Tag Archives: knit knoodler

3 Reasons to Knit Socks

This year, whenever I needed a break from designing The Knit Knoodler’s newest set of patterns (coming soon!), I turned to knitting socks.

It really began way back in October 2012, when I mentioned in a post that I was knitting my first pair of socks. They turned out quite nice. Very pretty, aren’t they?

Love this color!

Pretty, but…

 

But a little bit uncomfortable. I found the intricate lace pattern annoying at times when it was sandwiched between my foot and a snug shoe. So I only wear these lace socks with looser-fitting clogs. On the upside, though, it was super cool to have a sock that fit my foot absolutely perfect.

1. As long as you take your time and measure as you go, you’ll have the best-fitting socks EVER.

I forgot about socks for a while. Then, this year, decided to push ahead. I bought some sock yarn that makes cute color patterns without having to knit with more than one yarn. I knitted a pair of socks using a smooth stockinette stitch. The result? The most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn in my life.

Comfy knee socks!

Comfy knee socks!

I was hooked! Not only was this now the best pair of socks in my drawer, but I’d been able to watch TV while knitting them. I didn’t have to sequester myself in a quiet room and concentrate on an intricate stitch pattern.

2. Socks can be wonderful social knitting projects.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a knitting challenge and the thrill of seeing a complex cable evolve before my eyes. But I also like what I think of as “social knitting.” The kind of knitting that you can do while talking with others or watching your favorite show. And with sock knitting, even if you choose not to make a fancy pair, there’s plenty to keep it interesting: turning the heel, decreasing for the toe, etc.

Gray striped short socks

Love my self-striped gray shorties!!

3. Socks on needles make great travel companions.

I’ve been traveling a lot this year, and have found that socks are also great travel knits. A sock is small and tucks easily into a purse. Especially when slipped into a double-pointed needle project case. I bought a pack of these cases at my local yarn shop. What a simple, inexpensive, brilliant concept. Just gather your needles together (including the empty working needle) and slide them—with your knitting on them—into the holder, put on the cap, and voila! A nice, neat package. And for those of you who may have wondered…I’ve flown many times with circular needles, straight needles, and double-pointed needles in my carry-on. Nobody cares.

If you’ve been avoiding socks in your knitting repertoire, give them a try. The first one will probably feel a bit awkward, especially if you’re new to double-pointed needles. But, by the end of the pair, you may very well be hooked.

Camo Mens Socks

Hey Hubby, put those shoes back on! : )

I even knitted a pair of camo socks for my husband. He loves them! And he doesn’t even mind that I ran out of yarn and finished up with a different sock yarn. What’s it matter when it’s inside the shoe, right?

 

Happy Knitting!

Dani

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And…&!

Shemika & Harry?...who knew?

Shemika & Harry?…who knew?

 

One of my customers had the clever idea of knitting the initials of her son and his betrothed as a wedding gift. But she wanted an ampersand. You know, one of these — & — so she could join the initials together in a loving way. So, at her request, I’ve designed one and it’s now available on Ravelry.

One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door. After receiving many requests, I’ve been working diligently (okay, maybe semi-diligently…there are so many distractions in the summer) creating patterns for number plushies. Yes!…a set of patterns for number plushies will be available before the year is out.

Happy Knitting!

Dani

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FREE Sample Knitting Pattern

  • UPDATE: This offer is now over, but I wanted to thank  the hundreds of lovely knitters from ALL OVER THE WORLD who participated and became “knit knoodlers.” Isn’t knitting FUN?!
  • You want to knit alphabet plushies to spell your child’s name, but you’re a beginner and not sure how you’ll do with the increases and decreases needed to form the letters.
"T" for Tommy, Teresa, Todd or Trish!

“T” for Tommy, Teresa, Todd or Trish

  • You’re a seasoned knitter and you’ve gotten knitting patterns in the past that were a hassle to decipher, so you’re leery about purchasing an entire book of knitting patterns.
26 alphabet plushies to knit!

A whole book full of knitting fun!

  • You love yarn and you love FREE stuff.

If you fall into any of these categories, you’ll be happy to know that I’m running a special promotion this coming weekend!

For 2 days only – Saturday, January 26th and Sunday, January 27th  – I’m offering 1 FREE LETTER PATTERN per customer through my Ravelry shop.

What a FAB offer!!

What a FAB offer!!

Just choose the letter you’d like to knit, click “Add to Cart” and then use the coupon code ONEFREE during checkout to get it at no cost!

"Pick me! Pick me!"

“Pick me! Pick me!”

(Note: The books and the “I Heart U” knitting pattern do not qualify for this promotion.)

So, stop by my Ravelry design shop this coming weekend for your FREE knitting pattern! Click on one of the links imbedded in this blog or go to: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/dani-church

Happy Knitting!

Dani

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Evaluate Your 2012 Knitting Projects

To me, a New Year means evaluating my knitted projects from the previous year…

  • Was that scarf a success? Nope. It’s tucked away in a drawer, unused, because the yarn is too scratchy for me to wear.
  • Have I ever once worn that cowl in public that looked so chic in the Vogue Knitting magazine? Not after my husband burst out laughing and called me a babushka. (Vogue models can make anything look fabulous…and granted, maybe my yarn was too thick, so instead of languid sexy drape, I got the thick peasant look.)
  • And why am I not wearing that Icelandic sweater that I finished months ago? Besides the fact that I had chosen a rather startling color combination.

The past few weeks have been dedicated to reusing yarn that was knitted into something that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with. The scratchy scarf is still tucked in my drawer, awaiting rebirth.

My new hat knitted from my babushka cowl yarn.

My NEW hat knitted from my babushka cowl yarn.

But the cowl has been re-knitted into a lovely cabled hat that doesn’t make me look like I should be hauling firewood across the steppes on my back. I no longer have one of my best props to make my husband chuckle. But I have a new, warm winter hat.

And the Icelandic sweater?

The original Lopapeysa sweater.

The original Lopapeysa sweater.

I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t like the added color along the bottom—it always reminded me of Charlie Brown’s sweater—and the hem was ribbed. Ribbed hems gather around my hips and balloon out the rest of the sweater.

So I ripped out the bottom color work, and did a simple loose bind-off. The sweater is still plenty long enough and now I actually wear it!

NEW Lopapeysa sweater without bottom color and ribbing.

REVISED Lopapeysa sweater without bottom color and ribbing.

How to Shorten (or Lengthen) a Sweater

Tearing apart a finished knitted project is a scary prospect after all the time put into knitting it. But it’s actually pretty easy to do. To shorten or lengthen a sweater, simply:

  • Decide what row will be your cutoff point.
  • Snip a thread.
  • Insert your knitting needle into the first open loop.
  • Continue picking up each loop along that row while carefully pulling out the previously knitted yarn.
Carefully pick up each stitch.

Carefully pick up each stitch.

NOTE: Don’t keep snipping the yarn if you want to re-use it…keep it intact as you unravel it, then roll it back up into a small ball for re-knitting.

  • Once you have the sweater on your needle, do the bind-off of your choice using the ripped-out yarn OR grab some new yarn (the same or a complementary color), and add a new bottom section.

The only issue I ran into was making sure I was picking up loops from the same row. Once in a while, I would wander off-row. It’s obvious when you do, because suddenly you can no longer pull the previously knitted yarn out of the garment. If that happens, just back up a stitch or two and get back on track.

So, take some time to evaluate your finished knitting projects from 2012. If you’re anything like me, they’re made from yarns that are too precious to pitch into the giveaway pile. That lovely alpaca or hand-dyed wool deserves a place in your wardrobe. Take the time to make it happen. You’ll be glad you did!

Happy knitting!

Dani

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To Embellish or Not to Embellish

Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Knitter’s Almanac”

Last weekend, I visited the book sale at the local Senior Center and dug up an absolute treasure—Elizabeth Zimmermann’s “Knitter’s Almanac.” What a find! I love her prose and her clean, lovely designs…one for each month of the year.

On a related (believe it or not) note, I finished my lopapeysa sweater. I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Love the design of this sweater!

I plan to make another sweater from this pattern, but this time will use the authentic Iceland wool and choose different colors. Something that doesn’t look so much like school colors, something a bit more subdued. As nice as it looks paired with blue jeans, I still feel a bit clownish in it. I’ll save it to wear on days when I don’t mind standing out in a crowd. : )

Now, to get back around to my point. I had a skein of Cascade Soft yellow wool left over from the lopapeysa project. So I decided to make a pair of Mitered Mittens from my new book.

Mitered Mittens from “Knitter’s Almanac”

I love how they turned out! They were a FUN knit, they fit really well and are oh so soft.

The big question is…to embellish or not to embellish? And, if I do chose to embellish, should I keep it simple or go wild?

Should I add a simple blue felt flower?
Or perhaps a multicolored patch of posies?

Please tell me what you think… I could use some thoughts on this.

Happy Knitting!

~dani

PS – I’m working on a new pattern. Hopefully it’ll be ready to unveil in the next week or so…  ; )

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Make Your Own Blocking Board

I finished knitting the first front half of my “Sanderling” lacy summer vest designed by Asami Kawa!

Photo © Asami Kawa

It was time to block this thin, lacy knitted piece and check my workmanship and fit. Time to pin my pieces to the padded top of my annoyingly wobbly, narrow ironing board. Oh. Yay.

I’ve been asked not to set up a makeshift blocking station on the ping pong table again. The last time I did that, the steam permeated the blanket and sheet I had carefully arranged as my blocking surface and marred the table top. I really couldn’t see how my stain was any worse than any of the others left from old beer pong matches or from my husband using it as a work station to paint his Day of the Dead dioramas. But, being the sort to not make waves, I figured maybe it was time to invest in a blocking board.

I started shopping around. There are some really nice blocking boards out there. But to get a good, sturdy one with handy 1” square measurements, I would’ve had to drop around $100. I like to spend my money on yarn and patterns and other cool knitting stuff. In my opinion, a board isn’t cool knitting stuff.

Hmmm. My brain started churning…it couldn’t be that difficult to make my own. Turns out it’s easy-peasy. I found a very helpful blog post by FlowerGirlKnits.  I really liked her idea of a LIGHT blocking board made out of inexpensive materials. So, I made a few little adjustments to her instructions. I made one big blocking board instead of two smaller ones and added padding. And voila! For about $27 in supplies and about 15 minutes spent carefully taping some stuff together, I now have a great blocking board!

My Homemade 30" x 40" Blocking Board

My Homemade 30" x 40" Blocking Board

Supplies needed:

  • Two 20” x 30” foam boards, ½” thick – any color ($10 each at A.C. Moore…less if you have a coupon)
  • Two yards checkered fabric, 1” checks (just under $7)
  • Wide clear packing tape or duct tape (which I already had in abundance)
  • One old beach towel

1.)    Collect your supplies. Pick up the foam boards at your local craft store. Make sure they are ½” thick and not the thinner version, so you have lots of good stuff to stick your pins into. Then stop at a fabric shop and get 2 yards of checkered fabric, where the checks are 1” squares. This makes it really, really easy to measure your knitted piece as you’re stretching it to size. Grab some wide tape. I used clear packing tape. Duct tape would work fine, also. And dig out an old beach towel that has seen better days. This will be the under layer to provide a softer surface and to absorb some of the dampness.

2.)    Wash and dry the fabric. This removes any formaldehyde or other yucky stuff they sometimes use on new fabrics. It also protects you from possible dye transfer or shrinkage.

3.)    Tape the two foam boards together so they measure 40” x 30”. Run the tape the whole way around the seam, back and front. If you get the two pieces of foam board really snug up against one another, the two pieces won’t wobble at all. I originally thought I might need to put them on some sort of larger cardboard base or something, but that wasn’t the case.

4.)    Attach the beach towel to the foam board. My towel happened to be exactly 30” wide, so I laid it on the foam board and taped those edges to the foam board edges. The towel was longer than 40”, so I had extra to pull around the back and tape. Make sure all the towel edges are taped down securely.

5.)    Attach the fabric to the beach towel-covered foam board. The natural width of the fabric is what…36”? So you have an extra 3” on each side across the 30” width of your foam board. Cut the fabric to fit the 40” length of the foam board with about 4” or so extra at each end. Then,  wrap the fabric around one edge of the foam board, being careful to keep your checks in a nice, even line, and tape securely to the back of the board. Do the opposite side, pulling the fabric snug but not so tight that you’re stretching the checks out of shape. Then wrap the material around the remaining ends, neatly folding your corners under and taping securely.

It’s that easy! The foam board is nice and light to pick up and move anywhere for your blocking project. And, when not in use, it easily stashes behind a bureau, under a bed, or other hidey-spot.

Pins, pins and more pins!! LOVE my new mat!

Thank you FlowerGirlKnits for your guidance on this project!

Happy Knitting!

dani

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New Knitting Project for a New Year

2012 promises to be a GREAT knitting year! Why? Because I received some beautiful yarn for Christmas. Three skeins of Misti Alpaca Lace Weight Baby Alpaca in a lovely heathered green (Melange Forest).

Baby alpaca is oh so soft!

I’ve decided that my first new project for the year will be the beautiful “Sanderling” lacy summer vest designed by Asami Kawa.

Photo © Asami Kawa

I just think it’s an adorable little vest/tank top and can’t wait to cast on this afternoon.

 What’s your first new knitting project of 2012?
 
Happy Knitting!
~dani
 

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