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Knitting

Helpful knitting articles from Leisure Arts
  • The All-New Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set

    Our Innovative Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  breaks the mold of a traditional knitting loom. At first glance, you might ask a simple question:

    Why Oval?

    Oval Loom Kit Large Oval Loom, Small Oval Loom & Stitching Tool

    Easy Handling

    If you've ever held a traditional straight loom, you know spacing in the center of the loom can be tight.  The all-new oval shape is easy to hold and use, since it is just deep enough to allow plenty of room in the center to work.

    Oval vs. Straight and Round Looms

    Traditional Loom Assortment of Round and Straight Looms

    When compared to the straight loom, the oval loom is easier to use due to the room in the center to work.

    When comparing an oval loom and a round loom with the same number of pegs, it's easier to hold the oval loom.

    Yarn

    The peg spacing is ½” making it a small gauge loom perfect for lighter weight yarns.   A single strand of #3 light weight yarn and #4 medium weight yarns can be used.

    Ultimate Oval Loom Kit

    Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set Ultimate Loom Knitting Set Packaging

    Inside the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  you'll find the following:

    • Small Loom ~ 11 3/4" x 5 1/2" with 54 Pegs
    • Large Loom ~ 15 1/2" x 9 3/8" with 70 Pegs
    • Stitching Tool
    • 48-page Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting with 7 Projects
    54 Peg Loom, 70 Peg Loom & Stitching Tool from Oval Loom 54 Peg Loom, 70 Peg Loom & Stitching Tool
    Beginner's Guide Oval Loom Knitting Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting

    Projects

    This is ideal loom for lighter weight projects including baby blankets, mitts, hats, scarves, cowls, bags, afghans, and more.   The 48-page Beginner's Guide has clear photos and friendly step-by-step instructions.  Here are the projects you can make with the guide included with the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set: Basic Beanie, Striped Beanie, Fingerless Mitts, Family Tube Socks, Twisted Garter Hat, Twisted Garter Scarf, and Lace Cowl.

    Oval Loom Basic Beanie Basic Beanie
    Oval Loom Striped Beanie Striped Beanie
    Fingerless Mitts made with the Oval Loom Fingerless Mitts
    Family Tube Socks made with the Oval Loom Family Tube Socks
    Twisted Garter Hat made with the Oval Loom Twisted Garter Hat
    Oval Loom Scarf Twisted Garter Scarf
    Oval Loom Lace Cowl Lace Cowl

    Each of the seven projects in the Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting has easy, step-by-step photo directions.

    Who Can Use this Loom?

    Loom Knitting is popular for a reason.  A loom lessens the need for repetitive movements making it a great alternative for someone with arthritis, carpel tunnel, fibromyalgia, or any other condition that might result in hand or wrist pain.  Loom knitting is also a great choice for beginners, including kids!  This set is a great way to introduce kids to knitting; we recommend the Leisure Arts Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set  for ages 8 and up.

    The oval loom steps up the benefits to the next level with the oval shape allowing for even easier handling and manipulation.  The extra room in the center of the loom makes loom knitting an even easier task.

    Get Started

    Oval Loom Back Cover Leisure Arts

    Now is the time to learn the basics of loom knitting while creating fabulous fashions and other small-gauge projects! In the Ultimate Oval Loom Knitting Set , you’ll receive looms in two sizes (with 54 and 70 pegs), a stitching tool, and the Beginner's Guide to Oval Loom Knitting.  Just add yarn and you'll be loom knitting beautiful creations before you know it!

  • Stash-busting and Stash-building with Dishcloths

    This week I crocheted four dishcloths from the pattern booklet Dishcloths by Candi Jensen.

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    FOUR dishcloths for my gift stash!  Excellent.  These are all patterns I've made before, but when I like a pattern I tend to come back to it over and over.  And I'm a big fan of some of the patterns in this book.

    The first dishcloth I made was the Variegated pattern.

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    My little gift-making adventure got started with this yarn:

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    It was on sale, it had colors I liked, and it didn't work in any pattern I tried or with any stitch. Seriously, I was a little spooked.  I didn't like it in garter stitch (what variegated yarn looks bad in garter stitch?!).  Or seed stitch.  Or single crochet stitches.  I reached a point where I just wanted this out of my stash so I could stop wondering what to do with it.  I flipped through Dishcloths, realized there was a pattern called 'Variegated' written for variegated yarn, and went to town!

    The Variegated pattern uses about 45ish yards, so I had about half of a skein left.  So I made the Granny Border dishcloth because that's probably my favorite dishcloth pattern of all time.  I found some white scrap yarn and used that for the border.

    092

    While I was looking through some of my cotton yarn scraps, I realized I probably had enough pink and green bits to make a dishcloth and I'd recently seen the Striped Hexagon pattern on Ravelry.  Seeing it had made me want to try it again, so I made this with one less stripe (because I ran out of yarn.  It's about 7" across as is, so I think it's fine. These things happen).

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    I loved putting scraps to good use, so I figured I had enough of them for one more dishcloth.  So I made the Diagonal Stripe pattern!

    094

    The Diagonal Stripe pattern calls for just two colors, but why stop there?  You can use all kinds of colors!  This is a little crazy -looking, but I think it's cheerful and the colors look good together.  I'm sure it will fit right in at someone's kitchen.

    All of these patterns call for worsted weight cotton yarn and an I hook, and that's what I used. I know some of the stitch patterns look a bit open, but I've used dishcloths like this at home and also know that repeated uses and washings (and dryings) can shrink the crocheted fabric so that it's denser and better at soaking up spills and scrubbing away messes.  I'm pretty pumped to get these yarn scraps out of my stash and I'm even more excited about having these pretty dishcloths in my gift stash.

    095

  • New Year, New Project Goals!

    Happy New Year!

    I don't have many resolutions for 2016, but there is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately: I need to have a better handmade gift stash this year.

    I like to make things, and I do make a lot of things throughout the year, but it doesn't take much to make you realize that you're woefully understocked when you have more gift events than you do time and you want to give a gift that's handmade and lovely.  Like....say, when three women in your close friends and family decide to have babies in the same month.  Or when your bank balance reveals that you won't be buying Starbucks gift cards for people at your kid's school and you'd best haul yourself to the yarn stash.  Can I knit three cowls and four mittens in the span of a month?  Why yes, it turns out I can! But should I?

    Uh, the muscle at the top of my forearm is telling me I should not.

    I know I'll get caught shorthanded at some point this year, but I'd like for it to happen less often.  My goals for the 2016 Gift Stash include:

    -some baby stuff.  Any ol' baby stuff.  It's all cute, it's all small, and as long as it's machine washable it's all going to be appreciated.

    -some cowls.  Cowls are great, and even noncrafters appreciate them.  I'm working on buying my yarn in a few more neutral colors so I can have some handknits on hand that aren't....generic, but just more readily welcomed by a larger audience.  I might love some handpainted variegated yarn, but not everyone will.  And I want something that just about everyone will love.  Just two cowls all knitted or crocheted up and rearing to go could shave actual metric tons of stress off of my life.

    -a prayer shawl.  I've never made one, and I hope I don't need to give one away.  But I'd like have one ready so that I can quickly wrap it up and give it to someone rather than look for yarns and a pattern while feeling concerned about a grieving loved one.

    -hats!  You can make them big, small, slouchy, cabled, plain, tight, long, short--it doesn't matter.  I feel like there's no wrong way to go with hats.  I've been in an earflap mood, and I've discovered to my unending delight that people who wear hats to keep warm really don't seem to mind if their hats look goofy.  You can't go wrong with hats!  (Unless you give them to someone who's either unappreciative or just not a hat person.  But that's a different set of problems entirely.)

    So!  Here's what I've got to get me started.  This is a baby blanket that I finished earlier this week:

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    It's Square #49 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet.  I've made three blankets with this pattern and I don't know when I'll get tired of the way front post crochet stitches add some texture to these simple squares.  I love this.  I made thirty squares and stitched them together in five rows of six squares.  I crocheted a couple of rows around the edge and now I have a pretty big baby blanket in my arsenal and I don't even know anyone who's pregnant!

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    I feel so good right now!

    Next up is the Martha Cowl from Crochet Scarves and Cowls:

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    Forget what I said about more neutral colors.  This is a pattern I've wanted to try for several months that looks really great with a mix of colors and I really liked this yarn.  It's the Folklore colorway from Loops & Threads Impeccable Ombre, and it's really lovely in addition to being trusty ol' acrylic yarn that's ready for some hard living and careless washing habits.

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    The pattern is pretty easy to keep up with once you get the hang of it.  It did take me a while to get the hang of it, though, which is fine.  This looks like it was fine, right?  It was fine!

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    Since I wasn't crocheting on a deadline, I wasn't too perturbed at having problems following a pattern while being interrupted every 15 seconds by my daughter asking questions or saying "Hey, look!" because 1) like I said, I was in no rush and 2) it is impossible to do much of anything when you're being interrupted every 15 seconds by someone saying "hey look!" and then you actually have to look and come up with fresh and inventive compliments for that someone's Lego-building skills.  That's the biggest reason I want to be more intentional with the TV and crafting time I enjoy so much after my little girl goes to bed (although that sore forearm thing is a close second): I have Lego creations to compliment and games of Candy Land to lose.  I've decided that 2016 is going to be the year I enjoy myself and I'm just not the kind of person who enjoys that rush of adrenaline you get from weaving in your ends ten minutes before you give your project to someone.  What I do enjoy is going about my regular mom life while I think about my fabulous gift stash like I'm a dragon with a cave full of treasure.

     

    I'd better get back to that cowl!

  • Boot Cuff

    Cool-Weather Family Fashions

    I needed a quick project to take on the go this week. I looked through all my Leisure Arts books and I saw these really cute Boot Cuffs in Cool-Weather Family Fashions. I used a bulky wool yarn. I have no idea what the name of this cream colored yarn is. I hate when my labels fall off. It was a yarn that I had in my stash.

    FullSizeRender (36) Use a place marker on the knit row side. This is the right side.

    Finished Cool Weather Fashions Boot Cuff

    I knitted the Boot Cuffs on size 11 straight needles. I love the pattern that this makes. It is quite a lovey stitch. One row is a rib stitch and the next row is a knit. I’m going to do a scarf or a cowl next with this stitch. If you want to knit this and you don’t like sewing up the sides you of your projects. You could cast on the number of stitches that you need for the size you require onto double point needles. Join in the round making sure not to twist. I know that is what I’m going to do next time I knit these. Remember Christmas is just a little over 3 months away. These would be a quick and easy project for someone who loves to wear boots.

    Boot cuffs as ear warmers Or a boot cuff for a dog cowl or earmuffs. Just kidding!!! I am not that bad!

     

  • Knit Hat

    I have been coloring in my Leisure Arts coloring books off and on all week and my favorite colors right now are neon iridescent colors. When I saw the Toybox Collection yarn called Candy at my local yarn shop called Yarn Kandy the yarn is 100% acrylic. I knew that I had to get it to knit a hat for a friend who runs very early in the morning.

    Beginner Friendly Knitting

    I know that she wears other iridescent clothing when she runs. But I wanted to knit her a hat to keep her ears warm, and something else so that she can be seen when it is still dark. Leisure Arts has neon iridescent colored yarns but it is a bulky yarn. You can use it but you will probably have to cast on less stitches and use a bigger size circular knitting needle.

     

     

    Finished Knit Hat CircleCircular Knitting a Hat

    My knitted hat pattern isn’t a written pattern. It could be written some place. I just haven’t seen it. Leisure Arts has a hat similar to the hat that I have knitted called Beginner-Friendly Knitting by Rita Weiss.  I just played with it until I got it right. I casted on 88 stitches on size 8 circular knitting needles, the first time I casted on 96 and it was way too big. I noticed this after I was 6 inches in and I had to rip it all out and start again. Joined in the round make sure not to twist. Going to start a rib stitch which is K2, P2 for an inch to inch and a half, but don’t forget your place marker to show were you joined. Then knit in the round until the hat is 6 inches. Decrease knit 6 knit 2 together all the way around to were your place marker is. When you start decreasing you are going to needle double point knitting needles. Knit the next row. Continue decreasing until you have 11 stitches left. I know that the photo has a hole I stopped at 22 stitches because my friend who this was for asked to. She wanted it so that hat could have a little ventilation. When you are done cut a 6 inch tail and with a darning needle weave the end through all the stitches on your double point. I always go around twice just to be safe. Tuck in your ends and you have a hat.

    Finished Knit Hat

    I hate to say it but Christmas is going to be here in a blink of an eye. School starts in a few days. Everyone needs a warm hat. Great for Christmas, birthday, or a just because I was thinking about you.

  • Hand Mitts

    One of my favorite storybooks as a small child was the Three Little Kittens that lost their mittens. Well I found my mittens. But something is missing. It is missing the fingertips and thumb coverings. I like finger less mittens because you can still use your fingers for texting; I even knit and crochet with my finger less mittens. I found this quick and easy pattern in a Leisure Arts book called Cool-Weather Family Fashions the pattern is called Hand Mitts.

    IMG_8156

    I used size 11 straight knitting needles and I know that the pattern calls for chunky yarn but the only chunky yarn that I had in my yarn stash is a ½ alpaca and ½wool. I know that the pattern calls for two different colors but I just used the one.  It took an hour to knit one finger less mitten and that included stitching up the side. Now I am ready for cooler weather. Finger less mittens are great ideas for gifts.

  • Favorite Sock Pattern

    This is my favorite sock pattern. I have knitted many socks with this pattern and other patterns. This is just a simple tube sock. Much easier than other sock patterns because it doesn’t have a heel flap or gusset to knit and no Kitchener stitch on the toes. I didn’t get this from a Leisure Arts book. But here is a good starter book by Leisure Arts that is very helpful How to Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy by Edie Eckman.

    Patons Kroy Sock Yarn Patons Kroy Sock Yarn

    I used Patons Kroy sock yarn for the finished pair of socks it’s a wool and nylon blend yarn. The other photo is another pair of socks is a self-stripping yarn wool yarn by Feederbrook Farms that I discovered at the new yarn shop in Little Rock called Yarn Kandy. Also Leisure Arts has a few sock yarns that you can order from their sight. A Lion Brand yarn called Sock Ease a wool and nylon blend yarn.

    Feederbrook Farms

    Feederbrook Farms

    I used size 5 double point knitting needles. I casted on 48 stitches, joined it in the round did the rib stitch which is knit 2, purl 2. I put a place marker to show where I joined it in the round this way I know where to start when I start my decrease. I continued with the rib stitch for 1 inch to 1½ inches. The knit in the round stockinette stitch til the sock is 14 to 15 inches. When you are ready to decrease knit 6, knit 2 together the next round knit. Decrease one row and knit the next. Do this until you have 8 stitches. Cut a good size tail 6 to 8 inches. With a darning needle weave it through all 8 stitches and bind off. I like to go around the stitches twice this makes it a little stronger. Have fun knitting. I know I do. Socks make a great Christmas gift.

  • Baby Washcloths Part Two

    Baby Washcloths to Knit

    Alright the knitting part of my baby washcloths is done. What am I going to do with all 9 of them? I am going to crochet them together and make a baby blanket. I got the pattern for the washcloths out of the book from Leisure Arts called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham. It took me a few tries to get it all worked out and it to look how I wanted it to look. It only a couple hours to finish it once I sat still long enough. A lot of procrastination went into this project. I started this project back in May. Then my ADHD kicked in. I think that I was worried how it would turn out. I get ideas for projects some work out some do not. I am so happy that this one turned out so well.

    Crochet HookIMG_7889

    After I tucked in all my ends on the washcloths, I placed all 9 washcloths out and into 3 rows. Again I used white Egyptian cotton for this project. Then I began crocheting the sides of the washcloths together with a single crochet until I had 3 panels. I then crocheted again using a single crochet a panel on the top and the bottom through the cast on row and cast/bind off row. Make sure before you crochet together that once not upside down or wrong sided. When all this was done I then used a yellow Egyptian cotton to do a simple border. I did a single crochet around the blanket and 3 single crochets on the corner turn and 3 single crochets into the first stitch. This gives it a nice rounded edge. This is for a boy so I didn’t want to do anything frilly.

    FullSizeRender (28) Front
    Back Back

    There is another washcloth book that I want to make a blanket out of and that is Dishcloths for Special Days by Julie A. Ray. I thought how cool it would be to make a baby’s first blanket. Do it in all different colors like a patchwork quilt. The important thing to remember is to make sure that you buy and use the same type of yarn but in different colors. Why? It is important because all your pieces will be the same size and easy to piece together.

    FullSizeRender (31)FullSizeRender (30)

  • Baby Washcloths Part One

    When I found this book by Leisure Arts called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham I wanted to knit them all for my new baby cousin. So I set to work with knitting all 9 washcloths it take me about 6-8 hours to knit a washcloth but doing all 9 took more time because I get bored, busy with everyday tasks, and/or I work on other projects. But the one thing that I like about knitting washcloths they are small projects and you can take them everywhere.

    IMG_7863

    When I started I used 3 stitch markers or place markers and placed them after the first 5 stitches on the start of the wrong side, purl until you get to the last 5 and place the second marker. The third I used to mark the right side that is the side that is your pattern side. I like using these because sometimes I get so busy knitting away that I will knit straight across or purl, when I am supposed to be doing the opposite, and then I have to back out and try again. My favorite out of all 9 is the Sailboat and the Butterfly. I used Egyptian cotton on all 9 washcloths. Stay tune for tomorrows post to see what I plan on doing with all of these washcloths. I am super excited. I thought about doing this the moment that I saw this book.

    FullSizeRender (27) All 9 Baby Washcloths
  • Getting Gauge

    When you are knitting, it is really important to get the correct gauge that the pattern calls for especially if you are knitting some sort of garment. I have a friend who once knitted a dress for someone and followed the pattern to every letter and it was 3 sizes too big. I have other friends that have knitted sweaters that were too small, too short in the waist or sleeves, or the pieces didn’t fit. So you want to do a gauge swatch and get your ruler out to measure your stitches. You want to know how many stitches you get within an inch.

    I used these Sailboat washcloths to show the difference in what I am talking about. I got the pattern for this adorable Sailboat out of a Leisure Arts book called Baby Washcloths to Knit by Melissa Bergland Burnham. I know with washcloths you don’t necessary need to worry about a gauge swatch. That said, the sailboat on the left is much smaller than the one on the right. I used two different yarns. The sailboat on the left was knitted in 100% Egyptian Cotton and the one on the left in regular Lily’s Sugar n’ Cream USA 100% Cotton. Both are cotton but totally different sizes of yarn. The sailboats were also knitted on different sized needles. The washcloth on the left was knitted using size 6 needles, and the one on the right was knitted using size 8. Why two different sized needles? I used the needles that the yarn specified. If I had used a size 8 with the Egyptian cotton, then it would have been really loose and you would not have been able to make out the pattern as well.  If I had knitted the Lily’s Cotton with size 6 needles, the washcloth would be really hard to have knit up because it would have been very tight.

    Left Sailboat knitted in Egyptian Cotton and Sailboat on the right Regular Cotton Left Sailboat knitted in Egyptian Cotton and Sailboat on the right Regular Cotton

    Good Luck on your gauges. I feel your pain when you have to do a gauge swatch. I do not like doing them either. I like them like I like tucking in all my ends in at the end of projects.

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