Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Frankie's Button Bands

Frankie's Button Bands are easy knit wristbands, embellished with buttons or beads, are not only fashionable, but they are also a fun way to use up scraps of yarn. This is a great project for girls of all ages!

Instructions are given for three loom sizes: 5/16” (3/8”, 7/16-1/2”) gauge using between 6 to 9 pegs. The bands are approximately 1 x 7 inches, but they can easily be adapted to any size.

This is a loom knitted adaptation of Frankie Brown’s original design, Button Bands, and generously used with her permission. Frankie’s patterns and my loom knit adaptions of her patterns published on Ravelry are all free. However, if you enjoy these patterns, please consider donating to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, which is a very deserving cause. Any donation will be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Loom stitches: Houndstooth Checks

Houndstooth Checks worked on 1/2 inch gauge knitting loom with bulky (#5) yarn
One of my favorite pastimes is translating needle knit stitch patterns to knitting looms. This is occasionally a challenge since I'm not a needle knitter, but it is a good mental exercise. However, I can always browse through knit stitch books and online sites thinking of all the lovely projects one can make with these stitch patterns even though it seems to be my fate to only knit unique little swatches since my time is very limited. The next best thing is to share the translated stitch patterns with other loom knitters and live vicariously through them when they use my translations in their projects.

Houndstooth checks is a tessellated pattern of alternating light and dark colors that originated in the Scottish Lowlands as a woven wool design and introduced into the US as a fabric in men's suits by a high end New York department store in the early 1930's. As the saying goes, the rest is history. You can now find the pattern in every possible color combination and utilized not only in clothing, but all sorts of accessories and household items. It is also revered by the University of Alabama in memory their beloved 1970's football coach, "Bear" Bryant, who always wore his trademark houndstooth hat to every football game. On that note, I give you the Houndstooth Check stitch pattern.

I've found two methods for creating houndstooth checks: Fair Isle stranded method and slip stitch method. While the Fair Isle method is more traditional, my instructions focus on the slip stitch method, because it produces a very nice check pattern without excessive amounts of floats on the reverse side of the fabric. Minimizing floats is more important if you are using a large gauge knitting loom (i.e., Knifty Knitter, Darice, etc.), but becomes less of an issue on the finer gauge looms and needle knitting. Here are the basic slip stitch instructions:

Houndstooth Checks Stitch Pattern
Multiple of 3 pegs
Two contrasting colors of yarn

Abbreviations
  • MC = main color
  • CC = contrasting color
  • k = knit stitch
  • sl1 wyib = slip one with yarn in back. (Instead of knitting the peg, you will bring the working yarn behind the peg and on to the next peg.)
  • rep = repeat 
Row 1 (MC): k1, *sl1 wyib, k2; rep from * to last 2 sts, sl1 wyib, k1
Row 2 (MC): k all pegs
Row 3 (CC): sl1 wyib, k2; rep from * to end
Row 4 (CC): k all pegs

Notes:   
  • These instructions are for the basic stitch pattern. To prevent a flat item from rolling, you need to work either a garter, seed or moss stitch stitch pattern for at least two rows after casting on, two rows prior to binding off and several stitches along each edge.  
  • Do not cut the yarn when changing colors, but carry it along the edge. It is important when changing colors at the end of the row that you twist or hold the old color horizontal while bringing the new color up and over the old color. 
This version of the Houndstooth Pattern was adapted and translated to the knitting loom from The Harmony Guides: 450 Knitting Stitches, Volume 2. The Harmony Guides have become the most used books in my crafting library.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monkey house, a log cabin square

Monkey House Squares made on the KB Sock Loom 2
To me, "Monkey house" is the perfect name for a log cabin square make in sock monkey colors. While the squares above were made about a month ago, my adventure into creating log cabin squares actually started back last winter when someone on one of the loom knitting lists asked if log cabin squares could be made on the knitting looms. After studying up on the history of the log cabin motif and how needle knitters constructed these squares (see link list at the end of this post), I was ready to give it a try.

While gauge is not that important to creating the overall square, it is imperative that the gauge remain constant in order to effectively match the adjoining strips. This means you need to use the same gauge loom throughout the project. Since I wanted a large square with the smallest possible gauge using the Knifty Knitters (KK), my first attempt was on the 48 peg KK Adult Hat Loom.

Made on the 48-peg Knifty Knitter Adult Hat Loom
After discovering that the larger the square gets, the more difficult it is to pick up and add stitches back to the loom, I decided to experiment further. Here are some other "cabin" experiments with either changes in the looms or type of yarn:

Cotton yarn on the 24-peg KK (left) and 31-peg KK (right)
Bulky self-striping yarn using the 31-peg KK loom
The biggest challenge for me was deciding on which colors to use. Finally, I asked myself what color scheme make me smile and the first thing that came to mind was sock monkeys (how shallow and childish is that??). Of course, since it is a log cabin square, it immediately became "Monkey House Square". I did the first one on the 31-peg KK, but decided to give my new favorite, the KB Sock Loom 2, a try. The KB Sock Loom 2 square was a definite winner!

Monkey House square on the KB Sock Loom 2 (left) and 31-peg KK Loom (right)

While both looms created 11 inch squares, a different number of stitches and rows were used based on the gauge of the looms. Please note that this square can also be made on the KB All-n-One Loom since the gauge is identical to the Sock Loom 2, but I'm really loving the portability of the smaller loom. I have two squares completed and 28 to go and most of the knitting was done on the go.

I had planned on doing an online tutorial for the log cabin square, but I recently noticed on her blog that Denise Layman had included log cabin motif projects in her new book, Afghans & Bed Runners for Knitting Looms and thought I would just point everyone in her direction. Denise's stitch/row formula and minor techniques will probably vary from mine, but I'm fairly sure the basic methods are about the same. Also, if you decide to build your own "cabin on the loom" without a book, here are some links that should prove helpful: