Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My First Knitting Machine Hat

blue-orange-hat-smI’ve been trying to learn how to use the knitting machine that my cousin gave me.  Of course, I don’t want to learn on my “good” yarn!…does anyone else do that?  “Save” your “good” stuff for later?

Some of the problem has been that I just haven’t really known what to make, and I don’t know what stitches to try to make said unknown project.  It’s really a bit of a switch, changing my mindset from hand knitting, and even then I pretty much only make washcloths and scarves anyway!  I am a quilter, after all.

I’ve hand knit several long skinny scarves with the hairy novelty yarn, so I’ve been trying to use some of those in the knitting machine, too, and have had a hard time with them.  One of my internet group suggestions was to run some “regular” yarn through the machine to make sure it is working properly.

So, I went rummaging around my stash of yarn and found some Lion Brand Fun 100% acrylic yarn that I’d bought at a ridiculously cheap price a couple of years ago, when I thought I’d make a Bronco scarf or something and never got around to it.  This hat is the result, and I’m thrilled with it!

The light doesn’t do it justice, it’s really darling!  I had no idea how big it would actually turn out to be, because I was experimenting, and it’s much too small for my small adult sized head, so I’ll give it to the church charity hat drive when I finish sewing up the side seam.

One thing about making round objects on a flat knitting machine is that you have to seam most of them to complete them, and I’ve found that is my least favorite part.  But I learned a lot on this project and had a blast doing it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I’m Having a Giveaway!

I don’t normally go around advertising my birthday.  I like it just fine and I’m not concerned about how old I am, I just like to keep it low key.

But tonight I decided, at the last minute, to host a giveaway for a package of 100 – 2” charms that can be used in a Postage Stamp Quilt!

All you have to do is “Like” my Facebook page and post it to the Rafflecopter giveaway widget.  If this link doesn’t work for you, go directly to my FaceBook page and click on the Giveway tab below the cover photo.

I’ll need your email and mailing addresses, but I promise, I won’t share the information with anyone else.

Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Finish!

DSCF6235I just finished my first long skinny scarf  using one skein of novelty yarn out of my stash.  I used my Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine, which I've had  forever, and took me just under an hour!  That is, after the learning curve where I figured out how many needles to use and after I ripped it out the first time. Confused smile  The trick was using every other needle and going very slowly. I was afraid I'd run out of yarn before I got it cast off so I actually could have made a few more rows before ending, but that’s also part of the learning curve.

I used 9 needles total, although I thought I had cast on more, but that was before I started over.  I think I may sew this into an infinity scarf as it will wrap around my neck 3 times, which looks like a faux fur collar.  I thought the weighted hem was really too heavy so I only used one weight bar on each side, and once it got long enough, I used my knees to support the weight.  Again, I can’t stress “go slowly” enough!  When it got really long I started using the claw weights.  I had to rip back a few rows a couple times, which was the reminder to slow down.

I have several more skeins of this, and some eyelash, yarn that I want to get out of my stash.  They make really great, fast, inexpensive gifts and add a pop of color to an outfit.  And yes, they are surprisingly warm, although you do have to get used to the fibers against your bare neck. :-)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year’s Day Goodness

DSCF6221I was invited to spend New Year’s Day with a group of die hard fiber enthusiasts….knitters, spinners and weavers…who quickly became new friends.

We were hosted by Mitzi Meyer, at her home in Sweet, Idaho.  I am ashamed to say, in the 8 years I’ve lived in Idaho, I’ve rarely been outside of Boise; I didn’t even know there was a town named Sweet! I truly enjoyed the drive, it reminded me of my native Montana surroundings, and the next time my mom visits I’ll definitely take her out that way.  Their home was absolutely beautiful and perfect for this get together.

Of course, I took more projects than I was able to work on, but my motivation was to take advantage of all of the expertise in the room to get advice for completing several UFOs including:

  1. A 27 year old sweater that has been in “time out” (more on that later)
  2. A spinning project that stalled last year
  3. Instruction on how to ply my newly spun yarn

I showed off the hat that I started a couple of months ago for my DH, which is almost finished but didn’t make my knitting-machine-baby-blanket-samplerChristmas deadline…and got a good laugh from everyone because it’s absolutely gigantic!

My knitting machine sample got some attention as well, and I spent quite a bit of time talking with Angie, who is also trying to learn more about how to work her own knitting machine.

It was obvious that this is a close group of friends, but I felt welcome and included and look forward to spending more time with this unique and talented group.

Mitzi also runs an online store, Mitzi's Yarns for Weavers and Knitters, where she sells mill ends and closeout inventory, and of course, we were able to peruse her wares. Mitzi had earlier showed off a scarf/shoulder cape she’d made, and written the pattern for, with a fingering-weight-closeupcombination of two strands of yarn that I thought would work perfectly to keep me warm this winter.

I’ve been looking for this sort of pattern and I was able to get enough yarn for the pattern to make 3 different color options using a mohair /wool /acrylic blend. I’ll pair one of theses colors with the black wool blend yarn and see how it turns out before I decide on what I want to pair the next one with. If it goes like I think it will, I might already be ahead of next Christmas’ gift season!

This might be one of those projects that is the knitting equivalent of a PSQ though, since this is a lace weight yarn (I think) and I’ve never worked with something so small!  However, I had an idea that I might be able to ply these two yarns together using my spinning wheel and treat the resulting yarn as one strand.

I’m back to my quilting this weekend.  I hope you all had a great holiday and got time to spend with all of your wonderful creative toys.

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