Monday, November 27, 2006

Rice Lake KidStop Part 2

The after school program at Rice Lake Elementary kindly invited me back, and asked me to teach the students the purl stitch. They want to make potholders/trivets as Christmas gifts, and want their flat knitted pieces to lay flat. The trick to that is, of course, to use a combination of knit and purl stitches. They will be using the garter stitch pattern, which alternates one row of knit stitches with one row of purl stitches.

I was very impressed with how easily this group of 3rd-6th graders learned the purl stitch! It usually took 1-2 tries with me looking over their shoulder chanting the 7-step mantra, "Through the loop, over the yarn, scrape the peg, make a big loop, take off the old loop, put on the new loop, pull the yarn." One of the teachers there today was one of my frequent students at Michaels, who helped get the Knifty Knitters into the school district, and we worked together with groups of four students at a time.

These kids have been using the looms for a while, and are very comfortable with the stockinette (flat knit) stitch, and the e-wrap (twisted knit) stitch. One of the girls stopped by Michaels this week-end when I was doing a demo. She was wearing a gorgeous scarf she had loom knit. It was an e-wrapped tube that she was wearing "wrong side" out, so it looked purled. She had used brightly colored variegated yarn which gave the appearance of diagonal stripes. I have some of the same yarn in my stash, and I'm going to have to make one up just to show off the picture!

The unexpected benefit of today's class is that my 11 yodd, who has steadfastly refused to do anything but the e-wrap stitch in a tube, happened to be watching while I showed the students the purl stitch. When one of the adult instructors asked my dd to show the purl stitch to her, my dd was able to do so! So now she knows too. :D (Let's see if she uses it, LOL!)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

ProvoCraft Tool Set

I love getting new toys. This tool kit from ProvoCraft is way cool. The carrying case has a detachable adjustable neck strap, and a felt strip to hold needles. The accessories include a pen, a pad of paper, a metal needle, a hook tool, a pair of scissors, a tape measure, and a size I crochet hook. The needle is an embroidery needle, with a sharp point and an eye too small for yarn. The only thing this kit is missing is a row counter and stitch markers. I haven't seen this in stores, and I have no idea how much it sells for.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Garter Stitch Scarf

I wrote up this Garter Stitch Scarf pattern a long time ago, and have made so many of these scarves as gifts. For some reason, I never posted the pattern on my website. It's there now!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rice Lake KidStop

I had such fun this afternoon showing elementary school kids grades 3-6 in the after-school care program what can be done with the round KK looms. They were so enthusiastic about loom knitting! They had all each made several projects already, mostly using the stockinette (flat knit) stitch with worsted weight yarn to make hats and scarves. They'll learn the e-wrap stitch next, and they can't wait to get started.

I brought in samples of easy projects using the e-wrap stitch -- a variety of hats, tube, flat, and magic scarves, several ponchos, an afghan, an ornament, a purse, and more. They loved modeling everything! I also showed them different types of yarns and talked about when they might want to use them, or not use them, and when they might want to use two yarns together. The girls especially want to make ponchos with fun fur!

I've been working on a mitten pattern for children, as I've had so many requests for that. My main model, my 11 yodd, has hands larger than mine, so she's no good for this project. I made a small sample mitten last night, and had several kids try it on today. I'm glad I also brought my adult-size samples! Most of the kids liked the fit of the extra-small and small adult mittens. I now know what modifications I need to make for the "child" sized mittens, at least those of early elementary ages. Next is getting sizing for preschoolers and toddlers. Fortunately, I have access to some of them too. ;)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Need a few more pegs?

Here's how you can "add a few pegs" to the loom when knitting a flat piece.

Say you need an extra 5 pegs on the 41 peg yellow loom. You'll be using pegs 1-5 twice, once for each end.

Cast on to pegs 1-41, then cast on to pegs 1-5 again. Turn around and wrap pegs 5-1 and 41-35. Knit off pegs 5-1, and pegs 41-35, bringing the middle loop over the top loop for pegs 5-1. Move the top loops on pegs 5-1 to a stitch holder. Finish the rest of the row, pegs 34-1.

For the next rows, wrap and knit off pegs 1-41 as normal. Put the 5 loops on the stitch holder onto pegs 1-5. Wrap pegs 1-5, and knit off the middle loop over the top loop. Now go back, wrapping pegs 5-1 and 41 - 35 and knitting them off (for pegs 5-1, knit the middle loop over the top loop). Put the top loops on pegs 5-1 back onto the stitch holder.

You're making pegs 1-5 do double duty, and moving the loops off the pegs to knit one side edge of the piece, then putting the loops back on the pegs to knit the other side edge of the piece. It's a bit cumbersome, but it does work!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Guardian of the Loom

I very carefully folded my knitting and put the loom over it, pegs up, to prevent my cats from being tempted. I guess the joke was on me, LOL!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hat & Scarf set, soy yarn

I've been asked to help out at a local elementary school's after school program. They have about 25 KK looms, and want to know more about how to use them! I'm knitting up some easy projects to show them as samples.

Some of my younger students at Michaels have made tube scarves, and brought them to my classes to show off. They've always been so pretty, and are a great project for even the youngest kids to make. This will be one that I will show. With the leftover yarn, I made a matching rolled brim hat.

I made this with the new soy self striping yarn, Patons SWS. It was wonderful to work with, so soft, and it slid through my fingers nicely. It was interesting to watch it on the loom; the yarn looks like a small diameter, like worsted, but it expands when given enough room. It also doesn't have much twist to it. This yarn is 70% lambswool, 30% soy, so it may felt pretty well too. The only thing I didn't like was that in each skein there was a very thin section of yarn that was several yards long. The wrapper does say that there are slubs and irregularities. The slubs were easy to remove. But the thin sections were extremely obvious in the knit piece, visibly decreasing the diameter of the tube, so I frogged that part of the knitting and cut out the thin yarn. It might be "characteristic" of the yarn, but with just one long section in each skein, those parts were unusable in my opinion!

The free downloadable pattern for this set is available on my website.

Friday, November 03, 2006