Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Knit-Out Report

The Knit-Out and Crochet 2007 was quite the event! Judging from what some vendors told me about their give-away numbers (lots of yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, patterns, canvas bags), there were at least 6,000 participants. There were booths along several main halls of the Mall of America, mostly taken by yarn companies and pattern publishing companies, but also some local needlework clubs. Michaels had a booth also, and they were promoting the classes offered at their 19 stores in the Tiwn Cities area. They had samples of knit and crocheted items made by the teachers from each of the stores, and I chuckled to see that all the items but one from my store were made on the KK looms!

There was a designated area with knitting instructors offering free lessons, and another area with crochet instructors. Also an area to attach afghan squares for Warm Up America. In the main rotunda, there were ongoing events, including fastest knitter and fastest crocheter contests, awards presentations (Minnesotans made the most newborn hats for the Caps to the Capital Campaign), fashion shows, etc. There was an author's table where many knitting & crochet book authors autographed their books, and demonstration tables where various techniques from Kool Aid dying to knitting with beads to crocheting cables were shown.

My demos were well attended. They were advertised as my teaching a variety of stitches on the looms, but most people didn't know much about knitting with looms, so I covered the basics quite a bit. One person brought her own loom and yarn and sat next to me for a good part of one demo so she could learn a 4-row repeat stitch pattern -- it was great! I also got to meet another loom knitting instructor that I had only talked to via e-mail previously. She just stepped in and started helping to answer the multitude of questions people had -- we didn't get a chance to introduce ourselves for about 15 minutes! It was a challenge to do 360° demos -- even though I was seated at a table, people were surrounding me from all sides! There really is a lot of interest in loom knitting.

I have so many new ideas for projects I want to make, and I saw so many yarns I'd like to try. I wish the major yarn companies' product lines were more widely available; they produce so many more textures and colors than are available in the chain craft stores. I like to see and touch before I buy.

It was an incredible week-end, and I am thrilled to have been invited to participate.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Crochet Cast On

Okay, this time it really is the crochet cast on I will show you. What I posted previously is called the cable cast on.

Step 1: Make a slip knot and put it on the first peg. Insert the crochet hook (size H, I, J or thereabouts) into the slip knot.

Step 2: Hook the working yarn around the crochet hook.

Step 3: Pull the working yarn through the loop that's on the first peg. You now have a new loop on the crochet hook.

Step 4: Put that new loop onto the next peg. Since I am right handed, it is easier for me to crochet from right to left, or in a clockwise direction around the loom. Keep the crochet hook in the loop. Wrap the working yarn around the crochet hook again.

Step 5: Pull the working yarn through the loop that's on the peg.

Step 6: Place that new loop on the next peg. Continue with steps 4 - 6 until you have a loop on as many pegs as you need.

Here's what the loom looks like with the crochet cast on. If you will be knitting in the round, the last loop will go on the first peg, so there are two loops on that peg. Knit off, bringing the bottom loop over the top loop and off the peg. This will close the circle. When you start to knit your first row, start with peg 1 that you just knit off.

Here is what the cast on edge looks like, with a few rows of knitting completed. Not loopy like the e-wrap cast on, eh?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Knit Out at MOA

Will you be there?

I'll be giving demonstrations on knitting with looms Saturday at 4 PM and Sunday at 1 PM. You may also find me at the DRG Publishing booth. Please stop by and introduce yourself!

Monday, February 12, 2007

New Logo

Two of my nephews are recently graduated Graphic Designers. They created this new logo for me. Ain't it great?!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wrist Warmers

With the highs in MN being in negative numbers the last few days, these wrist warmers have been a real blessing! A few of the buildings I've worked in lately have been rather chilly. I was glad to have them along! They're soft and warm and very comfortable.

I created this pattern about a year and a half ago, and knit up this pair to double check what I had written. This was a contender for the Learn New Stitches book, but didn't make the cut. I added instructions with some illustrations for the crochet cast on and handling the edges of a flat piece, and it includes peg by peg directions for the cables. The pattern is now available.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sweater Needs Work

I got hot off the press pictures of my new nephew today, on his 6 month birthday, modeling the sweater I made for him. It's too big, but that's okay. It's proportionally correct, and that's good.

But I was rightly concerned about a simple design issue -- the looseness of the knit. I didn't want it to be too hot as he lives in TX. This was made with a single strand of worsted weight yarn e-wrapped on a large gauge loom. But it's too easy for those little fingers to get caught! Next up, a tighter stitch pattern, and smaller pieces. It's a good thing I've got lots of baby blue yarn!