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WOYWW 336 – The Big Knit

I keep trying to find the time to join in with WOYWW, and keep failing.  I decided if I wait until I feel confident I will have a block of time to do the visits, I may wait forever.  So I am just taking the plunge and vowing to do my best.

What is all over my desk is knitting.  Little tiny hats for Innocent Smoothies.  It’s called The Big Knit, and every year the campaign raises money for Age Concern.  You can buy a Smoothie, with a hat, at stores, and a portion of the price goes to the charity.  You can read more about it here.  Last year they raised over £215,000.

woyww336

As you can see, my desk is littered with yarns.  Lots of bits, old, leftovers from past projects, as well as a few fairly new skeins I bought in a sale, for knitting baby beanies.  A few random googly eyes.

Here are some of the hats I showed a few days ago, and a few new ones.

 

 

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So, you are probably wondering about that odd-looking lump on the right. I thought you might.  I had seen a full-sized hat, years ago, that I thought was an absolute hoot.

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I was never going to make it, but I admired it for sure.  Get the pattern here if you would like to make one! I thought I could figure out a way to make a much MUCH smaller version for the Smoothie bottle. Basically I made a basic mini-hat, then made two 18″ 3 stitch i-cords and coiled them up in a brain-like fashion.  Well, what *I* thought looked brain-like – I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, so I have no idea.  It turned out OK, despite the small surface area.  Ideally I feel like a cord made from fingering weight/ baby/ sock yarn would have been better but this is what I had.  My own rules are that I can’t buy anything for this, I have to use up stash yarn.

bigbrain

I wonder if they will accept it or if it is a bit too “out there,” alongside all the cuter hats they show? I also have a trio of plain ones on the go.  My goal is 100 hats.  I am not sure I’ll make it before the December 11th deadline (so maybe the 8th or 9th for the mailing deadline) but I’m having a go.  I’ll need a bundle of plain ones to go with the novelty ones that take longer to knit!

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So that’s my desk. Messy as ever, just a different sort of mess… Hopefully I’ll be round to see yours soon.

 


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More knitting! Pac-man ghosts

Still knitting.  I have maybe 20 hats, half done, half in progress.  More on that in a bit.  I found a cute little Pac-man ghosts pattern but for crochet.  Now, I can both Knit and Crochet, and at various times I have preferred one over the other.  At the moment I am knitting.  So when I saw the pattern was for crochet, I had to figure out how to convert it.  It’s just my nature LOL!

I hate sewing up, so all my hats are done in the round, just like socks. And the thing is, I really like magic loop knitting. for the two (or more)-at-a-time knitting.  And you can’t make multiples with crochet.

So the tricky bit was the scalloped edge, the “feet” of the ghosts.  Easy to do in crochet.  Harder, or at least more time-consuming, to knit, and fiddly across only 14 stitches per needle. But I eventually worked it out. Like so:

  1. Cast on the standard 28 stitches, in DK weight yarn and 4 mm needles.  All the hat needs to do is fit the top of a Smoothie bottle.  And a Smoothie bottle’s not alive (sing it with me now, Sesame Street fans, “no, no, no, no, No!”) so tension/gauge is not critical.  But do leave a long tail
  2. picot Split the stitches for Magic Loop, 14 per needle, and join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.2picot
  3.  Knit 3 rows.
  4. On the 4th row, work a yarn over, k2tog  across.  This creates an eyelet round that you will turn into a picot edge.

The trick to the first yarn over is to do what they always tell you YOU MUST NOT DO when knitting magic loop, have the yarn in front of the needle.

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That way, when you wrap to knit the first two together, you will create a yarn over – normally a bad thing, but exactly what you want in this case.

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That probably isn’t as clear as it needs to be but when you are doing it, it will make sense.  You want the extra loop.

Normally with a picot edge, you then knit the k2tog stitches and the yarn overs, creating a gap, but resulting in the exact same number of stitches, then knit three rows, so the rows below match the rows above, then fold and knit the cast on edge together with the next row.  For a nice explanation of this with good photos, check out Craftsy.  I just knit two rows,  then stop. I’ll explain why after the rest of the pattern, which is:

5. Knit 14 rows

6. Knit 2, k2tog across the first needle, then repeat across the back needle (22 stitches)

7. Knit 

8. Knit 1,  K2tog, around (shift the last stitch on the first needle to the back needle to k2tog), ending with a knit stitch  (14 stitches)

9. K2tog to the last stitch on the front needle, k then k2tog across the back needle 

Thread the end thru and pull tight to close the top. Secure end. Fold so the picots form the bottom edge and use the long tail to whip stitch the cast-on edge in place on the inside.

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Sorry, you can’t really SEE the picot edge but I’ll try to get a better shot if we EVER see the sun again.  It’s been dismal for a week!

So back to why I stop at two knitted rows.

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I would normally cast on two socks, for example, and knit them together from the beginning, but frankly, the picot edge is just that little bit tricky, and working with so few stitches, keeping everything tight and neat at the joins takes focus.  I only want to have to focus on one at a time.  So I make all of the hats that I want up to the same point, then I shift them to a longer needle.  Mine are interchangeable tips, so I just shift the small number of stitches onto just the needle tip, unscrew that, screw on the longer cable, and slide it over.  The needles then go back on to the shorter cable and I knit another hat, up to the second row past the picots, then slide them over.  In the end I have all four ghosts on one long cable, and it’s all knitting in the round till the shaping.

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That got long.  Sorry.  Hope it all makes sense.  The picot edge looks cute on a normal, simple hat with a bobble on top but I think it would be cute NOT folded back, maybe with a little scrap of ribbon threaded thru and tied in a bow.  Might have to give that a go….

Still have a visitor, and a few drs. appointments, but I am determined to do WOYWW tomorrow to the best of my ability.  Best snap a shot of my desk before it is too dark!


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The Big Knit – little hats

I have been a bit dead in the water, due to my graphics card in my Mac failing, big time.  When I went to my desk, and wiggled the mouse to bring the screens back to life, the displays were full of squiggle lines.  Rebooting didn’t help.  DH determined it was a display issue (to be fair, over the phone, only from my description) and that seemed to be it, once I disabled the large TV display.  But then it happened again, within the hour.  The additional data meant it was probably the graphics card.  And it was, it just took a couple of days to sort it out  In the meantime, a new visitor has arrived  Departure date? 20th Nov.

Just before the mac went offline, I got an email from Deramores, regarding The Big Knit.  This is the annual tiny knitted (or crocheted) hats that top Innocent Smoothies, with sales generating donations to Age Concern  Well, heck – *I’M* ageing, and I am darn concerned about it, and I knit, and I like charity knitting, so this seems a match made in heaven. Since I was limited to what I could do on my iPad (i.e. not much) I thought I would have a go.  Knitting from a web page rather than a printed copy was annoying but I made a few of the basic ones.

I then found some more interesting patterns, some from this year and some from previous years  and I made one pattern up (but based on a sock pattern I am just beginning, so I can test it out.)  I knit them in the round with Magic Loop, rather than knitting flat and sewing them together, cause why purl, when you can knit?  Here are the ones I have done so far  There are a few extra of that basic hat pattern, but those aren’t worth photographing individually – hover to see the names.

I love the Jellyfish – totally my favourite.  Our visitor asked why I didn’t just find one I like and make 100 of them.  He’s one of our oldest friends, yet he clearly doesn’t know me at ALL.  LOL!  I am working on one that is going to be quite interesting, I think, and have an idea for another I want to work out.  We’ll see…

And now the Mac is up and running, albeit slightly sluggishly, I have actual UKS work to do too.  Plus the house is a total wreck and the laundry is all in a heap.  AND I have an hour to do on the treadmill, to keep my heart healthy.  AND the visitor is vegetarian so recipes to research as well.  And I am well aware that Christmas is looming, so some handmade gifts need addressing too. I’m knackered already….


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Crochet Preenie Beanies – pattern OKed!

I got the word back from Baby Beanies that the crochet pattern is OK so I am going to share it here.  I found a really nice sizing chart here – although the post is old, and the blog is no longer active, I found it very helpful.  I’ve snipped a bit out to add to the pattern and added a link to the PDF, so you can use it to assess your own crochet version and check the sizing.

I can do one of these in about 30 minutes.  I’ve tried to make the pattern apply for both the US terminology and the UK terms.  The US is in RED and the UK is in blue.  I do hope I got it right.  I would really appreciate any feedback.  I don’t usually do patterns for knitting and crochet, although I have done them occasionally, I’m not an expert! And once I’ve done something a few times I go on autopilot, and then forget to take notes.  But this is very very simple, and very, very forgiving.  Given there is a need for beanies of ALL sizes, full size newborn ones, the odd added or missed stitch isn’t going to render the beanie unusable.

That’s basically what it looks like, although some of these substitute a hdc (or htr in UK terms!) for the dc (tr) stitches.  I thought it might work better but in the end I liked the dc/tr for all rounds until the edging round(s).

6basicbeanie

 

Now I have discharged my duty – I’ll try to pop back tomorrow and make sure I email any commenters or email-ers who asked for a copy when I got it OKed.  Have fun using up your scraps making something useful for charity.  My stash of bits of yarn are getting consumed quickly, making room for more new yarn….

{wink}


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Double beanies – pattern for Magic Loop

I finally mailed off the package of beanies.  Hopefully the crochet version will get an OK and I’l share it.  But in the meantime, I had a couple of emails from people asking about the Magic Loop version of two-at-a-time.  As I had annotated the original pattern for myself, I figured I might as well write it up.

I like making one girly one and one boyish one when I do two at a time.  And while I did manage three at a time, the problem is with keeping the yarn straight.  The middle ball needs care and attention, much more than just two do.

doublebeanies

I wanted to try adding an active link to my PDF – I had to use a different program than I usually do so it was learning something new.  It worked, but when I view it the links don’t look active, until you hover over them.  THEN you can see the cursor that indicates a clickable link and clicking will open the page in your browser.  I wanted to add links to videos or instructions that I found useful. I have ones for the Limitless Cast On for 2-at-a-time ANYTHING, a general 2-at-a-time sock video, invisible joining to knit in the round (and I also find this trick helps me not let the stitches twist when joining) and as the beanies need to stretch and not be too tight, a couple of stretchy cast on videos.

Here is a PDF.  Any feedback would be very welcome!


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A collection of Charity Beanies

As you may know I have followed Jan’s lead and joined in with the Baby Beanies charity, knitting beanies for Preemies.  I have a lot of small bits of yarn and this is perfect for using it up.   The smallest beanies use 9 to 15 oz of yarn (the cotton is heavier) for the knitted one with rolled brim.

But I am not a particularly fast knitter – I am a MUCH faster crocheter.  So I went looking for an “approved” crochet pattern.  After my experience with the Knockers I wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time.  The organizer didn’t have a pattern but said she has had requests.  I figured this is something I can help with! so I went hunting for patterns to test, because you just don’t know till you try, right?

I found what I thought was a winner – a 10 minute, really simple pattern.  But when I tried it, there were issues.

The first issue is it has a very small crown and the sides come straight down.

basicbeanie

Then there is a slip stitch edging that keeps the edges from stretching out.

2basicbeanie

So I set about tweaking the pattern to make it more like the knitted version.  I think I managed that but it took quite a few attempts to get it “right.” I will send them along and hope to get some feedback from the hospitals to say whether or not the pattern works for them – because that is the real test, isn’t it?

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Simply varying the number of beginning stitches, and the hook size, gives slight variations in the sizing.  If it gets the OK then I will share it.  No point in sharing if it’s not usable, right?

But I will add the links to a few places I found and some good patterns.  They are all listed as preemie beanies.

One of the biggest selections of patterns is at Mama That Makes.  And this pattern is my favourite.  A little more time-consuming because of the ribbing, but so cute it’s worth it.

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The hat on the left is this one.  Also ribbed.  The reason I looked at ribbed hats to begin with is the denser fabric.  As preemie beanies are meant to help keep the heat from escaping and help the babies regulate their temperature, I wanted a crocheted hat that wasn’t hole-y.  Most of them are, tho’, so I set that aside.  I mean, would 1000s or people be crocheting beanies if the “holes” were an issue?  Probably not. Similar issue, tho’ as the sides are quite straight – they SEEM stretchy because of the ribbing, but are they stretchy enough?

There seem to be two styles – one that is a circle crown with more or less straight sides or a continuous spiral, that increases slightly.  I didn’t test this one, and be warned, the site is littered with ads and not all the arrows mean what you think they do!  Click carefully.  I really hate that trick and tend to click away pronto….

This one is a gently increasing one, and probably my 2nd favourite.  The size can be adjusted by stopping the centre circle sooner, using finer yarn and a smaller hook, etc.  As all sorts of sizes are needed, and as this is hdc (htr in the UK) it is a bit denser than the dc (tr) versions.

4basicbeanie

I love the LOOK of this one but the there were so many instructions it sort of did my head in.  Seemed more like a choice for making something for someone you know and love, rather than for cranking out charity items where quality matters, but so does quantity!

This is by no means either ALL or the BEST versions, just the ones I looked at and wanted to try, that fit my own criteria (ie fast, easy, dense, even slightly re-sizeable or in different sizes) and where the end product seemed usable.  There is no doubt in my mind the knitted version is “finer” and the stitches tighter so the fabric more “solid” but I can make four crocheted beanies (maybe five)  in the time it takes me to knit one.

Are you a neonatal nurse?  Have experience of beanies?  Leave me a comment on the best patterns, knit v crochet, anything to help me focus my energies on the most useful version.

Now I have some WOYWW visits to return.  Yesterday the day got away from me, due to my aching back and some unavoidable stuff that needed attention.  And OMG my ATCs for the crop need attention too.  I have a lot more to make and time is slipping away….


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Beanies

I got sidetracked yesterday.  Actually, a phrase used by the culprit, the one who sidetracked me, is “my butterfly mind.”  Oh I do love that, it fits perfectly.  My brain flits and flutters all over the place too.  I’ll explain.

In visiting WOYWW yesterday I landed at Jan’s (that’s LLJ, or Lunch Lady Jan, who caters the WOYWW crop) and saw the diddy little hats she was knitting for charity.  I mentioned I would hunt up the link, but before I could she linked in a comment (and probably lucky, too, as I got a good 20 or so visits to desks before following the link.)

The site is Baby Beanies. What they say:

Baby Beanies is a non profit organisation run solely on the dedication and support of it’s volunteers.

 Neonatal units across the UK are in constant need of knitted hats for the premature and poorly babies in their care. 

Premature babies are often unable to maintain their temperature by themselves and statistics show that simply by wearing a hat it helps them to regulate their temperature. In some cases this can be the difference between being allowed home or not!

Sounds like a worthy cause, and ideal because they suggest a 50gm ball of wool will make FOUR beanies and I have tons of bits of wool and cotton.  Plus they knit up fast.  I emailed to the CONTACT US address at 9:01 and by 9:06 I had the welcome pack and patterns.

Of course I had to convert the flat knitting pattern with a seam to one for circular needles, and one I made one and worked out how I needed to alter it to be able to do two at a time, I gave that a go.

2beanies

When knitting ONE in the round it’s easy to slip a stitch from one needle to the other, when the decreases start, so you aren’t trying to K2Tog with one stitch on the front needle and one on the back. Magic Loop won’t allow that.  But tiny tweaks sorted it.

beanies

Just doing to rolled brim ones (I do HATE purling, but might do a ribbed brim a some point) and with 150 mm cables I can do three hats for sure, and might even be able to push it to four!

3beaniesOf course it takes a bit longer to complete a three hats – it isn’t really about saving time, it’s about seeing if I can.  You know me….

So I’ll aim to get a handful done, it’s great watching-TV knitting, since the tricky casting on is done and it’s just rows of knit for a while, then ship them off.  And maybe help a wee one get home sooner.  That would be nice.

And NOW I have a few WOYWW visits to return so will set down the needles for a bit and get them done!


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Sock progress. Not happy….

Progress has been made.  I also seem to have a problem with my lens.  I’ll clean it, but there is much to do today so I apologize that you have to suffer thru these rubbish photos for the moment.

I got sock one mostly done, and even though I could see the stranding across the magic loop was pretty bad, I was so close to being done I wanted to see how it would look before I ripped it back.

2sockprogress

I have an idea to try and will do so with sock 2.  But over all I like how the words fit the space, I think they are marginally more readable in the more solid blue areas so might consider breaking the yarn and creating a larger block of blue for the words.  Not sure.

sockprogress

I also think I need a bit more solid knitting between the top of the text and the ribbing.

I think the Fish Lip Kiss heel is fab in the way it fits and the ease of knitting it.  It LOOKS a bit funny not on but oh my does it hug my heel beautifully.

3sockprogress

And therein lies the problem  – DS’s foot is at least 3 sizes bigger than mine.  I used the cardboard template that I created while he was here to size the sock.  Yet it fits ME perfectly so HAS to be too small for him, right?  I mean there is ease and then there is EASE.  It might be there is nothing for it but to wait for him to be here so I can see it on.  Which means putting it away for now.

{sigh}

I may have a go at the duplicate stitch part before I frog it. Might as well….


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A lifeline

I was a little wary of starting the heel on my socks, never having done the STH before.  I wanted to put in a lifeline, so that if I hated it, or it didn’t fit right, I could rip it back to just before the heel without worrying about going too far.  I was going to use dental floss, as I had heard that was a good thing for lifelines, but then I kept reading how it maybe wasn’t so good.  So I decided to use some cord that I had.  It was till thin and smooth but not floss, so I thought it would work.

Checking the right place to  thread the cord thru, so I could pick up the stitches without having them twisted,  I saw this little video for a neat trick to add a lifeline without having to thread it thru with a needle.  Hey PRESTO!  So easy

lifeline

 

All you have to do is thread the thin whatever thru the hole in your interchangeable needles and knit as normal.  2lifeline

You have to be a little careful to ensure the cord stays in place as you pull thru, but….

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And best of all you can do both socks if you are doing 2 at a time magic loop.  I didn’t snap photos of it but I’ll annotate this one from yesterday to show you what I mean:

twolifeline

Jeez.  That looks like a hot mess, but if you follow the numbers hopefully you will see how it works as you do it.  You are basically knitting around to the middle back, pulling out a bit of extra at the left, then cutting in the middle.  Knotting the cut end and the starting end secures the completed lifeline around the LEFT sock.  Threading the cut end back thru the needle and completing knitting the back of the RIGHT sock then knotting the last two ends secures the lifeline on the RIGHT sock.

In the end it didn’t matter because I always assume I need bigger socks than I do.  The heel turned out fab, the ribbing was great (but the stretchy bind off was too stretchy – first time I’ve had that problem) so I ended up ignoring the lifeline and ripping back to the cask on, knocking off 12 stitches and casting on a much smaller sock that fits.

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a couple of little flaws in the colour transitions at the heel (found a project  note on Ravelry for that) and in the ribbing but that was OK as it was all practice and I didn’t mind doing it KNOWING I was going to frog it at that point. The new one fits perfectly and the heel is starting out nicely….

betterfitsock

I think you can see the difference in the size! I still want to buy the e-book for the STH but still getting an error.  One more try and if it doesn’t work I’ll either buy it via a proxy or ask someone from the US to gift it to me.  The video is an excellent start but I still think I am messing up on small step.

DHs birthday today.  Lots to do …mexican feast for dinner.  I won’t say what lest he drop by here today.  Short day for DD, skating in the afternoon, so won’t get much done on these today.  but maybe I’ll be to the point I can wear them next week!  Yippee.


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A chart for the scattered socks

I mentioned that I was quite taken with the scatter pattern in a sweater i saw briefly in a magazine at the checkout.  I can’t help with what magazine it was cause I just don’t recall.  But I did have a look for “scatter sweater” and up popped a free pattern on Ravelry.  It looks like the same one I saw!

I had a look at the chart for the pattern but could not get my head around it.  There are two charts and my eyes struggle to see the pattern in them.  So thinking back to what I did, which was to alternate rows with regular repeats and moving from more of one colour to more of the other, interspersed with full rounds of a colour. I charted, sort of, my version.

scatterpattern

 

I’m trying something new if you click on the image I hope it will download a PDF for you.  If not, clicking here will!

Mine were done in a more random way, with the odd stitch swapped, as my eye told me it needed to be, but the general effect on the chart will turn out a little like this:

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You can follow the chart exactly or follow it but just change the odd stitch or two like I did.  Over all the pattern is easy to remember for each round so not at all stressful.  You aren’t carrying a colour over more than four stitches.  I used variegated yarn – while it may look like more than two colours it really is only pink and black.

I do my socks in magic loop.  I don’t like to strand the yarn too far at the sides, when moving from one side of the Magic Loop to the other.  So I just made sure to alternate the colours for the last two and first two stitches at either end for any row that wasn’t a full round in one colour.  I have no idea what it would be like on DPNs.  I tend to keep my stitches pretty spread out on the needles to keep the stranding at the back from getting too tight and I think that would be harder on DPNs.

Hopefully it will be useful to someone. I have to say I love the effect and may have to do it on a sweater at some point to see how it works out.