Friday, June 29, 2007

Double the fish, double the fun!

Now I have twice as many fish than I had last week. Thirty-two fish to be exact and if I can follow my plan I should have 160 fish when I am all said and done. I'm having so much fun knitting these fish and my tessellated fish blanket is coming along nicely. Please note that the Bits and Bobs Yahoo group grew so fast because of the fish-a-long that they started a group just for the fish.

My boys I might add have been giving me grief because of the mess I have made in our living room. They have been complaining because they have no place to sit. When I'm picking out the colors for the fish I spread everything out and leave it that way while I'm knitting my row of fishes. Not only does that make a mess but the fact that I have all my yarn pulled out as well. Cleaned up a bit today and now I just have one basket for yarn and one basket for fish. They haven't noticed yet!

Look what my dear Oregonian sister sent me for my birthday!
Beautiful hand spun yarn (90% lamb's wool and 10% mohair). She is very talented and spins yarn from her own lambs, goats and angora rabbits. Now I have to figure out what to make with this gorgeous yarn. I have in my stash 3 other skeins that she sent me, pink, and 2 shades of natural brown. I have been waiting for the perfect pattern for those skeins, too. I really want to knit something very special.

Last, but not least Deb, better known as knottykitty has nominated me as a...
....thanks, Deb I am very honored :) Knottykitty blog is always filled with interesting knitting tales and very cute kitties. Make sure you check out her blog and see for yourself why she rocks! One of my duties as a Rockin' Girl Blogger is to nominate 5 more Rockin' Girl bloggers. This is a very difficult task...I think all knitting bloggers deserve an least the ones I read regularly.

Drum roll they are:
  • Allison is a knitting blogger who posts pictures of her knitting, but ALWAYS mixes her knitting with beautiful flowers. All winter long she would brighten my day on those cold winter days.
  • CeElle has an amazing, very colorful blog. She has quite the flair for the graphic arts and it shows in her colorful knitting.
  • Rohanknitter is a homeschooling mom of 3 boys who lives on a farm in the Midwest. Her blog is wonderful glimpse of life on a farm. She actually has time to knits, craft and blog in addition to all she does on the farm!
  • Violiknit a.k.a. Sophia is a violin playing knitter. She always finds the cutest patterns and has interesting tidbits about her life as professional musician.
  • Vyvyan always has a new pattern to share with her readers. She writes incredible patterns and is a source of inspiration for me!
Again, I wish I could nominate you all as Rockin' Girl Bloggers!
Happy weekend and happy knitting :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Success...two strips done, eighteen to go!

Last night I attached my first two strips of my tessellated fish blanket (fish-a-long) using Cathy's method:
Here's a closeup of the braided crochet seaming. Very easy by the way :)
I have another prayer shawl to show you that I've neglected to show you earlier:
Not very exciting, knitted using AC Moore mill ends "camouflage" alternating with black, a good shawl for a man. I finished this awhile ago. My next one is almost finished, so that give you an idea of how long it's been.

happy knitting :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tessellated Fish Testing 1, 2, 3

I've been working on finding the best way to attach my tessellated fishes (fish-a long) together without sewing. I think it's a good idea to knit the fish in strips. To do this you knit two fish, but do not bind off. (You will needle multiple sets of needles to do this.) Then with right sides facing do a 3 needle bind off. You now have two fish, tail to tail. You can then pick up the stitches at the mouth of the fish and continue on ...

I have learned a few things in knitting the fish and this one point is very important. When knitting your fish you HAVE to make sure you knit the slipped stitch very loose. Almost to the point of an exaggerated looseness if you get my drift. The fish will not lay flat if you knit too tight. This was difficult for me. As you can see my test fish are pretty much rejects, but they were good for me to test out the joining. Now that I have shown you my results they will end up in the frog pond.

The first thing I tried was knitting them together...picking up the slipped stitches on the side and bind off. If you want to see closer details, just click on the photo for a closeup.

It's ok, but it did leave a ridge on the back, which I'm not crazy about. You can see in this photo how much the fish is buckling. The fish I am now knitting are nice and loose and flat!

The next thing I tried was knitting the fish and attaching it at the same time by picking up a stitch at the end of every row of the fish.

The back is nice and flat. Not bad at all...I rather liked the way this turned out.

Then the last technique I tried was Cathy's (Bits and Bobs ) braided crochet. Cathy's blanket is what led me to the fish-a-long! I can't tell or show you how to do this. If you are interested be sure and join the Bits and Bobs group!
Why do I like this one? A chain forms in between the ridges of the slipped stitches. Here I made the chain in blue -same color as one of the fish, but on my future blanket I'm planning on using a contrasting color. I think it will look similar to this. Note this blanket is the original tessellated fish blanket (Fish Blanket from Knitter's Magazine issue 51 (Summer 1998)). I'm using Knitting Arrow's pattern.

This is the back...nice and flat with no ridges. This is definitely how I'm going to put my fish together!

Now, back to work. I'm really having a hard time keeping up with emails and blog visiting. Please be patient with me....I'm working on it. I really thought once the boys were out of school I'd have more that's another story!

Happy knitting and fishing :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Feel like going on a little fish-a-long?

First of all I just wanted to say I'm still here, but I'm way behind in my blogging...posting and reading. My non-blogging life has really got in my way. I've been doing a little knitting, but I don't have a whole lot to show you.

Today is the official start of Bits and Bobs Yahoo Group's Fish-a-long KAL. Bits and Bobs is a group that shares ideas on how to use up all your leftover odds and ends and not just yarn...all kinds of scraps. Have you ever seen this Tessellated Fish blanket? I've always admired it but directed my attention away from starting one because of the horrible thought of having to sew all those fish together. My goal is to assemble one without sewing a stitch! I sure hope I can pull it off.... we'll see. I shall keep you posted on my progress.

Here are a few of the fish I have already done:
If you are at all interested in the Fish-a-long be sure and join us in the fun and use up all your odds and ends.

Wednesday I went shopping with two of my knitted plastic bags:
I made a smaller bag to try out:
This one was knitted with smaller needles. It didn't stretch as much, but although it holds quite a bit it didn't hold as much as my original big bag. To be honest I think perhaps a size in between the very big one and the smaller one might be the answer to the perfect bag. I'm planning on making another one (medium size) soon. (Am I starting to sound like Goldilocks?)I just wish I had more time. School's out now and baseball is almost over, so hopefully I'll be starting to have more time for myself....maybe...

I must say though I caused quite the commotion at the grocery store this week. Walking the aisles with the bags in the shopping cart baby seat worker gals noticed my bags. They thought they were great! Lots of questions I might add. Then at the checkout it was almost embarrassing all the questions I got. I was worried that the people behind me were cursing me because I was holding everything up. I got much more attention with my two bags this week than with just the one bag last week. Hopefully everyone will get used to me using my knitted bags. I'll definitely keep knitting Dad is giving me his bags now. Have to find time to do all my knitting ....

happy knitting :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How to turn plastic bags into yarn (PLARN)

Recycling your plastic grocery bags into yarn is very easy. The resulting "yarn", better known as plarn, is great for knitting or crocheting reusable shopping bags or other useful items.

First, save up lots of bags. You will probably need at least 40 bags to start with. Please do not get extra bags at the store for this project...just use the ones you would normally get.

Flatten the bag out
and cut off the bottom. Then cut off the handles
This is what you end up with
Next, fold it up
so you can cut "rings" (about 1-1 1/2 " wide)
I think the following photos are self explanatory
Once you get the bag all cut up you now want to link them all together
Pull gently from both ends to secure the slip knot
Keep doing this over and over and roll up into a ball. Now you're ready to knit or crochet into whatever you want. The slip knots are hardly visible in the resulting fabric. Because you are linking the loops the plastic yarn is double ply which makes for a sturdy yarn.

Knitted plastic bag performance review:

Yesterday I tried out my first knitted plastic bag and I was very happy and satisfied with the results. I used it to carry 17 + pounds of fruits and vegetables and the bag is no worse for wear. If anything the bag was too big. It does stretch, but remains sturdy. I could have easily add more items to the bag, but as it was, it was almost too heavy to carry. My next bag will be much smaller.

I'm excited to make my next one...I really think that knitting plastic reusable bags is a very good thing :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Knit reusable shopping bags and save the world!

Recently I've been thinking that there are way too many so called disposable plastic shopping bags being used every day. Every week I get at least 20 bags with my groceries. I never throw them away. I usually use them as trash bags. I have a kitchen trash can that works very well with the bags, but even as I use them up, they seem to multiply by themselves. There has to be a better way to use them and eventually stop needing them.

Here's my idea. Make yarn out of the bags and knit them into sturdy shopping bags that can be reused. I collected about 40 bags. To make the bags into yarn it was easy. Flatten out the bag cutting off the bottom and the handles. You now have a cylinder with two open ends. Fold it so that you can cut the bags into 1" rings. Then slip knot the rings together into a long chain. This is basically the "Calamari Knitting" technique that was decribed by Kay in the Mason-Dixon Knitting book. I ended up with a ball of plastic yarn that looked like this:
Now for the pattern. I love Maia's felted bag. Basically I used her pattern with a couple of modifications and ended up with a nice large sturdy shopping bag:
Actually I had to cut 20 more bags to finish it off. Didn't use all I cut, but I think 50 bags would probably be the magic number. It really holds a lot of stuff as you can see in this picture...there is even more room to put more in the bag, but it would probably be too heavy.

My family absolutely thinks I'm crazy. Don't know how ambitious I will be to knit too many of these bags. It's not that it's hard to knit, but I enjoy knitting with real yarn better. Now the true test will be to take it to the grocery store and see if it's as sturdy as I think it will be. Then if it works out I definitely think I'll try to make more. Wouldn't it be nice to help our planet by knitting? No cost except time and it would help to keep all those bags from filling up our landfills.

happy knitting :)