Knitting & Crocheting

Newbie Knitting | Yarn Ball Applique Block


This fall I will be teaching a knitting class at my children’s co-op. After typing up my syllabus for the class, it of course occurred to me that this would make an awesome series for Wee Folk Art. And then not only can I share my class with all of you, it will also double as a place for my students to get help between classes. So, if you have ever thought about learning to knit this is your chance. I will take you step by step through a variety of knitting skills to get you well on your way. I am designing each project in this series to focus on a specific skill set which means if you complete all the projects in order you will master all of the skills you need to start tackling knitting projects on your own. Ok, no more excuses. If you have ever wanted to pick up the needles but just haven’t found the time or someone to show you how, get ready to learn this fall.
 
On to the reason we are here today… I sent my mom a sketch and asked her to convert it into one of her lovely appliqué blocks to use as the button for our Newbie Knitting Series. How cute would this be on a knitting tote? Like all our blocks, it was designed to fit on a 6" x 6" block but can be reduced or enlarged to meet your needs. The pattern can be found HERE.

One note from Kimara: Before you begin stitching, pin or staple the pieces together, following the pattern, in the order listed on the pattern.

The Box The Toy Came In

We have all experienced this at one time or another. We buy our child the perfect gift, whether it is a new playhouse or their first tricycle. We follow the directions and assemble it with love and care, and perhaps a few colorful euphemisms for the uncooperative wrench. When we are done, and the gift is presented, the child "oos" and "ahs" for several minutes, then spends the rest of the day playing with the box the toy came in...  

The other night I was knitting a sweater for Fairy that I had started a while ago. I was down to my last few rows of my last sleeve, but bed was calling, and while I was putting away my knitting, Tim started snickering?

Me: "What?"

Him: "Do you know how many baskets, bowls, boxes and bags you have laying around this house with the express purpose of stashing your knitting projects?"

Me: "Several."

Him: "Several? (Raising his eyebrows in a most annoying manner.) And what exactly are you using for this knitting project?"

Me: "Um... an empty Kleenex box. Your point?"

Him: No point. No point at all. (His shoulders bob as he tries to suppress an out-and-out laugh.)

Okay... this here is the truth. I DO have, oh, probably 2 dozen different containers for holding projects I am currently working on. I'll be out and about and see a lovely container and think, "Oh... that would be great for holding my knitting." So I get it. And, I do indeed use many of them, but that evening, I was caught using a used Kleenex box. 

It happened quite by accident. I was trying to hide my knitting from the ravenous jaws of my pups while I made a quick pit stop. I tucked a ball of yarn, and my needles in an empty Kleenex box that was sitting on my desk waiting to hit the recycling bin. When I returned, I realized the empty box was perfect for setting on the floor and pulling my yarn out of it. I loved it! First, the protective plastic sleeve at the opening does a wonderful job of keeping your skein in while allowing your yarn to come out. Then, my yarn can be on the floor without doubling as a mop and picking up all the dog fur in the area. Finally, small projects, including my needles, can be tucked away when I'm done, and stowed on my desk while leaving a minimal footprint!

No, I won't get rid of all my other containers. My Kleenex box won't hold all my projects, and the rest of the sweater is tucked away in one of my many beautiful bags, BUT I refuse to feel silly for using my little used Kleenex box. So snicker all you want, Timothy, I will not be teased into giving it up!

My Shalom Cardigan

This past week I got a chance to make myself the ever popular Shalom Cardigan. Working in bulky yarns made this a quick knit and the twisted rib yoke made it interesting while still being an easy pattern. Colorwise, I wanted a fairly neutral sweater that would work with khakis or jeans but had a bit of interest. So I worked with a base of cream, adding a varigated tan and blue yarn in the yoke. My other mods included working on size 10 needles and adding an extra 5 stitches on either side of the lapel. It is a fun addition to my winter wardrobe that I'm sure will get lots of use. Check out the pattern on Ravelry to see how so many knitters have tweaked this simple and free knit and made it their own.


 

Butterfly Diamond Scarf

My mom has this thing for scarves and shawls. Once the temperature dips below 70 degrees (not kidding) she starts layering them on. She can be seen wearing 2 or 3 at a time... in the house. Mocking aside... for Christmas a couple years ago I bought her a beautiful, hand carved wooden shawl pin. I found it on etsy at a shop called South4th. Although it was stunning it felt too small to wrap up by itself... I was fearful it would get lost under the tree. So at the last minute, I designed this neck warmer/scarf as a quick project (very quick… one movie knit) to use as a carrier for the hand carved Butterfly Shawl Pin.

This scarf was designed not to be tied but to be closed with the shawl pin. If you do not have a shawl pin you can easily add length in the neck portion to make it a full scarf. But I do encourage you to go check out South4th's shop.

 

Butterfly Diamond Scarf Pattern
(add to your Ravelry queue)

Use size 10.5 and a homespun type yarn (less than 1 skein)

Gauge is not important

cast on 2 sts
First Diamond:
k to last 1 then k into front and back of last st
repeat increase rows until there are 19sts
k to last 2 then ssk
Repeat decrease rows until there are 9 sts remaining

Second and Third Diamonds:
K to last 1 then k into front and back of last st
repeat increase rows until there are 19sts
k to last 2 then ssk
Repeat decrease rows until there are 9 sts remaining
(Repeat diamond pattern)

Main Neck Portion:
K to last 1 then k into front and back of last st
repeat increase rows until there are 19sts
K until Main neck portion (the 19 sts wide section) measures 12” long (or add length here if you would like to tie your scarf)
k to last 2 then ssk
Repeat decrease rows until there are 9 sts remaining

Forth and Fifth Diamonds:
K to last 1 then k into front and back of last st
repeat increase rows until there are 19sts
k to last 2 then ssk
Repeat decrease rows until there are 9 sts remaining
(Repeat diamond pattern)

Last Diamond:
K to last 1 then k into front and back of last st
repeat increase rows until there are 19sts
k to last 2 then ssk
Repeat decrease rows until there are 2 sts remaining
Cut Yarn and pull through the last two sts

Weave in ends.

Scrappy Shirts from the Top

It seems like all things knit these days are being done from the top down... or at least I'm drawn to all the patterns that have been done that way. My Ravelry Favorites list is packed with top down projects. I've even been tempted to purchase a few patterns... but can't actually bring myself to buy something I feel like I should be able to figure out on my own... and would probably tweak anyway.

So instead, I've spent some time with Barbara Walkers' book, Knitting from the Top, although to be honest, I think the book itself needs a bit of a face lift. The information in the book is not hard to grasp, and I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but really... crafters are drawn to ascetics and textures and this book is seriously lacking in layout department. It is in desperate need of a make-over. But if you are willing to look past its gawky, awkward presentation a wonderful world of knitting freedom awaits you inside. This is a book that should earn a place on any knitter's shelf. Top down knitting is a great technique for the free form knitter. The ability to try the garment on as you go really allows you to just get some sticks and string and start with very little fanfare.

So where am I going with all this... I wanted to share a couple Scrappy Style Shirts I've been working on for my girls. Fairy was gifted with the first one and I am now sizing and tweaking my pattern for Pixie. These scrappy shirts come together so quickly and are easily customizable... I'm in love and see many more in my future. I will be sharing my pattern and notes shortly... stayed tuned.


 

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