Tuesday, February 22, 2011

100 Days; Scarf & Hat Sets

Recently my daughter's school celebrated 100 Days of school. I helped her with two creative projects that she needed to have for the celebration. For the first project, she had to put 100 objects on a piece of paper. The suggested using toothpicks, pasta, beans, etc. At first I thought, "How about knitting something that has 100 stitches?" But I decided against that idea, since I knew she would need to explain that to the teacher. Finally I decided her portion of the project would be to glue some confetti contruction paper squares to the paper, glue 100 lentils to the paper, and I would knit the number 100 and glue it to the paper:

She liked it, and the teacher commented on how clever the idea was!

The second creative project was to decorate a shirt for a fashion show they would be having at school. I decided to cut the number 100 out of felt, and then sew on 100 sequins to it. Then I cut out her name in felt and sewed it to the back of the shirt. She squirted glue to the front of the shirt and added glitter. You can see the results here: http://artmangreg.blogspot.com/2011/02/100-days.html . I think it came out pretty good, and the teacher did also! Now that I know how to actually make felt, I plan on making her a felted hat to wear.

Over the last two weeks I also loom knit 2 scarf and hat sets for someone. I was very happy with the results, since they were both Lion Brand Homespun colors I had not used before. The first one is Corinthian:

When the person chose Corinthian as the color, I wasn't so sure about it. I didn't know how the variations in color would actually look once knitted. But it came out lush and fabulous.

The second color is Montana Sky:

What a beautiful color of blue! So rich, with subtle variations in tone. The person who bought these scarf and hat sets was very pleased. I know I'll be using both Corinthian and Montana Sky again for future projects.

No more counting on paper

Recently I received a gift card for a local craft store and I used to to buy knitting supplies (of course). One thing I bought was the Clover Knitting Counter. I had wanted a counter for ome time but I didn't want to pay so much for it. This one was $7.99, which I wouldn't have bought without the gift card. I guess I can be really frugal sometimes, but I figured as long as I can write, I'll just keep track of counting my rows that way. Hence:

But I used the knitting counter yesterday for a scarf I was making, counting off 296 rows one "kacha" at a time (kacha being the noise that the counter makes when you press it).

The counter doesn't go beyond 99, but it was easy to keep track of the rows just the same. I'm so glad I got it! It seems to make the knitting go a lot faster, and I remember pressing the button more often than I remembered whether or not I wrote down the row I just finished. I just hope it lasts a long time; I don't get gift cards that often and won't be buying a replacement without a gift card if it breaks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Felted Mittens!

For the first time I tried my hand at making loom knit felted mittens. A friend needed a pair of mittens. He has a large growth on one hand, and I would imagine hasn’t had any gloves or mittens to wear for years. He asked me to make them out of wool, so I decided to felt them to prevent the cold air from getting through the stitches.

I went to the local craft store and purchased Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool, Nature’s Brown color. I never used it before, but I bought Fishermen’s wool for two reasons: I imagined that fishermen get really cold out there on the sea, and this kind of wool would keep them especially warm; and it says “PERFECT FOR FELTING” right on the label. Having used Lion Brand before with great results, I tend to trust what it says on the label. But I knew nothing about felting and I thought it would be a long and tedious process.

As I knit the mittens on the green straight loom using 1 over 2 e-wrap stitch, I asked the online group I’m in about felting. I received excellent responses, one of which led me to http://www.lusciousgracious.com/felt.htm where I found easy to read and understand directions for felting, using a washing machine. After I knit the mittens extra large to allow for shrinking during the felting process, I turned them inside out.

I felted the mittens according to the instructions on the website. They turned out great!

Except for my first try I shrank one of them a little too much and had to knit it over again. The other mitten I was able to stretch over an oatmeal container so it would fit his hand properly, and I stuck a small zucchini up into the thumb so it would retain its shape also. I discovered that the felting process elongated the thumbs on the mittens, but I trusted that I would be able to cut and sew them to the proper size once they dried. I also discovered that I didn’t make the mittens long enough and would have to find something to use for a cuff. I decided on some fleece that I had leftover from a project I had made over 10 years ago (who throws anything away?). I folded the fleece over so I could enclose a strip of elastic inside, to prevent the cold air from getting inside the mittens. This worked out really well. After I had knitted and felted the smaller mitten, I stretched it over a coffee can to dry (and used another zucchini for the thumb).

Then I was able to have him try them on. He was so excited and glad to get them, and they fit perfectly!

I trimmed and sewed the thumbs so they would fit, after I took this picture. Of course, now I may have caught the felting bug since the project was so easy to do, and I’m glad that I bought the Fishermen’s Wool to felt with.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Another Loom Knit Purse, and a Scarf!

This purse I loom knit for a friend of mine as a surprise gift -



I made it to match the hat that I had previously made for her, using the popcorn bobble stitch pattern ( http://loomdude.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-more-pumpkins-for-now.html ). I made this purse in the same way that I made the other two, but this time I used Hometown USA Oakland Black.

In progress (the inside lining is on the left):

I also hid the bottom part of the handles a lot better than my first two attempts. And for the first time I used a label with my name on it – Loom Dude.

I found a nice button at the department store that added just enough contrast to the knitting without drawing too much attention to itself. I knew I wanted to use a button for a latch that was a flower in shape. I found a plastic black one that is multifaceted and reflects the light when it moves. Overall, the purse was a success, and the recipient was overjoyed at receiving it.An elegant little purse that would go perfectly with a little black dress, right?

Next, someone asked me to knit a grey and black scarf for them, and they wanted a solid dark grey color. At first I didn’t think that a dark grey and black would offer much contrast, and I didn’t see any Homespun greys that were extremely dark. Finally I settled on Homespun Black and Edwardian.

Edwardian is not a solid gray when you look at it, but when it knits up it has a soft, silvery sheen to it that is just awesome. The person I knit it for loved it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Two Loom Knit Purses!

Here are two sweet little purses that I knit for Christmas gifts in 2010! The first one I made for my Mom using the yellow straight loom on 34 pegs (counting the corner peg and using a loom clip).

I did a double strand 1 over 1 e-wrap stitch, using 2 skeins of Loops & Threads Impeccable Worsted yarn, Earth Ombre color. The bamboo handles I picked up from an online craft supply shop, the button and the inside fabric I bought from Walmart. The purse is 8” long and 6” wide. It doesn’t have a large opening for the purse because the handles take up so much room, but it was my first time making one so it was a learning experience. For the inside lining I just sewed together two pieces of fabric that I cut out, and then sewed the bottom edge of the lining to the inside bottom edge of the knitted purse. Then I sewed the top lining along the edge of the top.

The button holder is simply an i-cord.

This purse I made for my wife:



I made it the same way but I used alpaca yarn (1 gauge) and Ella Rae Amity yarn color 3 (which I think is cocoa), using the two strands together to knit 1 over 1. I chose these colors to match an alpaca poncho that she has. I made her purse the same way as my Mom’s, but for the flap on top I simply bind off one side of the loom, then knit on the flap on the other side of the loom and bind off. Once again I made an i-cord for the button loop. I got the handles from the same online craft supply store, but they are a different style.

I made one more purse as a surprise gift for Christmas for someone which I will post next week, and I am working on another one as a gift for someone next month. Everyone was delighted with their gifts!