Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 22

These fingerless gloves are made with a bulky yarn (90% alpaca, 10% wool) from my cooperative–Natural Fiber Producers. I am working on this pattern to make kits with the yarn. One skein is enough for these that will fit a woman’s medium to large hand.

What you see is the natural color. It is also available overdyed in purple, red, blue and citrine. I’ll be making another pair in a different color in the next few days to get the pattern worked out.

Have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve tonight.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 21

Hump Day!! I know that it’s not Wednesday but it is halfway through the 42 days of no weightbearing on my right foot. It went both quickly and incredibly slowly.

A few years ago, I volunteered to do some demonstrations at a fiber festival only to find out later that the demonstrations were to be only 15 minutes long and had to be at the booth!!!!! What to do? I came up with the “Fringe as You Go Scarf” that can be done either knitting or crocheting. This one is crocheted on a large hook and is a combination of single, half double and double crochet. The large needles (at least size 13) or hook (at least an R) is key to having all of the different thicknesses of yarn work in the project.

Start by chaining as long as you want the final scarf. Cut this yarn with at least a 6″ tail–this will be part of your fringe later. Tie on the next yarn, chain one or two depending upon whether you’re doing single or double crochet. At the end of each row, cut the yarn and tie on the next one. Repeat this process until the scarf is as wide as you want it. Adjust your knots as necessary to be close to the scarf. Trim the fringe to all one length.

This is a great use of the “leftovers” from different projects. You can make it monochromatic or as widely colorful as the fancy strikes you.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Knot adjusted to be against the fabric of the scarf
Fringe as You Go Scarf

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 20

This infinity scarf is a group effort. The yarn is an 80/20 blend of alpaca and wool. The alpaca is from Bethoven, one of the herdsires that I co-own with Kathy Kenworthy of Almosta Ranch Alpacas. It’s a 2 ply DK weight and lucious. It was hand dyed by Ellen in these gorgeous colors. I loved watching the colors go through my hands while knitting this scarf.

Several years ago, I took a class on alternate knitting methods by Annie Modesitt, the author of Confessions of a Knitting Heretic. Most of my knitting is done continental with my yarn in my left hand. Purling with the yarn around my thumb is a fast technique and gives my hand a rest. It has the disadvantage of putting the stitch on the needle backwards with the leading leg in the back. For this reason, I tend to use the thumb method only when doing long purl runs like in this scarf.

The pattern for this scarf is simple. I cast on about 250 stitches, joined in the round then did 5 rows of garter stitch. Next 8 rows of knitting followed by 3 purl rows. These last 11rows were repeated until I got near the end of the skein of yarn. The final 2 sections are 8 rows of knitting then 5 rows of garter.

When binding off this many stitches, I use a crochet hook at least 2 sizes bigger than my needles and bind of loosely using a slipped stitch. Much faster that a traditional bind off.

This scarf will look lovely long or wrapped double.

See you tomorrow–it’s a very special day!

“Heretic” style purl stitch setup
Scooping the yarn for the purl stitch










Stitch on the left needle with the leading leg in back.
Knitting into the back of the stitch to untwist


Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 19

This is a woven dishtowel for Rachel’s partner, Patrick, who is coming to visit tomorrow. 8/4 cotton is both the warp and the weft and it’s set @ 12.5 ends per inch. The hem stitch at the beginning and end of the weaving allowed me to wash and dry the towel before hemming. Made it a lot easier that the times before since the fabric was much tighter than when it comes off of the loom. It will also continue to get tighter as he uses it and then washes and dries it.

The warp has been on the loom for several months and I’ve had to learn a lesson yet again. I didn’t write down the length of the warp anywhere so had to unwind it to measure. This lead to tension problems in the warp that kept shifting as I moved the warp forward. ARGGGGG! This fits under one of my grandmother’s favorite expressions “We are too soon old and too late smart.” How true.

Back to knitting for tomorrow.

Paper with the pattern for the changes in the weaving
Hem stitch securing weaving at the beginning of the towel
Finished towel
Towel before washing
After washing

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 18

Talking about gender neutral kid’s hats got me thinking about this ball of yarn that I had after doing Quick’s dog coat. This is one of our farm yarns that is hand dyed in a colorway that makes me smile every time I look at it. The yarn is called “Luck o’ the Irish”. I think this hat would look cool on any child.

I love it when “leftover” yarn makes such a great project.

Thanks for visiting.

Luck o’ the Irish Child’s Hat

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 17

Same yarn, Same pattern

Recognize the hat on the right? It’s from Day 6. This is Francine Toukou’s Steel Beanie pattern. I’ve had fun doing more crochet the past two weeks and loved the original hat. All I did for the hat on the left was change hook sizes. It gave a child’s size hat that is denser than the adult version. This lovely wool yarn works up easily and I think the colors are stunning. I’m always being asked to make gender-neutral hats for kids and this fits the bill perfectly.

Hope you’re staying warm on this dreary day.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 16

Never say “Never” is the theme today. Henry, one of the housekeeping supervisors at St. Joseph’s Hospital, is always asking me to make dog clothes and I always tell him that I will never make dog clothes. That is until today.

Quick is our daughter’s wire-haired dachshund. Normally I bathe him and she uses the grooming tool to thin his coat. With my foot surgery, I cannot wash him so he went to a groomer for the first time. He came home smelling great and with much less fur than he’s used to. He shivers now when going outside–hence the coat.

Quick before grooming

Quick after grooming

I loosely based this on Lion Brand’s striped dog sweater but made modifications because he’s so long! Our daughter made the button for the coat. He’s now warm and stylish in his custom made garment. It must keep him warm since he doesn’t fuss about wearing it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day. See you tomorrow.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 15

Today was the Stelmach family Christmas celebration at our house. Great food and good times. Our daughter didn’t think we’d use this photo with her Christmas sweater. She should know better by now!

This cowl (infinity scarf) is made out of our lopi alpaca yarn that is hand dyed. It’s a great pattern–chain 45-ish, join into a circle and double crochet around closing each round with a slip stitch and start each round with 2 chain stitches. I use a big crochet hook so this drapes well. It’s fun to put one twist into the cowl. This scarf is long enough to double around your neck when you want extra warmth.

Don’t forget the cookies and milk tonight.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 14

The Zoom Loom from Schacht Spindle Company is weaving at its most portable. I used the 4″ loom to create these coasters. Pin looms have been around for years and come in many sizes if you do an internet search. The Schacht Company has some innovations to make the weaving experience easier. The base has¬†tapered edges that guide the long needle as goes between the pins. There’s a notch in the base to secure the start of the yarn to keep it out of the way while weaving. These are just a couple of the ways that you note how fun this loom is to use.

The box with the loom, needles and instructions will fit into a backpack or medium size purse–even with a project on the loom.

Loom warped and ready to begin weaving
Set of 4 coasters

Good visit to the doctor today. Stitches are out and I don’t need to back for another month. We’re 1/3 of the way there. Thanks for the support.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fiber Arts–Day 13

Today I took a page out of my friend Ellen’s book and made these fingerless gloves without a pattern.

The yarn is handspun from hand dyed roving that is 100% alpaca. The colors are random throughout the yarn.

Fortunately I was able to make this pair in one day so that, while not identical, they are similar and fit the same. I used half double crochet for the body of the gloves and single crochet for the thumbs. The beginning was to loose to be at the wrist so I made these from the knuckles down. In order to have the fabric tighter at the wrist I went down a hook size and it worked!! This may be a pattern that I try again in the next few weeks to get it better.

Free form crochet fingerless gloves

Off to the doctor tomorrow for another checkup. I’ll let you know how it goes.