Posts Tagged ‘garter stitch’

How to Light a Fire Under a Knitter

May 26, 2017

Most of my afternoon knitting sessions with tween girls consist of a lively mix of joke telling, spontaneous singing and dancing, high volume stories of school, sports, and friends, and occasional knitting. I’ll often knit a row or round for every one they knit.

However, this week, I unconsciously threw down the knitting gauntlet (after all, who can knit with a gauntlet?!) and the results were remarkable. A couple of weeks ago, they’d started garter stitch headbands. Because she’d started earlier, Ella was a few inches ahead of Brigid, and I commented that she could probably finish that afternoon. “Do you think I’ll finish today?” asked Brigid. “I doubt it,” I replied.

Boom! The race began. United in their indignation that I’d doubted their abilities and ready for the challenge, their fingers flew. Progress was measured every two or three minutes.

Headband-measure

They helped each other with the decreases and i-cord. Ella was first to bind off.

Headband-bind-off

While she dashed off to change for lacrosse practice, Brigid zipped through the final few inches and sewed the ends together.

“YOU didn’t think we could do it, and we DID!” Delighted in their victory, they agreed to hold still for a photo.

B&E-headbands

They’re so awesome. I never doubted them for a minute!

Nothing like finishing

March 31, 2017

Each Friday, I spend 90 minutes with 7 or 8 fourth grade girls at a nearby after-school program. I’m there to teach knitting, but mostly I just try to keep up with their questions, energy, anxieties, and aspirations.

“Help! I messed up! Oh wait, never mind.”

“I want to knit slippers. How many stitches should I cast on?” Said while holding nothing but a ball of Sugar ‘N Cream cotton yarn and size 7 (mm) needles

“I was going to go on the field trip today but my stomach hurt from worrying, so I decided to come to knitting instead.”

Last week, Lily finished the last couple of inches of a garter stitch scarf, a gift for her aunt who was coming over for dinner. Another knitter volunteered to model. I love her t-shirt — Try And Stop Me — which conveys the fierceness that so many 10-year-old girls possess.

Garter-stitch-scarf

As she carefully folded the scarf and put it into her backpack, Lily wondered aloud, “I hope she likes it. I know she likes these colors but will she like the scarf?”

“How could she not like it?” a fellow Fearless Knitter asked and then confidently answered her own question, “You made it and she loves you.”

So very true.

 

 

Good Day for a Baby Sweater

March 24, 2017

I haven’t knit anything baby-ish in a while, but the Gidday Baby sweater (Tosh DK in Leopard and Maple Leaf) and reminds me how enjoyable such projects can be. Starting with the first few rows of garter stitch in alternating colors, I was hooked.

gidday-baby-sweater-neck

My recent spate of travels gave me lots of opportunities to work on the sweater — with the exception of my ill-fated Kentucky trip during which I found myself without the necessary next ball of yarn. In case anyone’s still wondering, my suitcase did arrive at the hotel — about an hour before I checked out and headed for flight back to Boston. Better late than never and all that.

Once I’d cast off and woven in the few ends that remained, I tossed the sweater into the sink for a pre-block soak. I’m a full-water blocker, preferring it to steaming, assuming that I’ve got the time, which I generally do. After I patted it into shape, I left it in the sunshine for a while.

Gidday-blocking

Something was missing, namely a couple of tiny buttons to hold the yoke together. So the sweater and I spent about 15 minutes at a nearby yarn store trying on different buttons before deciding on these stylish, square-ish pair.

Gidday-baby-sweater-buttons

It’s all come together quite nicely, and I’m looking forward to walking it down the street to my newest neighbor.

Gidday-baby-sweater

 

 

Knits for a New Life

February 28, 2017

There’s a new person our street, a baby girl born last month, and that is a cause for celebration! And how does (this) one celebrate a new life? By knitting something small that isn’t a pair of socks.

I showed what I consider remarkable fortitude by searching through my stash for yarn with which to make something for this new little one. It would have been much, much easier and more efficient to spend an hour at my local yarn store, perusing patterns and buying yarn. As much as I love to boost the local economy and support a local business, I’m trying to exercise some financial discipline when it comes to yarn. Plus there’s the space issue: how many plastic boxes of yarn can one person have?

I’d already decided against a traditional pink, preferring to go with a blend of bright and neutral colors. Gidday Baby by Tikki Knits seemed like the perfect match for the two skeins of Madeline Tosh DK that I bought last summer at the lovely fLoCk on Nantucket.

On my flight to Philadelphia this past weekend, I cast on and worked a few rounds.

gidday-baby-sweater-neck

Switching colors every two rows and bringing up the yarns along the side made for quick knitting. Of course, after two rounds of 20+ stitch increases, my pace slowed a bit. On the train down to Washington on Sunday afternoon, I managed a couple more rounds after doing some prep for client meetings.

gidday-baby-sweater-train

I think I’m going to like this project.

 

Wrapped Up in Knitted Love

January 19, 2017

Since she joined my knitting class in the fall, Tracy has proved herself an intrepid and very generous knitter. Her very first project was a lovely GAPtastic shawl for her teen daughter.

Tracy wearing gaptastic seed stitch cowl

Her most recent finished project is a super cozy, very soft garter stitch baby blanket. It’s made with a super bulky acrylic yarn, something that can stand up to months (even years) of spits, spills, and washings.

garter-stitch-baby-blanket

I always love to get photos of finished projects from students, friends, and family. There’s nothing quite like seeing a new item, something that has love knit into every stitch, in action. Like this lucky baby boy, wrapped in love.

baby wrapped in knit garter stitch blanket

#BabyBurrito

Isn’t That Cozy?!

November 13, 2016

Fearless Knitter Rachel, she of the lovely chromatic cowl among other projects, emailed recently to show off her knitted tea cozy. 


Knit in the round in garter stitch (I think), it’s bright, snug, and sure to keep your teapot warm. 

Rachel’s from England so she knows tea. Looking for a gift to knit for a friend or relative? 

Do you have a Christmas gift knitting list? What’s on it? Mine’s not very extensive and is a secret for now. 

Two Girls, Two Knitted Tubes

June 1, 2016

Longtime readers have heard how much I love to teach knitting. This year, I’ve expanded my students to include three marvelous pre-teen girls, each a Fearless Knitter in her own right.

At our most recent class, L finished the garter stitch hat that she’d knitted with a rainbow of Noro. She had declared her previous garter stitch hat “too short” and was determined to make this one longer so that it’d droop in back.The last inch or so was completed and careful seaming commenced.

seam-garter-stitch-hat

The result is a tubular “stove pipe” that is gathered at one end.

garter-stitch-hat-tube

A big green pom pom was the finishing touch.

garter-stitch-hat-pompom

I wasn’t surprised when B declared that she wanted to design her own striped leg warmers. Having decided partway through her first garter stitch hat that she’d really prefer to make fingerless gloves, she’s a girl who has an image of a finished product in mind. Leg warmer #1 was seamed, ends woven in (you’ll have to trust us on that since they’re on the inside), and modeled.

Being a dancer, B was particularly proud of her pointed toes in this shot.

stripe-leg-warmer

And she thought the sparkly sneakers were a great accompaniment to the leg warmer. Don’t you agree?

knit-striped-leg-warmer

Turning a Hat into Fingerless Gloves

February 6, 2016

For the past couple of months, I’ve had the great pleasure of teaching knitting to three 5th grade girls. We gather at one girl’s house and spend 90 minutes knitting, chatting (and listening) about sports, school, older siblings (ugh!),  and ideas for next projects. “Do you think I could make this?”  “How long do you think it’d take to make this?”

They all started on the same project: a garter stitch hat with bulky weight yarn. A simple rectangle that will be pulled on one end at bind-off and topped with a big pom-pom.

Last week, Brigid decided that she’d rather turn her hat-to-be into fingerless gloves. Why not?

After measuring her wrist, we realized the time – and length- were right. So I showed her how to bind off and then how to seam.

We marked the thumb hole, and she seamed up to that point. Then the top little bit and voila!

She was thrilled — and rightly so. The other two girls were appropriately happy for her and encouraged her to cast on the next on quickly “otherwise you might stop at one.”  So wise!

Baby Steps Complete

July 23, 2014

There are few life events better than becoming a grandparent. At least, that’s what new grandparents tell me. It’s not a transition I expect to be making anytime soon.

My dear friend Pat is justifiably besotted with her first granddaughter, a lovely, bright-eyed sprite born in mid-May to Pat’s son and his sweet wife. As Pat’s own birthday approached last month, I pondered how to mark that occasion and decided that a baby sweater would be the perfect gift. I know, I know, it’s not an item she can use herself, but what’s a gift anyway but something with personal meaning that’s given with love?

Although the Baby Steps Cardigan is knit entirely in garter stitch, with nary a purl in sight, the construction is clever. I learned how to do a provisional cast-on (used white “waste” yarn), so I could pick up and make the sleeves. I just love the hues of the Mermaid colorway in the Manos Silk Blend.

Baby_steps_cardigan_progress

The back is knit from the center out with regular yarnovers that create a star burst (of sorts).

IMG_3778

Did I mention how much I love the colors?

IMG_3776

Choosing the right button took a while. I was drawn — as I usually am — to the blues and purples, but they didn’t stand out as much as the smooth, lemony one that I finally selected.

IMG_3777

I think the birthday girl will be pleased.

 

 

 

Simply Square

August 20, 2013

Beauty can be found in the intricate and the simple and, sometimes, in the combination of the two. For example, the Albers Cowl, which takes the simple square and, like its inspiration, Homage to the Square by designer-artist-educator Josef Albers, invites an almost endless interplay of color.

The cowl was the project featured in the cruise workshop on color theory. As you can see from the works in progress, the variety is beautiful.

AlbersCowlsGroup

The knitting itself is quite simple: garter stitch (aka knitting back and forth). There’s also a fair bit of binding off and picking up stitches along the edges.

AlbersPickUp

I’ve used four colors for my first square: apple green (leftover from Color Affection), cream, gold, and black with flecks of purple and green. It’s a log cabin construction, starting with a square in the middle, then adding a thin rectangle along the bottom edge, one up each side, and another along the top.

Albers1

The second square uses three colors: the very last bits of the apple green, cream, and purple. It’s not yet done, but I like the combination. Pardon the shadow. I was knitting while waiting in line for the ferry and just dropped it on the bricks to snap a quick shot.

Albers2

What I don’t like is that this square is turning out to be larger (significantly so) than the first. Same needles but the flecked black is a different (smaller) yarn, so that may explain the difference. I’m not going to think about whether I’ll take apart and reknit the black border of #1 — at least, not just yet.

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