Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Boy's Car Mittens

Here are the car mittens I finally bought buttons for! I saw the idea in one of my Knitting Daily emails but they wanted me to buy the pattern so I just made my own version of it.
Below is my version of the pattern. I use a (FREE!) knitting app on my tablet called Visual Knitting Counter and every pattern I post will be compatible to copy-paste the text into it, in case you use it too or want to try it out.

Green yarn
Black or dark gray yarn
Orange or yellow yarn
Blue yarn
2 to 4 car buttons
US Size 6 double-point needles
US Size 4 double-point needles
Optional stitch marker placed at start of new row to keep track of when knitting in the round.

12-month size Car Mittens:

Using green yarn: Cast on 25 sts on smaller 2-3 double-point needles.
Working in the round, *K1, P1* until cuff is 1 1/2-2" long.
Switching to larger needles: Switch to dk gray/black yarn, K 25. You may choose to alternate green and gray for this first row to add the illusion of the grass blades but you can't really tell (see photos).
Begin thumb increases at the start of the new row, by inc 1, K1, inc 1, K24.
K 27
Inc 1, K3, inc 1, K 24
K 29
Inc 1, K5, inc 1, K24
K 31
Inc 1, K7, inc 1, K 24
This is the row where you will start the road stripes. K1 gray, *K5 orange, K5 gray,* repeat until row is done.
Inc 1, K9, inc 1, K 24. Make sure to follow the color pattern you started in the previous row!
K35, following color pattern. This is your last row of road lines, so they are 3 rows wide.
Transfer 10 sts to 2 other double-point needles: These sets will become the thumb.
Knit in the round in your road color for 8 rows, so that there are an equal number of rows on either side of the lines in the road.
At the beginning of your next row, start your blue yarn. This is your sky, and you're almost done.
K 3 rows.
*K5, K2tog* 4 times, K3
K 21
*K4, K2tog* 3 times, K3
*K3, K2tog* 3 times, K3
*K2, K2tog* 4 times
*K2tog* 5 times (6 st remain)
Bind off.
Close the small hole off from inside the mitten.

K8 rows with your road color.
*K2tog* 5 times
Bind off, closing off the hole from inside the thumb.

Add buttons to the backs of both mittens, so that you can tell which is the back and the palm.

If you have never knit with multiple colors, you want to make sure you cross the color yarn you just stopped using over the color you are starting,  like so:

I am stopping the gray and beginning the orange.
When you pull the gray tight it will not show on the outside of the mitten.

Since I do not recommend using individual lengths of thread for each new block of color the inside of your mitten will look something like this:

So you want to pull the yarn tight enough to not show through while still keeping it loose enough to stretch when worn. You might decide to practice this a little bit depending on how much stretch your yarn has.

Please let me know if you have a hard time with this, or if I am not explaining it easily enough for you to try.

Here is another close-up to motivate you to make these for the little boy(s) in your life.
The car buttons I found all face the same way, and the mittens looked a little odd with just one car on them, so I'm pretending they are on a one-way road. You might have a better or different outcome if you have a different button selection than I did.

Good luck and happy knitting!

Monday, August 27, 2012

An Afterthought About the Tablet Cover

I made two tablet covers, one for myself and one for my husband. If you notice, I added less to the flap after my buttonhole than after his.

I do not recommend being lazy like I was when I made my tablet cover (on left). I think it looks so much nicer when there is more after the buttonhole and if you do not make the last cables the edge will not curl up as it does on the flap of my cover.

The lesson here? Just make it right. Don't get my bad habits.

Happy knitting!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I Love Double Point Needles

I have two projects I will write about next week that required double point needles (dpn's). Working on these projects (socks and 24 month sized mittens) reminded me of why I love using  dpns so now I'm sharing my love of them with you.

  • They are invaluable for repairing dropped stitches. A smaller dpn will allow you to repair a stitch you notice was dropped so many rows down you would be tempted not to repair it at all. Unfortunately I've done this many times.
  • You can make an awful lot with them: mittens, socks, hats, and if you lost all your straight needles you could make scarves and other small flat projects too.
  • I use them for making cables instead of buying separate cable needles. I also use crochet hooks for cables when my dpns are not handy.
  • I use dpns (or a crochet hook) to take care of the ends of my yarn when I finish what I've been working on, to weave the ends into the body of the project. I use straight needles for this too but I prefer a dpn because they are shorter and easier for me to work with.
I'm looking forward to showing you the little boys' car mittens I made. There will be photos and a pattern up on Tuesday or Wednesday so check back then.

Have a great weekend and good luck with all your knitting endeavors!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Excellent Resource for Pattern Abbreviations

When I first started using patterns, I had a hard time figuring out some of the less intuitive (and less common) abbreviations. I found an excellent resource here: http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/knitting-glossary
Not only does it tell you what the abbreviation is, a lot of them also include an instructional video if you do not know how to do the step.
Patterns used to really intimidate me because of the notation. This website really helped me expand my skills and now I use patterns all the time.

Good luck and happy knitting!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome and a Pattern for a Seamless Tablet Cover

After much deliberation, I've decided to start a blog devoted to amateur knitters. I have been knitting for about 5 1/2 years now but I still feel like a beginner sometimes. I think this is because I am mostly self-taught. No one taught me how to troubleshoot and I was only taught your basic cast on, bind off, and stockinette stitch; the rest I learned on my own.

My goal here is to post at least once a week, on neat tricks to make learning new techniques easier for beginners, free patterns and every once and a while I will post on something completely unrelated to knitting. I will try my very best to find you all great, seamless patterns because I think projects look SO much better made in one piece, and because I find projects are a lot easier when I don't have to sew or crochet a bunch of separate pieces together. I will find or make easy video tutorials for you too.

Also, now that I am in possession of a Nexus 7, I will be trying out different apps devoted to knitting and letting you know what I think about them.

That being said, my most recent project was a case for my Nexus. I found the pattern here:


1 skein yarn (mine only used 1/2 skein of Bernat Classic wool)
Double point needles size appropriate to your yarn's ideal gauge
1 button

I made it smaller for my tablet, since the iPad is bigger by inches.
This is the SAME pattern but with my changes in order to accommodate a smaller tablet:

CO 54 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast-On (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gkyd3nq3Yn8), which establishes knitting in the round.

Rows 1-3: *K3, P1, (K4, P1) 4 times, K3* twice.

Row 4: *K3, P1, Cross 2 L , P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, K3* twice.

Row 5-7: *K3, P1, (K4, P1) 4 times, K3* twice. .

Row 8: *K3, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K3* twice.

Repeat Rows 1-8 until piece measures 7.75″ (22 cm) from cast-on edge, ending on an odd row.

Bind off 27 stitches and then continue in pattern across the back, now working flat with WS (odd rows) knit as: P3, K1, (P4, K1) 4 times, P3.

Continue for approximately 1.75″ (4.75 cm), and then work RS button-hole row as K3, P1, (K4, P1), 2 times, YO, K2tog, P1, (K4, P1) 2 times, K3.

Knit in pattern for another .75″ (2 cm), and then bind off.

A picture of my finished project shown below. My edges did not turn out as nice as the one on the website I found the pattern at because I did not finish the edges by crocheting. That said, I found this to be a very easy pattern and once I found the YouTube on Judy's Magic Cast On (I thought the tutorial was very easy to follow), I made my tablet cover in one afternoon. (The bottom is actually straight. It looks uneven because the photo was taken at an angle.)

Happy Knitting!