Posts tagged ‘technique’

I-Cord Necklace Tutorial

At the Etsy Craft Party I attended on Friday I got a chance to play with an I-cord machine and talk to people about the different ways to make a cord (the machine, spool knitting or double pointed needles).  I wore the bracelet I created for the rest of the night and put it with my daily jewelry (watch, college ring and small silver hoop earrings) when I went to bed.  The next morning I decided that just wearing this bracelet wasn’t going to be enough, I needed to make more I-cord!

Since Saturday was Knit In Public Day it seemed fitting to choose the double pointed needle method.  If it hadn’t rained I would have biked to the park and knit there, but it was an icky day out and I’d been at the Etsy Party for 4 hours the night before, so the most public I was getting was twitter (and this blog, a few days late!).

I’m not sure that I’ve knit anything since Christmas of 2009, and even then it was just a few tiny snow people.  I was pleasantly surprised that my hands just knew how to hold everything, although it took a long time to get into the rhythm of things since the rows are so short!  Still, by the end I was able to do 7 inches of cord in about 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty good for someone who hasn’t knit anything substantial in more than 10 years.

My go-to website for basic technique has long been Lion Brand’s, they didn’t fail me this time either, giving a simple explanation of how to make an I-cord.

I started as instructed: casting on 3 stitches (yet another thing my hands magically remembered how to do), sliding, knitting, sliding and knitting some more.  Before I’d even gotten this technique down, I already knew that I wanted to experiment with the size of the cord, expanding and contracting to make different embellishments.  I ended up doing something like this:

Cast on 3
Slide to other end, knit 3 (basic cord pattern)
Repeat for 7 inches
Knit, cast on, knit, cast on, knit
Knit 1 row
Knit 2, cast on, knit 2, cast on, knit
Knit 3 rows
Knit 1, k2tog, knit 1, k2tog, knit 1
Knit 1 row
Knit 1, k2tog twice
Knit basic cord pattern for 1.5 inches
Knit, cast on, knit, cast on, knit
Knit, *cast on, knit* repeat from * 3 times
Knit 1 row
Knit 1, k2tog across
Knit 1, k2tog across
Knit basic cord pattern for 1.5 inches
Knit, cast on, knit, cast on, knit
Knit 1 row
Knit 2, cast on, knit 2, cast on, knit
Knit 3 rows
Knit 1, k2tog, knit 1, k2tog, knit 1
Knit 1 row
Knit 1, k2tog twice
Knit basic cord pattern for 7 inches

I apologize for the lack of abbreviations or standard notation.  (Did I mention how long it’s been since I knit something?)  I should probably say that you continue to slide at the end of each row.  If you can understand my pattern, you will end up with a necklace with three bobbles, 2 large and a small one between them.

I Cord Necklace

The problem is, they change size depending on how you push and pull the cord.  I was looking around my apartment for something small, a marble would be ideal, to stick in the spaces.  The best I could come up with without leaving home (still raining) was some styrofoam.  I’d recently purchased an exacto knife so this seemed like a fun experiment.

I cut the styrofoam into a rectangular prism at first, but quickly realized the cord wasn’t tight enough and the corners would stick out.  So I sculpted a bit until I had a piece I liked.

 

 

Then I pulled at the yarn around a small hole until it was big enough to fit the foam.  Once it was in, I wiggled it around and stretched at the cord until the hole had nearly disappeared.

I repeated the same process for the other two bobble spaces.  Squishing the styrofoam helped a bit, and I was even able to cut out protruding corners while the foam was inside the cord.

  Overall I’m happy with the design, although I may end up looking at the thrift shop for some marbles or other small spheres to use instead.  The styrofoam is just a bit more visible than I’d like it to be.

June 13, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Blocking Experiment

So far I’ve managed to avoid blocking.  Mostly I work with thicker yarns and often with round objects.  Recently I made some square coasters though that came out a bit crooked and decided to finally figure out blocking.  I went with the soaking method rather than spraying since it’s a thick yarn and pinned them all down to a towel.

Pre-Blocking Coaster

Blocking Coasters

Turns that I don’t have as many pins as I thought (I don’t sew) so I was only able to pin the corners (even then I had to use some needles).  I stretched and squished the edges until they lined up with the ruler and hopefully they will dry that way.

Drying in the sun

I set the whole thing up in the sun and hopefully it will all go smoothly!

Do you have any tips or tricks for blocking?

June 6, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Single Crochet Entrelac

After making two projects in tunisian entrelac I considered that topic ‘mastered’ (ha!) and moved on to experimenting with single crochet entrelac.  This piece is a cloth of some variety and was most definitely an experiment.

1. Just like tunisian entrelac I made one long chain to work all of my squares into.  For this cloth I wanted to make three large squares, 10×10, so I started with a chain of 61 (any multiple of 20+1 will work).  (It actually turned out to be 10×11 since you need an odd number, but that amount of chains still holds.)

2. Single crochet in the second chain from the hook and the next 9 chains (10 sc).  Then slip stitch into the following 2 chains (one to end this row, the second to start the next row).

3. Turn.  Single crochet in 10 stitches across.  Ch 1.

4. Turn.  Single crochet in 10 stitches across. Slip stitch in the next two chains.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 four more times (11 sc rows total) except skip the final slip stitch.  This completes the first square.  Repeat from row 2 for each square (start row 2 in the same chain as your final slip stitch rather than the 2nd chain from hook).

Once you have 3 squares (or whatever you decided), finish off that color.  Start your new color in the top right stitch of your first square.  Just as before, follow the instructions from row 2, but you will be stitching into sc rather than chains.  I decreased to two squares for this color, but you could do the same number again if for your last square you only used row 3 (the standard single crochet square).  Finish off your second color and repeat once more to make a row of one, filling in the open space between the two squares you just made.

My original plan was to then turn the entire piece around and repeat the same thing on the other side (2 squares color B, 1 square color A), giving me a checked 3×3 square.  However, I was running out of yarn and in the mood to play, so I decided to fill in the gaps and make a triangle.  I am sorry to report that I don’t remember where I started, quite possibly in the middle and then going back to add the ends in afterwards.  But, the basic premise is to start with the full 10 stitches and then decrease by 1 each row until the final row is just a slip stitch.

To get the triangle which doesn’t have a square to work up from, ch 11, sc in 10 ch across (starting at 2nd from hook), slip stitch to the appropriate row and continue as usual.  In fact, this method would work from the beginning, there is no need to make a long chain to start, simply chain 11, work a single crochet square, chain 10 more and work a single crochet in that, repeating until you have as many squares as you like.  Then for the next square follow the instructions above.

I like this method since you don’t have to change colors nearly as often as if you made all of these square separately, and I’m sure it could easily be adapted for different pattern squares that you just connected as you worked!

 

May 30, 2011 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Entrelac Lotus

All the blog gurus say that it’s important to write about what people want to read.  Since I’ve only had one comment and no other way to communicate with you, I looked at my search terms.  So far, four people have found my blog via search and they’ve searched for the following:

  • channel islands knitting illegal fishing
  • opposites crafts
  • how to do an entrelac square
  • how to make single crochet enterlac
I think the first comes from a funny fact I Re-Tweeted on twitter: (RT @LionBrandYarn Apparently it’s illegal for men to knit during fishing season on the Channel Islands) and the second is for a treasury I created, but I don’t have a lot more to say about either of those.  Entrelac though, I can talk about that!  I still haven’t tried single crochet entrelac because I’ve been busy with tunisian entrelac projects.

I finished my vase cover:
Upcycled Vase Crochet cover

And started the full size bag:
Tunisian Entrelac Crochet Bag

I’ve also been thinking about a future entrelac project.  Browsing Etsy and Ravelry I’ve seen some cool crochet banners and I have a set of tibetan prayer flags that hang above my window.  These two concepts would appear to be totally unrelated, but I’ve decided to merge them and attempt to crochet prayer flags.

Based on the research I did today my flags are not traditional- I have one strand of lotus and another strand of a variety of symbols.  Even though it wouldn’t be authentic, I think a string of crocheted lotus flags would be pretty and potentially spiritual.  While searching for crochet lotus patterns I recalled the entrelac circle pattern I had seen which I think could easily become a lotus using the correct colors:
tunisian entrelac in the round
Perhaps I will try this pattern in single crochet, especially since that will make it easier to transition from entrelac circle to traditional crochet square to finish off the flag.  Plus, this is a great excuse to buy more yarn!  The flags come in 5 colors and a lotus can be white, pink, red or blue depending on what it symbolizes.

What would you like to hear more about on this blog?

May 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm 2 comments

Hemp

I’m a little bit late, but I’m celebrating the 2nd Annual Hemp History Week (it was May 2nd-8th). I was one of those young girls fascinated with friendship bracelets, lanyard/gimp/boondoggle (depending on location? or just who taught you?) and macrame.  So hemp was something I used to make necklaces/bracelets.  I liked the natural color better than the dyed hemp because it was softer and easier to work with (which I’m sure has a lot more to do with how the hemp was processed, not the dyeing). As with most crafts I picked up, the hemp, beads and clasps were all packed away in a storage bin that lived under my bed.  I didn’t think about hemp much at all, except on the occasion that someone would mention hemp clothing as ec0-friendly or how silly it was that the FDA couldn’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana so growing it is banned in the US. Then a few weeks ago I was browsing my favorite online yarn shop which specializes in eco-friendly yarn.  They had hemp yarn and so I figured I should try it out (you should too – it’s on sale for the month of May!).  It’s a bit stiffer than other yarns, but not nearly as bad as that ‘dyed stuff’ I used as a kid.  I decided it would make a nice sturdy bowl/basket and set to work.

        

When I finished the basket I had some yarn left over, and decided to see how rusty my macrame skills were.  I dug into that bin under my bed, and there was my set of hemp, beads and clasps.  I don’t know if it makes me really organized or a pack rat, but either way I had everything I needed and knew exactly where it was 2 moves later!  Turns out my macrame skills come back as easily as a riding a bike does.

    

For more information about hemp check out this fact list.  I had no idea that Turkey has grown hemp for 2,800 years for rope, caulking, birdseed, paper and fuel!

May 19, 2011 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

The Felted Bowl Saga

I am new to felting, so far I’ve felted two things.  The first time I tried I sort of followed a bag pattern, then read a little bit about felting and jumped right in.  And it worked great!  I’d made a small clutch, just the size of a short drinking glass, in a nice wool yarn.  Then I stuck it in ice water, boiled it several minutes, ‘agitated’ it (using classic yellow dishwashing gloves), repeated a few times and then blocked the whole thing around a couple glasses (one for the bag and another for the handle).  Everything worked exactly as expected aside from a slight burn on my palms (felted wool really holds onto the boiling water!).

Impressed with the ease of this new technique, I set about to make a felted bowl.  I’d seen a pattern for a really cute knit bowl in a flower shape, but I wanted to crochet it.  Not to worry, I’ve made plenty of double crochet circles, I can make a bowl.  After a few tries with the petals I had a nice looking but slightly floppy bowl, I thought the felting would solve the floppy problem, not so much.  I started out just felting with ice water/boiling water like before.  It amused my audience (I was visiting my parents house for Easter weekend) but resulted in an almost flat piece of fabric that wasn’t very well felted.  Still feeling somewhat hopeful I set it in a bowl to dry overnight and hopefully regain its shape.

The next day I could clearly see that it would flatten with even the least bit of pressure, so I thought I would look up some fabric stiffeners.  One homemade recipe just involved watered down glue.  With renewed enthusiasm I painted some on and put it back in the bowl to dry again.  A few hours later I checked back to see that little had changed, if only it looked nice when flat I would have quit there and sold it as a trivet.

Finally, I decided to try putting it through the washer/dryer on hot with a full load of laundry to get as much felting as possible.  I didn’t think it would do much, but it was my last hope.  I’m not sure whether it was the washing or drying or combination of both, but at the end of both cycles it was finally felted!  The only problem was it had dried with a crease…  Not wanting to wet it completely to risk undoing all of my progress, I steamed the crease and massaged it back into a smooth curve.

All in all I crocheted, iced, boiled, agitated, glued, washed, dried and steamed this bit of wool.  It was an awful lot of drama for one bowl.  Next time I’ll just use double strands or single crochet!

This item is available for purchase now!  Felted Red Flower Bowl (Crochet).

May 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Tunisian Crochet and Entrelac

One of the best things about Ravelry is that I am always learning about new techniques.  I’m willing to try more complicated patterns because I know that there are over a million people on there, so someone is bound to have the answer to whatever questions I might have.  So, when I saw a pattern for a cute bag using tunisian crochet and it was also an entrelac project I did hesitate – that’s two new techniques in one pattern! – but I knew that I could figure it out.  So after discussing with another woman that neither of us were sure what the starting chain should be, I decided to make a mini-bag as a test.  It didn’t turn out as a bag, but more on that later.

First I had to learn Tunisian Crochet, also called Afghan Crochet.  I was hesitant about this method since it involves having a lot of loops on the hook at the same time.  The fact that you don’t have a ton of loops is exactly why I prefer crochet to knitting, but this project didn’t require buying a longer hook and it wasn’t an overwhelming number of loops (up to 7 at a time).  The basic stitch is essentially a sc2tog done in two steps: first, you pick up loops as you move to the left, then you work back to the right pulling through two loops at a time.  It creates a different look though, and you work through the loop in the front rather than the top.  The most difficult part was definitely re-training myself to not make a chain at the end of every row.  For at least 50% of the project I finished the row, chained at least one and then undid the chains once I looked down and saw front loops beckoning me rather than the familiar V.

Next, once I’d made four squares, I got to experience the full extent of entrelac.  I love it!  The squares look great in alternating colors, it’s much easier than working in pieces and sewing them together.  Really all it involves is working your square starting on the last row of the previous square, and slip stitching into the adjacent square at the end of the row.  It seems reasonable to do with regular crochet, although there aren’t any patterns for entrelac that don’t use tunisian*.  I’d rather work in traditional crochet because I’m much faster at it, I’m sure that’s all about practice, but I have a harder time feeling the tunisian stitches and so I’m not sure I’d get to the point where I could work without looking at the project.  I’ll experiment with single crochet entrelac and get back to you on that.

After a few rows of alternating colors I really looked at what I had.  It’s not a bag, I checked to make sure that I could fit my hand into it before continuing past the first row, but a cylinder just doesn’t say bag to me.  I’m hoping to get to the store tomorrow to buy one of those Pom juices since it may just be the right size to fit.  Then I’ll call my creation a vase cover for the upcylced vase, and I’ll get to drink some delicious juice!

*Edit: I did find a pattern booklet that will explain how to do entrelac with single crochet, so unsuprisingly I’m not the first to think of it.  However, instead of spending $8.00 on a booklet I’ll still be making it up as I go along.  It saves paper and is much more fun!

May 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm Leave a comment


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