Recommended Knitting Tutorials

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Grandest of Mondays to you, fellow Hackers!

I hope that all of you enjoyed a restful and enjoyable weekend and that most importantly, you fit in a little crafting time. This week, I wanted to share with the knitters out there some of my favorite places to learn more about knitting. Most are YouTube channels and I highly recommend subscribing so that you can get alerted to when there are new videos up. But there are also a couple websites that I check out occasionally to learn new stitches or find out the latest about new yarns on the market.

One of my favorite YouTube channels to follow is Joanne’s Web. There is something really lovely about Joanne’s tutorials. She is very good about going slowly through each step so as not to confuse newer/beginning knitters. She is also the adorable older lady and from the very first of her videos that I watched, I just loved her. It felt like sitting down and learning to knit with one’s grandma (who is ironically who originally taught me how to knit when I was just a preteen). She not only teaches things like how to actually do different types of stitches, but she also has specific patterns she teaches you. I use her fingerless glove pattern all the time because they are quick and easy to make. Another benefit is that a number of her videos are in Spanish as well.

Wool And The Gang is another fun channel to subscribe to. They also offer easy-to-follow tutorials so it is great for beginning knitters and novices. They also have a number of free patterns that they offer. Wool And The Gang is an actual company so in addition to their YouTube channel with wonderful tutorials, they have a website and blog. You know what else they have? A mascot… Meet Al The Alpaca.

Those are my main go-to YouTube channels when I’m either looking at learning a new stitch or trying to find a new pattern to try out. Some others that I subscribe to are RJ Knits and Sheep & Stitch.

Most of us are not only aware of Craftsy, we practically LIVE on their site. This is fabulous place to find patterns (they offer free and priced, but I have yet to see a bad pattern on that site). I also am a fan of LoveKnitting because they also sell yarn (like Craftsy and Wool and the Gang) and offer coupons and special pricing almost daily. (I recommend signing up for their email list to see what’s new and what specials they’re offering that day).

I hope that, for any beginners or skilled knitters out there, these resources not only help to continue your ever-expanding knitting knowledge but also provide you with a bevy of new projects for your horizons.

Happy Knitting!

 

~Scribe Sarah~


Hand-Knitted Ear Warmer/Headband

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The days and nights are getting chillier. Fall is just around the corner. And beyond that…winter is coming… (Sorry, had to make *some* mention of the Game of Thrones finale).

For the knitters out in our little crafting world, I wanted to pass along this very simple pattern that I came across on the interwebs. I have adapted this a bit to custom to varying head sizes. This pattern works best with chunky soft yarn. I prefer the Lions Brand Hometown USA. Whichever yarn you use, make sure that it has a little give because you will want the headband to stretch.

You’ll want to have US size 10 needles and a pair of scissors and a yarn needle handy as well. You will need two different color yarns; one will be what you knit the band out of and the other will be your accent color to finish the warmer. If you want to dress up your headband, you can also have a plastic or fabric flower handy or some felt shapes cut out to be stitched to the band. This is also a slightly more difficult pattern in that it uses the seed (or moss) stitch. This requires knowledge of the knit stitch and the purl stitch.

First thing to do is the make sure you’re spotted. I like to have a knitting buddy for this.

Just make sure your buddy doesn’t try to play with the yarn. *wink*

Cast on 10 stitches. On row 1, start with one knit stitch, then purl. Repeat this to the end of the row.

Row 2: *p1, k1; rep from * to end of row.

All odd numbered rows will start with a knit stitch; all even numbered rows will start with a purl stitch. I highly recommend using a stitch counter to track your progress. You can lose track of which stitch you need to start on very easily if you’re not paying attention. Your seed stitch should look like this.

Continue this pattern for 70 rows. You’ll want to keep your tension loose so that the headband will still have some stretch and give. If the tension is too tight, the headband will not fit. Once you get to row 70, bind off your work.

Then stitch the ends together to make a knitted circle. Then take the ends and tie around the ends to bunch the band in one spot.

 

Once that’s tied off, you will take your accent color and pull it through the center of the band. I usually have about 3 feet of yarn on each side, then wrap it around in a chunk. Once you have it fully bunched up and covered in your accent color, you will tie off the ends and snip it close. Then tuck the knot into the threads to hide it. Flip your band inside out and you are finished! You can decorate the band with anything you choose; buttons, flowers, whatever ideas you can think of.

This pattern can also be adjusted for head size by either increasing or decreasing the number of rows stitched. It can be completed in a couple hours and make great gifts!

(Note: you also may want to make sure your buddy doesn’t fall asleep on the job. LOL).

~Scribe Sarah~

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DIY Unique Yarn Storage

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Hey there, Hackers! Tis your intrepid ScribeSarah, back with some tips on how to keep your crafting space clear and organized. Now, even little ol’ anal-retentive me gets her home a little messy with all her little projects but there are ways you can get that chaos organized, even if it doesn’t always look like it. While I tend to be a bit of a jack of all trades in the craft arena, for today’s exercise, I thought we would focus on ways to keep your yarn both accessible and stowed so that it’s not taking over your home.

There are quick and easy ways to store your yarns and threads, most of which you can find at your local Container Store (a place I am not allowed to go unsupervised because I will buy all the things). However, if you’re looking for something a little less ordinary (and costly), there are a bunch of things out there that you can use or re-purpose for these needs.

For yarn that isn’t being used currently (or for that yarn you found you just couldn’t leave the craft store without despite not having a specific project you bought it for), you could use old wicker/weaved baskets. My grandmother had a ton of these just hiding in her cupboards and when she passed away, rather than donate them to the Goodwill, I kept and re-purposed them. Some I use for small balls of yarn (leftovers from projects past) and some I use to keep finished projects. These can be decorative and left out by a chair or sofa or can be standard square that fits in a closet or on a shelf easily.

Another thing that gives your not-being-used yarn a happy and somewhatImage result for vintage suitcase retro home is to put those old suitcases to work. Vintage suitcases are a beautiful way to store these items that still look neat and classy. They fit in closets, under beds or sofas, but still show off a little glamor when pulled out for use. They can also be stacked decoratively in a corner or on a shelf (e.g. hat boxes, etc). You can line old suitcases with any fabric you like too, so the inside as well as the outside has a special sort of flare.

If you like assembling items, this next item is for you. Simple pegboard and hooks are a fabulous way to store your yarn while still keeping it readily accessible and easy to use. You can customize size, shape, even color quite easily and load as many or as few skeins onto a board as you see fit. You can also create many small boards to mount along the wall of your craft room in a funky design or pattern. The sky’s the limit with this option and it works best if you have a dedicated craft area or room.  For an easy-to-follow tutorial, check out Dwell Beautiful’s step-by-step instructions here.

Coffee cans are a fun, decorative way to store yarn you are currently using on projects. They come in various sizes and, depending on how much coffee you consume, you may have a restoring supply. You can paint or decoupage the outside of each can, simply slice a small hole in the lid of the can, then place the ball or skein in the can and thread the end through the lid. Glue guns, glitter, rhinestones, shelf lining paper and yarn itself are also fun ways to decorate the outsides of the cans. Not only does this give you storage, it is also an inexpensive yarn holder. But if you don’t want tons of coffee cans just sitting around your space, you can also mount them on the wall (without the lids).

Image result for coffee can yarn

And finally, we come to milk crates. These may be a little harder to come by but they give you a great way to create your own yarn shelves. They are stackable, come in different colors and can be used in small and large spaces equally as well. Got a lot of yarn? Just keep stacking on the crates until you have a place for it all. For this idea, I recommend using an anchor of sorts when stacking against a wall; the higher you stack the crates, the more likely it is that the whole thing could topple over. You will also want to lash the crates together as well to make your yarn storage sturdier.

Image result for milk crate yarn storage

These are just a few ways to take items you may have either laying around the house or are easy and inexpensive to acquire and use them to organize your space. But don’t stop there. Look around you. You never know when inspiration will strike. That random item that’s just collecting dust in the corner may be the next great organizational tool in your crafting adventures.

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DIY Pom Pom Rug

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Got a nice simple project today with spring break coming up for many. It’s a super cute and easy DIY rug that would work great in the kitchen, kid’s room, or heck even a dorm room.

Here’s your materials list:

  • 4-6 yarn balls (thick or ultra thick)
  • Large container lid, chair back or other household item to wrap yarn around
  • Scissors
  • Rug base canvas

And if you don’t like videos, you can find the full written out steps here on Hello Giggles. 😀


Huge Yarn Balls for Giant Made Items

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Ever looked at an afghan and gone, “yeah, it’s nice and all, but I wish the stitches didn’t look so small.” Well, one Etsy user has your solution.

Ohhio, creates and sells 100% wool yarn balls, and the needles, with yarn that is so thick that each row is 2-3″ tall. I cannot imagine working with 40mm needles, but wow that blanket would be done crazy fast if you were good at it.

She makes a large variety of colors and has helpfully included info for how many skeins/balls you’d need to make certain projects either with her custom wooden needles, or by just using your arms! If I could find an equally sized crochet hook I’d be all over trying these. 😀 Just make sure that you pay attention to the delivery time when ordering. This artist lives in Ukraine and it can take several weeks to reach you. Basically plan now for all your holiday needs. 😉

-Nicole


Crocheted Doctor Who Blanket

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Yup. You read the title correctly. This piece was entirely crocheted by the lovely lady on the left there, Bridgette McKenna. Made using (what looks like) double crochet and 5 different colors, this is quite the massive blanket! The subject is David Tennant as the Doctor from the popular Sci-Fi show Doctor Who, and looks to be about a double size blanket. Bridgette admits to making it so she can snuggle under it while watching Doctor Who. Doing color changes like this are incredibly time consuming and I can only imagine how many weeks/months she worked on this during the winter. Incredible job making and pixelating a face out of yarn! You can see her posting of it to the Doctor Who Hub Group on Facebook for all the lovely comments people have been leaving. 🙂

~Nicole


Yarn Stash Part 2

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So yesterday I went on about keeping track of your stash on your phone since that’s my preferred method, but what if you don’t have a smart phone? Well, if you have an internet connection, then there are still options out there for you. 🙂

While their mobile app may not work for ios devices, their website still offers a great way to keep a digital catalog of all your yarn. It lets you sort by color, weight, fiber, amount, and most importantly to me; shows which yarns you’ve used up and are out of! Ravelry is a great community for yarn workers as well so you can also store the pattern you are using or even mark your yarn as up for sale/trade if it’s something you won’t use but can no longer return. Every time a user enters a new yarn it gets added to their database for everyone to reference so it’s really quite an extensive collection. The only downside to all this being…what if you cannot access it?

 

Whether you just want a physical back up or prefer to keep record in a physical way, Look at what I made has you covered with her great yarn binder DIY. Simply head on over to the posting here where she has created a beautiful template for free use that allows you to attach a bit of your yarn to the page (she laminated hers, but you don’t have to if you use thick paper) so that you can easily see, compare, and feel what yarns you have along with the record of their color/brand/dye lot. There are even open sections for you to add a bit of the label on to the page itself!

Never wonder what those washing instructions were again! XD As long as your goal is to organize and take control of your yarn mess stash then there’s really no wrong way to go about it. Hopefully these tools will help those who have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect though. 🙂

~Nicole


Yarn Stash Apps

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So unlike fabric apps, I’ve had a very hard time finding a good app for my phone that will let me log and keep track of yarn that I’m working with or how much I have stored. I’ve been giving a few of them a try the last two months so I thought I’d share my findings with my fellow yarn workers. 🙂

Quick note, my cell is an iphone so I’ve only been testing apps on the apple market place. I will make note if that app is not available on android though.

Stash2Go

stash2go

As with most apps available, this one is designed for knitters, with add on options for crocheters….how kind. While this app seemed to have it all for the pictures (stash info, current projects, even linking to a ravelry account) it does not work. Got it to open and it would continue to freeze anytime I tried to use it. I don’t know if they just haven’t bothered updating it or why it does this but it just would not work. For those on android though, the reviews says good things about that version (And it’s free!) so it’s worth the download and test at least.

 

Mind my Stash

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This is quite literally the only other program available on the iphone app store for keeping track of your yarn stash. All the others that may even seem like it…nay. They are just pattern collections, or allow you to access ravelry patterns. Which is all fine and good but….not a yarn stash minder. This one does cost $3 but it does a decent job at what it set out to do. Keep track of your yarn.

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I’m still fiddling with how I want the info displayed as some fields aren’t intuitive (should name be the color name? or should it be the yarn style name when a color field exists farther down?), but overall this does the minimum of what I want. Lets me put in how much yarn I have in storage so I know what I’m working from or have to pull when the current skein runs out. It’s easy to toggle between metric or imperial info and even does the math for what the total yardage/oz you have on hand. I also like that it let me take my own pictures of the yarn as well so I could put them under whatever light I need to make the image look as close as possible to the in life color. Once you’ve added a certain brand name/yarn fiber in that it didn’t have before it will remember it, and you can even go into the settings and delete some of the pre-loaded ones that don’t exist in your area. I also like that I can keep track of the hooks (or needles) I own and that it doesn’t assume you only knit or crochet; it allows info for both.

My complaints are fairly minor. I don’t like that the scroll down menu you see when you select your stash doesn’t have the color name listed. This could be a mistake on part by filling in fields wrong (meaning they want the color listed under color name and yarn name) but to me it just seems like a personal preference thing. I’ll likely make a fix of it on my own in how I fill out my fields. I also wish I had a better way to say I have a yarn of that color in use while having x amount in storage. All minor complaints though.

It is not available on the android store. The closest I could find was Yarn inventory, but the pictures don’t say much and it has mixed reviews. It only cost $1 though so not much risk if it is lack luster. I really wish there were more apps out there so this list was longer but sadly we are not high up on the programming demand chain. Even the android market really only had 2 options for yarn stash organization. 🙁


Knit Dragon Wings Shawl

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The air is just starting to cool here on the east coast so I thought this would be a great time to share this pattern. That way it gives you a few weeks to make one for yourself before the weather gets too cold. So keep yourself warm this fall the fun way by making yourself one of these really cool Dragon Wing inspired shawls!

You can buy the pattern for only $6 over on Ravelry and comes with instructions for large and small that way you can make them for your kids as well. 😀 I know I would have loved something like this as a kid. Well, I’d like something like this now too but I don’t knit….why are these cool things always a knit pattern and not crochet? I’ll show you, knitters. I’ll make my own crochet version! Ya know….when I have time…. 🙁

~Nicole


Roman Sock

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Before I met Nicole my exposure to knitting and crocheting included scarves, hats, sweaters, and blankets.  She exposed me to a whole new world that exists in yarn.  Now I see all of the potential that yarn can have, especially with animaguri.  Roman Sock creates some really cool animaguri featuring mostly animals.

    

She doesn’t sell the finished products though, she sells the patterns to these fantastic creations.  But not only does she sell her patterns, but she has free tutorials to a lot of other animaguri.

      

So if you want to take a look at her site and some of these free patterns yourself, head over to her page at http://littlegreen.typepad.com/romansock/.

-Toni