Sunday, October 28, 2007

Boo-Ella, Jacko & Tom Tildrum

Just in time for Halloween, I give you Boo-Ella, Jacko and Tom Tildrum. After five months, I finally got to create a few little pieces on the Knifty Knitter Flower Loom. I'm giving a very general description as to how I made each these, since I simply do not have time to type up the detailed pattern.

Boo-Ella, the little ruffled ghost, was the first of the trio completed. She stands 3.5 inches tall and was made from the top down. Using two strands of white Red Heart Classic, I did my drawstring cast on (explained in The Easter egg reborn post) and then did a flat knit with varied tension (tighter at the top and looser at the bottom) for 18 rows. The ruffled edge was created using a three-stitch I-cord bind off on row 19. The I-cord bind off is a new technique I created just for this project, and it worked so well that I intend on using it on a baby bonnet pattern that I've had in mind. Duplicate stitch eyes were embroidered to create a sinister look.

Jacko, my little jack-o-lantern, is a wee little fellow measuring only 2 inches from the top of his stem to his flat little bottom. He was created from the top down using two strands of orange and green Red Heart Classic. Again I used my drawstring cast on and did 12 rows of knit one/purl one ribbing. In order to help shape the item, I cinched the cast on edge that forms the top closed after about five or six rows. I did a gathered bind off after completing the 12 rows, but left the bottom open until the pumpkin was stuffed. After closing the bottom, the yarn was run through to the center top and back to the bottom to get the "pumpkin" shape. The stem was done using one strand of green yarn on the 5-peg end of the Knifty Knitter Spool Loom for five or six row, then attached to the top of the pumpkin. Facial features were embroidered with a single strand of black yarn.

Tom Tildrum, named after a character from the story King o' the Cats, was the more complex of the three. His head and body were made using short row shaping, similar to making a sock. Starting at the nose with two strands of white yarn, I used the drawstring cast on and flat knit one row. Switching to two strands of black, I did four rows before beginning the short rows to shape the back of the head. After the short rows, I did 24 more rows for the body before stuffing and closing with a gathered bind off. The neck was formed by running a strand of yarn at the base of the head and cinching it to define the neck.

The white chest/belly was knitted as a separate flat panel piece and attached to the chest/belly area of the cat. It was made using 2 strands of yarn and 5 pegs on the Flower Loom. After doing a drawstring cast on, I completed 15 rows and did a flat panel bind off. The drawstring edge was cinched to taper the top of the panel, which will be centered and attached just beneath the neck area.

Tom's Ears were made using 3 pegs on 5 peg end of the Spool Loom and casting on one stitch on peg 2, then wrapping the yarn around pegs 1, 2 & 3. This will leave two strands on the middle peg and one strand on peg 1 & 3. Knit off the middle peg and continue flat knitting for 6 more rows before doing a flat panel binding off.

The legs and feet took several attempts before I was happy with them. They were made on the 5 peg end of the Knifty Knitter Spool Loom. Starting with the feet and 2 strands of white yarn, I did my drawstring cast on and knitted for 5 row. The drawstring edge was cinched closed, then changed to 2 strands of black yarn and knitted one more row on the 5 pegs. Next I decreased by knitting off pegs 1 & 2, moving the loop from peg 4 to peg 3 and knitting off, and then moved the loop on peg 3 to peg 2. Next I moved the loop on peg 5 to peg 1, which will leave two sets of loops on both pegs 1 & 2 and no loops on pegs 3, 4 & 5. At this point, the foot was stuffed through the small opening before continuing. The leg was completed by working an I-cord for 12 more rows using pegs 1 & 2 and knitting 1 over 2. The tail was also completed in the same manner as the legs for about 18 rows. The tension must be kept as loose as possible when making the legs and tail or else knitting off the pegs becomes extremely difficult.

The cat was finished by attaching the ears, legs and tail. The nose and mouth were embroidered with one strand of pink yarn. The eyes are diamond shaped light green felt, whipped into place using a black embroidering thread with a few stitches added in the middle to form the eye pupil. Three straight long stitches were added to the paws to define the toes.
There were a several more fall projects I wanted to do, but I'll just have to put those on the back burner for now for a later day. Right now that back burner is pretty full.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Candy corn, pumpkin, spider web & turkey hats

Among some of my first loom knitted projects were the autumn hats for my grandchildren that I made last October. I posted information about these on several of the Yahoo groups, but at that time I didn't have a blog. I've decided to go ahead and add them to my blog since they are autumn projects.

The first of my autumn hats was the little pumpkin hats I made for my twin grandchildren who were born last September. They were just a few weeks old when the picture on the right was made. The Pumpkin Hat pattern is listed in my Pattern Box on the right.

My second autumn hat was the Candy Corn Hat I made for my granddaughter. She was only nine months old when the picture was made. This hat was made using Red Heart worsted weight yarn with 2 strands held as one. The yellow brim was made rather long in order to turn up on the outside using k2/p2 ribbing. Two or three rows of yellow and the remainder of the hat were made using the basic e-wrap knit stitch (double strand wraps knitted over double strand wraps). The yellow & orange part of the hat, along with 2 rows of the white, was made on the red KK loom. I decreased one peg every 3 or 4 pegs on the 31 peg red KK after doing about 18 or 19 rows of the orange to end up with loops on 24 pegs. These were transferred to the 24 peg blue KK and a couple more rows were knitted off. After that I decreased every other peg on the 24 peg blue loom to end up with 12 pegs with loops, which were transferred to the little peach colored 12 peg KK flower loom. A couple more rows were knitted off and then I decreased every other peg again to end up with six pegs. I ended by knitting off the 6 pegs using the existing loops on the pegs since they each had 2 wraps on them and used the gathered removal method to bind off. A white pompom was added to the top.

The third of the autumn hats was the spider web hat I made for my grandson, who was 2 years old when the picture was made. This hat was done on the green loom. The cuff is a k1/p1 ribbing with 3 rows of black, 3 rows of orange and 3 more rows of black. The body of the hat was done in orange using a regular e-wrap knit stitch for 18 rows. After that I used the same technique outlined in the Tommy Turkey Hat pattern, where you divide the hat into 4 sections, and decrease into a point. When you finish the 4 wedges, whip stitch them together. The web pattern was accomplished by marking off where I wanted the web to go, then holding a strand of black yarn on the inside of the hat and chain stitch it in place using a crochet hook through the knit stitches.

The last of the autumn hats was my Tommy Turkey Hat. This was one of those spur of the moment things that was just fun to do. The instructions for this pattern are also located in the Pattern Box on the right.

Knitting with Knifty Knitter III - booklet review

Knitting with Knifty Knitter III (pictured on the right) is ProvoCraft's most recent full color booklet in it's little "Slim Jim" series. Most all of the patterns in this publication are written for the Knifty Knitter Long Looms. The Spool Loom and Flower Loom are used for various embellishments. Here is an outline of the booklet's contents:
  • Page 1, the cover, features four pictures of five different projects included in the booklet: Off-to-School Afghan, Felted Pack, Carnival Throw, and two Basic Scarves.
  • Pages 2-5 focuses on stitches and techniques. Along with the basics (e-wrap & various wrapping methods) instructions for creating ribbed knit and honeycomb knit using the long looms as knitting boards are included. Also covered are: increasing, decreasing, crochet bind off, basic crochet stitches and the mattress stitch.
  • Pages 6-15 contain the eleven projects.
  • Page 16, the back cover, has pictures of the Knifty Knitter looms and tools.
The Projects
Here is a rundown of the eleven projects included in the little booklet, along with the looms required for each one:
  • Basic Beanie is the standard basic Knifty Knitter (KK) hat made on the KK yellow long loom.
  • Basic Scarves includes two projects. The first one is the Honeycomb Scarf knitted on the KK pink long loom used as a knitting board. The second scarf is a Red Tube Scarf with pompoms on each end made on the KK flower loom.
  • Felted Pack, a backpack made on the blue long loom for the bag and the spool loom for the I-cord straps, includes powered punch dying and felting. The pack is pictured (see the cover picture above) with white rings of some sort attached to the bag which are used as a decoration or to hang items like sunglasses; however, there is no mention of these rings in the pattern instructions.
  • Felted Bag is a little navy bag with red & white stripes made on the KK yellow long loom for the bag with I-cord straps made on the spool loom. The project is pretty basic, but I liked the creative technique with the I-cords used to fashion a simple fastener for the bag.
  • Felted Flowers are simple little I-cord flowers made on the spool loom to be used as embellishments on other items.
  • Off to School Afghan is a colorful 60" X 60" afghan knitted in four separate squares on the KK blue long loom and stitched together. It is edged in four rows of double crochet to match the four main squares.
  • Off to School Pillow, a 13" X 13" throw pillow, compliments the Off to School Afghan. Instead of squares, four equilateral triangles, which are made on the KK blue long loom using increases and stitched together to form a square. Two of these squares are used to make the pillow.
  • Carnival Throw, a 50" X 80" afghan, is knitted in six long ribbed panels on the KK pink long loom and stitched together. What really makes this throw unique is that each panel has tapered ends, which are created using increases and decreases. The throw is pictured with tassels on the tapered ends (barely visible in the cover picture above), but no mention of making or adding the tassels is made in the project instructions.
  • Plastic Bag Holder & Scrubber completes the projects in this little booklet. The 9" X 20" Plastic Bag Holder is created on the KK green long loom with an I-cord handle from the spool loom added. The little Scrubbers, made from netting on the flower loom, are made to slip on two fingers when cleaning pots and pans.
The projects in this little booklet are very basic and edited to bare bones instructions, even occasionally omitting some steps. Still, it is pretty fair and well worth the ninety-seven cents I paid for it.