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August 30, 2012

While I was away...

So, when I was working on my Guild Wars 2 wristband pattern, I put the yarn ball in a glass bowl so that it wouldn't roll around all over my floor.

I had the nerve to get up to get a drink of water, and when I came back I saw this:

My dog, Terra, has discovered yarn balls!

This is her, "No, Mommy, I'm innocent!  The cats did it!  They took the ball, and I was only getting them to stop" look.  Yeah, I'm on to you Terra!  You might be cute, but you're not innocent...not in the least.

August 28, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Wristband

Huzzah!  Guild Wars 2 comes out today!

If you're as excited as I am, you have a list of the names for your characters, their race, their biography choices, their profession, and their two crafting professions.

Charrlie's also excited about GW2!

My main character is going to be a female charr, named after a deity for a minotaur/demon like race I created for a book I wrote, and she's going to be a necromancer!  Why?  Necromancers are awesome, and it relates to her role in the series.

BAM!


Anyway, I am amped about Guild Wars 2 (been waiting for it for at least two years).  And in celebration of the release, I created a wristband pattern for GW2.

On with the Pattern!
Gauge: 19 sts/4"

Materials:
Size 8 (5.0 mm) knitting needles, or the correct size to obtain the gauge.
yarn needle
worsted weight yarn

  • white (main color) - Vanna's Choice, white used in the pattern
  • red (used for the G and the W in chart) - Vanna's Choice, cranberry used in the pattern
  • orange (used for the 2 in the chart) - Stitch Nation Full o' Sheep, clementine used in the pattern

Finished Size: 6 (6.5, 7)"

Directions:
Loosely Cast on 29 (31, 33) sts

Row 1) [k, p] across, k in the last st
Row 2) k in the first st, [p, k] until the end of the row
Row 3) k in each st of the row
Row 4) p in each st of the row

Rows 5, 7, 9, 11) k 9 (10, 11), work the 11 sts of the chart knitwise (right to left for right handed knitting), k the last 9 (10, 11) sts of the row

Rows 6, 8, 10, 12) p 9 (10, 11) work the 11 sts of the chart purlwise (left to right for right handed knitting), p the last 9 (10, 11) sts of the row

Row 13) k in each st of the row
Row 14) p in each st of the row
Row 15) [k, p] across, k in the last st
Row 16) k in the first st, [p, k] until the end of the row
purl bind off

Weave in the many many ends, and sew the side seams together.


Happy knitting, and see you in GW2!

August 23, 2012

Knooking the Purl Stitch

Knooking with the purl stitch is the same as knitting the purl stitch, according to this video I found on youtube by Leisure Arts.

And just like the knit stitch, the hook catches the yarn, making it easier to learn the muscle memory (due to it being harder to drop your stitches).
Left: Continental Method    Right: English Method

the purl side of a stockinette stitch

After this experiment, I can only think of two disadvantages of using the knook:

1) gauge.  What do I mean by that?  Say you found a knitting pattern for something you really want to make, but your gauge is off, and you only have a few sizes of knook.  That means, you might not be able to get the correct gauge for the pattern you want to make.

2) becoming dependent on it.  You've heard me say that a pro to knitting with the knook is that it's easier to learn the muscle memory.  But the con of that is, if you aren't able to make the transition to knitting needles you are stuck to the limited sizes of knooks available and that limits your projects.

In my opinion, I think the knook can be a good learning/teaching tool for beginners, but I think that it should be used as a training wheel for knitting needles.  Use the knook to get used to holding the yarn, yarn overs, and pullling the yarn through the stitches.  Then make the transition to the knitting needles.

August 21, 2012

Knooking the Knit Stitch

My mom has been sewing since she was 7 years old.  She loves it like I love knitting and crochet.  And because of that, I have spent many hours in fabric stores or the fabric sections of stores.  Lately, when my mom and I have been in Walmart I've noticed this thing called a Knook.  Basically, it' s a crochet hook that's similar to a corded afghan hook, only instead of a stiff cord, it's a string that extends the hook.

Looking at this thing for a few months now, I thought about what the advantages would be to using this altered crochet hook instead of two knitting needles.

Using two crochet hooks that I have which are the same brand and same size, I created a swatch to see the advantages.

Note: the green hook just takes place of the string.  I found a youtube video by the Leisure Arts which shows the same advantages I'll be pointing out, if you want to look at it here.

Advantage 1) the hook holds the yarn in place as you knit.  Using knitting needles, I can't knit the continental method because the yarn always slips off, but I was able to do it using the hooks.
Left: Continental Method    Right: English Method


Advantage 2) Because the hook holds the yarn in place, you can practice the most important thing when learning how to knit: muscle memory.  This is crucial for beginners and learning how to make your stitches a consistent size.

the knit side of a stockinette swatch all done with the hooks


Thursday, I'll talk about the disadvantages I discovered, and going over the purl stitch.

August 16, 2012

Make Something from Nothing

Sometimes, when you're practicing a new stitch, or working on making your gauge consistent, or you're just learning and are afraid to follow a pattern...you're stuck with a big fat block o' nothing.

What do you do with that?

For instance, I knitted a big ol' rectangle of blah to take pictures for a series of posts for this blog.  Normally, when I do this, I don't cut off the end (leave it attached to the yarn ball), then just frog it when I'm done taking pictures.  But, with this big ol' rectangle of blah, I had to cut off the end to post about weaving in the ends.  After all that work, I didn't want to just rip it out.

What do you do with that?

I had no idea.  Then I remembered that I could use a cell phone cozy for when I don't have any pockets, and I'm just dinking around the house cleaning and what not.  So I just folded it in half, sewed up the seams, added a crocheted row to the top (because it wasn't quite tall enough), and crocheted a strap.  Then bam, it was no longer a big ol' rectangle of blah, but a new cell phone cozy!



And it's as simple as that to make something from nothing.  All you have to do is keep an open mind, and don't just look at the big ol' block as a flat block.  Fold it up!  See what a simple fold changes the shape into, and see if you can sew the seams to create something.  For example, you can fold a flat circle into a fortune cookie.  Or sew two super big rectangles you made to make a laptop case (that's what I did).

You don't need a pattern to create something.  If you've already got a big ol' stash of "I have no idea what to do with this...thing" then with a few tweaks, you're on your way to making those nothings into somethings.

August 14, 2012

How to: weave in ends with a crochet hook, part 2

Awhile back I posted how to weave in ends with a crochet hook for crocheted fabric.

But I also use a crochet hook to weave in the ends of my knitted pieces as well.  What can I say?  I'm a crocheter first.  The hook I use here is the same one I use to pic up dropped stitches, the E (3.50 mm) hook

And, same as for crocheted fabric, all you do is insert the hook where you would the yarn needle:

Left handed pics on the left, Right handed pics on the right
Insert hook (I like to go in the side for the first one)

yarn over and pull through

insert hook in the back of a purl stitch nearby

yarn over, pull through

wrong side views

right side views


I showed both left and right handed because instead of one view because it actually looked different depending on which hand you use.

August 9, 2012

Crochet in a Knitted Piece

Knitting and crochet both have different textures and appearances.

In a previous post, I talk about some dialysis sleeves I made for my mom, but I didn't talk about why I both knit and crocheted them.

  1. Knits are super stretchy, so knitting is more appropriate for the forearm part of the sleeve because it'll stretch to fit snugly towards the elbow.
  2. Crochet is more rigid, so it's more appropriate for the palm part of the mitt because your palm always stays in the same position (aka, the palm can't bend).
And here's how to accomplish crocheting in a knitted piece!

-Note: I knit right handed, and crochet left handed, so for people who crochet and knit in the same direction, they'd be crocheting in the right side, instead of the wrong side (like I do).

Yay knitted piece!

This is the top of the knitted piece.
See the Vs?  It's just like the top of a crochet stitch.

All you do is crochet in the top of the bind off (the Vs)

So I crocheted single crochet rows:
Make sure your crochet stitches have the same width as the knitted stitches.



Front and Back:

Easy peasy!

Happy stitching!

August 7, 2012

My First Stitch: Twisted Half Double Crochet

When I learned how to crochet, I didn't take the "normal" route and learn a single crochet first.  The first stitch I ever learned in crochet was supposed to be a double crochet (and for years I thought it in fact was a double crochet), but, in fact, it wasn't.

It was a stitch I have never seen anyone stitch, ever.  I've never seen it in books, nor have I seen people to the stitch.  And when people have seen me do this stitch, I usually get a, "what the heck is that?" response.

I like to call it a "twisted half double crochet" stitch.  It's as tall as a half double crochet, but a knot is created at the bottom of the stitch.

So, here's how it works:
0) pre starting the stitch

1) yarn over just like a half double crochet

2) insert the hook into the next stitch

3) yarn over

4) pull yarn over through the stitch
(there should be three loops on the hook)

5) pull the first loop through the second
(pull it through from behind to the front, this twists the loop)

6) there are now two loops on the hook

7) yarn over, and pull through the loops to finish

Font view

Back view
(looks like a tall single crochet)

close up of the Twisted Half Double, you can see the knot on the bottom

close up of a normal half double crochet for comparison

And that's the stitch!

August 3, 2012

Like "Terminator 3"

Like Arnold in the movie "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" I come marching towards the Terminator girl then announce, "I'm back!" (or did he say that to John Conner?  Now that I think about it, I don't remember).

I am back!

Now, you might be wondering, where the heck did I go?  I haven't posted in TWO months.  Count them, two!  So what the heck happened?

Well, a personal emergency came up, and my availability suddenly went down to zilcho!  My mother is having some health problems and I have had to drive her to the ER in Sacramento, two hours away, on and off for a month; then she ended up being in the hospital for another month, but I had to keep going down to give her her diabetes supplies from home.

So, here I am!  Now that my mom's back from the hospital, I am back with a vengeance!  Don't give up on me guys!  I'm still here!

-.Nancy

P.S. Posts will resume for Tuesdays and Thursdays, now.