Tag Archives: knitting blog

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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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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Knitting for the Big Top?

Cascade yarns

I’m part way through knitting my lopapeysa sweater! It’s a lovely knitting pattern, easy to follow and fun to knit, but I’m not sure I like the yarn color combination I chose.

The zigzag stripe is navy blue.

It’s kind of like Charlie Brown joined the circus. Not typical colors, but I was trying to do something totally different. And that it certainly is…different!

Although the knitting pattern would have me repeat the edging color (orange) at the neck, I think I’ll substitute yellow in its place to try to keep the clown factor to a minimum.

I think I would’ve been happier making the main yarn color blue, with yellow and orange accents. Perhaps once I’ve finished knitting the yoke, the beauty of this sweater will reveal itself to me. If not, I’ll have a lovingly hand-made  Christmas gift for the person who irritated me most over the past year. : )

The birth of a sleeve…

I’ve ordered a sample of REAL Icelandic wool to try, and hopefully will be able to make a more traditionally-colored lopapeysa sweater in the near future.

Happy Knitting!

~dani

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Loopy for Lopapeysa

 

Photo courtesy of Iceland Tourism since I couldn't find my disk of photos

 

I absolutely LOVE Iceland and everything about it. I visited there several years ago and am dying to go back…maybe next year! But for now I’ll settle for knitting a classic Icelandic sweater, my very own lopapeysa.

Knitting Iceland's Óðinn Lopapeysa

I’ve been reading about these beautiful sweaters and drooling over the incredible patterns. Then to totally set me off, I stumbled across Franklin Habit’s account of his recent visit to Iceland. The fever has struck! I must have my own lopapeysa!  

Unfortunately, though, I have a bit of a wool allergy depending on how raw the wool is. So I’ll wait to invest in the Lopi wool until I’ve had a chance to get a sample and try working with it. In the meantime, I’ll make one out of a soft-spun wool that I picked up at one of my favorite local yarn shops, The Kitschy Stitch, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I was just there this past weekend. When I wasn’t knitting at the ocean’s edge, I was pawing through their lovely mountains of yarns, selecting colors for my new sweater. 

Cascade Soft Spun & 220 Heathers

What do you think of these colors? Yellow for the main color, the blue and rust for the yoke. I’ll be using the lovely Óðinn pattern from Knitting Iceland (see photo above).  If you go to their site, you can get the pattern, order authentic Icelandic yarn and even get a DVD to help you through the knitting process.

Okay, enough blogging…I have yarn to wrap and some casting-on to do!

Happy Knitting!

~dani

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