Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Two New Hats

On Saturday I took my daughter to a birthday party for one of her friends at Michael's craft store. It was nice, and she enjoyed it a lot. The staff led the children to make two take home crafts during the party: a birdhouse and a magnetic wooden notepad holder-thingy. But it wasn't until I got to our next destination after the party that I realized I had left my hat at the store! It was the loom knit hat that I had made over a year ago. I was a little bummed out about it, but of course it was the perfect excuse to make a new hat to replace it.

I planned to make another blue one, but I had been wanting a brown one to match a brown coat that I wear every winter. I made the brown hat first, using the round green loom and Hometown USA Billings Chocolate, which I double stranded with Sugar 'n Cream Warm Brown. This was a good combination because the colors are so similar. The Hometown USA is super bulky acrylic and the Sugar 'n Cream is Medium (4) Worsted Cotton. I knit the two strands together using a 1 over 1 stockinette stitch for 12 rows, then added the brim. Then I knit for another 19 rows, cast off with a yarn needle and cinched it closed.

Done in about 1.5 hours, but it took a little longer because I stayed up late watching the 1968 movie musical Oliver!, which used to be one of my favorite movies. It was the letterbox version with all the intermission and extra music included. I wore the hat to church the next day, with the brown coat.

On Sunday I decided I didn't want to wear my nice brown hat as an everyday hat, so I rummaged through my stuff and found my Hometown USA San Diego Navy yarn, mixing it with some dark blue yarn I had in the stash. This time I completed the hat in about 1.5 hours, and have been wearing it every day since.

Just as well, since the warm Spring weather is taking its time about getting here this year!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sweet Pink Shrug is Finished!

Here is the completed shrug, worn by my daughter, sweet as cotton candy:

I used the blue straight loom to make the body, and the blue round loom for the sleeves, with Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn. I knit 1 over 1 on 48 pegs (using the anchor peg and a loom clip). At the bottom of the shrug, I alternated knit and purl stitches for 8 rows, then completed the body using stockinette stitches.
For the arm holes, I simply removed the yarn from the corner pegs and put it on the peg next to it, and knit off. Then separately I knit each "panel" between the arm holes, cutting the working yarn when I knit off 60 rows. After 60 rows I e-wrapped all the pegs with the working yarn and knit off 6 rows, alternating knit and purl stitches to make the neckline.

I made the arm holes too big, so I am going to make the shrug again to get more exact directions before I post detailed directions on how to make it. Also, I ran out of the yarn after completing one of the sleeves. When I bought another skein, I noticed that the gauge was slightly thinner than the shein I had used to knit the shrug with, but I didn't realize this until after I had completed most of the second sleeve and had to frog it. To make the sleeves fit better, I simply "turned" the top rows of the sleeve, as if I were knitting the heel of a sock. At first I wasn't sure if this would work; I thought it might not fit my daughter very well. But when she tried it on it fit perfectly.

The finished body of the shrug measures 10.5x11; the sleeves are 16" each. Naturally, since I used the stockinette stitch, the cuffs on the sleeves curl, and the chest panels curl also; but I don't mind that. That isn't a dropped stitch on her shoulder; that's where I made a knot in the yarn when I joined the sleeve to the body. I need to tuck that on the inside to hide it better.

I decided to knit the entire piece 1 over 1 because she would be wearing it to keep the chill off during dance class. My wife thinks it will go well with her Sunday dress on Easter. I agree.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Special Olympics Poster & Shrug Progress

Here is a nice "thank you" poster I recently received via e-mail from the NJ office of the Special Olympics:

The thank you was in appreciation for the scarf I had knit for them (see http://loomdude.blogspot.com/2011/01/special-olympics-scarf-done.html). It was a great project to work on, and I will probably do it again next year. Congrats to all the Special Olympians!

The shrug is 95% done. I just need to fit it on my daughter to see how it looks, and check the shaping around the neck. It only took a few days to make, and the results will be well worth it. The only problem I had with it was when I made the second sleeve, I wrapped the loom with yarn too many times and had to frog it to get the sleeve the correct length. You know how it is when you get into your knitting zone!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A New Shrug!

For some time I have been working on this shrug.

I actually started it last year in November, just after I had finished the one I made for her to wear while trick-or-treating. But then I started getting requests for loom knit items and I had to complete my Christmas projects, so I put the shrug aside. Now that my loom requests have quieted down a bit, I am almost done with knitting this shrug. It fits my daughter well, but I haven't decided if I want to add a button to the front if it or not. I also want to knit some matching leg warmers to go with it, to complete the outfit. I did a little knitting and purling details on the bottom of the shrug. Next time I will also do that on the sleeve cuffs. I'm still working on perfecting m finishing techniques as well as getting the neckline right. I am determined to keep practicing until I am fully satisfied with the results. Though I have improved a lot since the first time I made my daughter a sweater. The sleeves are an equal length, though the photo doesn't make it appear so. I took the picture at an angle to avoid the flash reflecting on the floor.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Colorful New Purse!

Here's the latest in my line of purses in the Loom Dude collection:

back view:

A sweet color scheme, courtesy of Loops & Threads Charisma Yarn, Lakeside color. I knit from two skeins simultaneously, 1 over 1, using the yellow straight loom, double-stranding the already thick yarn. It was difficult to knit off as a result, but the tight knit made it worth the extra effort.

The inside is cotton fabric:

Here it is in progress:

Yes, this one is a gift for someone who hasn't gotten it yet, but when it arrives it will be quite a surprise! I haven't sewn the label inside yet, but here's what it looks like:

I think it came out much better than the last label I did. I used a permanent marker for the last label, but the tip was too broad and made the writing bleed. This time I found my thin-tipped permanent marker and it came out much better. Eventually I want to get my own custom made labels, but for now my budget says I need to use the less expensive ones.
The finished purse measures 7.25" x 10.5" (minus the handles).