Tag Archives: knitting

Embroidered Blocking Mat Storage Bag

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This week was the Summer Solstice for Earth’s Northern Hemisphere and we sure are feeling the heat here in the Northeastern United States! Temperatures of 98*F and plenty of humidity to go around.

As a knitter and crocheter, one of the final steps to finishing a piece is blocking. This does not need to be done with all projects, but definitely with some. For example, due to the pattern stitch and yarn used for this cream criss-cross scarf I made for my sister, you can see how the edges curl under a bit and the shape is not quite right. This is because the piece was never properly blocked to define the shape. I never block scarves, frankly because they are SO long that I don’t have a surface big enough to use for blocking!

Blocking boards are pretty expensive and normally I would make a board, but again – most pieces I don’t block are things like very long scarves and I didn’t want to take on a DIY task like that. Then I came up with a solution: foam floor mats! You know, the kind you fit together like a puzzle that you typically see all colorful on playroom floors or the black version on workroom floors? You can determine the size and the shape – and because they are foam they won’t mind getting a bit wet or being stuck with pins. I thought it was the perfect inexpensive solution for my blocking board problem. I settled on these double-sided blocks from Amazon: Norsk-Stor 240151 Reversible Recyclamat Multi-Purpose Foam Flooring, Multi-Color/Gray, 4-Pack


Photo Credit: Amazon.com

My birthday was in May and my parents are kind enough to get all of their kids a couple of things that we want or need every year, no matter how grown we become. This year when my mom asked what I wanted I sent her the link to these mats. In anticipation of their arrival I decided to make a storage bag for them. I knew that the mats would be sitting around gathering dust if I didn’t so I went ahead and stitched up a bag based on the measurements from Amazon’s website. It’s not a perfect fit, but it’s pretty close. I guess that’s what happens when you make a bag to fit something before you have the actual item you’re storing!

I used Kona Solid Cotton color Sand. It’s a very basic bag made of two fabric pieces sandwiched together, corner seams to make the base, and a few pieces of tonal velcro hand-stitched at the top hem for closure.

My favorite touch is the embroidered yarn ball that I decided to add. I went ahead and free-handed my sketch. Since this was a big item and I wanted some great texture I decided to embroider the piece with yarn instead of embroidery thread. I used 100% Cotton that I had in my stash (do you recognize the color from my niece’s worm pillow’s stripe?).

I love the golden yellow – it is bright and sunny and I think it complements the neutral fabric quite well. It also gives you a hint of the bright colorful mats that are stored inside.

For some interesting info about the Summer Solstice, check out this National Geographic article.

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WIP: Seed Stitch Blanket

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Hello. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. It’s that time of year when everybody’s allergies are on overdrive, which for me and my “complex and narrow” sinus passageways (doctor’s words, not mine) means back-to-back sinus and ear infections. Kind of knocks a person out. Anyway, I figured I would at least give you a peek at one of my works-in-progress.

I am knitting this throw blanket in a classic seed stitch pattern. Since I’m using a worsted weight 100% cotton yarn but using chunky size 11 needles, I wanted to use a simple pattern that would highlight the texture of the yarn. This will be a warm, yet lightweight throw when it is complete.

I’ve never seen the sunset over the desert in person (only in photographs), but that is what I had in mind when I chose these yarns for the bottom band. I still have quite a ways to go with this blanket and have a few ideas in mind for how the rest of it will be finished. Stay tuned…

Cable Knit Bag

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You may remember my post from July about the cable knit handbags I made for my sisters. Well, one of my cousins saw that post and absolutely loved it. She asked me to recreate a version of the bag for her daughter. My cousin that would be wearing the bag also spends her time in the city and I had her choose the color of the yarn (Forrest Green) – from there I decided to do an Asian-inspired lining and trim.

I went to work re-creating the pattern of the bag. Once the piece was knit up I created the lining with a beautiful fan-printed fabric. I just loved the gold metallic in the fabric. It does not show up very well in the photo, but trust me – it sparkles.

A removable base was added in, a magnetic snap closure, a pocket, some bamboo handles… and I made a pin for the front to match the lining. It has some beautiful fish (or maybe they are serpents) and the coloring matches the lining.

She received the bag on Christmas and loves it! If you see a fashionable girl wandering around NYC and B’klyn with this one-of-a-kind bag, that would be my cousin!

Silk Garden Scarf

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Noro yarns can be found in most yarn stores. They come from Japan and each quality is available in an array of beautiful multicolors. I saw this particular yarn a few years ago at a yarn shop near Union Square and was attracted to the brilliant turquoise and magenta colors. I bought one skein (125mt, DK weight) figuring I’d make an accessory and it’s been hanging out in my stash ever since

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a lightweight project to tote around the city all day, so I tossed the yarn and a pair of size 13 circulars in my bag.

The blend of silk and lambswool creates a great texture and beautiful highs and lows in the yarn. I didn’t want to do anything fancy, just let the texture and colors shine on their own. I decided to do a loosely knit garter stitch skinny scarf. Something colorful that could be tossed on during this crisp Fall weather. By the end of the day I had accumulated enough knitting time on the train, in waiting rooms and just walking down the street that the scarf was complete!

Scarf Week: Saturday

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This is the final day of scarf week! That doesn’t mean the creation of new scarves will end. Fall is almost here and Winter will follow. Scarves are a fabulous accessory, a great travel project and the perfect way to use that one skein you bought of some gorgeous random yarn…

I thought I would end the week with some works-in-progress.

OCEAN WAVE SCARF

Earlier this spring I came across “Vintage” yarn from Lana Grossa on the Loopy Mango website. The lovely ladies who own the Soho shop posted a ruffled scarf on their blog. It wasn’t until visiting the store and seeing/trying on the sample that I realized just how beautiful it was.

The scarf was so fluffy and comfortable; I decided to make one for myself! We were in Spring/Summer so I opted for the Aqua color (it reminded me of the ocean), although now that we are approaching Fall I kind of wish I purchased the Olive color instead.

This is a netted ribbon yarn that is all rolled up. You can work with the yarn as-is, or you can unravel it as you go and actually knit through the netting. Doing this gives your garment that beautiful ruffle look.

As you can see from these photos, when the scarf is held vertical, gravity takes effect and pulls the garment creating a stretch that looks almost like another row between each ruffle. This will become more prominent as I knit more length.
 
 
EL SOL SCARF

Maybe I should call this the El Jardín Scarf, instead?

The beautiful red, pink, orange, green and white fiber is an elastic yarn called “El Sol”. There was a slip in my tiny NYC mailbox one day saying I had a package at the post office. I headed over to Ansonia Station and found a box waiting for me. I didn’t order anything so this was already exciting. In addition to a little Valentine package from my parents, there was this gorgeous Spanish elastic yarn “Sol Lastic” that my sister picked up “just because” she saw it and thought it was cool. A great surprise!

I knew that this stretchy elastic yarn from Lanas Stop would need a nice solid, stable yarn to add some structure to my scarf. I went in search of a soft cotton-type yarn and came across this wonderful bamboo. I almost bought the orange, but finally decided on the dark green instead.

I put a pause on this scarf just because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue with the pattern I started or do something entirely different. All of my stitch holders were occupied so I threw the loops on a kilt pin, instead. Just like any true knitter/crocheter, I have so many projects going on at one time.
 
 
CLOUD SCARF

A few years ago my sister and I went to a meet & greet / book signing at Knitty City. My sister spotted a beautiful silk yarn in the window while we waited in line and she just couldn’t stop talking about it. The place was very crowded so we decided to just take a look at the yarn then go grab some dinner.

When we got inside, there was a similar yarn on the shelf (silk – white, pale blue and yellow), but it didn’t have that little bit of silver sparkle like the one we saw in the window. It is not showing up in the photo, but there is a very thin silver metallic woven through this yarn for just a slight sparkle – so pretty. Pearl (owner) told us the one in the window was the last hank they had and we were welcome to it. Yes, I actually climbed into the window display to get this yarn – I knew my sister did not want to pass this up, but it was too pricey for her so I told her that I loved it and wanted to make something for myself. I bought the yarn.

When my sister’s birthday rolled around, she opened her gift and found this yarn (surprise!). I thought she might want to make something with a little guidance from me, but she decided to have me knit a scarf for her. A few years later and I haven’t gotten to it yet (oops!), so I decided it had sat in my stash long enough. 2011 is going to be her year of the beautiful silk cloud scarf. I pulled out my swift and ball winder (how did I ever get along without them?) and got to work on this lacy pattern. I was going to surprise her, but I guess she’s reading this post… um, surprise J!

This brings Scarf Week to a close. I hope you have enjoyed the posts. And who knows, maybe I will do another Scarf Week next year!

(Thanks for your help with working out the photos for this post, E.)

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Jack Johnson – Brushfire Fairytales

Scarf Week: Friday

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Happy Friday! I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend and can enjoy some beautiful weather. As we approach the end of scarf week and the end of the work week, I thought I would throw some sparkle in the mix to kick off the weekend.

VALENTINE SCARF

What a great way to let my sisters know I was thinking about them; knitting a sparkly red scarf for Valentine’s Day.

This was one of those projects that was so lightweight and compact that i could just throw it in a ziploc sandwich bag and carry it around in my handbag to work on it during train rides.

This was knit with the classic “K1, YO, P2tog” lacy pattern that we saw on the aqua scarf from Sunday.

I think this awesome dark red yarn was called “Glitter” or something similarly appropriate. It was a bargain at the craft store and I had to pick it up. It made a couple of cute scarves! Perfect to throw on for a night out with the girls.
 
 
TAX SCARF

This is a great seed stitch scarf, knit with two strands of different yarns held together.

One strand was a ribbon yarn from Annie Blatt; “Satinka”. It is a soft yarn in a beautiful aqua-green color with a matte gold incorporated.

While at the yarn store I came across a shimmery thread-like yarn in a slightly deeper and bluer aqua-green color with gold metallic.

Holding these two strands together while knitting produced a great sparkle. The yarn combination plus the seed stitch make for a great texture.
 
 
DISCO LIGHTS SCARF

I love Tilli Tomas yarns. “Disco Lights” is a 100% silk yarn with sequins and I fell in love with the gorgeous purple color. The color actually used to be richer, but I hand-washed it with cold water and a tiny bit of detergent one day – it took a lot of the dye out and dulled the color.

This scarf is loooooong and skinny, knit in a simple “K2, P2” rib. You can wear it long to your knees, or wrap it around your neck a few times to shorten it.

It really is a wonderful accessory to wear throughout the fall and has seen a lot of use in its days. Definitely one of my favorites..

Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion of Scarf Week!

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Aqualung – Strange and Beautiful, Travis – The Invisible Band

Scarf Week: Thursday

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I’m loving Scarf Week, are you?

BROWN ALPACA SCARF

I love Alpaca yarn. It is one of the softest yarns out there (aside from Angora to which I am allergic). This particular yarn is baby alpaca from Catalina Yarns. Baby alpaca fiber typically comes from the first shearing of an alpaca, giving you the softest, most beautiful fiber the animal may ever produce. The weight of this yarn is so perfect for the scarf; it gives it an incredibly luxurious feel.

I just wanted something super-simple to whip up and warm my neck in the winter so I went with a classic K2, P2 rib. This gorgeous chocolate brown matched my green corduroy coat. I also picked up the same yarn in a cream color and knit a scarf for my sister-in-law (it was stuffed into her cable knit bag for Christmas – see previous post).

If you get the opportunity to see it, the episode of Dirty Jobs from Season 1 where Mike Rowe visits an Alpaca Farm is great (and funny). You can see how shearing the animals is really a difficult task. Actually, here you go! I found a video clip of the episode on Discovery Channel’s website.
 
 
NEW YEARS EVE SCARF

I crocheted this scarf in just a few hours on NYE (I think 2007-2008) while watching a Scrubs marathon.

I had picked up this multi-color purple cotton yarn in the clearance section at the craft store with the intention of making a floral scarf similar to one I saw a woman crocheting on the train.

Even though I wrote down the name, I could not locate the woman’s pattern online (I think the website had taken it down), so I went in search of another skinny floral scarf. I found a substitute: Interweave Press published a free pattern download in 2007 called “Get the Skinny Scarves”. I knew it would be a great match with this yarn.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a new post for Scarf Week.

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Scarf Week: Wednesday

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We seem to have a food theme for day 4 of Scarf Week.

CABLED WINE SCARF

I chose a beautiful wine color for this scarf as I thought it would look nice with my sister’s coloring. Plus I loved this rich color for Fall and Winter.

The year I made the cable knit bags for my sisters (see previous post), I decided to put a surprise scarf inside each of them. This is the one I made for my older sister.

I wrote this pattern myself combining cables and ribbing. Since the yarn was thin, needles were small, and there were three tiny, tight braided cables this ended up taking a lot of time to create. I was knitting on the subway every day, but still didn’t finish it until Christmas Eve night!
 
 
SORBET DROP SCARF

I was at a yarn store in NJ with my mom and she just fell in love with one of the scarves on display. We bought the yarns so that I could make it for her.

This scarf used a combination of two Annie Blatt yarns knit together in a garter plus drop stitch pattern with fringe trimming the bottom. One was a ribbon yarn and the other a soft, fuzzy yarn – both in a similar multi-color scheme to complement each other.

It has become a bit fuzzier over time and use, but it is still beautiful.
 
 
SOY SILK SCARF

I love this scarf. I wear it all the time. It is so comfy, plus the green is neutral enough to match a lot.

This was knit with the “soy silk” yarn from Southwest Trading Company. It’s a beautiful ribbon yarn that has an amazing softness to it!

This yarn stretches as it’s worn (which is why a scarf is my favorite thing to make with it) so this scarf has definitely increased in length with all of the wear it’s received. It is my staple throughout the fall and the end of winter.

My sisters and I went to visit Santa Claus a few years ago. It was chilly at the end of December so you can see all of us keeping warm with our scarves (including the green soy silk scarf).

We are halfway through! Stay tuned tomorrow for more of Scarf Week…

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Pete Yorn – musicforthemorningafter

Scarf Week: Tuesday

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Day three of scarf week…

PiNK POPCORN SCARF

I love the yarn used for this scarf. It is a cotton yarn with amazing texture to it. I felt it really didn’t need any embellishment, so I knit this up with a simple garter stitch.

This not only has a great hand feel, but the texture is so nice wrapped around your neck!

The yarn is such a great pink – perfect to add a pop of color to your look.
 
 
SKINNY CHENILLE SCARF

I don’t think I have ever made a scarf as quickly as this!

I crocheted it in a period of 45 minutes during a train ride. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was heading down to NJ to visit family. This scarf was going to be stuffed inside of a bag I got my sister for her birthday.

The yarn is a soft forrest green chenille. Because it’s so skinny it makes for a cute accessory when worn long, or keeps you warm when you wrap it all around your neck.
 
 
WIDE CHENILLE SCARF

My mom received a wider version of the above chenille scarf with more stitch detailing. It’s hard to capture in a photo, but this scarf has rows of all sorts of crochet stitches.

So soft and warm for the winter, this scarf is great worn under your coat.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the continuation of Scarf Week!

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Starsailor

Scarf Week: Monday

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Scarf Week continues…

CRISS-CROSS SCARF

I love this scarf. The combination of soft cotton-blend cream yarn along with the criss-cross pattern make for such a luxurious scarf to wrap around your neck.

This was a Christmas gift for my sister one year. I was her “Secret Santa” – I bought her a handbag and a muffin tin, but I still had a little $ left in the budget. Of course that meant getting supplies and making something. I knew she had off-white colored gloves with multi-color accents. Plus, an off-white scarf will complement just about any color coat.

This scarf was developed from the “Waves” swatch pattern in The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Two: Cables. The Stitchoinary series of books is a great place to turn when you need some inspiration.

I love this as a Winter accessory.
 
 
DIAGONAL SCARF

This is one of my favorite scarves that I’ve made. I just see it as such a classic style and I love the feel of it!

This scarf proved to be more challenging than anticipated only because the local shops stopped carrying this particular yarn! It is a super-soft acrylic blend that was once available in every craft store. I ended up purchasing the “Microspun” yarn on eBay because ordering it online the yarn would arrive more quickly than finding the time to get to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio downtown.

I love this yarn just because of how soft it is. I was looking for a chunkier yarn but was having trouble finding one as soft as this. I knew this yarn was the texture I wanted, so I knit the scarf with two strands held together to it gave it a nice chunky, yet soft and drapey feel. The diagonal pattern turned out great and this is a classic black scarf (that doesn’t pick up lint) my sister can wear all season long.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more of Scarf Week!

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Fiona Apple