I finally finished one panel of my afghan. I’ve been using the purple loom, and I’ve discovered that making an afghan is a true test in endurance. My hat goes off to all you afghan-makers out there! This is one big project. I’m using Red Heart Super Saver (because it’s cheap), and I do a zig-zag wrap using the whole loom. The panel I finished is divided into five “squares” of thirty-three rows apiece (plus one row where the old color stops and the new color start). I alternated colors (blue, brown/multicolor, cream, multicolor/brown, blue). The next panel will probably be different colors (brown, cream, multicolor, cream, brown), and the final panel will probably be the same as the first. B says it should be five panels wide, but I think it’ll be mid-summer before it gets finished if I add two more.
Once my purple loom was free, I tried to knit a rug/mat out of this hemp twine I bought a few weeks back from a groovy bead shop. It smells like patchouli! I used a figure-eight wrap and it ended up a perfect square. Not quite a rug, not a placemat. What is it? My wrist hurt after knitting this, and my KK pick was bent, and I’ll send out a warning. Pick a thinner hemp if you plan on doing this. I think it would make a great outdoor welcome mat if the gauge was a little thinner, and I had twice as much. The double-knit end result from the purple loom is really cool.
My shrug. Oh, the poor thing! I stopped after I finished the main section. All I have left is the arms, but I just… don’t… like… it… There, I said it. It’s too green and hairy. I’m letting this sit for the time being because I may come up with another use for it, or I may decide I really, really want a green and hairy shrug after all. We’ll see.
Over the weekend, I made yet another pair of slippers for myself. Yes, this is the third pair I’ve made for myself, the fifth pair total. However, this time, I used the toe-up pattern that’s in the “files” section of the Knifty Knitter’s yahoo group. I used the blue loom and it was really easy. I like the toe-up slipper because there’s no seam at all in the toe area. It’s fun. You start off by creating the toe (the blue loom uses pegs 1-12) and then decreasing and then increasing. (It’s all in the pattern). Then, here’s the fun part, you pull those original stitches over to pegs 13-24. The toe looks like a flat circle at this point. Then you start the foot, and as you add row after row, you can see the toe emerge. Rowena also does a version of a toe-up sock, and she has pictures on her blog.
The first time I tried this, I was using a flat stitch, and I just couldn’t pull the stitches across to the other side, because the stitch was too tight. This time I used the regular e-wrap stitch, and it worked really well. I used Bernat’s Denimstyle yarn, which was okay for this project but not great. It’s part cotton and really doesn’t have any elasticity to it. It’d be great for a sweater or a scarf. Another first for me–I used two colors. Red (batik) for the toe/heel, and white (canvas) for the foot/ankle/cuff. I think they’re cute and super soft, and they’re the perfect thing to wear to bed if your feet are cold.
Next project: A bag. Yes, once more I’m going to try to make a bag.
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.
First, the success. It's the little things in life that are important, so you can imagine how thrilled and excited I am to report that I actually… made… a… hair… scrunchie! And, this time, unlike a few days ago, it worked.
I used the pattern on Linda's blog (that I linked to below), and it worked just fine and dandy. Using the blue loom, I cast on and knitted ten rows, and even though my yarn was a regular worsted size (Yarn Bee, Cameo, Moss Green), I decided to use only one strand. I then used the super stretchy bind-off method (also linked below) and, voila! A hair scrunchie was born. It's green and furry, but I like it, and I wore it all day yesterday. It's not quite as big as it looks in the picture, though.
Now onto my failure. I've decided my very next project will be another pair of slippers–for me. It's hard to see something go downhill so quickly. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that I made these. Wait a minute–it was only a few weeks ago! What went wrong? My slippers are pretty much ruined. Worn about ten times, washed twice, I thought they would last forever. But then, last night, I attempted to put little dots of fabric glue on the bottom to see if it would help with slipping and yuck! I hate it. So, now my formerly useful slippers are floppy, have holes in the bottom (from what? I assume it's because I stitched them too loosely), and also have row after row of hardened yet tacky glue dots whose only purpose appears to be in gathering dirt and hair. It's time for a new pair.
I did manage to finish the slippers for my dad. (I may add a pic later but it will be yet another picture of brown slippers!) It only took 3 hours total, so I'm getting faster even if I'm not getting much better. I turned the heels and toes very quickly this time and I didn't even swear. I HOPE these ones fit and one doesn't start to grow like the other set I made. 😉
I ended up doing this: 1) knitted ten rows and brought up the first row to make a cuff and knitted off. 2) turned the heel. I used the flat stitch because I wanted the slipper to be a little more snug than the others I've made. However, it made it look a bit shrunken. 3) knitted 24 rows with the knit stitch. 4) turned the heel using the flat stitch.
Overall, they'll work. I just need to find a way to put some type of stitcky thingies on the bottom so they aren't so slippery. I don't know how to do this. I wonder if there's a fabric glue that would work. I'll have to look around tonight.
I also tried a hair scrunchie for the first time, but it's a bit skimpy so I'll do another tonight. I used the blue loom, knitted six rows (using two strands) with this angora-type yarn. I think I should have used one strand and knitted about ten rows, because this is too bulky. I put a hair elastic inside the loom and brought up the bottom row, just as you would if you're making a hat brim. This was a little tricky because you need to stretch the hair elastic to make it work. Now, here's where I made another mistake. When I cast off, I pulled the final strand of yarn too tight so I can't really stretch the scrunchie over my hair easily. (Since then, I've discovered this pattern, and this one, and this bind off method, appropriately called the Super Stretchy Bind Off Method. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.) This project only took a few minutes, though, and I can see how it would be fun to make as a gift.
Other projects I'd like to try soon: mittens, shrug or vest, rug (I read how a woman looms rugs out of hay bale twine and I'd like to try that), new slippers for me with a ribbed leg… I'm sure there are a few others I've forgotten!