Sunday, March 29, 2015

Snowstar, A Judy Niemeyer Winter Wonderland Wall Hanging

I finished a UFO!

Last fall, I took a workshop with Catherine Wilson, who is a certified Judy Niemeyer instructor.  The pattern is Winter Wonderland, and it's meant to be a 3-star wall hanging and/or table runner.

I chose to make just one star.  Time constraints and having 20 projects going at once influenced my decision.

Choosing fabric
Also, I've done paper piecing before and enjoyed it, but I wasn't sure I was going to like this method.  It's slightly different, and more complicated.

There are 8 pages of instructions!  There are templates!  There are fussy ways of folding fabric and cutting tiny pieces!

It was all a bit overwhelming, until I got into class and Catherine patiently explained what to do.  I can see why you would need to be certified to teach this method.

Will the points match?!

I still managed to fold some of my fabric incorrectly and end up with cuts on the wrong side, but luckily, they were just barely big enough to work when I flipped them over.

Adding borders
A couple of friends were taking the workshop too, and they went home and promptly finished all three of their stars, with borders, batting, and binding:  table runners done.  How obnoxious!  It has taken me months!  But only because I was working on other projects.

The process was challenging and fun.  But I'm still glad I only made one star.  (So far.  I have templates for two more.)

Pinned and ready to quilt

I put a hanging sleeve on the back as I hope to hang this in a show at the end of May.

It feels so good to cross a UFO off my list!

On to the next!

Monday, March 23, 2015

One More Scarf for the Road

Yes, I did another.

But now I have managed to close the novelty yarn bin and put it away in the closet.  I plan to give my crocheting muscles a rest.  My arm was beginning to hurt!

Time for a walk on the beach…?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Free Pattern: Patriotic Star Easy Ten Inch Knit Square (10")

This is an easy pattern, everyone!  If you can knit and purl, you can knit this star square.

Since some of us are making patriotic-themed squares for blankets for veterans, I wanted a ten-inch star square.  And I did not want to do intarsia: no bobbins of yarn bouncing around in back of the square for me.

Much searching on the internet revealed many stars of different sizes and techniques, but none the perfect size and having pleasing enough proportions for perfectionist me.  So naturally, I decided to design my own.

I made several before I knitted one that really looked good to me.  Those arms and legs tend to be too skinny and long, or short and fat.

Like this white one.

Hm.  It still falls in the star family.  No pun intended (falling star, ha ha, get it?).  It just has…issues.  Well, you know how families can be.  We put the fun in dysfunction, right?

Then the red one has…other issues.

I kept starring away until I was happy.

I created a chart for the result--really, I did.  But since I don't have knitting software yet, I charted it in Numbers.  Not the most knitting-chart-friendly medium.  But with much fussing and bothering, I persevered.

Then I tried copying it into a PDF, and into Pages, and directly or indirectly into this blog, and it just won't copy with the squares outlined.  It would be impossible for you, dear fellow knitters, to read the dang chart without being able to count the squares.

I am sure there are plenty of you out there who could create a chart for this in Numbers with no problem, and copy it easily into the blog.  I'm just not that tech-savvy.  I cannot find a way to even print the star chart so that it's all on one page.  I've got it down to about one and an eighth.  Ridiculous.

Will I give in and buy some knitting software?  Stay tuned!  In the meantime, I offer pics and line by line directions.  The squares pictured are made with Plymouth Encore, btw, one of my favorite charity-worthy yarns.  Machine washable, but soft.  Lots of great colors.  Not that expensive.  I rest my case.


© 2015 Reyna Thera Lorele

Finished size: 10" square

Materials needed:
About 100 yards worsted weight yarn
Size 8 needles or size to get gauge

Gauge:  4.5 sts per inch

Note:  The borders are 3 sts of garter st, i.e., k on every row, 3 sts on each end of each row.

CO 45 sts.

Rows 1 - 4:  knit.

Rows 5, 7, 9 & 11:  k across.
Rows 6, 8, 10 & 12:  p across center sts.

BEGIN PATTERN (Center sts only.  Don't forget your garter borders!  See note above!):
Row 13:  k5, p2, k25, p2, k5
Row 14 and all even numbered rows:  p across
Row 15:  k6, p3, k21, p3, k6
Row 17:  k7, p5, k15, p5, k7
Row 19:  k8, p7, k9, p7, k8
Row 21:  k9, p8, k5, p8, k9
Row 23:  k10, p9, k1, p9, k10
Row 25:  k11, p17, k11
Row 27:  k12, p15, k12
Row 29:  k13, p13, k13
Row 31:  k13, p13, k13 (yes, it's the same as the previous row)
Row 33:  k11, p17, k11
Row 35:  k9, p21, k9
Row 37:  k5, p29, k5
Row 39:  k4, p31, k4
Row 41:  k3, p33, k3
Row 43:  k15, p9, k15
Row 45:  k16, p7, k16
Row 47:  k17, p5, k17
Row 49:  k17, p5, k17 (same as previous row)
Row 51:  k18, p3, k18
Row 53:  k18, p3, k18 (same as previous row)
Row 55:  k19, p1, k19

Row 56, 58, 60 & 62:  p across center sts
Rows 57, 59, 61 & 63:  k across

Rows 64 - 67:  knit

Bind off, cut yarn, finish off, weave in ends, and start another square!

CO = cast on
k = knit
p = purl
st, sts = stitch, stitches

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Scarf Obsession

I can't stop churning out these scarves.

There has been a lot going on in my family regarding health issues and so on.

Also, the cable guys were in and out of my place for two days rewiring the entire building.  I won't go into details, it's too boring, and it wasn't THAT disruptive.  The upshot is, I can now actually get all the TV channels I'm paying for!

I even finally got my taxes done, despite weeks of confusion regarding a certain tax form for a certain health insurance exchange.

According to my research, I actually had it easier than a lot of other people on that score, so I'm grateful.  (And God bless my health insurance agent, who always sorts through the mess.)

But, in the midst of all this Life Experience in the Digital Age, I just haven't wanted to think much when it comes to the knit and crochet world.

I just wanted to crochet away mindlessly, and clean out a bin of yarn.

Strangely enough, no matter how many of these I make, the bin seems to stay just as full!

I won't give up, though.

I think the people at Handmade Especially For You will be pleased, as the majority of these will be heading their way sometime in the next month or two, probably.

Back to the bin!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

New Pattern: Checkmate Hooded Scarf Pattern


But it's still cold in some parts of the world.  Cozy up in this scarf and hood!

This pattern is available on both Ravelry and Etsy as an instant PDF download, for $7.95.

It's knitted in one piece, with some increases and decreases to shape the hood, and only one short seam for the hood.

I'm about to wrap this sample up and send it off to Mom.  Hope she likes it!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Another Scarf (or Two)

Here are a few more of the light and fluffy scarves I'm churning out, probably for Handmade Especially For You.

The first one's done, the other two are in process.



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Free Pattern Link: Simple Scarves for Knit or Crochet

Does it really count as being in your stash if someone just gave you a ton of yarn?  For free?

Does it count as stash if you plan to use it for charity?

Does it count as stash if you have nowhere to store it, so it's piled up on the floor in the living room?

Truer colors
Clearer pic

Someone (I blame Elisa) gave me the opportunity to swoop down like a vulture on a big bag of mostly novelty yarn.  I've gone through phases of liking and then being bored with such yarn, but lately, I've gotten back into using it for scarves for this wonderful charity, Handmade Especially For You.

They have several simple free crochet and knitting patterns for their scarves; check them out.

I like the fact that I can use yarn that isn't necessarily machine washable.

Most charities prefer a machine washable item, and while that is completely understandable, it limits my yarnaholic desire to work with other kinds of fibers.

Here's what I've been doing lately:

Chain away with a big hook until you have a chain about 60 inches long, then single or double crochet a row or two, changing yarns whenever you feel like it, until the scarf is about 5 inches wide.

No need for fancy stitches, as they don't show up in the fluffy stuff anyway.  I'm a fan of fancy stitches, but sometimes I don't want to have to concentrate on what I'm doing.

I do tend to feel twinges of guilt when I greedily snag lots of yarn or fabric, so I sat down last night and made this little number for charity out of the new yarn.

Here are some others I've made from stash I've been lugging around with me for years; these will probably go to charity as well:

Several women in our local fiber arts guild have started making scarves too, so whenever we have enough to fill a box, I will ship them off.  We've already sent 20 from our guild!

So, we get to play with yarn AND do something kind for someone?!  Who could ask for more?