Knitting with Pets

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Kitty2
Yarndog1

Do you have one of these? A yarn kitty? Sometimes, he’s a good cat and he just wants to look at the yarn. He watches it with an innocent expression, and he’s content to sit on my lap and purr while I knit. His eyes never leave the yarn, but he resists attacking.

But other times… Other times, he’s a yarn killer.

He can snag my projects, attack them, and even try to pick them up and carry them away. And when I get mad and untangle the mess from his claws, he gives me this look. So innocent as though he’s asking, Why is this human angry with me? Aren’t I a cat? And aren’t cats supposed attack yarn? I’m just doing my job after all.
Even of more danger than a yarn cat is the yarn dog. She’s quiet and sweet most of the time, but suddenly, all 65 pounds is pawing at you, demanding attention. One swipe of a giant paw is enough to fling both my loom and yarn across the room, but she’s so sweet and cute, and most of the time, she just gives me a look like this.

What yarn pets do you have? How do you keep them out of your yarn?

Categories: Home Loom Knitting

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What stitch is this?

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Stitch

I’ve been working on a shrug, and I decided to use a looser, lacier stitch than the ones I’m familiar with, so I’ve been using this one. It’s just one strand of yarn (Yarn Bee, Cameo). I don’t know the name of the stitch yet, but I’m trying to find it. I cast on and then, with one stitch on each peg, I double-wrap each peg–I don’t go around the loom twice, I simply wrap each peg twice–then I move onto the next, and so on. I then knit the bottom two wrappings over the top one, leaving just one wrapping on each peg. This creates a boxy looking stitch. I’m not certain if I like it, but I’m going to keep on with it.

As far as shrugs, this will basically be a rectangle (knitted as a flat panel on the yellow loom) about 36″ long. I’m also knitting two sleeves/cuffs on the blue loom. If they’re too small, I may switch to the red loom to get a looser look. I’ve never made a shrug before, so it’s yet another experiment. Honestly, I don’t even know if I like shrugs, but it’s fun to make something new.

There are a ton of free patterns for shrugs here, but they’re all knitting patterns, so you’ll have to find a way to convert them to a loom. I tend to like the ones with a front on them, like Berroco’s Evonne, but I like the look of this one, and the one listed on this vintage pattern site (scroll down to see it). The one at the Lion Brand free pattern site is neat, too. I’ll put these in my to-make-someday-when-I-have-a-finer-gauge-loom file or my to-make-someday-when-I-understand-how-to-convert-patterns file.

A yarn bowl, plus slippers for me

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Bowl

Slippers5

Sometime yesterday, it became apparent that my bag was never going to be a bag. It was, in fact, a bowl. I had tried knitting the sides again, but they sunk in so much that the whole thing looked funny. (Thanks, Saaski, for your comments about this. Happy to know you had the same problem.)

I think what happened is that the bottom was so overdone it kept a strong shape, while the sides were flimsy in comparison, and when I tried a tighter stitch, it just brought in the sides even more. So, I now have a bowl made of yarn. It’s sort of cute, and I may try felting it someday. In the meantime, it’s holding all those little scraps of yarn I trim off of my projects.

Now for some good news. I actually used the final amount of my Bollicine yarn and made myself a pair of slippers in just two hours–I’m getting faster. I used the blue loom and the same pattern I’ve used for the others I’ve made (Isela’s pattern for ribbed socks–PDF document). Because this yarn is thinner than the others I’ve used, I had to use two strands throughout. This time, though, I knew I had a limited amount of yarn and I didn’t think I could spare enough to make a full cuff or even a short, ribbed cuff, thanks to the dreaded bag/bowl fiasco, so I knitted just five rows and let the tops roll down. This is the same type of “rim” my bowl has, so I knew I could get away with that type of cuff. The rest of the slipper was identical to the others. I turned the heel, knitted 16 rows for the foot, and then did the toe.

Now that I’m on my third use of this pattern, I’ve figured out how to avoid having a small hole in the side of the heel. For some reason, I always end up with a hole near the first peg. This doesn’t happen near peg 12, just the first one, so this is how I correct it. I knit the entire heel just as Isela lays out. I knit the very final row of the heel (from Peg 13 to Peg 1), and then I’m ready to start from Peg 1 to go back in circular rows for the foot, only I start out by wrapping Peg 24 first, and then I wrap 1, 2, 3, etc., all the way around to peg 23. I then wrap 24 again (Peg 24 now has three loops on it), and KO all the pegs, including TWO loops on Peg 24 so there’s only one loop left. There may be a better way to do this, but I haven’t stumbled across it yet. I wonder if the reason why I have this problem is that I always wrap in a clockwise manner. Maybe if I wrapped in a counterclockwise manner, this would go away. Something else to think about.

Aren’t they cute? I wore them for a few hours, and it looks like my foot is still inside.

A Lesson in Frogging

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I wanted to make a bag out of my Bollicine Victor yarn, and I had trouble coming up with a design, so I decided to start from the bottom and work my way up. I chose the green loom, and stated with the woven technique from the Provo Craft backpack. Another KK loomer has done this and she's outlined the way she created the woven bottom here. This was hard. I used one strand of yarn and by the end of six hours, my fingers were aching and I had an elbow cramp. No matter, it was done. It looked like a green plate.

I then had the decision of what stitch to use on the sides of the bag. I liked the bottom because it was a tight weave, and I could imagine actually using this bag to carry my knitting projects to and from work. After a little bit of trial/error, I ended up using a flat stitch with two strands of yarn. This started out just great, but then, about ten rows into it all, something strange started happening. The sides of the bag were caving in, almost like the cuff of a sock. I switched to my blue (Sky) yarn, and kept on going with the flat stitch. After just another five rows, I realized I wasn't making a bag, or a backpack. I was making a bowl!

Bowls are fine, but one out of rather floppy yarn looks interesting but isn't strong enough to actually hold anything unless it was felted. My yarn is 70% wool/30% acrylic and I decided I wouldn't risk trying to felt it, so I taught myself how to "frog," or how to unravel the rows so I wouldn't loose them all. This is easy at first, but gets harder when you try putting the loops back onto the loom.

I frogged all the blue and then got down to the final two rows of green. I fished out my stitch holders and looped in all the loose stitches I could find, and then I put the whole thing back onto the loom. This was only truly difficult near the end, where I was pulling really hard on the yarn to get it over the final few pegs. I highly recommend a stitch holder for any newbie like me who's trying to frog. It lets you salvage your work without too much swearing.

So now I'm using an e-wrap and it's a looser stitch, not like with the flat stitch when it turned into a rolled cuff. I really have no idea how this will turn out, which is one of the reasons why I like knitting. I always learn something new.

I still need to make myself some slippers! It's actually cold out, and I'd love to make a felted pair but I'm a little stumped with how to size them. I'm guessing I'd use the red loom, but maybe the green. I'm also thinking about making a cowl, although minus the pom-poms. Saaski here on Vox made one, and it's pretty neat. Something else I've discovered is that people often salvage yarn from thrift-store sweaters. Not only is this frugal, it seems like fun. Ashley Martineau has created a tutorial that is very detailed and helpful. This may be a good (but also time-consuming) way to acquire wool if you don't mind the work.