I don’t wear lace, so I was hoping for a thin headscarf that I could wear without looking too girly. This one will tie on pretty securely. (Also, it’s something to do with cord from an i-cord maker!)

Materials:
Size 3 circulars, at least 16″
i-cord maker (knitting spool or “Embellish-Knit” brand cranked model)
tapestry needle
150-200 yards of sock yarn

First, thread your sock yarn into your i-cord maker and make about a yard and a half of i-cord. This will be the front of the scarf and go round your head with enough slack to tie in the back, so if you like longer ties, make it longer than that. Be sure to bind off the raw end when done knitting it.

Next, take your cord and tie it with a bow round your head– at the level where you’d wear a scarf, and about as tightly as you’d tie it when wearing it. Slip it off your head. Your scarf will be knitted from stitches picked up from that head-sized loop.

Pick up stitches, one stitch per stitch, all along the loop. When you reach the end, count and make sure you have an even number; pick up one more if you need to. Once this is done, you can untie the i-cord bow.

Knitting the scarf:
All right side rows: K2, K2tog, K to 4 stitches from end; SSK, K2.

All wrong side rows: K2, purl to 2 stitches from end, K2.

This will decrease 2 stitches every right side row. Since we started with an even number, this means we will have an even number of stitches on each row.

Continue until 8 stitches remain as follows:

Right side row: K2, K2tog, K2, SSK, K2 (total 8 stitches)
Wrong side row: Purl (total 8 stitches)

Now to knit the loop at the bottom. Working on just 4 of the stitches and ignoring the other 4, knit the right side and purl the wrong side. Work about 10 rows. Graft the two sets of 4 stitches together (the 4 you’ve been knitting on and the 4 you ignored) to create the loop.

Weave in ends and block. When you wear it, thread one of the ties through the back loop and keep it from flipping up in the back.

Based on the bag in Doni’s Delis: A little tutorial, but this bag is sewn out of fabric reclaimed from men’s dress shirts.

I used two shirts, one a vivid green corduroy and one a coordinating stripe; I cut strips 7 1/2″ wide from both shirts. I got two strips from the back, and one from each side of the front. I centered the strip over the breast pocket of each shirt.

I sewed all the strips into one long strip of each color, laid them right sides together, and sewed round both long sides and one end. I turned it inside out and sewed up the other end, and then sewed the seams to make it into a bag as in Doni’s Delis tutorial. The trick with the pockets is that if you want them in these locations, you need the opening of the pockets to be facing the nearest ends of the strip. I cut the strips to be about 3″ above the pockets and that placing seems about right.

Bag with pockets

And here’s the inside pocket:
Inside pocket

So I re-drew the Square Cat pattern smaller, and rounded the corners on the paws.

The legs are now exactly the size of my index finger, so I can’t go any smaller unless I want to use a knitting needle to stuff it.

And this time, I embroidered a face, because being bad at something doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy it anyways.

A two-color, three-piece stuffed cat with only straight lines:

Materials:
A fat quarter of cotton fabric for a one-color version, or
Two fat eighths in coordinating colors for the two-color version.
(Not sure what a “fat quarter” is? There are three pieces. Each can be cut from a sheet of standard paper. That’s also how much fabric you need!)
Coordinating thread or embroidery floss.
Needle, straight pins, scissors.
Two pieces of paper for the pattern and a pencil or pen, and a ruler (I use a fancy quilting ruler, but you don’t have to.)
Stuffing.

Body pattern shown over a 1 inch grid.


Draw out the body pattern on one piece of paper as shown above.
Here are exact directions on how to draw it:

In the middle of your paper draw a rectangle 7″ by 2.5″ for the cat’s body. On top of one end, draw a 3″ by 3″ square for the head. On top of the other end, draw a 1.5″ by 3″ rectangle for the tail. On the underside, draw two 1.5″ by 3″ legs, one at each end of the body.

You’ll cut two of these from your fabric. Allow as much seam allowance as you like on the outside of the pattern, I use 1/2″ but you may prefer 1/4″ or some other amount. Remember to flip your pattern before cutting the second one, so both sides of your cat will be right side out!

Underside pattern shown on a 1 inch grid

This is the pattern for the underside of the cat– the belly and the underside of the legs. Draw this out on your paper.
Exact directions for drawing out the underside:

Draw a 2″ by 7″ rectangle on your paper. Attach 4 legs coming off either end of the long sides of the rectangle to form a letter H, each leg 1.5″ by 3″.

Remember to leave a seam allowance outside the pattern! Cut one of these from your contrasting fabric (or the same fabric if you prefer a one-color cat).

My cat is assembled as follows: fold the seam allowances in, pin them, then put the pieces together (removing the pins on each piece and pinning all the layers together at that point) and sew the seams from the outside. I prefer this for two reasons– it prevents stuffing from leaking out, and it is sturdier. I also prefer the hand-stitched look.

The leg seams before I put the stuffing in.

The bottom half of the cat is made by seaming the underside to the legs of each body piece; the top of the cat is made by seaming the two body pieces together. THE EARS are a little different– sew up the front and back seam of the head, then instead of sewing across the top, pinch those two seams together and sew crossways from ear to ear. (Like an old-fashioned creamer packet, if anyone remembers those.)

Something I learned to do on this project: my beginning knots are terribly lumpy, but my end knots are always neat. So I cut thread twice as long as I could use, tied a slip knot in the middle, then started sewing one direction. I knotted it when I got to the end and then returned to the other half and sewed that thread until I got to the end. So all my sewing threads here have a neat small knot at either end, hidden in the seam.

I left the back end and about 1″ of the tail unsewn for inserting the stuffing, and then put it in a pecan-sized piece at a time. The legs are sized so that I can just get my fingers in to poke the stuffing down, but if your hands are bigger you might want to use a pencil or capped pen for that.

Finally, I sewed the end shut and tied a yarn bow around the neck to give the head some definition. You could attach or embroider eyes if you like that sort of thing, too.

I’ve always had trouble finding shirts long enough for my torso (I am 6′ tall). The other day, though, I was trying on one of my fitted shirts, and noticed that when I raise my arms, I show some skin around the waist– more than I would expect from just being tall. I turned to the side and discovered the culprit: my tummy. 

So, since I am knitting a new vest with allowances to cover my “new” feature, I thought I would share my test calculations and a chart for the rest of the world who may have more to cover than the pattern allows for. (I’ll be posting later this week similarly about short rows for the bust area.)

WHAT YOU NEED:  a) Your desired knitting pattern. b) For “measuring,” some item of clothing for your upper body, preferably a semi-tight shirt, and a good eye.

Put on the shirt. Make sure it is the correct length in the back. Stand in front of a mirror that shows you at least down to the waist. Stretch with your hands over your head and then put one hand down and HOLD your shirt just exactly at the place it rides up to.

Now take a good critical eye at it, turn to the side if you like, look at how much longer the shirt is in the back than in the front, and say “This shirt would be perfectly flattering if it were ___ inches longer.”

IF YOU LIKE MATH METHOD: Multiply the number of inches in your statement above by the ROW gauge of your knitting. The answer is the number of rows you should add. If the number is odd, add one to get the number of markers you should place; if even, don’t add one. Divide the number of stitches in the FRONT of your garment by the number of markers to get the number of stitches between markers. Fudge the numbers until you get a whole number of stitches in each division (one or two either way won’t matter). Place markers in front of sweater and then knit to the last marker, wrap-and-turn (removing the marker), knit to the first marker, wrap-and-turn (removing the marker), and repeat until all the markers are gone, then continue knitting around.

MATH! MAKE IT STOP! METHOD

Use the following table for a rough estimate of number of rows to add:

Inches to add 1 2 3 4 5
gauge: 4 rows/inch 4 9 14 14 19
5 rows/inch 4 9 14 19 24
6 rows/inch 4 9 19 24 24
7 rows/inch 9 14 19 29 34
8 rows/inch 9 14 24 29 39

The next thing you’ll need is the number of stitches in the FRONT of your sweater. If you’re knitting in the round, divide the total number of stitches by 2. (For instance, if your pattern says “cast on 200 stitches and join in the round” then the front of your sweater is 100 stitches.)

I’m only writing out the numbers for multiples of 10 stitches, so if you have a number like 104, or 108, simply work with the middle 100 stitches and skip 2 (or 4) on each side.  You can move the markers to accommodate these stitches later, too. (I’ll note this when we get to it.)

How to place the markers:

First, KNIT THE BOTTOM of your sweater– the hem, or ribbing, or however your sweater starts. The short rows go just above that bit.

Start by putting a different color marker in the MIDDLE of the front, with half the stitches on each side. (If it’s an odd number, there will be one left over, and that’s okay.) If you are doing an even number of short rows, you need exactly as many markers as you’re doing short rows. If you are doing an odd number of short rows, you’ll need one fewer marker.

Consult the chart below to know how many stitches to leave between markers. Work outwards from the middle stitch and place markers at the interval given. If there is a * next to the number, that means that once you have placed all your markers, there will be some stitches left over at the end. You can either move your markers out a stitch or two to “even it out” or just leave it, it won’t hurt anything to have a few extra stitches at the side seams. (This is also where you can move the markers for those leftover stitches if you like.)

Number of stitches To add 4 rows 9 rows 14 rows 19 rows 24 rows 29 rows 34 rows 39 rows
90 18 9 6 4* 3* 3 2* 2*
100 20 10 6* 5 4 3* 2* 2*
110 22 11 7* 5* 4* 3* 3* 2*
120 24 12 8 6 4* 4 3* 3
130 26 13 8* 6* 5* 4* 3* 3*
140 28 14 9* 7 5* 4* 4 3*
150 30 15 10 7* 6 5 4* 3*

Easy example of placing markers (one that comes out even):

Easy example of how to place markers:
I am working a sweater with 180 total stitches. I need to add 9 rows of short rows.
I will need 8 markers plus one different color for the middle marker.
There are 90 stitches in the front of the sweater, so I place the middle marker (MM) with 45 stitches on each side.

I consult the chart to see that I need to place markers every 9 stitches, so I start counting out from the middle marker and placing markers every 9 stitches. There’s no star, so when I’m finished, there will be 9 stitches remaining on each side.

Another example (that doesn’t come out even):

I am working a sweater with 200 total stitches and need 14 rows of short rows.
I will need 14 markers plus one different color for the middle marker.
There are 100 stitches in the front of the sweater, so I place the MM with 50 stitches on each side.
The chart says to place markers every 6 stitches, so I start doing that– after I have placed all 14 markers, I have 11 stitches remaining. If I think it looks odd, I can move the last two pairs of markers out 1 or 2 stitches each (so instead of 6, 6, 11 at the end I’d have 7, 7, 9). It’s all a matter of personal taste and judgement and what looks nice.

OK, the markers are placed, NOW WHAT:

Take out the middle marker.

Knit your sweater in pattern (meaning, according to the directions) until you reach the very last marker.

When you get to the stitch before the marker, wrap and turn, and remove the marker.

Continue knitting in pattern back along the reverse side until you come to the very first marker, then wrap and turn and remove that marker.

Keep knitting back and forth, knitting to the first/last remaining marker, and removing each marker as you wrap and turn at that marker. When no markers remain, your short rows are complete, and you can continue knitting the remainder of your sweater.

At least, up to just below the bust line, if you’re doing short rows there…

 

It's hard to show these off with one hand.

It's hard to show these off with one hand.

And yes, those are apparently two different dye lots of the same yarn. If I get frustrated, I’ll swap around ankle-height and make them sort of match (or buy a third ball of yarn and do stripes).

One sock, start of a new round.The colors are gorgeous, at least.

I tried the single circ method (12″ circs, because I have big feet and those work), and the DPN method which was not as much fun, and magic loop just makes me feel loopy. Two circs, with the socks divided half on each (front of sock A and front of sock B on one circ, back of socks on other circ) is much nicer.

But just in case you thought I was perfect? This was supposed to be an iron-flat overcast seam.That was supposed to be an iron-flat overcast seam in my skirt. Obviously, it’s not.

And a black and white, with gray hair.

I love the gray hair in front. I love that it sparkles in pictures and shows actual texture in my hair. This is the first black-and-white I’ve ever taken that didn’t just show a huge dark mass for my hair. I think it looks quirky in that one little spot, and I don’t think I’ll ever dye my hair again.

Sorry I haven’t been around much, y’all; it’s been a rough few months. Last year I lost my grandfather and uncle, and because of some changed circumstances I’d been spending the last few months looking for a house– preferably one I could put some work into, and have my grandmother come and stay with me a bit, since she was lonely and all alone.

My grandmother, by the way, is the woman who taught me to enjoy sewing when I was barely toddling, by giving me a big needle and a button and a piece of cloth and letting me play with it all. She could make a dress with no pattern, biscuits with no recipe, and do almost anything around the house that you ever could imagine.  

She passed away at the end of April, at the age of 90. 

I’ll be back to knitting sometime soon, I promise, and there will be house pictures of my new crafting room, and stories, and fun. I promise!

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