Tea Spout Do-Dad

Late last night I had one of those ah-ha moments. I’m sure it’s been apparent in the blog that I’m on a tea frenzy! My wonderful, new, birthday teapot drips tea when poured. Typical teapot. 😎 I had my earbuds in, saw the i-cord yarn covering them and thought “Ah-Ha” I need to make a tea spout do-dad to catch the drip. I’m sure I had Weekend Knitter’s comment about making a tea cozy in the back of my mind lurking. Had a pair of US 4 circular needles by me and the left over yarn from the earbuds within reach. I just a minutes I had made the do-dad. It works really well! 😎

This is the pattern:

Susan’s Tea Spout Do-Dad
US  4
Sport weight yarn – you don’t need much, this is perfect for scrap yarn.  I used wool, but cotton would work just as well.
Large needle to sew up side

Cast on 14 stitches
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Alternate knit – purl across row
Row 5: Alternate purl-knit across row
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: Purl
Row 8: Knit
Cast off leaving a long enough tail to sew up side.

This is a small one-cup teapot. While I was at it, I made one for a my larger teapot. I cast on 14 stitches and knitted 2 more rows of seed stitch (rows 4 & 5).  I purposely used the stockinette stitch at the beginning and end so it would roll.  I figured this would make a larger area for catching drips! 😎 As you can see I tried it out this morning. 😎 Raging success! 😎

Knitted Lace Edging

  – One of the most unique projects I have ever done is making the body of a circular sweater on the knitting machine and then hand finishing it. I have done small projects on the knitting machine, but I have never finished a large one. This was one project I really got excited about. Q found a perfect lace edging for the circular sweater. I told her I wanted a knit-as-you-go pattern. I did not want to pick up a jillion stitches around the edge.

The tricky part of hand-knitting a knit-as-you-go edging is picking up a stitch from the body. I found that using double pointed needles works great. I used double pointed needles since I only have a max of 23 stitches on the needle. You can use circular needles just as easily. Here I have all of the stitches for the row and I am ready to pick up a stitch from the edge of the sweater.

See how I pick up one stitch from the edge of the sweater with the point of the needle. After I pick up the stitch,  I slide the stitches back to the opposite end of the needle. I knit to the last lace stitch and the picked up stitch.

When you reach these two stitches, you knit them together and presto the lace is attached. Knit-as-you-go.
I am half done. I am looking forward to blocking it. After blocking, I am going to make a decision about sleeves; should I add sleeves, or leave it sleeveless? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
There are quite a few wonderful edgings at this site; they can all easily be attached to a sweater, cuff, etc.  If you want the knit-as-you-go, the edge stitch of the garment is counted as the first cast on.  You will pick-up a stitch from the garment every other row.  Continue the lace pattern until you reach the end of the garment where you want it to be.

Successful Brioche Knitting at the Office

 Another beautiful, sunny day at The Office, we turned our chairs and table the way we like and settled in.  My first surprise was while waiting for my “no water, no sugar, black iced tea”.  The barista asked me if I was Mrs. Lafo.  My mind said “ex-student” and quickly scanned his face – it came up blank.  Luckily, he was one of the kinder students who supplied his name when I replied, Yes”.  It was so wonderful to see him.  The adult faces don’t look like the young-kid-in-high-school faces which are in my memory.  He just graduated from college with a degree in music and voice.  He’s been accepted by Johns Hopkins to study music.  I LOVE seeing my successful ex-students.  Remember my post the other day mentioning that I love to sing?  So, I’m extra excited that he wants to be an opera singer. Our second cousin is an opera singer in Germany.

While we were setting-up this woman came up to us.  She remembered us as The Knitters. 😎  Asking us if we knew how to needlepoint, she quickly asked for Barb’s help at the affirmative.  As quite a few of us do with our projects, she’d been working on this needlepoint picture of Jerusalem for years.  She wanted to start working on it again, but had forgotten how.  Barb was happy to spend time demonstrating and teaching.

Our first sharing was the page numbers for Wreck This Journal!  If you look closely you’ll see written numbers 1- 10 in English, Norwegian, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Swedish.  I made some glitter spray which I sprayed on the pages.  I did a swirl and a number on each page.

With ditties foremost in her mind, Barb could not help but think “One, Two buckle my shoe.  Three, four shut the door!” 😎 She put her page numbers in a different spot on each page and upside-down, sideways, etc.  She was crazy all over the place. 😎

Finally, after sharing everything else, we got down to the new project:  Two-Color Brioche knitting.  Again, it took both of us and a few trials to “get it right”.

It took a couple of “what the heck?” for us to figure out that Nancy Marchant wrote the instructions for someone who knits English/American not Continental. There were a lot of “bring yarn forwards, and bring yarn to back”.  This is the translate for her instructions to make it easier for those of you using her book who knit Continental, or for anyone who knits lace.


sl1yof = Yarn Over (yo), Slip 1 stitch (sl1)

brk1 = knit 2 together (K2tog)

We’re still knitting the scarf, but this is our pattern:

Curls and Q Two-Color Brioche Scarf

Materials: #8 US or #9 US needles circular needles (or two double pointed).
2 Balls of variegated yarn – start one ball from the outside and the other from the inside

Designate one ball as Dark Color (DC) and one as Light Color (LC). Using the long-tailed, two-color cast on method cast-on an odd number of stitches.  Here is a youtube tutorial on long-tail, two-color cast on, only change is that we put our needle through the slip stitch to keep the knot out of the way. We started and ended with the DC, so our instructions follow that designation. If you use #8 US cast on 29 stitches if you use #9 US cast on 25 stitches.  (If you’re a loose knitter use #8 US, if you’re a tight knitter use #9 US). After casting on, you’ll notice a DC followed by a LC, repeated across the row, ending with a DC.  NOTE: On the right side, the DC will be the knit part of the rib and the LC will be the purl.

The first two rows are just to set-up the knitting into a ribbed knit and purl.

1. To start, remember you will be purling every DC and slipping every LC.

*p1, yo, sl1* end p1 DO NOT TURN!  Slide your work to the other end of the needle.

At this point, you have only knit 1/2 of the stitches, you have to go back and knit the other half. Notice that the yarn from the balls are at opposite ends.

2. Now, you will be knitting every LC and slipping every DC.

sl1, *k2tog, yo, sl1* end sl1. TURN work.  At this point the yarns from the balls are at the same end.

Now you are ready to start the pattern that you will use for the scarf. Remember DC = knitting or purling the DC stitches and slipping the LCs stitches.  LC = knitting or purling the LC stitches and slipping the DC stitches. Pattern:

1 DC:  k1, *yo, sl1, k2tog* repeat * across, end k1 (not k2tog there is only one stitch left at the end). SLIDE work to other end.

1 LC:  sl1, *p2tog, yo, sl1* repeat * across to last 2 stitches, end p2tog, sl1. TURN work.

2 DC:  p1, *yo, sl1, p2tog* repeat * across, end yo, sl1, p1.  SLIDE work to other end.

2 LC:  sl1, *k2tog, yo, k1* repeat * across to last 2 stitches, end k2tog, sl1. TURN work.

Repeat these four rows until scarf is desired length.

Bind Off: For binding off, you will use the LC yarn to bind off the DC stitches and the DC yarn to bind off the LC stitches

1. Use LC to k1 DC.

2. Use DC to p1 LC. Pass the first stitch over this stitch, first stitch bound off

3. Use LC to k2tog DC. Pass the first stick over this stitch, second stitch bound off

4. Continue 2 & 3 in this manner until all stitches have been bound off. Pull final yarn through last stitch.

Knitting at the Office Today

Curls and Q are going to be knitting at The Office, aka Starbucks, today.  Meeting up at 9:00 am.  We’re going to be starting our new Two-Color Brioche Scarves project.  If anyone is in the area and wants to join us please do.  The Office is at the Starbucks in the shopping center on the corner of Navajo Rd. and Fletcher Parkway. We like to sit outside.

Got the checklist:

  1. Knitting Brioche by Nancy Marchant – check
  2. Two skeins of yarn for scarf – check
  3. Assortment of knitting needles, sizes 6 – 9 to see which works best – check
  4. Assorted knitting supplies – check
  5. Wreck This Journal – check
  6. Assortment of pens for journal – check
  7. Other items to share – check
  8. Camera – check
  9. Card in Camera – check
  10. Brain – oh no, gotta run find it, missing half of the time.

Hope to see you there!

My Knitting Speaks Norwegian!

Very interesting article in the March 2012 Creative Knitting magazine.  The article is titled: “Alterknitting” by Robyn Schrager.  In the article she discussed the pros and cons of the different knitting methods; English/American, Continental and Norwegian.  Excellent pictures accompanied the written text explanations for each method.  I always knew that I knitted Continental, it’s the purl that is different from everyone but my mom.   I’m not a thrower!  Mom said grandma did not know how to knit but insisted mom learn how.  That way mom could knit sweaters for grandma!  Grandma was so creative, she just didn’t knit.  Anyway, mom is of Norwegian heritage and the woman who taught her to knit was Norwegian.  As I’m looking at the different pictures in the article I’m making a mental checklist: 1. Under Continental knitting – Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 yep, I knit just that way. 2. Under Continental purling – nope not at all!  Article continues on page 82, we’ll see.  I’m there!  The paragraph starts: “Norwegian purls are sneaky!”  Yep, that’s right!  We leave the yarn BEHIND the needles for both knitting AND purling! So mom, there we are!  I’ve done a series of quick photos to demonstrate what I’m talking about.

Step 1: I’m getting ready to purl.  Notice the yarn is behind the left-hand needle.

Step 2:  The right needle sweeps in behind the yarn and into the back of the stitch on the left needle, see the yarn is still BEHIND the left needle.  I’m serious, it stays there!

Step 3: Twist the right needle back to pick-up the yarn behind the left needle.  Notice, right needle is still in the back of the stitch, it’s just starting to twist backwards to pick-up the yarn.

Step 4: I’ve picked up the yarn in the back and am pulling it forward to “scoop” it through the stitch.

Step 5:  I’ve pulled the yarn through the loop.

Step 6:  Pull the stitch off of the left needle and voila! A purl stitch is now on the right needle.

The article did say that this method puts extra stain on the right wrist,  I guess that since I’ve always purled this way I don’t notice!  A few months ago I tried to purl with the yarn in front of the left needle.  All of my purls were backwards!! 😎 So, what method do you use?

A special thanks to my patient husband who took the pictures of my knitting hands.

From the Grays to the Blues

 After seeing the sweater Anne Field had in her Spinning Wool: Beyond the Basics book and reading that the gray wool had been dyed I made a blog comment.  Sweaty Knitter told me that she has died gray wool and it comes out quite nicely.  As mentioned, when I was on the Northwest Trip, I purchased all gray spinning fiber.  Sigh…..  Now that I am home in sunny San Diego I don’t want all of that gray! 😎 I did an experiment.  I took a two piece of gray wool, one from each gray fiber type purchased.  To insure that all of the parameters were equal I followed these steps:  1. soaked both together in vinegar-water for 30 minutes, 2. added a previously prepared blue dye to a black, plastic container (one that frozen food comes in), 3. put both gray wool samples side-by-side in the container.  Waited about 10 minutes and then turned both over, 4. put the container in an aluminum-lined, plastic shoe box, 5.  put the top on the shoe box and placed in the sun (behind the retaining wall so Hans could not reach).  I left the samples out in the sun for a few days; partly because the weather was drizzly or spitting, I wanted to make sure it heated up well enough.  When I took the samples out, the dye was almost all exhausted.  These are the results.

One sample was Gray Norwegian Top.  This fiber has some long, coarse black hairs in it.  You can see that the black hairs did not absorb any of the dye.  This has left this sample looking as worn denim.  A very pleasing color.

There isn’t a tag on the other gray fiber.  I don’t know what it is.  I asked my spinning teacher and she wasn’t sure either.  It is more of a brownish-gray color.  It has some white hairs sticking out from it.  It dyed a darker blue color, which looks like new denim jeans. Another pleasing color.

I’m only going to dye one of the grays.  I decided to spin both samples.  I found that the brownish-gray was by far the easiest for me to spin.  Remember, I just started spinning about 2 months ago.  Here is both of the spun samples.  Top: Brownish-gray sample, Bottom: Gray Norwegian Top.  So what do you think?

Ok, I’m a retired high school teacher and taught Computer-aided Graphic Design.  I just had to “play” with Lightroom since I went to the seminar last Thursday in Los Angeles.  I LOVE the clarify slider in Lightroom.  Had to combine what I learned in Lightroom and then use my old friend Photoshop to layout.

3KCBWWC The Office is Our Special Place

q8~Anytime we get together is our special time to knit. Picking a special location would be The Office aka Starbucks. Curl’s steaming hot decaf Americana and Q’s black iced tea, no water, no sweetener – what a way to start the day. Our bags are full of “stuff” to share with each other.  We move the chairs around to the perfect position so the sun isn’t in our faces. After all of the sharing and drinking and snacking (ok, we do get a snack), we pull out our knitting project.  Curls is such a fast knitter that she is usually further along than Q.  It helps that we do any new parts of the project together, especially with the Norwegian Star slipper project.  In the slipper project there was a typo when we got to the instep and with one reading and one knitting it was easy to figure out the problem.

As we are knitting, laughing, and generally having a marvelous time, people walk by to say “hi” and some to stop and chat.  Women want to know about knitting, so we are able to open the world of knitting up to someone new.  We both know how to crochet, but prefer knitting.

Lunch time, there is a deli next door to The Office which serves one of our favorite sandwiches; hot Santa Fe Chicken on a bagel.  It’s hard when we have to pack up and say good-bye for the day.  Another perfect day in paradise doing what we love!