Tag Archives: yarn

Streamline Your Knitting

As we all begin a new year of knitting, it’s important to have our supplies in order. Three simple tasks will make your knitting easier and more enjoyable.

  1. Clean out your yarn stash! Give partially-used skeins and colors you once liked (what were you thinking when you bought that?) to your local senior center or a friend who’s into crafts. Paring it down to the yarn you actually want to use makes it easier to grab a skein and KNIT!
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Leftover skeins and balls of yarn take up space.

2. Wind that yarn sitting in your closet! You’ve put off knitting that gorgeous sweater. Why? Because every time you have the urge to knit it, you realize the yarn is still in hanks…you’re in the mood to knit, NOT wind yarn! Need I state the obvious? Wound yarn begs to be knitted!

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Please wind us!!!

3. Purge old knitting patterns! We all hoard knitting patterns, on paper and electronically. Go through them and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Already knitted it? BYE!
  • Thought it was cute five or ten years ago? BYE!
  • No more babies in your circle? BYE!
  • Grabbed it just because it was free but it’s really not you? BYE!
  • Inherited it along with your late aunt’s bent knitting needles? BYE!

Only keep patterns that EXCITE you or “go-to” patterns that come in handy for last-minute gifts.

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Such a happy sweater-wearing family!

 

With your yarn organized and wound, and your best patterns at your fingertips, it’s so simple and easy to FIND a project and start knitting!

Start the year fresh. Start the year strong. And you’ll knit wondrous things!

Happy Knitting in 2017!

 

Dani

The Knit Knoodler

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Best FREE Yarn Storage Solution

Knitters love yarn! We love the textures, the colors, the possibilities that arise with the acquisition of new skeins. It’s difficult to walk out of a yarn shop without a bag of yarn to add to the home collection.

So soft and pretty…had to have it!!!

Eventually, a problem arises. After several years of living life as a knitter, one has accumulated quite a stash. Even if you’re one of the more disciplined yarn purchasers, you still end up with leftover balls of yarn that simply can’t be thrown away. Each one of those lovely loners has a future purpose: as a hat, as embellishment, or perhaps as a patchwork throw.

The issue becomes STORAGE. I’ve tried all sorts of storage solutions over the years. Stacked on a shelf in my closet…pretty, like a yarn shop, but the yarn attracted dust. Stuffed into plastic shopping bags and tucked into a large ottoman…I felt like a cat digging through a litter box, trying to find anything. Filed away in a special plastic hobby caddy with nice, deep drawers…my yarn smelled like plastic. Stashed in a non-plastic storage table that used those fabric cubes…eventually dust filtered in and nosy little ladybugs nestled in.

Then, one day, while cleaning out the attic, I came across a handful of clear plastic, zippered bags which originally held newly-purchased sheets and curtains. AHA! I knew I saved these for something! (I don’t throw anything away that even remotely hints at a future use.)

Glad I saved those curtain bags!

YARN STORAGE!! That otherwise throw-away packaging has become the best yarn storage I’ve come across yet. These little babies are:

  • enclosed – zippers keep out dust and critters
  • clear – you can see exactly what you’ve got and enjoy the beautiful colors
  • stackable – they have squared-off corners
  • FREE – more $ to spend on yarn

Stacked neatly in closet.

If you don’t have any of these zippered bags, ask friends and relatives. More than likely there’s somebody in your world who saves that sort of thing.

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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Learn to Knit Something New

I was looking for something different to knit. I’ve knitted scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters, cowls and pillows. I’ve done cables, laces, color work and Fair Isle. I’ve knitted with every size and type of needle. I wracked my brain. What was something new, something I hadn’t tried before?

It finally dawned on me….SOCKS! 

Why hadn’t I knitted any socks? Two reasons. First, I was busy doing all that other stuff. Second, it just looked complicated. I didn’t have the gumption to try it on my own. And because of various family obligations, I was unable to take a knitting class at one of my local yarn shops.

But, lo and behold, one day I was browsing Craftsy’s online knitting class offerings. They have a wide variety of classes, but one really caught my eye: a toe-up Knit Sock Workshop with Donna Druchunas. In this class, she shows you how to make two sock patterns, one lace and one color work design. The ladies’ lace sock is simply gorgeous! They had my attention.

I had never taken an online knitting class before, although I’ve found various You-Tube stitch tutorials helpful over the years. Was this going to work for me? I browsed the benefits associated with Craftsy’s knitting class. A message board to ask the instructor questions. Printable instructions and sizing charts. I watched a sample video of the class. The knitting instructor went at a comfortable pace, was easy to understand and easy to watch. Plus, I could go back and watch a section again, to make sure I got it right.

So I dove into it! What a great experience. I purchased the Knit Sock Workshop and then something came up that kept me away from my knitting for several weeks. No problem. Once purchased, the class was there for me to go to when I did have the time.

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My first lace sock!

Online knitting classes should never totally replace the social interaction you get at your local yarn shop classes. But they are an excellent solution if you either: a) can’t leave the house or aren’t as mobile as you’d like to be; or b) have personal obligations that keep you from a regularly scheduled class at your local yarn shop.

I highly recommend trying a Craftsy class. Once you sign up to get their emails, you’ll receive notices when the classes are on sale, as well.

I just wanted to share the great experience I’m having with my Knit Sock Workshop. I’m thrilled with how my sock is coming along!

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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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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