When I was pregnant, I admit I may have gone a little overboard with the baby knits. Friends started to be concerned that I was headed towards knitting a full body baby cozy. I knitted hats, socks, sweaters, blankets, booties, and most of all, leg warmers. This last one raised a few eyebrows – “leg warmers? Why not knit something you’ll actually use?” Well I tell you, friends, the one item I knitted that gets the most use (aside, perhaps, from a little bear hat) is all those little pairs of leg warmers. They work fantastically with babywearing – no need to unwrap baby just to change the warmth factor of an outfit. They don’t need to come off for (erm, most) diaper changes. And best of all, they are a nearly mindless shape (rectangles! and tubes… which are just curled up rectangles!) and they are an excellent canvas for trying out new stitch patterns. Here is one of many variants I came up with, which stretch and scrunch wonderfully at any gauge.
Hey you, meticulous knitter! Have you ever used kitchener stitch on a garter stitch project only to end up with a regrettable scar of stockinette across your lovely little uniform garter ridges? Herein lies your solution: garter graft. Making an invisible graft in garter stitch is almost simpler than regular old kitchener stitch – after setting up correctly, you just carry out the same steps on both the front and back needles.
Many of the patterns I write are based on a variable gauge, so knitting a proper swatch is crucial. I find that for smaller items, a 2″ swatch is sufficient, but you will need a larger swatch for larger projects (4″ is standard), or for items where the fit is extra important. I like to make swatches that have a border of garter stitch, since this helps the swatch lie flat, which makes for easier measuring. Here is how I knit a (roughly) 2″ swatch of stockinette*:
This time around, I started with gradient dyed roving (silk/merino blend) and split it vertically. Then I spun each half into a 40 wpi single before plying. Currently it’s about an eighth of a geschenk, which is perfect for a shawl for this old lady:
I love giving wash cloths as gifts. They are quick, and add a little touch of heartfelt luxury to the morning ritual. This one was for a friend’s birthday, and doubles as wrapping for a piece of handmade soap. I can’t really say that I wrote the pattern; I’m more like a scientist, splicing the genes of two compatible knits: the Chinese Waves Dishcloth, and the classic Grandmother’s Favorite. I love the Chinese Waves stitch pattern, but knitting it in a plain old rectangle never seemed to have that well-finished look that the diagonal knit Grandmother’s Favorite has, while the usual garter stitch of the latter lacks the satisfying weighty thickness of Chinese Waves. Because Chinese Waves has some intrinsic diagonal lines to it, the end result almost looks like it wasn’t knitted on the diagonal at all (at least to the untrained, un-knitter’s eye). As an added bonus, for all you purl-shy, this is a no-purl pattern.
Sitting somewhere deep in my big-involved-project queue is an Evenstar Shawl. While covetously perusing the FO’s on ravelry, I noticed many of these beautiful shawls (like this one) are knit up in a custom gradient yarn by The Unique Sheep. Lovely of lovelies, it compels me to make it!
Now of course, this spinner is thinking – how would one spin a long gradient from hand dyed fiber? You may be asking “why not just buy some existing long-gradient yarn?” or “why not dye it yourself after spinning?”