Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sheep Knitting Needles

So I saw bamboo knitting needles online that had polymer clay sheep on the end. Totally sweet. I have polymer clay. I have bamboo needles. I'm reasonably crafty. so I went online to find out how to bake bamboo needles safely. there was no info to be found, so i decided just to give it a shot. The needles are pretty cheap and so if they caught on fire, i figured i'd just get a new pair. well, they DIDN'T catch on fire, or do anything else weird. you can totally bake Clover brand bamboo needles with polymer clay. and when you do, you get this:

crazy good. here they are in their natural environment:

like that glass? it was $1 at CVS.

i'm sure there will be improvements as i make more, but here's how i made polymer clay bamboo needles. metal would probably be fine too...maybe even acrylic or plastic due to the low temp. let us know if you try any of those. sorry for the lack of pix, but i really wasn't expecting this to work out. i'll take some when i make another pair.

1. condition the clay (mush it around until it's soft)
2. cover the top of the needle in a thin layer of clay. be sure to fold the clay under the tip so it won't fall off after it's baked.
3. decorate the tops as desired. i obviously went with sheep.
4. lay needles across a baking pan like this:

5. bake according to the manufacturers instructions for the clay. mine was to bake at 275 degrees for 15 min per quarter inch of thickness. i have no idea how thick they ended up, so i started with 20. they seemed bit soft, so back in for 10 min they went.
6. knit something awesome.

one more pic because they're so sweet



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sophie's Ruffled Mittens

So I know winter is almost over, but these kids mittens are such a quick knit that there is still time to make them...or get a jump on Christmas knitting. I designed these mittens for my daughter, Sophie. Since they use a thumb gusset, both mittens are made the same and can be worn on either hand. The Ruffles yarn may seem a bit tricky at first, but is easy once you get going. has a tutorial to get you started.

1 ball LionBrand Ruffles
1 ball Patons Classic Wool (or other worsted wt yarn)
1 set size 5 double pointed needles (or size to obtain gauge)
size 5 straight needles (or size to obtain gauge)
2 stitch markers
1 stitch holder (or scrap yarn)
sewing needle and thread to match ruffles

22 sts = 4 in with wool

Size: approx ages 2-4 (you can easily adjust the length to fit your preschooler)

Starting at Cuff (make 2):
With Ruffles and straight needles, cast on 13 sts and work for desired length. (the sample has 5 rows, but in hindsight, that was too short. you may want to work more rows)

With wool and dpns, knit 1 row, increasing 11 sts evenly across row. (24 sts)
next round: join for working in the round(mark the beginning of round), work K2P2 rib across row
(you may want to add 2 or so more rows of ribbing here. i didn't in the original, but, again in hindsight, it might be a good idea)
next round: continue k2p2 ribbing, increasing 6 sts evenly across row (30 sts)

Begin thumb gusset
K1, pm, M1, pm, k to end (the thumb gusset will be on needle 1)

Knit2 rounds
Increase round: knit to marker, slip marker, M1, knit to marker, M1, slip marker, knit to end

Continue working 2 knit rounds and 1 increase round (in other words, work the increases every 3rd row) until there are 9 gusset sts ending with an increase row.

Next row: K1, place all gusset sts on holder, cast on 2 sts (backward loop method is fine), knit to end of the round.

Knit even until mitten measure 2 in from thumb cast on (approx 14 rows)

Begin Decreases:
slip 1 st from needle 1 to needle 3
arrange sts as follows: 16 sts on needle 1, 8 sts each on needles 2 & 3.

Decrease round:
needle 1: K1, ssk, K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
needle 2: K1, ssk, k to end
needle 3: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1

Next round: K around

repeat decrease round and next round 2x total
then work decrease round 2x
last round: K2tog around
graft remaining sts together. if you'd rather not graft, cut a tail of yarn and draw up remaining sts.

Put gusset sts on 2 dpns, pick up 5 sts evenly around thumb opening
next: Knit 11 rounds
Next round: K2tog around
break yarn and draw up all sts.

weave in all ends. Use needle and thread to sew the cuff seam.

Items made from this pattern may be used for charity or sold if credit is given to the designer and the website.