Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cold facts

The visiting snowmen face some cold facts...
"Where's the snow? Someone said there was snow in Georgia and we made this trip for nothing....."

Yes, sadly all the beautiful Christmas snow has melted!

(Snowmen & photo compliments of Amy & Joe Duffey;
pattern based on Althea Burger's Little Snowmen)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Snowflakes & peppermint

Merry Christmas from LoomLore! 

What a beautiful snowy Christmas Day, which gave me a chance to pop on my old Peppermint Twist hat and my new favorite Peppermint Candy Cane scarf for a little playtime in the snow. 

The scarf, completed two days ago, is made with one strand each of Lion Brand Jiffy True Red & Crisp White on a 15 peg one-half inch gauge round CindDWood loom. Since the stripes are two stitches wide and the loom has an odd number of pegs, the diagonal stripes are formed by continually flat knitting knitting two pegs with a red strand of yarn and knitting the next two pegs with a white strand of yarn.  Knitting two or more colors where the color changes occur within a few stitches of each other is referred to as color stranding and creates a double thick fabric. When using the color stranding method, it is imperative to keep the yarn from twisting, so as I knitted the two-stitch stripes, I kept the red strand on top and the white strand on bottom.

I couldn't decide if I wanted to add a tassel or pompom to each end of the scarf, so I never did either one. This was a fun project and I plan on making some more of these little color stranded tube scarves and perhaps explore new color patterns.

All my best to you during the Holiday Season!
It's still snowing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snowman TP Cozy

Christmas is my favorite time to create new little loomed lovelies for the holiday; however, I've been hard at work on pattern revisions for publication, so I've not had much time to blog. In the meantime, my good friend Althea Burger sent me her latest creation for the Knifty Knitter Looms, a cute little snowman toilet paper cozy. This little loom knitted cutie was inspired from the crocheted versions from Mary Maxim, but I really like Althea's knitted version much better. The Snowman TP Cozy pattern is listed below or it is available as a PDF file in the Pattern Box on the right. Be sure to post a "thank you" to Althea for sharing this pattern in time for the holiday season!

Althea's Snowman TP Cozy

Size: About 10 inches high
 
Materials
  • Looms: 31 peg large gauge knitting loom for the snowman (red Knifty Knitter loom was used) and 8 peg spool loom for scarf
  • Yarn: worsted weight in white, burgundy and orange
  • Size E crochet hook
  • White craft thread & needle
  • 3 large buttons for body
  • 2 small buttons for eyes
  • Yarn needle
  • Large white pom pom
  • Fiberfill stuffing
  • Roll of toilet paper

DIRECTIONS

Body & Head
"E wrap" on the 31 peg loom with white yarn for 38 rows. Pull up loomed edge to hook the loops onto pegs and make a very long "brim". Continue to "E wrap" for the head for 16 more rows. Slightly stuff the head part and tie it off.

Hat
With burgundy yarn,"E wrap" on the 31 peg loom 10 rows, make a brim, then continue to knit 12 more rows. Tie off. Add pom pom.

Scarf
With burgundy yarn, on spool loom, drawstring cast on flat knit for about 25 inches (closing the CO after knitting about six rows). Do a gathered BO. Cut, tie & secure the yarn tails. Stretch it out a little to set the knit stitches.

Nose
Row 1: Using orange yarn and E crochet hook chain 2, sc in second ch from hook. Chain 1, turn.
Row 2:  2 sc in st, ch 1, turn (2)
Row 3: 2 sc in each st, ch 1, turn.(4)
Row 4: 2 sc in first st, sc in next two sts, 2 sc in last st. (6)

Finishing
Cut yarn leaving a tail. Fold piece lengthwise and use yarn needle to sew up the sides to make pointed carrot-like nose. Sew to center of face. Using craft thread and small needle sew large buttons on front of body and small buttons on face for eyes. Tie scarf around neck area. Place hat on head, stretch it a little if necessary.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Indian Corn


Someone on Yahoo's Knifty Knitter Group recently asked if you could make Indian corn on the knitting looms similar to Alicia Kachmar's crocheted design that she describes in her blog post, "It's never too late for Indian corn."  I had actually saved the link to Kachmar's Indian corn post over a year ago and had tried to work out a stitch pattern that would look acceptable on the knitting loom. At that time, things just didn't click and I moved on to the next project at hand. When the subject came up again, I decided to give this project another shot.  

First, deciding on the stitch pattern was the key to making the corn look like corn. After searching several needle knitting sites, I settled on the wrong side of what's known as the "linen stitch." The next thing was to translate the stitch pattern to the looms and decide on which loom to use. Since this stitch required an odd number of pegs and I planned on working it in the round, the five-peg end of the Knifty Knitter Spool Loom became the loom of choice. After working out the translation, everything sort of fell into place. Here is an expanded explanation of the linen stitch for the 5-peg loom:

Linen Stitch
Rnd 1: Flat Knit peg-1, pass the yarn in front of peg-2 without knitting; flat knit peg-3, pass the yarn in front of peg-4 without knitting; flat knit peg-5.
Rnd 2: Pass the yarn in front of peg-1 without knitting which will leave two sets of yarn strands on this peg, flat knit peg-2; pass the yarn in front of peg-3, flat knit peg-4; end row by passing the yarn in front of the peg-5.
Repeat rounds 1 & 2 until you reach the desired length.
**Note: On pegs with 3 loops, knit 2 bottom loops over top loop.

Kachmar recommended using Lion Brand Homespun yarn for her crocheted corn. I tried the Homespun on several ears of knitted corn, but quickly discovered that I preferred Red Heart Classic or Red Heart Super Saver using one strand of solid with one strand of variegated yarn in autumn colors. Also, don't be tempted by the self-striping yarn, because it doesn't change colors quick enough to work properly with the little three to four inch ears of corn. You'll soon discover that trying different yarn color combinations is fun and addictive with this project. You really can't tell how the colors are going to work until the corn ear has been knitted and turned so the wrong side becomes the right side.

The Indian Corn pattern is available as a PDF file here, or in the Pattern Box on the right. It will also be offered as a class project on Yahoo's Loom Class during this upcoming week (November 7-13, 2010). Kudos to Alicia Kachmar for the inspiration for this project!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Specs, the amigurumi owl

Guess whooooo's flying your way for an autumn loom-along at Yahoo's Loom Class? Meet Specs, the little amigurumi owl, who is made on the Knifty Knitter Flower & Spool looms. Specs, standing about four inches tall, was especially designed for this week's Loom Class (October 24-30, 2010). 

I have also added the pattern to my Pattern Box on the right or you can download the pattern here. However, many times we cover topics and questions during class time that aren't always covered in the pattern instructions. So, come on over and join us while we make a parliament of owls!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My lil' punkin

What would an autumn be without a pumpkin hat for the newest member of the family? When I first started loom knitting back in 2006, I made a very basic little pumpkin hat for Will & Kate, my now four year old twin grandchildren.  In keeping with tradition, I wanted to design an updated version for their new brother, Luke (picture above).

The Lil' Punkin Hat features a one inch rolled brim and six sections divided by a line of purl stitches. This project was made on the Knifty Knitter long green loom using loom clips to create the 42 pegs used for the body of the hat.  Using the loom clips to decrease created a smoother top and allowed the stem to be knitted directly into the hat.

To add some finishing touches, a leaf made on the Knifty Knitter Flower Loom and a curly tendril  made on 18 pegs of the KK long loom were each knitted separately and stitched to the top of the hat to complete the little pumpkin. The pattern is listed in the Pattern Box on the right as Punpkin Hat with Leaf & Tendril.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Althea's trick-or-treat trio

My good friend, Althea Burger, contacted me last week to show me all her new Halloween creations. She graciously sent me the patterns for the "Trick-or-Treat Trio" to share with the Loom Lore blog readers. I just finished formatting and uploading them so they would be available in time Halloween. The patterns are listed in the right sidebar Pattern Box, or you can click on the link included with this post as follows:
These are quick and easy projects that are made using either the Knifty Knitter Flower Loom or the Spool Loom. Thank you, Althea, for sharing your talent!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Luke has arrived!

Our brand new grandson, Luke, arrived bright and early Monday morning, September 6, weighing 9 lb. 1.3 oz and 21 inches long.  

"To the world you may be one person
But to us you are the world."
Happy Birthday, Luke!!! The world is your oyster!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Adjustable cast on


One of the problems loom knitters inevitably encounter is mismatched cast on and bind off edges. On some projects (hats, toys, novelty items, etc.)  having mismatched beginning and ending edges is not that important; however, on items where both edges show (scarves, wristers, squares, etc.) having matching edges is desired for a more polished look.  

In the past I've tried various cast on and bind off methods in which I could either make the cast on edge a bit tighter and loosen up the bind off edge. With the exception of mitered squares, this resulted in edges that sort of matched on most projects. However, mitered squares are unique since they are created by knitting diagonally. Therefore, the cast on edge forms two sides of the square and the other two sides of the square are formed by the end of rows that continually decrease at the diagonal center of the square.  To those who are not familiar with making mitered squares on the the loom, you might want to read Denise Layman's blog post, Mitered Square MagicI've never written up directions for the method I use to create mitered squares, but except for the cast on and center decrease method my squares are similar to those described in Denise's post.

After pondering various possibilities, I decided to adapt my drawstring cast on that is used primarily for round knitting into a flat panel adjustable cast on. This is the results when used on a mitered square with the adjustable cast on featured along the dark brown edges (please pardon the Chihuahua hair) :

If you have ever made a mitered square on the loom, your square was probably more diamond shaped than square. The adjustable cast on allows you to "square up" the diamond and change it into a true square. Are you interested yet?  Trust me, you're going to love it!

Adjustable cast on for flat panel loom knitting
(Working from left to right using one strand of Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn)

Step 1: Reach through the center of the loom and tie a slip knot on the anchor peg. DO NOT slip knot a peg that will be included in the knitted item, because this will not allow you to adjust the cast on edge later on.

Step 2: Use either the original method or the alternate method of the drawstring cast on to cast on the desired number of pegs (see Loom Knitting Techniques in the right sidebar). For simplicity, I'm using the alternate method. The first picture below shows where the working yarn has been cast onto an even number of pegs (10 pegs).

Step 1 and 2: Slip knot anchor peg and weave yarn onto pegs.
Step 3: After weaving the yarn in a zigzag fashion across the desired number of pegs, turn on the last peg and lay the working yarn across the pegs, knit off the odd pegs and do yarn over on the even pegs. The first set of pictures below illustrate what this looks like if you have cast on an even number of pegs and the second set of pictures feature a cast on using an odd number of pegs.

Step 3 illustrating even number of pegs
Step 3 illustrating odd number of pegs
Step 4: Continue knitting off the odd pegs and YO on even pegs until all pegs have been cast on.

Step 4 showing completed cast on
Step 5: Knit the required number of rows and work a basic flat panel bind off. The picture below shows the completed swatch with the adjustable cast on at the bottom and the bind off at the top.

Step 5 showing cast on at the bottom and bind off at the top
Step 6: Adjust the cast on edge by pulling on the beginning yarn tail until the cast on edge matches the bind off edge.

Step 6a, adjusting the cast on edge
Step 6b, adjust the cast on edge until it matches the bind off edge
Step 7: When the beginning and ending edges match, secure the beginning yarn tail by slip knotting it into place, trim the excess yarn tail and weave the remaining yarn tail into the fabric.

Step 7, securing the beginning yarn tail
Step 8 (number of perfection): Admire your perfectly matched edges.

Step 8, showing matched cast on and bind off edges


I've also added the Adjustable Cast On instructions to the Loom Knitting Techniques as a PDF file.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New loom knit book

Back at the first of the year, I was contacted by a representative of Boye's division of Simplicity Creative Group to design, knit and write loom knitting patterns for a new book in Boye's "I taught myself to..." series. While very exciting, I discovered that I only had a few weeks to complete the task. However, this was such a wonderful opportunity that I couldn't past it up. So, I proceeded with the speed of the Tasmanian Devil and this is the results:


Since it is one in a series of books and Boye made other arrangements for the DVD and the instructional portion of the book, my name appears on the inside front cover as the projects designer: 


Projects range from easy to intermediate and include: sachet bags, lacy scarf & matching hat, hooded scarf with tassels, sports bottle cozy, belt, leafy flower, basic hat in three brim styles (rolled, hemmed & ear flap), hot pads, seamless handbag, baby blanket, drop stitch shawl and a panda bear toy.

The book is slowly making it's way into the craft's section of Walmart stores across the country. If you don't find it the first time you visit your local store, please check back periodically. They just started stocking it in our Villa Rica, GA store yesterday and it's been a month since the book was released.
 

I hope you enjoy the projects as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you have questions, find errors, or run into problems, feel free to contact me using the email link in my blog profile page.

Update: This book is now available from the Boye/Simplicity Creative Group site.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Finishline

 Shandy (1994-2010)

My sweet Shandy went to eternal sleep in my arms this morning at 9:30 a.m..  I can't imagine life without him. My heart is breaking, but at least I know he is not suffering anymore.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shrug for the princess

 Princess Katie modeling her Turtle-back Shrug

When I first saw the book, Easy Turtleback Jackets, I wanted to try the concept out on the knitting looms, so when Princess Katie, my granddaughter, needed a little something extra to go with her "Cinderella" Easter dress this gave me a chance to adapt the basic principles of the turtle-back shrug to the knitting loom. Of course, anytime you adapt patterns to the looms you have to test various yarns with different looms to determine what you think will work best. Since this was a springtime project, I didn't want to use double strands of yarn so I decided on using one strand of Bernat Softee Chucky. I test knitted approximately four different swatches using various looms and stitch patterns before settling on the 62 peg blue Knifty Knitter Long Loom and a modified version of the honeycomb or box stitch.

Shrug, front view

The basic guidelines for knitting a "turtle-back" are to knit a square based on chest measurements using some type of rib knit. Also, the first and last inch or so must be in a looser gauge than the main body of the square. To satisfy the design guidelines, I used the regular e-wrapped version of the box stitch for the beginning and ending inch and a flat knit version of the box stitch for the main body. If you look at the pictures above and below, you can see the larger gauge stitches along the collar and bottom edge. 

 Shrug, back view

I formed the sleeves openings by folding the 20 inch square in half and stitching from the bottom edges about half way up along both sides. Once the side stitches were complete, the shrug magically transformed into it's turtle-back shape. You can't imagine how happy I was at this point, because all the time I was knitting the square I simply couldn't imagine it would turn into a wearable shape. However, Princess Katie proves in the picture above that a square can live happily ever after!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Granny-on-the-loom

Last June, I started exploring translating concentric crochet techniques on the knitting looms which resulted in several different coaster designs. The first attempt was Patriotic Coasters, followed by Watermelon Coasters, Sunflower Coasters, August Sun Coaster and finally Hexagonal Granny. All of these designs just mimicked crochet stitches, but each one took me a little closer to what I was trying to achieve - to translate actual crochet stitches on the knitting looms. At the time I had so many things going on that I didn't have time to just sit down and physically experiment with the looms, so I did a lot of mental knitting. It's a wonder that I didn't have a wreck, because I knitted in my mind while driving, in doctor's waiting rooms, in lines, at government buildings, on long weekend drives and laying in the bed at night. All this resulted in the Granny's Rose square and a new technique I fondly call "loomchet" was born.

When I first completed the Granny's Rose, which produced actual crochet stitches on the knitting looms, I had hoped the tutorial would be ready by last September. However, I'm a champion procrastinator and extremely absent-minded which is a recipe for disaster. It would probably be lost and forgotten had it not been for Kelly Jones from Kelly Knits, who stayed after me to complete the tutorial for the loomed granny squares. She also test knitted and proofread the tutorial for me. This is Kelly's granny square scarf she made for her husband's grandmother. (BTW - The loomed granny square scarf was Kelly's first experience with crochet of any kind.)

The Granny-on-the-Loom Tutorial is listed under Loom Knitting Techniques in the right sidebar. As stated in the tutorial:

This tutorial will show you how to make a simple granny square by incorporating two pegs on the Knifty Knitter Looms to produce crochet stitches. This technique is presented to you as an alternative way of crocheting for those who either never learned how to crochet or for those who experience pain when crocheting using conventional methods. It is also a handy technique for quick embellishments when loom knitting. Word of warning, like any new technique, the two peg stitch technique is a bit fiddly, but the results are well worth the effort.

For best results, gather your supplies and find a quiet spot, then work through it as you read the tutorial. It is not a difficult technique, but it does require a hands on approach. Hopefully, there will be a video demo before too long. In the meantime, be good to your granny!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shamrocks

Due to a number of requests on one of the loom knitting groups, I am posting this Shamrock Pattern. These shamrocks are made using one strand of worsted weight yarn on the 5 peg Knifty Knitter Spool Loom - love that spool loom! Make three little six row leaves and a two inch i-cord stem. Then stitch them all together and in less than 30 minutes you have a cute little two & one-half inch shamrock. I've seriously been toying with the idea of embroidering a face on the top middle leaf to create a little amigurumi shamrock. If I do, I'll update this post with a picture at the end.

This particular design has gone through several versions. One version was modified from the
Double Heart pattern by Althea Burger and recently taught in Loom Class. Three hearts were made using green yarn following the Double Heart pattern and an i-cord stem was added. This makes a beautiful, but rather large shamrock. Here's Althea's shamrock:

An earlier version I designed was an I-cord clover. This one is also made on the 5 peg Knifty Knitter Spool Loom. It is made from the center out using a little two row loomer's magic circle (LMC) and 6 stitch i-cords worked into the bind off to form the leaves & stem. These work up quickly, since no stitching is involved; however, they just aren't as pretty as the shamrocks.

Please comment if you enjoy this project. Feedback from readers helps me determine if I should continue to write these patterns. I'll leave you with these Irish blessings for St. Patrick's Day:

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way,
Good health, good luck, & happiness
For today and every day.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Itsy eggs & bitsy bunnies

As promised in the previous post, I now present the Itsy Eggs & Bitsy Bunnies. If you made a Jellybean Basket, you might be interested in a few of these tiny little no-calorie knit treats to go into your little basket. These were designed just for the small basket, because I didn't have the usual candy decorations on hand when I made pictures of the revised Jellybean Basket. The little eggs are one inch tall and the bunnies are three inches tall. Both are quick & easy to make on the five peg end of the Knifty Knitter Spool Loom.

Contrary to what you might think, the little eggs required more trial & error knitting than many of the projects I've done. I had to crack quite a few eggs before I got it right. It is important that you knit one peg at a time to keep an even tension when knitting both projects, but especially the little eggs. Just so you know things don't always come out right the first time, here's a picture of "the good, the bad & the ugly" little eggs.

Trial & Error Egg Knitting: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The patterns have been test knitted and added to the Pattern Box on the right, or they can be accessed by clicking on Itsy Easter Eggs or Bitsy Bunnies.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Jellybean basket redux

Remember the original Jellybean Basket? It was one of my earlier patterns that I designed three years ago. I had only been loom knitting for five months - just a "newbie loomer" wanting to do things that weren't suppose to be done on looms. Many have wanted to do this pattern, but found it difficult or confusing, which was most probably due to pattern errors and questionable techniques that I used when designing the little basket. Some worked around the impossibly tight stitches & faulty techniques; a few others used it as a springboard to design their own basket; and some just gave up. Too many people have had too many problems and I knew I needed to do something about it, but never seemed to find the right time.

Now three years later I still try to do things that aren't suppose to be done on the looms, but I've learned quite a few tricks since the original Jellybean Basket was created. So, when a nice lady named Monica, who wanted to make the baskets for her Sunday school class, contacted me recently with pattern questions, it was then that I decided to give the Jellybean Basket a complete overhaul. Thank you, Monica for being my impetus and test knitting the updated basket.

The new design is similar to the old one, but different techniques and stitches are used to accomplish what I was trying to do in the original basket: scalloped base & rim with a slight taper from the top to the bottom. The cup liner on the updated basket is a 3 ounce bathroom drinking cup, which fits perfectly without cutting the cup as you had to do in the original design. However, the double e-wrap knit stitches that are used on the basket sides are so dense that you may find the liner is not necessary. You also have two design options: the regular basket or the basket with the ribbon. The later has an additional e-wrap row to allow ease in weaving the ribbon through the stitches.

When I was making the pictures of the new baskets, I only had a few jellybeans on hand and didn't have any bunny Peeps to add to the basket for decoration, so I created some tiny little bunnies and eggs. Both are made on the five peg end of the Knifty Knitter Spool Loom. I'll talk more about those in the next blog post, so stay tuned.