Archive for May, 2013

Announcing Cables KAL!

It is time to start planning for our next KAL starting Sunday, June 2 and ending Monday, July 1st. This time we are going to explore cables. I have chosen two patterns for use in this KAL so you can pick one that suits you or your intended recipients best. Since it is finally approaching summer, the projects are smaller and more portable.

IMG_9657-001

Since so many of you really enjoyed using Aimee’s pattern, Sea of Dreams, we are going to use Aimee’s patterns again. One of them is one of my favorites and have knit multiple times, the Off Piste hat. Off Piste is a fun hat with cables, bobbles and a cute little brim. It is a perfect first cables project. The second project is the Barleycove Boot Toppers. Since you have to knit a pair, you will be able to practice the cables more.

mtcabin's barleycove-001

I will be knitting the Barleycove Boot Toppers for this KAL. Jamie will be knitting the Off Piste. Aimee will be available in the upcoming Ravelry thread also.

The main goal of this KAL is to learn how to cable. Cables really aren’t that difficult and you will feel brilliant when you finish your first project with them. We will discuss the merits of using a cable needle. There will also be information learning how to cable without a cable needle and when it works best. If you already have conquered cables, these projects are still really fun and we hope you still will join us in knitting them.

So what do you need to join us in the Cables KAL?

For either project, you will want to have a cable needle available. I use these needles by Brittany, I like the fact that wood has more “grip” on my stitches. See all our cable needles here.

Off Piste Hat Materials

Pattern: Off Piste Hat on Ravelry (if you don’t use Ravelry, you can buy Off Piste here on Polkadotsheep)

Recommended Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, 1 skein in the solid colors (You will need 150 yards of a heavier worsted weight yarn or aran weight yarn)

Needles: US size 9 / 5.5 mm circular needle and double pointed needles, US size 8 / 5.0 mm circular needles for brim (or size needed to obtain gauge)

Note: This pattern was originally written for Malabrigo Twist which we no longer actively stock here at Polkadotsheep.com. I have successfully knit the Off Piste in the BSA Worsted Cotton, it is the purple hat pictured above. This is hands down my favorite cotton and we have 20 colors currently in stock.

Barleycove Boot Toppers Materials

Pattern: Barleycove on Ravelry (if you don’t use Ravelry, you can buy Barleycove here on Polkadotsheep)

Recommended Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina

Needles: US size 2 & 5 / 2.75 mm & 3.75 mm needles, use your favorite method for small circumference knitting in the round: double pointed needles, 32″ or longer circular needle for magic loop, two circulars or a 12″ circular needle

Perhaps neither of these projects suit your personal taste. I would like to suggest that both the Off Piste hat and the Barleycove boot toppers would make fabulous Christmas gifts. So think, by joining this KAL you will learn something new, have fun with us, and be at least one Christmas gift ahead by the end of June. That is a winning combination in my book.

So join us for fun and discussion over in the KAL Ravelry thread in our group!

Start your summer right with a little knitting, a little learning and lots of fun. Happy Knitting until then1

~Angela M.

May 19, 2013 at 6:00 am 7 comments

Sea of Dreams KAL: Blocking with Blocking Wires

So you have finished your Sea of Dreams Blanket, now what? Well, with lace, it is especially important to wash and block your knitting.

What is blocking anyway? When you block a knit object, you are shaping it out to specific dimensions or until it has the look you want in the finished object. Blocking is worked with a damp object. For lace, blocking is so important because it looks all rumpled and you can’t really see the pattern when you take it off the needle. When you stretch the lace out you can see the beautiful work. The way to do this is wet your work and then stretch and hold it in place until it dries. The result will be an object that looks like you imagined it to in your mind’s eye.

I talked about washing your knitting in this post. Washing your blanket will be no different from with the hat featured in that post. We love Eucalan wool wash, it is a no rinse formula and works beautifully for hand washing any delicate fabric.

This tutorial is using blocking wires. You can buy a set for yourself from Polkadotsheep.com. Our set comes with plenty of wires for multiple projects. The wires are very flexible to bend around curves.

Blocking wire shot text

Let’s get started.

First, find a large enough surface to block your project on such a bed or the floor. You will need to be able to pin into this surface. A mat such as a Block n Roll Mat is ideal. You can also just use the bed itself, towels on the floor, or those foam floor puzzle pieces that your kids might have outgrown (that is what I use at the moment).

Second, your object needs to be washed and have all the excess water squeezed out. So it should be damp.

So you have a flat pin-able surface and damp finished object! Get your wire and some pins and follow this few steps to block your Sea of Dreams blanket.

Blocking Step 1 text

Blocking Step 2 text

Blocking Step 3

Blocking Step 4 (2)

Blocking Step 5 pin text

Blocking Step 6 text

You will need to complete all these steps along the edges. Pull your blanket outward to the size that you wish and so the lace looks open and clear. The yarn-overs should be open but there doesn’t need to be gaps between the knit stitches themselves.

You can also block using pins only. You will need to put them at closer intervals than in these pictures. Use a grid or a straight edge of some sort to make sure you don’t end up with wavy edges (this is one of the advantages of the wires).  Work slowly along each edge pulling out your work. You might find you will need to re-adjust some pins after doing others. This is normal.

If you are planning on knitting a lot of lace, a set of blocking wires will make your life much simpler. They are also excellent for giving you nice straight edges to seam together garments knit in pieces.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial about blocking using wires, even if you are not participating in the Sea of Dreams KAL. Like most information in knitting, this does not only apply only one project. Washing and blocking really finishes your knit and crochet projects to their fullest potential.

Happy Knitting to all! I am madly knitting on my Sea of Dreams myself.

~Angela

May 9, 2013 at 11:19 am 2 comments

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