What stitch is this?

Stitch

I’ve been working on a shrug, and I decided to use a looser, lacier stitch than the ones I’m familiar with, so I’ve been using this one. It’s just one strand of yarn (Yarn Bee, Cameo). I don’t know the name of the stitch yet, but I’m trying to find it. I cast on and then, with one stitch on each peg, I double-wrap each peg–I don’t go around the loom twice, I simply wrap each peg twice–then I move onto the next, and so on. I then knit the bottom two wrappings over the top one, leaving just one wrapping on each peg. This creates a boxy looking stitch. I’m not certain if I like it, but I’m going to keep on with it.

As far as shrugs, this will basically be a rectangle (knitted as a flat panel on the yellow loom) about 36″ long. I’m also knitting two sleeves/cuffs on the blue loom. If they’re too small, I may switch to the red loom to get a looser look. I’ve never made a shrug before, so it’s yet another experiment. Honestly, I don’t even know if I like shrugs, but it’s fun to make something new.

There are a ton of free patterns for shrugs here, but they’re all knitting patterns, so you’ll have to find a way to convert them to a loom. I tend to like the ones with a front on them, like Berroco’s Evonne, but I like the look of this one, and the one listed on this vintage pattern site (scroll down to see it). The one at the Lion Brand free pattern site is neat, too. I’ll put these in my to-make-someday-when-I-have-a-finer-gauge-loom file or my to-make-someday-when-I-understand-how-to-convert-patterns file.

A yarn bowl, plus slippers for me

Bowl

Slippers5

Sometime yesterday, it became apparent that my bag was never going to be a bag. It was, in fact, a bowl. I had tried knitting the sides again, but they sunk in so much that the whole thing looked funny. (Thanks, Saaski, for your comments about this. Happy to know you had the same problem.)

I think what happened is that the bottom was so overdone it kept a strong shape, while the sides were flimsy in comparison, and when I tried a tighter stitch, it just brought in the sides even more. So, I now have a bowl made of yarn. It’s sort of cute, and I may try felting it someday. In the meantime, it’s holding all those little scraps of yarn I trim off of my projects.

Now for some good news. I actually used the final amount of my Bollicine yarn and made myself a pair of slippers in just two hours–I’m getting faster. I used the blue loom and the same pattern I’ve used for the others I’ve made (Isela’s pattern for ribbed socks–PDF document). Because this yarn is thinner than the others I’ve used, I had to use two strands throughout. This time, though, I knew I had a limited amount of yarn and I didn’t think I could spare enough to make a full cuff or even a short, ribbed cuff, thanks to the dreaded bag/bowl fiasco, so I knitted just five rows and let the tops roll down. This is the same type of “rim” my bowl has, so I knew I could get away with that type of cuff. The rest of the slipper was identical to the others. I turned the heel, knitted 16 rows for the foot, and then did the toe.

Now that I’m on my third use of this pattern, I’ve figured out how to avoid having a small hole in the side of the heel. For some reason, I always end up with a hole near the first peg. This doesn’t happen near peg 12, just the first one, so this is how I correct it. I knit the entire heel just as Isela lays out. I knit the very final row of the heel (from Peg 13 to Peg 1), and then I’m ready to start from Peg 1 to go back in circular rows for the foot, only I start out by wrapping Peg 24 first, and then I wrap 1, 2, 3, etc., all the way around to peg 23. I then wrap 24 again (Peg 24 now has three loops on it), and KO all the pegs, including TWO loops on Peg 24 so there’s only one loop left. There may be a better way to do this, but I haven’t stumbled across it yet. I wonder if the reason why I have this problem is that I always wrap in a clockwise manner. Maybe if I wrapped in a counterclockwise manner, this would go away. Something else to think about.

Aren’t they cute? I wore them for a few hours, and it looks like my foot is still inside.

A Lesson in Frogging

 

I wanted to make a bag out of my Bollicine Victor yarn, and I had trouble coming up with a design, so I decided to start from the bottom and work my way up. I chose the green loom, and stated with the woven technique from the Provo Craft backpack. Another KK loomer has done this and she's outlined the way she created the woven bottom here. This was hard. I used one strand of yarn and by the end of six hours, my fingers were aching and I had an elbow cramp. No matter, it was done. It looked like a green plate.

I then had the decision of what stitch to use on the sides of the bag. I liked the bottom because it was a tight weave, and I could imagine actually using this bag to carry my knitting projects to and from work. After a little bit of trial/error, I ended up using a flat stitch with two strands of yarn. This started out just great, but then, about ten rows into it all, something strange started happening. The sides of the bag were caving in, almost like the cuff of a sock. I switched to my blue (Sky) yarn, and kept on going with the flat stitch. After just another five rows, I realized I wasn't making a bag, or a backpack. I was making a bowl!

Bowls are fine, but one out of rather floppy yarn looks interesting but isn't strong enough to actually hold anything unless it was felted. My yarn is 70% wool/30% acrylic and I decided I wouldn't risk trying to felt it, so I taught myself how to "frog," or how to unravel the rows so I wouldn't loose them all. This is easy at first, but gets harder when you try putting the loops back onto the loom.

I frogged all the blue and then got down to the final two rows of green. I fished out my stitch holders and looped in all the loose stitches I could find, and then I put the whole thing back onto the loom. This was only truly difficult near the end, where I was pulling really hard on the yarn to get it over the final few pegs. I highly recommend a stitch holder for any newbie like me who's trying to frog. It lets you salvage your work without too much swearing.

So now I'm using an e-wrap and it's a looser stitch, not like with the flat stitch when it turned into a rolled cuff. I really have no idea how this will turn out, which is one of the reasons why I like knitting. I always learn something new.

I still need to make myself some slippers! It's actually cold out, and I'd love to make a felted pair but I'm a little stumped with how to size them. I'm guessing I'd use the red loom, but maybe the green. I'm also thinking about making a cowl, although minus the pom-poms. Saaski here on Vox made one, and it's pretty neat. Something else I've discovered is that people often salvage yarn from thrift-store sweaters. Not only is this frugal, it seems like fun. Ashley Martineau has created a tutorial that is very detailed and helpful. This may be a good (but also time-consuming) way to acquire wool if you don't mind the work.

A small success and a not-so-small failure

First, the success. It's the little things in life that are important, so you can imagine how thrilled and excited I am to report that I actually… made… a… hair… scrunchie! And, this time, unlike a few days ago, it worked.

I used the pattern on Linda's blog (that I linked to below), and it worked just fine and dandy. Using the blue loom, I cast on and knitted ten rows, and even though my yarn was a regular worsted size (Yarn Bee, Cameo, Moss Green), I decided to use only one strand. I then used the super stretchy bind-off method (also linked below) and, voila! A hair scrunchie was born. It's green and furry, but I like it, and I wore it all day yesterday. It's not quite as big as it looks in the picture, though.

Now onto my failure. I've decided my very next project will be another pair of slippers–for me. It's hard to see something go downhill so quickly. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I made these. Wait a minute–it was only a few weeks ago! What went wrong? My slippers are pretty much ruined. Worn about ten times, washed twice, I thought they would last forever. But then, last night, I attempted to put little dots of fabric glue on the bottom to see if it would help with slipping and yuck! I hate it. So, now my formerly useful slippers are floppy, have holes in the bottom (from what? I assume it's because I stitched them too loosely), and also have row after row of hardened yet tacky glue dots whose only purpose appears to be in gathering dirt and hair. It's time for a new pair.

Links, Blogs, and Groups

I've been making a list of the online sites I visit. If you have a set of KKs, you've probably been to the Provo site to see the instructions and patterns, but have you visited one of these? I'll add to this list from time to time, and I plan on posting a list of sites with free patterns someday soon:

 Very Helpful Yahoo Groups

Cool Websites about Looming

 

Blogs (loom & needle) 

Dad’s Slippers–Done!

I did manage to finish the slippers for my dad. (I may add a pic later but it will be yet another picture of brown slippers!) It only took 3 hours total, so I'm getting faster even if I'm not getting much better. I turned the heels and toes very quickly this time and I didn't even swear. I HOPE these ones fit and one doesn't start to grow like the other set I made. 😉

I ended up doing this: 1) knitted ten rows and brought up the first row to make a cuff and knitted off. 2) turned the heel. I used the flat stitch because I wanted the slipper to be a little more snug than the others I've made. However, it made it look a bit shrunken. 3) knitted 24 rows with the knit stitch. 4) turned the heel using the flat stitch.

Overall, they'll work. I just need to find a way to put some type of stitcky thingies on the bottom so they aren't so slippery. I don't know how to do this. I wonder if there's a fabric glue that would work. I'll have to look around tonight.

I also tried a hair scrunchie for the first time, but it's a bit skimpy so I'll do another tonight. I used the blue loom, knitted six rows (using two strands) with this angora-type yarn. I think I should have used one strand and knitted about ten rows, because this is too bulky. I put a hair elastic inside the loom and brought up the bottom row, just as you would if you're making a hat brim. This was a little tricky because you need to stretch the hair elastic to make it work. Now, here's where I made another mistake. When I cast off, I pulled the final strand of yarn too tight so I can't really stretch the scrunchie over my hair easily. (Since then, I've discovered this pattern, and this one, and this bind off method, appropriately called the Super Stretchy Bind Off Method. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.) This project only took a few minutes, though, and I can see how it would be fun to make as a gift.

Other projects I'd like to try soon: mittens, shrug or vest, rug (I read how a woman looms rugs out of hay bale twine and I'd like to try that), new slippers for me with a ribbed leg… I'm sure there are a few others I've forgotten! 

Why “Knifting” is not really “Knitting”

Just my two cents, but the reason why I started with the KK looms is that I didn't really want to crochet and I didn't really want to knit, yet I wanted to work with yarn. I studied those butterfly-type looms and they didn't appeal to me, and then I noticed the Knifty Knitters. Even though they're plastic and bulky, I could immediately see the possibilities of using them. I've read other blogs where folks get a little bit rude when it comes to knitting looms saying it's not TRUE knitting and it's cheating. (Don't believe people care enough to write such things? Just read the comments on this blog or some of these Google results.)

From what I've garnered from my surfing, knitting looms have been around for several hundred years. I like working with the looms. I like the circles, the heft of the loom, and the pegs. I like the hook. And my yarn-loving cat likes that I like all this stuff. I dream about buying different types of looms someday (especially some of the ones here).

There are large gauge looms (like the KKs) that give you the bigger stitches, and then regular, and then fine. As with most things in life, you can be as simple or as complex as you desire.

With a loom you can knit pretty much anything as long as you have the right tools and creativity (or a real good pattern). This morning, I asked B if he wanted me to knit him anything, and he looked at our broken washing machine and asked for a new one. Well, there are limits, you know!

Slippers Done

I finished the meant-for-my-dad-but-now-are-my-husband's slippers this morning. I like this method of making the toe. I started the toe and, just like the heel, turned it but used the flat stitch this time. I then gathered the loops with a darning needle off the loom using a flat removal method (you zig zag across the loom). It's fun to pull the toe closed and see it all come together.

These were DEFINITELY about 1.5" too long for my dad, so it's back to the blue loom to make another pair. I had used 28 rows for the foot for these ones, and I think I'll make do with 20 this time. I've estimated that (with this yarn) there are four rows per inch. Wish me luck!

Here are the slippers, finished. One looks a little bit bigger. It really is the mysterious expanding slipper. I counted the rows about a million times, so I know they're the same size, and yet… and yet… One is HUGE! Now here's the really odd part–they fit B! I mean both of them, and last time I checked he didn't have different sized feet. Something strange is definitely going on.

So (deeeep breath), tomorrow morning I'm going to start yet another pair of brown slippers, hopefully size 10.5. Ho hum…

Look what I bought!

Aren't they pretty? Three skeins of beautiful Italian wool. I have no idea what possessed me, other than the ambiance of the store I visited yesterday with B. Called Kindred Threads (note: website is a bit neglected, I think), the store has the kind of yarn I knew existed but couldn't find at the -mart stores. Organic cotton, home-spun alpaca, you name it. You walk in and enter a true knitter's wonderland. It has more than yarns–there are looms (the huge kind you make blankets and rugs on), crafts, and lots of beautiful felted items for sale. I bought these skeins imagining I may buy myself a sock loom someday and make a pair. Or maybe a hat. Or a scarf. I've even imagined making a slipper on the blue loom and felting it down, but the thought of wrecking this yarn upsets me. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the bright, spring colors amongst my rather earth-toned yarn selection. (I bought a skein of pink a few weeks ago and it stands out like a sore thumb. Now, it isn't so lonely anymore.)

So here's what was strange. I told the owner I was a beginner, but left off the word "loom." I was a bit hesitant, amidst all the beauty, to admit I'm using those big, plastic looms. You know, the ones you buy at Wal-mart?

She told me of one other yarn shop closer to my hometown, but when we drove past it later, it was closed for the day.

I think I've found every single yarn shop in the area and I always find something to buy. There are yarn cutters that make me think of a weapon, and there are special darning needles and carved cases. I've been tempted by beautiful sterling scissors shaped like cranes, and lots of other things.

Bag

Although I didn't follow it today when I bought the blue and green yarn, I have a rule that I shouldn't buy yarn I don't need but just purchase it as I go. In other words–no stockpiling.

So, how come after only three weeks using the KK my knitting bag is stuffed, I have a wicker basket piled high with yarn, and I even have a mostly-filled plastic bag on the floor? This is a very addicting hobby.

The Mysterious Expanding Slipper

You learn things every day. What I learned today: Yarn stretches. Yes, I know. I should know this, but it must have escaped my mind somehow.

My dad had requested slippers, so I traced his current slipper on a piece of paper to be able to size them correctly. I was really excited about making these, because I came across Isela's pattern for ribbed socks (PDF) using the blue loom, and it would be my first try at a toe that didn't get drawn up with one thread like the top of a hat. (Note: I didn't make this pattern exactly, but it helped me understand increasing and decreasing on the loom–her pattern keeps those pesky holes from appearing in the heel.)

So, my dad has size 10.5 feet. Keep this in mind. I started with Lion Brand Thick and Quick in "wood" (yes, I must expand my yarn horizons) by knitting ten rounds, drawing up the bottom row, and knitting off to make a cuff. I then jumped right into the heel, and was pleased to find it went smoothly. When I started the actual foot, I carefully compared the growing sock with the tracing of my Dad's slipper. 10.5. Remember.

I knitted 28 rows and then knitted the toe using the flat stitch. I took off the whole thing using a flat panel removal method, like Isela recommends. And here's the result!

That's ONE HUGE SLIPPER!

B came home, took one look, and burst out laughing. What happened? It matched the paper tracing exactly, right up until the point where I took it off of the loom. So… the moral of the story is: yarn stretches, sometimes mysteriously so.

This story has a happy ending. Yes, I could have "frogged" it (I've learned that means Rip-it, Rip-it!) but it just so happens my husband's foot is size 12 so guess who's getting a pair of slippers? Sorry, Dad!

Scarf

Another first: a scarf! I think if someone gets a KK for Christmas, they probably make a hat and a scarf. I try to make as many different things as I can, but I guess someday, you just look around and realize you need a scarf. I used the purple loom and Lion Thick & Quick and knitted a scarf using the entire skein. It took me about 1.5 hours, and I used the figure eight wrapping pattern to cast on, and then I used the zig-zag pattern after than. Super duper easy. The only problem that I encountered was that I thought the scarf was too wide and short, and when B laid eyes on it, he said, "Hey, I'll use that!"

So, I'm still scarfless. Oh well. It's about 50 degrees out and until the next snow, I won't need one. Next project: Slippers for Dad.

What’s on the purple loom?

A newly-started afghan–a people one, not a cat one. I bought about eight skeins of some cheapie yarn, Red Heart, and dove into the biggest project I've undertaken. The purple loom makes about a 12" wide panel and I'm planning on alternating squares of blue, brown, cream, and a multicolored blue-brown-cream.

I'm using the zig zag stitch with two strands of yarn. It's a bit airy with spaces between the stitches, but I think the overall size will make it warm. I like doing this type of thing because I don't have to count much. I don't like doing it because it's a little overwhelming with how long it can take. Also, I'll have to stitch panels together which is something I haven't done. Maybe I can crochet them? I'm planning on three panels of five squares each which, hopefully, will give me a 36"x 62" afghan. Another adventure!

Felting, Take Two

I had another try at felting. Having read up a bit, I decided on a coin purse, mainly because I didn't care what size the end product was. I'm new at this, I tell you. I used about 3/4 of a skein of wool, probably 100 yards, and used the red loom. I knitted about forty rows in the round, then I just knitted back and forth on one half of the pegs for the flap. I cast off with a slightly different method this time, and it worked dandy for this project. I took one loop, hooked it over the peg closest to it, and then knitted over. Then I took the remaining loop on that peg I just knitted off of, and I hooked it over the nearest and knitted over. Over and over. I did the same for the loops remaining on the other half of the pegs. I then stitched the bottom. I had a purse about 6" wide and probably 5" tall. I'm sorry to say I didn't photograph the before picture, but here's the after. I decided to flip this inside out, because I liked the look of the "purl" side better than the "knit" side. I washed it in a hot washer and then dried it for probably 30 minutes.

What I learned: Felting works, and it's super cool. Using the KK means you should knit a denser object than you think. Use two strands or a chunky-type stitch (one over three).

What I wish I would have done: Put on a button before felting!

Slippers… Warm but ugly

I made some slippers! And, wow!, are my feet cozy. Making slippers with the KK loom creates a slipper-sock. Not thin enough to be a sock, and yet not heavy enough to be a true slipper. Some people may want to put little sticky spots on the bottom to prevent slipping. I can admit they're not the most attactive, but it's okay. This is my first attempt at making something to wear, and it was super fun to see the slipper emerging from the loom. I used the blue loom and followed instructions at Yarn Gear, except I didn't quite do the heel right (worked out in the end), plus I didn't make the long ankle but shortened it into a doubled brim-like-cuff. Used Lion Thick and Quick yet again. (Must branch out to new yarn!!!)

Goals for slipper making: seamless toe! flat stitch on the bottom, and maybe, just maybe, some type of ribbed leg.

My dad asked for a pair, so we'll see how it goes. Did I mention how fast the KKs are? I know I did, but it's worth mentioning these slippers took about 1.5 hours apiece. I used one skein total, but I nearly ran out at the end, and just held my breath and kept on knitting.

What Santa Brought Me…

…Yarn! And a new KK purple loom! I'm very quickly becoming addicted to loom knitting, and I've discovered several Yahoo groups plus some great knitting blogs out there. I'll add links soon, but Isela's is one of the greatest sites. She's made a dozen short movies, and I've learned some great stitches from watching them–flat stitch, purl, etc. We'll see how I can incorporate them.

I bought some great Turkish yarn. It's got a Mohair look, and it's a brilliant green, but I can't decide what to use it for. I also bought some more Lion yarn, plus two skeins of Lion 100% wool with ideas of felting projects.

My latest project was my first real mistake. Using the new purple loom, I used two strands of dark blue wool and knitted a panel (the purple loom knits a double-knit panel that looks good from both sides. If you do a flat panel on the regular round looms, you have a front and a back.) I made the panel long enough for a French Press cozy, which is what my husband requested, but I was stumped as to how this would shrink down. Well, here's the end product! Doesn't it look like a doll's skirt? I tried felting this panel by hand in the sink, and it ended up with holes, gaps really. It's thin and pretty ugly.

So… determined to get this project finished, I decided felting was best left for machine shrinking (it would have been too small anyway), and I knitted another panel on the purple KK loom using Wool-Ease. It came out the right size: 10" x 6". I added a few buttons, and we'll call it finished. This was the first project that frustrated me a little because I wasn't using a pattern, just guessing. If I had to do this again, I'd probably use the red loom and knit in the round for a inch or so (for the bottom), and then find a way to knit back and forth, leaving an opening for the handle of the French press.

So, this is my finished French Press Cozy.