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!

3KCBWDAY6 Knitting’s in Our Genes

q8 ~Neither Barb nor I would pass up a knitting pattern we liked that was listed as “Advanced”.  As a pack to ourselves this year, each joint project that we do is specifically to learn a new technique – that is new to both of us.  Doing the Norwegian Star slippers, we learned twined knitting.  Looking inside of the slipper you can see how twined knitting looks.  See that there are not any “carry along” strings.  Each stitch gets twined or twisted before it is knit.

Our next project that we hope to start this week, is two color brioche knitting.  We already have our two balls of variegated yarn.

We’ve chosen different color ways.  Curls loves the harvest palette and I love the winter palette.  If you are interested in learning how to knit brioche, join us!  We’re still deciding between a couple of patterns.  Barbara has knitted a type of brioche, the Fisherman’s Rib.  You can see that in her scarf from the other day.  She has not knitted the regular brioche, nor the two color; so this makes it a new technique for her.  Let us know if you’d like to join in and we’ll let you know which pattern.

Two future projects are a linen stitch scarf and socks.  We’ve knit our share of booties, but not socks.  I did start one, but it was a BORING pattern so off the needles it came.  As we see new techniques, they’ll be added to the projects we must do.

So, beyond beginner knitting, a few skill sets we already have, are: lace, cable, enterlac, twined, dropped stitch, cross-over stitches, beaded, Fair Isle, and whatever I can’t think of. Lol!  Our mom is/was a wonderful knitter and so it’s in the genes!  At 90, she says she just isn’t interested in knitting anymore.  I keep offering to send needles and yarn. lol!

Guess I’m Not a Vanilla Type of Gal

 Yesterday I started spinning some vanilla colored Ashland Bay Portuguese Wool Top Spinning Fiber. After spinning about 20 oz I decided I could not spin that vanilla color one more minute.  It was so boring I almost fell asleep at the wheel.  Yawn.  I kept saying, “Dye it when you’re done.”  Didn’t work.  Pulled out the crockpot and some KoolAid.  I tried a new dyeing method.  Don’t you just love craft blogs?  I found this method at the do stuff! blog.  This should make kind of a “spotchy” yarn.  Filled the crockpot with water and added some vinegar, even though Kool-Aid has citric acid this is thick wool and I wanted to make sure.  Added the wool, poked it down, turned it over, tons of air in this top.  You can see air bubbles in the picture. Soaked for about 20 minutes.  Then turn crockpot to high; it only has a low and a high setting.  Let it “cook” for an hour.

Colors I used; Ice Blue Raspberry, Orange, Strawberry, Lemonade, and Lemon-Lime:

Sprinkled Lemon-lime color on one side and orange on the other.  Yes, the Kool-Aid package was torn open and sprinkled directly onto the yarn top.  I did have to poke the orange a bit so it would dissolve.  You can see some of the orange Kool-Aid chunks in the picture. I left a swath of neutral color in the middle since I know the colors will bleed together.  Kinda reminds me of the Italian flag!

Top back on and let it cook.  Had to show this picture of my favorite dying tool – the wooden fork!  It is the best yarn-poker, turn-the-wet-yarn-over, and lifter-out-of-pot tool ever!

After about 30 min the dye was exhausted.  I carefully turned the yarn over, making sure I kept the green side to the left and orange to the right.  This time, I sprinkled blue on the green side and 1/2 of the strawberry package onto the orange side.  Red is so strong it will just take over if a whole pack is used.  Blue + green = Blue-green; Red + orange = red=orange.  Yum! Last dye step.  After all of the blue and the red have been exhausted, look for any white spots and add yellow lemonade.  You can see that there is a small white line going around the yarn top.  Gently turn the yarn and add yellow to the back portion.  Now the yellow lemonade has been sprinkled all around.  After the yellow has been exhausted, I let the yarn cool down in the crockpot.  With spun yarn I dump it into a colander to drain the water.  This is my first time doing a top, it seems more fragile.  I did not want to agitate too much, so I turned the crockpot off and let it cool down slowly.

Ta Da!  The final product.  I let the top cool down in the crockpot, carefully lifted into the colander to drain for awhile, then gently rinsed in a cake pan. Now it’s on the boot tray to dry.  Love the boot trays from Target.  They are large, heavy, unbreakable plastic, with about 1/2 inch lip all around. Perfect for putting wet yarn on.

My husband said, “It looks like cotton candy.”  😎  Really is quite vivid.  When it dries, I’ll spin it.  Can’t wait to see how the splotchy colors turn out!!!  Easy peasy way to dye.

Off to sister Barb’s today.  What trouble can we get into? At least, how much trouble can we get into that allows Curls to sit with her sprained ankle up?

A Tisket a Tasket, What a Wonderful Basket!

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” ~ American Proverb

And that’s the truth!  When Barb and I went to St. Vincent de Paul’s Thrift Shop I found this fabulous basket for $10.  It is wonderful.  I needed a big basket for the fibers that I am collecting: one that the cat can’t sleep in and the dog can’t grab bits of fluff out of.  Took it outside and gave it a good scrubbing.  Good as new.  Lined the bottom with muslin and lavender sachets.  A steal!

Our purpose in going to the store was to find sweaters to recycle.  We look for sweaters which are mostly natural fibers.  This is the  $5 sweater that I found which is 63% Mohair Wool and 37% Acrylic.  It is a lovely shade of peach.  The sweater really has a lovely knit pattern.  Just not the right size and too hot for me.  When looking for a sweater to recycle, make sure you look at the seams.  It is important that the seams are joined by a chain stitch and NOT overlocked.  If the seams are overlocked that means that the yarn has been cut on each side and so if you unravel you’ll just have small bits of yarn.  If you’re not sure what overlock is, look at the inside of a purchased shirt, dress, etc see how the seam has been finished.  Color doesn’t really matter since you can always over-dye.

Curls found this 100% Silk sweater a steal for $5.  Another wonderful spring color.  Who knows, she might decide to over-dye, this really isn’t one of her colors.

At the Goodwill, I found this $7 sweater to recycle.  It is a rich shade of deep purple, my favorite color.  It is a blend of 55% silk, 33% nylon, 10% Angora Rabbit Hair and 2% Lambswool.  Beads and sequins covered the front, which I had to cut off.  Luckily, I was able to find the correct end of the chain stitch and pulled the string, it was like opening sugar bags! Notice how I unwind the rows directly onto my ball winder.  If you try this make sure you start unwinding from the last knit/purl row- usually opposite of the cuff or ribbing.  Mindlessly, I first started to unwind as the sweater was knit, from the ribbing end.  Took a bit to figure out why it wasn’t working. lol

Really, where else could we have purchased that much yarn that cheaply? Now all that’s left for us to do is to decide what to knit!  So many patterns, so little time.