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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
…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.
And here it is! It was a silly project but one I had fun doing. Using the blue loom, I cast on using one thread, but I wrapped the loom four times. I then brought the bottom thread over the top three, and continued with this for about thirty rows, wrapping one new one each time. I gathered the bottom together and pulled it shut like you would with the top of a hat. I didn't have any stuffing so I used scraps of yarn, and then I gathered the top and pulled it shut.
This is a fun indoor toy, and it bounces against the wall without leaving a mark. 🙂
Total time: 1 hour of silly fun.
I love this thing! Knitting with the KK looms is really, really fast. I decided to make a hat this weekend, so I bought a skein of Lion Brand Thick and Quick yarn and in record time made this hat–and I had enough left over for a headband.
I've learned yarn thickness is really important with the KKs. Thick yarn is best, or two strands of regular worsted weight. I've become fond of the Thick and Quick yarn, and I like this "natural" color. I used the green loom and followed the instructions that came with the looms. I cast on and e-wrapped ten rows, brought the bottom row up and made the brim, and then knit approx. 20 rows before drawing the yarn through to pull into the top of the hat. Quick! I then made the headband by knitting about 30 rows and casting off with a crochet hook. I'm new to this and crocheted too tight, but it makes the headband fit like a charm–nice and snug on top.
What to make next? I'm interested in wool and B is asking for a French Press cozy. A French Press is basically a glass beaker, and coffee gets cold fast, especially in the winter. I have NO idea how to make one, so we'll see…
I have a cat who's always cold and in search of a warm blanket, so I decided to crochet him a little afghan. The only thing I had ever crocheted (or knitted) was a very ugly black scarf for my husband many years earlier. I remember it took a long time (a few weeks) and the end of the scarf was much narrower than the beginning. I can't remember my husband ever wearing it–and I have no idea where it ended up. Yard sale? Goodwill?
So the bug bit me again, and I went to Michael's and bought two skeins of Lion Homespun yarn plus a crochet hook. The next day, after making too many mistakes to mention, I decided I should get a bigger crochet hook so I bought one of those monster plastic ones. The next day, after many more mistakes, I decided to knit instead. If you've ever used Homespun yarn, you know it has a bumpy texture that makes it difficult to find stitches. It only took me three hours with the knitting needles to decide I just wasn't cut out for knitting.
What to do? What to do? I had a chilly kitty and two skeins of yarn. I went online and started searching for other ways to knit or crochet. I knew there was something called a Knifty Knitter out there–sold as four plastic wheels with pegs on them–so I took a plunge, spent $11 at Walmart, and in two days I had finished the afghan.
I used the yellow loom cast on 40 stitches, and knitted two flat panels using the e-wrap. I started with the green color and mid-way swapped to the cream color. Then I knitted a border with a strand of each color, and I sewed the whole thing together.
It's ugly, isn't it? But my cat likes it. And my cat is cute.
Ugly afghan or not, I have been bitten by the knitting loom bug, and for Christmas I've asked for yarn and someof the longer KK looms. I plan on making: hats, mittens, slippers, etc. Suddenly, I can't wait for Christmas!