the joining, sc in the joining, ch across to sc in the center sc.  Rep from * across to the corner, sc in each loop along the side.  Rep from * across.  Join with sl st in top of the first sc.

Day 21 A year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Heel stitch and Broomstick lace

Heel stitch

This slip stitch pattern is named because it is used for heel flaps on hand knit socks and is really good for hard wear.

Odd number of stitches

R1:  (RS) - * k1, sl 1 wyib.  Rep from * across.  End k1.
R2: P

Rep these 2 rows until you have a square or your project is finished.

Broomstick lace

Hook you are using for the yarn, size 17 - 35 knitting needle

Multiple of 5.

Ch the needed number of sts.

R1:  holding the chain with the tail to the right, put the loop on the hook onto the knitting needle, * insert the hook in the next ch and draw up a loop, put on the needle.  Rep from * across.
R2:  *working under the first 5 loops, ch 1, 5 sc in the bundle of 5 loops, drop off the needle.  Rep from * across.
R3:  * put the loop on the hook onto the needle, insert the hook in the next sc, draw up a loop and put on the needle.
R4:  Rep R2.

Rep R2 & R3 until you have a square or finish your project.

Day 20 A year of stitches

Today's stitches will be

Star Rib Mesh and Tunisian Simple Stitch Reversed

Star Rib Mesh

Multiple of 4 sts + 1.

Row 1 (Wrong Side): purl.
Row 2: k1, *yo, sl 2 knitwise k1 p2sso, yo, k1; rep from *.
Row 3: purl.
Row 4: ssk, yo, k1, *yo, sl 2 knitwise k1 p2sso, yo k1; rep from *, end yo, k2tog

Repeat rows 1-4 until you reach your desired length.

Tunisian Simple Stitch Reversed

Again this can be done on any number of stitches and uses the same base row to get started.  With this particular stitch, you will hold the work as if to look down on the top of the hook to make it easier.

R2A:  * holding the hook in the back of the work and the yarn in the back of the work, insert the hook in the back vertical bar and pull up a loop, retain the loop.  Rep from * across to the last st.  End by inserting the hook between the left leg and the center of the ch st.
R2B:  ch 1, * wrap yarn around the hook and pull through 2 loops.

Rep R2A and R2B until you have a square or your project is finished.

Day 19 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Checkerboard Vandyke and Tunisian Purl Stitch

Checkerboard Vandyke

This looks like a checkerboard and some will say it resembles basket stitch or basket weave.  It depends on what your source is.  Barbara Walker is my go to off line.

Multiple of 8 sts.

Cast on the needed sts.

R1 - 4:  * k 4, p 4.
R5 - 8:  * p 4, k 4.

Rep these 8 rows for the pattern.  If you choose to use dimes and pennies and play checkers with someone special.  Flip to heads for kings. 

Tunisian Purl Stitch

Like the last 2 Tunisian stitches we explored, it can be done with any number of stitches.  It also uses the same base row as the first two. 

R2A: * pull yarn to the front of the work, insert hook horizontally under the front vertical bar, run yarn below the hook on the front, behind the head of the hook and draw up over the top of the hook to the front.  pull through the vertical bar.  Rep from * across to the last st.  Take yarn to the back of the work, insert the hook between the left leg and the center to pull up a loop.
R2B: ch 1, * wrap yarn around the hook, pull through 2 loops.

Rep R2A and R2B until you have a square or your project is finished.

The many ways to make a Square/Rectangular Shawl

Sparked by the conversation with my daughter in law about triangle shawls, my mind has charged to squares, rectangles and circles.  Square shawls and by extension, literally, rectangle shawls, are one of the basic shapes.  These are the easiest to make, mainly because they usually start at one end and go to the other.  Unless you have a lot of inadvertent yarn overs or dropped stitches, you will have straight sides.  Circles will be covered separately.

Like the triangles, there are a myriad of ways to create squares and rectangles.  For the time being, I will refer to squares only.  Rectangles are squares that have been stretched.  Just keep going if you need a rectangle.

The basic way to create a square is to start at the bottom or side and move to the opposite end until you have a square.  The hardest part is determining when a square has been reached.  Do I stretch it or not?  Do I finish the pattern repeat and make it slightly too long or work to the square and cut the pattern repeat off in perhaps an awkward place?

Another way to create a square is with mitering.  Either start on the long side and work each row shorter (from the center if a square, offset if for a rectangle) until there is one stitch left.  You can also go in the opposite direction and start at the point and increase out on each row.  Follow the same idea for the increases as was used for the decreases.

A third way to create a square is to work with mitering again but instead of 1 decrease/increase point, use four.  This can be done either row by row or in the round.  A rectangle can be created using 2 mitering points.  Starting at the out side edge and putting the miter at the 1/4 and 3/4 points of the stitch count, this creates a rectangle.  If you work the math correctly, you can work this from the center point out as well.

A fourth way to work this shape is going corner to corner.  This has been popular in some of the crochet groups on Facebook for a while.  Some have even come up with a way of making them graphgahns or putting a picture on while working from a corner to the opposite corner.  This shape can be also adapted to rectangles.  This can work with mitered squares as well as other modular types of knitting and crocheting.
Corner to corner (C2C) starting top
left or bottom right

Mitered Knit squares with Join as you go pick up
for all but the first block

A fifth way is to work in pieces.  Choose the motif shape you want, triangle, square, rectangle, octagon, whatever shape you think will make a beautiful shawl.  The shapes are then joined with either seams that are solid or openwork.

There is one other way to create a rectangle shawl.  It's as a parallelogram. This has one end point going straight out at the top and the bottom of the rectangle goes up to meet the part that goes straight out.  Then, on the other end, the bottom of the shawl goes out and the top corner of the rectangle goes down and out to meet the bottom line.  This is an easy wear shape and adds a bit of interest for the creator as well as the wearer.

Something about square shawls to consider is how you will be wearing it.  If you will be folding it, you will lose some of the definition of the lace.  Square shawls can be difficult to wear without folding.  Shawls can be a blessing while traveling however.  They can double as blankets if your room is too cool and you can't control the thermostat.  Shawls can be easy to stash in your purse or carry bag to pull out when you get cool even if no one else is feeling the temperature.  They can also work to keep the sun off you.

Day 18 A Year of Stitches

Today's stitches will be

Bee Stitch and Tunisian Knit Stitch

Bee Stitch

In this stitch, the b in k1b is knit in the row below.

Multiples of 2

Row 1: Knit all stitches.
Row 2: *K1, k1b; rep from * to end.
Row 3: Knit all stitches.
Row 4: K2, *k1b, k1; rep from * to last 2 stitches, k2.

Repeat rows 1 – 4 until you have reached your desired length.

Tunisian Knit Stitch

Any number of stitches

Ch the number of sts desired or needed for project.

R1A:  Working in the back bump of the chain, starting in the 2nd ch from the hook, draw up a loop.
R1B:  ch 1, * wrap yarn around the hook, pull through 2 loops.  Rep from * to the end.

R2A: * Insert hook to the left of the front vertical bar and the right of the back vertical bar under the horizontal ch, draw up a loop.  Rep from * across.  End by inserting hook between the left leg and the center of the ch 1 to draw up a loop.
R2B:  ch  1. * wrap yarn around the hook, pull through 2 loops.  Rep from * to the end.

Rep R2A and R2B until you have a square or your project is finished.

Finishing is done by sl st across working under the vertical bar.

Day 17 A year in stitches

Today's stitches will be

double knitting and Tunisian simple stitch

Double knitting

This is a style of knitting that creates a bag that is closed on the sides and the bottom.  The bag may or may not be able to be used as a bag depending on the techniques used to knit. 

Any number of stitches.

Cast on half the number of stitches needed for your project.  For mine, I will cast on 16 stitches.  Use smaller needles since the stitches will grow a bit.  Use a long tail cast on.

R1:  kfb across.
R2:  k2, * sl 1 wyif, k1.  Rep from * to the last 2 sts.  End k2

Rep R2 until you have a square.

Tunisian Simple Stitch

This is also known as shepherd's knitting and Afghan Stitch, among others.  It uses a long crochet hook, called a Tunisian Crochet Hook.  Use a hook larger than you normally would with a regular hook.  This can become very tight and feel like cardboard if you don't.

Ch the number of stitches you need for your project.

R1A:  working in the back bump of the chain, in the 2nd ch from the hook, pull up a loop and retain on the hook.  Continue along the chain this way.
R1B:  now we work the return pass.  ch 1. * wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through 2 loops. Rep from * to the end.

R2A: * insert the hook under the first vertical bar, draw up a loop and retain on the hook.  Rep from * across.
R2B: ch 1, *wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through 2 loops.  Rep from * to the end.

Rep R2A and R2B until there is a square or you have finished your project.

To finish: ch 1, sl st across, working under the vertical bars across.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 16 a year of stitches

Today's stitches will be linen stitch and Jacob's ladder.

Linen stitch

This is also known as fabric stitch.  It's named that due to the lack of stretch vertically and horizontally. It's also the strands that show when slipping that are reminiscent of woven linen fabric.

R1: * k1, sl 1 wyif. Repeat from *, end k1
R2: p1, * p1, sl 1 wyib. Repeat from *, end p1.

Repeat these two rows until you have a square.

Jacob's ladder

Multiple of 8 plus 9

Ch the number needed for a 4 inch square.

R1: sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across.  Ch 1 and turn.
R2: sc in first 4 stitches,  ch9, sc in next 8 sts, ch 9, sc in next 8 sts,  ch 9,  sc in last 4 sts. Ch 1, turn.
R3:  sc in each sc and in each ch. Ch 1 and turn.
R4: sc in first 4 sc, sk 9 sc, sc in next 8 sc, sk 9 sc, sc in next 8 sc, sk 9 sc, sc in last 4 sts. Ch 1, turn.

Repeat rows 2 - 4 until you have almost a square. Loop the loops thru loops from the beginning.  Repeat for the rest of the columns.

Sc across the end, capturing the tops of the loops to lock them in.  Fasten off.

Stash Appreciation, Part 1

I see these words a lot on the groups I'm part of on the internet.   On the internet primarily,  there is a lot of explaining being done.  My in real life groups have a more don't ask, don't tell policy mostly.

The questions I see being asked over and over are:

1) why do you need it?
2) where did it all come from?
3) how do you afford it all?
4) where do you keep it?
5) how do you keep your spouse/other family from getting wise?
6) what is the benefit of it?

I am choosing to start with 2.  Where did it all come from?  This is a mixed bag of answers personally, in real life groups,  and online. 

The basic answers are:
1) sales
2) gifts
3) thrift stores
4) Craigslist and other sites like it
5) auctions,  eBay and real life ones
6) "inheritance" from family and friends and others who know you knit or crochet such as church members, who have stopped for one reason or another and want the yarn to go to a good home
7) special trip or vacation purchase
8) impulse purchases
9) freecycle
10) winning lotteries of various types

And this just touches the tip of the iceberg of ways your stash can be built.

The questions of incredulity are the ones I see next most frequently.  Why and where do you keep it all?

The whys are varied but can be summed up in a few main reasons.   I like it. I'm storing away for lean times. I needed a  couple yards to finish a project and this whole big skein was left. I saw this new to me yarn and have to try it.  I'm going to sell .... and this is inventory for that. 

Recently my knitting guild held a topic just about organizing and storing stash.  I was one of the presenters.  You can organize however it makes sense to you.  Anyone who says you in your own home must do it their way either needs to be paying ALL of the bills or butt out.  If you share your stash, that is different. Input from all contributors and users should be considered.  Ok I'm down off the soap box.

Storing stash.... how much do you really have.  This is best done when alone.  Gather all the bags, skeins,  odd balls tucked away,  wips, ufos, hibernating projects and things needing frogged.  You can now see how much you have.  This can tell you what your oprions are for storage.  Will a couple of plastic totes do the job?  Do you need a whole room?

If you decide plastic totes are the answer for you, consider all implications.   How many will you need?  Am I willing to have that many stacked up and then unstack them because I need some from the bottom box?  If you have a lot,  consider the reclosable bags that air can be removed from.  They can save space in the totes.  Use smaller bags so you can see what's in each one.  These can also protect from insects and flooding.   It happens whether we want it or try to prevent it.  Can a second hand dresser be better use of space?  These can certainly be a nicer to look at option.  You can find lots of ways to change them up online.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day 15 a year of stitches

Today's stitches will be

Horizontal Herringbone and Crocodile Tears Stitch

Horizontal Herringbone

Multiple of 2 sts.

R1:  RS - * k2tog tbl, k 1st st, slip both off.  Rep from * across.
R2:  P2tog, p in 1st st, slip both off.

Rep R 1&2 until you have a square

Crocodile Tears Stitch

Ch multiples of 5 + 1.  You also need beads with a hole large enough to have 2 strands of yarn pulled through.

Turn and, working into the back loops, dc in 2nd ch from hook. Ch 1, *sk 2 ch, 2 dc into next st*. Rep from * to * across row.
Turn, sc at base of ch. Working around back of first post (not both of the posts, just the first one), 5 dc around the same post. Your stitches will stack on top of each other. Ch 2, pull loop through a bead, ch 2.

Rotate your work to go back up the other side and to finish your scale - working around the same singular post, fp stitch from the bottom of the stitch up to the top and work in 5 dc. One scale complete.
Sc into the top of the second post (right next to the one you've been working on) to hold everything you just did in place, and then continue working across the row.

Once you complete your row of scales, you need to set up another foundation row before you begin your next set of scales: ch 1 at the end of your scale row, turn, sc into the base of the ch. Sc into the middle of the scale, 2 dc into the top ch in between scales. Continue across row.
When you reach the end of the row, ch 1, turn and work across, making scales.