Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Winter 2004 Knitter's Magazine

There was a time, several years ago, when one of the highlights of my knitting life was to receive a new copy of Knitter's. I would spend several hours going through it and enjoying the patterns and techniques.

Now I'm seriously thinking of letting my subscription lapse. The quality of the magazine has declined. The patterns are mostly things I could knit without a pattern - if I wanted to knit them, which I don't. What little editorial content there is holds no interest for me.

Still, it doesn't seem right to be a knitter and not subscribe. If I don't have my copy I won't be able to see what so many people on the knitting lists are complaining about.

Oops, that's not true. Knitter's does publish online pictures of the projects in each issue. I really have no excuse to pay money for this magazine. I'm still thinking it over.

While I'm thinking, the Winter 2004 issue arrived.

First thing I had to check out was the much ridiculed Sock Scarf with randomly placed afterthought heels.

In the large picture that goes with the pattern, they show the scarf looped around the neck of a man. He has both hands thrown up in the air as if he can't wait to get that scarf thing off his neck. The look on his face says, "This thing is awful but I'm smiling anyway because they're paying me for this."

After that description, I probably don't need to tell you my opinion of the Sock Scarf? Your opinion may differ. If you make it, keep your sense of humor and expect people to stare and point when you wear it.

Another ugly pattern is the Pick-up Diamonds Helmet Hat. But it sure looks warm, so I sat down yesterday afternoon and knit one out of Lopi. I'm still weaving in the ends so it's not ready for the camera yet. Should have a picture by Friday.

I'm only wearing this helmet in the privacy of my own property while walking my dogs.

Lastly, I'm thinking about knitting the Jean Frost Tea Rose Jacket. Mostly what I'm thinking about is all those bobbles. I'm not sure I want a jacket with hundreds of bobbles, although they look subdued and attractive in the picture. And I'm not sure I want to knit hundreds of bobbles. The effort could turn this into one of those projects that I can't bare to finish.

What do you like and/or not like about the Winter Knitter's?

Friday, November 26, 2004

On the Needles November 26

Start of fluted bansiter socks in Opal Handpainted 12Anne's Socks
It was a busy week getting ready for Thanksgiving. When I had a chance to knit I worked on DIL Anne's socks. This picture was taken this morning. It's now evening and both heels have been turned.

The Fluted Banister Pattern is easily memorized and perfect for short spurts of knitting.

I'm having a frustrating time trying to get a photo of the Opal Handpaint 12 that looks anything like the actual yarn. The actual yarn is vibrant shades of blue with accents of bright purple. The light looking spots are the purple.

I took pictures with the flash and pictures in the natural light and pictures in the sunlight. None of them did the yarn justice. It's the most beautiful, lush sock yarn I have ever knit and I long to show it off to my readers, so I won't give up.

When the socks are done, hopefully by the end of next week, I will try a few more lighting options. Any suggestions on how to make the photo better?

CIC Firefighter socks completedCIC Firefighter Socks
The socks for the Six Sock Knitalong CIC contest are finished, washed, and ready to mail out.

They were knit from Kim Salazar's Firefighter pattern using 30 stitches on #5 needles with Cascade Quatro 100% wool.

Barbie Aran showing front and shouldersBarbie Twisted Aran
No knitting progress on the Barbie Aran. In fact, I'm planning to frog it and start over again.

I sat down one afternoon and redid the front on paper, adding four more stitches across and planning a better transition between the body and lower ribbing.

There are moments of sanity when I wonder why I decided to knit something so complex for my first Barbie pattern. It's possible that after a few more good nights sleep I will decide this project was not a good idea and knit Barbie something much simpler.

No new projects on the needles this week. My new Opal solids are calling to me. They want me to design some socks using the solids and leftover self-patterning Opal in combination. I'm looking forward to doing that and plan to post the patterns.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Candle Flame Shawl

Finished Candleflame ShawlDuring the spring of 2004 the CIC_Knit List knit shawls for the CIC caregivers.

I knit this Candle Flame Shawl out of worsted weight Peace Fleece.

Using a #9 needle, the result was a nice draping fabric still heavy enough to provide warmth.

It took 16 ounces/800 yards of yarn, and I used almost every inch of it.

If you knit this shawl, remember to save a generous amount of yarn for the garter stitch band that finishes the long side of the triangle. (Experience speaking here. LOL)

I had to frog and make the band narrower than the pattern called for because I didn't have enough yarn left. Turned out I liked the narrower band better anyway.

Candle Flame Shawl stitch detailPeace Fleece is 30% Mohair, 70% wool), 2-ply wool.

They advertise themselves as "A yarn company committed to helping historic enemies cooperate and prosper through trade."

That's great as long as the yarn is nice - and it is.

The Peace Fleece colors are complex and rich. This color is Dusty Rose, a dusty pink with orange and white flecks named after the wild roses that grow high in the mountain valleys of Soviet Georgia.

Monday, November 22, 2004

No Sew Toddler Pocket Vest

Vest with no sew pocket
A very practical, easy to knit toddler vest is the What's In My Pocket? Vest. Claudia Krisniski wrote this pattern especially for CIC knitting and it has been used over and over again by those of us who knit for CIC.

The fun part about having a pocket is the opportunity to tuck a little toy in it. The unfun part, for me, was sewing the pocket onto the vest.

CIC vests are worn by the kids until they fall apart, and sometimes after they fall apart. I always felt like my sewn on pocket was the weakest part of the vest, especially with little kid hands going in and out of it. So I started making a knit in pocket.

No sew pocket up close

This is how it's done:

The vest is size 2, 72 stitches at 3 stitches per inch.

Knit two inches of k1 p1 ribbing. (Pocket will still work if you prefer the garter stitch bottom border. I like the ribbing better.)

Knit 17 rows after the ribbing.

With a second ball of yarn and a second needle, pick up 20 stitches just above the ribbing in the center of the front. To pick up a stitch, go into it from the top and loop around the horizontal bar of yarn.

Work the following 17 rows in the picked up stitches.
Odd rows are wrong side.
Even rows are right side.
Ssk = slip as if to knit, slip as if to knit, knit two slipped stitches together.
K2tog = knit two stitches together

Row 01 - K3, p14, k3 (20 stitches)
Row 02 - k20
Row 03 - k3, p14, k3
Row 04 - k20
Row 05 - k3, p14, k3
Row 06 - k4, ssk, k8, k2tog, k4 (18 stitches)
Row 07 - k3, p12, k3
Row 08 - k18
Row 09 - k3, p12, k3
Row 10 - k4, ssk, k6, k2tog, k4 (16 stitches)
Row 11 - k3, p10, k3
Row 12 - k16
Row 13 - k3, p10, k3
Row 14 - k4, ssk, k4, k2tog, k4 (14 stitches)
Row 15 - k3, p8, k3
Row 16 - k14
Row 17 - k3, p8, k3

Now go back and knit with the main needle. When you get to the center 14 stitches of the front, knit the pocket stitch and the vest stitch together.

I haven't done a size 4 vest yet, but I'm thinking the pocket for size 4 will be two stitches wider and two rows taller.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Dividing Yarn for Matching Self Patterning Socks

Occasionally I get asked how I get my self-patterning socks to match so perfectly.

The "perfect" match is an illusion, but "close enough" looks perfect when the socks are on two separate feet.

First, let me say that I find exactly matching my Opal socks a fun challenge. For those who find it more frustrating than fun, I see nothing wrong with socks not matching if that is the knitter's intention.

Then there are some yarns with short color bursts where trying to get an exact match will only result in a headache: yarns like Opal Crocodile, Opal Handpainted, Opal Cool Ocean, Regia Line Steps.

For those yarns I just weight the skein on a kitchen scale, wind until half the skein is in a ball, cut the yarn and start winding a second ball.

Green Opal Magic socks with matching stripesThat said, this is how I get the perfect match as displayed here in the pair of green Opal Magic socks I knit for my mother.

Take the band off the skein and weigh the skein on a kitchen scale.

Put the skein in a slippery bowl with tall sides or a wastebasket so it won't roll all over when winding. I usually wind from the outside of the skein.

Write the color changes down on a piece of paper as the yarn is wound so you can get a feel for the pattern and the repeat. Write whatever it takes so you can recognize the repeats.

It might look something like this:
  • White with one inch black blobs
  • Light green
  • Light green with navy dots
  • Dark green
  • Etc

Use the kitchen scale to determine when half the skein has been wound. Cut the yarn at the end of a color band.

Sometimes when I have a picture of a finished Opal sock, I know where I want the cuff to start, so I make sure that stripe is the last color wound.

The second ball wound is not likely to end at the same spot as the first. But if the socks are going to match, it's necessary to have it end at the same color band as the first ball. Frugal people will have a hard time with this, but there will be a little ball of waste yarn at the end of the second ball.

Once you have two balls, very carefully measure the distance from the caston knot to the end so the second sock is caston in exactly the same place.

Friday, November 19, 2004

On The Needles November 19

CIC Firefighter sock cuffsCIC Firefighter Socks
The Six Sock Knitalong is having a CIC contest. Everyone who knits a pair of Kim Salazar's Firefighter socks for CIC and posts a picture before December 6 gets entered in a random drawing for a 100g skein of Regia sock yarn.

Kim calls the pattern Firefighter because the stitch pattern looks like ladders.

This picture was taken around noon today. Tonight Bob cooked dinner while I turned both heels and completed the gusset decreases. The socks should be done sometime tomorrow.

The pattern is actually for an adult size, toe up sock. The stitch pattern is a multiple of six. To knit child size in worsted weight Cascade, 100% wool, I've reduced the stitch count to 30. And, just because I'm in a hurry and can knit cuff down in my sleep, I'm knitting it cuff down.

Barbie Aran showing front and shouldersBarbie Twisted Aran
I'm attempting to design an Aran Barbie sweater on size 0 needles with fingering weight sock yarn. The cable looking stitch work is done with twist stitches, hence the name, Twisted Aran.

This is my fun project. Tiny little stitches and trying this and that and doing lots of frogging. I don't promise to have the patience to turn in into a polished pattern to publish. I'm not even sure there is anyone else as crazy as myself who would like to knit such a fussy little thing.

Granddaughter Kimmy is not going to be impressed with all my little twisted stitches. She would be much more impressed with something dazzling and cool.

This version is going to be too tight - if anything can be too tight for Barbie. It's obvious there are going to be other things I will wish I had done different, so I'm planning on knitting a second, nicer sweater out of Aran colored Opal solids. Unless I decide I have better things to do, like knit something Kimmy will actually like.

Red Opal solid and Lionbrand Fun Fur to create a Barbie somethingBarbie Dazzling Red
My Opal red solid arrived. It is very very bright, almost orangish, red. Beautiful!

I spotted the Lionbrand Fun Fur at the grocery store and just had to have it. I know that mixing this fun fur and this Opal red yarn is going to result in something that Kimmy will love.

Maybe a Barbie dress and a stole?

Start of fluted bansiter socks in Opal Handpainted 12Birthday Socks
Now that there are six family members plus myself who want handknit socks, I have to have a way to decide who gets the next pair. So I decided on birthdays.

Only two of the six have a birthday in the same month (October). The two who have never had a pair of hand knit socks have birthdays early in the year, so they will be getting theirs at the beginning of the list. Using birthdays should work well.

This is Opal Handpaint 12, a beautiful blue blend with accents of purple. The purple doesn't show up in this picture. Not sure why. The yarn is much prettier than it looks here.

These are for DIL Anne in Idaho. (John, don't show her this.) I'm using the Fluted Banister Sock Pattern again. I love my Fluted Banister Opal Handpainted 11 socks and am looking forward to working on this second pair for Anne. There should be no problem getting them completed by her January birthday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Free Sock Patterns for Children

This list is just the beginning of a list of free sock patterns on the internet suitable for CIC knitting.

If you know of any good children's sock pattern links, please let me know and I will add them to the list.

My Patterns
For now there's only one.

Other Patterns
I have not knit any of these patterns.

e-mail Me with your feedback on this list, additional free internet sock patterns suitable for CIC knitting, to report broken links, or just to say hello.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Mini Basketweave Toddler Sock Pattern

Two pair of Mini Basketweave Toddler SocksWorsted weight socks knit on two circulars.

Size: Small toddler.

Yarn: Approximately 100 yards of worsted weight.
Must be at least 70% wool for CIC.
Socks in picture were knit with 1.5 ounces of Cascade 220.

Needles: 2 - #5 circulars (or size needed to get a firm, solid fabric).any length 16” or longer. (I prefer 24” length.)
3 same size double points for the gusset area. (Optional)

Gauge: 5.5 stitches per inch.

Note: Gauge is not all important for CIC socks. They will fit some child no matter what size they turn out to be. It is important to have a firm, solid fabric as the socks are worn inside, usually without shoes.

Close up of Mini Basketweave Stitch PatternAppreviations:
k knit
p purl
ssk slip, slip, knit
p2tog purl two together

Mini Basketweave Stitch Pattern - multiple of 4.

Row 1: knit
Row 2: p2, k2
Row 3: p2, k2
Row 4: knit
Row 5: k2, p2
Row 6: k2, p2

Cuff and Leg
Cast on 28 stitches using the long tail caston.
Join stitches, placing 14 stitches on each needle with the caston tail on the right side of the first row.
First 14 stitches are the heel side, second 14 stitches are the instep side.

k2, p2 ribbing for 8 rows.
Work basketweave pattern for 22 rows, ending after Row 4.

Heel Flap
Row 1 (Right side): Slip 1, knit 1 alternately across the 14 stitches.
Row 2, (Wrong side): Slip 1, purl across.

Repeat the 2 heel flap rows 7 times.
Do another Row 1.

Turn Heel
Slip 1, p7, p2tog, p. Turn.
Slip 1, k3, ssk, k. Turn.
Slip 1, p4, p2tog, p. Turn.
slip 1, k5, ssk, k. Turn.
Slip 1, p6, p2tog. Turn.
Slip 1, k6, ssk.

8 stitches remain on needle.

Gusset Shaping
Note: Once the gusset stitches are picked up, there will be 26 stitches on the heel side needle. This works, as the number of stitches decreases quickly. A second option is to split the 26 stitches between two double points until the heel side is reduced to 14 stitches.

Pick up 9 stitches along edge of heel.
Knit instep, keeping in pattern stitch.
(If you followed the pattern exactly, you will be on Row 5 of the basketweave stitch pattern.)
Pick up 9 stitches along other edge of heel.
Knit 4 stitches from heel, place center heel marker.
Knit 1 round from center heel to center heel keeping instep in pattern stitch.

Gusset Decreases
Knit to last three stitches before instep, k2tog,k.
Maintain basketweave stitch pattern on instep needle.
On first three stitches after instep k, ssk, knit rest of stitches back to center heel.
Knit 1 round from center heel to center heel keeping instep in pattern stitch.

Repeat these two rounds until heel side of sock is reduced to 14 stitches.

Knit 28 rows (counting from the gusset pick up) keeping instep in basketweave stitch.
Start toe shaping after basketweave stitch pattern Row 3 or Row 6.

Toe Shaping
On heel side of sock k, ssk, knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k.
On instep side of sock k, ssk, knit to last three stitches, k2tog, k.
Knit a round without decreasing.

Repeat these two rows until 8 stitches remain on each needle.
Do the decrease row 2 more times until 4 stitches remain on each needle.
Close the toe with kitchener or three needle bind off.
Weave in ends and admire your work.

Wash socks in mild soap and lay out flat to dry. I use baby shampoo.

Copyright Marguerite Byrne, 2004.
Send comments and corrections to knittingviolet@gmail.com

Friday, November 12, 2004

First Opal Solids Order

Just had to spend some money on yarn today at my favorite online Opal source, Fiber Nooks and Crannys. No affiliation, just quick, friendly, and accurate service.

They are always first to get the new Opal collections up and available on their web site, so when I know a new collection is due I start watching. Yesterday I was rewarded by seeing the new Opal Solids for sale.

Trouble was I had about ten projects in mind for the Opal Solids, and needed to narrow the list down to a reasonable starting amount before I could order. That was my first task of the day today.

I ordered two skeins of red. There's a sock pattern with hearts and hugs I want to knit for someone I love. And red is one of my favorite colors to knit. I always have a use for red yarn.

Daughter Heather asked for blue socks, so I ordered a skein of the bright medium blue. It's going to be paired with some multicolored Opal for a jazzy sock with Old Shale lace cuffs.

I'm knitting a Barbie Aran. Have to say that with a smile because I've frogged it (rip-it, rip-it) several times. The pattern is an original design with saddle shoulders. So far it's been more error than success. The current version is in a light pink Lorna's Laces. I want to knit the final version in off white, so I ordered a skein of Opal Solid ecru.

Will also be using the ecru for solid color areas on socks. Like I mentioned, I have so many - too many - ideas of things to do with Opal Solids.

Fluted Banister Socks out of OpalHandpainted 11My son and daughter-in-law, who live across the country, have both requested a pair of Mom's knitted socks.

The Fluted Banister pattern is perfect for socks where approximate fit is the best I can do and it's beautiful in the Opal Handpainted. So, I "had to" order Handpainted #12 and #14 for their socks.

(Darn! After I posted I got notified that the #14 was sold out.)

The picture shows the Fluted Banister pattern in Opal Handpainted #11, my third pair of socks for the Six Sock Knitalong.

The new yarn should arrive sometime early next week. I have projects to finish before then so I will be ready to knit. Have no idea how I'm going to pick which project to do first. Guess I'll have to see which yarn screams at me the loudest.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Fluted Banister Toddler Vest Pattern

Fluted Banister Toddler VestVest is knit in the round from the bottom up.
No seams. No sewing required.

Yarn: 150 yards of bulky weight wool. Vest in picture was knit with Lopi.

Needles: 2 - Size 10.5, 24 inch circulars.
(Second circular is for holding stitches and can be less than 10.5)

Gauge: 3 stitches per inch. 4 rows per inch. (Approximate gauge is OK for CIC. It will fit some child who needs it.)

Finished Size: Toddler size 2 - 4. 24 to 26 inches at chest, 13 to 14 inches in length.

Body of vest from ribbing to underarm
Cast on 74 stitches, loosely.

Join and place marker (left side marker).

k1, p1 ribbing for 37 stitches.
Place marker. (right side marker)

Continue k1, p1 ribbing in the round for 2 inches.
End at the left side marker.

Knit circular Fluted Banister pattern for 4 inches (or a bit longer), ending at the left side marker after Row 4. (Total length, 6 inches.)

Circular Fluted Banister pattern:
Row 1: (k7, p4, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p4, k7) twice.
Row 2: (k8, p3, k2, p3, k2, p1, k2, p3, k2, p3, k8) twice.
Row 3: (K9, p2, k3, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k3, p2, k9) twice.
Row 4: (k10, p1, k4, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k4, p1, k10) twice.
Fluted Banister Vest Stitch Chart 1

Knit four more rows in the round changing the four stitches before and after each marker to purls.

Circular Fluted Banister pattern for the underarm inch:
Row 1: (p4, k3, p4, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p4, k3, p4) twice.
Row 2: (p4, k4, p3, k2, p3, k2, p1, k2, p3, k2, p3, k4, p4) twice.
Row 3: (p4, k5, p2, k3, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k3, p2, k5, p4) twice.
Row 4: (p4, k6, p1, k4, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k4, p1, k6, p4) twice.
Fluted Banister Vest Stitch Chart 2

Circular knitting ends at left side marker.
Markers are no longer needed.

Front Flap
Move 37 stitches of the vest back onto a second circular needle to hold until vest front neck edge is complete.

Knit the Fluted Banister pattern for the front flap back and forth across the front 37 stitches until flap measures 5 inches (or a bit longer).
End after knitting Row 4.

Fluted Banister pattern for the front and back flap:
Right side Row 1: (k7, p4, k1, p4, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p4, k1, p4, k7)
Wrong side Row 2: (k4, p4, k3, p2, k3, p2, k1, p2, k3, p2, k3, p4, k4)
Right side Row 3: (k9, p2, k3, p2, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p2, k3, p2, k9)
Wrong side Row 4: (k4, p6, k1, p4, k1, p2, k1, p2, k1, p4, k1, p6, k4)
Fluted Banister Vest Stitch Chart 3

Front Neck Edge
k1, p1 rib for one inch.
Leave stitches on needle. Do not bind off.
Cut yarn, leaving 8 feet of yarn attached to vest.

Back Flap and Back Neck Edge
Join yarn at right side.
Make back flap and neck edge the same as front flap and front neck edge.

Shoulder Seam and Bindoff
Turn vest inside out.
Bind off 4 stitches on the left shoulder using 3 needle bind off.
Without breaking yarn, bind off across the vest back neck edge VERY LOOSELY, stopping with 6 stitches remaining on needle.

Turn vest and bind off 4 stitches on the right shoulder using 3 needle bind off.
Without breaking yarn, bind off across the vest front neck edge VERY LOOSELY and weave yarn into left shoulder bind off.

Turn vest again and finish binding off the back the same as the front.

Make sure the neck opening will pull over your head before you cut and weave in the ends.

Wash the vest in mild soap (I use baby shampoo) and cool water.
Lay out flat to block and dry.

Fluted Banister Sock Pattern

Copyright Marguerite Byrne, 2004.
Send comments and corrections to knittingviolet@gmail.com

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Basketweave Toddler Sock for CIC

Basketweave Toddler Sock for CIC One sock down and one to go. These little socks knit up very quickly on #5 needles and worsted weight wool. This pair is Cascade 220, a 100% wool that flows off the needles.

It's a bit of a challenge to come up with different stitch patterns to put on the cuff. With only 28 stitches around, the pattern needs to have a low number of stitches and rows in order to look good. (Hum, maybe I can prove that theory wrong. I'll have to work on that.)

Also, my feeling is that it's best if the stitch pattern has some elasticity in order to fit a variety of foot shapes. I've read that the young children do not have their own clothing assigned to them, so a different child may be wearing the socks each time they are washed.

The little basketweave pattern meets the above requirements and is interesting and fun to knit.

I will write up the pattern and post it here sometime within the next week. I can test knit the pattern while knitting the second sock and have a pair ready to send off.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Fluted Banister Vest Completed

Fluted Banister Vest for CICThe third sock in the Six Sock Knitalong is the Fluted Banister. After knitting a pair of Fluted Banister socks for CIC and a pair for myself, I knit a CIC toddler vest incorporating the Fluted Banister pattern and sent the socks and vest off to CIC.

Shortly after that I heard from Laura Gallagher, the designer of the Fluted Banister Sock Pattern. She requested the pattern for the Fluted Banister Vest and I didn't have it written down.

That incident was one of the inspirations for starting this blog. I wanted a place to write my patterns down and share them with whoever would like to use them, especially knitters knitting for CIC.

With that in mind, I knit another Fluted Banister vest for CIC - this bright pink one. And, while I was knitting I recorded the pattern. If all goes according to plan, the pattern will be posted here on Stitches of Violet sometime Monday.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

What is CIC?

CIC, Children in Common, is a group of parents who adopted children from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. They were so shocked at the conditions in the orphanages that they banded together to try and help the children that had to be left behind.

It's estimated there are about 700,000 children living in orphanages there. For a complete picture of all that CIC does, go to the CIC link. My affiliation with CIC is through knitting.

Winter indoor temperatures in the orphanages hover around 45 Fahrenheit (that's 7 Celsius). That's why CIC requests heavy knit sweaters, vests, socks, in at least 70% wool. I use 100% wool.

The greatest need is for wool worsted weight socks and wool bulky weight vests for the very young children. The older children are taught how to knit for themselves.

There is also a need for donated knitting needles.

The knitted items are sent to a central location (Kathy’s garage). They are then packed into suitcases and taken directly to the orphanages by couples traveling to the area to pick up a child they are adopting. This prevents the donations from being "side tracked" and sold, never making it to their intended destination.

CIC-Knit is a Yahoo group focusing on the knitting efforts to help the children. It has approximately 400 members. We share news about great yarn sales, appropriate free patterns on the internet, and motivate each other to keep knitting by having an occasional knitting challenge.