Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Medley Scarf!

 Tulip Chart

Bumble-Bee Chart

I had so wanted to have the light summer scarf pattern finished to share before summer's end! I revised my original swatch. I thought that the trellis stitches on the sides were too much. The piece, in general, looked too busy. However, I still wanted to use a variation of the two stitch patterns that I came across in the Second (and Third) Treasury of Knitting Patterns, by Barbara Walker. I really liked the tulip and the bumble bee. Both, in my opinion, captured the idea of spring and summer.

My life, at present, is so hectic and full of interruptions, it's very difficult to find a quiet hour to knit. So, instead of having you all wait to try this scarf until I am able to knit it, I decided I'd post my charts and directions so that, perhaps, if your life is quieter than mine, you'll be able to knit it up before summer ends!

The design calls for fingering-weight yarn (I am using Knit Picks Palette in Bluebell) ... and a size US 7 circular needle with a 24" cord.

The bottom of the scarf will have a nice picot edge, so .... to start, use the knitted cast on to cast on six (6) stitches. Next, bind off  four (4) stitches. You've made your first picot. Continue casting on six stitches and binding off four until you have 48 stitches. (Which means, you will cast on 6 and bind off 4 for a total of 24 times.) If you'd rather not have the picot edge, you can always just cast on 48 stitches and go from there!

Before you begin the charts, seed stitch (beginning with a knit stitch) three rows. To make a little border edge, continue to knit in seed stitch the first and last three stitches of each row. For instance if you are on a knit row (right side), you will k1, p1, k1 on the first three stitches, then p1,  k1, p1 on the last three stitches. You'll begin your purl row (wrong side) with a p1, k1, p1 and end the row with k1, p1, k1. I hope this makes sense! Just follow the charts ... I've put these stitches in them.

After the three seed-stitch rows, begin the bumble-bee chart. Work the chart one time, then stockinette stitch 5 rows, beginning and ending with a purl row.
After the 5 stockinette rows, begin the tulip chart. When finished with all 26 rows of the tulip, stockinette stitch 5 rows (again, beginning and ending with a purl row). Begin the bumble-bee pattern again.

There are two directions to point out: When working the bumble-bee chart, on the purl rows, as you come to the double yarn overs, knit into the first yarn over, then purl into the second. I neglected to make the little dots on the knit stitches on the purl row that will follow the last row on the chart. Please excuse!!

On the tulip chart, there is a double decrease /|\ you will work this by slipping 2 stitches, knitting 1, then passing the two slipped stitches over. You will find this decrease on rows 18 and 26.

Continue knitting for as long as you'd like the scarf! I think it would look marvelous as a very long scarf, working at least 8 repeats of the charts, ending with the bumble-bee design. Again, seed-stitch three rows and then, if you'd like, work a picot bind-off  ... or just a simple bind off. You could add a fringe or tassels, if you'd like. I think that adding different-length strands of yarn with small crocheted or knitted flowers on the ends could be very quirky and cute.

To match the 4-stitch picot cast on, for the picot bind off:  Cable cast on 4 stitches, bind off 8 stitches. Slip the last stitch from the right-hand needle back to the left-hand needle. Repeat until all the stitches have been bound off.


Right Side:
blank square: knit
dotted square: purl
o - yarn over
/ - knit two together
\ - slip, slip, knit
 /|\ - slip two stitches, knit one, pass the two slipped stitches over

Wrong Side:
blank square: purl
dotted square: knit

Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm Back! Finally ... and with a Light Summer Scarf!

I know, I know. It's been ages and ages since I've last written ... or posted anything new to knit. I apologize!! And I thank you for sticking with me and checking back to see what's going on ... if anything!

Taking care of my elderly dad is a lot more time consuming than I ever realized ... that, along with our adult kids coming home, then going away again ... and our youngest getting ready to head off to college in a month, well ... it's just a lot! I've not had time to keep up this blog or try my hand at all the projects that are bubbling up in my brain.

When I get a free moment at night, I have been experimenting with knitting lace. Above, is a swatch I've knit and blocked. I combined several stitch patterns from the Barbara Walker knitting treasuries. The bottom starts with the "Bumble bee" pattern ... then above that I've modified a tulip border pattern into a tulip center motif ... and I've put an open work trellis stitch on the sides.  I'm excited about this design, because it's going to make a wide, airy scarf that will be perfect to dress up a plain shirt and slacks ... or even jeans, for a cool late-summer night out on the town. The bumble bee/tulip patterns are worked one after the other ... about 8 repeats in all ... the scarf will measure about 68-inches long after blocking.

I'll be posting the pattern soon ... and for anybody who thinks they can't knit lace ... well, think again! It's not difficult. There are just two things I think are important: FOCUS! and be sure to count your stitches every row.

More later! I promise!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Valentine's Day Fun!

Even though the Christmas season won't officially end until Epiphany on January 6, are you getting ready to un-decorate your Christmas tree? Have you carefully wrapped and boxed all your decorations and ornaments until next year? Feeling a little depressed about the end of all the holiday cheer? Well, why not work on a very simple, little Valentine project that's sure to please!

Yes! It's a little heart box, about 4 and 1/2 inches wide and about 2 inches tall. 

All you need are size US 8 double-pointed needles, a skein of red or dark pink or whatever color you'd like of 100% wool yarn (NOT superwash!) and a set of nesting heart cookie cutters like these from Wilton, ranging in size from 4 1/4 inches, 3 3/4 inches, 3 1/2 inches and 2 1/2 inches. My set actually has even smaller cutters, but I don't need those for this project. You won't really need the biggest one, either.
Other items necessary are a yarn needle and a bit of white yarn or embroidery floss. Because the heart box will have a nice, large space for embroidery, you might want to sketch out your design on water-soluble embroidery stabilizer first, then pin the design to the top portion of the box.
I sketched this rough little design on my embroidery stabilizer, using the heart cookie cutter as a template for size. Mine is based on an embroidery design from the JF Ingalls stamping catalog from 1886. All the designs are in the public domain. John Governale scanned all the images in for use, which are also in the public domain. Take a look here. You will get lots of great ideas! Remember though, always reserve the right to change your design as you go along ... Be sure you use BOILING (not just hot) water to remove the stabilizer!

So, are you ready?? Let's begin!

Knitted/Felted Valentine Heart Box
 by Anita M. Wheeless
Copyright 2013 Anita M. Wheeless
All Rights Reserved

Please read through all the directions first, just in case there's something you don't understand. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or hesitations! 

You will actually make four (4) pieces ... the top heart shape and the bottom heart shape are the same; however, the rest of the lid portion is different from the rest of the bottom of the box. Let's start with just the heart shapes.
You will be knitting back and forth on just two needles for these, but I like to use the double-pointed needles, anyhow.
Use any method you'd like to cast on 6 stitches.
Row 1: purl 1, increase (purling front and back), purl 4 (7 stitches in all)
Row 2: Knit 1, increase (knitting front and back), knit 5 (8)
Row 3: Purl 1, increase, purl 6 (9)
Row 4: Knit 1, increase, knit 7 (10)
Row 5: Purl
After you've worked to this point, cut the yarn and set this piece aside on its needle. You'll use it again in a minute. Taking a new needle, repeat the directions above; however, this time, when you've reached row 5, don't cut the yarn, instead, knit row 6 and when you've come to the end of it, pick up the other piece that you had worked and knit those 10 stitches on the same needle. You will now have two little bumps of the heart on one needle. Yes, there is a little hole or maybe two at the dip in the heart. Don't worry! This heart is easy to mend! You can see to that later, when you've finished the rest.
For now, let's continue making the heart.
Row 7: purl
Row 8: Knit
Row 9: Purl
Row 10: k1, slip, slip, knit, k14, k2together, k1
Row 11: p1, p2tog, p12, p2tog through the back loop, p1
Row 12: k1, ssk, k10, k2tog, k1
Row 13: p1, p2tog, p8, p2tog through the back loop, p1
Row 14: k1, ssk, k6, k2tog, k1
Row 15: p1, p2tog, p4, purl2tog through the back loop, p1
Row 16: k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1
Row 17: p1, p2tog, p2tog through the back loop, p1
Row 18: K1, ssk, k1
Thread a yarn needle with the same color yarn and gather the remaining three stitches onto it. Pull tightly and knot off. You can take small stitches with the yarn to close up any holes in the heart. Make another heart in just the same way. Now you'll have a heart for the top of the box and one for the bottom.

Let's finish the top of the box (the lid) ...
Using any method you'd like, cast on 42 stitches onto a double-pointed needle. Divide these 42 by knitting 14 onto each of three, double-pointed needles.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: Purl
Round 4: Purl
Bind off, purlwise.
Using the same color yarn and the yarn needle, securely stitch this piece to the sides of the heart, making sure to follow the shape as you stitch. Close up any gaps or remaining holes. This will be the lid of the box. You can set it aside for now.

Now for the Bottom of the Box:
Using two strands held together, and any method you'd like, cast on 42 stitches onto a double-pointed needle. Divide these 42 by knitting 14 onto each of three, double-pointed needles.
Rounds 1-15: Knit
Round 16: Purl
Bind off, purlwise.
Fold the piece over so that you've doubled it. Now, stitch this piece securely to the remaining heart shape. This will be the bottom and sides of the heart box. I like to use two strands held together to make it very stiff and sturdy. In fact, if you'd like, you could use two strands held together for the entire box. Again, be sure to close up any gaps or holes. Now, you're ready to felt!

Put your pieces in a zippered lingerie bag and put this in your washing machine, along with a few tennis balls or jeans or other item that won't give off lint (don't use towels!) ... set the washer for the smallest load and the hottest water ... and the MOST agitation. You should set a timer for increments of five minutes and go back and check on your pieces. Once they are felted pretty well (no stitch marks remaining or, if there are stitches showing, they should only just show faintly and, if possible, the stitches are adding to the decorative nature of the box), take the pieces out, rinse them under warm water and press into a towel to dry. NOW, take the cookie cutters and shape your wet felted pieces into the cookie cutters. Use the larger cutter for the box top and use the cutter along the outside. Place a smaller cutter inside the box top, as well. The bottom really only needs a cookie cutter inside to help shape it. Remember, wet felt is a lot like wet clay. Feel free to pull it, stretch it and mold it into the shape you want. Allow the cutters to stay in and around the heart-box pieces until completely dry, which may take a day or two.

When your pieces are completely dry, you'll see that the box top is the perfect little canvas for embroidery! Choose your design and, if you're using stabilizer, pin it to the top. I used two strands of floss held together and worked a chain stitch outline, surrounded by a series of French knots. The inside flower is made of a few daisy stitches. Experiment! 

VOILA: Your box is finished ... now, all you have to do is fill it with a wonderful surprise!