Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knitting Mittens for children

Three patterns, four mittens and I think that I've finally made a mitten that will fit a five year old.  I have been envisioning supplying mittens to children in kindergarten ever since I first read the The Mitten Tree .  I finally have the luxury of time since I retired from full time job.

Here's my attempts:

Mitten Number 1 is the Toddler size from the Snowy Day sets by Leisure Arts that I used to knit the hat I wrote about in this blog post.  So, How old is a toddler?  I usually think of 2-3 years of age.  This one looks to wide to me for a 2-3 year old.  I followed the pattern using U.S. size 6 and U.S. size 8 needles and Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted .  The pattern says that the finished measurement is a 5 1/2 inch palm circumference and a 6 inch length.  Mine came out 5 3/4 inch circumference and 6 inches in length.

Mitten Number 2 is from Easy-Knit Mittens .  A good pattern book, it has patterns in all sizes and gauges.  This one is knit using the pattern for 5-7 year olds.  The pattern calls for U.S. size 5 and U.S. size 7 needles.  This one I knit in Vanna's choice worsted weight yarn by Lion Brand.  I didn't like the instructions for the top so I changed it to be similar to the instructions I use for sock toes.  Here's how I finished the top.

Alternate Mitten Top

When instructions call for decreasing for the top using 32 stitches

Row 1- K1, ssk, K10, K2tog, K1 (16 stitches or half) then repeat for other half
Row 2-Knit
Row 3-K1, ssk, K8, K2tog, K1 (first half) then repeat for second half
Row 4- Knit
Row 5-K1, ssk, K6, K2tog, K1 (first half) then repeat for second half
Row 6-Knit
Row 7-K1, ssk, K4, K2tog, K1 (first half) repeat for second half
Row 8-K1, ssk, K2, k2tog, K1 (first Half) repeat for second half
Using kitchner stitch to finish off the final stitches

The pattern says that the finished measurements are 6 1/4 inch palm circumference and 7 inch length.  Mine came out at 6 3/4 inch circumference and a 7 inch length.  Definitely closer to fitting a 7 year old not a 5 year old.  Also, this yarn knit to a different gauge than the Plymouth Encore.

Mitten Number 3  is the start of the child size mitten from Snowy Sets.  I did the ribbed cuff in size 6 as the pattern calls for but used size 7 for the hand.  This is also a Vanna's Choice yarn.  As you can see I chose not to finish this one.  I should know better than to use self striping yarn for a project like this.  The colors just don't work.  I did, however, learn that I definitely need to use size 7 needles to get the width that the pattern calls for.  So I left it and moved on to Mitten number 4.

And Finally Mitten Number 4 is the correct size that I was trying to achieve.  It is the pattern for the child size in Snowy day sets using U.S. size 5 and U.S. size 7 needles instead of the size 6 and size 8 that the pattern calls for and Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted .  I knit my mittens using double pointed needles however, the book also includes instructions for 2 needle mittens if you rather knit them flat and then seam them. The finished measurements match the pattern at 6 1/4 inches by 7 inches

On Monday, I took these mittens to my current school and asked a few kindergarteners to try them on.  Mitten Number 4 is the one that is the correct length and width.  I'll be sticking with Plymouth Encore Yarn worsted for these mittens from now on.  It is my favorite wool/acrylic blend.  Lots of colors, good stitch definition, and machine washable and dry with a good texture.

So now I'm off to knit the second mitten for each of these and then I'll send them out into the world to keep some little hands warm this winter.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Original Dishcloth Dress

The original dress style dishcloth is now called Going Dancing.  I continue to knit these and have made quite a few of this style through the years.  The pattern is now in the Knit a Dress Dishcloth Book by Leisure Arts but I knit the very first one in 1998.  I've always loved the feather and fan stitch.  After knitting a baby blanket using feather and fan, I couldn't shake the idea that it looked like a skirt.  I began experimenting with worsted weight cotton yarn and before I knew it, I had decreased my way to a waist.  Figuring out the bodice took a little longer and finally the shoulders, neckline and of course, the hanger.

I've designed many other dress style dishcloths since this first one using a variety of stitch patterns for the skirts but I always come back to this original style.  Since my latest color infatuation is gray, I decided to knit the dress dishcloth in gray and white.  Added to the new potholders that I made, it's a great hostess gift for the upcoming holiday season.

And to make it extra special, I'll be looking at the kitchen items on Mod Cloth.  They have a unique variety of items. (Mod Cloth items are affiliate links).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Weaving Potholders

Before I learned to knit and sew, I learned to weave potholders on my red metal potholder loom.  My original loom is more than 50 years old and I still use it often.  Recently, though, I discovered Harrisville Designs 10" Potholder (PRO Size) Loom Kit .
Harrisville Designs 10 inch Potholder Loom Kit
  The loops that are available in designer colors are made for their larger loom and so I used some of my birthday gift card to purchase a new large loom.  The potholders are considerably larger than the traditional potholders.
The available colors are great.  I'm currently loving the silvery gray.  With so much stainless steel in everyone's kitchen appliances, it seems the perfect accent color for kitchen items.

I'm currently adding one of these potholders to a set of a rectangular dishcloth and a dishcloth dress.  These are terrific hostess gifts that definitely speak to my love of all things handmade.

The dress in the above set is actually Mrs. Claus Kitchen Helper.  It's available again this year with part of the proceeds going towards the purchase of a sheep through Heifer International.  Here's the link to the pattern.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Knitting Winter Hats

Several months ago my friend Jen posted a picture on the Leisure Arts Blog of the Red Berries Hat that she knit from the Leisure Arts Book Snowy Day Sets to Knit.

 I immediately downloaded the ebook.  Summer came and went and last weekend, I took a good look at the patterns in the book.  I have several favorites marked.  What really surprised me was that the patterns are written in Toddler and Child sizes along with the adult sizes.  All the photos that I originally looked at were adults.  There's also mittens to match the hats.  Again, Toddler and Child size too.  To complete a great find, the patterns are written in 2 versions, 2 needle with a seam and 4 needle in the round.

I had a little more than one skein left from my Sideways cardigan, so I decided to use the Lion Brand Baby Wool that was left to make a toddler size hat.

I chose the Winter Sunshine Set.  It is a simple hat with slip stitch detail that gives it a special touch.

I'm going to be using this book a lot this season.  What a great way to make some winter children's sets for Winter.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quick and Easy Garter Stitch Knit Baby Cardigan

The colorway is called Alpine Meadow and it is so cheerful.  Shades of Yellow with pale green and a hint of turquoise, this is Lion Brand Baby Wool.  I found the yarn on a visit to the Lion Brand outlet here in New Jersey.  A search of the Lion Brand pattern database uncovered the pattern.  It is the Sideways Cardigan Pattern #90738AD

I really enjoyed knitting this little jacket.  Starting at the right cuff, the pattern has you knit across to the left cuff.  Then the directions call for picking up stitches for the back and each front separately.  Since, I didn't want to deal with the seams, I picked up all the stitches at once.  To add side shaping, I knit the 2 underarm stitches in reverse stockinette.  You can see the line in the photo below.

The only finishing was the sleeve seams and the 2 buttons.  I had the yellow buttons in my stash.  They are a little larger than the pattern calls for but work well.

Finally, I added my business card with the following information on the back:
Yarn Information
Care Information.

So this is ready for my gift pile.  I don't know who will be the recipient of this sweater but I love having gifts ready to give away.

I'll be using some of my stash yarn to make this sweater again.  Finished it in record time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Knit Cowl in Wonderful Colors

 On my recent trip to my LYS, I went through the sale bin and came up with two skeins of Austermann Natura. Since the yarn is discontinued, I was able to by it at a considerable discount.  This yarn has the softest texture to it.  One skein was in a soft tan and one in a deep teal.  Each skein has 100 m. It is Merino, Bamboo, cotton, Baby Alpaca, and Mohair.  When I asked the shop owner what I could make, she suggested this simple cowl.  Using size 10 1/2 U.S. needles, I cast on 95 stitches and then purled 4 rounds followed by knitting 4 rounds.  This is the result.

Since I have a tan coat and a teal colored winter coat, I'll be able to wear this often on those cold days that are bound to be here soon.

I have some other yarns that will look great using this pattern so I'll be making another one soon but this will be my "GO TO" cowl to keep my neck warm this winter.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September is National Sewing Month

Sewing has been a passion of mine since I was about 7 years old.  My mom taught me the basics as I hand stitched an apron for my first project.  Throughout high school, I spent as much time as possible in the Home Economics sewing room.  I made most of my clothes and several outfits for others.  As the years went by, I didn't have too much time for sewing and I began to knit more.  The last 15 years, I've been able to spend a considerable amount of time both knitting and sewing.  Instead of clothes, I've turned my sewing efforts to tote bags and doll clothes.  Since September is National Sewing Month, I wanted to share a few of my projects with you and some that I plan to sew inspired by my Pinterest Board.

I teach a Beginners sewing class at the local community school.  Here's last year's projects.

I used the I Can't Believe I'm Sewing book by Leisure Arts as the class workbook.  It's a terrific book.

Here's a few other purses that I've sewn.

Fabric choices are always a fun part of the process.  Have you discovered Spoonflower.  So many terrific fabrics and I've designed a few of my own.

Next on my list are these hand warmers.
What a great post and wonderful directions by

 A few baby bibs that I've added to a new Board on Pinterest..

And of course, One can never have enough tote bags and knitting project bags and there are plenty on my Pinterest Board.

So Happy National Sewing Month.  Get out your sewing machine and create a one of a kind item for you or your loved ones.  Leisure Arts is helping with the celebration by offering 20% on sewing items this month.

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