Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thick & Thin

Juxtoposition of different textures and materials has always fascinated me. I always wondered if there was maybe a way to knit something using two seamlessly joined thicknesses of yarn.

This new pattern set explores the possibilities of using two very different gauges to make one piece.

The effect is subtle, but visible enough to be interesting.


The pattern includes a scarf and a hat

The hat is sized for a teen-adult (18-20") or an adult large (21-23").

The scarf is nice, it is 50" long and uses a full skein of lanaloft worsted and a half skein of lamb's pride burly spun.

If you like the pattern you can buy it via ravelry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I was making a cowl out of this Lanaloft yarn, and it was just begging to be a sweater.I went and got some contrasting colors of yarn for the sleeves, and started knitting.

6 skeins later, there was a tube with appropriately placed steeks.  Steeks were new to me, but I followed Eunny Jang's comprehensive writings and tutorials. If you know a bit about drop sleeve patterns, you should have no trouble making your own simple sweater. 

Below is a chart of my stitch pattern.

I used the crocheted steek technique.

Cutting a sweater is not as scary as it sounds.

The sleeves are a semi set in shape, meaning that I put a set in sleeve into a drop sleeve hole. This requires a bit more math. 

Here are some more strange pictures:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Testing Now: Midnight Blazer

 Midnight Blazer: Super quick cold weather knit with accented shoulders and a fitted silhouette. Like it?

 If you do, Sign up to test this new holiday pattern on Ravelry

Sunday, October 21, 2012


I've noticed recently a spike in traffic on the Tie Dye Tights Tutorial Page because of the upcoming Halloween holiday.

If you do plan on making some tights for your or your child's costume, you have a chance to win something.

I will be giving away a set of 4 felt fortune cookie ornaments to the person who has the most creative use of the tie dye tutorial. These ornaments are not available in my Etsy store and are specially made for this contest. Here is what you need to do to do to get the cookies:

1. Follow this blog if you aren't already.
2. Take a picture of your costume which uses the tutorial.
3. Email your picture to saxarocks(at)gmail(dot)com. Please identify your google account name in the email - you know, the one that is shown when you comment on a post. By emailing your picture, you are also agreeing to let me post it publicly on this website.

The deadline for entries is 11:00 est. Sunday, November 4th, just in case you don't wear your costume until the weekend. All qualified entries will be published online on this blog on November 6th, the winner will be announced on November 7th and will be notified by email. I'll ask for an address to ship to via email as well.

This contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada. If you aren't into "holiday" ornaments, I am willing to convert these into nondenominational key chains.

Oh, and I really don't want to see pictures of unwilling participants such as crying children.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

graffitti yarn

It must be true about the hip-hop culture seeping deeper into the mainstream consciousness, or maybe just deeper into my yarn stash. This is a swatch of the "hand painted" result.

Yes, I hip-hop-ified my stash.

This is what you need to do yours:
Mercerized cotton yarn
Montana gold/black (krylon if you are old skool, spray paint in simple terms)
Some cardboard

Wrap your yarn around the cardboard, you can see that mine overlaps quite a bit, but, as long as the wraps aren't too condensed, the painting will be OK.

Note the box with my 12 favorite Montana colors, it is always good to keep them around for projects like this.

So shake the can and trow yo' piece up (Mix your paint as instructed on the can of your given brand. Spray with a quick, close burst. You should have a dot of color).

Continue to use this technique with as many colors as you want. I used 5. Note how close the can is to the cardboard.

I used vertical lines of color to ensure that the colors that I wanted to show more were actually hitting more wraps.

You can keep your colors dense like mine, or really spread things out and keep things monochrome.The amount of craziness infused into your yarn is really up to you.

Below is my swatch before washing:

And after.

The color and texture will soften and even out, and surprisingly the paint is safe in the machine. The marled, variegated color character is hard to find in a store, yet it is becoming a big commercial trend.

You will really have to try this technique yourself to see how it works. It is deceptively easy for something with such a finished, coherent look. I would recommend starting with Patons Grace cotton yarn ($5) from a craft store rather than an expensive cone of french cotton, but you can go with just about anything in your stash. Fuzzy fibers like wool, acrylic, or even an un-mercerized cotton will not paint as neatly, so always test with a swatch first.

Have fun!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Neon Friendship Belt

Last week, I mentioned a few ideas about how to bring the summer trend of friendship or camp bracelets into the colder months. You may remember in particular a swatch of neon para cord material that turned out well. It was made out of the stuff that those safety bracelets are made of, just a lot more of it.

To make a neon paracord friendship bracelet belt, you will need:
3 colors of paracord long enough to make a belt (read on to find that number)
knowledge of how to make a six strand friendship bracelet, it does not need to be this pattern if you prefer another.

I ordered my cord from an online supplier from etsy, you'll have to do your own search because different suppliers carry different colors. I chose to get 50' of each: black, yellow/green neon mix, and pink/blue neon mix.

 Not knowing how much cord was needed to make my belt, I decided to make a swatch. If you are looking to use the same pattern as in the photos, but have never made a friendship bracelet, this will help you. Your cord may be different than mine, so I suggest doing one of your own, especially if you will be doing a different pattern.

Tie off your cords a yard from the ends and put the long centers aside (shown above). Work a few repititions of your pattern, the more the better, and make sure to work the whole pattern ( for example the full black, pink, green, not just stopping after black).

My swatch happened to make a good bracelet. Anyway, measure the length of the knotted section and take your hip or waist measurement where you would like to wear the belt. Divide your body measurement by the length of your swatch, remember this number.

Measure the leftover tails that were not used in your swatch and subtract from 36". Multiply this number by the number that you were supposed to remember. You now know how many inches long your strings need to be to make a belt, but before you cut anything, remember that you will be folding the strings in half. in stead of making 6 strings of the length you just calculated, cut 3 that are double that.

My 3 strings were 25 feet long, 12.5 feet once folded in half. it is important to fold the strings because this will help to create a clean and neat loop. I cut my strings frim the full ropes after unfolding the swatch.

I used a braided loop explained in detail in the Fleece Tug Toy tutorial. Basically, you need to fnd the center of the three strings, make a two inch braid, and begin your macrame with the strings on either side of the central braid. It will really help to read it and look at the pictures.

You can see how the braided loop looks in this context. The first two rows of chevrons have been completed as well.

... a few hours later. This is the length I desire and is essentially done.

Measure about one foot from the end of your knots and cut the extra string.

Burn the ends to keep them from unraveling.

Tie it on and you are ready to wear.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fall ideation: friendship bracelets

Friendship bracelets are one of the biggest trends of summer, but they don't really fit too well into the cold weather of fall and winter. It's something about how they just look better with short sleeves in the bright sunlight. I have been making a lot of bracelets lately and do not want to give up the geometric colorful patterns as soon as sweater weather starts. Here is a picture of a few of the things I have been working on:

The first two on the left are traditional embroidery floss bracelets. The middle  one is paracord in fluorescent colors. The fourth is Red Heart Super Saver yarn - the super cheap stuff - and the one on the right is Lion Brand Thick and Quick.

The two styles made from yarn are a little harder to make than the one s made of non stretchy materials. an embroidery floss bracelet is more even and stiff than one of yarn. The red heart taught me a bit about how to tie better knots in yarn.

Note that after the central brown diamond, the width decreases by about .25 inches and the knots look more precise and even. this is where I started to make the knots very tight. This helped a lot to improve the texture and to make future projects (belts) doable.

I'm gearing up to begin work on these this evening on the train. hope you can see how these patterns are starting to transition into cool weather crafts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guess My Place - Day 3

This will go on until guessing starts.

Have some laser discs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guess My Place - Day 2

Same rules stand until someone gets it right. Here's the second clue.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Guess my place

You may have been wondering where I have been for the last few weeks. There have been a few blog posts, but for the most part, this blog and my Etsy shop have been shut down. It turns out that I have been busy moving to a new city to be an intern at a very cool company. It has just been too hard to juggle work, commute, moving, boarding with relatives, Chinese pastry obsession (to be posted later), and the general business that is going on to post anything .

So this week I'm going to post clues hinting at where I'm living. The first person (whom is not a friend whom I have told) to guess my location will get their choice of Knitting Pattern for free. Leave a comment with your guess, you can go more than once, and I will let you know as soon as someone gets the right guess.

Here is the first clue:

I commute to here from the special secret place.

And I like yellow shoes, but that is unrelated.

So make a guess!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fleece tug toy

My grandmother has a little poodle named Coco who destroys toys. There are only a few which are left whole and stuffed at the end of the first day of play. Those which have no stuffing or stitching tend to hold up better, and a braided fleece toy in particular has not been shredded. It is the type of product which you look at and immediately understand how to make.

This is how I made Coco's braided tug toy:

You will need:
A rotary cutter and cutting surface or scissors
A ruler
A sharpie
A rubber band
A weight

3 3" strips of polar fleece cut from selvedge to selvedge

I used 3 colors of fleece at 60" wide. The bolt should be labeled with a width when you buy your fleece. A width of 54" or more is best for this project.

Fold your fleece in half matching selvedges. Measure a 3" wide strip and cut so that the folded edge is facing you and the selvedge is away from you. You should end up with one strip of fabric. Do this 3 times so that you have enough strips to braid. Keep them folded in half.

Line up your three folded strips with the fold end towards you. Measure 10" up from the fold and mark with the sharpie. Push aside the top layer of fabric and mark the lower layer as well. When you unfold the strips, there should be 2 marks on each (approximately) 20" from each selvedge and eachother.

Line up ends and find your sharpie mark. Pinch at the mark and rubber band here. The rubber band will not be centered, put the shorter tails away from you.

Place a weight above the rubber band to hold everything in place while you braid. Braid until you reach the next mark. If you are using different colors, make sure your strips are in the same order that they started in.

Remove the rubber band. You should now have something like this - a centered braid with two loose ends. Look at the braid, it has a direction where the fleece makes up pointing or down pointing Vs. These Vs need to be pointing in the same direction, if they are not, flip one end of the braid horizontally.

Match the colors and begin to braid them tightly as if each pair of strands were one.

Grab the ends of your braid and tie an overhand knot near the ends. It might seem like a bulky knot, but it will work. You will see that a loop has formed on one end to serve as a handle for either you or your dog (or cat?).

Take each piece of fleece individually and pull to tighten up the knot. It is now unlikely that a dog will untie it right away.

Trim the ends to a uniform length, and it's ready!

Make sure that if the fleece does start to fall apart that you take the toy away from your pet. Fleece is non digestable, so do not let them eat it.

Happy dog time

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