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garter stitch

  • Lots of Garter Stitch = Lots of Love

     My love of garter stitch, muted tones, and lovely yarns has yet to let up.  Well, my love of garter stitch will probably always live proud and strong.  It's easy to knit, but has a lot possibilities, and I genuinely enjoy the way it looks.  It's simple and clean-looking with just a little bit of texture.  It's quick and lovely and if I ever knit something for you with garter stitch, you should know that I've made it with a great deal of affection for you.

    Vast expanse of love!

    I still have a little bit of Cascade's Alpaca Lana D'Oro yarn left, and so I used some of it to make the Baby Hat from Garter Stitch for Baby

    This was such an interesting knit!  Shush, garter stitch patterns can be very interesting.  This is worked flat, and uses two colors, and three needle sizes.  Yes, three.  Instead of decreasing stitches, you just use smaller needles as you work your way up the hat.  For some reason, this cracked me up.  It gives the hat a tighter gauge up top, and your work is starting to curve inward a bit before you ever get to the three decrease rounds.  It's a neat little trick, and the only thing simpler would be to knit the Basic Paper Bag Hat from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins

    So I did that, too.

    I'm not sure why the top part isn't a little more scrunched up, but I like that now the baby won't look like he's wearing a paper bag on top of his head so much as he'll look like a wrapped up piece of candy.

    Which is a thought that appeals to me very much.

    I actually ran out of yarn and the piece of knitting is a couple of inches shorter than this size I intended to make.  But if you know anything about garter stitch, then you know this little hat can grow with its wearer!  If my sister rolls down the brim, her little boy can wear this hat until he's probably two!

    So I made two very different little hats, even though they're both made up of worked-flat garter stitch.  I love you, versatile garter stitch!  You're glorious and you'll look so simple and beautiful on my nephew!  You're truly the best.

    I still have a little bit of yarn left, and Garter Stitch for Baby has a nice mitten pattern.

     This baby is going to be covered in garter stitch and love! 

    Which, to me, is mostly the same thing.

  • Knitting Precious Garter Stitch Booties

    I knitted the Booties pattern from Garter Stitch for Baby.  There.  I said it!

    It was one of those crazy aunt/knitter projects that I should feel a little silly about, but don't. 

    Firstly, I've already made 3 pairs of booties for my sister.

    Secondly, I decided to use a nice wool/alpaca blend.  For a baby.   

    Whatever, y'all.  It's fall and my head is filled with ridiculous plans for really nice yarns and this is soft and a beautiful color and if I need to go visit my sister to hand wash knitted things for her and hold the baby a few months from now, then okay.

    Maybe I'm even doing this on purpose.

    I mean, I'm not because I'm not that clever but it's a nice bonus.

    Anyway, this was a lovely pattern to knit.  It's nothing too crazy, but also not too boring.  Thank goodness, because I had to make a second one!  This was sweet enough that I could happily make a few more pairs of this pattern.

    For now, though, I'm going to try out a few more of the patterns in Garter Stitch for Baby.  I'm really in a garter stitch mood and I've got quite a bit of this yarn left.

  • Garter Stitch for Baby!

    I've been knitting some patterns from Garter Stitch for Baby.

    But I can't say what.

    Because my sister reads here.  Hi!

    I want at least some of her presents to be a surprise, so I can't talk about what I'm currently working on--especially since I don't know if I can finish it by tomorrow afternoon.

    But I did want to say that I stinking love garter stitch projects.  I'm a big Elizabeth Zimmermann fan, and I don't mind telling you that I did attempt a Baby Surprise Jacket (for the third time) for my little nephew.  Obviously my rear end was handed to me.  Ugh, just let me crochet it instead.

    But I like how the Hooded Sweater on the cover is like a more structured, less tricky-to-construct homage to the Tomten Jacket.

    And these little bootees?  Slay me.

    Does my nephew already have enough bootees from me?  Maybe.

    And yes, those are made from the Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern. I think they're just called "bootees."  But go back and look at those up there!  They're so sweet!

    This reversible blanket really surprised me.  How are you so versatile, garter stitch?  How?!

    And I don't understand this little Sweetie Toy, but it's really growing on me. 

    I was repulsed when I first flipped through the book, but lately I've been going back to it and thinking about what colors I could use and how much time I have left.

    There are 10 patterns full of garter stitch goodness in Garter Stitch for Baby.  I can't wait to tell you more about the patterns I picked out.

    I also maybe can't wait to try out some more of these.  My little nephew won't be here until December, and I'm pretty sure I get to knit for him for the whole rest of his life or until he and my daughter decided that my plans for matching sweater vests are madness.

    I'm really thinking about that Sweetie Toy, now.....

  • A Tiny Garter Stitch Hat

    After knitting the Punkin' Patch Hat from Warm Hats for Wee Noggins a while ago, I decided to try the Basic Paper Bag Hat in the smallest preemie size possible.

    I've been on a garter stitch kick lately, and I liked that it was a simple pattern that didn't look too simple or sloppy.  I don't know of any hospitals in my area that need preemie hats right now and (praise God) all of the preemies I know are now big kids.

    But I still wanted to have a hat or two on hand, just in case.  I had taken some partial skeins of soft acrylic yarn from a destashing friend several months ago, and I wanted to put them to good use.

     Warm Hats for Wee Noggins has patterns for very, very wee noggins--there are 3 preemie sizes and 3 full-term sizes for each pattern.

    The Basic Paper Bag Hat is garter stitch for 7" and then a little bit of sewing.  Seven inches.

    If I remember right, my baby's head was something like 15" around at birth (3 days past her due date).  And for comparison, here's the hat next to the Frog Hat from Hats and Diaper Covers 2.  The hats in that book are for babies in the 3-6 month range.

    The hat on the left is for my nephew, who's due in December.  I don't plan to need that little hat on the right for him, and a small part of me didn't even want to make it while his mommy was still making him.  It almost feels like I'm jinxing something. 

    Yes, I know how silly that sounds. 

    I have a few balls of yarn, and they're not enough for full-term-size baby hats.  So I'll make a few more of these itty bitty hats, and stash them away.

    I may need to dig out larger portions of yarn, though.  This is a sweet little hat, and I think my gift stash could use some larger sizes of this pattern!

  • Baby Bibs and Good Vibes

    Do you read the Yarn Harlot's blog?  You should.  She's funny and talented and pretty much the Queen of Knitters.  I read her post about knitting superstitions and why we knit what we do and for whom and on and on, and man.  You can go ahead and read it now.  I'll wait. It's fine.


    I am squarely in the 'knit for babies before they're Earth-side' camp.  I don't think it jinxes anything.  Everything related to having a baby--carrying one, adopting one, or even just knitting for one--is an act of faith.  That's some reckless optimism to think about bringing another person into your life and trusting that this was a good idea.  I think anyone who does that deserves all my enthusiasm and hand-crafting as early as possible.

    So with all those baby feelings and stashed yarn in mind, I read the post on Friday morning and thought about it all day.  I have a lot of ongoing projects and other obligations and I have a lot of plans for my impending nephew and most of them haven't been made yet.

    I downloaded Knit in a Day for Baby because I had seen pictures of the striped bib and I wanted to make one. 

    Or maybe several.  Whatever.  Look at how precious this is?!  It's a cottony, garter-stitch dream!  Never mind that this baby won't even need a bib for, like, forever.  I wanted to make one. 

    So I did!

    There are stripes! 


    And a red button! 


    I like these colors!  I like this pattern!  I like this book!

    I meant to print only the pages for the bib pattern, but wound up printing off the whole thing.  That's about 94 pages of quick knitted goodness.  I had already intended to try out several of the other patterns, and now they're right at hand! I plan on trying out a lot of these patterns for my nephew or my daughter--or maybe even both of them!  I have a lot of daydreams about matching outfits.

    This little baby is going to have a pile of handmade things waiting on him, and I've got to get on it!

    I can't wait to welcome this little guy into the world!

  • Keeping it Simple With Garter Stitch

    I wrote last Wednesday's post on Tuesday night last week.

    Then I didn't knit for the next 3 days.

    That's a pretty big span of time for me.  I was a little burnt out.  I love knitting, and attempting to crochet, but that's nothing new.  If you're reading here, you probably do too.  And if you're anything like me, or any other living being, you probably don't get to do the things you like as often or as long as you wish.

    I knit, yes.  But I also have a job, a child who needs me to read books and refill sippy cups, a second job where I blog about knitting (that takes time away from my knitting), a husband who expects me to pay attention to his stories about his day, friends, errands, chores, and a pressing need to eat and sleep.  Something had to go, and I decided it would be knitting.

    It wasn't a monumental re-examination of my priorities, but it was a relief, honestly.  I was feeling a little paralyzed by deadlines and expectations and options.  I have yarn, pattern books, and projects that I want to try in addition to projects I want to make for all of the gift events that are coming up with ever-increasing and alarming speed: birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers, and on and on.  Every project I planned became loaded with so much importance.  Could I blog about it?  Would it use stash yarn?  If I made it for one person, would another person expect me to make one for them too?  Did I even want to make that anymore?  I didn't want to make anything, so I didn't.

    I didn't even miss it, but that's because I was doing things.  I took care of normal life and some extra things.  But when I picked up my needles again, I kept it simple.

    Garter stitch, baby.  Garter stitch all the way.  I love garter stitch projects.  They can be simple without being boring, and I came across a few good ones at a pretty great time. They use that one stitch, over and over, but in such interesting and creative ways! It's a simple stitch, but you can do pretty complicated things with it.  Garter stitch fabric also lends a thickness to projects that makes them feel more substantial than your standard knit-and-purl fabric.  More sturdy. 

    After a few false starts, I made a couple of knitted hearts from Elizabeth Zimmermann's book, Knitting Workshop.  There's also a video series with the same name.  On one hand, it's hard to learn from Elizabeth Zimmermann because she approaches knitting with this attitude that you know plenty about knitting and she's fully confident in your abilities and you don't need everything spoon fed to you.  Sadly, there are times when you need some spoon feeding.  And if you're not familiar with older patterns, you're going to be a bit confused because people write patterns differently now and it really makes a difference.

    On the other hand, though, it's just plain fun to knit Zimmermann patterns.  EZ has confidence in you!  She promises that you'll get the hang of things!  You'll get through that pattern somehow, and when you do, you'll have something timeless and carefully crafted.

    I'd actually forgotten about her Heart Patch until I was searching Ravelry for knitted heart patterns, and saw that I had some in my library already.  And ta da!  There was the garter stitch heart.

    And here they are.  Variegated yarn might not have been my best idea, but they're just small dishcloths.  I wanted to make some small Valentine's presents for some co-workers, and these tickle me a little.  I have just a few more to make, and then I can fully devote myself to knitting this garter stitched wonder:

    And then knitting another one.  I'm going to meet some twins in May!  I'm making the Little Baby Sweater by the Purl Bee.  It uses stash yarn, knits up tiny, and is modeled after Elizabeth Zimmermann's Tomten Jacket.  I've made the Tomten Jacket a couple of times before for my daughter, and I love the modular construction of the jacket.  It's precious, simple, and just seems so sturdy to me.  I was really excited to find this pattern because it's an adorable and fun version of something that I know I love to knit.  It's not the fanciest look, but babies are cute in anything.

    For another project modeled after Elizabeth Zimmerman's work, be sure to check out Leisure Art's book Surprise Crochet Sweaters for Baby.  People have done some amazing things with this crocheted version of the Baby Surprise Jacket, and I plan to make one for a baby that I'll meet later in the year.  It takes me a while to crochet things, so I'm going to start that project for a baby who won't be showing up for another 5 or 6 months because I may need the whole 5 or 6 months.

    For now, though, I'm sticking with my garter stitch and keeping things simple.

  • Learn to Knook: Left-Handed Knit Stitch

    It's left-handed Knooking time!

    Like I said before, I like watching the left-handed videos just to get a perspective on how the process works that I wouldn't have if I only watched the right-handed ones.  These left-handed videos can be super handy for everyone!

     And I know they can be a bit small, but if you look in the bottom right-hand corner you'll see a little square that you can click on to bring the video to full screen mode. 

    And, of course, if you want to view it at the Leisure Arts website, your link is here.  It's the very same video, but if you need that extra bit of clarity then they have it for you.  I hope you're enjoying these videos.  I know a left-handed knitter who's a visual learner.  She finally learned to knit after watching a right-handed knitter knit, and then she would try to follow the mirror image in a backwards sort of way.   So she can knit just fine now, but only after a lot of extra hard work.  

    I believe in challenging myself to learn new things, but I don't like when a hobby feels like hard work.  Which is probably why I love video tutorials and why I already think I've Knooked enough on my knit/garter stitch swatch (just a reminder: if you knit on both sides of your project, then you're knitting the project in garter stitch) to have the hang of things.  I re-watched the bind off instructions, bound off my swatch, and now I feel good about my Knook knit stitch abilities.  It's like passing through the levels of a video game, or finishing up a chapter in a fun book!

    This is apparently my idea of a good time.

    So far, I'm really enjoying this Knooking endeavor.  Yesterday I learned the purl stitch so that I could try it out.  I think washrags are good swatch projects for trying out different stitches, and I want to give some to my sister next week as a hostess gift for having Thanksgiving at her house.

    This is the Rib and Garter pattern from Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  It's just knit and purl stitches.

    I'm already figuring out my Knook gauge stitch is about the same as my knitting gauge--crazy big.  I'll probably move down a size for my next washrag (this is with the H/8 Knook), but I don't what pattern I'll pick next.  Exciting stuff up ahead!

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