Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Make a Thumb Hole for Fingerless Mittens

This technique is used for finished blocks, knitted or crocheted, to make fingerless mittens. With this particular striped block, I personally prefer this technique rather than knitting in the round with double pointed needles, because of the fact that it is easier to get the stripes aligned.

For this block, I used a pair of US7 (4.5mm) knitting needles and Vanna's Choice yarns. I cast on 40 stitches and alternated the three colors (two rows each), starting and ending with the pink. This block has 50 rows done in stockinette stitch (knit the right sides, purl the wrong sides).

  Leave a few inches on both ends of the yarn. You will need the same strands for securing and sewing the mittens together.

Since this is a striped block, several yarn ends were present. Tuck a few inches of these ends before securing and finally cutting them.  
Sewing the mittens together

Here is a good link on a tutorial for a mattress stitch. It is used for joining vertical stockinette stitch with invisible seams.

The photo below however, is a modified mattress stitch.

This is a modified mattress stitch. It lines up the stripes real well. Do this in a zigzag manner until you reach the placement for the thumb.

You are all done! There is no left or right hand with these gloves so you can wear either of them on both hands. The stockinette stitch creates the rolled effect which is a nice touch.

Enjoy your mittens and happy knitting!

Reference and Credit: Techniques with Theresa by Theresa Vinson Stenersen from

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting Book

Guess what just came in the mail! The Complete Photo Guide to Knitting, 2nd Edition by Margaret Hubert. I was so thrilled to get a copy of this new edition. It features new projects and stitch patterns which, like the first edition, offers clear step by step instructions, not to mention the colorful photos which are definitely helpful for visual learners like myself.

If you are craving for texture for your pieces, or have been wanting to integrate colors into your work, this book will definitely keep you busy for a while. It offers a wide range of stitches that even beginners can easily follow.

These neat textured gloves were done using the Textured Rib Stitch and Linen Stitch from this book. You can find my blog post on these gloves here.

So knitters, beginners and experienced alike, this book is a must-have for your knitting library. Get your own copy of this book from Amazon.

Continue to challenge yourself and happy knitting!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Blooms in Crochet

Living in Alaska, we get an average of only 5 1/2 hours of daylight during the winters, with winter solstice, which is on the third week of December, as its peak. After the winter solstice, we slowly gain about 6 minutes of daylight each day. In fact, right now we are at 10 1/2 hours of daylight. But wait until the summer and we enjoy close to 19 1/2 hours of glorious daylight!

So, during the mornings, I eagerly open the curtains and wait for the sunlight to hit our sun-deprived plants by the bay windows. The natural light just makes me happy! We are still at 5°F to 10°F during the day but spring is definitely here.

So, today I am talking crochet... just taking a break from my spring shawl project. Of course, with a spring theme, I went with some spring blooms that are actually useful for a lot of embellishment purposes. Bags, hats, shawls, afghans and a lot more can be spruced up easily with these.

As I try to share with you these step by step photos, my hope is that you will find them easy to understand as I attempt to improve my pattern writing skills. This pattern assumes that the user already knows the following basic crochet stitches:

            -   ch (chain)
            -   sl st (slip stitch)
            -   sc (single crochet)
            -   dc (double crochet)
            -   tr (triple crochet or treble stitch)

For beginners, there is a very good article with detailed instructions about the basic crochet stitches written by Amy Solovay. It is called Basic Stitches in Crochet and you can find it here.

Materials used:

USH8 crochet hook
Any medium weight yarn (4), scraps are perfect! Combine colors as desired.
Knitting needle, to secure the ends

To make the center of the flower:

1]   ch 4, join in the first ch with a sl st to form a ring.
2]   ch 2 (this will serve as the first dc), dc 9 into the ring, join with a sl st with the first ch 2 to close the round.

First row of petals:

3]   Attach the second color yarn through any dc by securing it with a ch st.
4]   To start with the first layer of petals, repeat this block of stitches 5 times. This block will create a full petal as shown on the photo.

            -    sc 1, dc 1, tr 1 in the first dc
            -    tr 1, dc 1, sc 1 in the next dc

Foundation chain for next row:

5]   ch 2, insert through the dc where the hook wraps around the middle dc of the next petal.

6]   After wrapping, secure with ch 3, skip the next dc, and wrap the hook in the next dc in the same manner. Do this until you have 5 dc wraps as shown on the photo. This effect also creates a star-like center for the flower.

The treble stitch row:

7]   ch 3, tr 4 in the same ch-3 foundation.
8]   tr 4 in each ch-3 foundation, join with a sl st. The following photos show the front and back respectively of the completed row of tr sts.

Second row of petals:

9]   Skipping the first tr, follow this block of stitches 3 times.

            -   [sc 1, dc 1] in second tr
            -   tr 3 in next tr
            -   [dc 1, sc 1] in next tr

10]   Do #9 again, join with a sl st. Fasten off. Your flower should look like this!

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave your comments. As you can tell, I am not an experienced pattern writer so I will be happy to provide clarifications.

Happy crocheting!


Basic Crochet Stitches -

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

First Spring Knit Project!

Spring is in the air. It's March and even though this little thing called winter still hasn't said goodbye, odds are most of us can't wait for it to be over.

Now with regards to knitting, I have started to put away most of my winter projects. I am now in the mode for spring knits! Looking into my stash, I decided to use Patons Kroy Socks yarn I have purchased from Michael's a while back. I have never knitted socks before but I have used the same yarn for some fingerless gloves and they were actually nice and warm.

After browsing online for hours, I came across this lovely shawl pattern from Ravelry. It's called Shadow Knitting Sock Yarn Shawl by Kimberly Gintar. The pattern is a free download so you are welcome to check it out.

Here's what I have so far. The first photo doesn't fully capture the colors of the yarn but the second photo does.

For the yarn and needles, I am using Patons Kroy Socks FX Cascade Colors and size US 4/3.5mm knitting needle attachments for a 40" magic loop.

Stay tuned! I will be sharing photos of this lovely shawl once it's finished. Happy knitting!