Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ekks - I'm going to try to STEEK!

This coming Sunday (9/21/2014) I'm going to take a class on steeking! I'm excited and frightened to cut into some knitting. If you are near the DMV-area register now at WoolWinders yarn shop to learn and master this technique from Terry!

I'll let you know how it goes! Stay tuned....

Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Class: Basic Dog Sweater 101

My last Basic Dog Sweater class was such a hit we are doing it again!

Join me at Woolwinders Yarn Shop on Saturday, September 27th and October 11th from 9-11am to learn how to knit a dog sweater that will fit your little (or big!) pup!

This class is perfect for learning about gauge and how to design your project to fit. Yes there is some math involved but the outcome is well worth it! And really, I'm right there with you so it's not scary at all! This is class one of a series (!!!) so it can be thought of as Dog Sweater 101. You learn the basics and how to get a really classic looking dog sweater. Class 201 will start in November and will kick up the techniques and skills a bit. Be on the lookout for the that class description and registration information!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure: Boot Cuff

I have an upcoming class at Woolwinders: Choose Your Own Adventure: Boot Cuff edition! It's a Choose Your Own Adventure class because students will get a chance to learn or hone skills while knitting in the round. The skills this time around include: cables, lace and/or joggless stripes!

On Saturday, September 6th students will choose between (or all) three patterns:

UGG Hug Boot Toppers by Alexandra Davidoff


Feather Lace Boot Toppers by Paula McKeever

Or a Joggless Stripe Boot Topper

I'm pretty excited about this class because it's a little different as a number of students could be knitting different boot toppers at the same time! Actually it would be GREAT if we had a lot of students in the class and different people were working on different techniques at the same time and we could have cable, lace and stripe "stations" going on. Fingers crossed for a good turn out!

Ahhh boot season. I'm so ready for Autumn!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rainbow Socks

Has it really been a month since the last blog post?! Well I have to say -- I've been busy! Lots of knitting done but work has been crazy (all good stuff but so much to do!), knitting classes have been full and oh yeah, throw in a move to a new apartment into the mix.

Like I said - a lot has been happening!

I have a number of projects completed so over the next couple of weeks I will showcase other completed (and not-so-completed) projects, as well as some new knitting classes I'll be teaching. I'll start things off with my new Rainbow Socks:

Started: March 14, 2014
Finished: July 20, 2014

This sock yarn is okay. Yep, just okay. I have used this Knit Picks yarn before and I recall not loving the fact that it stretches like whoa after a couple of wearings. Did that stop me from ordering it when it was discontinued and on super sale? Nope. I had to buy this because 1 - it's self-striping and who doesn't like self-striping yarn, 2 - it is in a rainbow colorway (and everyone should have a pair of rainbow socks), and 3 - it really was cheap.

I followed Wendy Johnson's Basic Toe-up Sock pattern with the short row toe and heel options. And because this yarn stretches, sags and looses it's form easily I thought I'd try a 2x2 rib. Also I held elastic on the toe, heel and cuff. Hopefully these things stay put!

I tried to finish the socks for Easter. Clearly I failed that attempt. Actually I did complete the socks but I ran into an issue. I used one whole ball for sock one and did the same exact number of rows on sock two with ball two:
15 rows on toes
57 rows on foot
10 short-rows for heel
155 rows for leg
Held elastic for 5 rows on cuff (changed to 1x1 rib)

And I ran out of yarn WAY before I got to 155 rows! I think I had approximately 130 rows when I noticed I was running low in yarn. If I could go back I would have weighted the two skeins prior to starting just to check. To this day I am not sure if I had more in than the 164 yards in the one skein or less yardage in the other. So I had to rip back on the first sock and this just killed my mojo for completing the project. So it just sat in the corner of my room for a couple of months. But now they are complete (and have matching lengths despite what my photographs display....).

So another fun knit. We'll see if they wear well. But I really can't complain when I got the yarn uber cheap!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Yoga Socks

Probably the weirdest thing I've knit thus far (actually maybe not [thinking about the yoda hat, diva cozy, and doggy poop bag dispenser]) but a quick and fun knit! Okay, after making hyperlinks to these other knits I've realized I've made a lot of very odd things. Anyways....

Yoga Socks!  

Started: June 14, 2014
Finished: June 16, 2014
Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98% cotton, 2% elastic)

This yarn drove me nuts! 

We had a knitted sample sock at the shop and I couldn't stop stretching it. I would pick up the sock and walk around the store stretching it. You know those stress balls that you squeeze? Similar to that, except I would stretch it because this cotton yarn is so stretchy (so sorry to my shop peep who knit this!!).

After making fun of the yarn and saying how gross cotton yarn is you know I had to buy it right?

I knit a small square swatch and brought it to work so I could stretch it when feeling stressed. But that took up less than a quarter of the ball. So I started to look around a different projects and settled on making yoga socks. I liked this particular pattern because i figured the thong-sock would actually stay put rather than rolling or moving up my foot as I tried to do a yoga pose.

The project itself is easy. The pattern was a little rough... HOWEVER, the pattern was originally written in German (I think) and was translated into English by I'm assuming an ESL. But it's all good because it was a simple enough pattern that one could easily wing it and figure it out from some of the pattern instructions. I did have to change the number of CO sts and decrease rows because this Fixation yarn is a DK whereas the original pattern is written for a fingering weight yarn.

Pattern Mods:
Using a provisional CO - 20 stitches
Decreased until 3 stitches left (one decrease both ends of RS, one decrease on WS)
Worked i-cord for 4 rows
Increased until 20 stitches (one increase both ends of RS, one increase on WS)
Picked up 20 stitches from the provisional CO, worked 1 row in sts.

On the heel I worked a couple of rows of 2x2 ribbing so it would hug the heel area.

After using the socks once I think they are okay. Fine for during a warm up, or if I wanted to just do some simple yoga stretching at home. I might use some puffy paint and make some "grippys" on the bottom. We'll see.

Overall, another fun and functional knit!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How Much Yarn?

Recently I helped a student calculate the amount of yarn she had leftover. She had worked a scarf from two balls of yarn and had no idea how much yarn was used and was hoping to have enough for a matching hat. I told her it would be no problem to calculate approximate yarn amounts based on the weight and I was met by others in the class looking confused or with wonder.

So here's a quick little tutorial on how I calculated the approximate left over yardage.

Materials Needed: 

  • Left over yarn
  • Yarn information (weight and amounts started with) 
  • Basic Kitchen scale
  • Calculator (because although I love math, I can't do calculations in my head, no matter how easy!)


Start with your left-over yarn. If you have the original ball band that is great, you can use the numbers from there. If you don't have the ball band but you know the name of the yarn, manufaturer or anything that can be used to figure out the yarn specs plug it into Ravelry (first shot), Yarndex (second shot) or Google (third shot). Hopefully you can find the original amounts (weight and yardage/meters) the skein was.

In this situation we were lucky and we had the ball band:

So we started with approximately (notice this approx!) 138 yards (126 meters) and 3.5 oz (100 grams).

I typically work in metrics -- except (for some reason) when I talk about yards of yarn. Very odd, I know. But here I'll show the calculations for both metric and US system.

Next step is to weigh the yarn. If you have a basic kitchen scale you can do this.

When you turn it on make sure you notice if it is in grams or oz. Typically (depending on the scale) you can change to your preferred system by pushing a "units" button.

Next you will need to make sure to "tare" the scale so it reads "0". If you find that your yarn does not sit properly on the scale put a light bowl (or another container) onto the scale and hit "tare." Now we have the scale set to 0.

Now is the easy part. Put your skein on the scale and see how much your leftover yarn weighs.

Here you can see we have 95 grams. If we wanted to see that in oz we can just change the units on the scale to oz (we have 3 3/8 oz).

Next is the part that throws people... but really it's fun. Just a little Plug and Chug!

Take your Original Yardage (OY)
Multiply the New Weight (NW)

Divide that number (OY/NW) by the Original Weight (OW)

And this will give your your New Yardage (NY).

The formula:

So Plug n' Chug (first in metric) :

Original yardage (OY) = 126 meters
New Weight (NW) = 95 grams
Original Weight (OW) = 100 grams

OR Plug n' Chug in US standard:

Original yardage (OY) = 138 yards
New Weight (NW) = 3.375 oz
Original Weight (OW) = 3.5 oz


So we have approximately 119.7 meters or 133 yards of yarn left.

Discussion and Conclusions: 

Now word of caution. We are working off a LOT of approximate weights and lengths. Note that on the original ball band, it CLEARLY states that we have approximately 100 grams of yarn in each skein. And then you have the accuracy of the scale to question. We use a kitchen scale, this is not a laboratory scale where we calibrate it every couple weeks or so. So there are a lot of factors that could come to play -- so we have approximately 119 meters or 133 yards left. I would not pick a pattern that calls for 133 yards of yarn... just in case!

Yay for math!

Monday, July 14, 2014

French Press Slippers for Work

Cute and comfy. That's what I needed for work.

Recently I converted my work station into a stand-up desk. Actually I can stand or sit with a simple lever pull. But I really like being able to stand and work rather than sitting for hours at a time.

But I wear dresses and suits to work and standing in heels is rather unpleasant. Sure I could kick off my shoes but standing barefoot in my office place just seems rather odd (at least to me). So I decided to look for a pair of cute slipper type of things that I could knit up and wear while standing at my desk. Enter the famous French Press Slippers that were so popular a couple of years ago!

Yarn: Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool Worsted (100% merino wool)
Started: June 28, 2014
Finished: July 6, 2014

This was a super quick knit!

  • Two days to knit
  • Two evenings of seaming (because I'm slow and did this while watching tv!)
  • One afternoon of felting (not the whole afternoon - two cycles in my machine)
  • 3 days to dry (because it has been humid as heck here in the DC area)
  • 1 day of finishing (because I'm slow at sewing buttons and straps) 

No modifications (really!). This is a very well written pattern. I guess if I were to knit these again I might seam the heel a little different so it doesn't pucker as much. But really I think this pattern and project is perfect as is. It was my first time felting on purpose (I'm trying to forget about the last mess) and between the pattern and the support I had from peeps things went smoothly. For example, I was told to put the slippers into a pillowcase or a lingerie bag so the fibers don't clog the washing machine pipes. Something I would have never thought twice about until I was cleaning hairballs out of the drum. Another peep mentioned using an old pair of jeans for agitation but to make sure to zip up the fly so felting projects don't get caught into the teeth. Another very good tip!

After a couple of days of wearing the slippers at work (and a number of complements!) I've found that I should probably add some sort of "grippy" type of substance to the bottom. I don't walk around in these, just at my desk, but the wool on the carpet is rather slippery and having something to add to traction would help. Especially if I start doing any of these:
(check out the #4 Celebratory Split Squat Jumps)