Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

I needed something to keep my hair out of the way, so I tried making a hat with elastic in a hem rather than ribbing. I really like how it works so now I’m making more.

Feorlen wearing the blue hat

I started at the bottom ribbing, as usual, except I made a looser cast-on than normal. This is so I can pick up the loops as stitches later. I could have started with a provisional cast-on and then used live stitches, but this works fine. You can find an example of joining live stitches (and different numbers for each layer) on another hat I made.

Knit a little 1×1 rib, enough to make a casing for your elastic. This will be the inside of the hem and should be a little smaller than the outside layer. Rib stitch is normally smaller than straight knit, so I can use the same number of stitches. Then do a row all purl, to make a turning row for folding the hem under. The purl makes it fold nicely. Continue with regular knit until it is the same length as the ribbing. (No, I didn’t count rows.)

To join the layers together, pick up the cast-on edge the same number of stitches and fold up the hem so the two needles are next to each other. Then slip one stitch from each needle to alternate on the main needle.

The hem ready to fold under:
hat hem with picked-up stitches, ready to join

Knit the round, two stitches together each time. The way I knit, K2Tog with the live stitch first and the picked-up loop second works best. You may need to do a different kind of decrease. Leave a few hem stitches on a holder for later so you can insert the elastic.

Joining the hem layers:
knitting the joining round

On the next round, check your markers if you have any. Sometimes mine get off a stitch during the K2Tog operation. Complete knitting the hat as usual, with extra height for drape (this leaves space to hold my hair, not a small consideration.)

Insert some flat elastic (I use 3/4 inch non-roll waistband elastic) adjust to fit and fasten down the remaining stitches from the holder.

I used sport-weight yarn and 120 stitches. This is exactly what my gauge swatch told me my head measurement should be, so normally it would be a few too many for a hat. But the elastic makes the band fit right, leaving the rest a little oversized.

I was at the knitting shop a while back to pick up some sock yarns to play with. The Ty-Dy Socks Blueberry Field I found looked just like an indigo vat so I got it despite some reservations. It was amazingly soft and bouncy in the ball, which doesn’t bode well for socks. It also split easily and somehow I managed to twist it even more than I normally do in knitting. But I loved the color so I stuck it out.

The crazy long repeat was a little odd to work with. I started the second sock from the second ball (I bought three) to get the same color sequence, otherwise I would have had to waste a ridiculous amount of yarn to start in the same place. There are only about two and a half repeats in the whole sock.

After the first wearing, the bottoms looked like they had been dragged around the house by a herd of cats. Yes, I do have gauge problems and only the toe was as firmly knitted as I wanted. But even it started to throw off lint immediately.

Click for larger image:

blue and green socks

So now I have a pair of really soft indigo vat colored bed socks, not something I could actually wear with regular shoes. I also have two half balls and one full ball of yarn remaining. With the color repeat, it will take some careful planning to have a smooth transition in a larger piece. I’m wondering if I ply it tighter I can get a usable yarn, but I’d have to find a pattern stitch that can handle the extra twist.

I got yarn recently to try out some toe up socks from Wendy’s new book. I wasn’t liking most of the colorways I found so I got plain natural Trekking Sport (which is, oddly enough, not sport weight) and some new colors of acid dyes. I mean, I can’t be seen wearing boring old commercial knitting yarn right? Anyway…

I made a really huge skein on the warping mill and painted it in sections while trying to not let the whole mess fall off the kitchen table:

partly dyed bundle of yarn

I must say it’s quite entertaining to get plastic wrap to perform on command and not stick to everything but the previously positioned section you were aiming for. But I got it all painted and wrapped in plastic and into the steamer. Out came exactly the yarn I was hoping for (much to my amazement!)

ball of yarn and swatch

The base color is blue with sections of purple and just enough red to leave a bit of bright color here and there. It took a lot of dye and much poking and prodding to get good solid colors but I’m very happy with the results. It’s a superwash wool, which I normally don’t like, but I also don’t like washing socks by hand. All reports are this yarn wears well so I may try this again.

My knitting and I made it back in one piece, although it was touch and go there for the knitting. I very nearly had a Textile Emergency in the airport on the way out of town. Apparently Ronchi airport security doesn’t like metal knitting needles. Or crochet hooks, blunt toy scissors or safety pins. They were quite helpful in trying to get them securely into a checked bag, but there was no way I was getting on the airplane with my dangerous safety pin and whatnot. This is what I get for failing to replace my remaining long 3mm circular needle with a wood one.

Fortunately for me, and I did not before this weekend think I would ever have cause to say that, a different security detail was at the same time questioning DH and giving one of our checked bags the rubber glove treatment. For a can of dolmas. It was quite confusing for a moment as while I was attempting to explain to the nice inspection signorina in half English and half Italian that my husband had a bag that could be pressed into service as checked, said husband and bag vanished into a remote hallway. But convenient since they had already pulled the checked bag for inspection, it was available to stash the offending textile implements.

If we hadn’t been staying overnight in Munich on the way back, I would have been really irritated to go without knitting across a continent and a half and a rather good-sized ocean. (It’s about 24 hours on a normal trip, without the long layover.)

I did make an attempt to find a new, non-metal needle in Munich but the giant Nordstrom-clone store’s knitting department did not carry the hugely popular and made in Germany Addi needles. I picked up a suitable Inox on the theory that at least it looked like it could be plastic but quickly found out that I can’t stand the bent cord ends they have.

And of course, the Munich airport security didn’t bat an eyelash. (They did inspect my bag of knitting stuff on the first half of the trip and had no problems.)

I found a knitting shop, and through some luck the person there spoke English. She didn’t have the circular needle I was looking for but I did pick up some Mondial magazines. I’ve seen Italian knitting magazines before and was familiar with the crazy stuff contained therein. I passed on the current issue, for Summer, as I don’t need patterns for hand knit bikinis and so on. I picked up one from October 2006 which seemed to have a few things of interest to someone who is in need of scarves and hats most of the year. It also contained this gem:

Mondial knitting design, white vest

Semi-sheer panels with cable accent only vaguely pretending to hide the model’s lack of a bra. In angora. Huh?

Why, oh Why could I not have found the October issue with this far more reasonable lace jacket:

white lace jacket

There was a basket of old (like 1994 old) issues for cheap, but this and the summer issue were the current selection available.

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© 2004-2007 Andrea Longo
spinnyspinny at feorlen dot org