Friday, February 27, 2015
In August of 2013, I finished my Kate's Shawl. Because I had yarn left over, I made a hat and cowl to go with it.
On my Ravelry project page, I posted a final sentence, that has finally nudged me out of my complacency, to write out the pattern I "unvented" for the hat. A few people have DM-ed me and requested it. I meant to do it last year when the weather became cold, here in the north east, but I broke my wrist and wasn't keyboarding much. We have had snow a few times a week recently, and each time I have worn this hat, it has whispered in my ear, "Write out the pattern, write out the pattern, write out the pattern." So, I'm finally doing it.
If you knit or attempted to knit the Kate's Shawl pattern from Red Heart, you very quickly discovered that the pattern stitch written does not work with the yo increases. As written, the two sides of the shawl have different patterns. I am so thankful that Ravelry user lizacorrea noted the modifications she used to create the fabric for this cape, as pictured on the Red Heart pattern page. You can find those mods here.
When it came to making the hat, those mods weren't necessary because there were no yo increases. The following pattern is what I used. It's extremely customizable. Swatch to get the density/stretch you like.
Kate's Shawl Hat Downloadable .PDF
PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE PATTERN BEFORE YOU KNIT
Red Heart Soft: 2 oz/6 gr for average woman's hat - swatch not included
Needles: 2 US 6/4.0 mm 24" circular needles OR a single circular for head circumference size [stretched to 21"] OR long circular for magic loop OR 4 or 5 dpns - type of needle is knitters' choice
Marker: 1 removable to mark 1st stitch of the round, 5 to mark decreases
Gauge: 18 stitches x 24 rows IN PATTERN STITCH = 4"
Row 1: (Right Side) *K1, slip 1, k1, yo, pass slipped st over both knit st and yo, k1; repeat from * across.
Row 2: Knit
**In the original pattern this row was a purl row, but since you will be working in the round, you will still be working on the "front" of the hat, so you knit.
Repeat rows 1 and 2
Cable Cast On 84 stitches (or any multiple of 4 stitches to achieve the gauge you like)
Join: If using 2 circs, slide half the stitches to the second needle.
Straighten your stitches, hold the needles next to each other and slide the stitches on both needles to the opposite ends (where the first and last cast on stitches are, not the center of your cast on stitches) I never thought of photographing these early steps as I improvised this hat
Lift the first cast on stitch (with the loose yarn end) off its needle tip and onto the other needle tip.
Lift the stitch next to the stitch you just moved, which is the last cast on stitch (with the working yarn) over the first stitch you moved, and onto the other needle.
Result: the first and last cast on stitches have switched needles, which connected your work. This is where you want to re-examine that your stitches are all sitting properly on the needles, without any twists. If you find problems, fix them and take a deep breath. It's easy sailing from here.
Ribbing: K1, attach marker to the stitch you just made, K1, P2 *K2 P2* to end
Continue in the K2 P2 rib to length of 1.5 inches (or any length you like, if you have extra yarn)
Hat: Begin Pattern Stitch, alternating Row 1 and Row 2. Continue in the round, moving the beginning of the row marker as necessary until hat and rib measure 5.5 " or 4" longer than the ribbing. If you prefer a slouchy hat, knit longer. Transfer End with Row 2
Decreases: Count your stitches, divide that number by 6. (example 84 divided by 6 = 14) If you don't get a whole number, no worries - fudging on top of your head is allowable. place 5 markers (M) ever 1/6 of the circumference of the hat (no need for the first stitch)
Row 1: *K2tog, continue in pattern until M*
Row 2-12 repeat Row 1, 11 more times - total of 12 decrease rounds.
6 stitches remain
Cut long yarn so you have a 10" tail. Thread it on a needle and sweep through the 6 stitches left on the needles. go through a second time if you can. Pull tightly. Knot on the inside.
Finishing: Weave in ends and enjoy your hat. Wear it with Kate's Shawl or with anything else.
I enjoy wearing this hat because it's stretchy and has just enough texture to be interesting but understated.
If you find any errors here, forgive me and let me know. I'll revise the pattern. I didn't make any notes when I knit Kate's Hat, 2 years ago. If I make another - which I'm entertaining, and devise any improvements, I will amend the pattern.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
So, while I was frustrated and convalescing with the wrist fracture that changed my life, i was kind of antsy. I couldn't play guitar to any level of satisfaction, was very limited with knitting or crochet, yet I wanted to make something. I like to cook, but that wasn't what I was yearning for. Forget baking - teeny oven in a teeny apartment.
The answer was cards. Not playing Bridge or Gin Rummy, but making cards.I don't take and print too many pictures, so scrapbooking, as creative as it is, just isn't for me. But a little creation, made of papers, embellishments, stamped, textured and/or otherwise adorned caught my fancy. My interest was further piqued when the MGs and I went to a Scrapbook Expo. Again, the scrapbooking wasn't that appealing, but the card making, that was a perfect fit.
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know I'm a real card mailer because I love to use my various sealing wax seals.
I have been developing my skill, little by little and accumulating tools and supplies.
The cards I created at first were extremely basic. I used stamps and some punches as well as any embellishments that seemed right.
A pretty simple thank you
A little more embellished welcome card
When I got a Vintaj die cutting machine, it was a real blessing and freed my creativity. It enabled me to use shapes within the composition.
This is a marvelous tool. I have to be careful. Once I begin playing with it, I can't stop!
The advent of die cutting allowed motion and 3-dimensionality in my cards.
Still simple, but using more techniques
By the time Christmas rolled around I made some sets of cards as gifts, which I'll post at another time, and the Christmas card I made my honey, E-Rex was probably my most adept creation up to that point.
This card is a bit more interesting than those before, with a balsa wood panel, 3-D inside sentiment, some sparkle, embossing, pigment ink etc.
Here is my latest. Again, for E-Rex - his Valentine's Day card.
Using more dimension and layers.
I was trying to determine what attracts me to this new found craft so much. I think it's because it's like making an art quilt - just smaller and faster. I enjoy the whole aspect of composition and layout. There are several techniques I'm interested in learning and mastering such as stenciling and using watercolors.
In future, I will upload the slide show to my cards. I'll do my best to put them in chronological order.
My next project is to organize my work space a little better.
I finally completed a UFO that was hanging around too long. (See blog post Mojo Killer Slain or Finally an FO for the reasons, if you're interested.)
This was an afghan I made for a young couple from church, who were married in May. I wanted to make them something and thought, afghans are pretty universal. My only previous afghan experience was with the Summer Baby Blanket, made for my friend Rossi's baby, a couple summers ago. I was a knitter before I was a crocheter, and although my experience with crochet isn't too long, I have gained a lot of confidence. I don't ever look at a crochet project and think, "I could never make that." I'm at the point where my only limitation is my interest - and that's a comforting place to be.
Generally, per square inch, crochet is much faster than knitting, so I decided that Stephanie and Jay were going to receive a crocheted afghan. I looked through some crochet patterns I queued on Ravelry and found Sunny Spread in the Jan/Feb 2008 Crochet Today! magazine.
It's by Ellen Gormley, who writes great crochet patterns, teaches, authors books and blogs. I have seen her teach on the Knit and Crochet Now! TV show - which is now, a netcast.
I liked the pattern because, done in a neutral, it has a contemporary, sophisticated look and will go with just about any decor.
I don't know Steph and Jay's taste. When I mentioned to a few people, that I was going to make them an afghan, they told me about the still-hideous granny square afghans they received in bizarre colors. Their reactions made me think, "Okay then, granny squares are out," which I never really entertained. They inoculated me, just in case.
The pattern called for SuperSaver yarn. It's a great economy (budget) acrylic, but even after laundering, it's a bit stiffer than I like for an afghan. I used a premium acrylic, because I can't assume the newlyweds will be inclined to hand wash and flat dry a wool afghan. I have had good experiences with Knit Picks Brava worsted, so that's what I used. It's extremely soft and smooshy after washing. I chose the color cream, which is more ecru than it appears in my photos.
When I swatched, I tried to use a J hook, but although I got gauge, I didn't like the fabric well enough. It was a little stiffer than my idea of an afghan. I went up to a K. It was a little better, but I didn't settle on the drapability of the swatch until I made it with an 8 mm L hook.
The afghan took forever, but I enjoyed each and every motif I made. When I had finally assembled the 64 squares, not including the swatched motifs, I thought about modifying how I was going to connect the motifs. I thought about crocheting them together, but after all my drapability hijinks, I thought the crocheted connections would be too stable and inhibit drape. I resigned myself to whip stitching the motifs into rows and then whip stitching the rows together, as Ellen's instructions direct.
The resulting afghan appears seamless and the whip stitching was fiddly but not terrible.
AFter weaving in the last end, laundering it, and attaching my label, I made a "fix it" bag" and the project was really and truly done.
I emailed the bride's mom, for the couple's address, in Seattle, so I could mail the 9 month late wedding gift. She replied that the lovebirds were here in Jersey and I could give it to them at church this morning. Great! I didn't have to mail it. Not great!! Church was cancelled because of icy roads and bad weather. I guess I'll need that address after all.
Friday, February 20 (2015) marked one year since fracturing my left wrist. That's a pretty simple statement and a plain sentence, but it doesn't begin to capture the profundity of it.
I won't bore you with reiterating the whole, life-long guitarist with a broken left wrist thing. If you've been reading about Bono never playing guitar again since his wrist fracture, you get the drift. I can hold and so-called, "play," but I can't really play anymore.
Aside from the professional and personal pursuit of my whole life dying in a way, some collateral damage from breaking my wrist was that my beloved yarn crafts also suffered. My therapist encouraged me to do my knitting and crochet therapeutically, as tolerated. And it took quite a while to tolerate long periods of knitting or crocheting. All the effects of the broken wrist were literally, depressing.
It seemed as though I was working on Ellen Gormley's Sunny Spread, which is now a free pattern from Red Heart, forever. I began it in late December of 2013, after Christmas, as a gift for a young couple from church who were getting married in May of 2014. I thought I would have plenty of time to finish it. Crochet goes quickly. Right???
After splint and casts and tons of physical therapy, I gradually rehabbed enough to crochet for limited periods in which I could actually get something done. Every time I looked at my WIPs, which morphed into UFOs in my mind, I felt so sad and as though even thinking about ever finishing them, was futile. I repeatedly tried to set dates by which I would complete them. When that wasn't working for me - in fact, causing me all kinds of distress, I resigned myself to that the very late gift would be completed when it was completed - hopefully before the couple's first anniversary, in May. I couldn't even think about the other projects.
Everything changed on Thursday, February 19th. I wove the last end into Stephanie and Jay's Sunny Spread afghan.
detail from Sunny Spread
I couldn't believe I had finally finished it. It was late in the evening, and I had been at it for a while. To my surprise, the first thing I did, after setting the FO aside to be laundered prior to giving it to the newlyweds, was to pull the 2 WIPs, which had been in hibernation.
I had stored them somewhere out of sight, because every time I looked at them I had a swell of emotions - not good ones - which were usually accompanied by tears. This whole past year has been an emotional roller coaster.
I have already resumed happy, mindless knitting on my Clincher bandana, which I thought I'd be wearing this winter, but perhaps it will be finished before spring weather arrives. The block-of-the-month KAL afghan I tried to knit during the summer and couldn't, has renewed appeal to me. I still like it and will definitely finish it.
So, I'm encouraged to report that the mojo killer (my late wedding present, which seemed to take forever to crochet) Sunny Spread has been laid to rest, and with it, I am sincerely looking forward to finishing my WIPs and beginning some new projects. I think that because I completed the project before the anniversary of my injury, in some way, it made a difference. Sort of like the psychological difference between the prices of $9.99 and $10.00.
If your mojo has been killed by some external influence, I hope you will be able to climb out of the fog, and have your zeal and attitude refreshed. For me, it took getting that project done before the 20th. I feel like I can breath again, and that my gloom is lifting.
For info and photos of my Sunny Spread project, it will be my next post.