“Relaxing” on Saturday

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Sat8

This past weekend, I found myself preparing for yet another fair – this time, the Will county (IL) fair.  I will have nine entries this year if everything goes as planned.  So I spent my weekend knitting, and stressing about the knitting, and stressing about the things I should be doing instead of the knitting. 

Since Saturday was a cool, overcast, nearly fall-like day, I decided (after hours of knitting feverishly indoors) that I should go out and finish my knitting while enjoying the day on my deck.  Since the dogs spend most of the week stuck indoors while I’m at work, I thought this would benefit them as well.

So I gathered my knitting, and my dogs, and my coffee, and my cell phone, and a bed for the dogs, and the citronella candles and headed out to the deck.  After cleaning off the deck chairs, lighting candles, placing dog beds, and filling water bowls, I realized that I probably would already have been done with my knitting had I just stayed inside….

In any case, I tried to take the opportunity to let got of some stress and enjoy the weather and enjoy my knitting.  I’m really bad at relaxing. 

As you can see, I was still sporting Peanuts PJs.

Sat4

I was finishing a cotton, kitchen towel for a fun category in the fair called “Three towels, all different, any type”.  The category is not just for knitting, so anyone making any kind of towels can enter, and we all get judged against each other.  It’s way fun (for nerds like me).

 

Sat5

One of my dogs settled into his place under my seat, and we all did our best to relax like normal people (eh hem) on a Saturday.

I eventually finished the towel, and I absolutely love it.  It is knit from Bernat kitchen cotton which usually costs more than I am willing to pay, but I got this ball on clearance (I’m guessing due to the color).  It is so soft with great stitch definition.  This towel will definitely get use in my kitchen after it has its big day at the fair.

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Sat7

 

In other news, look what also found its way onto my needles over the weekend:

Sat2

Yep, I decided to reknit Scrollwork in a different yarn.  (Darn it!  I was so excited about that Rambouillet…).  This time, I used some wool tweed as the pattern called for.  I actually forgot that I had this Plymouth Tweed.  It was also bought on clearance several years ago.  It gave me an opportunity to use my new ChiaGoo stitch markers that I just got at Stitches.  They look like candy:

Sat1

I finished Scrollwork #2 Sunday night, and it does appear that it will be my knitted hat entry in the upcoming fair. 

~Happy knitting!

Knitting Pattern: Linen Stitch Dish Cloth

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Etsy 091a

 

I have had some requests for my linen stitch dish cloth pattern, so I thought it would be nice to share it.  It really is just a square of linen stitch, but I certainly can share specifically how I make mine.

 

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Etsy 087

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For functional dish cloths, it is generally best to use cotton yarn, but you could use cotton blends like cotton/acrylic, cotton/bamboo or cotton/linen.  If you want the look that I get with my cloths, choose a variegated yarn (a yarn with a combination of mixed colors).  This is the easiest way to achieve a confetti-like, multicolored cloth.  The pattern will distribute the colors throughout the cloth, preventing pooling of color which often has a splotchy appearance.

If you like working with colors, you can alternate three solid colors while following the pattern.  This will be a little more work since you will need to carry your yarns neatly up one side, and keep track of your colors, but it will also give a multicolored, confetti-like appearance to the cloth.

If you wish to get even more creative, you can try a self-striping yarn with this pattern, or knit yourself or a new neighbor a lovely set in a single, solid color, or coordinating solid colors.  The pattern is very versatile.

I use worsted weight cotton for my cloths.  Examples you might choose include:

  • Peaches and Creme cotton yarn
  • Bernat Handicrafter cotton
  • Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton
  • Knit Picks Dishie
  • Sugar ‘n Cream cotton

It’s also worth noting that Knit Picks CotLin is a cotton/linen blend that makes great dish cloths and towels, but it is DK weight (a lighter weight than worsted) so you will need to adjust your needle size.  Knit Picks recommends knitting needle size #5 or #6 for CotLin.

 

The pattern:  Linen Stitch Dish Cloth

Dimensions:  Approximately 9 by 10 inches

Yarn:  Worsted weight cotton

Needles:  Straight knitting needles, size #7

 

Cast on 40 stitches.  I use a long tail cast on.

Row 1:  *knit 1, slip 1 stitch with yarn held in front;  repeat from *        (row ends with a slipped stitch)

Row 2:  *purl 1, slip 1 stitch with yarn held in back;  repeat from *        (row ends with a slipped stitch)

For all slipped stitches, always slip purlwise (slip as if to purl).

Repeat rows 1 and 2 for a total of 100 rows.  Ending with row 2, bind off knitwise.  Block lightly.

 

The linen stitch is knit over any even number of stitches, so you can adjust the pattern for size/dimensions if you prefer a larger or smaller cloth, or you want to make towels. 

If you are a tight knitter, you might consider using size #8 needles to avoid a stiff and curly cloth.  If you knit very loosely, try needle size #6.  Gauge doesn’t matter so much with this pattern, but making your stitches too loose or too tight will affect the quality of your cloth.

 

Etsy 086

There you have it:  linen stitch dish cloths the Kristenisms way!  I’m happy to answer questions if anything is unclear.

~Happy knitting!

 

 

 

Kitchen Cotton FOs #2: A Zillion Crocheted Pot Holders

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Folded Squares

It’s always great when you find one of those patterns that you just really click with.  You work it up, not even knowing if you are going to like it, only to discover that it clicks with you, it clicks with the yarn you chose, and it makes really great functional objects. 

The most recent pattern that has been that for me is this simple little folded, square pot holder pattern that I ran into on someone’s blog.  Apparently this pattern has been around a while, but I have not ever tried it before.  Once I did, I stopped making all other pot holders, and I was hooked.

These work as pot holders, hot pads or even wash cloths.  They are double thick but are still only constructed in one piece.  I crochet them from various brands of worsted weight cotton.

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I generally nearly never make the same pattern twice.  I just don’t like it.  I like to conquer a pattern (that’s what motivates me).  Once I have correctly executed it, I lose interest and it’s on to the next one.  Sometimes I can hardly finish the second sock in a pair for this reason. 

To the contrary, I can’t even tell you how many of these pot holders I have made since November.  I sort of wish I had counted, just for fun.  If I had to guess, the number is easily approaching 40 by now.  They can now be found in the kitchens of nearly every person who knows me or sees me on a relatively regular basis:  family, neighbors, coworkers….

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When I give home-made items as gifts, I never know who is really going to be into it, and who is going to be thinking, “gee, thanks for the square”.  So unless the person on the receiving end of my pot holder was a knitter or crocheter him/herself, I only gifted one (rather than a set). 

I gave my sister one during the holidays, with a bottle of hand soap, and at the beginning of last week, I got a message from her asking for more, more, more. 

So I made her this set of brown (she asked for brown) and gold ones during the week, and gave them to her last weekend.

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I still owe my brother’s girlfriend some, and then I can finally start making some for MY kitchen too! 

Kitchen Set

Before the discovery of this folded square pattern, I made the set of three shown below for myself in these crazy colors that I thought looked so fun together.

Front Side  Back Side

The pot holders in these photos are actually the same set of three.  These are my own design.  They are reversible with the color scheme in reverse on the opposing side, except for the striped one, which was an experiment. 

And finally, here is the set of pin wheel or folded flower pot holders that I mentioned in a previous post.  I made them last summer for a fair entry that required that the pot holders be judged as sets.  As a set, they took first place.

Folded Flower Set

I love the colors that I used for these.  They coordinate with my kitchen so well.

~Happy crocheting!

Kitchen Cotton FOs #1

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Towel_Stack

I have spent more time knitting kitchen towels and related items from cotton in the last six months than probably anything else.  I like having home-made, useful materials around my home.  Hand-knit objects are often functionally better than commercially produced ones, and I like that they remind me of the thing I love (fiber-arts). 

I have mentioned previously that I have this idea in my head that eventually all of my kitchen towels will be hand-made.  I think I’m finally getting close.  I have posted about some previously HERE and HERE and HERE.

Here is the latest installment.

Kitchen towels

The variegated, rose-colored towel and the cream-colored towel in the photo above were both done in Sugar n Cream cotton.  The green towel in the center with the basket-weave pattern is done in Lion Brand Recycled cotton.

 I am also continuing to make these hand towels that work so well on my pantry door.  I always need a towel there.  I started making these a few years ago, and I have perfected them for fitting this location.  The hanging loop has been the challenge.  It is always too long, or too small, or I don’t like the way it looks where I attached it. 

Hand towel Hand towel 2

This one worked out great.  I did an iCord loop and kept it small.  It looks neat and tidy, and it stretches, so I can fit it over the door knob without the towel hanging way down where I have to stoop to reach it.  The one shown here is made from some ‘hand-me-down’ cotton yarn that I got from someone on Craig’s List.  I kid you not!  I’m an industrious yarn-gatherer…

Around Christmas time, while out shopping, I kept my eye out for pattern books dedicated to knitted kitchen supplies.  Shockingly (or not), there are very few good ones.  It’s things like this that remind me how big of a geek I really am.  I guess it’s not surprising that I’m the only person out there hoping to find a book related strictly to hand-knit kitchen supplies.  Either that, or I have just discovered an unfulfilled niche of people with the same passion for kitchen cotton that I have, and they are all just waiting for me to publish a book!

Since the true issue is more likely the former than the latter, I have taken to making myself a labeled binder to fill every time I come across a random pattern or article related to this topic.  I have some good ones from Ravelry, and many from the interior of yarn sleeves that I plan to keep consolidated for convenience.

But I digress….

Back to Christmas shopping:  I did find this (front and back shown below), which will have some use to me.  Sorry about the crummy pictures, but you get the idea.

Pattern book Pattern book2   

There are some nice textures in these patterns.  I like kitchen towels rather than dishcloths which are smaller, but these patterns are fairly easy to adjust for my preferred, larger size. 

Here is what I have so far:

Textured_Towel

I’m doing this one in Bernat cotton yarn with my Kollage Square circular needles.  You can also see my Hide n Sheep stitch marker/counter in the photo above.  I LOVE these things.  They make keeping track of the end of rounds when knitting in the round, as well as row counting in a textured, lace or colorwork pattern so much easier.  I have three of them (to accommodate the diameter of both large, medium and small sized needles) and I use them all of the time. 

Well, I’m off to dry some dishes!  (Not really, but it seemed appropriate to say, given today’s topic).

~Happy knitting!

Red, White & Blue

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When I set the above photo up to show you my SLOW progress on my Garden Cardigan, I didn’t realize it had an overall red, white and blue look to it.  Happy Independence Day, a day late! 

I spent mine at a parade with some family.  I made good use of my umbrella chair yet again since we are under a dangerous heat advisory here until Friday, and the sun was blazing. 

My brothers are in town as of today, and I spent my afternoon shuttling one of them in from the airport – yay!  It never feels like summer until my brothers come to visit.  After that, I headed over to get my car emissions test updated since it is due in about 2 days, and now I am back home for the evening.

I have been working on my Garden Cardigan since I must complete it by July 27th.  I have been having fun working the body of the sweater from the bottom up, but after 5 pattern repeats, I am ready to move on to the next part.  If my measurements are correct, I need one more pattern repeat on the body before I start the sleeves since I would like my cardigan to be a bit longer than the pattern calls for. 

If I can stay awake long enough, I’ll be working on getting those last 20 rows done tonight so that I can begin the first sleeve, which is done separately, in the round, on DPNs and then attached in the round later in the pattern.  Should be interesting.  I have never worked a pattern like this one before.  I am anxious to see that it works out OK. 

Meanwhile, I need to be thinking about our local Lake County Fair, since I plan to enter this year, and the completed entry form is due July 11th…

 

~Happy knitting!

FO: Green Grocer Bag

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I was in the zone Saturday night, and I finished the Green Grocer bag that I started a few days ago.  It turned out like the cutest beachy tote bag or market bag. 

 

It ended up considerably larger than it was supposed to be, but I really like it.  It hangs very nicely, and is usable. 

 

 

I crocheted this with a size G hook, using Paton’s Pure Organic Cotton in the color “red” (which is actually a really bright pink).  It took around 450 yards of sport/medium weight cotton yarn (3 balls and nearly all of a 4th).  The pattern is EASY and fast, so if you are a beginner crocheter, go for it.  It is fun to do, and it yields really sharp, professional looking results.

        

Since it turned out so great, I would like to give it to my sister for her birthday which is several days away.  I hope she likes it because it is taking a bit of work on my part not to get too attached to it!  I absolutely plan to make another for myself at some point, when all of my knitting deadlines have passed.

~Happy knitting (or crocheting)!