Plain Jane Knits Up A Storm

A few musings about my needlecraft hobbies - knitting, crocheting, quilting, & cross-stitch along with my other love, genealogy. While growing up, I used to HATE the term "Plain Jane", but when it comes to knitting & crocheting, I've realized that I really *am* a Plain Jane in that I don't use fancy yarns.

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Location: Northern Detroit Metro area, Michigan, United States

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Post In Search Of A Title

I guess I'm not feeling all that creative the morning after the night before. I stayed up and watched the ball fall in Times Square, but I was more interested in scanning the faces in the crowd in hopes of catching a glimpse of DYD who was there with friends. After the celebrations went off the air, I settled down with the Terry Pratchett fantasy that I'm reading - you've got to love a book titled THUD - and knit for a while before heading up to sleep. Recently, I'm finding that I tend to nap during the day and stay awake until 1 or 2 in the morning. For someone who could never seem to nap when I was younger, it's a fairly big change in routine. Maybe it's just part of now being retired and not having to meet any schedule other than family.

I just completed another adventure with Fuzzy Feet.. If you remember from last spring, my first effort was with skeins of variegated wool (very old as they had no UPC codes on the labels) that were purchased at a garage sale. The red variegated pair that I made for myself never quit bleeding dye, so they've never been worn as I don't think that red feet would be very attractive. In making the brown/gold variegated pair for DH, I ran out of yarn so I took out the toe of the first one, knit to the same point on the second one and then switched to a skein of blue wool that was in the same garage sale bag as the other skeins. When I felted this pair, the variegated yarn shrunk but the blue toes stretched and in looking closer at the label on the blue skein it became obvious that it was for a skein of red wool and what I actually had was blue acrylic. Acrylic will not felt! {sigh}

At this point, Heather of A Chance To Knit took pity on me and sent me some beautiful grey/brown wool which I proceeded to knit into a pair of Fuzzy Feet that DH loved. In fact, he loved them so much that he wore them to pieces and despite attempts at darning them, toes & heels started peeking out at semi-regular intervals. So, I pulled out the remaining wool that Heather sent (thanks, again!!) and knit a new pair. I felted them yesterday while attempting once more to get the B5 to shrink just a little bit and in the process, made them a bit too small. He's wearing them, but I'm wondering if the slightly short length will mean that once again toes will soon be winking at me from across the living room.

One thing I did discover was an alternate way of doing a 3-needle bind-off without leaving a high ridge. I still haven't quite mastered the Kitchener stitch or grafting and wasn't looking forward to using it on the toes again. A standard 3-needle bind-off has you knit the stitches from the front & back needles together before binding them off - it's wonderful for shoulder seams and other places where a ridge won't bother, but I wasn't sure about it on the toes of slippers. So once I had the toe stitches on two double points (A & B), I slid them down to the end that didn't have the last stitch & tail. Then I took one stitch off each needle onto a third and repeated - I now had stitch 1A & 1B, 2A & 2B on the right hand needle. I lifted 1A & 1B over the 2nd set binding them off, then I slipped 3A & 3B onto the right needle and pulled 2A&B over them and kept going like that.. At the end, I pulled the tail through the last two stitches and will run it in on the wrong side.. It made a smooth, flat bind-off without much of a ridge and much, much easier than trying the kitchener stitch again.. I'm not sure how it would work with regular socks, but once these were felted, didn't show at all.

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The completed slipper pre-felting with a quarter for scale. I'll try to get a photo of the post-felting results if DH ever takes them off.

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The first completed project of the new year is the "Dopey Hat" (honest, that's what the pattern is called!). It came from a learn to knit book and is shown on an approximately 6 month old baby. The original pattern called for a chunky yarn and I had one skein that I used for the first one. I tried working the pattern with worsted weight yarn, but the hats came out more preemie sized. For this 4th one, I doubled the knitting worsted (one strand of aqua & one of white) and jumped up two needle sizes to 11s. Not having any babies to model the hat, I pressed the Cabbage Patch doll into modelling. (I picked the doll up last summer for a quarter so I could design some clothes for her and have them fit Megan's doll out in California.)

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I made a few changes to the pattern (so what else is new??? {g} ) First, instead of binding off 6 stitches at the beginning of each row for the back shaping, I worked short rows and then used a 3-needle bind-off starting in the center (the tip of the peak) to finish the seam. Then, rather than crocheting around the neck edge and crocheting separate ties, I used the crochet cast-on for 25 stitches, picked up 26 stitches across the bottom of the cap and added 25 stitches on the other end. Because this cap was made with double yarn and I didn't want the ties to be too thick, I cast-off on the very next row decreasing 5 stitches along the neck edge while I did to pull the neck in a bit. On the too-small caps with single yarn, I worked one row of knit before casting off. I think for the next one (I brought home several partial skeins of pastel yarn from our K4 stash)I make I'll try moving up to a size 13 needle for a slightly larger version.


Blogger Jenn said...


7:11 PM  
Blogger Pioggia said...

I like your modifications a lot. I also shy away from seams and like the look of the three needle cast-off. The crochet chain cast-on is another of my favorites, I must use it in more projects.

4:22 PM  

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