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When I completed this square I was so very pleased.  It LTK sq 11had been quite a challenge, but I managed to deal with all those stitches slipped with yarn in back and with yarn in front.  I bound it off and proudly held it up for my husband to admire.  He’s a muggle, but he’s polite one–he immediately offered up a very specific compliment.  "I like how those two in the middle look like they’re holding hands.".  ACK!  I looked at the square again.  Sure enough, there in the middle of the square, is indeed, a pair of motifs "holding hands" because I slipped a stitch with the yarn on the front rather than the back side of the work.  I could not make myself rip it out.  I simply could not.  So when I was next at the LYS it was still in my basket folded up with another recently finished square.  The ladies had a look and declared it a very charming mistake.  Upon hearing the tale of my husband’s reaction to the square they insisted that I should let it lie and count it among the lovelier squares of the ‘ghan.  So I am learning yet another lesson thanks  to Barbara Walker, my family, and friends-in-yarn.  A mistake can be more charming than perfection.  Some errors should simply be let go. 

Yarn Sale!

My beloved LYS, Yes Yarn, had a yarn sale (40% off) this weekend so I indulged in some guilt free shopping. Yay! As you can see, there’s quite a bit of cream, lavender, and violet Encore in the pile. That should be enough to finish up the LTK ‘ghan. There’s a ball of black Encore too. The Man-child has asked me to knit a hat from the Hat Attack pattern for him in his favorite fashion color and he choose Encore since it’ll put up with being tossed into the washer. The two skeins of rosy mauve are a blanket for Ella in the planning stages. At the top of the photo are some lovely sock yarns. I intend to become proficient at sock knitting this year so I had to prepare my stash didn’t I? I’m now in possession of enough yarn for at least half a dozen pairs of socks. Yes, most of them are purple or include purple in their colorways. Why do you ask? ~g~
Three of these balls of yarn aren’t actually mine. At the center of the yarn orgy, right next to the purple Trekking, you can see two balls of red 127 Print. The Man-child intends to knit himself a scarf from those lovely balls of yarn. His third ball (doesn’t quite sound right does it?) is the textured, variegated grey Blissful on the right hand side just above the cream Encore. He says it’s to be an “elephant or something”. When he says something it really could be something. He’s created some interesting things with yarn & hook lately.

Here’s another LTK mosaic square. If you’ve seen the photo in the book or knitted the square yourself you may notice that there’s something not quite right with this square. that’s because I’m a left-handed mirror knitter. See those little stair steps? The photo in the book shows those stair steps going up towards the left. Mirror knitting affects cables in a similar fashion, but cables are easy to compensate for–just do a cable back anytime the pattern says cable front and vice versa. With pieces like this square it’s no big deal to settle for a “mirrored” piece. I’m not sure what effect it would have on a garment like a sweater. Could cause ghastly decreases. Probably good cause for serious swatching, perhaps even going so far as to re-write the stitch pattern.

The fabric of this square is highly textured. The center stitch of each of the chained squares almost disappears and the outlining chains of squares stand out not only to the eye, but to the touch as well. One of the best things about the process of knitting this square was the sudden realization that once I’d knit the first few stitches of any row in the pattern I didn’t need to refer back to the pattern to continue. I could read my knitting well enough to continue knitting in pattern. I’m relying more on my knitting than the pattern now. A very good thing since the patterns are becoming progressively more complex. Ms. Walker is a brilliant teacher.

Ella

Here’s Ella Joy the newest addition to our family. She’s nine weeks old today. Her mom is a Shih Tzu. Dad? The handsome terrier who lives next door to Mom. She came to us through a dear friend, M. Someone was looking for a home for a pup so M. passed on the information to me. I’m so glad. Thank you M. Ella’s such a joy. Thus her second name is Joy. Her first name is Ella since she’s such an elfin little creature.

It was such fun to introduce her to all her yarny Aunties (and Uncles) Wednesday. Ella came home ready to have dinner and drop into an exhausted sleep in my lap. She was so wiped out that she hardly noticed the yarn over her head as I crocheted a scarf for the class I’ll be teaching at Yes Yarn later this month.

LTK square 9

This square required a new skill for me. I’ve never done mosaic knitting before. This involved the feat of slipping stitches not once, but twice (on two passes) before knitting them again. I thought it couldn’t be done. I thought my square would come out with tight rucked up ridges. Wrong on both counts. It did require frequent tinking and obsessive pattern checking. And against the advice of friends I actually frogged a couple of inches once because I’d forgotten to slip a stitch in the right place. But here it is at last and I’m quite pleased with it. I can’t wait to see how the next one turns out.

This particular square is done in stockinette so it curls quite a lot. I still haven’t found the perfect spot to take decent digital photos of knitting yet so this image is a scan. The edges are a bit wonky since the scanner doesn’t like having its lid left open. Can’t say I blame it.

For the curious among you here’s another scan of the same square. This time from the back. Why you ask? Because when I pulled it out of my bag at YesYarn last week to show off to share with my knitbuddies the first thing someone did was flip it over and smooth it out to inspect the back. I’d have done the same thing. Being a cross-stitcher I just wouldn’t have been able to help myself. We cross stitchers seem to have a collective obsession with the backs of things.

Today we had our final sock class at Yes Yarn and encountered kitchener stitch. After much angst and discussion the class members have managed to make some lovely socks. Including B.’s lovely sock of self striping yarn that “by luck”, or so she claims *g* matches it’s mate perfectly. Last week E. told us about Silver’s Sock class. It’s an amazing online set of sock classes. I mentioned the site to B. while at the shop, but couldn’t remember the exact link so I promised her that I’d post the link here for her to find. Here it is. If you click on the tutorial for the sock knitted on DPNs and scroll down to the bottom you’ll see a link for “grafting the toe”. Click there and you’ll be taken to some excellent instructions for kitchener stitch with marvelous photos.

Crocheted dishcloths

Recently I had the pleasure of teaching a crochet class at my beloved LYS, Yes Yarn. After deciding that one of our options for a first project would be a dishcloth I set about finding just the right pattern. I wanted to teach how to create foundation chains, turning chains, single crochet, and double crochet. I also wanted an something a little more challenging for those who might already have a little crochet experience. In addition, I hoped to find something readily available and easily accessed by the entire class. The most obvious option was to write my own pattern.

I’ve improvised and crocheted along doing my thing making stuff before, but I’ve never written down what I’ve done for someone else to follow before. I did sit down and crochet from the patterns row by row. Even found mistakes and corrected them. I hope if you find any errors you’ll forgive me for frustrating your craft, and let me know so that I can make corrections.

If you’re an experienced crocheter you may notice that my single crochet turning chains are a little unorthodox. Most instructions state that one should chain one then crochet into the same stitch from which the chain emerges. After much experimentation and comparison, I prefer the effect of a turning chain of two stitches and skipping the first stitch. Row one also calls for the first stitch to be made into the 4th chain from the hook rather than the usual third chain. This helps keep the corner from pulling up or curling later. Your own mileage, of course, may vary.

This first pattern is for a simple cloth. Alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet with an optional single crochet edging.

Basic dishcloth

For an approximately 9 in. square dishcloth you will need:

1 1/2 oz cotton yarn

small amount of contrasting color cotton yarn (optional)

H hook (or appropriate hook for both you and your chosen yarn)

Abbreviations used:

Ch–chain

SC—single crochet

DC—double crochet

Loosely chain 28

Row 1: Single crochet in 4th chain from hook. (do not count loop on hook). SC across to end.

Row 2: Chain 3. Turn. DC in second stitch (not the stitch your chain 3 emerges from but the next one). DC across to end.

Row 3: Chain 2. Turn. SC in second stitch and in each stitch across to end.

Row 4: Chain 3. Turn. DC in second stitch and in each stitch across to end.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until cloth is about 9 in square or desired length. Ending on row 3.

Snip off yarn and pull through the last loop. Weave in ends.
Edge with single crochet in contrasting color if desired.

This is a photo of a slightly more challenging version of the basic dishcloth pattern above. It hasn’t been washed or blocked yet so the turning chains on the double crochet rows are quite obvious along the right hand edge. After washing/blocking those loops won’t stand out nearly as much. The left hand edge is the single crochets turn on–you won’t find obvious loops on that side. In the center you’ll see the challenge. A row of crossed triple crochet stitches with a double crochet on each edge of the cloth to close off the row. The optional edging hasn’t been put on this example of the cloth so that you can see these details easily.

Below is the pattern with the inclusion of the challenge row.

 

X-stitch dishcloth

For an approximately 9 in. square dishcloth you will need:

1 1/2 oz cotton yarn

small amount of contrasting color cotton yarn (optional)

H hook (or appropriate hook for both you and your chosen yarn)

Abbreviations used:

Ch–chain

SC—single crochet

DC—double crochet

TR–triple crochet

Loosely chain 28

Row 1: Single crochet in 4th chain from hook. (do not count loop on hook). SC across to end.

Rows 2, 4, 6, and 8: Chain 3. Turn. DC in second stitch and in each stitch across to end.

Rows 3, 5, 7 and 9: Chain 2. Turn. SC in second stitch and in each stitch across to end.

Row 10: Chain 3. Turn. TR in 4th stitch (count the stitch your chain 3 emerges from as the first of these 4) Ch 1, TR in 2nd stitch from beginning (yes, this is going backwards, to form an X you will skip stitches then go back to stitch into them). *Skip next two stitches. TR in next stitch (3rd stitch). Ch 1. TR into the first of the two skipped stitches.* Repeat from * to * until you have a total of 8 Xs across your cloth. This will leave you with one stitch. DC into that last stitch.

Rows: 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 : Chain 2. Turn. SC in second stitch and in each stitch across to end.

Rows 12, 14, 16, and 18: Chain 3. Turn. DC in second stitch and in each stitch across to end.

At the end of row 19 snip yarn and pull through the last loop. Weave in ends.

Edge with single crochet in contrasting color if desired.

Note: Any of the even numbered rows can be replaced with row 10. This pattern can also be done in other widths as long as they are multiples of 3 +2 bearing in mind that the number of Xs across will change.