Variation on a Theme

My Quickie Caplet pattern keeps taking on “new life”. It’s such a simple pattern that you can do pretty much anything with it and still come out with a handy shoulder warmer.

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This one is for a co-worker of mine. I’m calling it Swanky Caplette since one of the yarns is Red Heart’s Swanky which adds a bit of sparkle when the light catches the little metallic beads in the yarn.

I started out using a pattern from Sequence Knitting a K2 P2+1 modified rib—and planned to make it a spiral, but on a decrease row I must have had a reversal, because I realized the following morning after a night knitting session in front of the TV, that it was spiraling the other way.

No worries! I just counted the rows and completed another set before turning around and going the original direction—and Voila! It looks like I meant to do it that way, no?

Welcome to my world of ad hoc knitting! I love creating a unique piece every time!
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By the time you read this, I’ll be in Italy hopefully hitting some of the great knit shops in Milan. It’s my first time to Italy and I cannot wait!

The Leap You Get From Frogging

“You can turn that back into string?” asks Watson—a non-knitter looking at one of my failed experiments and the potential recipient of the objects d’art in question. And while we knitters like to think of “the string” as yarn or wool (no matter what it is made of) it is basically that—balls of twine that can be made into clothing or household objects.

Frogging is simply taking made articles of knitwear back into the components of what they are made of to be remade into something else. I love the work of Grid Junky who literally buys old clothes (even jeans) from thrift stores and turns them into beautiful new things.

Lately I’ve had quite a few things that just didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. My First Crochet Project: The Seahawk Gadabout Bag. As you can see from the photo, it grew wider as it got taller. This is in part because I added a stitch each row (as directed by the pattern)–but didn’t quite understand that it wasn’t an add, but a “close the loop” stitch. I have it somewhat balled up. I didn’t want to go all the way back to the base, but I might have to because I can’t remember what size hook I used. How terrible would it be if I tossed the whole thing in the trash?

I’d mentioned I was Christmas Knitting for my Crew. Needless to say, I missed that target.

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The ball in between the article and the skeins is the frogged portion of the project.

One was a capelet based on my Big Needle Caplet I was knitting for a friend. I was trying to create an interesting pattern, but the bigger the item got, the more wonky the pattern looked. Also because it was a partial rib pattern, instead of increasing smoothly, it was smaller on the more heavily ribbed parts and wider on the less ribbed. So out it was pulled. I’ll be checking out Sequence Knitting for a better fabric.

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Then there was the Bias Scarf for Sushma. That was finished and turned out very well. Only it was finished *after* Christmas.

The one I started and finished first was the Cabled Shrug for Watson which sadly barely fits my tiny “girls” and will definitely not go around Watson’s robust bust. I modified significantly from the original—thinking to “update” the “look” and the result is that because I used garter instead of ribbing has a big bulge under the arm and across the back. So while the Watson Shrug was my first project started back in the Fall for my friends at work, it will end up being the last one I complete. It’s on my list to frog and quite likely will be a different shrug based on another pattern from Sequence Knitting. img_5382

This said, I think it is totally worth it to frog things and feel there is no shame in turning things “back into string” when they don’t work out.

Try, try again knitters!

I’d love to hear about your ups and downs of frogging!

Sunsets–its THE thing about West Beach

Everyone agrees—islanders and visitors alike—that the best sunsets on Orcas Island are seen from West Beach. People drive, walk, bicycle, jog, kayak, even hitchhike just to take in the view.

On a clear day, with no clouds, the sunsets are rather banal, but when there is weather—and in particular a forest fire on the mainland—the sky lights up with some of the most amazing colors.

I thought I’d just post a few of the memorable ones from summer until now.

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Basket Rib Socks – The Finish Line

Well, they are done. And given how much work they took, I consider this the completion of TWO projects. With this being the third pair, it is surprising it was harder—especially since I used the same guide—Socktacular! by Knit Picks. This time I chose the Basket Rib Socks.

One element was the yarn–Spincycle Yarns Dyed in the Wool in Shades of earth. It had unexpected knots and anomalies (the size varied from light fingering to worsted). That variation resulted in one sock being slightly shorter than the other—despite being the exact number of rows. It also had MUCH more color variation than it appeared, so my idea of knitting a sock with individual skeins means that the sock almost look as if they don’t belong to one another—except by texture.

The mitigation would have been to alternate rows as I’ve done on other projects. And this was one project I was NOT going to tear out *another time* in spite of the $65 price tag for the yarn. See How Many Times Do I Have to Knit THIS Sock? for details.

On the upside, I did manage to perfect purling via continental style, whereas before I was really only good at knit stitches, with purls being a bit loose. So as always, there is a silver lining! I’ve added another skill to my tool belt. 🙂

Added any new tools in your took belt lately?

Smitten Ain’t Quite Fittin’

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This project started out in the warm early Fall (Summer Knitting in Winter) when I was wanting a T-shirt to wear in navy, but honestly could not find a pretty fitted one to purchase. Though I’m now back on mission to “buy local” and make things instead of buy them. My money pit of a house might be partly responsible.

I’m replacing the siding and they disturbed the bats living in the soffits who when frighten took refuge in my attic. At night, they crawled out of my heat lamps in the bathroom. Imagine having a bat circling your ceiling fan! I literally slithered out of our bedroom on my belly until the husband had shooed it outside! It was the harmless small Western Brown bat—the kind that gobble up mosquitoes, so I like them around—just not zooming around dive bombing my head in my bedroom.

Back to knitting…

I love the Smitten Tee pattern and it was free, so what’s not to like! I also modified it to fit my taller frame, but I think I got a bit carried away. It turned out a bit bigger than expected and a bit longer too. But all in all, I count it a major success. I used up all of my vintage yarn–beautiful Italian Lane Borgosesia Cotone del Borgo. OR at least the navy color.

I’m curious if anyone else’s experiments have had good/bad/so-so results.

How Many Times Do I Have to Knit THIS Sock?

Socks! Socks! Socks! The bane of my knitting existence! How can such a small project be so challenging to a long time knitter? I swear they ARE worse than a poke in the eye with a sharp size 1 knitting needle!

I’ve made a commitment to give this a go for lots of reasons and frankly they ARE an extremely portal project. When you commute (hands free) a long distance to and from work, this is a Must Have feature. And even though they were hard for me, so far I have managed to complete two pairs—one for me and one for my husband. Just 4 little socks in all.

Oddly the first pair went okayish—a top down reasonable simple pattern from KnitPicks Sockacular! I found a bug in the afterthought heel pattern, but quickly sorted that out.

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Just starting out

Then I knit a toe up pair from the same book ones for me I had *crazy* problems. Like a strand crossover on the heel—just for one single stitch. How the heck?!? You might ask. I don’t know! So after finishing—literally casting off—I had to tear it back to the instep. I was so frustrated I knit the other sock to completion (in only 3 tries) before tearing it out the first one just to make sure I wanted to complete the project at all.

And toe up? I cannot cast on a single sock without tearing it out at least five times. top count? 10 tries. I’ve watched different methods on YouTube, read up on it, nothing helps except try, try, try, try some more, try, try again. Each toe is a painful reminder that there has to be an easier way.

On my present pair I’m on the 12th cast on, third heel and the 6th instep of a Basket Rib patterned pair. By now, I’ve surely knit enough fabric to create thigh-high stockings for Boban Marjanović of the Detroit Pistons or hip wader liners for Ryan Pickett of the Green Bay Packers.IMG_5400.JPG

I’m going forward—there is no turning back with the myriad of sock yarns I’ve purchased to quench my husband’s new found hankering for ones made by yours truly. So if you know of the truly EASIEST sock pattern for sock (fingering) yarns. I’m all ears!

Dr. Seuss Capelet Pattern

This pattern is based on my Quickie Caplet pattern. As with that one, it holds multiple yarns together and uses big needles to make it a quick, fun knit. The one pictured above is the Long length. All versions have three “furry” rows, but in the medium length version, they are narrower and the collar is slightly shorter.

Why Dr. Seuss? Well, you can dress it up a bit by bunching it up over a frock and you might resemble Seuss’s character Foona-Lagoona Baboona. If you wear it poncho style over casual clothes or a jacket you’ll fall somewhere between the Dr. Seuss birds the Goo-Goo Goose or a Pelf.

Enjoy!

Downloadable pattern: 2017-dr-suess-caplet

Needles: a 32” circular needle–size 17.

Yarns: 2 skeins Red Heart Super Saver and 3 skeins Red Heart Fur Sure

Gauge: stockinette holding two strands of Red Heart super saver together 7 sts over 4 inches

Fuzzy rounds are created by holding one strand of Fur Sure together with one strand of Super Saver. Plain rounds are created by hold two strands of the Super Saver alone.

Pattern: Medium length (Long length)

Cast on 72 (88) stitches holding one strand fur yarn and one strand worsted plain yarn together. Join yarn to knit in the round, placing a marker.

Continue in the round using a K2P2 rib (all fuzzy rows are ribbed) for 6 (8) rows. Decrease one stitch at marker each row (on fuzzy rows only) to hide reductions.

Row 7 (9) drop Fur Sure and pick up another strand of smooth yarn (two smooth yarn strands held together. Knit in stockinette for 6 (8) more rounds even (do not decrease on smooth/stockinette rows to hide decreases).

Repeat rows 1-12 (1-16)

Row 13 (17) drop one strand of smooth yarn and pick up the furry strand. Rib for 6 (8 rows). Decrease one stitch at the marker each row.

Row 19 (25) Drop furry yarn and holding two smooth yarns together knit in K2P2 rib for 10 (14 rows). Do not reduce.

Row 29 (39) Cast off loosely

© Kristin Tolle. This pattern is freely available and without restriction to all would be capelet makers and Dr. Seuss lovers!

Where’d It Go? or Seller’s Remorse

My stash is prodigious. It’s mine and my grandmothers with a few of my friends’ grandmothers thrown in. There was a time, in the not too distant past, that knitting was a dying art. So when people saw me knitting, I would get given all the spare yarn that hadn’t been used up.

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Just a fraction of the yarn from my stash

One Fall when I was on sabbatical I took to photographing and cataloguing all of my yarn—at least the small portion of it that remained after I donated most of it to charity—about 75%. But don’t let that fool you, I’ve still got an immense supply which grows every time I go to a knitting event—much faster, I might add, than I can possibly knit it with a very busy full time job that never seems to end at the end of the day.

To second the Ravelry post on January 6th by MaryHeatherB “Tip: 3 Things to do on Ravelry in the New Year”, Tip #1 is to catalogue your yarn on Ravelry. I highly recommend that you go through the exercise. Now I tend to shop at home because I know what I have and in what quantities. And now that you can “slurp” in photos you won’t have the added hassle I had in photographing 200 yarns.

I’ve been knitting things for the women members of my team and trying to pick up a few new skills along the way leveraging free patterns on Ravelry. One didn’t go so well. I attempted to give Aran Cabled Shrug in Kaya Wool by Crystal Palace Yarns a more modern look by switching the ribbing to garter and adding increases to compensate for the lack of give. I love how it came out, but feel it is a bit too misshapen to give away—not to mention way too small for its intended receiver. I’m still trying to work out a closure for it that helps hide the underarm “bump”.

Next I turned to a different project that I ended up falling in love with—a Bias Scarf by Shelby Dyas. It came out so pretty (and heavy) that it hard to part with. I bought some Lion Brand Homeland in Bryce Canyon and paired it with an unidentifiable yarn in my grandma’s stash—a slick, nylon, ribbon yarn in burgundy by Malibu Mark which reminds me a lot of Anne Blatt’s Antique.

That’s when I got the idea to make a shrug from the pattern—a square you can wear. If it were wider it would be perfect and I knew of just the yarn to pair up with a bit more ribbon yarn—but this time of KNOWN origin, Lane Borgosesia Diamante in a variegated black-taupe-white and/or solid black. On the hunt I went and I came up empty. I searched by stash and it was not to be found. Where was it? I sold it!  And no doubt now these two beauties are probably knitted up, possibly together, in some gorgeous creation.

And there was this VERY old Berroco Glace variegated cotton-blend ribbon yarn which barely deviated from white in the palest of pinks and blue. I was purusing Ravelry, as I often do on weekends, and found a great summer top to use it up with, feeling so proud to be shopping in my stash. Firstly, I couldn’t find it in my stash, but I was certain I still had it so I went to my storage rack… Gone! Well, it wasn’t my color, I rationalized. Er, um. *sigh*

I’m happy to have them get used and there was no telling when I would have used them, so it’s for the best, of that I’m certain. What it did get me to do was “rethink” my trade or sale portion of my stash on Ravelry.

Copyright, Creativity and Crafting

The song Donna Summer song “She Works Hard for the Money” is rolling around as I write this post. And work hard I do. And in spite of this, I’ve mentioned I wanted to start selling my extra produce at the local resort. Well, they’ve put me off just long enough that I’ve gotten the message—not interested. They are nice people, they just to keep things neighborly. So rather than say “No”. It’s always, “We’ll get back to you.” Only they never do. So I’m looking for a new outlet.

Happily, many of the samples I knit up fell into the hands of my family members for Christmas, saving me a huge amount of time shopping and bringing lots of joy. The other reason I didn’t sell them was that I noticed (and wrote about) that some of the items had the stipulation that they “cannot be used for commercial use”. I assumed this referred to the knitted garment, but a person posted on that blog I should read up on it because that was not the case citing US copyright law.

I didn’t have time to check it out at the time, but this weekend I decided to research and found out—they are quite correct. According to US copyright law, this stipulation cannot apply to “useful articles” produced following a recipe or pattern. The UK (of course!) has a similar rule specific to knitting and croquet items.

You certainly don’t have to take my word for it–after all, I may have many advanced degrees, but I’m no lawyer. So here’s where you can read up on it yourself:

You might also find a couple of articles helpful to parse the legalese. I really appreciated Jason M. Krellenstein’s brief description in his “Ask a Lawyer” column in Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2012 issue. To summarize: any statement about “no commercial use” in a pattern has no legal precedent and is unenforceable on knitted items. This article, from 2014 in “Plagiarism Today”, spells out in understandable detail why socks, hats and sweaters fall under “useful objects” and can therefore, not be restricted by a designer.

The bottom line: A designer cannot, as of this writing, legally enforce a “no commercial use” clause in the UK commonwealth (Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, etc.) or in the United States on articles generated by following the pattern.

In retrospect this makes sense. The pattern and all the hard work that went into creating it belongs to the designer—and they should profit from the sale of that pattern. For produced item based on that pattern, a knitter’s cost of materials, time and effort, modifications/customizations belong to the knitter–full stop. Effectively, the knitter may not be restricted from earning a profit on their labor, clause or no clause.

This said, while you (and I) can sell these items (until there is a legal decision to the contrary), be mindful of what the copyright protects–the pattern itself. The law is very clear that this intellectual property belongs to the designer.

A pattern should not be resold or given away, in whole or in part.  A pattern must be purchased and it should not be shared, unless the designer gives you permission. You also cannot reproduce or publish it without express permission. Speaking from personal experience with my own *very simple* designs, designers work hard for the money.

Christmas Knitting for my Crew

My crew at work are some fantastic folks, so I decided to knit them all a gift this year, forgetting I’ve got my own friends and family to cover off on. That’s a problem for another post.

The knitting for the crew is going wellish. I flubbed the first effort project I call the Watson shrug because I made it too fitted and at least a size too small. And because it was yet another experiment–as usual. It has other problems as well in that the back doesn’t lay flat against the body. I’ll have to rethink it a bit and see if I can set down a workable pattern, but only after I buy more yarn and remake something whilst following a pattern—not creating one.

For one of my other ladies, I made a bias scarf. It’s meant to be worn with a Sari and I hope the receiver likes it, because I fell in love with it. I had to buy at my LYS—Lion Brand Heartland in a heathered gold color called Bryce Canyon (her favorite color is yellow and I didn’t possess any) but I paired it with a burgundy shiny ribbon yarn (of unknown origin called Malibu Mark) from grandma’s stash. Still trying to whittle it down.

The ribbon yarn was so slick I could not weave in ends or use typical methods for ball changes—it would unravel almost immediately. I literally had to sew, using thread, the yarn into the scarf, but the combination of colors really turned out great and I love the drape and heft of the finished product. Too bad I don’t have enough yarn left to make one for me! But those are the best gifts—the ones you love yourself.

Two more gifts to go as long as I limit my knitting to the ladies on my team. I’ve got a few more of the Malibu Mark in cream, gunmetal gray and taupe, so maybe I’ll use of the stash, by pairing them with other similar yarns.

How’s your Christmas knitting coming along?