Thursday, March 27, 2008

Distraction Knitting Solution: Using Stitch Markers to Mark Rows

Once again, I'm indebted to the people of Ravelry, who's ideas inspire me and save me tons of money. Well maybe not the latter (more on that later).

I'm an ok knitter in my book. My stuff comes out looking sort of like it's supposed to and the few clothing items I've made even fit. But, when I get distracted, kids, TV, pets, visitors, et. al. I'm usually not good enough to figure out where I am in a pattern.

Case in point: I'm knitting a pair of baby shorts in the round. After frogging because of numerous interruptions, I'm finally to the body of the pants. At this point, it says make a short row then knit 5 rows. Do that a couple times until you get your desired length. Oh, Kudos to Pear at Yarny_Bits for the great free pattern. One of my problems is that I seldom have time to sit and knit 5 rows and lose my place (sometimes even while I'm knitting) and can't recall which row I'm on.

Enter Ravelry knitters! I'm reading on the Etsy forum about these great things to help me with this very problem. Use stitch markers linked together and each time you complete a round, slip to the next one on the loop to mark what row you're on! Genius!

Turtlegirl76 makes some really pretty ones, here, at her shop on Etsy. Not being creative, but great at following directions, I google "how to use row markers" just to see that I understand this concept before spending money. Lo and behold, Karen at KarenJoSeattle has not only an easy to understand tutorial of this process, but shows me how to make them myself out of some markers I have on hand! So, I learned something new and saved money.

Oh, yeah, about that. I think I'm still going to go buy Turtlegirl's markers because they are so darned pretty and I try to be a supporter of the people that support me and may not even know it.

Thank you's to Pear, TurtleGirl and Karen.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Finished the Peep; Or is it a duck?

I finished one before Easter. I guess it kind of looks like a peep. I think I'll do the wings up and down instead of side to side next time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fuzzy Pink Pear aka: Peep

I found the cutest knit project on Ravelry the other day and being the over ambitious non-achiever that I sometimes am, immediately cast on with hopes of finishing it by Easter (4 days away). Kat Lewinski posted it on her blog, here, and I am once again in awe of people who can make this stuff up and indebted to her for graciously sharing it for those of us who are "creativity challenged". Thank you, Kat.

I just sewed on the beak and am working on the eyes. I tried to do a couple wings last night but I guess it was a little late for me. Who ever heard of casting on 2?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Center Pull Ball of Yarn

Here is another seemingly self explanatory yarn thing but I had to do some research to find an easy way to do it that 1) didn't end up in a tangled mess and 2) wasn't so complicated I'd have to bookmark the link and boot up my computer every time to relearn the process.

Here is what I came up with:

Start by holding your winding hand open with your thumb and forefinger extended. Take the yarn to be wound and drape it over the open hand from back to front between the thumb and finger leaving about a 6 inch tail behind your hand.

Loosely wind the yarn around the thumb and finger in a figure eight pattern about 30 times, the exact amount isn't important but you don't want to do it too much or when you're finished that part will pull out of the ball and leave a large hallow space.

Pull the figure eight winding off your thumb and finger and pinch it together leaving the tail still trailing down behind your hand.

Now, simply start winding and turning like this: Wind at an angel from the lower part of your thumb to the top of your thumb about 20 times (again, the exact number isn't important) turning the ball on your thumb about a quarter each time after wrapping. Be sure to keep the tail positioned behind your hand.

When you are done, tuck the end into the last few wraps. Pull from the inside string to start. The figure eight part will loosen up pretty quickly and may pull out in a little yarn blob. Now you see why you don't want to make that part too big. But, too small may not leave enough room inside the ball to pull the rest. You can play around with the amounts.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Slip the Marker???

Sure, I've been knitting for a good few years and am pretty familiar with basic terminology. But I recently did my first project in the round, a pair of knit pants, and struggled through both legs with the stitch markers. The terminology was simple enough "slip the marker and stitch to the next marker". However, the only markers I have are the plastic lobster claw like gadgets which I later learned are for crochet. I thought I was supposed to clip one on to the last stitch and then remove it and attach it to next stitch above when I came back around. I was confusing myself trying to line up the lower stitches and needless to say, had to correct a lot of errors.

Then I found a post on the Ravelry forums that changed my life! Someone actually asked what "slip the marker" means! Can you believe it? I didn't even think of asking but she did and I thanked her for asking because the simple response made all of the difference in the pinwheel blanket I'm making that currently has 11 stitch markers. I'm flying through this project thanks to her.

For all of you that don't know what it means and didn't think to ask, slipping the marker is an easy way to mark a certain spot. First you "place" the circular stitch marker directly on the right needle when the pattern says so. When you come back around, knit/purl the stitch before the marker and then "slip" the marker from the left needle to the right and continue knitting/purling the row. So simple yet it's made a world of difference in my technique.

One of the infinite purls of wisdom I've learned from everyone on (pun intended).