Sunday, May 23, 2021

Simple Striped Cowl Pattern


This is a quick-to-knit cowl that has no complicated stitches (only knit and purl stitches) and is great way to use up leftover yarns. I came up with this design during pandemic isolation when I had trouble focusing on complex patterns. It's a project that didn't require too much concentration while giving me the comfort of having a project on the needles.

Link to Pattern

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

2019 NC State Fair

I'm working on the 7 pieces that I've entered into this year's NC State Fair. I'll have photos and more details after the judging. Here's the status of the projects:

-- Hand-knitted baby sweater: just needs buttons sewn on

-- Crocheted shawl: finished and blocked, just needs yarn tails sewn in

-- Crocheted edging on tea towel: about half finished

-- Crocheted table runner: about half's filet crochet so will need some strong blocking to get the open areas to square up

-- Tatted edging on pillowcase: needs to be attached to the pillowcase...sometimes that takes about a long as the tatting

-- Framed tatted piece: just barely started

-- Holiday card with tatting: haven't even decided on the design...if I bail on any project, it will probably be this one

October 10 is the first day to submit the pieces so I'm optimistic that I have enough time left to finish everything.

Sept. 26 Update: I finished the crochet table runner and it's being blocked now. Next up is attaching the tatting to the pillowcase, So far 3 out of 7 entries finished.

Oct. 2 Update: 3 pieces finished & tagged: crocheted shawl, knitted baby sweater, crocheted table runner. 3 pieces in final stages: pillowcase edging still being attached to pillow (boy, sewing these edgings on takes forever!), tea towel motifs finished & need to be attached to the towel, tatted piece for greeting card finished & needs to be blocked before assembling onto card stock. Still need to decide what I'm going to make for the framed tatting entry.

Oct. 3 Update: Finished the crocheted edging on a tea towel. The combination of the motifs in the edging made the final work my own design. One of the goals I have in doing these Fair projects is to challenge myself in some way. This piece required attaching small parts to the main crocheted edging. I tried three different methods before I settled on one that looked the best while still joining all the parts securely.

Oct 4 Update: Tatting motif for the framed entry is finished and being blocked. All that will be needed is to put it in the frame I already had in my stash.
Tatting for the holiday card entry is finished and blocked. All that is needed is to glue it onto card stock.
Still working on sewing the tatted edging onto the pillowcase. Boy, it is so tedious, but also so necessary. Then all that will be left is to resew the pillowcase hem to hide all the stitching.

Oct 9 Update: Tatted edging finally sewn onto the pillowcase and the piece is washed, ironed, and ready for submission.
The holiday card created a problem...nothing to do with the tatting or assembling. The rules require that cards be protected in a clear envelope. I thought this would be something I could buy at Staples or in the card making area in A.C. Moore. No luck at either place. If I ever have an entry in this category, maybe I can find these envelopes online. But no time for that at this time. I found a sleeve of stickers on the clearance rack at A.C. Moore that was in packaging about the same size as the card stock I'm using. So I ended up pay a dollar or so for stickers I didn't need to get the packaging that I did need. Even then, I had to make some adjustments because the envelope was longer than I needed. Hate it when the competition rules require something that (1) has nothing to do with making the piece itself and (2) creates about as much work/aggravation as did making the entry piece.
Well, enough ranting. All 7 entries are finished and ready for the fair. Tomorrow is the first day to submit entries. It will be a relief to get everything out of the house so I can work on less stressful projects. Nonetheless, there are positive benefits for entering the competitions. I think it pushes me to work more on my crafting and problem-solving skills and try things that are a bit out of my comfort zone. I learn new things each year when I work on these entries.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Shawls in balls

Recently, Lion Brand Yarns ran a sale on their Shawl in a Ball yarns. Normally, they're about $10 per ball, but the sale was 5 balls for $10 + shipping cost. Not that I needed more yarn, but it was a sale I could not resist. Rather than just add the yarn to my stash, I decided I needed the knitting motivation that comes when I have a specific recipient in mind. I asked my sister, daughter, sister-in-law, and niece to choose one of the balls I'd bought, and I would make them each a shawl. So far, I've finished 2 of the 4 shawls. Please note that I haven't washed and blocked them yet so they are more scrunched up than they will be when they are given out.

My Sister's Shawl

The colorway is "Reflective Crystal." The pattern, "Sedona Triangle Shawl", is a free pattern from Lion Brand specifically designed for the Shawl in a Ball yarns. It's an easy pattern made up of  alternating rows of stockinette and garter stitches. Below is a closeup.

My Daughter's Shawl

My daughter wanted a rectangular wrap with greens and browns. The colorway she chose is "Graceful Green." Sorry, but the photo does not do it justice. The free pattern is  "Nova Lace Pattern Wrap" from Tahki Yarns. It's knit lengthwise. I cast on fewer stitches than the pattern called for so I could have a bit more height than length in the final piece. It's a super-easy pattern with yarn-overs added on one row and dropped on the next to provide a lacy effect which will be more pronounced once I block the piece

Getting Ready for the 2019 NC State Fair

Registration deadline for entries to the North Carolina State Fair is coming up fast so I'm now working on several projects that, up to now, had just been vague ideas. So far, I'm finishing up (1) a knitted baby sweater, (2) a tatted edging for a pillowcase, and (3) a crocheted edging for a tea towel. I have ideas for a few other items but I will need to give them some more thought. I won't post photos of any pieces until they are actually entered in the fair in October. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 4, 2019

This Summer's Charity Knitting

Although I've been pretty inactive on the blog this summer, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy crafting. One of the projects I've been working on is making items to donate to the local charity Note in the Pocket. Their mission: "We provide clothing to impoverished and homeless schoolchildren in Wake County [NC] with dignity and love. Note in the Pocket believes that it is unacceptable that children are limited in their educational and social development because they do not have appropriate clothes for school.

This is the latest batch I've finished: 2 scarves and 34 hats. I've gone through so much of my stash of acrylic yarn that I've had to buy more to continue making the hats. The majority were knitted using a simple pattern that I modified from one I found in my library of knitting books. The pattern works up very fast so that I can make a hat in just a few hours of knitting.

Here's the pattern that I used for the majority of the hats:

Child's Simple Knitted Hat
Hat body
1.       Cast on 80 stitches on 16" circular needle.
2.       Join & place marker.
3.       Work K2 P2 rib for 8 rows.
4.       Continue in stockinette stitch for 28 rounds.
Crown Shaping Decreases
Change to double-pointed needles when there are too few stitches to fix on the circular needle.
1.       (K8, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
2.       K next round -- 72 stitches
3.       (K7, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
4.       K next round -- 64 stitches
5.       (K6, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
6.       K next round -- 56 stitches
7.       (K5, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
8.       K next round -- 48 stitches
9.       (K4, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
10.   K next round -- 40 stitches
11.   (K3, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
12.   K next round -- 32 stitches
13.   (K2, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
14.   K next round -- 24 stitches
15.   (K1, K2tog) -- repeat pattern to marker
16.   K next round -- 16 stitches
17.   K2tog 8 times -- 8 stitches

Cut yarn leaving 8" tail & thread through the remaining stitches.
Pull together tightly & secure end.
Weave in any loose ends.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tatting Resources

I just compiled this list of links to resources for tatters for a tatter who I met on my recent trip to Scotland. Perhaps others who read this blog may find the information useful, too.

Social media site for tatters. Lots of patterns, discussions, library. Free membership.

Facebook Groups

Local groups that I belong to:
·         Tri-Tatters -- the Triangle-area group of tatters. Monthly meetings in Raleigh. Membership is free.

·         NCRL - North Carolina Regional Lacers
-- this group is out of Raleigh, but we have members from western part of Virginia and all over North Carolina. A lot of bobbin lace members, but we tatters are a growing in membership. Also supports other forms of lace making: knitted, crochet, needle lace. NCRL has a Spring Lace Day in Chapel Hill each year. Membership is $15/year, but membership is not required to attend the Lace Day vendor area.

Other tatting Facebook groups that I belong to:
·         Tatting
·         Tatting-Frivolite-Orecchini
·         Tatting lovers---amanti del chiacchierino!
·         Frivoliteter är ett fantastiskt handarbete!
·         Lacemakers
·         Frivoliteras
·         Tatting ayşemekik 2
·         Tatting Shuttle Addicts....
·         Just-Tatting
·         Tatters of Lace

The Palmetto Tatters Guild in South Carolina sponsors an annual Tat Days in Toccoa, Georgia in September. You can get info on the event on their website:

Other groups that sponsor tatting conventions:
·         Finger Lakes Tatting Group in Hector, NY
·         Shuttlebirds Tatting Guild in Spokane, WA
·         Fringe Element Tatters in Ontario, Canada

Sources of tatting threads, shuttles, books, and other supplies: 
·         Handy Hands
Online only
Quarterly newsletter for $5/year, subscription entitles you to discounts on purchases

Online only
Free monthly newsletter with tatting pattern
·         Tatting Corner
Online and physical store in Indiana

·         DS9Design
Online only

·         Snowgoose Lace
Online only

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I'm Baaak! And I've Been Very Busy

Although I have not posted anything on this blog since March, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. I'm going to catch up with photos of all my recent projects so that I'll have the old projects recorded before I post photos of my 2018 North Carolina State Fair entries.

One of my crafty activities this summer was to take a 2-session class on brioche knitting. This technique has always intrigued and eluded me. After the first class with Rachel at Downtown Knits in Apex, NC, I saw why I needed professional instruction. When you skip or drop a stitch in brioche knitting, it is hellishly hard for a beginner to find and fix the mistake. Fortunately, Rachel made herself available between classes when she was staffing the store. I came and sat to work on the class project and if I had a problem, I would run to her between her taking care of customers.

Our class project was "Worsted Brioche Bandana Cowl" by Lavanya Patricella Designs available for purchase on Ravelry. The yarn in the photo below is not the yarn I purchased at the yarn shop for the class. I actually got so frustrated with the project that I made the cowl out of worsted that I had in my stash so I wouldn't wear out the more expensive yarn by constant frogging. The yarn I used for this cowl is Plymouth Encore Worsted in colorway 146 Natural and an Encore Worsted in colorway 1001 Merry, a twist of green and red.

As you can see, with brioche knitting you have a double-sided garment with each side reversing the dominant color of the other side.

Here's the cowl I finally made with the yarn I bought for the class. It's pretty much the same as the one above, but I omitted the bandana point on this one since I didn't personally care for it. The yarn is worsted weight wool, but I've no idea what it was since I've mislaid the skein label (I'll update the post if I ever figure it out).

 After I felt more competent with the technique, I made a scarf with Plymouth Encore worsted and various colors of yarn leftovers. The pattern is Nancy Marchant's "BEBEB (Best Ever Beautifully Edged Brioche) Scarf." The pattern is free and a good one for brioche beginners.

Also made this hat using Plymouth Encore worsted in colorway 146 Natural and Plymouth Encore Colorspun in colorway 8004 Rainbow. The free pattern is Marilynn Blacketer's "Brioche Basic Beanie."

Now that I've mastered the basics I hope to move on to more complicated patterns. To inspire me I recently purchased Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant which definitely takes the technique to a higher level of complexity.