Two Entrelac Moebius cowls

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This cowl combines two of my knitting obsessions:  the Moebius and entrelac.

I cast on 276 stitches with Cat Bordhi’s Moebius cast on, using size 6, 47 inch needles (4mm, 120 cm).   (Note: Cat Bordhi has a You Tube video demonstrating her cast-on at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4)

I knitted one full cast on round to establish a base from which to start knitting the entrelac.

Then I knitted 96 six-stitch cast on triangles, then three rows of six-stitch squares–left leaning, right leaning, left leaning, and then 96 cast off triangles.

My first skein ran out about halfway through the last row of squares.   Half of the last row of squares and the cast off triangles are with the second skein.

I like the wavy look to this scarf so I did not block it.

The original pattern I adapted this from can be found on the Lion Brand website at: http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L0585.html

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The entrelac moebius below was a prototype, knitted with Lion Brand Amazing yarn, cast on 150 stitches.

These are addictive!  I have another in the planning stages.

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Moebius Cowl

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Cat Bordhi invented (discovered) the Moebius cast-on, which allows knitters to knit a scarf or cowl which only has one edge and one side, like a true Moebius strip.

I discovered the Moebius cast-on  in Volume 3 of Skacel Knitting’s magazine, eponymously titled “Skacel.”   The magazine was almost exclusively dedicated to the Moebius Cowl and showed how to cast-on, gave Cat’s back story, and presented about a dozen patterns for beautiful cowls.

The above cowl is made from Schoppel Wolle’s Cashmere Queen (distributed by our friends at Skacel), and uses four different stitches. It has a special cast-off where you cast-on two stitches, cast-off four, then move the remaining stitch back onto the left needle and repeat the process.

The Cashmere Queen cowl is the fourth Moebius cowl I’ve made this fall using the new cast-on.  It’s addictive!  The cowl now belongs to my sister Linda.

You may be able to find a paper copy of the magazine at your local yarn shop–if they carry Skacel yarn and Addi needles.   Or more importantly, you can find it online at:

http://www.skacelknitting.com/s.nl/sc.2/category.153982/.f

Click on the “volume 3, Fall 2013″ version.

Cat Bordhi has a You Tube video demonstrating her cast-on at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4

Note:  the biggest problem I had with the cast-on was figuring out how to count stitches.  My solution to figure out how to count it:  One under, one over.

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Entrelac obsession

image I spent the summer obsessed with entrelac, knitting these three scarves.  Two of them are finished, along with a “cinnamon girl” colored cashmere scarf and an entrelac hat. The green/black scarf is not finished, since I haven’t decided who it will belong to yet.

Entrelac is not hard, but it requires paying attention to the knitted short rows and knowing which way you’re going.  It’s not easy, but like everything in knitting, it’s just a variation of knits and purls.

If you want to learn entrelac, a cheap way to do so is this scarf pattern from Lion Brand yarn: http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L0585.html You will have to set up a free account with Lion Brand to download the pattern, and they’ll occasionally send you email sales offers.

You’ll find the entrelac hat pattern there too.  It is an easy way to learn entrelac in the round. The biggest hassle with entrelac is turning after each short row.  Knit six, turn, purl six, turn.  The solution:  learn to knit backwards, which is essentially purling from the other side.

It works.  No turning (except for the left edge triangle), no twisting of the yarn from repeated turning.  And it is easier to remember which way you’re going.

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Jack’s Baby Blankie

A few weeks before Easter, my niece texted me and asked if I would knit her son Jack (born in November 2012) a baby blanket.  The only stipulations were: that it be sorta lime green and that it have holes in it so Jack could amuse himself sticking his fingers in it.

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I skimmed a Quick Knit Baby Afghans pattern book and readily determined that:

1) while these patterns were neat, I would make up my own.  Why follow others’ advice when you can ignore your own?  :)

2) I could knit an afghan/blanket quickly using two strands of medium/worsted weight yarn and a size 15 needle.

My sister, Jack’s grandma, helped me pick out the yarn–Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Fern and Schoeller/Stahl Popcorn multi color yarn in Cloudy Seas.  The Vanna’s Choice is 100% acrylic, while the Popcorn is 89% cotton, 11% nylon.  The blanket will be washable in cold, dryable on low heat.

So I made up my own pattern, repeating 4 rows.  Very simple.

3 balls of Vanna’s Choice and 6 balls of Popcorn. Size 15, 32″ circular needle.

Cast on 96 stitches.

Row 1:  Knit

Row 2:  Knit 7, *Knit 1, YO, K2tog* repeat until  stitches left, Knit 7.

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: Knit 6, *Knit 1, YO, K2tog* repeat until 6 stitches left, Knit 6.

As you knit the first stitch of each row, instead of knitting, just slip the stitch onto your needle.  It makes the edges much neater.

Repeat rows 1-4 until it feels like it’s done.  Or you run out of yarn, whichever comes first.  :)

I started the afghan about ten days before Easter, and had the opportunity to work on it on a road trip the Patient Husband and I took a few days before Easter.  He drove; I knitted.  Here’s a picture in progress, with I-35 in the background.

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I got it done on Good Friday and dropped it off at my sister’s house.  She was headed for her daughter’s place for Easter.  The picture at the top of this blog is Jack’s reaction to his new blankie.

Wow, what a responsibility.  Making something a child will get attached to.  I’ll be curious to see if he grows up with green as his favorite color!

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Designing a small afghan from a scarf pattern

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I recently purchased this 36 page Leisure Arts book Knit Cowls, due  to the beautiful cowl on the cover.  I’ve knitted cowls before–mostly making up my own patterns (since I can’t be bothered to follow someone else’s pattern–I ALWAYS have to change it.)

But this time, I swore to myself, “You WILL follow the pattern.  You WILL follow the pattern.”  So yeah, I’m following the pattern.

I’m following the pattern mainly because it wasn’t too picky about which yarn I had to choose.  I had in my stash two skeins of Knitting Fever’s Euro Baby “MayPole” in color 01 that I had purchased at Heartland Fiber Co in Winterset Iowa.

All the pattern called for was 2 skeins, medium weight yarn, 140 meters per skein.  (These skeins are 100 meters, so it may be a little short, but so far, so good.)  It’s about 60% finished.

Using the first pair of size 10 single point needles  I could find, I started knitting.  Yes, I’m following the pattern.  Yes, it’s turning out very well, despite several bouts of frogging I’ve had to do.

It’s being stored in a gallon Ziploc bag, since my yarn crazy cats got into it and dragged it to the basement.  But other than eight rows of frogging and a few fuzzy spots, no harm done.

existing pattern

Here’s what the completed cowl’s supposed to look like.  The boucle effect of my MayPole yarn is making my cowl thicker than the pictured one, but it looks pretty nice.  And it’s making me want to design an afghan in this pattern, made with a boucle yarn.  It’s very snuggly, and the lace leaves sort of “hug” you.  Wouldn’t that be great in an afghan?

my new pattern

I don’t want to violate the designer’s copyright to the pattern, but essentially what I did to design the afghan was take off the edging (4 stitches on each side) and use the innards for the bulk of the pattern, repeating those 4 times instead of just once.  And then adding the edges on where they should be.

So the 33 stitch wide scarf becomes a 108 stitch wide afghan.  It’s a 24 row pattern.  You see my notes on the first seven rows above.

So after I finish the scarf, I’m planning on stopping by the yarn store to see if I can get six more balls of MayPole (I figure it doesn’t have to be as long as a scarf).  Or maybe I’ll find something in my stash.  Hmm….

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When Cats Attack: Yarn Projects

I started a new test project the other night–wanted to try three strands of fingering weight alpaca on size ten needles to see how they draped, with an easy lace pattern I found in a book.

I cast on, knitted a few rows—messed up–frogged–tried again–messed up, then gave up for the night.  Thought I’d frog it again & start fresh the next day.  Apparently the pattern was Not So Easy.

The cats had other ideas…Pinkie & Otie really like the taste of alpaca, having sampled some of Red Heart’s Alpaca Love on a previous project.

I had my yarn bag hanging on a dining room chair and sometime in the night, they got into it.  Yarn was spread all over the kitchen floor the next morning.  But they both have “practiced” innocent looks….

Happy Knitting & get some sleep!

(reblog from my blogspot.com blog dated 1/5/11)

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Best books for Entrelac knitting

(note this was originally posted in my blogspot.com blog Knit in Your Sleep dated 7/18/11, with updates)

There are three main books available to learn entrelac knitting. One of the books, “Enjoy Entrelac Knitting” (copyright 1993) is out of print and available for between $45 (used) and $208 (new) online. I’ll not include it in this analysis, although it does look like a fine book to learn entrelac knitting.

I would recommend BOTH of these two books as very good books, but let’s talk about them. They’re both in print and readily available.

First, “Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting” by Rosemary Drysdale. Retail: $24.95, Sixth & Spring Books, Hardcover, copyright 2010, 160 pages.

Benefit for the Beginner knitter: This book has detailed pictures showing how to knit the basic entrelac pieces.

A lot of the time involved in entrelac is, according to both book authors, wasted in repeated turning of the fabric as it is knit, so they show you how to knit backwards, with detailed instructions and pictures.

If you’re not interested in freaking yourself out by trying to learn entrelac AT THE SAME TIME as trying to learn to knit backwards, feel free to take one thing at a time. I did, found that knitting backwards is much easier learned by viewing this video.

The important concept that most authors seem to neglect is explaining the concept of “turn.” You’ll see it in all entrelac patterns. I freaked out, and thought “Geez, I haven’t seen this stitch before, which way to turn, what’s it mean?”

Actually, it just really means: TURN. Turn the knitting around and go the other way.

There are 25 project patterns in Drysdale’s book, most using a variation of the relatively easy stockinette entrelac, often with a special stitch from the included dictionary of more than 65 knitting stitch patterns.

Online reviews of this book are all 4 and 5 star, with one 3 star exception that takes entrelac knitting itself to task rather than the author or the book.

Entree to Entrelac
The second book is “Entree to Entrelac Knitting” by Gwen Bortner. From XRX Books, retail $19.95, copyright 2010. Softcover, 160 pages.

This is the book that, as I was leafing through, made me want to learn entrelac knitting. Gwen Bortner is a big fan of entrelac, and definitely an expert. She has a lot of enthusiasm for entrelac knitting, and conveys much information in this book. It’s a very informative book with beautiful patterns.

Bortner’s book has a more holistic, mathematical approach. That means if you just skim it you may be intimidated. Pictures and instructions are detailed and well done.

As the book progresses, the patterns get more difficult. So again, if you’re skimming or looking for a first entrelac project, some of the latter patterns may intimidate you. Don’t lose heart if you choose this one.

One reviewer likes the way Bortner takes the drape and swing of entrelac patterns into account in the clothing designs. If you’re an an advanced knitter and enjoy math and puzzles, you may very well love Bortner’s book.

Online book reviews indicate that some people LOVE this book and some people HATE it…so you would probably benefit from reading the reviews to see whether it fits your learning style. You know where they would be, the big online bookstore.

If you want to give entrelac knitting a try before committing yourself to a $20 purchase for a book, hit this link for a free entrelac scarf pattern.  This is a great one from Lion Brand. You’ll need to register with them and log in, but it’s a marvelous source of free patterns. I learned entrelac from this pattern. Do a few sets of squares and entrelac really does become second nature And then either one of these books will take you to the next level.

Here are some of my entrelac projects…

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Note in picture 2 that I like to use double pointed 7″ needles for entrelac–10″ needles are just too long and get in the way.  I use a set of point protectors for the ends of the needles.

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