Knitting: with two hands!

two-handed knitting

I have been knitting since 2006. Almost eight whole years! I gave it a shot after crocheting for about 6 months and fell in love. Actually, that’s a lie. I hated knitting. It took me three tries and mostly because the book I was using only demonstrated the English style and my brain just did not understand what to do with yarn in my right hand. I was so used to holding the yarn over my left hand and working the hook with my right. When I found videos of Continental knitting, I had that “aha!” moment and things went more smoothly.

I’ve given English knitting a try here and there through the years. I knew it would make fair isle and colorwork easier if I could hold yarn in both hands. It never really stuck, though. I always went back to Continental, even during stranded knitting projects.

Well, a few weeks ago, I bought some L├ętt-Lopi to feel it out for a future sweater and to see the colors in person. I couldn’t wait and decided to draft up a colorwork pattern for the yarn.

lopi colors graph paper pencil knitting

After a bunch of drafts that included sharpies, fine felt tip pens, and eventually a spreadsheet, I got to work on a beanie! I knew from the get go I would need to practice my English knitting and worked every other round of the rib like that. It was a chore, but eventually my right hand seemed to “wake up” and get it. It felt less and less awkward as the rounds went by. Soon, I was breezing through my charts! The first wasn’t a very intuitive color pattern, but once I started feeling antsy and/or bored with it, it was time to move on!

close-up

colorwork crown

this and that beanie

I’m calling it my “This and That” beanie because it’s got a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I love love love the sprinkling of contrast stitches in the crown. I did the same thing with some colorwork beanies I made a few years ago. Those beanies took days to create and the one in this post took two measly evenings! I’m pretty happy with that.

Are you working on any new skills? This one seems kind of simple, as English knitting is often how knitters start, but for me, it was a milestone! I feel like I could knit a fair isle sweater or something!

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Goodknits for Craftsy

First: Hi! I hope you had a nice Easter weekend. We were on the go Friday through Sunday. I was completely exhausted by the end (also fighting some sort of sick that made things harder/more dramatic than they needed to be), but we had a great weekend!

Second: Come check out the blog’s new look! I actually put it up a while ago, but hadn’t officially “announced” it yet. I de-cluttered the sidebars a bit and composed an actual page with all my patterns and/or tutorials! Check THAT out, here: PATTERNS & DIY.

Third: Here are three posts I have written for the Craftsy blog recently. I’ve begun to write a few more crochet pieces. It was my first love and I’m always happy to share it!

tutorial: crochet roses
Make an Everlasting Rose: A Crochet Tutorial (GREAT for Mother’s Day!)

Four decorative crochet stitches
4 Decorative Crochet Stitches for You to Try!

A Guide to Garter Stitch
A Guide to Garter Stitch: All You Need to Know

One of my very favorite things about writing for the Craftsy blog is designing the title image. Ha!

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Goodknits for Craftsy (huge round-up!)

Since the last time I posted about Craftsy, I have written quite a few posts for their knitting blog. I tend to average about one a week, though February was a big month and I wrote seven. A few of the posts are round-ups, which start with a topic and then evolve into a round-up of interesting/related patterns from the Craftsy community. You can find my profile here, which includes links to ALL my posts. I thought I’d share my top 10:

I-cord bind off tutorial
I-cord Bind Off Instructions & Tutorial

Designing & Knitting with eyelets
Designing & Knitting with Eyelets

+Beginner Lace Knitting: Tips for Getting Started
+Explore the Different Types of Lace Knitting Stitches

Kitchener Stitch Tutorial
Kitchener Stitch Tutorial

Long Tail Cast-on Tutorial
Long Tail Cast-on Tutorial


What is Continental Knitting?

Knit a custom cup cozy
Knitting & Recycling: how to knit a custom cup cozy

How to Knit Bobbles
How to Knit Bobbles

Linen Stitch Tutorial
Falling in Love with Linen Stitch

As you can see, I have a tendency to post beginner tutorials. I love spreading the joy of knitting to those who might feel a little intimidated by the process. I know that when I started knitting, I thought it was boring as hell. I could not get into it! I hope that these posts on Craftsy will help new knitters discover techniques and skills to enjoy knitting more.

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“All is Full of Fluff” knit pillow pattern

All is Full of Fluff knit pillow pattern

Pillows are my jam, right now! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, a heart pillow was naturally on the top of my list. I wanted something fun and most definitely pink. This is the first time I’ve used a fur yarn and I kind of LOVE it.

Materials
2 skeins Lion Brand Luxe Fur in pink and 1 skein of worsted weight acrylic. I’m not 100% sure of the brand–I just looked for a hot pink in my scraps that blended well with my fur yarn. I would guess it was about 100 yards.
9 mm (US 13) needles
yarn needle for sewing/weaving in ends
poly-fil stuffing

Abbreviations
CO: cast on
K: knit
Kfb: knit in front and back loop of stitch
K2tog: knit two together
SSK: slip slip knit (slip each of the next two stitches separately, then put them back on the left needle and K them together)

Pattern
Make 2

Bottom of heart
With BOTH yarns, CO 2
Row 1: Kfb across, turn. (4)
Row 2-3: K, turn. (4)
Row 4: Kfb, K 2, Kfb, turn. (6)
Row 5-6: K, turn. (6)
Row 7: Kfb, K 4, Kfb, turn. (8)
Row 8-9: K, turn. (8)
Row 10: Kfb, K 6, Kfb, turn. (10)
Row 11-12: K, turn. (10)
Row 13: Kfb, K 8, Kfb, turn. (12)
Row 14-15: K, turn. (12)
Repeat the process of increasing in the first and last stitches and knitting two even rows between the increase rows until you have 24 stitches on your needle. Knit 3 rows and then move on to the lobe directions.

Lobe
Row 1: K 10, K2tog, turn. (11 stitches, leave 12 un-worked on other needle)
Row 2-3: K, turn. (11)
Row 4: SSK, K 9, turn. (10)
Row 5: SSK, K 8, turn. (9)
Row 6: K, turn. (9)
Row 7: K 7, K2tog, turn. (8)
Row 8: K 6, SSK, turn. (7)
Row 9: K, turn. (7)
Row 10: SSK, K 3, K2tog, turn. (5)
Row 11: K, turn. (5)
Row 12: SSK, K 1, K2tog, turn. (3)
Bind off 3 stitches.

Attach yarns at outside edge of remaining 12 stitches, arranging them on opposite needle. Repeat Rows 1-12 for second lobe. When you turn after Round 12, the wrong side will be facing. Bind off all stitches. Weave in ends on this wrong side.

After making two hearts, arrange them with wrong sides together and whip stitch them together with the worsted weight yarn only. Leave a 2-inch gap for stuffing. I stuffed mine almost until it was a little too stiff. From my experience, over-stuffing is better because it will get compacted with use. Sew the gap shut once you are satisfied with the amount of fluff.

All is Full of Fluff, knit pillow pattern from goodknits

I’m not sure if this pillow will be out all year, but for now, it’s sitting pretty on my couch, which I am still loving. I want to make a million pillows for it but at the same time I just want to stare at the bare couch all the time. Maybe I should just knit a pillow for every season/holiday so I can have a nice selection from which to choose!

All if Full of Fluff, knit pillow pattern from goodknits

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Knitting: big blue pouf

blue and gray

My first project of 2014 is complete! I started it on December 30 and finished it up on the 6th.

Pattern: Pouf pattern from DROPS design with modifications, listed below
Yarn: 5 skeins of Loops & Threads Charisma in electric blue and 2 skeins of Lion Brand’s Homespun in lagoon; 2 strands of Charisma and 1 strand of Homespun held together
Needle: 9 mm (US 13)
Modifications: I used different yarn and needle size, so I adjusted the pattern a bit to accommodate. I CO 38 stitches and my short rows were worked to 6 stitches before the end, then 12. I knit in seed stitch instead of garter until it was about 50″ along the center.

I stuffed it with a standard pillow wrapped in a twin size duvet wrapped in a flat queen size sheet. It turned out the perfect height for use as an ottoman/foot stool in front of our new couch! Oh, I forgot to mention: we bought a new couch! Finally. After living in this house for 3.5 years and only having a love seat + 2 chairs, we now have a couch. I feel so grown up.

knitting: big blue pouf

bigblue6

cozy times ahead

bigblue8

knitted pouf

bigblue7

It’s also a pretty great seat for my boys to do their homework at the coffee table.

What’s your first project of the year? Oh yeah, HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m only a week and a half late. I hope everyone had a nice holiday. The kids are finally back in school and so I have a little more time to knit.
Tell me: what’s on your needles/hooks?

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