Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Was Supposed to Knit

Corn husks, but got distracted. Instead I start to work on the double knit square pot holder.
The husks are so quick and easy, I could knit them on the car ride from my place to the in-laws.

This pot holder is a big one. 10 inches across (which is big!) and its going to be over 12 inches long—Since it is cotton, it will shrink, more in length, than width, (so after being washed it will be close to a square). It will still be a big square, but sometimes with heavy pots, a big potholder is a nice thing.

Big pot holders become hot mats, easily too. Come January, when all my holiday knitting is done, I will make myself some new potholders for me. My current ones are 6 to 7 years old, and have been scorched over the years, and are looking pretty sad. And besides, I am going bored with them. Not so bored I won't knit some almost identical replacements—my red and white gingham will be replaced with a black and white gingham!

So here I am with 8  of 12 inches knit. A simple design, one side a solid, one side a polychrome, and a very simple interlocking pattern. Both of the yarns are Sugar'n Creme, Painted Desert and Gently Taupe. I consider the solid taupe to be the right side...

I saw my granddaughters yesterday, and brought them some small low voltage, battery operated holiday lights. They aren't really safe for unsupervised use, but they enjoyed playing with them as I watched. Bright lights are so much fun.

We went shopping, too. And I found and bought my newest, most favorite veggies. My neighborhood is rich with vegetable stores, and the selection of veggies is massive. But.... I LOVE the big bags of Green Giant diced (cubed really)butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and yellow (rutabaga) turnips. The fresh, not frozen ones.  I wish they also had carrots and parsnips, too.

I had a mix of all 3 last night, spiced and roasted, Yum! I like curried squash, too, and mashed rutabega, and … I got some of the precooked beets, too. My daughter has been raving about these for months, and I can see why. She makes “bread” out of them (follow a banana nut bread recipe, but sub mashed/pureed beets for banana's. Healthier, and visually, prettier. You can warm them up in a microwave, or eat them cold in a salad. They taste better than canned beets, as a bonus. Those who know me well, will be surprised by my writing a rave review of vegetables.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Hard Part is Done

Three ears of corn knit—Today, the easy part, the husks will be knit. The third ear is a mostly blue Indian corn—making for a nice mix of colors. Blue corn is popular everywhere today, but it really wasn't common in the north east at the time of the first Thanksgiving. But these aren't sacred icons, but just pretty functional pot holders. 

To create the columns of kernels, is tight, hard work. The knitting is simple, basically, garter stitch, after 2 rows of stocking knit to start. 

Row 1: K3 of color A, K3 of color B, repeat, and end with color A
Row 2: K3 of color B, K3 of color A, repeat and end with color B

When you are working the Knits on the wrong side of the work, the yarns cross, and get pulled as tight as possible to make the raised ridges, and deep ditches that really contribute to the illusion of corn kernels all in neat columns. The inelastic cotton is tough work to knit, especially when when worked tight. The results are worth it, though, I think. These corns look corny.. and the raised ridges and tight knitting cause the knitting to naturally curl under—and at the same time make the pot holders functional.

Next up, some 'husks' and these are easy. First, while I will still be working with cotton, I don't have to work tight. Second, even with 3 husk leaves per ear of corn, the husk leaves are shorter and narrower than the corn, so there are a lot few stitches to knit. A bit of finishing (sewing the husks to the ears) and all three will be done.

I always like to add a bit of husk stem—and use this to hid a hanging loop, as well as make the ears of corn a bit more realistic. I've decided on a dusty olive green for the husks.. not a bright one. I toyed with the idea of tan yarn, or a pale tawny yellow one—but the husks tend to stay green when wrapped around an ear.

I will be out and about tomorrow, and likely won't post anything. You'll have to wait till Tuesday, and maybe by then, I have some progress on the double knit companion pot holder to show you!

PS--an update, Husk 1, done.  The rest will be done tonight.   I couldn't decide which image to post, --As they will be hung,  or as they grow...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Two Ears Knit

This second ear is a little bigger, being both wider and longer. But then, ears of corn some in different sizes, don't they? The reason is I somehow miscounted..

There are different patterns for the corn cob potholders, all very similar, but with different cast on numbers. Some make the 'clumns' of kernels 3 stitches wide, others make the coumns 4 stitches wide. I like the 3 stitch rows. In both cases, there are an uneven number of columns—9, or 11, (or even 13 columns, with finer yarns.)  I PLANNED on doing 11 columns (or 33 stitches ) but for the first corn, I only cast on 18, stitches, and at row 3 increased to 27, so I only had 9 columns of kernels. That is what comes of casting on after 8.. (when I lose my ability to count!)

Corn cob 2, I cast on 22 stitches, and later increased to 33 stitches. With a wider cob, I decided to make the ear of corn a few rows longer, too.

It made from 2 very similar shades of yellow cotton. Over the years, I have bought cotton for specific projects (I've made these corn cob potholders before), and I have bought cotton (on sale) just to have for some day. I have no brand loyalty—I buy Lion Brand cotton, Lily's Sugar and Creme, Elmore-Pisgah's Peaches and Creme, Bernat's Craft cotton... and other brands. Every brand has colors I like, and occasionally, similar but different colors that work well together. I haven't noticed any huge difference is quality—I like all the brands equally. The biggest difference are the colors and sizes of the skeins.

The Peaches and Creme, called Yellow, has a subtle hint of orange—a very yellow-marigold yellow, the Sugar and Creme, called Sunshine, is a purer, buttery yellow. Together, it's hard to tell 2 colors are in play—but the result is more dimensional yellow than a single color could provide. It also makes it easy to keep track of which yarn to use. The differences are subtle, but there is a clear difference when being knit.

The third ear will be more of an Indian color.. More blues and red kernels. That ear should be finished tomorrow (I did 90% of the second yesterday, and finished up the last few rows this morning)

I might start the green husks Sunday evening, or not. But I will easily have them finished by Monday evening. Monday is once again acting like a Wednesday, and I will be with my Granddaughters, so there won't be much knitting in the day time—except for the bus ride to and fro.  The green husks are easy to knit, In some patterns the husks are crocheted, but I will knit mine.  Sewing them on is the  most time consuming part of the whole project.  I don't have any yellow-green for the husks--I haven't decided to go with a bright green or an olive one.  I won't decide till the last minute.

Then I will complete the set with a double knit potholder –or at least that is the plan. Thursday is not that far away!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cob One, Done

Well it still needs its green husks, but I will knit the husks on all three cobs at once.

This corn on the cob is just about seven inches long, and 4 inches wide, but the nature of the work causes the corn to roll under. It's just the right size for a pot or fry pan handle, but it will also work well on roast pans with handles.

The stranded work provides 2 layers and the tightly work knitting creates air pockets, too, which are in effect another layer of insulation. The air pockets also created the effect of nibbles of corn, too.

The next ear of corn will be 2 shades of yellow, a very subtle variation in color, to make a common ear of corn. The last ear will be polychrome with blue and yellow and white making another version of Indian corn. Nice bundle of corns that will look cute hung on the wall (waiting to be used).

This project is a knit a bit and rest, but all told is only a few hours of work to knit. You too could have a bundle of corns for holiday. Even if you just start today. Mine are cotton, but wool is a good choice too—just allow a day to machine wash and full them – Wool ones are bit easier to knit, since you don't need to work as tight. You can let the fulling (aka felting) do some of the work.

Just don't make from synthetics—these can melt at oven temps (acrylic starts to melt at 250°) and are a hazard. You could make non usable decorative corn on the cobs, but why bother? Get some cotton or some wool and make some thing pretty and useful. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not Finished

I have misplaced my Clover pompom tools... so while all the knitting is done, and all the ends woven in, there are no pompoms. But the girls wore the hoods yesterday, (and kept them on!) They were both unhappy with the hood at first, but we played “baby in the mirror” and they both stopped fussing with the hoods when they saw themselves. So I guess the girls like the hoods, too.

My DD first said Elf hats, and later gnome hats... but call them what you will, they fit, and they are functional. Next week footsies and mittens to match—and hopefully, some pompoms to sew on!

This week? Some quick potholders—for a hostess gift. Next week is the US Thanksgiving, and I'll be joining my DD and SIL at Grandma's—my SIL mother's house, with her husband. For us, it will be a classic trip—Over the river and through the woods—Grandma and hubby live beyond the suburbs—at the edge of the country (ie farms!)

I have already started the first pot holder—a pot handle style one that looks like corn on the cob. These are great for cast iron pot handles, and even for roasting pan handles. They are decorative too—perfect for Thanksgiving, but also great for the 4th of July—and most any time in-be-tween. They are easy—except for the tension. They are worked stranded style, (2 yarns, in 2 corny colors (yellows, creams, orange, for basic corn, but blues work too, and reds, for Indian style corn. But unlike standard stranded work, with these corns, you pull the yarns tight, and make the corn kernels pop up into rows, as they do. The fabric is more like corduroy, than flat knitting. My corns are being knit in Kitchen/Craft style cotton, and pulling the strands tight is hard on the hands.

I plan to make 3 corns, and one standard flat potholder—a double knit one of some sort. I love having decorative pot holders—I think they are fun. But potholders are practical too. And pretty ones are the best.

I will also be bringing bread, and maybe a vegetable casserole—DD is bringing Pumpkin pie, (her favorite) I might sneak in a small pecan pie. I am not much of pie fan, and tend to just eat the nuts of the top—but its our family tradition to have as many pies and we had vegetable dishes. So if I bring some veggies, I can bring a pie, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Back Done--

Beginning the bib.. and with 50% of the stitches bound off already, the bib will knit up fast.

One hood has the back seam totally sewn up, the other hood is still just partial sewn up.

I still haven't made the pompoms.. but...

Well its not going to knit it's self up while I am on the internet...so goodbye!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lots of Progress

Finished the hood, (and even did a bit of seaming) Pick up stitches, and worked an inch of ribbing, went to a larger needle and started the bib part of the hood. I wove in a bunch of tails, too, leaving only the ones I'll use for further sewing.

It fits HEAD—but it is distorted on HEAD. The babies don't have as big a jaw, just cute little squared off faces, I am happy with the pixie point at the back of the hat, and will likely make some pompoms today, just to have them ready. The pompoms will have jingle bells, too.

So far, I have just 1.5 inches of the bib knit, and a full inch of that is the neck ribbing. I want about 2 to 3 inches in the back and 7 or more inches in the front.  So there is more to come, but the hoods are more than half done, too.

I have a Thanksgiving gift to knit (some holiday potholders) and then I will add some matching mittens and footed leg warmers to go with the hoods.

Knitting (and typing) has been tough, an acute attack of arthritis has left me limp wrist-ed—but like Monet said, the pain goes away, and the art remains. I am happy with these hoods—and look forward to seeing the girls modeling them on Wednesday. 

I took a few breaks when I was just in too much pain to knit—and continued to catch up on back episodes of Inspector Morse—I enjoyed this show when it was on PBS, but it was always scheduled at an inconvenient time. Earlier this week, I also managed to catch Endeavor—the adventures of Morse as a lowly constable. I only have a few more episodes left to watch—only 8 seasons of Inspector Morse are available on Netflix.