Week 3 300 Stitch KAL

August 17, 2010

This week we’ll be only doing 3 swatches for a total of 6 points since last week we had 8 points. Here’s the plan:

Swatch 15 Knit and Purl Diagonals: cast on 20 stitches and work for 20 rows. Note: this with require working 2 charts and a half rather than just a complete number of charts.

Swatch 16 Lozenges stitch: cast on 20 and work for 20 rows. Here you will also do 2.5 repeats of the chart. It looks best if you do 2 stitches of the chart, the two full repeats and then 2 stitches of the chart to break your half into two one-quarter sections of the chart.

Swatch 17 Squares within squares: cast on 36 and work in pattern for 48 rows. Due to size, this should be your most time consuming swatch this week.

Get ready for next week as it’ll be a bigger challenge. We’ll be working stitches 18-20 and they’ll all be rather large swatches due to the large pattern repeats. I’m getting so excited. We’re almost half way through the first chapter. I’m really eager to get to some harder patterns, cables, and lace.

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Hope all is going well with everyone! I’d love to see some pictures. I’ll have mine up soon. I’m working on my last swatch for week 1 at the moment. I had such a long week with appointments that I didn’t even get to do any dyeing! I’ll try to get back on track for a great Mondye next week to make up for it.

Here’s the plan for week 2:

This week we’ re going to tackle 8 points and a total of 7 swatches. We’ll be working stitches 8-14 from our book.

Stitch 8 small blocks stitch: cast on 30, work in pattern for 20 rows

Stitch 9 K1P1 rib: cast on 21 knit for 20 rows

Stitch 10 Twisted single rib: cast on 21 and knit for 20 rows

Stitch 11 Broken single rib: cast on 21 and knit for 20 rows

Stitch 12 K2P2 rib: cast on 30 and knit for 15 rows

Stitch 13 Broken double rib: cast on 30 and knit for 15 rows

Stitch 14 tucked rib: cast on 30 and work for 46 rows

Because we’re doing 8 points this week, we’ll only have 6 points next week. Therefore, you’ll still be right on track if you are only halfway through swatch 14 by next Tuesday.

Happy knitting everyone!

July Mystery KAL

July 28, 2010

This month I signed up to do a mystery KAL in my Knitted Toys group on Ravelry. I finally got my little critter done. My original guess based just on the supplies required (black and white yarn) was right! We made a sheep…I’d figured the colorwork for a zebra would unfortunately be beyond too many people’s grasp to make for a good KAL, but I’d have loved to do a zebra. Maybe that’ll be one of my first animal patterns I write. A zebra’s stripes are close enough fair isle would probably work…

Anyhow, here’s my finished sheep! If you need more pictures and info, check out her project page on Ravelry!

I’m calling her Juliana. Her body piece was my first time to every do seed stitch. I only had to unravel one row because it had become ribbing which I think is pretty good for a beginner. I also altered the pattern a bit as it had TONS of seaming. I worked the arms and legs in the round, but not the hands and feet so I’d still be able to stitch in the pipe cleaners I used as stuffing. Her arms have just enough bulk from the yarn and plenty of poses from the doubled up pipe cleaners. I also made her scarf longer than in the pattern and instead of having her knitting on a second scarf, I knit a bitty sock for her to work on. She’s using shortened toothpicks as her double pointed needles.

The little bear beside her is one of those silly little personal things that one keeps on their bookcases. This bear once lived in my little sister’s doll house. When we were playing (mind you I was in college at the time, much younger sister) she said that bear couldn’t play because it had broken it’s leg falling down the stairs. There weren’t even stairs in the doll house! It was two stories, but it lacked stairs. What imagination! I carefully moved the bear, Ruby, to my apartment where I gave my sister some gauze and told her she should bandage up the injuries. This helped, but the bear was still bed ridden. She couldn’t walk on her broken leg. Of course I did the logical thing and built little crutches only an inch tall complete with padded arm rests for Ruby. When it came time for the doll house to find a new home, I just couldn’t pass Ruby along. She lives now tucked amongst my ever growing collection of antique medical texts. It seems an appropriate place. Maybe I’ll have to make Ruby some knitting one day; she and Juliana can have their own KAL.

Here’s the basic rules:

  • Have fun
  • Learn new techniques
  • Improve your knitting skill
  • Make new friends
  • Use stash yarns where possible, however, wool is preferable due to blocking requirements
  • Avoid variegated (except on things like garter/stockinette). Use lighter colored yarns to help show off the stitches. Black and variegated tend to hide your stitch work.
  • Share what you learn along the way, about knitting, about life, or anything
  • Share pictures of your stitches if possible, I’ll repost them here as well.
  • You don’t have to use the same book as I’m using, just a book of knitting stitches
  • Late joiners are just as welcome as original members. If you want to join 5 years from now, great! Feel free to still message me. I’d love to see what you’re doing.
  • You don’t HAVE to meet any deadlines. We play nice here. It’s just to help make sure people keep on their work and actually finish.

I’ve devised a basic points system so we’ll have 7 points per week, one per day. The difficulty rating of a swatch is a point, up to 3 points per swatch based on the difficulty listed in the book. Colorwork and beading doubles the difficulty points. Excessive size adds a point as well. This way, we don’t have 7 huge and complicated swatches in one week and can still have plenty of time for our other knitting.

Each Tuesday, pending life those life crises we’re all prone to, I’ll post the week’s swatches and points per swatch so you can try to keep your knitting on track with one point per day. If you run into any trouble and need to talk through a swatch with someone, by all means ask! We have a ravelry discussion here and we can use the comments section of each week’s blog post as well.

Week 1:

Stitches 001-007 in worsted weight

001 Garter Stitch: Cast on 20 stitches and work for 20 rows (acrylic ok)

002 Four-row welting: Cast on 20 stitches and work for 20 rows (prefer blockable fiber)***While working this welting, I opted to continute working in pattern until the end of row 22 so I would have the same 2 rows of stockinette at the beginning and end of the welting to make it look more balanced in the final swatch. I recommend working for 22 rows instead of 20.

003 Garter stitch welting: Cast on 20 stitches and work for 27 rows so the pattern begins and ends with some stockinette (prefer blockable fiber)

004 Stockinette stitch: Cast on 20 st and work in pattern for 20 rows (acrylic ok)

005: Reverse stockinette stitch: Cast on 20 stitches and work 20 rows (acrylic ok)

006: Seed Stitch: Cast on 15 sts and work for 30 rows (acrylic ok)

007: Moss Stitch: Cast on 15 sts and wrok for 30 rows (acrylic ok)

Ready to get playing? This first week is going to be one of the easier weeks as the stitches are all very basic with easy to memorize pattern repeats. You’ve likely done most of them before, or at least heard of them. Of course it’s ok if you haven’t either. I’m new to all kinds of welting and the moss stitch. The welting is less common of a stitch and interesting to learn. Now we can all do horizontal ribbing in our designs! I do recommend spending time making sure you can read and use the small charts provided in the book on these easier swatches so you’ll be an old hand at it by the time we get to the trickier swatches, like 195 Paisley. (Don’t worry too much about 195, it’ll have PLENTY of points assigned. 3 for difficulty, 1 for excessive size, and 2-3 more for excessive bobbles. It may just end up being a 7. We’ll keep it doable!

Good luck everyone! I can’t wait to see the pictures!!!

Just a quick update

July 21, 2010

I managed another 2 swatches today, reverse stockinette and seed stitch. I’d done both before, so that made them easier, but I did manage to mess up on the seed stitch and have to unravel a couple of rows. For those who aren’t familiar with reverse stockinette, it’s the same as stockinette stitch, just flipped over, so you start on the right side with a purl row and all wrong sides are knit rows.

If you want to try to follow my size swatches, I did the first 5 stitches by casting on 20 and working the pattern for 20 rows. For the seed stitch, I cast on 15 and worked for 30 rows. I plan on doing the same 15/30 for my moss stitch which is next. I’ll also be ordering the blocking set from Knit Picks in my next order so I can block my pieces. Expect an instructional post on blocking afghan swatches soon.

Pictures will come later. I’ve just generally had a fail sort of day. I’ve been trying to package up a few of my yarns from the past few Mondyes to list on etsy and it’s rather draining. I need to get a packaging system in place to make this go faster and easier. I’ve got the crafting and the shipping down, but the packaging just isn’t so smooth yet. On the bright side, I did get to send away another yarn today. I’m selling the purples before I can even get them onto etsy! If any of you want Grape Crush Soda Pop Yarn right away, you’ll probably need to message me about a custom order.

Also, I’m quite curious, for those of you who need to rehank something from its original hank, how do you go about it? Is it best to have two swifts or should I make another few niddy noddies in the lengths I want for my hanks? I’ve got some stunning sock yarn I need to rehank to get into a soda pop bottle. I prefer center-pull cakes of sock yarn myself, but those don’t fit into 2L bottles very well.

Last night I started the most epic knitting project I’ve attempted to date. Last weekend, I finally got a book I’ve really been wanting. I decided I needed a stitch dictionary of some sort so I could make more of my own patterns. I got “Reader’s Digest’s The Essential Stitch Collection: A Creative Guide to the 300 Stitches Every Knitter Really Needs to Know,” mostly because it was in stock at Borders and I had a coupon. I’ve also drooled on my keyboard looking at several others on Amazon.

I’ve knit the first 4 stitches in the book using a 20 by 20 stitches to make the swatch. So far I’ve only used unlabeled acrylic from my stash. Photographing the subtle patterns of the swatches turns out to be a bit of a challenge. I’m going to block them to get better photographs. In the mean time, here’s a picture of the first 4 stitches in the book:

The blue one is garter stitch, the brown is four-row welting, the orange/brown is garter stitch welting, and the dark pink is stockinette stitch. Stitch 5 is reverse stockinette, and I’m not looking forward to it. I just did stockinette and they’re basically the same thing, but I want both to show up in the finished project. I’m already looking forward to a few of the more advanced chapters. The entire first chapter in this book is on knit and purl based patterns.

I hope you all are feeling inspired to join in and make this the most epic destashing KAL in the history of KALs. I don’t think we all need to use the same stitch books either. The idea is to just learn and try as many new techniques as you can. So pull out your favorite stitch dictionary and get knitting!