Kids Cats & Knitted Hats

This is my little spot to share the things I'm learning to do with my knitting looms.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dishcloth Mania

Whew! I finally have a chance to post. Flylady has been keeping me busy this week! You can see what I've been doing here.

We spent last weekend in Myrtle Beach for my younger son's national basketball championship. We had lots of fun, but we didn't get to spend much time at the beach -- too busy running to different gyms for games.

We made it to the beach Friday afternoon. Te'Quan, the big guy on the left, had never seen the ocean before, so it was a treat sharing his first beach experience with him. My son Kyle coaxed him into the water, but he was a little freaked out by the waves and the saltiness of the water, and he definitely didn't like the sand on his wet skin.

He's our "gentle giant" -- 12 years old, 6'4" and almost 200 pounds. Wow! He was our almost-adopted son this season, traveling with us to all of the tournaments. What a sweetie. You can see how he dwarfs Kyle (and everyone else, including the coaches!).

Our older son had no complaints about the beach. He enjoyed relaxing and tanning.
We visited "Fun World" which had miniature golf and go carts. I think we made it through 9 holes of mini golf before the guys became totally bored with it. The go carts were a big hit!

One of the highlights of the weekend was our visit to Medieval Times, where we ate "baby dragon" and other fine delicacies (okay, so it was chicken, ribs, potatoes, soup, and apple turnovers) with our hands and watched a stunning contest between six handsome knights on beautiful horses.

How did we do in the tournament? We came in 9th place, but the good news is that the only two teams who beat us were the two teams who played each other in the championship game. If you have to lose, might as well lose to the champs!

On the knitting front, while we were at the beach I had plenty of time to knit. I wanted to work on something that would allow me to take a smaller loom, so I decided to work on some dishcloths. I am completely hooked on these darling cotton squares!

I used two looms to make the cloths -- my fine gauge 12" AJAL and my Wonderloom. The fine gauge makes them a little too tight for my taste, especially after they have been washed. But since many of the patterns call for more than 35 stitches, I made most of them on my fine gauge loom.

I've knitted a couple of patterns that Loomin Cat has converted for the looms.

This is the teacup pattern, knitted backward! I cast on left to right and started row one on the right (going toward the left). Nope -- gotta do it the other way. I did it again and here's what I got:

Yay me -- it's right!

So then I did a musical note:

. . . a turtle (this one was done on my small gauge Wonderloom):

. . . and one with three crosses (you can't see the crosses very well; I should have used a solid yarn):

We had our knitting group today; only three ladies were able to come. Instead of doing a drawing as I had planned (to give one of the dishcloths away), I just gave each lady there one. They seemed to love them.

I ordered a dishcloth rake from Loomin Cat this week, and I'm so excited to get it.

I'm going through my Knitting Stitch Bible and 1000 Great Knitting Motifs books to get ideas for other dishcloths. I charted a pattern for a butterfly and am working on writing it up (I like working from charts, but for the dishcloths it's faster for me to read a pattern). As soon as I finish it and my rake arrives, I'll knit it and share the pattern if it turns out well.

Okay, I have to stop playing now and get to work. I received a shipment of jewelry this week that I have to get up on my website. After that, I think I'll play some more! LOL

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fair Isle Hat & a Lesson Learned

I made a hat using a fair isle pattern from my 1000 Great Knitting Motifs book. I used 60 pegs on the small gauge WonderLoom because the pattern is a 10-stitch pattern.
What lesson did I learn? It's about the way the yarn is carried or dropped when you're not using it.

The pattern is ten stitches wide and five rows. I used three colors -- red for the main color, black for the wavy stripes, and white for the designs. For the first ten rows of the pattern (which was two complete pattern repeats since the pattern was made up of five rows), I was following the pattern and for each row I was wrapping all red pegs (all pegs for red stitches) for the entire row. Then I would take the white yarn and wrap all white pegs, then all of the black pegs. Then I would knit off the entire row.

After that second set of pattern repeats, I had a light bulb moment. The yarn strands inside the hat were really long, and I figured there must be a way to keep that from happening.

So when I started the next set of pattern repeats, I wrapped and knitted off one peg at a time. If I had a series of three red stitches, I wrapped those three pegs and knitted them off. If the next stitch was white, I would give a little twist so the white yarn was under the red, wrap the peg for the white stitch and then knit it off. I found that the yarn strands were much neater this way. Here are some pictures of the results:

That's the inside of the hat. I did 10 rows the first way and 10 rows the second way.

Here are the yucky long strands that resulted from wrapping each color all the way around, one color at a time. No twisting of the strands means they're all just hanging there. Yuck.

Here's the result of twisting the strands so the ones that are carried longer get tucked under some of the other stitches. Much neater.

Next time I do one of these I'll remember to take pictures of changing colors and doing the little twist I described. If someone has a better way of doing it, please share it with me. I'd rather not reinvent the wheel if I don't have to (mine would come out square!).

We're off to Myrtle Beach tomorrow for my younger son's National Basketball Championship! It's about a 7-8 hour drive, so I'm hoping to stay awake long enough to get some serious knitting done. I'm sure our spare time will be spent on the beach or doing lots of fun "outdoorsy" things, but I'll find time to knit in the evenings before going to bed. Wish us luck down there!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Charted Colorwork Hat

I've been playing with my Wonderloom again. I absolutely LOVE this loom. I think it's probably my favorite now (at least when I'm not playing with one of the others!).

I made this hat using a charted pattern from my 1000 Great Knitting Motifs book that I purchased on Amazon. It was pretty easy, but I did have to really concentrate while I was doing it. It's a 14-stitch pattern, and I found it easier to mark every 14th peg on the loom to remind me when I came to the end of a pattern repeat. I think I made too many rows of ribbing; next time I'll stop at about an inch or so.

This is just a simple little hat for a baby with a diagonal stripe pattern. I had done this before on some larger hats and wanted to do another in pink.

Our church knitting group is having a blast! We meet every Thursday morning at 10:00 AM and knit / chat for about two hours. What a neat group of ladies we have! One of my knitting buddies brought me a huge bag to tote all of my stuff, and then she brought me a Swiffer Max. I'm going to adapt the Swiffer cover pattern to fit it and make some for both of us. Shhhh . . . don't tell her!

Back to the knitting group. Here are some of the things we've accomplished so far:

A bunch of baby hats for the NICU at our local hospital. We delivered a bag of about 38 hats last week. I tried to make some booties, but I just haven't gotten the hang of it yet. If they need booties, I'll BUY them! LOL

Look at this sweet little hat! One of our knitters made it and said she messed up on the top so she added the pompom. I wish you could see how teeny it is. It's just the cutest little thing ever. Some mommy is going to be thrilled!

Here's a bunch of hats that will be delivered with meals to the homeless in the fall when the weather starts to get cooler. Our goal is to have 100 hats & scarves ready for delivery in October. So far we have 23 hats and just a handful of scarves, so we've got some work to do. I went today and bought a bunch of Red Heart Super Saver yarn on sale at AC Moore, so I'll start on the scarves next week.

Can you believe I'm still working on the boys' afghans? Here's Josh's on the 48" Infinity board. I'm on the sixth stripe, and boy is he rushing me to finish it! It's going to be so warm and much softer than I thought. I've only finished two complete stripes on Kyle's and just added the yarn for the third stripe last night. I'm doing his on the 80" Infinity Rake in garter stitch. I LOVE the way it's coming out. I'm already planning my next project on this loom -- I want to do something with several different stitch patterns. It's going around in my mind; I'll have to get it on some chart paper and start playing!

I've been flying with FlyLady for two weeks. I'm getting my house whipped into shape a little at a time. You can read about that over at my other blog. For now, I have to go do my "evening routine" and settle in with the guys for a movie. Thanks for reading!