Friday, August 31, 2007

More Inspiration

I don't know how I missed this before, but I was at the State Fair again and it caught my eye as I took a shortcut through the Creative Activities building.

This knit basket and tea cozy set were felted then hand embroidered. I especially like the two-color woven look to the basket.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I've spent a couple days at the MN State Fair, and will be there again for three more days while I chaperone the 4-H girls from our county who are camping in. I did get a chance to look at the knit items on display in the Creative Activities building. There was one loom knit entry:

Here is another hat (done with needles); I really like the stitch pattern. It can definitely be replicated on looms, and while it's a little slow going, for a small project like a hat it's definitely do-able.

Regular readers of this blog know I've been playing with felting, especially purses and bags. I'd be proud to have created this one:

I love cables, and a throw pillow would be a great way to try the challenge of a new cable stitch pattern:

This baby blanket was crocheted. It took the very discerning eye of a gentleman standing near me to point out the technique employed to prevent the strips from slipping and bunching. Hmmm, how to accomplish that on the looms?

And for true inspiration, this patchwork banner was knit and crocheted by a blind lady. The tag attached to it reads, "Gerry is a woman who bas been blind since birth. She was raised in the country. She does blind art, writes music and poetry, and likes to knit and crochet. This is what the world looks like from her perspective."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Using a Lifeline

Every once in a while, even the best of knitters needs to fix a mistake. And sometimes unraveling the knitting a few rows is the best way to do it. That's where a lifeline can come in very handy.

A lifeline is a single strand of smooth yarn in a contrasting color that runs through every stitch in the row. If you need to unravel your work, the lifeline will stop the unraveling at that row, and all the loops can be put back onto the loom (or needles), so you can pick up and knit from there.

You can put in a lifeline while you're knitting (in case you're planning to make a mistake, or maybe you'll be switching stitch patterns) by threading the lifeline into the loop on each peg as if you're going to do a gathered bind-off. Make sure there's at least 6" extra yarn hanging at each end of the knitting.

When you knit off the next row, just take the lifeline along with the bottom loop.

After you knit a few more rows, your knitting will look like this on the wrong side,

and like this on the right side.

If you discover a mistake, and you're going to frog back to it, you can run a lifeline by catching one side of every stitch in the row (yellow yarn).

Either way, when you frog your work back to the lifeline, you'll have live stitches that won't unravel. Just slip them onto the loom, and you're back in business!

Lifelines are great to use also when you have a project on the loom, and you just have to use that loom for something else right now! Run a lifeline through the loops on the pegs, and remove your work from the loom. You can easily put it back on the loom later.

I like to use yarn that's thicker than the yarn I'm knitting with -- the thickness of the yarn keeps the loops larger and makes them easier to put back on the loom.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Latest Find

Here's my latest thrift store find. This little loom appears to be hand made, judging from the marks by each peg and the lack of manufacturer's ID. What's interesting is the pegs on each board are offset, which definitely affects the wrap patterns. This is the first loom I've used that didn't have some sort of cap to the top of the pegs and didn't have a groove in the side of the pegs. It was easy to adapt to pulling the loops from the side of the pegs. I usually insert the hook tool point up into the bottom loop and bring the loop out and over the peg. Now I understand why some people insert the hook tool downwards into the loop and use a wrist motion to twist the tool to bring the bottom loop over the top loop and off the peg. Without having a peg cap, the top loop slips off very easily otherwise.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tweed Looks

I've been playing with getting a tweed look by using two different colored strands together. I found it easy to make a smooth appearance. First, I don't let the two strands twist when I wrap the row, so if the dark color is on top, it stays on top for the entire row.

Second, I make the colors sit next to each other when wrapping a row. So, if the light color is on top for the loop already on the peg, the light color is on the bottom for the new loop being created. On the next row, the dark color is on top for the loop already on the peg, so the dark color is on the bottom for the new loop being created.

By letting the yarn twist as it will, you will still get a tweed look, but it will have darker and lighter sections at random. This is perfectly fine also; it just depends on what look you are going for.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beaded Bracelet

Isela's Arellis Bracelet was on my mind when I was perusing the bead aisle at Michaels. I couldn't remember the materials she used, so I just got some elastic thread and a value pack of pastel seed beads. Let me tell you, the most time consuming part of this project is stringing the beads! I highly recommend a beading needle; it has a very large eye in the center of the extremely thin needle, and is super simple to thread. When my thumb and index finger got tired of pinching the beads, I just stabbed the needle into the container of beads and came up with 2-3 beads each time.

I tied a knot in the elastic about 5-1/2 feet from the end, then threaded beads until the elastic was full. I tied a knot at the other end so the beads were held in place, but with no stretch to the elastic. I had just over 5 feet of beads, with several inches of extra elastic extending on both ends.

I didn't tie any knots in my "bead yarn," but started wrapping a 2-peg I-cord leaving a short beginning tail of beads hanging down.

My wrist is 6-1/4", so I knit 16 rows to get a 6-1/4" length of knitting. When wrapping the loom, I placed the bead strand around the pegs without stretching the elastic at all. I had about 10" of beaded elastic left.

I cut the cast-on tail of beads right at the knot, and allowed the excess beads to come off. With a pencil, I marked next to the first bead right where the I-cord started. I stretched the elastic to tie a knot right on the mark. There is no tension on the elastic once the knot is completed.

I took the active end off the loom, and attached the bracelet ends according to the Closing an I-Cord Loop instructions below. (I recommend trying this with yarn a couple times before attempting it with beads.) Then I cut the elastic knot holding the beads at the tail end, and allowed the excess beads to come off. I tied a knot in the elastic right next to the last bead in the I-cord, as above. Then I tied the beginning and ending tails of beadless elastic together.

Here is the completed bracelet, with the elastic tails cut long so you can see how cleanly the join comes out. I put a small spot of glue on the knot, then cut the elastic at the knot. It is a dainty bracelet, but it fits a bit bigger on my wrist than I'd like. I forgot that the join itself adds a row to the length. Next time, I'll make the bracelet shorter by two rows.

Oh, and the other thing a beading needle is really good for: transferring beads from one thread to another. My first bracelet attempt wasn't pretty.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Closing an I-Cord Loop

Here's how to join the beginning and end of your knit I-cord to make a loop. I'm showing it in two colors for clarity; I started knitting with the blue yarn, and the white is the working end.

Here's the I-Cord, just taken off the loom. There are two active loops (white yarn). The last loop created is on the right. Cut the working yarn to about 6" long and thread it on a tapestry needle.

Thread the working yarn through the left active loop as shown.

Now thread the working yarn under one "chain" at the beginning of the I-Cord.

Finish the stitch by threading the working yarn back into the left loop from the outside to the inside as shown.

Thread the working yarn through the right active loop as shown.

Now thread the working yarn under the opposite chain at the beginning of the I-cord.

Thread the working yarn into the right active loop from the outside to the inside to complete the stitch.

Adjust the tension of the two stitches you made if necessary. The tails can now be hidden inside the I-cord. You'll have to look closely to find the beginning/end of the loop!