Friday, 28 December 2012

Secret Santa

I can finally reveal the knitted projects that were made for Christmas gifts.

The first is a Neat Ripple Cushion made for my Mum. It's the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of Attic24. I made an 18" cushion. 


The yarn is Rico Design Essentials Cotton DK and there is such a lovely array of colours to choice from. It lends itself well to crochet and I used it in my African Flower Bucket Bag
I crocheted one piece 18" by about 42" then folded over and crocheted together on the edges and a few tiny buttons to close it.


Also, Mum got a pair of fingerless mitts that are my own design. I used Rowan Pima Cotton DK, which is beautiful yarn and made a lovely soft fabric but it was a little tricky to work with in fair isle.


It has lots of different elements, broken ribbing, vikkel braids, fair isle, corrugated ribbing and an I-cord bind off.



Sunday, 16 December 2012

Handmade Christmas: The Tree

I thought I'd share my Christmas tree with you!



I've made a few decorations for the tree.
This flat ceramic bauble is double-sided and from the photo above you can see the Christmas tree on the other side.
A ceramic glazed santa
Hardanger embroidered decoration and it's filled with cloves so it smells very Christmassy
Secret Garden folded fabric blocks with lucet cord and beaded tassels

And, it's not just me. These are Mr's contributions, a wood turned bauble and a star for the top of the tree which is made from white leather (a strange material for a star but it looks nice)


These are a few tree decorations that friends have made for me over the years.


Going through them all, I've realised there is not one knitted decoration. That will be something I'll have to remedy for next year!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Möbius Methods

After having made quite a few möbius cowls recently (see this post). I've been doing a bit of research into the background of möbius strips and the different ways of making a möbius shape in knitting.




The Oxford English Dictionary defines a "Möbius strip";
"/'mə:bɪəs/ ► noun a surface with one continuous side formed by joining the ends of a rectangle after twisting one end through 180° ORIGIN early 20th cent.: named after August F. Möbius (1790-1868), German Mathematician
Though it was independently discovered by Johann Benedict Listing at the same time.

One of the main practical uses for a möbius strip is for drive belts; but I think that the best use is in knitting (though perhaps I'm a bit biased).

There seems to be two main categories for making a möbius; flat and circular.

Flat




The first option is for the cast on edge to be the long horizontal, the piece is worked flat and then twisted and sewn along the vertical edge. This would create an obvious seam in the work.



The second option is when the cast on edge is the shorter vertical edge, again worked flat, then twisted and then the cast on / bind off edge is sewn together. This is very similar to the first option and again this would create a seam.

The third option is to provisionally cast on along the short vertical edge and then it is grafted together at the end.

Circular

All the following require circular needles.


This option is to cast on with circular needles and then make one twist in before joining in the round. So the bottom edge will be the cast on and the top will be the bind off.


The next three options all involve what I consider a little bit of magic. They are started at the middle of the strip and then the piece is worked on circular needles around the entire edge of the work. Therefore, all the outside edges will be the bind off edge.

The first one involves a regular cast on, such as a knitted or long tail cast on. Using the same circular needles that the stitches were cast on, the same number of stitches are picked up from the cast on edge.

The second and third options are relatively similar. They both require a provisional cast on. Cat Bordhi's Moebius Cast On is made using the needle tip and the cable of the same needle and the other is the Alternating Cast-On for Moebius from June Hemmons Hiatt’s “The Principles of Knitting”, which uses two circular needles of the same size.


I'll leave you with a joke from "The Big Bang Theory". Why did the chicken cross the möbius strip? To get to the same side.


References
The New Oxford English Dictionary (1999) Oxford University Press p.1187
Flynn, Mike, Infinity In Your Pocket (2005) Elwin Street Ltd p.25
Hemmons Hiatt, June, The Principles of Knitting (2012) Touchstone pp. 368-370
Patmore, Frederica & Haffenden Vikki, The Knitting Book (2011) Dorling Kindersley Ltd p.197
Wikipedia, Möbius strip, Retrieved 05.12.12. from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6bius_strip
Bordhi, C - Intro to Moebius Knitting, Retrieved 05.12.12 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

FO: Möbius Cowls

I feel like I've been on a production line of knitting recently! I've produced 4 möbius moss stitch cowls for Christmas presents. 



All are cast on with 124 sts using a möbius cast on. I used the opportunity to try out a few different types of möbius cast on.
The silver and purple ones are cast on using Cat Bordhi’s moebius cast on. I liked the relatively simple way of casting on but the first row was very tight and difficult to do. This seemed to cause the stitches to stretch very slightly but enough for me to notice it!




The silver/white and the silver/pink are cast on using a different möbius cast on, which is Alternating Cast-On for Moebius from June Hemmons Hiatt’s “The Principles of Knitting”. The provisional cast on used for the centre is very similar to Judy's Magic Cast On.



  • The upside of this one was I found it really easy to do and the first row was worked easily without stretching anything.
  • There were no loose stitches, however, I tried to make an alternating knit/purl start but couldn’t figure it quickly so just did the knit in the end. This meant that the middle row was knit on one side and purl on the other. This creates a visible line in the moss stitch but, to be honest, I think both methods do this to some degree.
  • One downside was needing 2 circular needles of the same size; if you had interchangeables it would be possible to have one set and use stoppers until you can remove the 2nd circular. I much preferred to do the 2nd method.