Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Walnut Whip

Do you ever have the sudden strong desire to knit a particular project, despite the fact that you have other things on the needles and had previously not had any plans to make that pattern? That happened to me this week when I stumbled upon the pattern Walnut Whip on Ravelry. It's a pretty little hat and the fact that it's a Ysolda pattern (surprise!) may have something to do with my immediate need to knit it.

On its surface, Walnut Whip is a simple cable hat but it has some interesting details in the form of pleats on the back of the hat. These pleats are akin to those seen in Ysolda's Ripley pattern, but done to mimic the surrounding cables. It's pretty genius actually.

I wasn't initially sold on the pleats until I started wearing the hat. The pleats pull the back up a bit, making the hat sit perfectly and comfortably on the head. The hat is so comfortable, in fact, that I haven't stopped wearing the hat since I finished it (that might be related to the fact that it's not warm in my apartment, but probably isn't).

I know I say this about all Ysolda patterns, but people should really knit this hat. It's one of her least knit patterns (as of writing, it has only 15 projects on Ravelry) and is definitely a hidden gem. So now I'll spread my Ysolda Fever a little more by encouraging you all to knit this beautiful hat!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kitchener Contortions

I don't know about you, but I kind of like using the Kitchener stitch to graft together the toes of knit socks. It's an easy technique once you fall into a rhythm, assuming of course that you're grafting stockinette. If you are grafting, say, a knit/purl textured cowl, it's a whole different story.

I made this link of a BFF Cowl as part of a swap among some friends on Ravelry. I sent this link off to a friend and received one of my own from a different friend (last photo below). The pattern was fun to knit for a swap but the seaming took some serious thinking. I feel pretty brilliant for making it all work out nicely, even though you can tell where the seam is.

The key to Kitchenering in a pattern is to have a good sense of the Kitchener stitch for stockinette. It roughly goes:
put darning needle through first stitch on front needle as if to knit, pull stitch off; put darning needle through next stitch on front needle as if to purl; put darning needle through first stitch on back needle as if to purl (as viewed from the front), pull stitch off; put darning needle through next stitch on back needle as if to knit  (as viewed from the front); repeat until end
I view the sequence as 'knit, purl, purl, knit', describing the way that the darning needle goes through each of the stitches.

Having reduced the stockinette Kitchener stitch down to 'knit, purl, purl, knit', it's really easy to modify it from here: you simply flip the darning needle's direction from this base pattern for all of the purl stitches you encounter (the order in which you work the stitches stays the same). So for the wrong side of stockinette, where everything is a purl stitch, you do the opposite of normal Kitchener with 'purl, knit, knit, purl'. And when grafting a [K1,P1] segment, where the second and fourth stitches in the seaming order are purls, the sequence becomes 'knit, knit, purl, purl'. A [P1,K1] segment would therefore be 'purl, purl, knit, knit'.

It's hard to explain it succinctly in words, but the basic idea is to flip the parts of the base 'knit, purl, purl, knit' sequence that correspond to the purl stitches in the set of four stitches current being seamed. The challenge is that the seaming sequence needles to be adjusted as you work across the pattern. I find it helpful to work out the sequence for only the current four stitches, work the grafting, then repeat the process for the next set of four stitches.

It takes some mental effort, but being able to graft in a pattern is highly rewarding.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Yet Another Hat

Now that my sewing table is set up, I'm excited to start working with fabric again. I have several projects in mind but I think I'll start with something small like a bag or (yet another) hat. Because even though my secret sewing project from last month was my fifth hat sewn since last summer, I can't stop making them.

The hat in question was another copy of my favorite sunhat pattern from 'Hat Shop', complete with my mods to make it wearable. This version was shipped off to my sister who, as she lives in Hawaii, will surely find use for it.

I love pairing fabrics for these hats, though I'm not sure I succeeded for this version. I initially thought to put the bright floral print on the outside but upon finishing it was clear that it looks better as a pop of color on the underside. Thank goodness for reversible patterns. Which ever way she ends up wearing it, I hope my sister enjoys her new hat!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Little Cutie, Little Crafty

I can't believe that it's already March. February drifted by when I was working on a little of this and a little of that and, next thing I knew, it's been three weeks since I last posted here! While I have been doing a little crafting, there have been Big Events that I want to share with you.

The biggest news is that my sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful little girl a few weeks ago. I'm an aunt (again)! They don't live very close, but it was worth spending 14 hours in a car to spend some time with the baby and her family. She's a cutie.

I knit my niece a stuffed elephant (pattern from Knitty) last summer and am finally able to show it off here. That's the downside of gift knitting, you're unable to show it off when you're excited about finishing and you don't remember to post about it when you finally can show pictures. Anyway, it is a lovely pattern and I hope my niece likes her toy.

The other big news is that I'm finally unpacking all of the boxes from the moves in July and December. There's still more to unpack, but I'm much happier now that I have my teapots and my crafting supplies moved in. While I still need pictures hung in my crafting corner, it's starting to feel like home!