Monday, December 28, 2009

Post-Christmas Wrap-Up (get it? wrap up? HA HA)

Ah, another Christmas come and gone. Gus and I have been spending a lot of quality (and quantity) time in our pajamas, vegging out. He has been busy with Legos and Wii and I have been indulging in a sort of frenzied orgy of non-present knitting. It's all for me! It doesn't have a deadline! I can knit anything I want! I am giving myself this week to indulge because once the new year starts, it's all business for me, knitting-wise!!

But first, what I knit for gifts. I knit 2 berets for my sister Laura, one pink and one cream, as requested, but never got to take a picture, so that was stupid. One was the 3-Gauge Beret by Nancy Lindberg and one was the Star-Crossed Beret by Natalie Larson.

For my other sister, Sarah, I knit a Snowman Family representing her, her husband Jon, son Charlie, daughter Grace, and cat Clyde.

By the time I got to Clyde my hands were killing me, but I had to finish and he is so funny that I laughed out loud every time I looked at him.

I also went cuckoo-nutso for this pattern and knit 4 of these little red cabled sweaters, 3 as Christmas ornaments for some dear friends and one for our tree.

The other big undertaking was a vest for my husband Matthew. I've knit hats and scarves and slippers for him, but never a sweater. He puts holes in the elbows of his sweaters, so a vest seemed like a good idea. I found some beautiful forest green heather Berroco Vintage Wool in Boston, pulled out my handy Knitter's Book of Patterns, turned to the Basic Vest pattern, and then the fun began. I did a gauge swatch like a good girl, picked out the appropriate size and stitch count and knit away. When I got up to the armholes, I realized that I had been on crazy crack and my stitch count was off by like 18 sts! Say what?! I readjusted everything and soldiered on, but I wasn't sure that it would be okay until Christmas morning, when this vision appeared:
My good husband in his PERFECTLY PERFECT-FITTING vest!!! I actually got weepy!! But that was the crazy crack again. I see dozens and dozens of lovingly (and more mindfully) handknit vests in this poor man's future!!

So that's that. One last note about holiday knitting: I knit tons and tons of impulse projects this past year because I wanted to kill some time or try a new technique or get rid of some yarn or wanted to knit what everyone else was knitting. The result was a huge amount of hats, mittens, scarves and miscellany, more than I could ever use in a lifetime, that made great last-minute gifts for co-workers and friends and relatives. I highly recommend this.

Hope you all had lovely holidays and are enjoying some relaxing time off. Soon Gus and I will get out of our pajamas....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cinnamon Pinwheely Goodness

I've gone into cookie overdrive here chez Momogus Knits. I tried a new recipe this year and liked it so much I thought I'd share it with you.

Look how adorable! (Don't be fooled by weird photo perspective - they're about 1 1/2" across)

Like little cinnamon buns, but not sticky. They look a little complicated but they're not. Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Pinwheels of Goodness

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each piece into an 8"x12" rectangle (this was hard for me - my rectangles ended up 7 1/2" x 9" or 10 1/2 x 11" - a general rectangle shape is fine). Sprinkle with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used half of this on each of the 2 rectangles). Starting from a long side, roll each rectangle into a log. Refrigerate until firm (this doesn't take long). Slice 1/4" thick.

Bake on a parchment-covered baking sheet until just brown, about 13-15 minutes. Transferring the slices onto the sheet is messy - the pinwheels do not stay structurally sound and the cinnamon-sugar stuff starts flying. But persist and don't fret. It all comes together in the oven.


Monday, December 14, 2009

How's Your Holiday Knitting Going?

Mine is kind of going. I have a big project on the needles that is a gift for someone special. It has run into some difficulties, all of them me-induced. Gauge, stitch count, measurements - I have goofed up on all of them. What gives?? You'd think I never knit before! I think I've resolved most of the issues, but it's been humbling. I think I can finish before Christmas, but then again, I seem to have lost track of time a little - how did it get to be the 14th already??

Here's something I can show you. Look how teeny tiny!!!
I cannot stop making these ding-dang little sweaters! So fussy! So silly! So quick! Here is the genius pattern. Thank you, Liz!! These little sweater ornaments will be gifts for some mom-friends of mine. They're quick enough that you could whip them up for a last-minute hostess or whatever gift! Plus they're fun to make and take just a smidgeon of sock weight yarn.

Hope you're enjoying the beautiful holiday season!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A List of Charitable Organizations

I love giving and receiving presents as much (okay, maybe more) as the next person, but this time of year, it's good to take a break from your gift list and think about how you can make your world better. Here's a link to Interweave Press's list of charitable organizations and their guidelines for giving. Boy, just reading the list gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling!
Though every one of these programs is doing fabulous wonderful necessary work, one of my personal favorites is Heifer International. They donate animals, trees and other stock to needy families around the world in order to increase sustainable self-sufficiency. They have a "Knitting Basket" donation that provides two llamas and two sheep to a family for income-producing wool.

Each year Gus and I go through the catalog and pick out an animal to give. Two years ago we had Merry Chicksmas and last year was Merry Cowmas. He donates all of his December allowance and then asks relatives to each donate a few dollars too. And that adds up to a lot of chicks! Or one cow!

Most of these organizations will accept donations on behalf of someone else, so think of it as a nice alternative to a gift card to the local mall. A donation to a charitable organization is especially nice for a teacher's gift.

And, as I tell myself 10 times a day this time of year, stay calm! Take some time to stop and smell the pine and cinnamon scents around us, hear the beautiful holiday music, watch the twinkly lights, sip some hot chocolate, and appreciate all the little good things we have in our lives.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Here's Something to Go With Your Wonderful Knitted Gifts!

My dear friend Lisa recently sent me a note with a heads-up about her friend, Meg, who produces KnitKnotes, which are hilarious and beautiful notecards for knitters. This one is my favorite:
(it's a little hard to read on my monitor - it says "I made this. I expect to see you wearing it.") Bwa ha ha ha!! Anyone who has ever made any knitted gift ever will appreciate THAT sentiment. The cards include a space for your tender message and care instructions for your labor of love. Go check out her Etsy store - she also has holiday/knitting cards that are great-looking and funny. All printed on recycled card stock too.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with Etsy what a treat you have in store for you! And oh how many hours you will spend clicking on the Color Finder and the Shop Local section looking at ceramic mugs with loons on them and pearl earring sets and deciding if you can justify buying a hundred different skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn. Oh wait, that's me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday Deals - 24 hours only!

I thought I'd jump into the Black Friday madness and offer three patterns at 50% off for 24 hours only! That's a mere $2.50 a pattern! If my website had doors, you could bust them down like a Walmart at 3 in the morning!

These patterns will be 50% off until about 10pm on Friday (when I go to bed). I chose these three patterns because they each are great for gifts. They look cool, work up quickly and are great for almost everyone on your gift list.

First up is the Double-Knitted Felted Clutch:

This pattern uses one of my favorite techniques - double-knitting! Double-knitting is an easy way to make a tube on straight needles. Sound crazy? It's not! It's fun and easy. These little clutches make great teacher gifts, girlfriend gifts or daughter or granddaughter gifts. You can needle-felt or embroider decoration or just sew on a fabulous button and be done with it.

Here's one I made as a sample:

Here is Barb, who took a class with me and her beautiful bag:

Next up is the Easy Mosaic Knitting Pillow:

Another one of my favorite EASY techniques, mosaic (or slip-stitch) knitting is an EASY way to do complicated-looking colorwork with no bobbins or two-handed stranding. This pillow is knit in bulky-weight yarn - the back is garter stitch stripes, so this is another quick gift. Great as a hostess gift, for yourself or as a house-warming gift.

Here is a sample that Maureen, one of my sample-knitters, made for her daughter:

Here is Marina (of Marina's Soap Sock fame!) and her pillow made at a class I taught:

Finally, there's Fingerless Gloves Two Ways.
This is one of my favorite last-minute (or not-so-last-minute) gifts. Gus has had a lot of teachers who got these as presents. They're also great for surly, hard-to-buy-for, teenagers because they look cool and leave fingers free for endless texting.

The pattern is written for a true, thumbed glove worked in the round:

And also, in thumbless mock cable version worked flat and seamed up:

(these really go fast!)

Here is charming Sue and her gloves from a class she took with me:

So there you are. Go crazy! Bust the doors down! Try a new technique! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Perfect Gift Set (If I Do Say So Myself...)

(There's a preview of a special Black Friday deal at the end of this post)

Okay, I've posted this pattern before. But I told you I'd post some ideas about great holiday presents and I have to admit that Marina's Soap Sock and Matching Washcloth fit the bill nicely!

Remember this:

And this:
The mighty Marina's Soap Sock (free pattern here)! Double-knit in worsted weight cotton, these can be knocked out in a jiffy! A jiffy, I tell you!

Then, with your leftovers, you can knit this:
The matching washcloth (free pattern here)! Simple garter stitch with a nice eyelet edge. This pattern is great for baby blankets as well, since it's knit corner to corner.

Another beauty shot:

I have to say that these 2 items get the most use of anything I've ever knitted, which is weird since I probably put the least amount of effort and time into knitting them. So be it.

Now, as an extra-special touch, go to your local crafts store and buy some soap-making supplies. All you need is glycerin, a mold and maybe some dye or scent. This will set you back about $10, and I think you can get about dozen bars of soap out of it. And it is so EASY - you'll laugh and quit your job and do nothing all day but make soap! You cut some glycerin from the block, nuke it in the microwave for a minute (I use a 2-cup glass measuring cup), then add some dye (you can use food coloring or cake icing dye) and scent (or go au naturel), then pour it into the molds. It takes about an hour to cool. And then you're done. That's it.

By the way, this is also a great kids activity - my son and I made A LOT of soap when we did it - more than the dirtiest family could use in a lifetime.

Now find a little basket, roll up the washcloth and tie with a ribbon, and put your beautiful handmade soap and your Soap Sock in the basket as well, and you have the prettiest, most thoughtful little gift ever. Perfect for your sister, your daughter, your neighbor, your kid's teacher, a hostess gift, your co-worker.

Two Thanksgivings thoughts: First, I'll be offering several patterns for 50% off on Friday as a special kick-off to the holiday season. They'll be posted on Facebook first, so go join the Facebook group, if you're not already a member!

Second, my heartfelt best wishes to all of you out there for a happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for YOU!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Teensy Weensy Sweater Ornaments!

Okay, first a shout-out of appreciation to the newest additions to the Momogus Knits Patterns family - Circle of Friends Yarn Shop in Elkin, North Carolina, The Open Door to Stitchery in Great Neck, New York, Down Cellar in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Knit A Bit in Westfield, New Jersey, Knit Your Dreams in Quincy, Illinois, and The Knitting Gallery in Colts Neck, New Jersey. If you're in any of their neighborhoods (or the neighborhood of any local yarn store!), pop in and give them your business. Without you, local yarn shops will start to close and you'll be stuck wandering the aisles of A.C. Moore, trying to get someone to show you how to do Kitchener stitch. Scary!!!

Now, on to more holiday knitting stuff. In Berroco's weekly email newsletter this week there was this!
I don't know about you, but I am the original sucker for tiny knitted objects! These are little sweaters that can be holiday ornaments for your tree, or adorn your wonderful holiday present wrappings or just make you squee from their adorable teeniness. The free pattern is here. It takes dk weight yarn and size 4 and 6 needles. The little capelet in the middle kills me! I wish I were 8" tall so I could wear it! If you are certifiably insane, there are two other sets from 2007 and 2008 that you can make as well.

As I said, if you have the inclination (yes!) and the time (well, maybe....), even just one of these ornaments would make a sweet present for a teacher or hostess or your own tree.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Felted Bowls Anyone?

Last year the only knitted gifts I made specially for the holidays were little felted bowls. Unfortunately, because I gave them away I don't have pictures. But they were awesome - trust me!!

Here are some things I like about felted bowls:

1. They're quick - you can knock out a bowl during an episode of "Top Chef" or "Mad Men" (ask me how I know!)

2. They use very little yarn. Over the years of many felting projects I have accumulated a bazillion little balls of leftover Lambs Pride Bulky, my favorite felting yarn. I can't make myself throw them out, and I can't give them away to any of my designated leftover yarn recipients. So they sit in a drawer in my yarn cabinet (yes I have a yarn cabinet - wanna make something of it?!) until it's time to make felted bowls!! Little balls of leftover felting yarn are perfect for felted bowls! If you run out, you just use another little ball of leftover yarn and make a striped bowl.

3. Felted bowls are awesome for containing little giftees. Last year I made felted bowls for a bunch of my school-mom friends and put little felted hearts in them. (Brace yourself if you follow the link - they're mighty cute!!)

I'm linking to a great free pattern from alice*thelma for felted bowls of several sizes. Her pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, but you can also use bulky weight and follow the instructions for the smaller sizes and use #13 or #15 double-points.

Instead of buying another gift bag, why not knock out a little felted bowl? They're great for holding jewelry or potpourri or knitting notions (like stitch markers, etc) or action figures (ask me how I know!) or little felted hearts.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Not to Scare You, But.....

.....the holiday season is creeping up on us, and not in a slow way!! I got sucked up into the vortex of Phillies/Halloween/Boston and was merrily in autumn mode until I got startled by a phone call to my sister in which she said she was finishing her Christmas shopping online. Yesterday. November 8. Yikes. Yeah, I haven't given Thought One to holiday gifts.

So now I've started thinking about the holidays. For knitters this can be a fraught time. I swing back and forth between "Everybody's getting knitted presents this year!" and "Nobody's getting knitted presents this year!" The happy medium between those points is where I'm most comfortable. Last year, in a fit of selfish genius, I knitted every single thing I wanted to knit all year and then went through and gave away most of it during the holidays. Because really, I don't need 8 pairs of fancypants mittens. The only things I made specially were little felted bowls for my school-mom friends.

So, not to scare you and not to urge you to "get going on your holiday knitting" because we all have enough stress this time of year, but I'm going to start a series of posts with suggestions for great quick holiday gifts, but only if you feel like knitting!!! C'mon, enjoy the holidays and reduce the stress!!

First up is.....Fingerless Gloves (Momogus Knits NS1)!

This pattern flies out the door of the Tangled Web this time of year (in fact it's the November special right now). You can make the ribbed, thumbed, gloves on double-points (the gold ones above), BUT the mock-cable, knit-flat-then-seamed, gloves, these:

are easy and fast and look really pretty. They're a great teacher gift (ask me how I know!!) and are also great for that hard-t0-buy-for teenager on your gift list. They look cool and let those teenagers' thumbs fly for maximum texting.

Stay tuned for more easy stress-reducing ideas to make your holidays fun and festive!! Some will be my patterns and some will just be some of my favorite other-people's patterns or ideas.

In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful autumn around you.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Buy Local!

Welcome to the latest additions to the Momogus Knits patterns family! Yarn It in Deal, New Jersey, Yarns R Us (love the name) in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, and Unwound in Blowing Rock, North Carolina (first NC yarn store for MK!) are all now carrying Momogus Knits patterns. Thank you! Remember, it's so important to support your local yarn shop! I know it's easy to go to Michael's or A. C. Moore, but who will help you figure out pattern directions or help you fix a mistake in your knitting or spend an hour picking out the perfect yarn for your first grandbaby's sweater? Your friendly local yarn store helper, that's who! If we don't put our dollars there (and buying local is always a great way to go), they'll close and we'll all be out of luck.

Speaking of spending your dollars locally, are you familiar with The 3/50 Project?

Go ahead and click on the link and poke around and then come back please. It's a great easy way to stimulate the economy and keep our neighborhoods and small businesses vibrant and flourishing. Spend $50 a month at 3 locally-owned businesses and be amazed at how much good you'll do for your neighborhood and small businesses.

I personally support the 3/50 Project by eating lots of cupcakes from The Night Kitchen, which unfortunately for my waistline is now 2 doors up the street from The Tangled Web. I also spend approximately $1,000,000,000 annually at Lewis Paints in Glenside. I get to talk about the Phillies, and debate eggshell vs matte finish and gossip with the local painting contractors whenever I go in. You can't get that at Home Depot. Finally, my third favorite local business is Joe's Meat Market in Ardsley. When we moved into our house, the mover said to us, "You're so lucky! You're only 3 blocks from Joe's!" We had no idea what he was talking about, but soon learned that Joe's is the heart and soul of our neighborhood. It's a father (Heinz)/son (Ralph)/daughter (Monica) business, and it is the best. If I come in without Gus they will ask me where he is, how his baseball team is doing, how school is going. I love them, and I am so thankful that they're near. Nobody at Genuardi's asks me how Gus is doing.

What are your favorite local businesses? Think about what you love about them - how near they are to your house, how friendly the atmosphere is, how high the quality of the product is. That's what we can work on keeping.

Now go buy some cupcakes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Yippee!

Sorry to interrupt my fascinating knitting musings, but it's time for another champagne picture. Congrats to the Phillies for winning the pennant!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Musings....

First this:

Beloved Phillies finally (dare I say "phinally"???) beat the Rockies and advance to the NLCS to face the Dodgers. Cross yer fingers!

Then this:

Talk about PHINALLY! The Child's Chestnut Hill Gansey finally got finished this weekend. I can usually knock out a child's sweater in a week or so, but this one kicked me around the block a couple of times. I feel like it took me months to finish it. Oh wait, it DID take me months to finish! Those sleeves..... But it's done! I can get the pattern in final form.

I'm also knitting this:

Because I can't knit enough Chestnut Hill Ganseys! This is the Adult version. The yarn is Cascade 220, which is severely underrated. I think of it just for felting (even though it doesn't really felt very well in my machine), but it's soft and wooly in a very pleasing way. I'm really enjoying this knit. I'm knitting a 38" version, which might fit Gus in a loose way when I'm done. I deliberately chose a denim blue that would not be objectionable to a way cool 9-yr-old boy. I still need to fudge the numbers a little bit, and of course there are the sleeves to knit (sigh), but this pattern should be ready pretty soon as well.

And last, but very much not least, a very warm welcome to the newest member of the Momogus Knits Patterns tribe, Jessica Knits in Scottsdale, Arizona. Seven years ago, when I started working at the Tangled Web, Jessica was already a veteran presence there, and she made me feel so welcome it started my whole career there on a happy note. She left to open her own store back home in Arizona, and I missed her keenly. She is a delightful person - funny, warm, talented and a good businessperson to boot. I'm thrilled that we're working together again, even though we're 2,500 miles apart.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This and That...

A shout out to my 88th and 89th Momogus Knits Patterns customers, Electric City Yarn Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania and The Yarn Shoppe in Aventura, Florida. I have a special soft spot for Scranton, because that is my mom's home town. I'm going to try to keep you apprised of new local yarn stores that carry my patterns, because you gotta support your local yarn store, folks! If you need to find one in your area, go here! Eventually, stores that carry my patterns will all get highlighted, but they're coming so fast and furious right now that my poor webmaster can't keep up.

I hope you all got to take advantage of the special FREE download offer and downloaded your copy of NS21 Easy Cable Mittens. (Facebook fans and Twitter followers will always get the news of these offers first - hint hint). Mittens are one of my favorite things to knit, and these were fun to design and make. But don't do what I did! After making many pairs as samples, I picked up some apple green Berroco Ultra Alpaca to make a pair for myself and happily knit away. When I was finished the pair I looked at them and thought, huh, something's wrong:
Yeah, I made 2 right hand mittens. DOH! Though I felt like kicking myself around the block, I did get a good laugh out of it, and proceeded to make a left hand mitten.

That's better.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Free Cable Mitten Download!

I posted this to my Facebook page (are you a Facebook fan of Momogus Knits? You should be! Look what you get!). This link is good until tomorrow October 6.

Go and download for free a copy of my Easy Cable Mittens pattern. This classic, simple mitten knitting pattern is a great introduction to cables. Knit in either worsted or chunky weight yarn, these beautiful mittens make a quick and easy gift for everyone on your list (don't forget yourself!) Instructions are also included for cabling without a cable needle, which makes knitting these fun mittens go even fast. Sized for toddler up to adult.

And don't forget - you can make a matching Cabled Hat or Ear Flap Hat or a Cabled Scarf!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Programming....

....for this:

Congratulations to my beloved Phillies for clinching the NL East Division title.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sleeve That Ate Momogus Knits

Sleeves have always been my nemesis. Top down, cuff up, back and forth, in the round, picked up or knit separately - it just doesn't matter. I don't like doing them.

I've been working on the Child's version of the Chestnut Hill Gansey, and the sleeves have been kicking my butt. I wanted the gansey patterning on the yoke to continue on the sleeves. First I had the patterning going vertically down the sleeve, like so:

This was confusing and hard to figure out where to stop, so Matthew suggested that I make the Child's version the same as the American Girl doll version, where the patterning runs horizontally down the sleeve, like so:

All fine and good, so I ripped out the 3/4s of the sleeve I had knit and started over. I picked up the stitches around the sleeve opening and started knitting down. Well, after a few inches I realized that it was the worst picking up of stitches job ever done in the history of sleeves. Brace yourself:

Yeah, that's one unfortunate bump right at the shoulder. Look how long I lived in denial and just kept knitting and knitting! Oof. So finally I faced facts and ripped it out and started over once again. Now we're cooking:

Phew - much better. However, I've been at that point in this sleeve for a week. I just can't make myself work on it! Waaaahhhh......

And when I finally finish this sleeve.....I have to do it all over again on the other side.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finished Customer Project

This is beautiful Jamar, in her lovely V-Neck Shell (#ES22). I believe the yarn she used was Waikiki by Crystal Palace. It's great to see the shell done in a variegated, textured yarn - the simple shape lends itself to an interesting yarn.

PLUS, Jamar looks fantastic! When she came into the store wearing this, I got all emotional. It was the first finished adult garment I had seen from a customer, and it was just thrilling to see how lovely she looked in it and what a great job she did.

Thank you, Jamar.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Back! (With Another Free Pattern!)

Just returned from a glorious week in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. Oh how I love that Vermont. Here's a snapshot (an enormous field of sunflowers we just happened to drive by):

Anyway, it's back in the saddle for the Momogus Knits crew. I'm putting together a little tutorial on adding beads to your knitting, but that requires more brain power than I have now, so instead I'm posting another free pattern.

This is the no-brainer pattern of all time, but it's one of my favorites. I had a lot of Sugar N Cream left over from the mighty Soap Sock, and the frugal old lady in me would not allow me to just throw it away, so I decided to make a matching washcloth, like so:

And so:

Diana's No-Brainer, Soap-Sock Matching, Sugar N Cream-Using-Up Washcloth:

Materials required
Lily Sugar N Cream yarn from your Soap Sock (or about 75 yds of heavy worsted weight cotton)
Size 7 needle

Cast on 3 sts.

Increase Row: Knit 2, yo (yarnover - bring yarn forward between the needles), knit to end of row. (The yarnover makes a pretty decorative hole and is also an increase, so your washcloth will grow....)

Repeat that row until you have approximately 44 stitches on the needle (depending on how you knit and how big you want your washcloth, but 44 will make a washcloth about 6" across)

Now you will decrease.

Decrease Row: Knit 1, knit 2 together, yo, knit 2 together, knit to end of row.

Repeat this row until you have 3 sts left. Bind off. You could make a little I-cord loop, or a little crochet chain loop with these last stitches, but I find that the washcloth hangs perfectly well on the little yarnover holes, so I don't bother with anything else.

So there you go. You can knock one of these out in an evening. The Soap Sock, this washcloth, and a little bar of nice smelly soap - a great useful handmade gift!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Samples for Sales Reps

My sales reps have requested a couple of samples to take on sales calls. I love knitting for the sales reps. It often gives me a chance to try out a new yarn or think about a pattern in a different way.

This is Momogus Knits Easy Baby Hat in Kollage Yarns Corntastic yarn (100% corn fiber!) for Erica, who also reps for Kollage Yarn. The Corntastic (love the name) is soft and cottony to knit with. Nice stitch definition too. I love pink and green:

This is a reduced-in-size sample of the Momogus Knits Easy Mosaic Pillow for Andrea, who tells me that store owners like the idea of this pattern for a class, which I can vouch for having taught this at the Tangled Web for years. The pattern calls for bulky-weight yarn, but I did this sample in some sport weight merino (Lana Grossa Cool Wool) that I had in the stash. It turned out about 6" across (as opposed to the 14" of the bulky-weight version). It knit up quickly and it made me think that knit in fingering weight yarn (so that it would turn out about 3-4"), it would make a really nice sachet:

I'm always on the lookout for quick giftee projects, so I'm going to keep that in mind.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Free Pattern!

What is this curious object??

It is a Marina's Soap Sock, of course! This idea comes to you courtesy of wonderful knittergal Marina, who took my Double-Knitted Felted Clutch Class and then went home and ran with the whole concept of double-knitting. Double-Knitting is a super-cool technique that allows you to knit a tube on straight needles. It's great for small diameter objects (like a Soap Sock!) that wouldn't fit around a circular needle. Marina made Soap Socks for her husband and one for me.

Here she is, displaying her handiwork:

That was the nicest thing a student's ever done for me! It works wonderfully! How did I live my life without Soap Socks for so long? Anyway, serendipitously, my husband suddenly mentioned the other day that he needed something to corral his soap and I immediately thought, Marina's Soap Sock! So I purchased some lovely lime green Lily Sugar 'n' Cream cotton yarn (which was surprisingly nice to knit with!) and knocked out a Soap Sock for him. I added a little I-cord loop so he could hang it up thusly:

You probably need to make a bunch of them - one for yourself, of course and then one for every loved one you can think of. You'll be very popular. It took me about a half an hour to knit this. And hey, here's a thought! A couple of years ago, Gus and I made soap. It's so easy you can't believe it - you can buy glycerin in solid form at your local craft store, plus molds and fragrance and dye. You just melt the glycerin in the microwave, stir in some dye and fragrance (if you want) and then pour it into the mold. Voila! You've made soap! Wouldn't some handmade soap and a handknit Soap Sock make a nice gift??!!! You know it would!

Marina's Soap Sock
(fits most bars of soap)

25 yards of worsted weight cotton
#7 needle
spare circular needle size #7 (or any size close)

Gauge: approximately 4.5 sts/1"

Cast on 20 sts. You will now be double-knitting the Sock as follows:
*Knit 1, bring yarn forward between needles, slip next stitch as if to purl, bring yarn to back between needles; repeat from * across the row.

Repeat this row until Sock measures approximately 4" long (or a smidgeon longer than your particular bar of soap). Now you are ready to bind off. Take your spare circular needle and slip the first stitch on the #7 off onto one point of the circular needle (Point A). Slip the next stitch from the #7 needle onto the other point of the circular needle (Point B). Slip the next stitch onto Point A, then the next one onto Point B, etc. Continue this until all of the stitches are now on the circular needle. Bind off until there are 2 stitches left. Work a 4" I-cord, knit last 2 stitches together, leaving a 6" tail. Fold I-Cord in half and sew or knot onto Sock at the base of the I-Cord. Insert soap, give to loved one.