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October 30, 2012

Problem Solving With Yarn: Knitted Watch Band

Problem: You have a tiny tiny wrist, so the only watches that fit your wrist are those velcro ones.  The watch you have is falling apart, and you'd like to replace it, but with something that looks nicer than a velcro band.

Solution: Knit the band, and stick the watch face on it.

I found a watch band pattern years and years and years ago on Knitty, and always wanted to try it out because I have the problem listed above.

So, I finally took the time to make the pattern, and this is what my watch now looks like:


I like the looks of it.  I also like the option that I can swap out the bands according to season, mood, outfit, etc.  But for now, it is just a gray band.

I don't know if I'll actually make more, but I like the idea that I have the option to swap out the band.  I am saying goodbye to those darn velcro bands!

October 25, 2012

Learn to do Bavarian Crochet--Book Review

Have you seen this book, Learn to do Bavarian Crochet by Jenny King.  I went to a local craft store, and they were having a sale on knitting and crochet books at 40% off.  So, I went through EVERY knitting a crochet book, and found this little, teeny weeny, 47 page book.

"Bavarian crochet?" I thought.  "What's that?"

I looked through the book, and thought this was the coolest thing ever.

This book is set up similarly to my own tutorials with step by step instructions that includes pictures.  I found the instructions quite clear, and easy to follow.

I made the basket pattern from page 38.



If you're interested in this technique, I would recommend this book.  Because the instructions of the stitches show pictures on how it's supposed to look, you can see if you're doing the stitch right, instead of hope.

So check it out.  Though the stitch looks hard, it's actually quite easy.  If you're just a beginner, you can do this stitch too.  Don't be scared, go on and try it!

October 23, 2012

Knit Your Halloween Costume!

Quick!  Halloween's next week, and you don't have a costume?  You want to make it, but you don't have a huge chunk of time?

A few years ago, I wound up in this scenario.  I wanted to dress up for Halloween, but didn't want my costume to be in your face as if to say, "LOOK AT ME!  I'M IN A COSTUME!"

So, here's what I did:

1) found a basic knit beanie pattern

2) added text across the front via fair isle.

The text I put said "Skynet Team" Okay...so the text shows my age...I grew up watching the Terminator movies, and the hat was referencing the Skynet AI from the franchise.


I bought a matching shirt, and said I was on the "Skynet development team."

You can put whatever you want as the text, this is just one option of many.  My nerd friends out there liked it :).

October 18, 2012

Crochet--The 1st Row

Sometimes, it's confusing on where to insert the hook for that first row.

Here's my tip: when you count your chains, count the top loop.  So when you insert the hook, insert it in the top loop.  I tried helping a woman with this the other day, and I forgot to tell her this.  I was telling her to insert the hook in the top, and she was inserting the hook in the bottom...so our counts were off.  I felt awful because I realized this too late.

So I'm posting this, in case she sees this, or if there are other people who have this problem.

The left column of pictures is for lefties, and the right column is for righties.

For my sample, I just did a basic single crochet row.

Step 1) make the amount of stitches you want, plus one.  I want 10 stitches, but you need one more (for single crochet) so that the first stitch is at the proper height.


Step 2) insert the hook in the 2nd chain and single crochet.  Remember, you're counting the top loop only.



Step 3) Insert hook in the next chain for your next stitch. If you're having trouble seeing exactly where the next chain is, look at the stitch you just made, the stitch you just made will be wrapped around the loop of the chain.  For a single crochet, I think they look like little legs of the stitch.  Click the photo to enlarge it and get a better look at it.


Step 4) continue step 3 until the end of the row.


Now, say you're working on a shell stitch.  What does that look like?  How do you do that?

You follow the same steps, just count the top loops for your stitches, and insert in the desired stitch.

The basic shell stitch is:
1) chain a multiple of 6 plus 2
2) single crochet in the 2nd chain from the hook
3) skip two chains, 5 double crochets in the next chain (aka, the 3rd chain after the stitch)
4) skip two chains, single crochet in the next chain (aka, 3rd chain after the stitch)

5) repeat step 3

6) repeat step 4

Keep repeating steps 3 and 4 until the end of the row.  End with step 3 (with a single crochet in the last chain).

A row of two shells, looks like this:


October 16, 2012

Knit Until There's a Cure

As you probably know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This is a touchy subject for me.  Touchy in the fact that my aunt on my dad's side of the family...the aunt I was closest to, died from breast cancer.  Plus my namesake died from breast cancer right before I was born.  I wouldn't have the name Nancy, if she survived the cancer.  My first American Sign Language teacher survived breast cancer twice, and my mom's cousin also survived breast cancer.

Breast cancer has made an impact in my life, so I was going to design a pattern and post it for breast cancer awareness month, but I felt that the Tit Bits pattern posted on Knitty did more justice than I could ever do.  Especially the story at the top of the pattern.  If anything, just read the story!

Then after you've seen the pattern, and read the story.  Check out where the pattern originated from, http://www.titbits.ca/

I hope that within my lifetime, we find a cure to breast cancer.  Seeing my aunt go through chemotherapy, and the cancer refusing to regress. Seeing my aunt giving up...it was heart breaking.  I cried.  I cried a lot.  I still get teary eyed thinking about it.

So until we find a cure, we will knit for those who have had mastectomies, to give them a chance have some normalcy in their lives.

October 11, 2012

Crocheted Binding on an Afghan

I posted a tutorial on how to hide yarn floaters with a crocheted binding.  I said that I was in the process of doing this for an afghan I was working on, but it was taking FOREVER because it's over 6 feet long and 5 feet wide.

Well, I finished the binding!

The process was exactly the same as the little sample I made.  After I made the two sides for the border, it looked like this:


Then, just like the sample, I single crocheted the two pieces together:


The finished border then serves two purposes, 1) hides your yarn floaters, and 2) acts as a frame for your afghan.




I'm pleased with how the afghan turned out.  And even though the border took a few weeks to finish, it was worth it.  Now, a year and half of work will be given away...I just hope they like it.

October 9, 2012

Yarn Burn Protection--Free Knit Pattern

Back in February, I posted a crocheted finger cover pattern to protect yourself from yarn burn.  Recently, I thought, "Why not give the knitters some love, too?"  Knitters deserve to protect themselves from yarn burn just as much as crocheters!  So, I created a free finger cover pattern for the knitters out there!


Gauge: Not too important, because it takes longer to check your gauge than to make the finger cover.  If you want to check to see if it'll actually fit, then, rows 1-10 should be the size of the space between your 1st and 2nd knuckle on your forefinger, and 10 sts should be able to wrap snugly around the 1st and 2nd knuckle around your forefinger.

Materials:
Size 8 (5.0 mm) needles.  I recommend using circular needles for reasons I will discuss in the pattern.

Worsted weight yarn.  Vanna's Choice, Kelly is used in the pattern and pictures.

Yarn needle.


Pattern:
Cast on 10 sts
Rows 1-10: k in each st across. (10 sts)
This should be the length between your 1st and 2nd knuckle on your forefinger, or the finger you get yarn burn on.

Row 11: k2tog, k6, k2tog. (8 sts)

Rows 12-16: k in each st across. (8 sts) Don't bind off.

Now, cut the yarn leaving a long enough tail to sew the side seam, and thread it through the eye of the yarn needle.

Here's why I recommend using circular needles: You insert the needle from right to left.

So you'll either:
1) slide the stitches to the other end of the circular needle and slip them off or 2) slip the stitches to the other needle, so you can slip them off.


Which ever you decide, it looks like this:


Pull the yarn tight.  It'll look like the top of a knitted hat.


Sew the side seam.  Weave in the ends.  And protect that finger from yarn burn!


October 4, 2012

Fiber Friend Giveaway!

You've heard of fairies.  You've heard of elves.  And you've heard of gnomes.

But have you heard of the fiber friends?

They too are magical creatures who are rarely seen in this world.  Where there is roving, yarn, or fabric--where there are hooks and needles, they are there.

When the lights are out, and you sleep in your bed, they protect your projects from the lurking cats who eye your yarn balls.  They keep your fabric from tumbling like an avalanche.  And they organize your tools with glee.

Once, when I was getting some granny squares for a project, I saw a figure in the shadows.  Startled, my heart jumped as I stifled a scream.  The figure did not move, just stayed in the shadows.  We stared at each other, the figure and I, until, slowly, I saw it waddle towards the light.

A little blue creature came into sight with his little hands nervously clasped together.  It looked up at me, and I down at it.  Then, I heard its little voice peep, "Hello."

It talked?  I blinked.  "What are you?"

It rubbed its palms together.  "I'm a fiber friend," it explained.  "I've lived here for years, making sure your projects are safe from the animals, and I dust your yarn stash every night," it beamed, puffing out its chest.

"Is that why you're with my granny squares?"

It nodded.

"Well," I extended my hand for it to jump on, "what are you doing out?"

The little blue friend hopped on the palm of my hand and I raised it to my eye level.  "I wanted to ask you something," it said.  "Ummm, I've been lonely, and I know you're busy, but I would like a friend, and its too far for me to walk anywhere."

And so I promised to find it a new home.

So to all my readers out there in internet land, this little fiber friend would like a new home.  It's quiet, and it doesn't take up much space at 2 1/2 inches tall.  So if you'd like him, email me at antsfibers@gmail.com with the subject, "Fiber Friend", and I'll give him to the 10th responder.  In the body of the email, tell me

  1. If you crochet, knit, or even sew
  2. What you'd like to see more of in my blog.
  3. How you found my blog.


I will reply to your email if you are the winner of the giveaway, so we can make shipping arrangements.

October 2, 2012

How to Weave Two Fabrics

You can do this knitting or crochet, the principles are the same.  My example is crocheted, because it's faster for me to do.

All you do is your make a solid piece for at least a few rows, then separate it into columns, then back to solid.  For example, in my pieces I crocheted 10 stitches, for 3 rows, then the outside columns for 3 stitches for 13 rows, and the inside columns for 2 stitches for 13 rows.  Then, I joined them back together for 3 rows.

Stage 1) three rows of 10 stitches
Stage 2)
outside=thirteen rows of 3 stitches
inside=thirteen rows of 2 stitches
Stage 3)
crochet in each stitch, thus, going back to 10 stitches
Stage 4)
completed piece

After you have one piece done, then when you get to stage 2, weave it in the first piece before you start stage 3:

Then, just complete stages 3 and 4 same as before.


This is a simplified version of what you can do.  You can increase or decrease the amount of rows to make, and alter this to create whatever you want.  The possibilities are endless.  This is just a foundation for you to work on :).