Archive for September, 2009

Purse in the colors of the woods

Purse in the colors of the woods

This handbag is knit in stockinette.  Its pretty much a rectangle, you can increase after the beginning rows and decrease at the end rows to have a smaller area to wrap around the handles.  When sewing the side seams, don’t go all the way to the top so you’ll have room when you open it.  I made a pouch with a zipper (sewed on a sewing machine) for the inside.  It has to be sewn in, but its good to have because it better protects your valuables.  A few rows of ribbing were done on the front for decoration, its not continuous, there is a row or two of stockinette in the middle of that section to keep it from pulling inward.

After the comment, I realized I was not very descriptive on how to construct this purse.  Here is a drawing.  Make a rectangle as wide as you want the purse, and long enough to be the height you want the purse when you fold it in half – minus the top areas which will be folded over the handles.  Then:



FoldedPurse When seaming the sides make sure to loop the yarn around at the tops very well and tie a knot, or if sewing, backstitch.  Do something very secure so that the stitching won’t come out as the purse is used.

Yarn is acrylic, Red Heart, color: Aspen PrintTo find purse handles, do a search for “purse handles round bamboo”, these measure a little under 6 inches on the inside.


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Gloves are very easy to make without patterns, all you need to master before doing it is double pointed needles.

Start at the wrist, or higher if you choose, cast on the appropriate number of stitches.  You can figure this number out by wrapping something else you knit with the same yarn and the same size needle around your wrist and counting.  You can also do a swatch long enough to wrap around your wrist to make sure you get the right count. An even number of stitches is a good choice because you may want to start with ribbing around the wrist.

Ribbing is a good choice for elasticity.   I did these with k2, p2 repeats.  Its very important to write down what you do on the first glove so you can repeat it on the second.  Then knit upwards in a tube in stockinette (if that’s your choice).  Keep trying your glove on to see what it needs as you go.  Soon you will hit the part of your hand where the bone sticks out below the thumb, increase one or two stitches for this if you’re using worsted yarn and size 6 needles, more like 8 stitches if you’re using sock yarn and size 1 needles.   Here’s a good way to keep track of what you’ve done, draw your hand.  This is what I did when I was using sock yarn and size 1 needles.  I have a pretty bony hand so you probably don’t want to copy my numbers, but this will give you the general idea:

Its good to make one of these when you're making the first glove so you just have to glance at it to know what to do for the second one.

Its good to make one of these when you're making the first glove so you just have to glance at it to know what to do for the second one. You can also include a count lengthwise.

Once you get to the thumb area, there are two ways you can do this.  One is just to leave a hole by starting at this point to work back and forth instead of in the round.  Once you’ve got a big enough hole for your thumb, go back to working in the round and decrease a few stitches because your hand is smaller at this point, then attach the thumb later. That’s what I did for these.  As long as you keep trying on your glove as you go, you will know what to do:

Thumb added as an afterthought, modeled by the lovely Mr. Spock

Thumb added as an afterthought, modeled by the lovely Mr. Spock

The other way to do it is more like this, you increase the amount you’ll need for the thumb, then make a separation for the thumb as you work upwards.  You can then put the thumb stitches on a piece of yarn to save them for making it later, or work the thumb up right then and save the hand for later.  Use double pointed needles and be sure to pull tight between the needles so you don’t get gaps along the fingers.  When working the thumb itself and after you get past the fattest part, decrease a few (keep trying it on for perfect fit).

Telescope Gloves (may look silly, but if you go out in the cold and need to handle equipment, they're pretty nice):  Thumb worked upward still connected

Telescope Gloves (may look silly, but if you go out in the cold and need to handle equipment, they're pretty nice): Thumb worked upward still connected. Yarn for these is Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett, color 4255

For the fingers, I start at the pinky because it is the furthest down on the hand, work up with stitches you already have on that edge of the hand.  the fingers become separate as you work in the round, be sure to pull tight between the dpns in the beginning especially.  For the next finger, the ring finger, insert the needle into yarn that is surrounding the area between the fingers and use some of that as stitches to help close the hole between the fingers (you can see on the ones above, between the ring and pinky fingers, I pulled a little too much!  If that happens to you and you want it perfect, you can pull it out if you notice it before you get too far.   Or you can leave it be, these kinds of things aren’t going to be noticed by others when you are wearing your gloves.  People don’t tend to look at things that hard).

Mittens: Mittens are even easier to make without patterns.  You can do them the same, or just do them in the opposite direction, like toe up socks, leaving a hole for the thumb.  I’m doing these with yarn I spun, starting with  Judy’s Magic Cast On to make them seamless at the ends of the fingers.

Mittens, from the fingers to the wrist.

Mittens, from the fingers to the wrist.

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This was just knitted from one end to the other, following a chart for the design using the width I wanted for a scarf, then one twist was added before the back was seamed together.

The stitch chart used is from: The New Knitting Stitch Library. Lesley Stanfield. Quarto Publishing, 1992. Chart # 188, page 24.
The yarn was acrylic, Red Heart.

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This was started at the back of the shoulder straps, each strap was knitted following a stitch pattern (see below, two straps on one long straight needle at once to make them identical). Once the straps were the right length, I chain crocheted under the arm holes and across the chest and back (periodically holding it up to myself make sure it was the right size). Some crochet was also added to one end of the straps for more front decoration. Then a circular knitting needle was put through all the crochet loops and up I went in a tube. The first few rows were seed stitch to prevent curling. The whole shirt area was stockinette so I could do it while watching tv, (with some increases and decreases added under the arms for the bust area). Once the tube was long enough a more seed stitch was added at the end to prevent curling, then a row of diamonds made using purls (start with a purl every 8th stitch, then move the purls in and out on following rows to make a diamond shape. This only partially worked, it curls up a little at the diamond rows.


Yarn is Cascade 220 Yarn, Neon Yellow and Shrimp.
Shoulder strap stitch chart is from: The New Knitting Stitch Library. Lesley Stanfield. Quarto Publishing, 1992. Chart #230, pg. 138.

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I can’t lie to you, working without patterns isn’t all roses and joy.  Sometimes things go wrong.  Oh so very wrong.  One has to be prepared for this.  An “oh well, no big deal” attitude is extremely important.  Here I’ll catalog a few of the things that went wrong, and what one can do to fix them.  All is not always lost when you notice a glaring screaming screw up!

Failed Project number one: My first knitting project.  I tried to follow a pattern, so this sort of doesn’t count, but it’ll probably give you a laugh so here it is.  😉   The pattern was:

Silja Superwash Design 14, pg. 23. Gjestal Strikkedesign No. 100.  The Plymouth Yarn Co., Inc.

Or it would have been, had I actually followed the pattern.  Ya know, things like using a circular needle instead of deciding I was too new to this thing and I was going to use straight ones instead and go back and forth because I knew how to do that, then just seam it up at the back.  Also checking gauge would have helped.  A lot.  But I just had to get started, and this was my first knitting project ever. 😳  (Fairisle is also a hard thing to start with on your first project, I did mess up the pattern too.)

i1035 FW0.9
It looks even funnier in person, especially in the back where the seam is.

(Here’s what its supposed to look like if you do it right.  I HAD to do it again, I really wanted it.  Did I learn my lesson? nooOOOOoooo.   I didn’t get the gauge right, even on the second one.  Its so tight it makes my brain hurt.  I gave it to my more petite friend, warning her that it still might make her brain hurt, but she still wanted it, so at least it got a happy home).


Yarn is Red Heart acrylic

Failed project number two, (turned success!): Some patternless mistakes you can turn around, maybe not like you imagined, but in life, one must flow, even if its flowin’ like molasses.  This was a tank top I started on a circular needle from the hips and worked up, then seamed the shoulders together using the kitchener stitch so it would be a seamless tank top.  The hard part about knitting vs. crochet is that if I’d crocheted it I could have just chained around the hips with the right length to start with.  (It does have a crocheted edge, but this was added last).   In knitting, even holding the needle around yourself doesn’t seem to lead to good measurement.  I started, got far enough along to realize it was too huge, then ripped out and restarted 2 more times.  The third time it was still too baggy and I was sick of it!  So I just slipped it around my hips, still on the needle, then folded the edge over and safety pinned it in place.  I stitched this fold in place, then as I got to the next few rows I cabled a chunk of stitches in the same direction as the fold to make a twist (and make it look like I meant to do that).  The crocheted trim also helps conceal that its a mistake.

I call it Sunset Over Utah.  Yarn is Tabali, 2 different colors alternating (one is color 4, but I can't find the label for the other)

I call it Sunset Over Utah. Yarn is Tabali, 2 different colors alternating  color 4, and color 6.)

Failed project number three: The too-long socks.  These were made toe up, using Judy’s Magic Cast On for the seamless toe (that part works wonderfully), and with wool yarn I spun myself.  Despite that great stuff, they look kind of silly.  I figure the extra toe space can hold in some extra warmth, and I’m only going to wear them around the house.  Being toe up, this really shouldn’t have happened, but if you knit on the bus you can’t go trying on your socks without first taking off your shoes.  I figure they frown upon potentially smelly naked feet being pulled out on the bus, so here we are.



I probably shouldn’t even stop here.  Most things I make aren’t PERfect, like they would be if I followed a pattern and checked gauges.  There are often lumps and funny stitches and things a perfectionist would never approve of.  Patterns can be hard though…maybe something’s not quite right in my brain and I just don’t follow them right.


Take this for example. This was supposed to be a booty for a child or baby. I got to this point, reading and following the pattern very carefully, and it said fold it up and stitch the foot.  I guess that means its already supposed to look like a shoe?  If anyone can tell me how to turn this into a baby booty, please do!

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