Knitting, crafting, cooking, and motherhood… trying to do it all!

Posts tagged ‘Magic Loop’

Jogless Stripes and More Baby Accessories

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I finished the blue ribbed hat, but wanted something a little cuter for my new little guy, and also wanted to challenge myself with stripes.  I had learned through one of the YouTube videos I watched that you had to do something special to create stripes while knitting in the round.  I did not remember the technique, but did remember that it wasn’t too complicated.  I found a pattern through ravelry that had some of the basic shaping of the hat I wanted, but it used a needle size that I didn’t have and I wanted to make changes to the pattern anyway.

I used my previous knowledge of hat making (from both knit and crochet– I have crocheted over 100 hats in the past couple years) and the ideas in the ravelry pattern to design my own knit hat pattern.  I once again utilized the Magic Loop, which has become one of my favorite knitting techniques.  I also utilized YouTube videos to create jogless stripes on this little boy’s hat.  While I can’t explain how to do a jogless stripe, I can tell you that it’s not hard.  In fact, the hardest part is remembering to do it when you start the second row of a new color.  This pattern also used PSSO, which is a techinque involving Passing Slipped Stitch(es) Over a knit stitch.  I slipped the stitches purlwise, but learned in subsequent hats that it worked better to slip them knitwise.  The PSSO technique can be seen in the raised stitches in the picture below.

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The pattern I created ended up with an adorable little star pattern on the top.  I made some adjustments to my own pattern, and in the next few weeks created hats for two different friends’ baby showers.  One couple is Jamaican, so I used the colors of the Jamaican flag.  The other couple are both professors at Indiana University, so I used the IU Hoosier colors of crimson and cream.  Once again, I need to write up my version of the pattern because I plan to use this for many baby showers to come!

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After creating the jogless stripes of the baby hat and creating my own newborn hat pattern, I decided to try it with socks.  I had already made a few adjustments to the baby sock pattern I had previously used, but now I wanted to change it completely and make it my own.  I still used the worsted weight yarn and the size four DPNs, but now I wanted to continue the ribbed pattern all the way down the heel and use my newly-learned skill to add jogless stripes and colored toes to the socks.  It took a little bit of work to figure out the right number of rows/stitches to achieve what I wanted, but I was SO happy with the results.

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As you can see, one of the colored toes ended up longer than the other, and there are a few other minor differences.  This is because I was more focused on improving my own pattern rather than making them identical.  I love the green and blue cotton yarns, and look forward to mixing and matching these socks with the blue baby sweater and the two different baby hats.  Now to make another baby sweater in the green…

Knitting Socks for a Giant

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Okay, I didn’t actually knit socks for a giant, but with the size of my feet, I might as well have.  I wear a women’s size 11 shoe… a size that’s hard to find in most stores.  Needless to say, the “one size fits all” socks they sell do not fit me very well at all.  Even if they go on my foot, they tend to get holes in the toes before the end of the season due to being stretched too thin.  These reasons of course played into my decision to knit myself a pair of socks, but the main reason was that I felt it would be a tremendous achievement if I could actually do it.  I would use tiny knitting needles (size 1.5) and sock weight yarn, which is very thin.  If I could complete an entire project with these materials and have a pair of socks that actually fit my feet, I would consider that quite the accomplishment.

I scoured the patterns on ravelry, and finally found one that listed an XL women’s pattern along with a lovely design.  Click here to see Sarah Ronchetti’s Basket Weave Rib Socks pattern.  After I had decided upon a pattern, I went to the yarn store in town to pick up some specialty sock yarn.  If I was going to devote the time to this project, I wanted to invest in quality yarn.  I found a great wool/silk blend that combined varying shades of blue and green.  I debated whether or not this would make the socks too “busy” (since they already used the basket weave pattern), but after consulting with the lady at the yarn store, I decided it would work fine.  I also invested in a pair of high-quality circular knitting needles, the addi lace knitting needles (size 1.5), so I could make the socks by using the Magic Loop method.  Once again, I felt it was worth the investment in the project to buy something that would be easy to use for a challenging project.

I began creating the first sock and realized immediately this was no small task.  The first inch of ribbing used about a thousand stitches, and that was only the beginning!  Once I got into the pattern, I was frequently confused about where I was and what row I was doing.  It’s not a very complicated pattern, but I was so new to knitting and the stitches were so small that I found it to be quite a challenge.  Here is a close up of the pattern as it began to unfold:

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Because I had created the worsted weight newborn socks, I had some experience with knitting the parts of the sock, which proved to be very helpful.  I did not experience any difficulties while creating the heel, turning the heel, or knitting the gusset.  I grew to have a love/hate relationship with the socks.  While I absolutely HATED how long it seemed to take, I absolutely LOVED the pattern that emerged from the tiny little stitches.  While in the process of knitting the first sock, I took several breaks to work on other projects.  Thus, the entire sock probably took about 10 days-2 weeks.  When I finished it, I seriously considered alternatives to finishing the pair (could I start a one sock trend? match it with another sock I already owned? cut off my other foot?).  I took a week off and then decided I actually missed using those tiny needles and experiencing the beauty that unfolded from the creation of those little stitches.  I decided to power through and finish the pair.

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The second sock I created had a slightly different pattern due to the variegated yarn.  I enjoyed watching the new pattern emerge and I found that things went more quickly with the second sock as I had a better handle on the pattern.  Certainly not quick, but at least faster than before!  These are, without a doubt, the most expensive, time-intensive socks I have ever owned.  They fit nicely, though, and they’re both soft and warm.  I love to look at them and friends who have knit socks promise that they will last a long time.  And, after the exhausting (but rewarding) experience, I’m actually considering making another pair!

Newborn Hat and the Magic Loop Method

To complete a “going home from the hospital” ensemble for my newborn, I wanted to make a knit hat to match the sweater and socks.  For my last baby born (Jonathan), I had brought along an adorable crocheted hat for him to wear instead of the standard pink and blue striped hat they put on the babies (see pic below with Adrian holding Jonathan).  One of the nurses commented that, “these hats that Grandma makes are cute, but they’re just not warm enough for these new babies,” and promptly switched out my handmade creation for the hospital hat.  At the time, I was too worried about the fact that I was letting my baby’s head freeze to be offended.  This time, however, I decided to come to the hospital with a snug little KNIT hat.  Hopefully it’s acceptable to the nursing staff!

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I kept the same worsted weight cotton yarn and found a perfectly simple newborn hat pattern through ravelry.  The Little Boy Blue Ribbed Baby Hat was just what I wanted.  I could use the same blue yarn as I had used for the hat and sweater and by being created with lots of ribbing, it would be warm, stretchy, and comfortable.  Because you never know how big the baby’s head will be, it’s important for the hat to be very stretchy and the extended length could easily be folded into any size brim.

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The one problem with this pattern was that it called for size 7 needles.  I had size 8 and didn’t want to invest in the 7s, so I did some math and adjusted the pattern.  I basically just reduced the pattern by 12 stitches and skipped “Rnd 11” in the pattern.  I started this pattern using the DPNs.  While these are perfectly fine for knitting a newborn hat, the pointy needles kept poking my big, pregnant belly.  I watched a YouTube video on the Magic Loop method, and I was sold!  (Side note: I have found that VeryPinkKnits makes some consistently easy to follow YouTube tutorials.)  The Magic Loop method allows you to knit in the round without filling up the entire circular needle.  In fact, you start with very large circular needles (32″ or greater) and then shift the stitches back and forth along the needles.  This was a much more comfortable method for small-circumference knitting, and learning how to do it helped me in many future projects.

The project went rather quickly, and I ended up with an adorable (and very versatile) WARM hat for my newborn son!

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