Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bobbly Baby Blanket!

Bobbly Baby Blanket... say that 5 times fast, I dare you! : )

Here's my progress on my baby blanket so far:



I am using the straight blue loom and knitting a flat panel on all pegs + 1 corner peg, using 1 over 2 stockinette stitches, and Bernat Baby Coordinates Baby Pink & White yarn. I created the alternating color blanket border the same method I used for the baby hat: wrap odd pegs with pink yarn, even pegs with white. So that the yarn doesn't get caught in little baby fingers easily I will sew a satin ribbon on the back, and this should also help control the curl that stockinette stitches always create. Using the pattern below created on graph paper, and using a pencil to mark the top of the pegs for each row of the pattern, I'm knitting off 5 repetitions of the bobble pattern, though if I need to make the blanket longer I will knit off more.


So far I have completed about 6 hours of work; marking the pegs and creating the bobble pattern takes longer to complete the project, as you might imagine. I have a few other ideas for how I might create this differently next time, but this is my first attempt and it is coming along fine. I hope to have it completed by the second week of June unless I get more time to work on it before then.


Here's a closeup of the bobble pattern; it was hard to get the lighting right for the shot, so I darkened the photo a bit:


I will have some better shots of the bobble stitches once the blanket is finished.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Baby Hat With A Striped Brim

I made some progress on my baby projects, so here they are:

First I wanted to make some baby booties, so I searched online for a pattern that I could follow, and found Jennifer Stark's Flower Loom Footsies (http://guppylovesshark.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/flower-loom-footsies/). They seem very simple to make, and I will post a photo of the footsies once they are done. I notice that the directions explain a way to make the heel and toe that I haven't tried before, so I'll be curious to see how it comes out. Whenever I've turned the heel on the loom in the past, there were always gaps in the heel. She also has a technique called the baisc graft cast off, something I've never tried before either.


For now, I have completed a baby hat using Bernat Baby Coordinates Baby Pink and Natural yarns for the brim. On the round blue loom, I simply alternated the colors (pink on odd pegs, natural on even pegs) to create the stripe pattern for the brim.

It takes longer, but I like the effect. I almost liked it enough to make the entire hat out of stripes, but decided just to stop at the brim.


For the top of the baby hat, I tried out the basic graft cast off from the footsies pattern, and it worked great! I never knew how to make the top of a hat lie flat after casting off, and this is a great way to do that.


I'm using the stripe effect on the top edge of the baby blanket I'm knitting on the long blue loom, so we'll see how that comes out. If it's a little too stringy for little baby hands to get caught in, then I will unravel it and just alternate a knit and pearl pattern instead in the pink yarn only. Or I was also contemplating sewing a satin ribbon to the back of it to prevent baby fingers from getting caught in the strands. We'll have to see, I just started it, and I'm up to 13 rows now.



At first I was going to create an elaborate pattern on the blanket, but then I decided that simple would be better for now. So I will incorporate a simple pattern on the blanket to add interest. The blanket will probably take me a couple of weeks to finish, but I will post my progress as I go along.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Novelties & Knitting Books!

This week I am working on a few baby items (booties, hat, blanket) to be given as gifts. As soon as I have a good amount of progress to show I’ll post it. I’m creating a design for the baby blanket and need to knit several rows to see if it comes out like I want.



Also, now that the weather is getting warmer, I invite you to browse the Loom Dude Novelty Shop at http://www.zazzle.com/LoomDude . There you’ll find playful t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other knit (oops, I mean neat) things. Here are a few designs you will see on some of the items:












Hope you’ll take a look and buy a little something special!


Have any of you read Kate Jacob’s Friday Night Knitting Club series? I just finished listening to book 3 – Knit the Season. I found the series to be pretty interesting, though I’ve never belonged to a knitting group yet. I was disappointed by something that happened at the end of the first book (I won’t spoil it for you); I figured it would happen but not to the person it happened to, and wasn’t sure how the sequel would develop as a result. But overall it was pretty good. What made the story engaging to me was that it wasn’t what I had expected it to be.


As the voice actress acted out the story on the cds, I could picture in my mind’s eye what each character looked like (and who I thought in Hollywood should play them): Ellen Burstyn as Anita, Sandra Oh as Darwin, LL Cool J (or Mos Def) as James Foster, Keke Palmer as Dakota, Kimberly Elise as Peri, Reese Witherspoon as Katherine, and rumor has it if the movie version ever gets made, Julia Roberts is cast as Georgia. Never mind that some of them are older than their parts. I really hadn’t pictured anyone for Lucie or KC. How about you? Maybe when the movie comes out, we’ll all go to the movies with our knitting supplies and knit while we watch! : ) I can’t wait to see what the Phoenix and Blossom look like! (If you don't know what those are, you'll have to read the book to find out!)


I also read (listened to) the Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. The story would always stop as each character explained about the life experiences that made them the person they were, as opposed to Kate Jacobs’ series where the author does some of that explanation (rather than have the character explain). I have to admit I was more than a little surprised by the amount of profanity in all of the books I read.


Next week I am starting Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber. I know Blossom Street is a whole series, but my library doesn't have all of the titles on cd, and listening on cd is the best way for me to "read" the books right now.


Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll write a knitting novel too! You can guarantee it will be full of drama, but from a different perspective!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Last Minute Mom's Day Gifts!

Oh, no! It's the night before Mother's Day, and you waited until the last minute to get something for dear Mom! You really ought to know better, but instead of heap guilt on you, I'm going to help you out with a couple of last minute crafty knits you can give Mom. They are both air fresheners you can hang in your car (rather, she can hang them in her car!). Just be aware that there may be some fading due to sun exposure. I knitted I-cords for each one, but you may decide to use a single strand of yarn, or a piece of elastic cord. Each project will take you 3-6 hours, depending on your level of skill.

The first one is a sunflower:


You will need: yellow yarn (I used Red Heart Bright Yellow), and brown yarn (I used Lion Brand Homespun Wild Fire), and air freshener (4 large cotton balls sprayed with Mom's favorite perfume, air freshener pellets, cedar balls (if using in the closet), potpourri, lavender sachets, something of that sort).

To make the flower head: Cast on your flower loom with the brown yarn using the drawstring method. After you have completed the cast on row, you will knit 1 over 2 stockinette stitch for 6 rows, then cinch the flower head shut and knot. Do not cut the tail. Then knit 7 more rows and cast off. Do not cinch. Set aside.

Petals: On your pink straight loom, cast on 3 pegs with a 5"-6" tail, 1 over 2 stockinette stitch, to create a 3-peg I-cord, and knit for 16 rows. *Move bottom strand of yarn from peg 1 onto the middle peg and knit off. Move bottom strand of yarn from peg 3 onto middle peg and knit off. Repeat from *. Then cast off with a 5"-6" tail, tugging the yarn to snug the stitches together (this is the pointy top of the petal). Using your yarn needle threaded with the tail from the top end of the petal, poke the needle through the outer 6 stitch loops on one side of the petal. Pull the threaded yarn needle out just before the 7th stitch loop, and snug tail, pulling yarn through loops, taking care to keep the top of the petal pointy and straight. Make 16 petals. With your yarn needle, thread the bottom tail of one of the finished petals and set aside.

Gently cinch other end of the flower head (but not completely shut). Using your thumb and first finger, pinch flower head flat (as below)

and sew petal with yarn needle onto the outer edge stitches of the flower head, taking note of the side you are sewing the petal on (the side with the tail sticking out from the side middle of the petal is the back).

Do not knot the petals onto the flower head yet; sew each petal onto the flower head side by side until you reach the petal you first sewed onto the flower head. If you have petals left over that is fine; if there are wide gaps, sew on an extra petal to close the gap.

Once you have sewed all the petals on and facing the same direction, sew each one firmly into place, knot and poke the tail through to the inside of the flower head (using your threaded yarn needle). You may choose to knot them from the inside and snip the tail; I did not.

Next, using your yarn needle, thread one of the tails from the side of a petal, and sew it to the petal next to it.

Sew the petals together down to the flower head, knot, and poke the yarn through to the inside of the flower head (if needed). Repeat for each petal.

Add the air freshener to the inside of the flower head, using additional batting if needed. Cinch the flower head shut and knot, or cinch and tie the tail if you want to replace the stale air freshener at some point in the future.

Using your straight pink loom, knit a 2 peg 12" I-cord using 1 over 2 stockinette stitch and sew the I-cord to the top of one of the petals. You're done!


video

The second project: roses on a ball ornament. Will require nimble fingers and braiding techniques. I used some white yarn I had in my stash (gauge 4), Red Heart Paddy Green, Lion Brand Homespun Candy Apple Red.

Ornament ball: Cast on your blue round loom with the white yarn using the drawstring technique. After completing the cast on row, knit 1 over 2 stockinette stitches for 25 rows, cinch shut and knot, cast off, and turn ornament ball inside out. Set aside.

Flower stems: measure an 11" strand of green yarn. Fold it in two pieces, leaving a 2" tail, as below.
Carefully tie the tail around the bottom of the yarn, leaving a tiny loop, and knot. Cut the loop at the opposite end, so that you now have 3 strands, knotted together at the bottom.

Tightly braid the strands together, knotting near the top end of the braid.

Make 6 stems.

Rose Heads: Repeat the same process as the stems, leaving a 4 inch tail instead of a 2" one. Braid LIGHTLY, not tightly. Thread your yarn needle with the 4" tail. Coil the braid in a spiral, and use the threaded yarn needle to sew the coil together. (If you want roses of varying sizes, don't measure how much yarn you use; wing it after measuring out the first rose, always making sure you have a 4" tail.) Then knot the rose head to the stem by passing the yarn needle through the loop at the bottom of a stem and knotting the flower head to the stem.

Repeat until each stem has one flower head knotted to it.

Sew the roses onto the ball ornament in an asterisk pattern; i.e., one vertical stem with two diagonal stems crossing over each other, crossing the vertical stem. Do this on both sides of the ornament, taking care that the roses on side one are equidistant to the roses on side 2. Even if it isn't perfect, make sure it is aesthetically pleasing.

Knot the top of the rose to the inside of the ornament, and knot the bottom of the stem to the inside of the ornament.

Snip the excess yarn tails (otherwise, if you leave the long tails without snipping them, when you stuff the ornament, the red and green tails will show through.)

Add air freshener inside the ball, (4 large cotton balls sprayed with Mom's favorite perfume, air freshener pellets, cedar balls (if using in the closet), potpourri, lavender sachets, something of that sort). Stuff with batting, add more air freshener. Shape the ball and add batting as needed, cinch and knot the ball at the top (or tie instead of knotting so you can replace stale air freshener at some point in the future), then set aside.

At this point you may choose to create your I-cord, or you may choose to add ribbon around the rose stems and knot it to create a bow. I already had pre-assembled tiny knotted bows, so I glued them on to the stems.

Using your straight pink loom, on two pegs knit off a 12" 1 over 2 stockinette stitch I-cord, and sew onto the top of the ornament. And you're done!

You may decide to arrange your roses differently on the ornament, or add more roses also.

Let me know if you make them. Happy Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Read about Loom Phenom Isela Phelps, Sherri's Hat Shop, and Brain Food

For all the Moms out there, I thought it would be nice to interview a couple of enterprising Moms, in celebration of Mother’s Day. Click



http://www.creativehelps.com/interviews_3.htm#ANOTHER_COLORFUL_LIFE_~_ISELA_PHELPS to read my interview with loom knitting phenomenon, Isela Phelps.








Known and admired by many for her insightful loom knitting tips and creative designs, Isela chats with me about creating patterns and what inspires her.



Also, you will be inspired by my interview with Carol Bruner and the story of Sherri’s Hat Shop.







Sherri’s Hat Shop provides free custom hats to children and teens with hair loss from cancer and alopecia.Click http://www.creativehelps.com/interviews_3.htm#ANOTHER_COLORFUL_LIFE_~_CAROL_BRUNER to read all about how Carol got started, and how you can create a hat!




Finally, I posted a new review of Brain Food, a product offered by Fat Brain Toys, at my CreativeHelps.com Creative Product Review blog.










Take a look and see why I recommend Brain Food!

Next post: last minute Mother's Day loom knitting projects you can complete in a few hours!