Thursday, October 20, 2016

Designing a new project

I'm calling this new project Veska. My naming game is a whole other story, sometime I'll write about it. To be able to identify which project is which, each project needs a name. Sometimes my pick is a good one and other times I have no idea why I picked that name. I usually try to pick a name that is catchy, that has a sense of humor also has some meaning to me.

This is a project that I've already made once or twice, but I wanted a new version of it. The vest I'm wearing in the picture below is very warm, it is too hot for our climate. I wanted to make a sweater version and a lighter smaller gauge. I think I want sleeves this time but I'm leaving that decision till later. I may be satisfied with a vest. I'm not sure if I have enough yarn for the sleeves and if I could do stripes to stretch the yardage or how that may look. 

These are the numbered "standard" knitting yarn measurements. The bulkier (fatter) the yarn usually makes the garment warmer. This vest I'm wearing is made with #4 or worsted weight wool, and has a felted collar. It is warm, even without sleeves. 

The new project is #1 sock yarn, much finer and lighter weight. I need to make some design adjustments to accommodate this fine yarn. 

I will post the progress. 


Monday, September 19, 2016

Niddy Noddy? What is it do you need one?

One of my mistakes when I was searching for this was spelling it right, for the longest time I thought it was "Knitty Noddy" but it turned out that the correct spelling is "Niddy Noddy". Thank you Google, what did I ever do without Google?

The question is does a knitter need a Niddy Noddy?

Spinners have a great use for this because they can skein their yarn to be able to wash it or set it or the next step in the process. But does a knitter need one? I think it can be handy if you take a project apart and your yarn is curly, this is the way to straighten it out. 

You would wrap your yarn and wet it and let it dry while it's still on the Niddy Noddy. This is another advantage of having plastic pac pipe so it can get wet. If you have a wood one the wood may warp. 

It is a brilliant invention and the simple pvc pipe version is simply genius. Easily can be constructed as a DIY project but can be purchased online for about $10.00. I'm looking at one on Etsy. Here is one I found for $15, this one is adjustable and it has a drawstring storage bag. It will depend on the size of the skein you want to make, 1 yard up to 2 yards.

For me it’s worth the money, I’m lazy and don’t want to go looking for the store to get the pvc pipes and either have them cut or cut and assemble and sew a bag. It’s worth $15 but as I say easily made at home.

If you already have one and it's not adjustable like the one I have here is the way to figure it all out. One wrap around this Niddy Noddy is approximately 56". To figure yardage for your skein, count the number of wraps around and multiply by 56". Take that number and divide by 36" and you will have your approximate yardage.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to Wash Hand Knitted garments

Wishy Washy

How do you wash your hand knitted garment?

I spend many hours of knitting on a project and want to preserve it's shape and drape. After carefully picking out the fiber, colors, the pattern I want to keep it as new looking as possible for the longest time. Many trial and error hours spent, I have found this guideline to work the best for me.

It may work for you:
  • Hand Wash Do NOT throw in the washing machine!
  • Some fibers are more sensitive than others. Use common sense. 
  • Cool water, not too cold and not scalding hot. It needs to be gently warm. Not shocking the fiber or your hands. 
  • Fill the wash tub with water first, Do NOT run the water on top of the garment.
  • Add mild Soap ie. shampoo, mild dish detergent like Dawn. If it works well for your skin it will work well for your fiber. Wool and hair are related! Swish around so the soap is dissolved in the water. 
  • Add the garment and gently make sure it is covered with water. Squeeze and get it all wet evenly.
  • Let it soak for a little while, I sometimes leave it for an hour or better. 
  • Do not agitate, gently squeeze. Give it a massage and gentle massage. 
  • Rinse well, soap residue is attracts both bugs and dirt.
  • If you have scratchy wool use hair conditioner to soften the fibers. This sometimes works on synthetics also. 
  • Do NOT wring use clean dry towels to get moisture out. Hand squeeze gently and place in towel and roll gently. You may need to use more than one towel. 

I use Pantene on my hair so it's handy smells nice and it works.

When storing hand knit delicate fibers we do not want bugs or critters anywhere near. Air them out once in a while and before storing make sure the garment is clean. Keep it dry and airy place, plastic bags are not recommended. 

What to do if you accidentally "felted" or "shrunk" your garment? One solution is to make something else out of it. But first try one of these methods which may work. What do you have to loose? Warning you will never be able to get it back to the shape it was originally. At least I never have but give it a try.

  • Soak the garment in a solution of cold water and hair conditioner. Let it soak overnight. Check once in a while and try and gently pull and "stretch" the fabric.
If that does not do the trick. 
  • Soak the garment in a solution of cold water and a half a cup of vinegar.
It that does not work here is the most extreme method. I've never tried this but have heard that this may work.
  • Make a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. Put the garment in a large pot and gently boil for 10-20 minutes and check how it's progressing 
Good Luck. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

I named it "Big Bear Hug"

Have you ever had a big bear hug? That is exactly the way this shawl feels. Everybody needs a big hug once in a while. This shawl is big and soft and it just feels like a protective arm around you. The mohair and silk is light weight yet, very warm and the sock yarn is strong and stable. This combination of fibers feels soft as a cloud yet is strong and wears well.

I like to travel and this shawl is my perfect companion for those long flights. It is easy to pack. It can be worn as a casual wrap or if you add a beautiful shawl pin or brooch, you are dressed up! Designed with all quick and easy knit stitches, no purling! Great for those times when you just want to knit without much attention. I knit with friends often and the lively conversations at the tables sometimes takes my attention away from intricate knitting patterns. This project is perfect for those occasions.

If you want the pattern send me an eMail:

Monday, September 05, 2016

My favorite stitch.

A long time ago my aunt showed me her favorite stitch and how she did it. When I was visiting her daughter many many years later she looked at one of my projects and recognized the stitch. She told me that was a family stitch. A family stitch? Yes we all learned it from our grandmother. Wow I did not even know this. Then she ran in the other room and searched for knitted projects and there it was the family stitch. I'm sure it has a name and I'm sure my grandmother did not invent it but we all learned it and added it to our knitting dictionary. Now I love the stitch more than ever.

Here is a picture of my aunt and my father and when I looked closely I see she has a sweater on that she knit with the "family stitch".  We all knit because that was just what you had to do if you wanted to stay warm in the cold winter months. 

I made a YouTube video on how I do it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hug me Now Shawl

I was looking for a summer shawl, to cover my shoulders for those heavily air-conditioned places. As a rule of thumb I usually knit shawls with a “looser” gauge than suggested. A looser fabric also drapes better and you get the most out of the yarn’s yardage. 
The sample I knit is in a gauge that I am comfortable with. I think it’s more important that you create a fabric that you are comfortable with rather than trying to match my exact gauge.
This shawl is knit in two stages, section one is a top down triangular shawl with 4 sts. increase every other row. The center “spine” is 3 sts. knit in the back leg, this gives a little bit of texture and lays nicer (Knitters choice). The increases are at the beginning of the row, at either side of the center spine and at the end of the row. This is the right side, wrong side is knit all the stitches. Section 2 has 6 wedges. 

I've been wearing this shawl very happily and I named it the Hug me Now shawl because it does feel like a big hug when I put it on. The yarn I used made a very light weight and very soft fabric. It's been my go to shawl all summer. When I see knitting friends I'm always asked what pattern I used. Not pattern I just made it up, knit what the yarn dictated. 

But I want to make one too they say, ok I wrote the pattern. This turned out to be a big job for me. First of all I have to reverse engineer it, then write down every single step. No “that goes without saying” everything has to be written down. Often I am a bit insecure with my writing because English is not my mother language and my grammar is ….. well could use some improvement. I have trouble with the commas and the running sentences….. oh well…. Sometimes dear friends will help out! Thank you Ellen Bloom!

Happy Knitting

Sunday, August 14, 2016

I miss my blog

I started this blog August 4th 2005! And have more or less kept it going for years. Periodically I have taken a hiatus because of different reasons. Sometimes I just got tired of creating content out of laziness but I always miss it.  I blog about my knitting which is why I started this blog to begin with.

I am a "recipe" knitter and I needed to keep a record of the details for the project I was working on. Writing notes in different scraps of paper or even having notebooks etc. was not efficient. I needed pictures details and most of all a searchable data base. A knitting blog seems to be the perfect solution, I could post pictures stories and details of the projects and when I needed to remember how I did something I could look it up. With the very handy search option "search this blog" on the upper left margin.

You might wonder what I mean by "recipe" knitter. I call it recipe because to me it's sort of like cooking. There is a basic recipe for say an omelette and there can be variations of ingredients within the parameters of an omelette. To me it's sort of the same, say a basic sweater, the shape is the same but the details of the stitch patterns can be varied.

I grew up in Budapest and when I learned to knit as a small child we did not have patterns published or magazines so it was just like family recipes we shared for cooking. We also had family recipes for knitting, a sock recipe, a sweater recipe, a hat recipe etc. If you wanted to get creative and make yours look different you could add in your own stitch that maybe somebody showed you or even as a playful kid make some of them up.

When my mother died and I was going through her house and belongings I found these gloves she had saved. Carefully put in a plastic bag in a special spot where she had her little momentos saved. I remember knitting it, at the time the choice of yarn was very limited, the war was over but we still did not have luxury items like that available to us. After all we were behind the "Iron Curtain" and living under Communism and standing in long lines for everything was our daily life. 

When I was given this angora mix in yellow, yellow it was. It was part of a set I knit I was about 11 or 12 years old. I made a scarf and a hat and gloves to match. Only found the gloves the hat and scarf were long lost. 

Notice the fingers are a bit short, I guess my hand was smaller then.

BTW, I have the gloves saved too, in that very special spot where I keep my momentos. I wonder if my son will ever realize what this meant to his grandmother and I, sweet memories. I miss my mama.