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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Check!

So out of the list so far---
"SIMPLE CHAOS" Hat + Arm Warmers
"Strawberry" Drawstring Hat+Neck warmer
and the Vine Lace Scarf are done.
Photos yet to come, but here is one!



Saturday, June 26, 2010

Free Pattern! Grapevine Lace Scarf

 So yay to free pattern! It was pretty simple and straight forward that I didn't really feel like charging $ for the pattern. So what the heck. Free is good. Everybody likes free stuff.

Here you go!


All you need is a worsted weight yarn and #5(3.25mm) needle. Straight or circular doesn't matter, and gauge doesn't really matter either. Since I wanted to make a thin and breezy spring/summer scarf...or..scratch that.  Actually it was the other way around...this pattern was born since I found this beautiful skein of Farmhouse Yarns Bonnie's Bamboo.  Slick and shiny and slightly varied color.  But you can use any other fiber--cotton, wool, aplaca, linen...anything you like.




Cast on 28 Stitches. If you want the scarf to be wider, you can do so by using the formula
(8x st)+12
so it could be 28 or 36 or 44, and so on.  If you feel like making this into a blanket, keep on adding that 8 till desired width,


Row 1-5 is seed stitch.
 RS : K1P1..to the end. Should end with P1.
 WS : P1K1...to the end. Should end with K1.


From here, we start the Grapevine Lace stitch with 3 rows of garter stitch border to prevent curling. This means the first 3 stitches and the last 3 stitches on both RS and WS are knit stitch.
*the stitches between the asterisks* means you repeat those stitches
The borders are included here, so don't worry about counting them, just follow what's here..


Row:1 -K5 *k2 tog, k1, yo, k1, ssk, k2* to the last 7st, k7

Row 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 - K3, P until the last 3st, K3.

Row: 3 -K4, k2tog, k1, yo *
k1, yo, k1, ssk, k2 tog, k1, yo* to the last 5st, k5


Row: 5 -   K6, yo *k3, yo, k1, ssk, k1, yo* to the last 6st, k6


Row: 7 - K8    *k2 tog, k1, yo, k1, ssk, k2* to the last 5st, k5


Row: 9 - K7  *k2 tog, k1, (yo, k1) twice, ssk* to the last 6st, k6


Row: 11 - K6, k2 tog  *k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, k2 tog* to the last 5st,k5

All you need to do is repeat those 12 rows until desired length.

After you complete the 12th row of the last repeat, do another 5 rows of seed stitch like the first 5 rows,  then bind off.


Block it off and you gots a nice lace scarf! weeee!

I'm sorry I only have a bad photo right now but I will update it in a bit!



I'd usually say "all rights reserved" blabla if you make stuff from my original design don't sell it etc, but this pattern is so generic..so go ahead and sell it if you wish.  But if you do sell it please mention AZURE and add a link to AZURE KNITS (http://knits.azure-m.com).  Thanks!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coming up @ AZURE KNITS

It has been a while since the last time I posted new items or patterns on AZURE KNITS for sale. Partly because of the whole wedding and after work-work business, and partly because its getting pretty hot, and I thought I probably should wait until summer is over to post new items. Anyways I hope you're in a well air-conditioned room, possibly freezing, in your office or classroom while you're reading this because you're gonna start sweating if you're not!

These are the items coming up, in various stages, either finished and waiting for photo, under production or still a ball of yarn.

"SIMPLE CHAOS" Hat + Arm Warmers ..and hand warmer?
Made from 100% Merino handpainted yarn. No cable or lace to show off the colors. Arm warmers go half way up the arm, and with an open thumb.  The hat is also very simple and slightly slouchy.  I have one more ball of this yarn left, so I might make a pair of hand warmers too.

"Strawberry" Drawstring Hat+Neck warmer
One of my first original pattern, in red and green.  Made in 100% Superwash Merino.

"Berry Mix" Drawstring Lace Bag-Hat
A second model of Drawstring hat in two shades of purple, now with lace, and not much of a neck warmer but you can if you want to use it that way.  Much longer.  75% Cotton 25% Acrylic for winter-spring use and stretchier than just cotton.

"Tiramisu" Entralac Hat
100% wool.  More of a tam, with rows of alternate color rhombuses.

"Giant Twist" Wrist Warmers
Made with 100% Baby alpaca fingering~sport weight yarn in heather grey.  Extreeeeemely soft.

Kamon Series "HIRA YOTSU-ME" Wrist Warmers
Debating if I should keep this an one-arm "work wrister".  100% wool.  I'm thinking of making two lines of Japanese themed accessories and this is one of them, featuring traditional crests.

Japanese Pattern Series "HOUJOU UROKO" Wrist Warmer
Also debating if I should make it one-arm wrister, and also the second line I'm trying to develop, based on traditional Japanese patterns that I have been interested for years.  Made with fair isle technique.  100% wool.

"Grapevine" Bamboo Scarf
A somewhat narrow lace scarf made with 100% Bamboo (and handpainted!) yarn.  Very smooth and slick.  Great for spring/summer, warm climate winter and as an 'accent' scarf.

Vine Lace Scarf
Knitted in lace yarn!  100% Merino.  With rows of delicate vine lace.  Black/green-ish heather.

Antique taste airy cowl
A simple cowl knitted in 100% Merino lace yarn with a ribbon.  Heathered tan-ish base, and planning to look for a wine-red ribbon.

Multi-color Filmstrip Scarves
The most popular pattern of AZURE KNITS, now in multi-colored cells!

Also I'm thinking of a 2-layered hat made in lace yarn that I got the idea from one of my friend's hat, and couple more basic wrist warmers (esp. the diamond cable)

I'm crossing my fingers..I hope I finish these (some are already) before 9/15.  Wish me luck, and look forward!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cable VS Lace?

Once you're past the beginner level and start to get bored of garter, stockinette or rib, the next step you'd probably think is whether to go cable or lace.

Both cable and lace are not as complicated as they look.
The difficult part of both is just keeping track of stitches and rows.

I personally like lace better, only because I'm not too fond of that extra little needle (cable needle) you need to deal with, and the fear of dropping the stitch while transferring the stitches onto and off the cable needle.  Also because right when I come to the cabling point, and because you're pulling the stitches towards or away, you kind of have to squeeze your needle and struggle to get through the loop.  There are ways to do cable without cable needles (which I have yet to explore), and the good thing about cabling is that most of the time, after a cabling row comes a couple rows of mindless straight knitting.
The struggling to knit the further stitches only gets obvious when there are more than 5 stitches you're crossing over.   (Also keep in mind that the 'cross-over' of these cables make the fabric thicker in that area and makes more warm fabric!)
But anyways, unless you go fancy and try to make different interval cables running alongside each other, cable is easy, because other than the cable needle, all you need is the ability to do a knit stitch and purl stitch. Sometimes you don't even need to know purl, but most cables have a purl stitch or two on their side in order to make the cable more obvious.  Depending on the kind of cable, it gets 'lost' in stockinette background.  However, by having those extra purl stitches (a ditch, basically) on either side, the cables pop out.

Anyways to conclude...do not fear cable.  It is NOT hard.  Just make sure that you place a row marker or something to indicate where you started that cable pattern repeat.  And make sure, to REMEMBER IF YOU PUT THAT MARKER AT 'BEGINNING OF THE REPEAT' OR 'END OF THE REPEAT'. And also, IF YOU'RE PLACING A STITCH MARKER, PLACE IT SOMEWHERE IN THE STOCKINETTE ZONE.
It sounds simple, but believe me.  I've screwed up many times, especially when I put the project aside and come back to it in few weeks.  If you don't remember where exactly you placed that marker, its just as useless as not having any markers.  Write it down somewhere if you're bad as I am.  Counting rows on a stockinette is easy, but its a bit harder to distinguish where exactly the actual cabling occurs, once it is done.

Lace, on the other hand requires more techniques.  Yo, k2tog, ssk, sk2p are the most common, and sometimes you get some weird stuff like k2tbl (knit two through back loop) .
So technically speaking, though most of those stitches are similar, lace is more advanced.  However, if you ask me if it is "easy" or not than cable, I almost feel like once you know how to do those stitches, lace may be easier.
Easier in a way that---you may want some stitch markers for wider lace project, but you don't really need anything.  K2togs and sk2ps and stuff, you can do without any additional tools like the cable needles.  That's partly why I prefer lace project for commuting knit project.  Pulling out that small cable needle, transferring stitches while you're been rocked by the train is a bit more scary for me.

Once you get used to lace, it is FUN.  Yes you'll most probably need to print out and carry around your pattern, crossing them out as you go, and its kinda messy to tink because there are so many complex stitches.  But the is something called the lifeline (yet another thing I need to explore), but I just make sure I get the correct number of stitches each time.  Usually the WS is basically purling, you only really need to check stitches every other row.  By the way you probably don't want to work on it when you're a bit sleepy or braindead.  (and that's when mindless garter/stockinette project comes handy!).  But for other times, esp for morning commute, its like a nice little brain-stimulating puzzle.

Anyways,  both cable and lace is 'easy' in their own way, and level of complexity also depends on what cable/lace pattern you're using.  I hope this article helped some beginner+ knitters to take one step forward.  Don't be scared! =P

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Before and After Blocking

Guaging and Blocking are probably the key to sanctification when it comes to knitting.  I'm still really bad with taking guages, but I feel blocking is...just absolutely necessary.
A simple stockinette hat may not show as surprising results, but still will even out the stitches.  I first didn't know much about blocking, and all I knew was "steam your finished project with your steam iron.  Just steam. Don't press".  Steaming and misting are the two other kinds of blocking, and you should decide which method to take depending on the fabric you're using, but I prefer dunking the finished projects into the water and leaving it for 30 mins, then ring it gently and shape it, then let it dry.

Blocking shows its power for lace project the most, I think.  When you first finish a lace project, honestly---it looks kinda pathetic.
Edges curled up, the k2togs and stuff are kinda bunched up, yarn over-s are kinda there and not there.....but when you block it, this 

Transforms into this.


so mark my words, blocking is, like many people say, pretty important.  So do it! ;P

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Surprise! Yarn x Needle Combination

Whoever has read some stuff on my knitblog probably knows how much I don't like acrylic yarn, and how I'm not thrilled with Susan Bates metal needles either.  The reason of that is----when I knit with acrylic yarns, not only do I hear squeaks but also feel that squeaky vibrations through my fingertips, kinda going to my spine, giving me...almost those 'chills' that you feel when you hear styrofoam squeaks.  *shiverr*  So I can't knit more than 3 rows without having to put it down for a bit.  Maybe 5 minutes for crocheting.

But today, I found a little surprise.  I needed more dishcloth/kitchen cloth, so I reluctantly took out my acrylic yarn (Vanna's Choice) that I bought a while back when I was into crocheting acrylic scrubbies. 
I knew my Hiya Hiya or Addi needles will still give me those chills, so I tried the Knitpicks Harmony Wood.  But unfortunately yes, still lots of squeaking.  So I was wondering what other needles I can try out.  (Good thing it needed #8 needles,  cause I feel like I have tons of 8s)
So I reluctantly brought out my Susan Bates needles, which I have always not liked--just had it since it was one of the first needles I got.

But guess what?  I don't feel the squeak.  At least not yet.  I think i have been knitting few minutes by now but I don't feel that vibration.  Like magic!

So, Susan Bates metal needles,  I owe you an apology.  Sorry needle, I will use you when I knit with acrylic yarn.
I think its the Susan Bates Quicksilver... :3