Thursday, March 29, 2007

Goals

I do have a large stash, but most of it is designated for certain projects; I don't buy yarn just to buy yarn. My goals this year: finish it all up. My goal this year: Finish all of the projects that are sitting in my basket and use up my stash.

Goal for this weekend:
Finish up my brother's scarf. No homework due Friday + Conference = hours of catching up!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Baby Papaya

Here is Flore. Kiara had her baby this morning, so she'll get this pretty soon.



This is a papaya. McKay bought it at the grocery store because it was on sale. I've never had papaya before, so it's going to be interesting. (At least I have taught him to buy produce!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

(almost) done!

You may have been noticing that the status bar for Flore has been full for a few days. It's all knit and such. I just need to "block" it. It's cotton, so I'm not actually blocking it I'm just ironing it a little. The petals like to curl up. Picture soon.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Learning to Knit

A post just for Beth.

So you want to learn to knit, eh? Story time!

Once upon a time, I went to Young Women's Mutual night, and the Young Women's presidency brought needles and yarn for everybody. Sister Dupras taugt us to cast-on, knit and gave us each a pattern. I learned this, but lost the pattern by the time I got to the decreasing, so I made something up (which worked well). I then bought a book and taught myself to knit. I was making garter stitch scarves and such until I taught myself purl and other techniques. I've continued teaching myself through trial and error and by the use of this site.

Well, I understand that not everyone can teach themselves out of books. That's my preferred learning method, but not everybody's.

My suggestions on learning to knit (the first suggestions are learning from other knitters, the last are learning from books):
  1. Get your Relief Society to do a knitting group. You'll get knitters of many levels and can learn from all of them.
  2. Take a class (our local yarn shop does classes, I forget the cost, though).
  3. Find someone who knits and ask them to teach you. There are only two stitches in knitting + and casting on and off; it's not too much to teach. Of course there are variations on stiches (slip stitches, etc), but those are pretty self-explanatory once you learn the others.
  4. Buy a kit. Many crafting stores have "teach yourself to knit" kits which come with the needles and yarn and instructions for a project (usually a garter stitch scarf).
  5. Library books. Do simple patterns first. I know you want to do cool stuff, but believe me, you don't want to ruin the cool stuff because you don't know the techniques yet.
  6. Websites. knittinghelp.com is really good and fairly comprehensive (plus it has videos, which are important!).
I think the hardest part of learning to knit is casting on. You only do it once a project (for a simple project), so it's easy to forget. The stitches are then used repeatedly, so those are learned by repetition, and you'll get those down by the end of the project; it's the casting on that is problematic, because you'll go to start a new project and find that you'll have to relearn that step.

Needles:
As for needle sizes. My first needles were US size 7 for the washcloth, which was from Peaches n Creme yarn (which is 100% cotton). Acrylic or wool yarn is pretty good to start of on. Most craft stores (Michaels, JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, &c) have plenty to acrylic to choose from, and yarn stores will have more selection in the wool and other animal fibers arena. If you were to do a scarf as a first project (which is excellent because it's fast and fairly simple), I'd choose a needle that is fairly "big"- around 10 or larger. Note: if your needles are VERY large, 16 or so, you're going to have to use a bulky-weight yarn. The bulkier the yarn and larger the needles, the faster the knitting goes, so you'll receive more "instant-gratification."

Yarn:
Yarn comes in various sizes. I'll start at the "biggest"
Super-bulky weight. Like it's name says, it's thick and bulky (super-ly)
Bulky weight. Bulky.
Worsted. This is the size that you think of when you think of yarn. It's the size you'd buy for your kid's school project on spiderwebs.
DK worsted: If you knit with 2 strands of yarn, it's be "about" worsted weight.
Baby/Sport: smaller, sometimes used for baby items: blankets, clothing, etc.
Sock: about the size for knitting socks. Although, this is preference. I'm knitting socks for McKay using DK.

And also, these sizes are ROUGH estimates. Yarn comes in these sizes and all in between. If I were to do a simple garter-stitch scarf as a learning pattern, I'd use of the bulkier varieties of yarn (they are also easier to work with because they are bigger). I'd also pick a color-changing yarn so you can see the stitches more clearly. If you were to do a dish cloth (like I did), use worsted. I would not suggest starting off with something smaller than that as a first project.

Also, for scarves, gauge is not that important, which is a perk. You'll have to learn to test your gauge to determine sizes of needles later.

So for a garter stitch scarf pattern:
Using size 10ish needles, bulky or worsted weight yarn.
Cast on 30 stitches. Knit all stitches until desired length. Bind off.
If you buy skeins of about 300 yards, you'll get one or (maybe) two scarves from one skein. Also, if you are buying smaller skeins, buy 2 and make sure the dye lot number is the same, otherwise the colors will not exactly match.

I have two really long scarves. They are knit with both purl and knit stitches and are about 12 feet long (originally 8 feet)
Using size 14-16 needles, bulky/super bulky weight yarn.
Cast on 11 stitches. Knit 1, purl 1 to end. Do this every row until about 8 feet long I love these scarves.

I know a few knitters who, once they are experienced, can't stand doing scarves anymore, but I like them because they give you a break between long projects. It's nice to get something done really quickly.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Service Project

So the High Priests group did a service project on Saturday. I showed up and there was only one sewing machine to sew a few hundred blankets. So I walked home and trudged mine up to church. Pretty much I sewed the whole time (I'm very protective of my machine and was worried about other people touching it), although there was a small little corner of people knitting. Actually, it wasn't really knitting. Well, it was. I've never used one of those circular frames with the knobs on them to make hats and no one knew how to start one (until Marva showed up). As noon approached, I packed up my machine and went to go see how they were doing it. It's rather simple. Anyway for some reason, whenever I meet another knitter, inevitably I'll be asked how I knit. And for the first time ever, I could honestly say continental (I've been doing Flore in continental). For some reason, you gain more respect doing continental. In the end, Marva invited me to knit with her and some other people twice a month. I'm very excited, because this will be my first break out into the world of communal knitting!

Here is Flore. I have the next color on my other needles.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Late start

So March started yesterday and I haven't started my knitting for the KAL yet, but that's what weekends are for! Tonight, after I go running, I'm knitting!