Monday, January 30, 2012

Heart to Heart

My friend Polly's birthday is Valentine's day. I've been wanting to make her a heart headband for a long time. Since it is a small project, I thought I could manage creating my own pattern. This is what I came up with. Scroll down for pattern.

Approx 90 yards worsted weight yarn
Size 8 straight needles
Size 8 double pointed needles

Gauge: Not important

m1 - make one
kfb - knit into the front and back
pfb - purl into the front and back
ssp - slip, slip, purl
p2tog- purl 2 together
sts - stitches

If you would like a thinner I-cord, you may use smaller DPN’s. I used size 4.

Cable pattern

2 st RC (WS) Sl1 st to cn and hold to RS of work, K1, K1 from cn
2 st LC (WS) Sl 1 st to cn and hold to WS of work, K1, k1 from cn
2-st RPC sl 1 st to cn and hold to back, k1, p1 from cn
2-st LPC sl 1 st to cn and hold to front, p1, k1 from cn
3-st RC sl 1 st to cn and hold to back, k2, k1 from cn
3-st LC sl 2 sts to cn and hold to front, k1, k2 from cn
3-st RPC sl 1 st to cn and hold to back, k2, p1 from cn
3-st LPC sl 2 st to ch and hold to front, p1, k2 from cn
4-st LC sl 2 sts to cn and hold to front, k2, k2 from cn

Row 1: k1, m1 right leaning, kfb, M1 left leaning - 6 sts on needle
Row 2 and all even rows: purl all sts
Row 3: k1, m1 right leaning, k to last 2 sts, m1 left leaning, K1
Repeat rows 2 and 3 five more times, 18 sts on needle
Next Row: purl across

Begin Cable Pattern
Set-up row: (WS) p2,k5, p4, k5,p2
Row 1: (RS) k2,p5, 4-st LC, p5, k2
Row 2: p2, k5, p4, k5, p2
Row 3: k2, p4, 3-st RC, 3-st LC, p4, k2
Row 4: p2, k4, p6, k4, p2
Row 5: k2, p3, 3-st RPC, k2, 3-st LPC, p3, k2
Row 6: p2, k3, p2, k1, p2, k1, p2, k3, p2
Row 7: k2, p2, 3-st RPC, k4, 3-st LPC, p2, k2
Row 8: p2, k2, p2, k1, p4, k1, p2, k2, p2
Row 9: k2 p1, 3-st RPC (twice), 3-st LPC (twice), p1, k2
Row 10: p2, k1, p2, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p2, k1, p2
Row 11: k2, 3-st RPC (twice), p2, 3-st LPC (twice), k2
Row 12: p4, k1, p2, k4, p2, k1 p4
Row 13: k3, 2-st LPC, 3-st LPC, p2, 3-st RPC, 2-st RPC, k3
Row 14: p3, k1, p1, k1, p2, k2, p2, k1, p1, k1, p3
Row 15: k3, p1, 2-st LPC, 3-st LPC, 3-st RPC, 2-st RPC, p1, k3
Row 16: p3, k2, p1, k1, p4, k1 p1, k2, p3
Row 17: k2, 2-st LPC, 2-st RPC, p1, 4-st LC, p1, 2-st LPC, 2-st RPC,k2
Row 18: p2, k1, 2-st RC, k2, p4, k2, 2-st LC, k1, p2

Repeat rows 1-18 three more times

Finishing row: k2, p5, k4, p5, k2

Row 1: ssk, k across, k2 tog
Row 2: and all even rows, purl all sts
Repeat rows 1 and 2 five more times - 6 sts on the needle
Next Row: ssk, k 2 tog (twice) - 3 sts on needle

Transfer sts to dpn, work in I-cord for 8 inches, break yarn and draw through sts, pull tight, weave in ends

Here it is pre-blocking.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Tomorrow is the eve of the Lunar New Year, and 2012 is year of the Dragon. Chinese New Year's Eve is  the most important of Chinese holidays, and it is imperative that your family be together for a reunion dinner on this day. I will be spending the evening with my in-laws, giving li xi (red envelope) to younger family members and children, and eating tangerines for good luck.

Red is a lucky color in Chinese culture, and I will be wearing red to celebrate the occasion. (Black is considered unlucky and should not be worn on this day).

Using a dishcloth chart from Aunt Kathy, I knitted this bag .

I CO the number of stitches required for the dishcloth, knit in garter for a few rows to keep the top from rolling, knit stockinette until it was about the length I wanted, then started the dragon chart. Then I did a few more rows of stockinette and finished with the garter stitch again. I folded it over and seamed up the sides. I made the handle using my Wonder Knitter.

Here are a few CNY appropriate patterns for you to knit or crochet.

by HappyBerry
Red Dragon Toy from Happy Berry Crochet. You must "like" their Facebook page to access the pattern.

By Jen AKA Lookingglass

Peach Blossom Baby Jacket  from Looking Glass Knits.

by Byrnne Sutton

"Festive" by Brynne Sutton, from the Winter 2005 edition of Knitty

Monday, January 16, 2012

Learn to Knit with Chopstick Knits!

Beginning Knitting classes are now live! Check out the schedule on the classes and events page or at the Social Knitworking Meetup Page!

VKL in review

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about attending Vogue Knitting Live. I had heard from knitters that it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be - overpriced yarn that is available in the city, massive crowds, and so-so classes. But I was excited about the opportunity to fondle yarns I've only seen online. Plus, one of my favorite yarn companies, Bijou Basin, was going to be there.

Here I am with my yak loot. Yay for yak yarn! I love yaks! 

Me sister in law and I both purchased "gift certificates" that allowed us Marketplace entry as well as one class each. She attended a class on Elizabeth Zimmerman's sweater percentage system. I chose a session with Mari Lynn Patrick. It was an insightful talk about her life, how she has been designing knitwear since she was a child (she decided to be a designer at age 12, she is now 60), and the challenges and pressures of being a designer, along with tips and tricks for design and construction. We also got to examine many of her most famous pieces, including an awesome pocket vest featured in Knit Simples' recent Plus Sized Knitting special issue.

If I had paid the ten dollars for the "marketplace only" ticket I would have been satisfied. I knew this would be my chance to find unique yarns being sold directly by the ranchers, spinner, and dyers, as well as meet designers. There were awesome displays from the Graffiti Grannies and Anna Hraachovec  was there with an adorable Knitting MochiMochi display selling her books. I bought the second one, Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, which she graciously signed for me, and two kits (zombie and unicorn if you must know).

The Mochimochi Land display and Anna in the background. 

 The Graffiti Grannys had yarn bombed some of the architecture, Vickie Howell herself was hanging out in the beginners' lounge all day, and between my sister in law and myself we had several "celebrity" sightings, including Lily Chin, Nicki Epstein, and Debbie Bliss. There were also fashion shows, panel discussions, demos, and raffles. I received free yarn from Berroco and free knit soak from a couple of places, and got to try square knitting needles and the new lifeline Addi's.

Yarn bombs by the Graffiti Grannys! 

Detail of yarn bomb.
As far as the yarn selection and prices, yes Lion Brand and Knitty City did have booths. But those two shops also had many demos and book signings at their booths. Buffalo Gold was there selling bison yarn, and I got a limited-edition hand dyed Koigu skein from them. Hunt Valley was there with her wonderful 100% cashmere (for ridiculously low prices, I might add), there was a booth with hemp yarn, I finally got some sari ribbon, and I found out what a quivot is. It is a muscat. A lot of the yarn was in the $20 and up per skein range, but you have to remember that this is yarn is, for the most part, not being manufactured in a factory somewhere. It is hand spun and hand dyed by individuals and small companies. And it is of very high quality! Don't get me wrong, I think big box store yarn can be just as fun and exciting to work with, but I am at the point in my stash building where I feel perfectly fine with purchasing that hand spun hand dyed hank that was collected by natives from the shedding bellies of muscats. (Okay, I didn't really buy that, but it does exist).

Sari ribbon from Leilani Arts.

Big 'ol heap of half off yarn at Creatively Dyed.

More sari ribbon and assorted goodies.
Awesome cashmere from Hunt Valley Cashmere.

I absolutely think it was worth attending VLK and can't wait to go back next year. The only think I would do differently is attend more classes.

Some random pretty yarn.

And, one of the best things that happened at VLK...someone recognized my Terrifyingly Ugly Hat from Ravelry!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lady with the technicolor dream crochet

After stopping by Michael's on Friday after work, I saw this woman in the subway who was covered in crochet. Her hat, bag, and skirt were all brilliant pink, blue, and purple stitches. She was wearing a coat so I couldn't see her top. She also had a stroller with a cat in it. The stroller had lots of crochet all over it as well. It was amazing. I saw her at the 96th st stop getting on the C train.

SO - on Sunday I went to Michael's again. (It was a Valentine's day decor emergency, okay!) Well, guess who I saw at the same train station? I wanted to talk to her but I was embarrassed. I need to get over that. It was about the same time of day (around 7:30 p.m.) as when I saw her on Friday. We both got off at 59th and waited on the platform. She kept looking at me (maybe she noticed the awesome knitted hat I was wearing) and I kept looking at her, mesmerized by her awesome technicolorness. She fiddled with her cat, who was an adorable Persian. I thought "now is my chance! I should talk to her!" But did I? Nay, I did not. Instead I looked at my phone. 

Now hear this, amazing lady with the technicolor dream crochet. I am stalking you. And next time I go to Michael's you better believe I'm gonna talk to you on the subway platform! 

I snuck this pic when she wasn't looking. I feel like a total creep but it was worth it. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Social Knitworking

I've started a meetup group focused on self-care through knitting! Here is the description:

Social Knitworking is a yarncrafting group geared towards those in the so-called "helping" professions (social workers, nurses, teachers, and the like) as well as people who work for social justice through activism, organizing, and community work. However, all are welcome!
This group was created out of the need to encourage self care and community building among folks who spend their time giving of themselves, whether that means providing therapy to homeless adults or organizing working people in your neighborhood.
We will get together to share laughs, stitches, and community approximately twice a month. The group is open to all levels of yarncrafters - sharing of skills and knowledge is encouraged, so even if you are just coming to learn, feel free to join in. In the spirit of inclusiveness meetups will be held in various locations around the 5 boroughs.
You can join by clicking here : Social Knitworking Meetup

Pattern: Pu pu platter scarf

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to first pattern!

I try to teach knitting in the way that I would have liked to learn. Part of that is wishing I had tried more stitch combinations with knit and purl early on.  Sure, I learned ribbing pretty quickly, but seed stitch was too confusing with all the back and forth and I didn't quite have a use for stockinette. Little did I know that the cottage style of baskewave was beaconing to be applied to scarves and dishcloths, or that the sophisticated bamboo stitch could be used to dress up armwarmers or a headband.

Here is a scarf that, like the pu pu platter, gives you a sample of a few different things. A ridge stitch, basketweave, big bamboo, seed and garter stitch are implemented.

This pattern has yet to be test knit and I would love to get feedback from folks who want to try it.

Download here from Google Docs: Pu pu platter scarf

Friday, January 6, 2012

Countdown to Certification

As mentioned earlier, I am working on becoming a Certified Knitting Instructor from the Craft Yarn Council of America. I received an email right after Christmas with instructions for all the prework that needs to be done for class in February. I have to bring the following swatches:

  1. 5" squares in garter, stockinette, k1p1 rib, and seed or moss stitch
  2. Left and right leaning cables
  3. Increase: knit and purl in the same stitch
  4. Increase: Make One
  5. Increase: Knit into stitch below

And I have to design a handout with pattern and instructions for a beginner project.

I started this week, and so far all I have is the garter swatch

I'm hoping to knock out most of the rest of it this weekend. I went to Staples yesterday and picked up these tags for the swatches.They were just under $6.00 for 100 tags.

And I went to Michael's today to pick up some more mellow yarn for the rest of the swatches.

While I was there, I came across these!

The flower ones with the pink strings were in the bins of one and two dollar items that are near the entrance. They were a $1 for a pack of 12. The other ones were also in packs of 12, 3 of each design, and I found those for $2 a pack in the back aisle where they have small kids' items and gift bags and things of that nature.

They are larger than the Staples ones, and oh so much prettier! But are they too pretty to go in some stuffy swatch binder?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Knitting for Newbies Mini Class

What: Knitting for Newbies
Where: Laura's Place, 103rd and Amsterdam (email for exact address) 
When: January 17th and 19th, 6:00-8:00 p.m. An additional session may be added
What to bring: A snack or drink to share. Materials will be provided. You will need to purchase your project materials after the first session
How to register: Because this class is free, there is no formal registration form. Please contact me directly to reserve your spot. 

Class Overview:

Session One: 
  • Casting on
  • The knit stitch
  • The purl stitch  
and if we have time
  • Yarn types and reading a ball band
  • Tools of the trade
  • Needle types and sizes
  • Basic pattern reading and abbreviations
Session Two: 
  • Review from Session One
  • Stockinette, ribbing, and combination stitches
  • Binding off and finishing
and if we have time
  • Gauge and why it is important
  • Additional pattern reading and abbreviations
  • Students may begin their sampler scarf during this session 
  • I will launch a knit-a-long of a sampler scarf designed by me after session two. This is a great project for anyone who wants to learn new stitches using the basic knit and purl. We will work the scarf section by section over 2 weeks. Support will be provided via the blog and over email. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Crafty Aspirations for 2012

Here is my list of 2012 knitting resolutions (with a little bit of crochet thrown in for fun)
  • Organize my craft room
  • Become a CYCA Certified Knitting Instructor
  • Teach at least 10 people to knit (either beginner knitting or a new technique)
  • Volunteer at least 50 hours this year teaching knitting or doing something creative 
  • Create 4 patterns
  • Launch my Knockoff Knitting class at Skillshare 
  • Attend 2 knitting-related conferences or gatherings