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I’ve been gone a long time – I wanted to try knitting with skinny yarn, and oooo did it make the project drag out!

TwilightVest

This is knitting art imitating life, but it was not my idea.  I was inspired by these mittens –  “Crochet Ever After”:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/deep-dark-forest-mittens

(I didn’t even realize I found the exact same yarn for the sky until I looked at the Ravelry page just now, I had only looked at the photo of the mittens before.  I guess this yarn is really just the perfect stuff for making twilight skies.)

The cool thing about this vest is that it’s a silhouetted treeline sky, and that part wasn’t even my idea.  So what I will say here is what happened along the way in making up a vest.

About Mini Mochi, gauge, hooks and needles: I’d recommend making a ball of it before you start, this is some stuff that loves to unball and tangle. This was Mini Mochi yarn by Crystal Palace, color 331, and size 4 needles.  For the black yarn, I had trouble finding one that matched the Mini Mochi in size that was also wool (so things would shrink at the same rate when washed), so I wound up using what I had leftover at home- Caron Simply Soft in solid black, (which is much thicker and acrylic anyway).  I stuck with the size 4 needles through the thicker yarn too.  My gauge with the Caron, 5st =1″, with the Mini Mochi, 7st.=1″.  Size B hook used for the crochet around the neck and arms.  Size G hook for the crochet around the waist and hips.

I started at the shoulder and did the front, working downwards.  I did 3 stitches worth of seed stitch at the edges to help with rolling (more might have been better – I later added double crochet around the edges because it was still rolling).  Then I worked the back piece the same way, starting at the shoulders, and seamed the pieces together at the end.  I tried with the front to get the same color on each shoulder so the two sides would match, but as you can see, that didn’t work out perfectly, my colors don’t match.  I worked both my shoulders at the same time (on the same long needle) with two balls of Mini Mochi to guarantee that I had the same number of rows on each shoulder, (I had no intention of counting skinny yarn rows).  You may notice a lumpy area right in the middle on the front, below the neck hole.  This is where I tried to do something fancy to help my mismatch that didn’t work out.  After my shoulder pieces met, I was going to gradually blend the two balls of color by stopping rows in a gradual pattern that might mimic clouds (instead of having the two balls meet in a line in the middle, or cutting one ball off and just working with one).  It didn’t work, I have a jagged line that is also lumpy.  Later I may make a black lace butterfly and slap it over the middle there to look like a big silhouette moth over the scene if it really bothers me.

TwilightVestBack

I found doing it from the top down kind of awkward, so in the future, I will probably make my vests from the bottom up.  You have to swatch and do some math to figure out how many stitches to add at what rate to get your angles right and the right number of stitches for each part of you.  That’s true for both directions.  It worked out, but I just like decreasing to do the neck and armholes instead of increasing to do the body (probably just a personal choice).  I found it wound up too low cut, so I added some crochet across the neck front.    Link to my page of stitch and gauge math

EarlyDawnVest1

My trees were done completely randomly, just using black and color where I felt it should go to make a tree shape.  I was aiming for rounded trees because I wanted it to look like twilight in my woodsy backyard.  The same randomness was used on the back where I did a mountain scene.

Since my black yarn was way thicker than the mini mochi, I had to do some more math to grossly reduce the number of stitches once I started the silhouette.  You can see that the black part bunches a little on the mountains – that’s because I wasn’t too obsessive about it and just did stitch decreases randomly the same way I did the trees.  My math showed me my goal number of stitches, or what number I wanted to end up with when I got to all black, but while I was using both colors at the same time, I didn’t worry about calculating on the way there my percentage of color vs. my percentage of black and how many stitches that would give me (too complicated!).  I kind of like the effect of the mountains being a little more bunchy, it makes them look more textured and 3D.   Random crochet added, the same on both sides, at the bottom for decoration (and to make this get done faster, woo!)

EarlyDawnVest2

The sun is so bright, its hard to see what makes this vest nice, the dull browns and silver blues of deep twilight colored Mini Mochi sky. Okay, its 94 degrees, I’m gettin’ outta this sweater.

ItsTooBrightOutHere

 

I’m going off topic today.  I like to do that on occasion – if someone I read on a knitting blog hadn’t one day started talking about spinning and dyeing wool, I’m sure I never would have gotten into it, and I really enjoy it.  So, here’s something I’ve been doing the past few weekends.    It may be new for you, or you may be an expert at it already and much better at it than me – in any case, this will be my one and only post on polymer clay roses for jewelry!

MakingRoses3

So easy!  You make them out of clay, then stick them in the oven.  They turn into a plastic that my clumsy self has already dropped on the floor and happily found they didn’t break!  (At least not on my first dropping – I’m not pushing it.)

Once you make the roses its up to your creativity how you turn them into jewelry -stick wires through them, wrap petals around old posted earrings, etc.  I learned how to make the polymer clay roses with this video by makoccino:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkgxnnftjCQ

The only thing I did differently on these from the video is that I didn’t glaze them to make them shiny, and on many I used white clay to blend the colors gradually so the flowers could be whiter at the base and deeper colors at the petal ends.

Making blended colors to resemble real roses:  I did the blending by making 3 balls, 3 different shades- a whiter shade, and medium shade and the shade for the ends of the petals.  You only need white clay and the color of your choice to achieve this.  I then rolled each of the 3 shades into a snake and pressed them together.  If you cut your snakes and stack them and squish them, (always keeping the same shades on top of each other), it gradually blends into a clay that changes color slowly.  (Sometimes I didn’t bother to blend, just left the color separated before making petals, you can see this on some of them.)

My biggest challenge has been ending up with earrings that stick out too far.  Here’s what happened and what I did to fix it.

These solid color studs are done like the video, but instead of cutting off the flower and gluing onto a flat earring, I wrapped the petals around some old dingy studs that I had gotten for cheap when I was 15.  The method in the video is better!  I did use the same trick from the video, using a knife to cut it shorter and press it in around the base of the earring to try to make the flower stick out from my head less.  But this was only partly successful, they do still stick out too far, and I don’t really want to wear these.  The smallest stud ones (white with leaves) in the top photo are ok.  Live and learn, I will try to saw these off at the base and see if that helps.

RoseEarrings

This necklace sticks out quite a lot too, but I like it.  It sticks out so much I got stabbed in the chin when I sneezed!  Bit of a surprise!  But again, I didn’t manage to break it, even slamming my head into it, so they are a little tougher than they look.  I made the rose and leaves, and the two beads on each side out of clay, then just wrapped wire in random ways to make the rest of the necklace.   The leaf is just a piece of clay pressed flat and cut with a knife into a leaf shape, then the end of it is rolled into a snake and used to wrap around the flower for attaching the leaves.

This was a bright royal blue and fuchsia before I baked it, but this blue turned into more of a navy after baking.

RoseNecklace2

RoseNecklace1

Making a leaf shape with a rolled snake on the end to wrap around the rose.  This is the back side.  I might attach this wire to one of the barettes.

RoseBack

Below is the process of the rose making – The 3 tools on the left are useful for wire cutting and wrapping, and are sold as a set and inexpensive at walmart.  Most of the wire also comes from there, and the clay can be bought at a craft store.  I use Premo! clay.  Its kind of like paint, you can blend colors together, so you don’t need a ton of colors, just black, white, and a couple of your favorite shades.  You can see a glob of green clay for leaves (near Earth on the mat) which I made by blending white, aqua and a little yellow.  SuppliesRose

I have a selection of old dingy earrings (below) from the 90’s that I no longer wear to which I planned to glue roses. To help fix the problem of the roses sticking out, I cut some of them off like shown in the video and glued them onto these dangly earrings.  It’s easier to cut them if you let them sit for a few minutes after you are done making them.  When they get less warm, they get a little less soft.  You can see those finished in the top photo.  Here I show a petal on the mat, white at the bottom and a deeper purple for the outside of the petals.  The mat is a child’s place mat, and helps protect the table, and that is the foil pan I bake the clay in.  I put another pan just like that on top to make a domed enclosure to help keep the clay smells out of the oven.  The first time I ever baked clay, I noticed the smells a lot, but I don’t even notice them now, I’m not sure why.

MakingRoses

The baking pan- I got a ceramic bathroom wall tile from the home improvement store for sitting the clay on (it will make a smooth shiny spot where it sits on that during baking, so best to have the back down).  Several of these I stuck wire through before baking to make jewelry making easier.  It is easier to bend the wire into shapes once the rose is cooked and harder.

MakingRoses2

RosePan

The copper color wire will turn a darker yellower color during baking.  You can see this in the pair of orange roses below, you have two different colors of copper because some of it wasn’t baked.  The copper will turn as time passes in the air, so I’ll see how it winds up looking later after these sit out for a few months.  I love original copper’s peach color, but don’t like the yellowy baked color too much.

PurpleRoseEarrings

Below, and also in the top photo you can see after I worked out the sticking-out issue. Baking the wires through the peach ones allowed me to wrap them in ways that helped them face outward on a dangling earring, I also tried face down like the blue ones below.  I used bead caps and a potato pearl bead and wrapped wires around those.  (I also like wrapping wires around crystals, like the ones on the left, no need for baking.)

Finishing up: After attaching the loops on the wires to store bought earring wires, I use a tiny amount of Aleene’s tacky glue to clean up anything I need to when done, such as adding extra hold to the back of a rose so it faces outward and sticks well to its wire, or to seal any wires that wrapping has left sticking out or unsealed.  Also glueing roses to the old earrings (use a little rough sandpaper to roughen up the back of the rose and the front of the old earring to help the glue hold.)  It also helps hold the crystals inside their wires on the other pair to dab some on the back side, holding crystal to wire.

RoseEarrings2

So concludes my foray into clay roses.  Back to knitting with skinny yarn, which takes a very long time.

UPDATE:

I did saw those roses that stick out too far off, and I like them and wear them now.  I got this saw which I used to saw down to the metal earring inside.  I found out just how sturdy this polymer plastic is! Despite how delicate these look, they are pretty tough stuff!  I grabbed them pretty hard while sawing off the back, and no damage.  This was not that easy, it was a couple minutes of sawing, then the earring may pop out and need gluing back in (I used the pictured glue when that happened).  It’s much easier to get the right shape before the clay is baked than it is to saw it later, but if you need to, this is possible.

RoseJewelry99

SocksHeels

Once I was knitting a sock on the bus, and some guy said to his companion, in a low, but not-that-low voice, “Why would you knit something like socks?  You’re just gonna get holes in ’em.”  He couldn’t understand why somebody would work so hard on something that was going to get thrown away.   Sometimes I dye the wool and spin the yarn too, much more time spent, but these are my warmest socks in the cold cold winter.  I could probably buy something as warm at the big box store, but I haven’t.  Who am I to say why anybody does the things they do.  Including me.  If I were going to sit and spend time figuring out why I did something, I’d probably focus on one of the big things I screwed up in my life, not why I knit a sock (or twenty of them).  Onward!

My latest method of sock hole repair:  In the photo above on the leftmost sock heel you can see what I used to do to fix holes- use yarn to weave a patch over the hole.  This stops the hole from spreading, but isn’t very comfortable to walk on, and at least with my socks, doesn’t seem to last very long.  I have a wooden floor and a wooden deck, some sock tearing does occur on a regular basis.  (It also could be that I’m not doing it right, but in any case – end result, not makin’ me happy.)

All of the socks to the right of that one show what I’ve been trying lately, sewing felt on the heels or entire bottoms.  The felt seems to be a little harder to tear holes in, and it holds up well in the dryer, (for those socks made of acrylic that get thrown in there).  What I’m calling felt is the stuff you get in the fabric section in one foot squares for a pretty cheap price, I’m not actually sure if its real wool felt or a synthetic creation, but no matter, that’s what I’m using.  I’ve tried putting a piece on the top and the bottom side of the hole, and this stops unraveling the best, but I’ve also tried one pair where I just put the felt on the bottom outside and nothing on the inside.  This still seems to be holding up so far, though I don’t expect it to last as long as double sided where all unraveling is encased.  This single layered sock was sewn on a machine and that may help greatly.  The rightmost sock below has a row of zigzag across it, that is the single layer sock and there was a hole in the heel – going across provided extra yarn sealing. The ones I sew by hand might not hold up as well, because I never get as many stitches that way, but it can be really hard to get the toe end under the machine if the sock is really thick, so it has to be done sometimes.  Below you can see how few hand stitches I do, and machine sewn zigzag stitch on the edges of some.

SocksHeels2

I’m not sewing these the “right” way, I’m doing it the quickest and easiest way.  Which is to say I’m not tucking the ends of the cloth under and then sewing, I’m just sewing around the cut edges.  Why? Because its not that easy, especially if your trying to shove a thick sock  and 2 pieces of felt under the machine.  Folding the two pieces under as well just wouldn’t fit, and with felt would probably make a thick uncomfortable ridge to walk on.  You can probably fit it if you take the foot off of your machine, but I seem to get a tangled thread mess when I try that, so I haven’t done it that way.   I tried cotton when I ran out of felt, that is the second to leftmost sock.  Enough time hasn’t passed to see how well that holds up yet.

I like the extra padding under the feet, much more cushy!  Also, they’re even warmer!  The only down sides I’ve seen so far are that it might not be all that cute of a sock anymore, (if you care about that), that it probably won’t fit in your shoe, and that wool socks with 2 extra felt layers need help to dry since they can’t go in the dryer.  Help such as spending a night or two over a heating vent, or out in the sun on a fairly hot day.  I’ve thrown the felted acrylic ones in the dryer with no problem.

I like the felt bottoms so much, I might plan to use felt as the bottom from now on, and stop knitting bottoms on my socks, just attaching a knit top.  I’ll have to see about it.

Hope this helps someone else save their handknit socks.

 

The idea for this sweater came from something I saw in a magazine, the “Meandrous Tunic”, (by Jill Wright in Creative Knitting, Spring 2014, page 62).  For my usual reasons, I did not want to follow a pattern, but I really liked the look of this sweater, and wanted to give making one like it a try.

This was my attempt.

WristToWristSweaterFront
This sweater is made from cuff to cuff.  You start at one wrist and go across the chest, ending at the other wrist.  Then you pick up loops and make the body.

To start – Measurements:   I knitted a square with my chosen yarn and needles and got my gauge, then figured out how many stitches to cast on by measuring the number of inches I wanted the sleeve to be around my wrist and calculating.  (Here is my post on how to calculate your needed number of stitches using your gauge and your measurements.)

I measured the number of inches around various parts of my arm (wrist, lower arm, elbow, upper arm and shoulder), leaving a little extra room with the tape measure so the sleeve wouldn’t be very tight.  Calculating as stated above with these measurements told me how many stitches I’d need for each part of the arm.  I also measured vertically from where I wanted the top sideways part to stop at the front, over the shoulder, and down to where I wanted it to end at the back.  (In my case this was 18 inches, and this was the widest I would need my arm and chest tube to be.)  You also need to know how many inches across you’ll want the neck hole and the hole for the chest (measure around you under the arms to get that measurement all the way around yourself, half of that is the length of the opening for the chest – again, remember to leave a little extra room if you don’t want it tight.)

WristToWristSweaterChestOpening

This photo shows the wrist where I started on the right side, it is open from about the elbow to the wrist because I wanted a smaller circle than my circular needles could pull off so I joined as soon as I could so that at least some of it would be seamed already.  I started with my appropriate number of stitches at the wrist, then increased as I went up to get to the next needed number of stitches, (I increased at the ends and beginnings of the rows until I joined them into a circle, and kept my increases there after joining).  I always increased under the arm to make the increases less obvious later.  Under your arm will be where you put your hole for the chest.   I put a marker here for reference.  In this spot, under the arm, is the part that will go across the chest, so you have to plan your stitch pattern choice accordingly.  I wanted something twisty, but easy, so I chose this one which looks like a cable, but isn’t, and interspersed other random choices of garter, knits, purls and rib.  You may want to choose stitch patterns that look nice and flowy when worked longways. You will want something that doesn’t curl at the wrists.  I had two of the flowy cable looking pattern going the entire length of the sleeve, positioned near the top of the arm, and I added another flowy one to each side once there was enough room after the increases for the upper arm. (Stitch references below.)  (See the shoulder cap section for another tip on choosing your stitch patterns.)

Essentially, you make a tube, but you need to put the neck and chest holes in the right places.  You don’t even need to increase up the arm if you don’t want to, you can have sleeves that are widely open at the wrist, and this would just be straight tubes.

I added shoulder caps. If you want to do your cap like this one, it will be helpful for you to choose stitch patterns with a lot of space in between to make this easier.  For example, I only have the flowy twisty thing that looks like a cable, and I have 4 of them.  So when I turn around and go backwards to do the shoulder cap, I don’t ever have to turn around mid pattern.  I have random knits and purls between the flowy parts, so I always turned around in those.

Here is my diagram which has most of my measurements on it, and the round thing on the right shows how I made the shoulder caps.  If you are looking at your circular with all of the stitches on it, you are looking at that circle, and the thing at the bottom of the drawing represents the marker where the bottom seam of the arm is.  The arrows show how I added rows to the top of the shoulder gradually leaving off the ends of the rows under the arm so there was less cloth there.    This was confusing enough that I did the whole thing in one sitting, not something I might know where I was if I went back to it later (unless you keep really detailed notes).  I followed this diagram twice. You can’t really read what’s written under the circle, but in general, it shows that I was on row 9 of my pattern, did that about 7/8 way around the sleeve (where the innermost arrow makes a U turn), then turned around and went back doing row 10, and stopped about 1/4 of the way from the beginning, etc., keep following the arrows in this fashion, and keep following your stitch pattern and keep notes on what part of it is done. As you can see by the drawing, I didn’t do row 9 on the last eighth of the circle until I got done with the whole thing.  Yarn wrap: Each time I changed direction, I took the next stitch that I wasn’t working off the needle and laid the yarn on the other side of it, then put it back on the needle.  This yarn wrap helped to prevent holes everywhere I turned around.  The yarn wrap kind of looks like a purl, so you might want to turn around in a place that isn’t a knit stitch.  Follow the arrows, turning around in places near the arrows that look ok with your stitch pattern (exactness not needed).  The last arrow goes all the way around and back to the marker.  I did this circular pattern two whole times to achieve the shoulder cap you see.

The photo below this diagram shows a completed shoulder cap.  The yellow marker shows the beginning before any of the cap was worked. Its a pretty shallow cap, but its enough to prevent too much sweater bulging under the arms, which you can sometimes get if there are no caps.

WristToWristPeachSweater

My stitch patterns weren’t all on the same row after the shoulder cap. To deal with this I used 2 torn pieces of a post-it note to stick to my stitch chart, torn very small so I had only the sticking part, with writing on them telling me which one went with which place.

WristToWristSweaterSleeve

After the shoulder cap is done, you are at the armpit, (where your marker is), so here is where you want to split it in two to divide for the chest. You will want some cloth over the shoulder, so you would go a few more inches before you split for the neck hole on the opposite side.  Here is what it will look like on your needles after you split for the chest hole and the neck hole.  You will then be working back and forth on both pieces instead of in the round.  I attached a second piece of yarn from another ball so I could work both back and forth at the same time.  I wanted to be absolutely sure they were the same length, so this ensured that.  I turned a few of the stitches at the edge of the neck hole into garter stitch to prevent curling and make a nice edge.

WristToWristSweaterSleeve2

Below is what it looks like after the chest and neck hole are done.  I had closed the neck hole off a long time ago in this photo.  I measured and figured I wanted 3 to 3 1/2 inches over each shoulder, and the length of the neck hole to be 9-10 inches.  10 + 3 +3 =16 inches.  I needed the chest hole to be 18 inches across, and  I wanted 16 inches from shoulder to shoulder.  So, that is a 2 inch difference.  (Going under the arms adds an extra inch on each side.)  What I wound up doing was making over the shoulders a little longer, then shooting for the 18 inch chest hole to make sure that was big enough to not be tight.  The important thing is to keep the neck hole in the middle and make things equal over each shoulder.  You can hold it up to yourself as you work and see how its going, and that’s what I did.  I checked my measurements with a tape measure, but I also just held it up to me once in awhile and made decisions based on what I saw.

I closed the chest hole by going back to knitting in the round.  You get to cut the second yarn ball off at this point (and that’s always a relief!)  Then just work the next sleeve the same way you did the first one.  Start with the shoulder cap, same as whatever you did before, then go down the sleeve decreasing along the under the arm.

WristToWristSweaterTop

Here’s the whole top of the sweater completed, you can see the hole for the chest and the neck.  I’ve seamed one arm from elbow to wrist but I still need to do the other one.

 

WristToWristSweaterReadyForPickup

Here is where you will be when you start the body. I used my gauge and inch calculations to figure out how many stitches I would need to pick up.  I went around the hole for the body of the sweater, picking up every stitch and this wound up being a lot more stitches than that.  I decreased crazily (under the arms where it would be hidden) to get down to my ideal number.  I don’t think it is noticeable at all that I did that.  I figured it would be better than leaving stitches off during pick up and maybe getting holes.    Tip: Pick-up is easier if you jab the needle into a stitch, then knit one through it, and make the first row as you pick up. Pick-up loops tend to be a bit tight and harder to work if you have a needle full of only pick-up loops.

After pick up on a big circular needle (same size for everything), I then I did a stitch pattern of knit/ purl alternating, a few knit rows, then another row of knit/purl to make a decorative line across the chest.  Then it was smooth sailing, nothing but stockinette I could do in the dark during tv!  I decreased a little to get to my measurement for the waist, but not much, only 4 stitches, I was going for a straighter sweater.  I increased to the appropriate number of stitches for the hips before starting the pattern at the waist.  Getting the increases out of the way kept me from having to figure out how to keep the counts right for increasing during patterns.

WristToWristSweaterBack
A few more decorative stitch patterns (see below) for the waist and border (to prevent curling), and a couple of rows of white after I ran out of peach yarn and still wanted it a tad longer.  All done!

References:

Idea for format of sweater: “Meandrous Tunic” by Jill Wright, Creative Knitting magazine, pg. 62.

Stitch Patterns:  The New Knitting Stitch Library. Lesley Stanfield. Quarto Publishing, London. 1992. ISBN:1-57990-027-5.  Flowy cable looking stitch: #196, pg.126. Stitch at waist: #95, pg. 62 (only row 3-19 with only the symbols on the left side).  Border at bottom edge:  #284, pg.165 (only the bottom half of the design.  For this I was working from the top down on the sweater, but these rows made the same pattern no matter whether they were worked from top down or bottom up.)

Yarn and needles:  Size 9 needles.  Vanna’s Choice yarn by Lionbrand, color: Soft Pink.

 

 

SeamlessCrochetContinuousSweaterDone

I’m really loving the seamless / continuous crochet!  It makes such nice objects without the tedious working-in of the ends that you usually get with crochet squares.  To see sleeveless items I have made before also using seamless crochet, see here for part 1 and here for part 2. (Not necessary to read those to understand this post though, no worries!  …Also, that’s not a hole at the belly button area, that is where the jeans are poking through it.)

I have been dawdling over how to write this post for the past month, and how much detail I can go into.  What I made up on this sweater was how to get connected motifs into a sweater shape, but I had a drawing in a book to give me the idea, and the motif design itself I got from books.  (The motif I used in this sweater is in both books, see references below.)   So, this post will tell you how to construct the sweater with continuous crochet, but you need to know how to make a motif. In general, this means making a long chain, then slip knot into a ring, then do something of your design for row 1 for the center around the ring, then chains around the outside edge for joining (chains making corners and sides).  You can design your own motif if you wish.  As long as you do them all the same, you will get a pattern.

In one of the books I reference at the bottom (Nihon Vogue-Sha), they have a drawing on how to construct a similar sweater on pg. 77 (see reference at the bottom).  They do this differently than how I did it, and their way may be simpler and better than what I did.  I have not found this book in English though, only Chinese and Japanese, so exactly how they did it was not completely clear to me.  It looks to me like they complete a front half all the way, and then do a back half all the way, then seam some other way when the pieces are completely done.  I don’t think the pieces are joined as they go, but it could be I just didn’t get it.  So, exactly how to construct the sweater is what I made up as I went, generally based on their drawing.  Let me add, I LOVE this book even though I can’t read it.  It is full of drawings, pictures and interesting motifs, most of which I can use just fine just by looking at the drawings.

If you are interested in making these, you may want to buy a seamless or continuous crochet book. The drawings in the books help a TON in trying to attach these things together the right way.  The first sweater I made with continuous crochet was really very confusing as to what parts of the motif attach to what, even with drawings to help.  But you do get used to it the more you make, and it becomes very easy.

How my sweater was constructed:  Look at the photo below.  I made row 1 starting at the waist.  I made this bottom row 6 motifs across. (For sizing – hold your row of motifs up to yourself and stop when its wide enough to go across your hips – careful not to stretch unless you want a tight sweater).  It was worked the way continuous crochet usually is, doing bottoms and rights of the outer chain edge of each motif on row 1, then doing the top chain edge on all 6 motifs after all 6 were done, but leaving off the left outer edge, (meaning don’t work the outer chain on the leftmost motif of the row).  Do Row 2 the same way, the leftmost motif is joined at its bottom, make it, then do its outer bottom edge, joining it to the one below on row 1 as you go, then work its right outer chain edge,  then make the next motif.  After all 6 motifs are done, work the bottom and right outer chain of that last one, then work the outer chain edge over the tops of all of them to get back to the left, and leave off the left outer chain edge on the last one.  Row 2 is done.  The left outer chain edge is done after all rows are done to get back to the starting point.  So, I worked a rectangle with 6 motifs across and 8 rows high, (this is from the hips up to the armpits in this photo), then after working the outer chain over the top of the last row (row 8), I then did the left outer chain edge of all rows, bringing me back to the starting point at the left bottom.  The starting yarn-end is tied to the ending yarn-end and worked in, and those are your only ends to deal with on this rectangle (as long as you didn’t need to join a new ball of yarn).  Back half “body” is complete.

A note about my use of the words “left” and “right” for the remainder –  My words say what was done as I was holding it, however, I was looking at the backs of all of my motifs as I went (the inside of the sweater).  So left and right as I say it will match what it looks like when you are doing it, but you will notice it seems reversed in some photos, because the sweater isn’t inside out in all of them.

1ContinuousCrochetSweaterBackThen, to work the piece for the arms, I started at the left wrist and worked the first row all the way across to the right wrist.  That was joined to the first rectangle (the body) when I got to the point where the armpit would be, and as the bottom outer chain (of each motif) was worked on that first row.  You have to hold the arm motifs up to your arm to decide how long you want it to be, and make sure you are doing the same number of motifs for each arm and getting the body joined in the middle.  Using markers may help.

The photo above is not half of the sweater, my arms were going to be six motifs tall total, (3 on the front side, 3 tall on the back side), so this is 3 rows, which is the back half, plus 2 half rows which are really on the front, and allow for the neck hole.  (So the back half of the arm piece has no space for a neck hole, the motifs go all the way up, and it is simply a long rectangle.)

Neck hole:  This was kind of complicated, let me draw out how I did the half rows for the neck hole in 2 ways.  Look at the second drawing below, if it makes sense, that will allow you to skip all of these words!  Number one to remember, if it is a pullover, it has to fit over your head or you can’t wear it.  I used the already made parts of the sweater to stretch around my head and see how many motifs would have to be missing in the neck hole to get it to fit over my head.  This is pretty stretchy, and I only needed 2 motifs to be missing.  It may help to count these out before you start and mark the last motifs you do before leaving the neck hole.

The dark blue lines below are motif rows, worked to the right.  The other drawn-on colors show how the outer chain edge of each motif was worked (back over the top to the left).  So, we start with the bottom dark blue row, the last row of the back half of the sweater, (worked all the way across, to the right). For the right side – Follow the yellow line back to the left, this is the outer chain edge of that solid row, stop when you get to where you want the neck hole to be, don’t work over the tops of the neck hole motifs yet.  Then, work the dark blue row right above the yellow line, making motifs to the right, working them from the neck area to the right side wrist (in my case this was 10 motifs).  Then follow the green line back to the left for the outer chain, go over the tops of those motifs you just made, then go around the left side of the first/ leftmost one, then do over the tops of the solid row below for the neck hole, then do over the top for the length of the other sleeve to the wrist and stop.  The topmost solid row on the back half is now fully complete (except for the left outer chain edge, which you always leave off, for around the left wrist).  Left side – Then work the dark blue line over the left side sleeve, from wrist to neck, but stop, leaving a neck hole in the middle (have the same number of motifs as for the other sleeve, in my case 10).   Then follow the red line to do the outer chain over your last motifs on the left sleeve.  (You still leave off the left edge of that sleeve.)  At this point, your neck hole so far is complete, all of the outer chains are done everywhere except the left wrist.

1ContinuousCrochetSweaterNeckHere is another drawing in case one is easier to understand than the other, they say the same thing:

Sweater

Finishing the front half of the sleeves and making sleeves into tubes – After the neck hole row / rows are done, you then do more solid rows the same way you did the first few.  (In my case, that was 2 more solid rows so that I would have sleeves 6 motifs tall.) You work the bottoms of the motifs that go over the neck hole the same way as you make them on the usual starting first row, just remember not to connect them so that you leave a hole.  Your neck hole should not have any unworked outer edges left on it after you pass over it with the next solid row, it is complete.

The photo below shows  how I connected the sleeves.  I didn’t seam them later, I used working the outer top edge of my last sleeve row (done on the leftward return after making the last row) to attach to the bottoms of Row 1 as I went.  (The bottoms  of row 1 were already finished when you did row 1.)  Looking at the photo below, you can see this joining.  It looks like I’m going the wrong way in the photo from what I said, but as I said before, it may be inside out when you are working it.

Complication modification – how I made this more confusing, and why you see another half row there at the top – (You don’t have to do this, you can make yours a solid row to make it easier to do.)  My sleeves are 6 motifs tall (in the middle) and 5 tall from the elbows to wrists.  I didn’t want my sleeves to have a very wide opening at the wrist, so I only made my sleeves 5 tall at the ends.  The simpler sleeve way – If you make yours the same number of motifs high all the way across, that makes it a little easier, you just join your sleeves into tubes as you are returning from the right with the outer chain on the top of the last row, making sure to leave openings starting at the armpit for the body as you are doing that top edge of the last row. (Just work across the body motifs without joining).  Once joined, your right sleeve is finished, and the edge at the right wrist is already done.  Once you get back to the left wrist, you work the outer edge on the wrist of the joined sleeve to finish it and cut the yarn here where it meets your starting tail.  Only one more yarn tail to work in, and both sleeves and the neck hole are completely finished.  You only need one more rectangle now for the front body.

2ContinuousCrochetSeamlessSweaterHalf

The complicated way – Adding extra half rows for sleeve modification:  You can work row 5, (the last solid row on the long sleeve rectangle), get to the right wrist with the motifs, then starting at the right wrist join the top outer chain of row 5 as you go to the bottom of row 1 until you get to the right elbow.  At this point continue working over the top of row 5, but stop joining it to anything. Work over the top of the top row with the outer chain back over the neck hole and stop at the left elbow (or to wherever you want row 6 to start – lets say elbow for simplicity). Now you start making and joining row 6 motifs from the left elbow to the right elbow. Then when you get to the right elbow, work the top of row 6’s outer chain – you will continue connecting the right sleeve into a tube now (I made this text purple to connect you to when it was last purple – that’s when you stopped connecting the right sleeve into a tube). You will be using the top of row 6 to connect to the bottom of row 1 at this point.  (See note below on bunching up that first row 6 motif.)  Stop connecting into a sleeve tube when you get to the arm pit of the sweater.  Keep working across the top of row 6 for the body area doing your top outer chain, and go back to joining the top of row 6 to the bottom of row 1 when you get over to the arm pit on the other sleeve.  Join this sleeve down the length, first while working the top of row 6, then it will turn into row 5’s top when you get to the elbow.  When you get to the wrist, you then need to work the left edge around the wrist, and cut the yarn and work in the end.  Your end yarn should join at your starting yarn for the long rectangle sleeve piece.

Note on bunching up end of row 6 motifs:  Below you see the “complicated sleeve” elbow, and what the underside of the sleeve will look like if you add the extra half row.  Here you see row 1 joined to row 5 on the left, and to the right of it, row 1 joined to row 6 where you see the extra motif in there which is looking bunched up.  To make that join, you just squish the usual joining spots on the hook and pull the yarn through all of them at once.  Your joining happens under the arm so this bulging at the elbow is not really obvious, as you can see in the two photos where I’m wearing the sweater, you wouldn’t have noticed it.

JoinSweater

Below is what it looks like after both sleeves are tubes.  The front body is another rectangle, identical to the back rectangle.  You work it in the same way, I would suggest starting at the waist and working up like you did the first piece, joining on the right side edge as you do the last motif of every row, then joining the whole rectangle to the front of the arm piece when you do the top outer chain of the last row. Leave the left edge undone and unattached to work last, and join at that left edge after you’ve joined the rectangle to the front of the arm piece at the tops of the last row, (row 8 on mine).  This is the simplest way to do it.  (Not what I did!  I attached the yarn at the armpit and tried to work downward, attaching to the arm piece first. It worked, but something about the joining was confusing and I had to cut and restart on the opposite side, so doing it the way you did the first piece in all the same directions and just attaching the two with the top edge of the last row of motifs, then the left edge, is probably the easier way to go.  Once again, your last yarn tail will be where your first starting tail was, so only one more tail to work it.

3ContinuousCrochetSeamlessBackToFront

Whew!  I think it’s harder to explain than it is to do!  If you stuck with this post this far, bless you for your infinite patience, and may your projects all come out lovely!

SeamlessCrochetSweaterContinuousBackDone

Books on seamless / continuous crochet that have this motif in them:

Continuous Crochet Motif 60. Nihon Vogue-Sha. 2009.  ISBN-10: 9866817466.  The motif I used on this sweater is design No. 6, page 13.  This book also has a drawing showing how to construct a sweater in a little different way on pg. 77.

Seamless Crochet. Kristin Omdahl. 2011.  Interweave Press LLC, Loveland, CO. ISBN 978-1-59668-297-9.  The motif I used on this sweater is in this book too, called Lace Flower motif, pg. 60.

 

 

No knitting or crocheting on this one, however, once you see how to make a plant hanger, you can let your creativity flow and crochet or knit one if you prefer.  This is the quickie method of making one, it takes almost no time at all.

You will need thicker yarn or rope for the hanging.  I chose to take some of the yarn and ply it to itself, then ply it to itself again to make really thick yarn.  This plying took a few minutes and that was the most time consuming part.

Plant13

1. Cut equal length strands, long enough to go under the pot and have a couple of inches left over.  I used 6 strands of Red Heart acrylic yarn.  (See the note on number 8 about why the number matters.)  Choose a pot that has a rim at the bottom for catching water.  You can also use one of those plastic catchers, just put it under the pot as you are making the hanger so that it will fit inside.

Plant12. Tie one big knot in the middle.

Plant2

3. Spread the strands out equally. (I had 6 strands, so there are 12 strings spread out.)

Plant3

4. The knot goes in the middle under the pot.

Plant4

5. Take each 2 adjacent strands and tie them in a knot. (If you had 6 starting strands, this will be 6 knots.)  Try to get them about the same distance from the center knot.

Plant5

6. Tie another knot above the first using strands from knots next door as shown.

Plant6

7. I tied a 3rd knot in the same way.  Then I tied a thick strand around the rim of the pot.  (I plied yarn together to make thick yarn, but you can also braid it, crochet it, or just use a thinner strand for this.)

Plant7

8. Tie the knotted bottom part to the rim strand, trying to get it the same  distance from all of the knots.  I have 6 places where it is tied to the rim strand, this means 6 places between the knots where I could hang it from.  I chose to use 3 clumps of rope, but I also could have used every space and done 6.  (Something like 4 would have had it hanging a bit unevenly.  If you want 4, use 8 strands of string to start with.)

Plant8

9. I left the ends hanging on the thicker rim strand, but tied bows in the remaining ends of the other strings and trimmed them neatly.

Plant9

10. Hang it with thicker yarn, braided yarn, crocheted yarn, or rope.  You will probably need something thicker here, as wet mud is pretty heavy.  For this reason I would not use a pot bigger than this one.  Keep in mind, this will stretch much longer due to the weight, so make it shorter than you want it.  I used yarn twice as long as I wanted and looped it over the rim strand without tying another knot.

Plant10

11.  Three clumps of yarn on, equal distance apart.  Tie a big overhand knot (leaving long enough ends).

Plant11

12. Tie another knot above it for hanging on the hook.

Plant12

Add mud and a plant and hang on a hook.

Acrylic yarn will last awhile if you are careful when you water to not let the bottom overflow and get it dirty.  This one has big spaces so when you water you can tip the plant at an angle to dump the water out so mud doesn’t get on it so much.  It will last longer if it is inside or on a porch than if it is in the sun and rain.

If you want to, knit or crochet it.  You can even add buttons to make it cute.   (Make the same way as you’d make a hat – make a flat circle for the bottom, then keep going but stop increasing to make a ring in a tube shape to go upward on the pot).

 

 

 

First, you don’t need to. 🙂  Drafts are for more complicated looms with shafts, and the instructions in patterns for rigid heddle weaving are usually just written in text.  You can ignore the little drawings.  However, if you are like me and curious about it anyway because you found that great free resource online for weaving drafts, (third link below), here is some very basic info to help you out.

There’s no reason to go over what has been said before, so I refer you to this blog where the basics of reading them have already been explained, then I will elaborate:

http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-can-i-use-weaving-draft-on-my-rigid.html#.U9Of36hWJqI

After reading this page, I understood way more than before, but still needed a little more help.

After finding this example below, it all became clear.  This is the weaving draft drawing for your typical plaid, (which, if you have a loom, you have probably already made).  You would get this by warping alternating blocks of 2 different colors.  For example, 4 strands green (using both slots and holes), 4 strands white, repeat.  Then when you weave the weft, 4 “picks” (or rows), one color, 4 picks the other color, repeat.   This is what that looks like in a draft drawing:

http://www.handweaving.net/PatternDisplay.aspx?PATTERNID=44224

So you can see from this, you warp your loom following the skinny line at the top with green and white.  It tells you 4 green, 4 white, (putting one thread through each slot and each hole), repeat.  The skinny line at the right tells you the order for the weft (4 white, 4 green, repeat).  Now look at the black and white blocks below and to the left of the skinny lines.  The bellwether told you that this is the number of strands and that one row can be slots and one row holes.  So whenever you have a draft that looks like this one with only two rows, with one black block and one white block alternating in a single checkerboard, this tells you that you only need one strand of yarn in each slot and one in each hole, (how you would normally thread your rigid heddle loom).  So when looking at a draft, if you see that, you know you can now then ignore all of the checkerboards. Just warp across, following the colors in the skinny line at the top, putting them in both slots and holes, in order.

Now that you know this, here is a page with some of these types of drafts, (that great free resource):

 http://www.handweaving.net/Patterns.aspx

I found a good selection of ones with 2 rows of black and white alternating single squares by clicking “draft search”  and selecting “Min Shafts 2, Max Shafts 2, Max Treadles 2”, then select the book “A Handbook of Weaves (G.H. Oelsner)”, then click “Search by Book(s)”.  (You can of course search any way you like, but there’s a start.)

If you find a draft that has 2 rows, so you know you can do it on your rigid heddle, but has more than one black block or white block in a row, this is going to get more complicated, you would need more than one strand in a hole or slot.  (This is also what Ask the Bellwether was talking about.  As she mentions, you will have to keep in mind how thickly packed you want your fabric to get, and you may want a heddle with more or less spaces per inch.)

Looking at this one may help explain:  http://www.handweaving.net/PatternDisplay.aspx?PATTERNID=52376  Here you see by the skinny lines that the whole warp is all green, and the whole weft is all white.  You need 2  green warp threads to raise and 2 to lower for each row when you raise or lower your heddle.  You can see by this draft that there are 2 black blocks alternating with 2 white blocks to show you this instead of a single one-by-one checkerboard pattern.  You can achieve this on the rigid heddle loom by putting 2 green warp threads in each slot and 2 in each hole, then weaving the entire weft with 2 white on each row.

The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick has shown that you can do more rows of black and white blocks on drafts using a 2nd heddle and pick up sticks, so there is hope for such drafts if you really have your heart set on it.  Her book is not really about drafts, and I haven’t played with doing anything from a draft that complicated, only followed her text written instructions in the book for doing things with pick up sticks.  So I can’t say any more about that, as I really have not wrapped my brain around it.  But hopefully this information helps you get the beginnings of understanding at least the free online drafts if you are interested.