Someday vs. Right Away: Crochet skills

Someday vs. Right Away: Crochet skills

I keep saying I need to up my crochet game so I can think about making stuff like this and this and this, and instead I only talk about crocheting and have to turn to YouTube all over again every two or three years when I decide to give it a go. One of the first things I ever favorited at Ravelry was Roko’s Borsalino hat, pictured above, knitted from Michiyo’s No.5 hat pattern. (For a similar hat, see the free Novi Hat pattern.) I remember being floored at the notion that one could simply crochet such a hat. My noggin is problematically large (shut up, DG), rendering hats a challenge in general. I’ve developed a fair sense of what I can get away with beanie-wise, but structured hats are pretty much impossible. Which brings me back to that Roko hat. If I had game, I could make one for myself and make it fit properly, right? So if I want to ever do that, I better get serious about those skillz. Two good places to restart would be Dottie Angel’s sweet and useful Imperial Mitt and Hot Pad and same for Mamachee’s Perfect House Slippers.

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Outerwear

One-night knits!

One-night knits

Whether it actually is the night before Christmas and you’re short one gift, or you’re just desperate for a quick finish between long projects — or whatever the case may be! — here are four excellent free knitting patterns with fast and highly satisfying outcomes. All blissfully simple in garter, stockinette and ribbing, so they’re also great for beginners—

1. CFC Hanspun Toque by Patrick Rush
If you happen to have some Camellia Fiber Co. handspun in your stash, let me be the first to profess my jealousy! But if not, any superbulky will do. This one is designed by a guy and I can vouch for the fact that it’s worn by the whole CFC crew, so it’s unisex as well as being fast and great-looking. (See also: EZ’s Brioche Watch Cap)

2. Whichaway Mitts by Karen Templer
My own pattern for two-tone mitts that can be worn either direction. Again, perfectly unisex depending on your yarn choice. And it was specifically designed to use up leftovers! (See also: Super Simple Mitts)

3. Lara’s Hat by Susan Ashcroft
This is the most specifically feminine item in the group, but such a stupendous hat! Again with superbulky yarn on US15s, so you’ll be done in a flash. (See also: Purl Soho’s Chunky Cable Hat)

4. Simple House Slippers by Simone A.
These would be welcomed by any member of the family. They might take slightly longer than the previous three patterns, especially since you need to make two — but you could totally wrap up one finished slipper and an IOU for the second one. (See also: Tootsie Toasters)

Another great last-minute gift idea (no knitting required!) is a Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate, which I will happily send to your recipient as a personal email! ;)

For more gift knitting suggestions, see Warm hands, warm hearts; Cowls all around; and A hat for every head

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New Favorites: Hearth Slippers

New Favorites: Hearth Slippers

I’m having a serious case of knitting FOMO right about now. My friend Anna at Tolt enlisted my friend Dianna Walla to design a pattern using my friends at Fancy Tiger’s Heirloom Romney, and the result is the totally adorable Hearth Slippers. And now they’re all having a joint knitalong! I saw the samples when I was at Tolt and they’re even cuter in person. But I’ve been checking out the hashtag on Instagram the past few days and I’m loving all the color combos people are coming up with. Especially these two — so different. I wish I loved knitting colorwork as much as I love having knitted colorwork, because my feet would really enjoy these.

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New Favorites: Wrapped stitches

wrapped knitting stitches

This post was originally going to be one big swoon over those gorgeous, Therese Timpson-designed Japanese-inspired house slippers on the left up there. But then I ran across a photo of Blue Sky Alpacas’ Techno Hat, one I’d seen (and downloaded) before, and it got me wondering if the technique was the same. It’s not; and I’m eager to try them both.

For the slippers, the bars of the “flower” are created simply by transferring four stitches onto a spare needle, wrapping the yarn around them twice, and then placing that whole thing onto the right needle. The hat is a chunky version of smocking stitch, which gives it a more graphic look. The basis of the pattern is k2/p2 ribbing. At staggered intervals, two of the rib columns (and the two purl stitches separating them) are cinched together. The process is to insert your right needle between the 6th and 7th stitches (so, to the left of the second rib column), catch the working yarn from behind and pull a loop through. Place the loop onto the end of the left needle and knit it together with the first stitch. You can see Eunny Jang demo the smocking stitch in a Knitting Daily video on this and a couple of other groovy wrapped-stitch techniques.

By the way, the Techno Hat is part of a trio of free patterns that Blue Sky is offering as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Projects for the Labor Day weekend

knitting weaving projects for labor day weekend

As much as I want to hunker down with my Walpole chunky and make some real progress over the long weekend, I have that recurring urge for a little instant-gratification project. Something fallish. Liiike … charming knitted acorns, in small or large sizes, to slip into the hands of assorted friends. A pair of slippers — maybe these, or these, or a new spin on these. Or perhaps a little branch weaving? We’ll see.

But please, if you care about me at all!, tell me what you’ll be working on this weekend.

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The Tootsie Toasters have a moment

tootsie toasters slipper pattern

The Internet is the most delightful place, I swear. My Mom finds out I’m knitting and digs up a funny old typewritten, hand-annotated pattern from her youth — “Knit these TV slippers in 5 hours with only …” — and next thing you know it’s one of the 20 “Hot Right Now” patterns on Ravelry. If you were following along at the time,* Meg and Jo and I decided to knit it up and see what it made. Meg had an idea for a better way to do the toe cap. She wrote it up, knitted a sample for her store, and posted it as a free PDF on Ravelry, and voilà: a big moment for “TV slippers.” This amuses me more than I can say.

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*If you weren’t and you’re interested, the Toaster posts can be found right here.

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