Sunday, December 30, 2007

Possibly, the best things in life are free, as in the pattern here offered

I'm happy to hear that many of you liked the embroidery. I wish I could claim it as my own, but the little mouse designs are actually those of a very talented embroiderer in Canada. You can find her designs for sale at Button and Needlework Boutique

But let us return, gentle readers, to our first love, which is knitting, of course. Over the past many months I started designing pillows and one thing led to another, and now I will be teaching a class at one of my favorite LYS. These "designs" are really just based on pattern stitches which I will impart one at a time. The first, and my personal favorite, is the purple pillow seen in the photo. The design is using ruching which is nothing more than a series of increases and decreases. For my purple pillow I cast on 98 stitches on Size 5 needles (3.75) and followed this pattern:

Work 10 rows of stockinette starting with a knit row.
1st row of ruching, increase into every stitch.
Increase by knitting each stitch in the usual way but don’t drop the loop off the needle. Then move the yarn from the back to the front and purl the stitch. Slip the old stitch off the left needle and move the yarn to the back again.
Work 9 rows of stockinette starting with a purl row.
The next row, K2tog to the end.
Work 9 rows of stockinette starting with a purl row.
Finish with stockinette for 10 rows.
Work these 20 rows however many times you need to achieve the size pillow you want.

This actually is a pillow cover, as I put in a zipper. If there is interest, I will give further details about this, but for now let's just discuss the pillow itself. When I started thinking about knitting pillows, it was apparent to me that they needed to be a bit more durable than your average shawl or scarf so keep in mind that one of the tricks to knitting pillows, or pillow covers is to use a smaller needle than the suggested size for whatever yarn you are using. For example, if you are using a worsted weight yarn and the recommended needle size is 8, try a 6 instead. This will make your “fabric” much more firm and will show very distinctly the pattern stitch you’ve chosen. The same would apply to bulky yarns for those less enamored by lightweight yarns. Fingering weight is really for those knitters with far too much time on their hands, and perhaps, considerable money on their needles.

My pillow cover is actually two sides that have been finshed on the bottom with back stitch and on the sides with mattress stitch which you can find a tutorial at Knitting Help. I love mattress stitch--it is way cool, ahem, in the vernacular of today that is.

And for those wondering what type of yarn I used, well, it is none other than Cashcotton DK by Rowan. This fabulous yarn is 35% cotton, 25% polyamide, 18% angora, 13% viscose and 9% cashmere. Under normal conditions, I generally avoid knitting with cotton, however this particular blend is so unimaginably beautiful that if you have not tried it, I strongly encourage it. Knitting with it is a wonderful experience. As for how much you will need, I suppose you would be the best judge of that based on how you knit. I used approximately 8 skeins. But let us remember that it has already been established that I am lazy, so I do not swatch (oh my!) Instead, I purchase more yarn than I could actually ever need so that the possibility of me running out is well, impossible. "Aw, foolishness" you are thinking, but at the end of the day, I am amassing a wonderful stash of yarns that will make me the envy of all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

For your consideration, Miladies

I know how frantic this time of year can be and it's been no less in this household than others, but over the past couple of days I have tried slowing the pace so much that now I fear not much has been achieved. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I understand. I have finished a couple of projects and if you remember from my earlier post, I also embroider. This being a lazy way (and in keeping with the present pace of the household) of segueing into showing off my latest finished project. His name is simply Xmas Mouse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not obsessed, no really, I'm not, promise

Last night I spent way too much time frogging back on my preemie baby blanket. I did not see the mistake until I had several inches of knitting done, so I just ripped it out and started from where I made the mistake. I'm wondering if others do this as a matter of course. I mean, if it's a small mistake and you've really knitted too far past it, would you go back? In my case, it was a mistake that stuck out like a sore thumb and I could kick myself because I did not look at my work closely enough or often enough to catch it, which leads me to my next question--How many knitters out there look at their work closely? Do you review it every row, or every two rows or not at all? I guess I'm just wondering about how often it is that knitters go back and "refine" (ahem) their work. It probably depends on our basic nature--perfectionists will probably be reviewing their knitting constantly where others may tend to be more lax. But, aye, here's the rub--I am a perfectionist type but tend to not see my knitting mistakes, and I admit I don't look at my work as often as I should. I think I may become mesmerized (or meditative, if you prefer) and forget when I last looked. OK, this is beginning to sound like I'm obsessed, and I'm really not. It's just a question out there for you to think about and respond to.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Today is the first day of my blogging life

I've always wondered what it would be like to blog, so here I am. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Priscilla and I love to knit, of course, but more than that I think I just love the tactile sense. So I am not exclusively a knitter, but delve into embroidery, finger paints, and have flirted, in the past, with crochet (oh my!).

I also want to learn more about the history of knitting, so if any of you have good books or articles to cite, please let me know. As I read, I will return the favor by posting reviews for you who may be interested, too.

Last night I was reading in Piecework, the magazine. This latest issue is devoted to collecting and it made me want to collect some beautiful vintage linens. Things people use to a lesser extent than they used to, like handkerchiefs, pincushions, doilies, dresser scarves. I already collect a few things, but they are very limited collections because it is the hunt that is the most fun. For instance, several years ago, I started collecting pig salt and pepper shakers, but they aren't just any pig salt and pepper shakers, they must be pigs wearing overalls, or coveralls, as some refer to them. Anyway, you can see what I mean when I say it is a limited collection. I will never spend that much money on this collection, thankfully, but the search for these little critters is amazing fun.

I guess I should tell you what I have on my needles now. I'm knitting a premie blanket--all white, in acrylic since I am told that wool may be a little too harsh for these sweet angels. If it turns out like I hope, I will knit more of them and give them to a local hospital. I am planning on trimming the blanket in white ribbon. When it's done I will post a picture.