Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh Baby...Baby Cable Rib Socks!

My second pair of handknit sock - ever - came off my needles on Monday. Couldn't post about them earlier because of camera/batteries issues. In the long run it really was in my favor that I had to wait to post, because last night (yippee!) I got my Ravelry invitation! My user name is of course hakucho and I'm very excited to be able to play and check everything out. This fantastic site is even more than I had imagined. Though I'm not sure how long it will take me to get everything in order, I will be trying my best to at least keep up with the new stuff and checking everything all out!

Now back to my socks. They are knit with size 3 dpn's with wool-ease blue mist. I'm please with how they turned out, but I'd be lying if I said everything went without a hitch. Sock #1 was working out fine until I tried to do the kitchener's graft. I was very tired and my husband came in and had the nerve to talk to me... imagine him being so disruptive that I totally messed it up and then had to rip it back and redo the toe. The do-over was fine and the second one went really well. No problems this time. The next socks I knit I will try a toe up pattern.

The baby cable rib pattern came from Sensational Knitted Socks. Great book. I highly recommend it and I know I'll probably just move through the book learning all the techniques before I venture into knitting other sock patterns. I think I'll put More Sensational Knitted Socks on my Christmas wish list. More socks will have to wait though, because I have my husband's birthday present and two babies to knit for and of course I'll have to start with my Christmas knitting as well.

happy knitting everyone :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Recycling plastic bags or a fashion statement?

This post is for those of you who want to know:

"What can you make from plastic bags other than grocery bags?"

...check out Shaun's picture album of trash couture. Amazing!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

See what my big bags hold!

Today was my big shopping day and I promised to show everyone just what my bags will hold. Just to let you know this is just a portion of what I bought. I had almost a $200 order including what I bought for my father. I still need to make more bags. Everything won't fit into four bags.

Here are the four bags full. Not very good photography and now you can see my messy kitchen, but I think you'll get the idea.
Then I unpacked the bags to show you what was inside. I hope you can get an idea now :)
What do you think? I didn't bother to itemize everything. That's a lot of groceries. I'm very happy with what they hold and they are very sturdy! Ok, now I have to go and put all of this away:)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hakucho's Big Bag - recycled plastic grocery bag pattern

This pattern was inspired by Maia Disco's felted bag Baby’s Got a Brand New Big Bag pattern.
I modified the pattern ever so slightly for the plastic yarn (plarn) and Maia so kindly gave me permission to post my modified directions as a free pattern.

You will need many plastic shopping bags (bags marked "recyclable" not recommended)***. I would say approximately 50-60. Here is the tutorial on How to turn plastic bags into yarn.

I have found that the process goes much faster if once the handles and bottoms are cut off, you stack the prepared bags one on top of the other (I have done up to 8 at a time) and then cut the bags as shown in the tutorial. I think the number of bags that you can cut at one time depends greatly on how sharp your scissors are. You will now have loops, which you will slip knot together to make the plastic yarn. For those who have read the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, you will recognize this technique, which is referred to “Calamari Knitting”. The French woman mentioned in the book used this type of plastic yarn to make sling seats for folding lawn chairs. This is what inspired me to try and use this material for a reusable shopping bag.

U.S. 17 circular knitting needles 29"
U.S. 15 circular knitting needles 29"
4 large stitch markers
crochet hook for weaving in ends

Gauge is really not at all important. With size 17 circular needles gauge is approximately 2.5 stitches per inch. The bag’s approximate measurements upon completion are 17” x 16”.

This bag is worked from the bottom up starting with a rectangle of garter stitch. With the size 15 needle cast on 23 stitches using the long tail cast on method. Always slip the first stitch of every row purl wise. Knit 32 rows (garter stitch).  The 32 garter stitch rows produces a chain on the short edges of your rectangle. The chain is the result of your slipped stitches at the beginning of the garter stitch rows. There are 16 slipped stitches on each side.

Please note: For the body of the bag you will need to pick up a total of 55 stitches. 16 stitches along each of the two sides picking up the whole slipped stitch and 23 along the cast on edge. When you are finished picking up all the stitches you should have a total of 78 stitches on your needle.

Round 1: Having your original 23 stitches on your needle place a marker on the needle and pick up 16 stitches, place another marker and then pick up 23 more, place another marker and pick up 16 again and then place the last marker - it is helpful if this marker is different from the rest, larger or a different color. This is now the beginning of round 2. You will have 78 stitches on your needle.

Round 2, etc:
 Continue to knit every round.

After 6 rounds switch to the size 17 needle. Continue knitting every round until the bag measures 12-13 inches or desired length. Measure only the stockinette portion of the bag.

To make the bag’s handles:
Round 1: Knit 6 stitches, bind off 11 for handle, knit 6 more, move marker, knit 16, move marker, knit 6, bind off 11 stitches. Knit 6 , move marker and knit the remaining 16 stitches.
Round 2: Knit 6 stitches, cast on 11 using backward loop cast on method, knit 6, move marker, knit 16, move marker, knit 6, cast on 11, knit 6, move marker, knit reamining16 stitches. You should now have 2 holes for the handles evenly spaced on the front and back of the bag.

Switch back to size 15 needles. Knit 5 more rounds of seed stitch
Round 1: k1, p1
Round 2: p1, k1

Bind off all stitches. Work in ends with crochet hook.

Note: The bag will stretch a little with use.

Questions, comments please visit or email me hakucho19(at)yahoo(dot)com.
If you would like this pattern in pdf format for easier printing please email me. I will be very happy to send it to you!

Edited: 9/28/2007
Click here to download pattern PDF file. Please email me with any problems or questions. Thanks!

I LOVE seeing what others have made with my patterns, so please send me your photos and I will add them to My Knitting Friend's Gallery. Thanks :)

***It has been brought to my attention that you should not use bags labeled "recyclable" because they are manufactured to break down easily and your knitted bag may break as well.
Everyone's supply of bags is different. My best advice is to use your judgment and if you think the bags will not hold up or break do not use the flimsy bags. I don't know that much about plastic bags, but I do know that over time ALL plastic tends to break down. Heat also effects plastic. I wouldn't recommend storing the knitted plastic bags in you hot car for any length of time. I have had no problems with falling apart or breaking so far with all the bags I have knitted. The first bag I made too large and it stretched (but did not break) because it was overfilled. I'm still using it :)

Edited September 3, 2007: errata in the pattern found!
I have made corrections in the pattern in black print. Sorry for any confusion or inconvenience. As always I really appreciate any and all feedback. Thankfully an anonymous reader caught
my mistake and so kindly left me a comment. Thanks :) Hopefully it is clearer now. Please email me if you have any questions or comments.


Copyright © 2007 hakucho, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Just a few more reusable shopping bags

I've been busy knitting more reusable plastic shopping bags! The process was made more speedy by my figuring out that I could cut up more than one bag at the same time. Imagine the time saved by having a very sharp scissors and being able to cut as many as eight bags at a time. I also had some help. My middle son took pity on me and slip knotted the rings together for me. Wasn't he a sweetie pie!

Because of all the help I had and the large supply of plastic yarn I was able to knit a bag for Kate (my oldest son's lovely girlfriend). She saved up brown Stop & Shop and Shaws bags for me to use. I had one blue/green Walmart bag and a few yellow Best Buy bags as well. I tried for a variegated effect. Kate loves it and it has already been put to good use. She thinks it looks like a straw bag!My supply of bags is pretty much limited to the white with red and blue Market Basket bags and white with black Walmart bags. Now I have three bags to use for grocery shopping and I am currently working on a fourth. I think I have the size pretty much perfected. The very first bag I made was way too big. The temptation for the store's baggers to overfill the bag was too great and all I ended up with was a bag that was too heavy to lift. It was amazing to see all that they could fit in to that bag though :)I am working on writing up the pattern. Maia kindly gave me permission to do so. Her Baby's Got a Brand New Big Bag was my inspiration for knitting the plastic bags. I really only modified her bag slightly. Hopefully I'll have it ready if you are interested in the free pattern please check back here soon.

happy knitting :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Grand total - 128 fishes caught...

... and my tessellated fish blanket has reached it's completion, finally! I ended up stopping at 16 rows of fish; the grand total - 128 fish. I must say that I'm a little bit sad that it's finished. Every night I would sit down and knit my fish. It was fun picking and planning on what color to use next. I really think it was time to end, because my good colors seem to have disappeared and it was getting harder and harder to pick good color combos. I edged the whole blanket with a single row of single crochet. Now I'm ready to move on.

I'm back to cutting up plastic bags! I am now being given plastic I guess it should be taken as a complement and a hint to get busy and start knitting...or...cranking the bags out!

happy knitting :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Rustic Rainbow Experiment

For a very long time now I have been "dying" to try "dyeing". The opportunity arose last Thursday when I thought I would be alone all day. My two youngest boys and my husband were driving to New York to see a Yankee game. Then the last minute my youngest bailed and didn't want to go. He's really not a baseball fan like my middle son. We figured it was better for him to stay with me rather than have him whining all day...a very long day.

I still did my dye experiment. He was a little bit interested, so that was nice and he did help me now and then when I needed an extra pair of hands. I thought I would experiment with all the colors of kool-aid I could find and I also tried just the plain old ordinary food colors. Here's the hand painted skein all laid out with the various colors:
Sure was a rather messy job. I really don't have the necessary equipment and I think I was a little over zealous trying all those colors. Picking up the skein to try and put it in a pyrex glass dish was not too successful. Excess dye went every where and then to find out the dish wouldn't fit into my microwave! I resorted to using my largest corning ware casserole. I kept my fingers crossed that the colors wouldn't run together:
Then I microwaved it and set it on the counter to cool. I read that it needs to be completely cooled before rinsing in order for the dye to adhere.

Then the call came. My 90 year old father activated his Lifeline button. We dropped everything and drove fast over to Dad's apartment. The last two times this had was false alarms. I hoped and prayed this was the case once again. This time he was in trouble. He was ok thank goodness, but he had fallen in the bathroom and couldn't get up. It was such a good thing that my youngest didn't go to New York for he was there to help me get Grampa up. No broken bones, but he was bruised and bleeding from a blow to back of his neck behind his ear. He hit the corner of the vanity. To make a long story short...we spent the whole afternoon in the ER. Because he had a head injury they did a CAT scan and various other tests, but everything came back fine and he didn't even need any stitches, which I had thought he might need. Thankfully everything turned out fine and he was ok.

Now for the rest of the story...the yarn which was very hot when we left now had completely cooled off. I rinsed it and it looked fine...hung it to dry and then today I wound it into a ball:
I don't have a ball winder, but I used my trusty M&M mini's container and wound a center pull ball. Rustic rainbow is what I am calling this yarn. I won't tell you what my boys are calling it ;) Hand painting is ok. I'm really not wild about dyeing in general. A little too messy for me. Maybe if I had only used a couple of colors I would have been happier, but I just had to see what all the colors would look like. I'm not saying I'll never dye again, but I really think this is one job that should be left to the experts!