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Another Nearly No-Sew Knitted Heart Pattern

I was keen to make another no-sew heart, with slightly different proportions and with a bit of texture.   It took me a few sample knits to get it to where I wanted it to be, but I am finally happy with the results. The original No-Sew Heart is very simple, a pair can be whipped out in and hour or two, if you do the two at a time, as you would socks. It looks like this:

I will add the NEW PDFs right at the beginning then get on with the explanation so I don’t get 100 comments or emails asking where they are!

The Nearly No-Sew Textured Heart

The Nearly No-Sew Subtle Textured Heart

The new, textured version has a few more rounds, and a few special tricks to make closing the gap in the middle a bit easier. Here are a couple of samples (the subtle version sample photo is right at the end):

 

 

On the last pattern I talked about the KFSB (knit front, slip back) alternative to KFB.  I explained how knitting into the front of the stitch, then inserting the needle into the back of that same stitch as if you were going to go ahead and knit into the back, but instead slipping that stitch over to the right  needle still produces two stitches but omits that little bar across the front you get with KFB. I offered the KFSB as an alternative to KFB, and said feel free to KFB if you prefer, it would be fine.

This one? Not so much. In order to make the pattern work, the increases need to be on the first and last stitch of the increase rows rather than one stitch in.  The KFSB give a far neater and snugger line of increases.

Can you see the KFB stitches (on the left) are just a little baggy and open?

This is the KFB seen along the edge – see the gaps above the “braid?”

and this is the KFSB seen along the edge – much tighter and neater!

I hope I have convinced you to give this a go!

One other small change.  When dividing for the heart bumps, in this version you will have an uneven number of stitches.  The round has 21 stitches and can’t be divided evenly.  This makes for a happy accident, I think.  When you begin heart bump #1, you will knit 10 stitches from the front needle, then slip on to waste yarn the heart bump #2 stitches.

You will move 11 from the second half of the front needle and then 10 from the beginning of the back needle. You will then begin heart bump #1 with a K2Tog, which brings the two halves together, beginning to close the gap.

Once you complete heart bump #1, and are ready to begin bump #2, you will need to join your yarn in the middle.  Re-organize your stitches so there are 10 stitches on the front needle and 11 on the back needle,  BUT you must then move the extra stitch in the middle from the BACK needle to the front, to then K2tog in the same way.

This seems like a bit of palaver but it helps to both simplify stitch pattern AND results in fewer sewn stitches needed to close the gap.

Now, I don’t have an issue stuffing the heart nicely thru the open bumps and the centre gap, but it IS easier if you fully stuff the tip and lightly stuff up to the gap then do bump #2 and finally fully stuff the bumps before you fully close the gap.

I was lucky enough to get a fellow Ravelry user, who knit the original, review the pattern and knit a sample.  I think her sample photos show the superior look of the KFSB along the side edge as well!

Many thanks to  MingleYarns  for her help. It is much appreciated!

As a bonus, there is yet another way to make this pattern that you might prefer.  The texture is more subtle, but if you hate purling then this will be better. All you need to do is read every PURL stitch as a KTBL (knit thru the back loop, or make a twisted knit stitch, as you prefer.)

With this very simple change, and making only knit stitches (well, sort of!) you get texture like this:

I went ahead and did a replace P with Ktbl  edit and created what I am calling A Nearly No-Sew Subtle Textured Heart Pattern.  Just know that that is quite literally the ONLY CHANGE in Subtle Textured vs Textured – just substituting a knit thru the back loop for a purl.

Lastly, if the proportions of the textured versions are more pleasing to you, you need only add 5 knit rounds after round 18 on the original No-Sew heart pattern.  The original is as streamlined as I could make it for charity knitting, but the textured versions (and the + 5 rounds version) are great for any other heart-as-gift.


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New cast on for socks?

I almost NEVER make cuff down socks.  But recently I did.  In the process, I think it may have created a new sort of cast on.  It is a variation on what I think is called the double tail long tail cast on (or at least some versions with that name) but it gives a super stretchy and (I think) very decorative edge that works great for 2×2 ribbing for cuff down socks.  I had a hunt on YouTube and found this video, which isn’t the same but shares some characteristics with mine. And the re-arranging of the strand around the thumb is done clearly, so that is probably helpful.

 

Here is a shot of the final effect of my variation:

But the effect is different in the reverse, so you can adjust to make the side you prefer the right side:

And you can see the amount of stretch it offers:

My mate from Yorkshire tells me this is now the only cast on she uses, but to be fair she is a wicked tight knitter!

The first thing you need to do is double the tail and make a slip knot near the yarn end:

Arrange your yarn as if to do a standard long tail cast on, making sure the yarn around your thumb is the SINGLE STRAND. This is where it deviates from the double strand LTCO. Like a normal LTCO you will scoop the single strand and take it over the thumb loop, over the double strand and back thru the thumb loop

This creates your first stitch, next to the slip knot.  I count the slip knot as a stitch.

Now, you have to reposition.  Release the thumb loop and make the single strand come across your palm and around your thumb from the back to the front, like so:

Scoop the lower strand that is across your palm, bring the needle over the double strand, and back thru the loop.

And that’s it.  You will have created a pair of double-stranded stitches like so:

And you can already see how stretchy they are.  Treat each doubled stranded stich as a single stitch – so the above, circled, is TWO stitches::

Join to work in the round, and work a 2×2 rib

If there is a drawback it is probably that this might be tricky to cast on two at a time – I’ve not tried it, so I don’t know!

I am not sure what to call it!  How about ukmaryanne’s very stretchy double strand long tail cast-on variation for 2×2 cuff down socks?  LOL!  I’ll work on it and see if I can wedge in 10 or so more words, or make an stupid acronym… ukmaryanne’s very unique LTCO alternative?  That makes it UVULA <snort>

I never have used the cast on from the video but it also looks interesting so I have to give that a go. Not so far as to knit another pair of cuff down sock, to be fair, but just to see how it’s end result differs from my end result.  Maybe it isn’t so unique after all!

On a completely different note, I have been watching the National Theatre production of Frankenstein and it is outstanding.  Interestingly it stars two Sherlocks – Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC’s Sherlock and Jonny Lee Miller from Trainspotting but also Sherlock in the US tv show Elementary.  There is a lot of great stuff coming up, I think each is only available or a week.  I’m gutted I missed Treasure Island.


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Now-Sew hearts in the round, two at a time

Because I made the mistake of hiding the link at the bottom the last time I posted about these No-Sew hearts, I am going to put it at the top this time!

Here is the pattern

A few places here in the UK have asked people from shielded households to knit pairs of hearts.  This is one post I saw on Facebook:

Hello everyone 😊 I was wondering if any knitters can help us! My ward at Wigan hospital are unfortunately looking after extremely poorly Covid positive pts. At the moment no visitors are allowed on the ward as it is obviously extremely high risk. It is devastating for us to watch someone suffer without their relatives around them – although they do have us and we try our best to hold their hand and provide the best support that we can ❤️💜💗💙 we are looking to trial an idea whereby we give our patients a knitted heart and send a matching knitted heart to their relative/next of kin. We are looking for people who can knit that have ideally been self isolating and had no contact with anyone who could possibly be infected to send pairs of knitted hearts to us and we can then distribute them to our patients and their loving relatives who cannot be with them. I really do believe it would be so comforting to our patients and their relatives in such sad times and I’m hoping that we can facilitate this with your help. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and please please share this to anyone you think could help.

Ince ward at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary
Wigan hospital
Wigan Lane
WN1 2NN

another is this one and this one.  I made a few (made quite a few more since I took this photo!)

Hubby is going out tomorrow for his once weekly shopping trip and he will be dropping these in the post on his way.

As I make another pair, I thought I would show that it is quite easy to make them two-at-a-time, in the round as well.

Just cast on both hearts. It’s only six stitches to begin with so easy peasy!

 

Knit up to the point where you off-load half the stitches to create the first heart bump then work just on the bumps till they are complete.

When you are finished, thread thru the ends but remember, DO NOT pull the end tight.  Y will be stuffing the heart thru the two openings. You might find it easier to do the last rounds to make the second heart bump by working on one heart at a time.  Up to you….

All done.

 

and stuffed!

Knitting two at a time you can knock out identical pairs pretty quick!


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It’s all about the knitting at the moment

I know I have been totally MIA here for a loooooonnnggg time.  Life has been pretty full.  The crafting I am doing is pretty much limited to knitting – something I can do in the car, in waiting rooms, while catching up on my endless film queues etc. I will also say the knitting is almost 90% socks.

I thought I would just do something I have been thinking of doing for a while, and that is using my blog to document those projects.

I made these a couple of months ago – the wool is from a bag we unearthed from under the table at my local knitting shop (very sadly soon to close) All Ewe Knit is Love in Shaftesbury.

This sock is using the pattern Slip Stitch Lines and is free on Ravelry.

I formed the sock-blocker from a coathanger, using the printable pattern here and the info here.

The heel is as nice a FLK heel as I have ever done.

And I have been experimenting with other versions, like a traditional slip-stitch version

and an Eye of Partridge version!

So that is what has been keeping me busy.  I am still also sending out 10-20 book folding pattern every week and a fair few DASH planners as well.  I may be back soon. But it’ll likely be a knitting post so papercrafters be warned!

 

 


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Still here. A bit about Dementia Dolls…

Settle in. This is a long one.

I am still here, just not up to much blogging.  Still sending out book folding templates, still knitting, not scrapbooking or doing much papercraft at all really.  Spent a day in A&E After Maddie shoved a pitchfork right thru her foot at the garden centre of her college. Fun.

But for my little bit of social interaction I pop over to the local Library every Friday morning for a couple of hours.  Mostly I knit there, and chat.  Jack is coming over from LA for a visit and he wants socks, so I worked out a way to knit 2 pairs of socks at the same time, at first on two circulars and then all four on one, once I no longer had to wrangle the 4 balls of yarn.  No photos, sorry, but I’ll probably do it again.

As part of the craft club, we had a presentation from the local Dementia UK group.  They needed Twiddle Muffs and we made lots of them.  The also showed a large, floppy doll and said that they would like a few of them as well, if anyone was so inclined.  No one really was but I like a challenge so I decided to make one.  The first one was done in the normal way, although I did abandon the complicated and all-in-bits pattern and adapted it to an in-the-round version.  She was sweet, but she’s gone now – again no photo. Again, sorry.

The Dementia lady came back the next week to find me.  She told me a lovely story about a woman in one of the care homes who has never been responsive, or engaged, and who has never spoken, since they have been visiting.  Apparently when she saw the doll she gasped and dashed right for it.  She grabbed it, hugged and cuddled it, then started singing it a lullaby while she rocked it.  She is much more engaged in the … meetings? Sessions, maybe, now that she has the doll.  I was asked very nicely if I could make another.

About this time I had gotten a couple of knitting machines.  Circular ones, that I thought would be helpful for twiddle muff making.

Finally, a photo!

I started with the toy one, then got the proper Addi, and at the same time ordered the Sentro via Amazon, but I suspect from China.  It was cheap, versus the Addi Kingsize (£30 vs £115!) None of them are EASY to use to make flat panels (the Sentro is best) but they all make pretty reasonable tubes. And fast. My plan had been to use up all my scraps of yarn to make the boring inside of the Twiddle Muffs then shift to needles to complete them with special stitches, odd yarn, beads, etc. Here are a few samples of the ones I’ve done.

I have a whole PDF on those which I may share at some point.

But then I thought I could possible use them to make Dementia Dolls if I took a minute to think about it.

These dolls are meant to be quite long-limbed and quite floppy.  I think they are more of a suggestion of a child than a real depiction of one.  Not at ALL like the last doll I made.  Anyone here remember Jasmine?

She was a LOT more complicated.  I am …. doll parts ….

Basically, the dolls are made of five tubes: one tube for the head and body, two for the legs and two for the arms. The head & body is 65 rounds on the 48-stitch machine and the legs are 65 rounds on the 22 stitch machine.  The arms are 28 rounds on the 22 stitch machine.  Sometimes I think more length on the arms would be better but when I have made them longer, 30 or 35 rounds, they look weird.

That yarn is aran weight (equal to worsted in the USA and what the machines like best) and much more beige than the weird grey it seems here.

I gather the top of the head&body tube

Then stuff the head and do a running stitch around to gather again for a neck.  It varies but generally I do between 25 and 30 stitches down from the gather.

I usually do the nose so I don’t lose track of where the face goes while I position the arms and attach the legs! I just build it up with stitches on top of stitches.

The head&body is 48 stitches around and the legs are 22 – that is determined by the machines.  There is some variation in the larger ones (there is a 40 stitch, a couple of 46 stitch ones and this 48) but all the small ones are, I believe, 22 stitches.  To attach the legs in the easiest way possible, I load 11 stitches from each leg tube onto a needle, then load 24 stitches from the front of the body onto another.

I do  a 3-needle bind-off to join those with a neat edge.  I decrease away the extra stitches from the body side by doing one from the leg and two from the body on the last stitch of the first leg and the first stitch of the second

This gives me a nice neat join. Make sure you put a locking stitch marker on the last stitch from your bind off, as you will load that back on the needle when you do the back half join to the back of the legs!

I stuff a little bit of toy stuffing in the bottom of each leg and gather them about 8-10 stitches up, to make a bit of a foot. The SUGGESTION of a foot anyway. Stuffing first means you don’t have to push the stuffing all the way down that long leg.

I load the leftover stitches on to the needles the same, 22 from each leg, 24 from the back of the body.

and slip on that last held stitch where I will start the 3-needle bind-off

This is the tricky part.  Now you have to stuff the legs and the body, pretty full.

It is impossible to get right-sides-together to do the same sort of 3-needle bind-off so I simply do it as you see it.  There is usually a gap where the extra stitches from the body are and that allows you to stuff it a bit more if need be.  The join looks fine for this doll’s purpose.

The arms are made by gathering each end of the arms and folding the tubes lengthwise.  I do a mattress stitch along the edges and stuff the tube lightly.

Sew the arms on and done.  I made this doll in about three hours.  With that kind of speed I can make many more dolls and hopefully help many more people.

I tend to dress them in whatever I have doll-clothes wise or what I can get in the charity shop from the baby clothes section.  3-6 month sizes work best.  I always do a simple face, just half-circle eyes and a half-circle mouth.  Like I said, they only need to be the suggestion of a child. I am experimenting with hair, trying to balance looks against speed.

Well, that is what I have been doing. Oh and I am finally knitting a summer top with some yarn I bought when Jack was a baby, from John Lewis in London.  It came back to me with our shipment of house stuff that had been stored back in the States for decades.  I guess maybe that is why I don’t blog much – my followers really aren’t knitters, primarily, so I feel they might be a bit bored.  If you made it all the way to the end, well done you.

Maybe I’ll be back sooner than my once every month or so schedule.


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My Nearly No-Sew knitted stuffed heart pattern. Again

OK, for some reason people seem to not notice the link and the bottom so I am going to re-paste it here at the top to make it easier!

blogdivider

Here is the new pattern.  Hope you enjoy it!

blogdivider

I have been tweaking this pattern since I first posted it some two years ago.  I think I am happy with a couple of improvements so I am adding it again.

The biggest improvement is a little hack for making smooth KFB.  I have seen it a few times in various places – I think it is abbreviated as KFSB, or Knit Front, Slip Back.

Basically, you knit the front of the stitch then twist and insert your yarn as if you will knit into the back loop

Instead of knitting, you simply slip that loop over to the right needle.

You have still made another “stitch” (see the three loops where once there were two?) but it looks so much better and it is just a bit faster! The resulting increase is also a bit smoother that the usual KFB.

The harsh straight bars that you get with a KFB (and you can see a little trio of them in the smaller heart-tip) are instead a more gentle, angled bar.

I have taught this heart to a few people, and one aspect that occasionally give people trouble is working on the two “heart bumps” so I thought I would redo the photos for that and practice with my new phone’s camera.

Once you have completed the increases and are ready to do the heart bumps:

Knit the first 10 stitches on the front needle. Slip the last 10 stitches onto some scrap yarn – in this case scrap yarn is a better choice than a stitch marker!

It is a lot less likely to get in your way, because now you will knit only the 20 stitches on the right, 10 on the front needle and 10 on the back.

Once you knit to the end of the heart bump section, cut a long tail and thread a big-eye needle. Run the end thru the live stitches but DO NOT GATHER.

This is where you will stuff.

Now, thread the new yarn end onto your needle and (here comes the sewing bit) make a stitch or two to close the gap in the V of the heart.

Secure this so when you begin knitting it doesn’t loosen up. Now, working on the final 20 stitches, knit a round then repeat the instructions for the original heart bump.  If you are struggling to keep the final few stitches from gathering, slip a fat marker into the opening.

Stuff the heart and gently gather the two tops.

Either secure and weave in the ends OR thread each one thru your needle, insert and exit thru the centre V to create a hanger.

I’ve been stuffing them with lavender from our garden!  Did you know lavender repels the clothes moth?  I have spent too much time knitting socks only to sacrifice them to a hungry moth!

Here is the new pattern.  Hope you enjoy it!

 


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Trauma Teddy, Bobby Buddy, whatever.

{sigh} I have been fighting with the WordPress editor all morning.  I made a post but when I viewed it there were too many weird things happening (like 20 tin, near invisible lines at the end, and text that just kept getting smaller and smaller till at the bottom it was almost unreadable.I kept editing it and in the end I just gave up and deleted it.

I have no idea what was triggering it but I am not going to do it all over again and have it be more of the same.  So here is my PDF.

I did try to make a schematic/visual image of it, kinda like to Trauma Teddy image that is all over the internet, without much luck!

The original is pretty streamlined.  MINE is a bit chaotic, LOL!

My pattern is based (size-wise and stitch count) on the one available for the Dorset Police Bobby Buddies program – Get their pattern here

I wanted a minimal sewing version with no attached pieces. Almost got it! The radio will need to be stitched on for the Dorset Bobby Buddies. 
So long as there are NO BUTTONS or BEADS, this is suitable for that program and should also work for ANY trauma teddy scheme, if the size works.

I WILL add the photos of how to fold the unstuffed bear to match the right sides together and do the SECOND 3-needle bind off.  It;s the only bit that is even remotely tricky.

Once you have done the first 3-needle bind off

You need to fold the head over on to the body

Then fold the legs over on to the head

Then finally fold the upper body (yellow)over the legs – it’s hard to see because of the black, but the right side of the upper body and the right side of the lower body should be matched up for the second 3-needle bind off.

There are links within the PDF for tutorials or videos for some of the less common methods, like the Turkish cast on.

I’ve already sent off a bag of these and have more on the needles.  If you are in the UK, especially if you are in Dorset, feel free to join in the program.

And sorry to subscribers who got a link that disappeared.  Honestly, that post was a MESS. You didn’t miss anything! 🙂


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Trauma Teddies with very little sewing

NOTE:  I’ve removed the download as I have done a much more detailed PDF with links to tutorials or videos and removing some of the fiddly things like the head shaping and all of the purl stitches.  I want a final OK from the Dorset Bobby Buddies scheme before I post it.  Bookmark this and come back to it! (22 June 2018)

One of the ladies in my knitting group sent a message that the Dorset Police were calling for Trauma Teddies and included a new knitting pattern for it.  There is another more standard pattern out there, either written-out or as an image:

What they all have in common is the huge amount of “making-up” they require! I am NOT a fan of the sewing up at the end of any project and if I can figure out how to do it without, I will. Even if it is a little tricky to accomplish!  And while I am always a “belt and braces” person when sewing up for small kiddies, I still worry that an arm might come off, and ear get detached, whatever, and make the toy a hazard.  Silly, maybe, but an all-in-one method suits me on so many levels.

So I made one.

On the left is the one from the pattern from Dorset Police.  It is a really nicely proportioned teddy, and any wonkiness is totally down to my making-up skills.  Trust me – he does have two ears, I promise! The one in the middle is my first attempt to alter the pattern on the fly to make it an all-in-one version.  And the right hand one is my final pattern version.

Gosh that blue background (one of my office chairs) does it no favours! Let’s try that again with just the two:

Better – you can’t see the little antenna on the radio but other than that ….  So just a closer look at my version, with an idea of how I made it all-in-one:

Crazy, right?  But other than a few stitches above and below the arms and a couple of stitches to gather the ears (and the decorative stuff like the face and adding the radio) there is no real “making up” to do.   The only thing that is a little tricky is the second 3-needle bind off – and that isn’t that difficult so long as you don’t do any stuffing till you have accomplished it.  That way you can freely manipulate the body into position.

Yes, there is a bit of purling here, but if I am honest I don’t mind that – it gives my knitting muscles something a bit different to do!

I did write up a pattern but it assumes you are familiar with all those things (two-at-a-time, Turkish cast on or Judy’s magic cast on, a 3-needle bind off, pick-up and knit, garter stitch in the round…) so it isn’t going to be for everyone.  The simplicity of the original pattern (knit every row, no real shaping) is going to be a lot better for someone who wants to just knit fast and sew it all together at the end.  Whichever, charity knitting is all good!


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Nearly No-Sew Knitted Heart

Note: this pattern has been re-done to reflect a new technique and a slightly different shaping.  Some of what I say in the text may no longer apply!

A friend of mine has taken over a local knitting shop and I have been making a few things for her, both as display items and to add to her little section of handmade goodies for sale. She does super cute crochet bunting (love her beach huts!) and I thought I would make her some heart ones.

Now, you generally head to t’internet when you need a free pattern.  I did. I must have looked at 100 patterns.  They seemed to fall into two basic categories.  By far the most common was:  Knit a heart.  Knit another. Sew them together. I did not need to add “second heart syndrome” to my already terminal case of “second SOCK syndrome” so that was never going to work.  The second common one was to knit the heart in the round and graft the top of the heart bumps (or in one case knit back and forth then mattress stitch up the back.) Most used a M1 increase, with the opposing K2tog/SSK decreases.  That doesn’t bother me, except I tend to have to look at the pattern cause I will always forget which way they lean, so mix up how to load the M1 to make it go the way I want.  I hunted and hunted for a “lazy version” – i.e. knit it in the round, simple increases and decreases, and be done.  No such luck.

So I created a version that I like – and although it isn’t the most elegant heart, compared to the grafted ones, I think it is the fastest.  A bonus if you want to make 100 to decorate your wedding tables, especially if you are planning on hiding the middle V with flowers or something!

You can do them on DPNs, but the 3-stitch start is way easier with Magic Loop.  Slightly fiddly, but not enough to offset having to make 2!

I’ve also added the trick for a smoother KFB.  That is to knit into the front of the stitch but then, rather than knitting into the BACK, slip the needle in and scoot the back off onto the right needle.  You have still made two “stitches” from one, and no unsightly bar.  So the MK1 instructions have been removed from the pattern.

Here is the pattern.  And here are some photos to explain the heart bump sections.

This shows knitting the first half, then slipping the stitches on to a holder.

Take a moment to note how stinkin’ cute my stitch marker is LOL!

Work the first heart bump section on one side,

and thread the tail thru the final stitches but DO NOT GATHER.

Now, with the new end of the yarn, thread a needle.  Use this to secure the middle stitches.

I like to knit the first stitch with the end and the working yarn together, for a more secure join.

Then carry on and knit a round (to match the round that you used to divide the heart) then repeat the heart bump stitches again.

Stuff and gather the tops. Use the tails if you need a couple more stitches to close the middle once it is stuffed.  This is cotton yarn and it is a lot less forgiving than wool or even acrylic – it doesn’t spring back when stretched so another stitch or two is sometimes needed.

See what I mean?  A lot less elegant than grafting the few top stitches, but a lot less work too.

You can play around with the stitch count as well as the needle size and yarn.  Just use a smaller needle that the yarn calls for so you get a nice tight weave and so the stuffing doesn’t show thru.  I think the very smallest one did the 2-round-knit-pairs after there were 14 stitches on each needle and stopped with 18 stitches rather than 20.  You can also add more 2-round-knit-pairs for a longer, more folk-art style heart.  The white heart had an additional 2-round-knit-pair after the 14 per needle round, as well as after the 16 per needle round. When you read the instructions, that will make sense!

I made a quick hanger, by threading the three hearts on a length of yarn, with knots to separate.

I need a much slimmer needle so I can add beads instead – with them snugged up to the V, they will totally hide the few closing stitches.

I am working on another thing, and another book-folding alphabet, by request, but I’ve had side effects with two of my heart meds (hands up if you hate statins!) and it is causing me problems.  I’ve already ditched the tickle-y cough by changing one med and with luck now I am off the statins, I’ll start to feel more energetic.  Hopefully I’ll finish both by the end of the week. But I doubt I will ever return to daily blogging.

Hope you enjoy.

 

 


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While I am waiting….

I seems to be spending a lot of time sitting in waiting rooms, of all kinds, and sitting in the car, on the way to places.  So boring.  I find that those moments are perfectly suited to knitting.  Now the Innocent Smoothie hats are going to be appearing in stores  this month, and any tiny hats I made would be sitting around in a box till the next call, I moved on to socks.

My feet are always cold.  One of the side effects of the heart medication, I read.  So it’s practical knitting, selfish knitting.  And I am to the point I can make a pair of socks in my sleep – well, almost.  But I did stumble across some videos for hand-dyeing yarn.  I also stumbled across some superwash wool my MIL had sent me a few years back, destined to become slippers, I think.  As so often happens, Those two things, at the forefront of my brain, became a new obsession.  I had cake decorating colours, and a crockpot, and literally in a few hours, I had completed a few firsts:

  • made a niddy noddy out of PVC piping
  • wound a hank
  • dyed the yarn in the crockpot
  • hanked it again to dry

I find it super difficult to get a good photo of the yarn but maybe this will give you an idea of what it looks like – nicely mottled, firery colours (although I used Creamy Peach, Pink, and Lemon Yellow, I def. got RED, ORANGE and Yellow!

1stkettledye

And as it knits:

knitted

Then I had to try something I saw on Ravelry, when DS woke me in the middle of the night (he is still very much on a student sleep schedule) playing the guitar. The AABBABAB dyeing sequence produced fab socks for her, less so for me, either because I didn’t measure to estimate the size my socks would be, or because I didn’t leave any of the bare yarn undyed, or because there was too little contrast between the green and the teal.  But it DID give me a nifty two-colour pattern with small pools of colour – not quite stripes but not uniformly mottled like the red/orange/yellow version, where it was all just dumped into the crockpot in areas.  Hard to see, again, but maybe a bit?

pooling

You can see it best on the toe.

So THEN I had to take some more PVC piping and make a warping board (is it really warping?  I see WRAPPING as often) sort of like this one, but a bit simpler, so I could try to dye self-striping yarn!

wrap

If you click the image you can go see the YouTube video of him wrapping it so you can see how it works.

That worked.  Dyed in the microwave, it took less time than the crockpot.

selfstrip

2yarndye

Now, since I wasn’t too sure it would work, I’ve used superwash, DK weight wool yarn for all these experiments.  The skein fir this last one, because I was so unsure of success, was only a 50 gm skein. Not enough for even a shortie pair of ankle socks.  So I paired it with some plain black, knitting the toe and every other row in the black, with alternating stripes of the hand-dyed yarn.  It’s working – I can clearly see that the yarn IS self-striping! Yippee!

2selfstrip

There is a pink, a teal, a purple, a cranberry, and a royal blue (just coming up on the ball) and I should be able to get two socks from the one 50 gm skein if I do the cuff in black too. It looks like I am getting about 6 rows for each striping section so I must have done something right.

I have one other pair I made using yarn dyes with Violet food colouring, which “broke” beautifully into it’s core colours of purple, blue and pinky red, but I think the socks are in the laundry so no photo.  Read about Breaking Black (although it works with Violet and some blues too) to see what THAT is all about.

I do have some skeins of blank sock yarn to try next.  But it is on a very long To Do list. While the knitting I can do a few minutes at a time, the DYEING takes at least a bit of focused time, and a lot of waiting – mixing the colours takes only a moment, heating the water takes ages (unattended), dumping in the dye takes seconds, waiting for the dye to absorb takes ages (unattended), cooling takes ages (unattended), rinsing takes ages (active), drying takes ages (unattended), then comes the knitting.   That is for crockpot dyeing.  The self-striping and the dyed-to-pool AABBABAB dyeing are MUCH more of active processes and can take a few hours.  That kind of time is hard to find at the moment.

Just thought I’d share, lest you think it is all about the book folding.  I have a long list of printables I hope to do but now we are in 2016 and I have made so many 2016 calendars already, it’s hard to imagine doing even MORE and it’s too soon to do 2017 ones….isn’t it?

{the can of worms slowly opens…..}