Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Not Beary Good

I've been playing with a pattern for a knit bear, but I just haven't got it right yet. Here are a couple prototypes. Actually, they're quite adorable, in an amateurish way that just screams, "Homemade!" Not quite the look I'm going for.

I've been using the stockinette (flat) stitch because I like that it looks needle knit, and I don't like how the twisted knit (e-wrap) stitch looks different when you knit back and forth vs. knitting in the round. These bears use both techniques. Of course, the stockinette stitch has a lot more shrinkage. The bigger bear had the arms and legs made on the KK orange flower loom, but I'm not happy with the leg attachments to the body. The smaller bear had the legs made as flat pieces on the blue loom, still using 12 pegs for each leg, then knitting in the round for the body. It's a smoother transition, but the legs are skinnier, and I don't like the weakness of the crotch. The head needs to be much bigger; the proportions all around need tweaking. I'm going to think on this some more, maybe use looms with more pegs?

Meanwhile, I'm working on some slipper and mittens patterns that also need tweaking.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

$2 Treasure?

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later -- looms showing up at garage sales and in thrift stores. I found this Knit-A-Round today, for $2! Since it retails for $19.99, the price was right, though it is missing the Easy-Knit needles. The gauge is larger than the yellow Knifty Knitter loom; the diameter of the ring of pegs is just a little smaller than the yellow loom, and it has 32 pegs (the red KK has 31). Appropriately, the instructions recommend using Jiffy (super bulky) yarn.

To date, I've been focused on the KK looms, as they are readily available, reasonably priced, and I teach at Michaels, who requires that class supplies be available in their stores. Sometimes, however, I wish there were more gauge choices.

I haven't played with the Knit-A-Round yet. It would be interesting to do a comparison by making hats on the red and green looms and the KAR. I'm not sure how I'd like the topless pegs. Well, sometime when I'm between projects and want something fairly quick and mindless to do...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Wine Bottle Gift Bag

Another Michaels instructor shared how to make this gift bag for a wine bottle. I love how elegant it looks. I plan to offer this project as a beginning level class. The key is the Paton's Brilliant yarn. It's basically a long skinny hat (blue KK loom) with an I-cord woven in at the cast-on edge.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What kind of yarn?

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Mohair. You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes.
Take this Quizilla quiz!

LOL, I stubbornly prefer to think I fix my mistakes instead of covering them up!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Piqué Stitch

I found this stitch pattern in a vintage knitting book in a used book store. It's a simple combination of knit and purl stitches. The knitting instructions given had you purl everything except the texture knit stitches. On the loom, I think it's easier to knit everything and purl the texture, and make the 'wrong' side the 'right' side!

I put stitch markers of one color on pegs 5, 15, 25, etc. and stitch markers of another color on pegs 10, 20, 30, etc. I e-wrapped all pegs except those with the first color stitch marker; those got purled. After eight rows, I switched and only purled those pegs with the second color stitch marker. You can make the textured bars be closer or further apart by adjusting which pegs get stitch markers, and longer or shorter by adjusting the number of rows. For variety, you can knit a row or two with purl stitches on all marked pegs, or have a row or two in between switch-offs where you don't purl any pegs. The above sample is part of an afghan strip, which I think is a good application for this stitch.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bow stitch and book update

My editor identified the stitch my Grandmother used for the purse; it's called a bow stitch. She gave me directions for needle knitting, and I managed to recreate it on the loom.

Some updates on my upcoming book: The wholesale release date has been moved up to December 15! Before Christmas! It probably won't be in stores before Christmas, but it will be available for purchase. I'll be setting up advance order capability on the Loom Knitting website.

Because of space considerations, several projects needed to be cut -- a hat, a scarf, and the sweater. The publishing company owns the rights to those patterns, so I can't make them available. They could show up in a future book or magazine though...

I've had lots of ideas for new stitch patterns for the looms. Here's one I think is a keeper:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Grandma's Purse

Isn't this the coolest purse? My sisters gave it to me today. It was knit by my paternal Grandmother in the summer of 1977, as best we can pinpoint. (My Mom claims I get my creativity from her.) She made one for each of her granddaughters, and today I finally got mine! I love the stitch pattern that looks like butterflies, but I have no idea what the pattern is called. As my sisters predicted, one of my first comments was to wonder how I could reproduce it on the loom. I'll definitely work on that!

The yarn is a rough nylon texture. I can't wait to make this with some of today's fun bulky yarns.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

And the fair is over

Tonight I was able to pick up all my fair entries, and the premium check. What fun, to get a little money, along with the ribbons! I found out that my little ornament that got a red ribbon was the only entry in the knitted ornament class, and it still didn't get a first, LOL! In the scarf & shawl class, where I got a first and third, the second place entry was a black fancy fur scarf with bright colored kernals.

I also helped close the 4-H silent auction. The green Flexible Scarf went for a high bid of $14, and the blue Summer Nights shawl went for a high bid of $20.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I can't believe it, nearly everything yarn I entered in the County Fair took a ribbon! (And it was all loom knitted.) For some reason, I feel vindicated about the sweater. Maybe it's because I worked so hard on it. The pattern for this will be in my book Learn New Stitches on Knitting Looms due out in late December.

You saw this hat in progress a few days ago. Here's how it looks finished. (Recognize that white ornament in the background? That's my prototype for the free pattern on the website!) I wasn't even going to enter a hat, as all my show choices are with my editor right now, but I finished this up at the last minute. First place was a mohair & ribbon yarn combination. I think it has more eye appeal than my entry. Anyway, look for the pattern for my hat to be on the website next week.

I loved designing this scarf. It's available in the Three Scarves pattern on the website. Not only did it take a blue (best in the scarf & shawl class), but it got a purple (best in the knitting division)!

My skirt and shell top set took third and second in their classes ("not specified" and shell top/vest),

my kitty (in the novelty yarn class) didn't place at all, and my adult-size basic e-wrap Thick and Quick afghan rightfully took second to this beautiful basketweave baby afghan.

This is my favorite of all the yarn entries, a felted basket. I haven't been that attracted to felting, but this reserve champion piece could sure change my mind!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kitty, Kitty

Things are calming down; the book is in my editor's capable hands, the County Fair projects are done, and I'm getting around to my UFOs. I finished up this kitty last night, and my daughter's cat kindly posed with it, even hooking his tail to match the knit kitty! Both cats will be in the fair the week-end, mine in the novelty yarn class, hers in the 4-H cat show.