Tag Archives: knitted

NEW Number Plush Toy Patterns

Only 14 days until Christmas!

14 days photo

I’m counting down with my new set of knitted numbers when I’m not baking cookies and decorating the house. My fave cookies that I made this year were the Lemon-Pistachio Wreaths from the Martha Stewart site. It’s a cut-out cookie, so there’s a little work involved. But they are soooooooooo delicious, it’s well worth the effort!

I’m also busy knitting scarves for gifts–one lacy and one chunky. I’m so pleased at how nice the lace one is coming along! But I had to force myself to take a break from that to let you know that my newest collection of knitting patterns is now available. A pdf pattern book of 10 plushies — numbers zero through nine.

Plush Numbers_final-cover

Notice how the stripes match the numbers? And how the stripes on the odd numbers are a different color from the evens?

I designed these with learning in mind. Like my alphabet plushies, these are knitted as two flat pieces, then stitched together and stuffed. The finished numbers are about 6 inches tall using recommended materials. They make great stocking stuffers! Available as an instant download through Ravelry.

 

Whether you’re busy knitting gifts, or kicking back with a cup of cocoa, ENJOY THE SEASON! Keep it simple. Keep it calm. Here’s a great, super-simple Christmas decorating tip:

Wrapping paper makes a plain battery-powered candle festive!

I wanted to jazz up my bathroom shelf for the holidays. So I added a battery candle. *Yawn* Even with a sprig of green behind it, it looked blah.  So I taped a piece of colorful wrapping paper around the base of the candle (only do this with a battery-powered candle!). Ta-da!…instant festive look!

Happy Knitting and best wishes for the Holiday Season!

 

Dani

“The Knit Knoodler”

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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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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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The Plushies are off to School!

Kitnit Fine Yarns – knitting for charity!

The knitting gang at Kitnit Fine Yarns in Lancaster, PA have knitted the entire plushy alphabet from my book, “The Secret Lives of Letters” as a charity project.

Finished alphabet plushies…

They chose a wonderful variety of colors and did some fun creative things!

…waiting to go off to school!

Their full collection of  alphabet plushies will be donated to an elementary school in Lancaster.  Isn’t that sweet?

If your knitting group has plans to knit the entire alphabet or do a charity project with them, please let me know!  I’d love to feature your finished stuffed alphabet people and your story on my blog.

Notice those teeth on the R! So cute!

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Turn Finishing into a Fresh Beginning

I was planning to show off a few more inexpensive knitting cases in this post, but several knitters this past week told me how much they absolutely hate finishing work.  A woman sitting across from me in a knitting workshop described the mounds of unfinished projects sadly languishing in her home.

I think so many people despise finishing work because of its name: finishing work.  I mean, what could be more intimidating and depressing?  You’re finishing your knitting project, which means the joy of knitting, the thing you love to do, is, well, finished.  And work speaks for itself.

Ingrid before she "blossomed"

I prefer to think of finishing work as coaxing a beautiful flower to bloom or blossom. Because what I’m essentially doing is bringing my knitted sweater, hat, gloves, plushy, whatever I’ve been lovingly knitting during the past days, weeks, months, into the world.

Ingrid has come to life!

Up until now, it’s only been in the growth stage, developing slowly on my needles, shaping into its true self.  And it isn’t quite complete, isn’t quite ready to open up and greet the world, to show off its beauty, until I’ve given it the final touches.  Only then are they – the beautiful sweater, the funky hat, the fabulous gloves – what they are meant to be.

“That’s all well and good” you say, “but I simply don’t like to sew things together or tuck yarn ends…for me it isn’t an enjoyable process.”  Well, only you can make it enjoyable.  Until then, it’ll be a thorn in your knitter’s side.  Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the blossoming of your knitting project:

  1. Find a peaceful place. Choose a quiet place, with a flat surface, good lighting, maybe a lovely view out a window or next to the fireplace.  Your special spot might not be in your home, full of squabbling children and/or a well-meaning, but sometimes distracting, husband or partner.  Perhaps you’ll find it at your local yarn shop (an excellent choice!), a table in your local library, or a corner at your favorite coffee shop.  My place?

    My Special Place

    A small glass-topped café table in my living room, situated next to a sunny southern window that looks out at my favorite maple tree.  The gas fireplace is nearby, so I can pop that on when it’s a bit chilly.  It’s my lovely little spot where I bring my knitting projects to life.

  1. Treat yourself. This is a special moment in your project.  You’re breathing life into it.  You’ve spent many hours lovingly knitting this woven fabric and you deserve something special.  I always make my favorite cup of tea and get out the Bahlsen chocolate wafers (being careful not to get chocolate smudges on my knitting).  Perhaps plan a lunch date afterwards with a dear friend, wearing, of course, your newborn knitwear.

    What a satisfying feeling!

  1. Put on music that makes you happy. Play soothing meditative music, or get down and get your funk on.  Whatever works for you!  But set the mood with music.   I often pop in a David Wax Museum CD or the latest from The Decemberists.
  1. Choose the time of day when your senses are sharpest. My best time is first thing in the morning.  For others it may be in the evening, while winding down.  But, if you like to enjoy a glass of wine before bedtime like I do, it’s best not to mix the two.  I’ve found that drinking and stitching aren’t a great combination.  : )

Whatever your choices in location, music, time of day, or reward, make it a celebration!  Remember, your project isn’t really finished…it’s beginning its new life.  And it’s only work if you see it that way.  So, now that Spring is almost here, dig out those unfinished projects and allow them to blossom!

Happy Knitting!

dani

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