Monday, August 13, 2012

Inexpensive Projects in Cheap Yarn

I really, really am enjoying the two big, substantial projects I am working on (or one big project and fairly large scarf). However, other concerns have drawn me away from them this week.

First, one of the kids who used to ride on the band bus with me and is now a college student posted on one of my Facebook links that he really wished he had some of those handle covers for cast iron skillets, since no one in his family knew how to make them anymore. I figured that would be an easy project, so I found what looked to be a sturdy pattern on Ravelry, and off I went.
Handle cover, and bonus picture of my place mat
I made the small above one first, then a larger one, using Sugar-n-Cream in the requested colors. The first one fit my smaller aluminum skilled handle well, but the big one below would need to be longer to fit one of my larger skillets. I’d need an even bigger one for my hugest skillet, but its handle never gets hot. I’d need to find a more genuine old-fashioned cast-iron skillet to test them out, and of course the kid has not been on Facebook that I can tell since he asked the question (most young folks block us old folks, though, so who knows). In any case, now that I have the basic principles down for making these, I can easily customize them.
Both handle covers. Classy.

The idea is to make 4 layers, then attach all four on three sizes, then attach two around the opening. Then you make a border that’s just one layer thick, not where your hand would touch. Four layers of worsted weight cotton are plenty thick to protect your hands!

The funny thing is that my photos of these very, very simple objects got tons of comments on Facebook, and all sorts of people wanting me to make them for them or for family members. On the other hand, if I post a photo of a large and complicated garment, and like three people look. Obviously, utility wins! I guess I will make a few for folks, even though crocheting still hurts my hands a lot more than knitting.

I also got another request. Lee’s dad wants leg warmers for the fall and winter. Long-time readers will recall that I made him some house socks a couple of years ago. I am sure those did not hold up well to the amount of wear he gives them and the amount of machine washing they get. So, normal socks plus leg warmers might be a better idea.

Common sense will dictate the choice of yarn: 100% acrylic, naturally! I chose what Vanna White would choose, in charcoal gray. 
Hello, Vanna.
I went looking for a pattern and found a very sweetly written one on a blog called Civic Stitchings. It is her first pattern. She bravely uses her own abbreviations and spelling rules (kn 2, pearl 2!) but it was sufficient to give me ideas.

I have more than half the first one done, but it’s not very exciting, so no photo. I ended up modifying the pattern so much that all that remains of it are a k2 p2 beginning and end and casting on 60 stitches. The decreases in the original were only 6 rows apart, and evenly spaced. I did paired decreases every 8 rows to make it slowly get smaller down a skinny old man calf. They look fine to me. Lee tried it on and it appears to be a fine leg warmer width to go over a man’s pants. We will see. Hee hee, that’s what Lee’s dad says all the time.

I will make his golden years or months warm and cozy, anyhow, and certainly the request of an 89-year-old fellow dealing with terminal cancer trumps my need for a fussy sweater with fancy yarn.

Oh, and I did finish something else—five more place mats just like the previous ones came off my loom last week. But, since they look just like the other ones, only with better selvedges, I will spare you photos--you can see one of them in the picture with the two skillet handle covers. Now, by gosh, we can have a meal and everyone gets a mat! I am trying to decide what to make next on the loom. It’s a toss-up between something plaid and something sparkly.

By the way, I've been getting lots of requests for the mitered square blanket pattern lately! That makes me feel good. It's so much fun to make those.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oh Yes, about That Sawtooth Edging Pattern

Well. I am a silly goose. I said I'd put the sawtooth edging at the end of yesterday's post, but I didn't. I am glad Kelli reminded me. It's really easy to memorize and works up fast, making nice right triangles. OK here goes:

Sawtooth Border Edging

Set Up: Start with all your last row of stitches on one needle, then CO 8

Row 1: PB, P1 (that's the stitch with the bead on it), K6, K2togW
Row 2 and every even row except 14: Sl1, K to end
Row 3: Sl1, K2tog, K4, K2togW
Row 5: Sl1, K2tog, K3, K2togW
Row 7: Sl1, K2tog, K2, K2togW
Row 9: Sl1, K2tog, K1, K2togW
Row 11: Sl1, K2tog, K2togW
Row 13: Sl1, K3togW
Row 14: Sl1, K1, CO6


  • CO: Cast on, preferably using knitted cast on. Alternative: backward loop cast on
  • PB: Place Bead (insert bead on crochet hook, catch next stitch on hook, slide bead over stitch, place stitch back on needle)
  • K2tog: Knit 2 together
  • k2togW: Knit last stitch of border together with next stitch on the body of the project (I admit I made that up)
  • K3togW: Knit last two stitches of border together with next stitch on the body of the project
  • Sl1: Slip 1
  • P: Purl
  • K: Knit

Please let me know if you try this and something doesn't work. Mainly I hope the set-up row is right.