Things that make me want to crochet

knitalatte crochet stones

When yarn reentered my life last fall, and I found myself digging through the trove known as The Purl Bee, one of the things I fell head over heels for was the sea urchin-inspired crochet-covered stones project by Margaret Oomen (of Knitalatte and Resurrection Fern). I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but it was the first time I really thought about the fact that crochet is not synonymous with a riot of acrylic color, but can actually be a beautiful art form. I had only just learned to knit but was sure my fingers could remember how to crochet — after decades of not crocheting — if I just gave them the chance. In the meantime, I’ve bookmarked Haley Pierson-Cox’s tutorial, as a refresher course. And I have been clipping, faving and pinning all sorts of inspiration, some of which follows. I have a first project in mind for myself and hope to be showing it to you very soon. Meanwhile, maybe these lovelies will inspire some of you, too.

purl bee crochet stones granny stripe blanketcrochet pendant lightcrochet bicycle skirt guardmuslin rag rugs diycrochet hat patterns

1. Covered stones by Knitalatte at Etsy

2. Crocheted stones tutorial at The Purl Bee

3. Granny stripe blanket pattern at The Purl Bee

4. Crocheted pendant light at Désaccord

5. Skirt guard, photo by ronaldenoch

6. Muslin rag rugs via Remodelista

7. Linen bucket hat pattern at Linnet

8. “Divine” hat by The Kidney Bean, pattern from Rhea Theylia

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See also: this hanging basket, these ombre mitts … the list could go on.

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Two right feet

tootsie toasters tv slipper aunt lydia's
tootsie toasters heel how to

I now have two completed Tootsie Toasters, using Meg’s in-the-round toe strategy, but I can’t quite figure it out. I’ve done the decrease on the toe cap of the second slipper three times, three different ways, and no matter what I try, it swirls to the right, just like the first one. Meg pulled it off, but even following her instructions* I didn’t get the same result. I finally just went ahead and finished it off regardless, because my feet are cold and these are surprisingly cute and cozy. And because I really want to alter the pattern, so I’ll be doing a different take on it anyway.

As seen in the in-progress shots, for me the change in stitch pattern results in a scalloped edge, which meant putting the heel end together required a little more finesse than just seaming straight down the back. I whipstitched the two sides together, then tucked in the little resulting pooch, creating a heel like you see on a moccasin. Then I carefully stitched that closed from the outside, gathering together one leg of a stitch from above and one from below, invisibly weaving it all together. Finally, I folded the little triangular flap up against the back wall of the slipper and did the same thing, causing that flap to disappear into the mesh of the fabric.

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*She did a k2tog at the beginning of each round for one toe. Then for the other, on each round, slipped the last stitch from needle 3 onto needle 1 before k2tog’ing those two. At least that’s how I understand it, but it didn’t wind up looking any different for me than the first one. Maybe she’ll elaborate in the comments?

(Update Feb ’12: Meg has posted her revisions of this pattern as a free PDF on Ravelry. To see all the Tootsie Toaster-related posts, click here.)

tootsie toasters tv slipper aunt lydia'stootsie toasters heel detail

Happy birthday, dear Jo-o …

knitting fetching fingerless gloves thumbholes

Dearest Jo —

Today I finally put the thumbs on your Fetching mitts. These took me forever because there was some kind of curse on me and/or the right mitt — kept having to redo it. In the end, I let a few tiny mistakes go, so please, as you’re examining my handiwork, just remember they were made with love!

It was my fervent wish to have them to you on your birthday, and instead I’ll only have them as far as the post office. So for now, you’ll just have to sleep with these photos under your pillow. I hope you’re having a birthday fit for a queen.

With love and graditude —

—kt

p.s. Yes, my fingernails are Geranium this week.

finished fetching mitts

And now for something completely different

peyote beading ring

Last night I had five smart, creative women gathered around my big table, with food and beads and monofilament spread out before us. We were attempting to make these beaded rings, which seemed like a simple enough project for a night like this — a clear tutorial, a project with a lot of definition but still enough room to make it your own; not so messy or involved that we couldn’t eat and chat and get to know each other. We’d all done some beading before, if not peyote beading. I actually worried it might be too simple and prescribed. Then the supplies arrived.

I thought maybe I would be the only one it would all seem impossibly tiny to, a function of my having been spending so much time with big knitting needles and bulky yarns. Alas, I was not alone. See those black specs in the left half of the photo? Those are the Delica beads. On the right? Cracked pepper, for scale. The needle is no bigger than a piece of sewing thread, so imagine how small the eye is. And even working with contrasting stripes, as we decided to do, it was still difficult to get your head around the process in the first few rows. In the end, results ranged from one ring very nearly completed to one thrice aborted. The one in the photo is mine, and that represents about 3 hours of work.  But I’ve got it figured out now, and I will prevail!

Raiding the closet of a 10-year-old French girl

simple garter stitch cardigan

Tuesday evening I drifted through the 13 pages of this French Tumblr, Temp Files*, drooling over every shot. Yes, the life depicted is ethereal and charmed (that light! those cherries!), but what I couldn’t take my eyes off was the clothes — the personal style — of the twin girls. And in particular this little garter-stitch cardigan, which I will definitely be copying someday.

*via Nicole Dupuis on Pinterest

Super Simple Mitts

super simple fingerless gloves pattern

The look of these quick and simple fingerless gloves is inspired in part by Tante Ehm’s wonderful Camp Out Fingerless Mitts, with that wide band of garter stitch around the knuckles. But for this I’ve boiled it down to the essence: a glove you can easily whip out in a bunch of colors or that any beginner can make. If you can cast on, knit, purl, and bind off, you’re golden. There are no increases or decreases; no picking up stitches. And for anyone who’s been wanting to try double-point needles, I think a simple mitt like this is a great place to start.

Old pros will think this is the equivalent of posting a recipe for PB&J, and will only care to know that I cast on 32 stitches on US6 DPNs. The ribbing is 2×2; about an inch at the cuff and 2 around the knuckles. The thumbhole is a 1.5-inch stretch that was knit as if flat, starting at the 4.5-inch mark, before the piece is rejoined in the round. Total length is 8″. (For the record: I lightly toast my bread, let it cool slightly so as not to overly melt the peanut butter, and then barely wave jam in the bread’s general direction, for a goopless sandwich. How about you?)

For my fellow beginners out there, I’m spelling it out in full detail below.

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P A T T E R N   |   queue it on Ravelry

These would likely be classed as M/L if sold retail. For a bigger or smaller hand, add or subtract to the cast-on count in any multiple of 4 stitches (needed for the 2×2 ribbing). So 28 or 36 would work equally well. If you want your gloves to be shorter or longer, or the ribbed sections to be different proportions, knock yourself out! You could even rib the entire glove. Just be sure you have enough yarn for whatever alterations you make. [Oct 2012: See also my fully ribbed Marl Mitts version.]

Materials:

  • Approx 100 yards aran-weight wool (pictured is Berroco Blackstone Tweed in Wintry Mix)
  • 4 double-point needles, size US6
  • tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Dimensions:

Approx 7 inches around by 8 inches tall

Abbreviations:

CO = cast on
DPN = double-point needle
K = knit
p = purl
BO = bind off

Directions:

CO 32 stitches on one US6 DPN (see note above for alterations)

Divide stitches onto 3 DPNs as follows: Slide stitches to far end of needle. Slip the first 12 stitches onto another DPN (needle 1), then the next 8 stitches onto another (needle 2), leaving 12 on the original needle (needle 3). Join for working in the round, making sure stitches are not twisted around the needles*
Round 1: Holding your working yarn and tail together for the first 4 stitches and using a 4th DPN to knit, *K2, P2. Repeat from * until the end of the round. (Drop your tail after those first 4 stitches but do not cut it off. You can use it to keep track of which needle is needle 1. Whenever you’re back to the needle with the tail hanging below it, you’ve completed one full round.)
Repeat round 1, forming 2×2 ribbing, until piece measures 1 inch
Switch to stockinette: Knit all stitches, all rounds, until piece measures 4.5 inches, being sure to end with needle 3
Next row: Hold needle 3 in your left hand as if it were a straight needle to begin knitting thumb section back and forth. Slip the first stitch onto your free needle, then purl the rest of the row, ending with needle 1
Next row: Turn the work so that needle 1 is in your left hand, with the right side of the glove facing you. Slip the first stitch onto your free needle, then knit the rest of the row, ending with needle 3
Continue working back and forth in this fashion, slipping the first stitch on every row, until the opening measures 1.5 inches, ending with a purl row.
Rejoin for working in the round; knit two rounds
Resume ribbing, k2/p2, until piece measures 8 inches
BO loosely in rib pattern
Weave in ends

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*If you haven’t done this before, put your yarn and needles down for a minute and form a triangle in front of you with your hands — fingers and thumbs touching. Think of the side of the triangle formed by your two thumbs as needle 2. The fingers of your left hand are needle 1; the fingers of your right hand are needle 3. Now arrange your cast-on stitches into a triangle the same way, a triangle pointing away from you, with all of the stitches running along the inside of the triangle. Your working yarn and tail should be hanging from the tip of needle 3, the top right of the triangle.

super simple fingerless mitts