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Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Christmas Knit

In this jolly month of December i thought it only fitting to try a festive knit! Last xmas (when I very first tried to knit, failed miserably, and gave up!) I bought a Christmas craft magazine with some cool knitting patterns in it. A year on and I actually decided to attempt one! Obviously it wont be finished in time for xmas (typical) but I do hope to be finished by next Christmas!

Here's the pattern:

So this is the first time I have tried to knit with more than one colour. This sort of knitting is called Fair Isle knitting. I really love the Nordic snowflake pattern and the traditional red and white theme and the pattern is symmetrical so it should not be too hard to follow. I was actually surprised at how easy it is to knit with 2 balls of wool at the same time! I expected to end up with a giant knot of red and white wool, but its actually quite simple! At least compared to the other stuff i have attempted. The knitting techniques used are very simple, just stocking stitch (SS) for the main body of the stocking. Here's how its looking:



Now you can't see it very well in the pics but I have made some mistakes to the pattern, but its not very noticeable at all :) Now the way I knitted this stocking is fine but I think there is a way to make the back more tidy for garments, but it seemed really complicated just for a stocking! Here the back as is, but the other way i mentioned was tidy like the front. No loose threads and lumpy bits! Also you need to be careful to keep the tension very even in your knitting to avoid too tight or saggy strands at the back! that was the trickiest part. 


There are lots of really simple to follow videos for fair isle knitting. I also could not have done it without a row counter! I would of gotten totally lost in the pattern without this handy little thing! and yep that is 42 rows of knitting  The biggest thing I have knitted so far, cant wait to finish! So Happy Xmas and Happy Knitting! 



Thursday, 20 December 2012

100 Hits!

Today I reached 100 blog views! Thank you to everyone who has read my blog. I hope it helps you to keep persevering with your own knitting. You are not alone :) I never dreamed so many of you would read my blog! Thanks to anyone who subscribed too. Please dont be afraid to leave any comments or questions you may have. 

Heres a cool video from VeryPinkKnits! Her videos are really good ones to try. Tight knitting was a problem I had really bad when I started out. I fixed it by always putting my hand back on the right needle in the same place, without the tug. So I always return my right hand to the needles roughly 1-2 inches down the right needle. She is doing the same in the video but she keeps the right index finger the same distance from the needle each time, no tug! If you are having problems with too tight or even too loose knitting these pointers may help. Good Luck!

 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dear Man in My Life...........

Hi there. You know how I was going to knit you a nice warm hat for winter? Because you lost your woolly hat? and I was going to make it navy, as you requested? and super small to fit your freakishly tiny head? (a trait we weirdly share!) Well, it kind of............ went...........wrong. Three times I started over this quick knit hat. First time, I made it way way way, too big. Second time, I thought it would be better with a ribbed cuff to it. But i messed up the ribbing! I unraveled and did a quick rib knit square (yep i'm still knitting sample squares now and again!)


Rib knit sorted so started hat again! This time I got quite far along, rib was fine. Everything was technically fine. BUT, I just didn't like the look of it! It just looked ugly to me somehow. Maybe the colours were wrong. Maybe kitting on really big needles with thin wool is just not a look I like. I just wasn't feeling it. It just didn't please my eye! and I refuse to bring something ugly into this already......... ugly knit saturated land! Here it is, let me know what you think is so unappealing about this knit! It's just ugly right?


Here's the video I followed. Don't worry man in my life, I wasn't going to add the crazy pompom or the gay flower. I was just going to add the small bobble as you requested :) Anyway, sorry but you wont be receiving your winter hat anytime soon. I know i'm a terrible person! Can you find it in your heart to forgive me? I promise I WILL eventually finish your hat (by summertime maybe?) Ta ta for now.





A Christmas Present to Me, Myself and I

Christmas is upon us, so I just had to buy myself something after all that hard work of knitting all my friends their presents. Well that was the plan. Of course like a pro I didn't plan enough time, or buy enough wool for all my fluff ups and unraveling! I think I went too ambitious again! Doh. I got that birthday present done end of November, so I tried, right?

Well to pat myself on the back for that mammoth effort (yeah right) I bought myself a band new knitting basket, as I had totally out grown the tiny box I was keeping everything in.


Its even got a handle! I don't know when I became excited about wicker, but sadly, I have reached the age where its happened, and dam it i'm proud of my pretty basket! ooooh vintage-y :) I think we should all treat ourselves to a knitting related gift this December.

Happy Holidays and Happy Knitting! 

Monday, 10 December 2012

My FAIL at booties

So I really really want to knit booties as they are so cute and everyone seems to be having babies right now. However they seem to be one of the hardest things to knit! So I found a really cute pattern in this book that is available on amazon. The only downside to this book is it does not tell you how many stitches you should have at the end of each row. Very un-handy if you are increasing and decreasing a lot! So I had to work it out on a piece of paper halfway through knitting!



These are the little booties I picked to make:




There were a few stitches that I had not tried before but I was full of confidence after the chicks and the chunky snood! Oh how naive of me! I was sensible enough to not use the really nice, super soft wool I bought until I had done a test bootie on some garish fluorescent pink wool!

Here is the ugly useless holey boot! YUK

You can see a vague resemblance to a bootie here. There is some shape to it!

And then we look underneath! oh dear.

 
Looks like its time to unravel yet again! I will try and give these a go again soon and i'll post more pics. I really hope they are a bit more successful next time! Only 6 months till my friend has the baby!


TIP: If you are new to knitting and are trying something that you have not yet done, don't use your best yarn! Everything can be unpicked and reused but it will begin to look shabby, especially if it is white or a light colour, popular with baby boots :)

A Sucessful Useful Knit... Finally!

Last month was one of my best friends birthdays and I was determined to knit her a cool scarf. This scarf was started and unravelled 2 times over and then turned into a snood! In the end thou it was a great success and my friend loved it! Here is a picture of the finished article. The wool I used was Sidar Bohemia super chunky.



So the reason it went all wrong a few times was:

First off I couldn't work out the pattern inside the label on the wool (this wool comes with a free pattern) 1 ball of wool = 1 easy scarf! Yeah okay Sidar wool makers! I tried lots of things and I couldn't find anything relating to dropped stitches in my knitting book. So back to 'good ol' you tube. And there is was, someone knitting the pattern with the wool and everything! Thanks hulu crafts great video!



Then I couldn't find any 20mm needles (and I was broke) so I was using 12mm. So I thought smaller needles means I need to cast on some extra stitches. Like a noob I doubled the amount of stitches because I was using needles almost half the size. Logical right? No. So i ended up with a really short but super wide scarf thing that didn't even wrap around the neck. Dumbass!

So I unravelled it all and wanted to cry!

3rd time lucky. I completed the scarf! Well snood, and it looked pretty dam cool even if i say so myself! Once I got the hang of the drop stitches and followed the pattern (why didn't i do that before?) it was really easy and I completed it in about 4/5 hours. When I finished I just thought a snood would be better so sewed the ends together.

Here is a pic with my friend proudly wearing it. Don't think she took it off for 3 days :)








After Many Many Sample Squares...

After the dull repetition of sample squares I felt confident to take on my first real pattern! As it happened my mum had picked up a knitting pattern from the Marie Curie shop. It was to knit little chicks that sat on cream eggs. Then people would sell them for the charity! (bear in mind this was obviously meant for Easter, it is now December! So i'm really late, or really early!)  Plus the pattern was super simple. All you needed to know was how to cast on, how to do garter stitch (GS), how to knit two together (K2tog) and cast off. I had perfected GS and K2tog is super simple. So below is my first successful knit! I recently had to spend some time in hospital and ended up knitting about 12 of these! And yes they all looked slightly evil! I could not get the eyes to be .... not evil!


Here is the pattern if you want to give it a go. Its a great starting point!

You will need...
  • Any colour double knit yarn (who says chicks have to be yellow!)
  • A pair of needles UK size 3.75mm / 9 / US 5 (I personally think that 4mm needles give a better fit for the egg)
  • Small piece of felt for the beak
  • Some black yarn for the eyes
Cast on 24 stitches and Knit 2 rows. Increase 1 stitch at the beginning of every row until there are 36 stitches on the needle. (to add a stitch to the beginning of the row just cast on one more stitch)

Knit 2 more rows.

Cast off 11 stitches on the next row then knit to the end. Repeat on next row.

Knit 12 rows.

Knit 2 together across the row, ending with 7 stitches. 

With a darning needle draw the wool throu the 7 stitches and sew the chick up. Leave a space on the underside to insert the egg. 

Add the eyes and beak!



Here is a good video for Garter Stitch. if you can master this you can easily knit the chick above!








Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Note on Needles

A quick post about needles. Now you probably have some cheep crappy plastic needles that came with a kit or were a present. I ask you to step away from the plastic!

They are honestly the hardest needles to knit with. They make your hands a bit sweaty and they cause static and they are just not very slidey!

Metal needles are better and not too expensive. I prefer wooden needles myself and bamboo ones are also quite reasonable.

Recently however I found the most beautiful and lovely to use needles ever!
 
 
 
These are Lantern Moon needles. They come in rosewood ( i just bought a size 10mm and 5mm) ebony and blonde wood. They glide so effortlessly they are a joy to work with! Of course they are also the most expensive needles I've ever seen!

If you become serious about Knitting I recommend these as a treat :)

They can be bought here:




Sunday, 18 November 2012

My Very First Attempts at Knitting

When I first picked up some knitting needles I thought "well scarfs look easy, I'll make a scarf" Anyone can knit a simple boring scarf, right? Well apparently I can't. What I didn't realise at this time was when you first start knitting, the stitches will NOT be all even and pretty. They will look pretty crap. I ended up, after getting my mum to do a cast on for me (i had not mastered that yet either), with gaping holes, more stitches than I started with and overall the stitches were too tight. This made knitting almost impossible. Just sliding the stitch off the needle was difficult as I had made the tension far far too TIGHT.  I had to unravel everything and start over. The same issues came up and I decided i'm crap! I am giving up! Lucky, a few days later I changed my mind and picked up the needles. Don't be surprised when you first start if you forget everything every time you pick up the needles! I had to keep going to my mum to remind me. As soon as she showed me, I remembered and could carry on. At this point thou I thought I was starting too big. So I downgraded my ambition to sample squares. Yes how incredibly ................ DULL. The posh wool I bought? On hold. The nice patterns in the fancy book? On hold. The little pure white soft booties knitted from bamboo wool for a friend? On hold.

So piece of advice number one, don't start thinking you will made something wearable/ usable straight away. Unless you don't mind super ugly stitches and holes in your scarf! But don't give up :)

Here are a few of my sample squares. (Please excuse the photos, the light in my flat is terrible and i need a macro lens!)




So you can see the blue knitting is very messy! All uneven and to this day i'm not even sure what went wrong most of the time. I did a few others that i unraveled and did not photograph, where I just did straight knitting. Straight knitting (knitting on every row) is called Garter Stitch or GS in patterns and is the easiest to learn and do. Repetition was the key for me, and the more I did the action of knitting the better it got. Knitting is certainly something you can only learn by doing and practicing!

By the time I got to the red squares you can see I had vastly improved. The little square is Garter Stitch (GS) My tension is better and the stitches were sliding of the needle by this point! Finally, yay! The big piece shows garter stitch and some Stocking stitch (SS in patterns)

Here is a really good video of casting on with needles from knittingtipsbyjudy. Casting on with your fingers, (called a finger loop cast on) I found to be too uneven and messy for beginners.


So give casting on a go! The more you repeat the action the easier it becomes and you will remember it. I recommend smallish needles of about 4mm and some cheap double knit yarn (DK yarn) I tried big needles and wool to start as someone said it is easier for beginners. I did not find this to be the case. The needles were too hard to handle and I found the big chunky wool covered mistakes so i could never quite tell if i was doing right or wrong!

p.s My mum taught me to cast on slightly differently to Judy from knittingtipsbyjudy. It gives a very even cast on. Great for a total wally like me! If you would like me to make a video please ask :)

Happy Knitting!

The Knaff Knitter