Recently in Knitting Category

Cable Scarf Front and Back.JPGAfter I admired it, a friend of my SO's family gave me a lovely crocheted large doily (or small tablecloth) for a round side table. 

It's a pretty piece, though not something that has a place in our house, given our current decor.  In return, I wanted to give her something handmade.  Since she's not a knitter, I wanted to knit something for her.

I bought some cotton yarn to make potholders, but that didn't end well.  They were too stiff and the cream, beige, and green of the yarn didn't show off the knitting to the extent I wanted.  The potholders were too simple and just not worthy of her.  I gave up on them and I'll repurpose the yarn into some thing else later.

In the local yarn store, I saw a dark grey superwash (non-felting) Merino wool in the same brand I'd used before to knit a scarf in red.  I ordinarily wouldn't make something out of wool for a gift, but this wool is machine washable which makes me feel a little better about it.  Also, my SO assured me that the recipient of this particular gift would have no problem hand-washing a scarf if she needed to.

The finished product is about 6 1/2" wide and 57" long, excluding 3" of fringe on either end.  I usually don't add fringe to scarves since it gets ratty and messy pretty easily, but the edge of this scarf needed it to visually smooth out the wavy edges of the cables.  It took me about an hour to add the fringe and I think the result is well worth the time.  If (when) I make this scarf again, I'll add a couple of rows of crochet to the short edges to further smooth the transition between the cables and the fringe.

I'm quite pleased with the way it came out and I hope she enjoys it.

Note to self: never admire anything aloud.
Detail of Knitted Cables.JPG
5 - 50g (1.75oz.) skeins Zara Merino yarn (gray - color 1468)
size 4 (3.5 mm) knitting needles
size E (3.5 mm) crochet hook for easy bind off and fringe application (optional)
1 skein of yarn for fringe (optional)


C4(6)B = Slip next 2(3) sts onto cable needle and hold at back of work, K2(3), then K2(3) from cable needle.
C4(6)F = Slip next 2(3) sts onto cable needle and hold at front of work, K2(3), then K2(3) from cable needle.
Cast on 70 sts.
Row 1 (Right Side): P2, K4, P3, K4, P4, K9, P5, K8, P5, K9, P4, K4, P3, K4, P2.
Row 2 and all even rows: K2, P4, K3, P4, K4, P9, K5, P8, K5, P9, K4, P4, K3, P4, K2.
Row 3: P2, K4, P3, K4, P4, C6F, K3, P5, K8, P5, C6F, K3, P4, K4, P3, K4, P2.
Row 5: P2, C4F, P3, C4F, P4, K9, P5, C4F, C4B, P5, K9, P4, C4B, P3, C4B, P2.
Row 7: P2, K4, P3, K4, P4, K3, C6B, K3, P5, K8, P5, K3, C6B, P4, K4, P3, K4, P2.
Row 9: Repeat Row 1.
Row 11: P2, C4F, P3, C4F, P4, C6F, K3, P5, C4F, C4B, P5, C6F, K3, P4, C4B, P3, C4B, P2.
Row 13: Repeat Row 1.
Row 15: Repeat Row 7.
Row 17: Repeat Row 5.
Row 19: Repeat Row 3.
Row 21: Repeat Row 1.
Row 23: P2, C4F, P3, C4F, P4, K3, C6B, P5, C4F, C4B, P5, K3, C6B, P4, C4B, P3, C4B, P2.
Row 24: Repeat Row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-24 until approximately 57" from beginning (or your desired length).

Bind off. 
Weave in all ends. 
Optional fringe:
  • Wrap the yarn around a piece of sturdy cardboard cut to the desired finished length of your fringe.  (Don't wrap too tightly, as the suggested yarn will stretch.)
  • Cut along one edge of the cardboard to yield pieces twice the length of your cardboard's width.
  • Starting at a corner of the short end of the scarf, insert the crochet hook from back to front.
  • Fold two strands of your fringe yarn in half and pull the loops through the scarf.
  • Insert the ends of the fringe yarn through the loops (forming a lark's head knot) and pull tight.
  • Repeat for every other stitch along both short ends of the scarf.
The free pattern above is for your personal use only.
Knitted Pinwheel Quilt Blanket.JPGThis blanket came about as part of my Stash Zero initiative. 

I wanted to make something very simple that I could work on when I was out of the house, and I didn't want to have to make a gauge swatch for this project.

My goal was to use color in a way that made it look more than just basic squares sewn together.  My SO's mother is a quilter, so I was thinking of her art and toying with various quilt-inspired block designs.

I knew I wanted to knit it, but I didn't want to have to do too much counting.  Also, since I was trying to use up stash yarn, I was restricted to what I had on hand.  I ended up with a design based on a simple pinwheel block, with one of the pattern triangles a different color, to add visual interest. 

The beige is the background color, and it was a deliberate decision to have the beige triangles (instead of the colored, pattern triangles) meet in the middle.  It meant that if anything shifted a little when I sewed it together, it wouldn't be as noticeable than if the green and purple points didn't meet exactly right.

Each square was machine knitted in garter stitch (knit every row) from one corner, starting with the beige.  I cast on one stitch and increased at the end of each row for 100 rows (until there were 100 stitches on the needle), then worked one row even and changed to the pattern color.  In the pattern color, I decreased at the end of each row by knitting two together through the back loops at the end of every row until there are two stitches left on the needle, then bound off.

The single-crochet border's design was based on tying the purple in to the whole.  Without the purple edge of the border, the purple triangle wouldn't look as if it belonged there.  The green stripe in the border was so I could use up as much green as possible.  That's also what determined the thickness of the beige stripes in the border.  It came out looking exactly right, I'm thrilled to say.  I especially like that the heft and weight of the crocheted border match that of the garter-stitched body of the blanket.
Detail of Quilt Inspired Baby Blanket.jpg
The detail picture to the right represents the colors of the yarn much better than the one above of the whole blanket.

This blanket is large (48" square, including the 3 1/2" border) and thick for a baby blanket, but I'm sure I'll find some use for it when it's time.  I'm definitely keeping this one for me.  It came out better than I thought it would and I'm completely happy with it.  That's rare, so I'm enjoying it.  And in what may be a first for me:

No new yarn was purchased to complete this project!


  • Lion Brand Homespun Yarn
    • 4 skeins 393 Cream (Color A)
    • 3 skeins 320 Regency (Color B) - green
    • 1 skein 322 Baroque (Color C) - purple
  • No. 10 knitting needles (6.0 mm)
  • K crochet hook (6.50 mm)
  • blunt yarn needle
  • stitch markers (optional)
Using knitting needles and Color A, cast on 1 st.
Increase by k into front and back of last (only) stitch in row.
k1, increase.
k2, increase.
k 100 rows, increasing 1 at the end of every row.
Knit one row even, then change to Color B.
k 98 with Color B, decrease by k2tog into back loops of last two stitches.
k 97, decrease.
k 96, decrease.
When 2 sts are left on needle, bind off knitwise.

Make three squares with Colors A and B.
Make one square with Colors A and C.
Sew squares together in pattern. 
Weave in ends at center point.

With crochet hook, join Color A anywhere along edge on right side of work.
Round 1 (right side): sc once into edge for every two knitted rows.  3 sc into each corner.  (Optional: put marker between first and second stitch of corner.)  Join with sl st. Turn.
Round 2 (wrong side): sc in each sc.  3 sc in each corner.  Join with sl st.  Turn.
Round 3 (rs): Same as Round 2.
Round 4 (ws): Same as Round 2.
Round 5 (rs): sc in each sc.  3 sc in each corner.  Join with sl st.  Change to Color B.  Don't turn.
Round 6 (rs): Same as Round 2.
Round 7 (ws): Same as Round 2.
Round 8 (rs): Same as Round 2.
Round 9 (ws): sc in each sc.  3 sc in each corner.  Join with sl st.  Change to Color A.  Turn.
Round 10 (rs): Same as Round 2.
Round 11 (ws): Same as Round 2.
Round 12 (rs): sc in each sc.  3 sc in each corner.  Join with sl st.  Change to Color C.  Don't turn.
Round 13 (rs): sc in each sc.  3 sc in each corner.  Join with sl st.    Don't turn.
Round 14 (rs): Same as Round 2.  Bind off and weave in all ends.

The free pattern above is for your personal use only.

The Hate Blanket

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The Hate Banket.JPGFor almost a year, my SO's bugged me to knit matching couch blankets using yarns he picked.  A year after we ordered the yarn for them (so we could get enough of the same dye lot), the first one is done.

Even though I consulted extensively with him before and during its production, he still thinks it's about 18" too short and 5" too narrow.  So we don't have enough yarn for the second one, even if it's exactly the same size as the first one.

I've been casually calling it the "Hate Blanket".  For some reason, this seems to upset him.

More on the second one when I can gird my loins enough to tackle it.  I'm sure that whatever I do, it won't be right.  There will be no third matching couch blanket.

The one thing these blankets have going for them is that they're considerably reducing the amount of yarn I have waiting to be made into stuff.  I'm not claiming these for my Stash Zero initiative since the yarn was specially purchased for this purpose, but I'm glad to see less yarn in my yarn-storage disaster area.

Okay, I do like the way the yarn banded in the body of the blanket.  I should have straightened it out more before I took the picture, but see above re: Hate Blanket.  Besides, I'll have another chance to take a good picture when I finish the (sigh) second one.
Hate Blanket Detail.JPG
The 100-needle bed that comes with the knitting machine is good for baby blankets, but not much more.  Over the years, I've added two Ultimate Sweater Machines (USMs) and a couple of extension beds (mostly for the spare needles) to my original Incredible Sweater Machine (ISM).  For this project, I use two USM beds joined together, filled in with spare needles where they meet, but it's much longer than I need.  You could do this project with an USM and 2 20-needle extension beds.

The Hate Blanket measures 40" by 64", including the 3" crocheted border.  Knitting the body of the blanket on the machine took me the better part of a day, most of it spent unknotting snarls on the needles.  This kind of yarn is a little too loopy and fluffy to get consistent machine-knitting results with it.  The border took about five evenings to crochet.

7 - 6 oz (170 g) skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn in Barley (381) -- Yarn A
3 - 2 1/2 oz (70 g) skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Wood (232) -- Yarn B
Incredible/Ultimate Sweater Machine (I/USM) with a 140-needle bed
I/USM accessories (weighted hem, carriage, optional row counter, etc.)
size K (6.5 mm) crochet hook
blunt yarn needle
stitch markers (optional)

  • Set up your I/USM according to its directions.
  • Cast on to 140 needles with Yarn A using your preferred method--don't forget the weighted hem.  (I use the closed loop method.)
  • Knit even using six skeins of Yarn A.  You'll get about 58-64 rows per skein.  Make sure to leave enough free yarn at the beginning and end of each skein to weave in securely later.
  • Cast off using your preferred method.  (I used the yarn needle and the x method.)
  • Weave in all ends.  (You can hide some of the ends by crocheting the border over them.)
With the crochet hook, join Yarn A to the edge of the knitted body.
Round 1 (rs): On long sides, 3 sc into every 4 knitted rows.  On short sides, sc into every stitch.  3 sc into each corner.  (Optional: put marker between first and second stitch of corner.)  Join with sl st. Turn.
Round 2 (ws): Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.  Join with a sl st, using Yarn B.  Turn.
Round 3-7: Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.
Round 8 (ws). Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.  Join with sl st, using Yarn A.  Turn.
Round 9-10: Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.
Round 11 (rs): Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.  Join with sl st, using Yarn A.  Don't turn.
Round 12 (rs): Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.  Don't turn.
Round 13 (rs): Crochet around edge, as in Round 1.  Bind off and weave in all ends.

The pattern above results in an edge which is 2 rows A, 6 rows B, 3 rows A, 2 rows B.

Alternatively, you could do 2 rows A, 6 rows B, 4 rows A, 3 rows B.  This would eliminate the double right side rows, but all rows using the new yarn will start on the right side for pretty joins.  It'll result in a slightly thicker edge.  I plan to do it this way on the next blanket like this I make.

The free pattern above is for your personal use only.
Blankets are boring. 

They are also the best way to use up stash yarn.  With a knitting machine, they can also come together very fast, except for the tedious first round of crochet border into the edges of the knitting.  I hate doing that, too.

When the local Ben Franklin Crafts store went out of business, I bought a whole bunch of their sale yarn.  Too much.  Way too much.  This is in addition to yarn I'd accumulated over a decade and a half of buying yarn.  I think there was another retailer's Going Out of Business sale in there, too--another time when I bought way too much yarn with no plan for it.  And every time I visit Michaels (Yeah, I thought there was an apostrophe, too.  Their website says otherwise.) or Jo-Ann Fabrics or the local yarn store, just to see what's new, I walk out of there with yarn.

Don't get me wrong: I love yarn. 

I love the different kinds and colors and sizes and textures.  I love the potential that yarn represents.  But that potential also gets me down.  Yarn wants to be used.  Yarn wants to become things, not sit around in dusty boxes being yarn.  It wants to be a sweater or a hat or, yes, a blanket.  And as it sits there wanting to be something, it's also on my to-do list, which already torments me with its unassailable length.

So, after I finish the SO's matching couch blankets, I resolve to use up as much stash yarn as I can by making blankets.  Some I'll keep, some will be future presents, some I'll give to Project Linus.  But they'll all be a thing with a purpose, even if they're in storage.  How is that better than yarn in storage?  The work is done and they're ready to be used or gifted.  And they're off my to-do list.

I dub this new initiative Stash Zero.  Join me, if you must.