Sunday, October 26, 2008

Charity Sweater

As a member of the Woolgather's Guild, Plymouth Mighigan we are asked to knit items for charity. We were directed to a pattern on-line ( and I knit up the first child's sweater. It is done on large needles with worsted weight yarn and knits up really fast! It took just a tiny bit more than one 6oz skein for a size 6. The sweater is knit from cuff to cuff in simple garter and stockingette stitches. Not that I ever just knit is simple garter and stockingette. I made the first sweater in bright yellow, left-over in my stash. I added a texture stitch (see left) and got a sweater I liked.

The second sweater, size 4, took a little less than one full skein, also bright yellow. I added ribbed cuffs and a basket weave pattern. I was really having fun with this pattern.
Thats 2 charity sweaters completed in a tad over 2 days.

Flush with success, I decided to re-knit Miss Belle's birthday sweater using this pattern (the original sweater was way too small). I added ribbed cuffs, a cable up the center of each sleeve, knit simple stockingette for the back panel but for the front panel I divided it into 6 rectangles of stockingette stitch with reverse stockingette in between and sewed butterfly buttons randomly on the panels. The buttons color coordinate with the Donegal bits in the yarn. She loves it! Score one for Nana!
Miss Belle's sweater took a bit more yarn, 2 full skeins, because I used smaller needles and made it a larger size, as well as making the sleeves longer than the pattern called for (and could have made them about 1 1/2 inches longer still!)
This a great pattern. It allows a lot of room to play with texture stitches and colors. I have seen it knit up so that the 2 garter stitch panels just to the outside of the stockingette panel were done in a different color and looked like suspenders. I recommend making the sleeves at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches longer than the pattern calls for. I tried a couple of different ways to cast on the additional stitches for the body and found that a knit cast on gives the neatest appearance, most consistant tension and best of all, no ends to weave in!!!
Have fun!
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just a little Holiday Fun!

I love to work a small project that is on and off the needles very quickly and then on to the next. This little decoration is lots of fun to work when working on a large project seems to just go on forever.

These small socks make adorable holiday decorations, a tiny Christmas stocking, if you will. These two were made of Moda Dea sock yarn. It is heavy sock yarn, just a tad thinner than sport weight.

What can these little goodies be used for? Stick a striped candy cane in it and hang it up as an ornament. Stuff it full of Christmas candy and tie it to a gift with a pretty ribbon. Make it just the right size for a small gift, add a little sparkling tissue paper and it becomes a unique way to give a gift.

I knit the larger of the two on larger needles because I wanted a stocking that would hold the long thin box that might contain a bracelet or a wrist watch.

Mini Christmas Stocking

Cast on 24 sts. I use 5 DPN's but circ's work just fine, go with your fave.
Join without twisting.
Work K1, P1Ribbing for 5 rounds.
Work Stockingette st, for 3 inches.
Place 12 sts on one needle to knit 3/4 inch heel flap. Since this sock will not be worn you can use any pattern you want to play with for the heel flap...plain stockingette, slip one/knit one heel st, alternating slip st honey comb....etc....this is the perfect place to play with new stitch ideas.
Turn short row heel:
K8, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P5, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, K6, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P7, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, K8, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P9, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, K10, wrap next st, turn.
Sl1 wrapped st, P11, wrap next st, turn.
Knit across.
If using DPN's divide the 12 sts onto 2 needles.
Continuing around pick up stitches along side of heel flap, K12 sts, pick up the same number of stitiches on this side of the heel flap as on the first side, K6, this is the center back of stocking.
*K6, K2Tog, K around to 8sts before center back, SSK, K6.
*Knit even around.
Repeat 2 * rows until stitches number 24 once again.
Knit even until foot from heel measures 2 1/2 inches, begin toe decreases.
Starting at Center Back:
K4, K2Tog, SSK, K8, K2Tog, SSK, K4.
Knit even around.
K3, K2Tog, SSK, K6, K2Tog, SSK, K3.
Knit even around.
K2, K2Tog, SSK, K4, K2Tog, SSK, K2.
K1, K2Tog, SSK, K2, K2Tog, SSK, K1.
Kitchener st the remaining sts, weave in ends.

I did not give gauge. Use larger needles and heavier yarn for larger stockings...use smaller needles and use lighter weight yarn for tinier stockings. Play with this, one stocking can usually be completed in about an hour and a half. This is the perfect vehicle for trying new color combos, stitches, new yarns or unfamiliar needle sizes.

Have fun with this.
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My hat phase....

I am going through a hat phase. For no reasonable reason that I can identify, I have had a blast knitting hats.
The first hat is knit in KnitPicks 100% Merino superwash, DK weight, in a deep red color, the beads are deep red with a gold inner barrel so they flash red or gold depending on how the light hits them. This hat is a down-sized variation of the Odessa hat designed by Grumperina. Just google Grumerina and the pattern is available on her blog. It is a beautiful pattern and super, super easy to make. So much so that I made a bunch of them.
My lovely granddaughter Miss Belle (age 6) agreed to model all my hats for me. She is just too adorable to resist so enjoy the show.
The next hat is another Odessa worked in white worsted weight with beads of various colors strung randomly on the yarn. Miss Belle really likes this one.
The third Odessa is done is lavender worsted weight with dark purple beads and is Miss Belle's personal favorite. Her favorite color is purple so this is no surprise.
The last Odessa is worked in peach colored Knitpicks 100% Merino Superwash, DK weight (does anyone see a trend developing here?). The peach color beads match the yarn so well it is hard to see them in a photo, but they sparkle nicely in the sunlight.
The lace hat knit in lavender worsted weight yarn is called Foliage and the pattern is a free download from This is another lace pattern that looks like it might be challenging but is so very easy to make. Miss Belle likes the hat, but would love it if I added beads, she does like Bling!!!
Last, but not least, is a super simple hat knit from sock yarn, 75% wool superwash and 25% nylon. I just knit a few rows of ribbing, a lot of stockingette, decreased a bit at the top and pulled it all in, super simple, nothing fancy, the self-striping yarn did all the work. The hat was way too large for Miss Belle, so we just turned up the ribbing and adjusted it back a bit. She still looked adorable in it, once we found her face!
Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter

Ever Have a Knitting "Phase"?

Ever start to knit something and have so much fun, or enjoy it so much you just keep knitting more and more of them?

I get like that sometimes. In fact, I have recently gone through 2 really strong phases.

Recently, I kept hearing about the BSJ - Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. The every popular baby sweater caught my interest and I wanted to try one out. So, I ordered the instructional DVD of Meg Swanson demonstration her mothers pattern. It contains the pattern right in the DvD case. Oh, and as an aside, Meg Swanson does a fabulous job demonstrating the construction of the sweater. Her presentation is relaxed, pleasant, precise and very easy to follow. I learned a lot from this video and I highly recommend it.

So, I made a BSJ. It was a lot of fun and I had no trouble with it at all. It is knit with KnitPicks 100% Merino superwash, DK weight in Cinnamon and Nutmeg. The buttons are natural wood and really suit this little sweater.

I had so much fun make this BSJ that I ordered more yarn and made another one!

This one is of KnitPick 100% Merino superwash, DK weight. The colors are Jade and White (go MSU!!) And the adorable little buttons are shiney red apples.

As you can see, I am somewhat fond of adding a collar to the sweater. I was really quite pleased with the way this turned out.

By the way, when I make a project and it is ready for the buttons, I take my daughter shopping with me. She has a marvelous eye for matching or combining colors. I don't leave home without her.

So, this went so well I just had do try another. But I was too impatient to wait for the LYS to open or for a KnitPicks order to arrive so I bought some yarn from the "big box store". It was a very soft acrylic in bulky weight with a bit of halo to it. Very soft to handle, but if you had to tink back even just a few stitches the fibers that made up the halo caught and tangled.

In addition, I opted to experiment with the pattern and made it in stockingette stitch. This creates a few problems (not insurmountable just bothersome), the number of stitches for the button band has to be adjusted so the front of the sweater does not pull up to much and the back sag a bit. I would not do it again, but I had to try it once.

I knit this with a bulky weight yarn, added a collar, the ribbed cuffs and a lot of buttons down the front. I like the way the colors pooled. The yarn was varigated white, yellow, pink, blue and turquoise. The button band did pull up a bit in the front, despite my efforts to adjust for it, but the little girl who got it really likes it and does not care in the least that it is not perfect by my standards. This knitted up in a size 6.

I also made a fourth BSJ, but it did not fit the recipient so it is being frogged and remade because my granddaughter loves the yarn and wants the sweater made from it. Perhaps I will upload the photo when it is finished.

I am sure there are more BSJ's in my future...right after I finish my Christmas knitting. I can usually knit one up in a weekend if I stick with it and it is a satisfying project.

Does anyone else find this a fun knit?

Hugs & Prayers
Serene Knitter