Saturday, May 26, 2012

pot holder surprise

After seeing my pot holder picture at it's new desination home I was eagerly awaiting my pot holder surprise. This week it finally arrived and it truly was a  s u r p r i s e.

Besides the very chockolat looking cup cake pot holder,
the package included 50 cup cake baking cups, German pudding powder,
and a Texas state cookie cutter 

After taking the 'required' photo, I went on-line and posted it on to propperly thank the wichtel partner for her gifts.
All that was left to do was to find a place in my kitchen.

Right there between Micowave and Stove,
the perfect place for it. I am sure this new tool will be used often.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

giving and receiving things made of yarn

The other day I received an e-mail from a 'group'. The 'German knitters living in America' group decided to organize a pot holder gift exchange (German word is 'Wichteln'). I was asked if I want to participate, and I could not resist. The rules were really simple, create a pot holder, add some little gift from your kitchen and mail it to someone else that is participating in the exchange. The organizer will send you the address that you need to send your package to.
I loved making the pot holder and I sure love the pictures that are published every time a 'Wichtel' member receives a surprise package. Everyone that made a pot holder will receive one, but don't know from whom, what it will look like, or what the additional surprise gift will be. I was so eager and it did not take any time at all to crochet my potholder. I made it double thick so it can actually be used without burning your hand. 

the front side is a simple flower in a frame

the backside is solid yellow cotton

The gift item from my kitchen turned out to be two little tea lights and an unopened package of bamboo skewers. Since my package was going to Texas, BBQ skewers seemed the perfect gift.

this is how the package arrived at my 'Wichtel' partner
 Wiebke assured me the skewers will be heavy with meat on a grill this weekend. BIG SMILES for ME.
I like giving away things I make.
It's one of the biggest joys in life, I think..........

Now I am eagerly awaiting my pot holder. I don't know what it will be like, when it will arrive, or what will be in the package with it. Anticipation, another joy in life, right.......

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finishing Your Work

My mother has found the easiest way to finish her knitting projects. She has a Phildar-Wolle store around the corner, just a few yards away from her front door. So naturally she brings her work to the store and let's the experts finish her work.
For most of us that is not possible and we must finish our own knitting projects. Over the years I have found one easy way: I use a crochet hook
Select a hook that is just one size smaller than the knitting needles and gather-up 8-10 (less with fine yarn, more with bulky yarn) approaching the spot in the knitting were the yarn ends. Then you simply hook the yarn onto the crochet hook and feed it through the gathered stitches.
I also use the same hook to close up the seams, and attach the arms. Using a single crochet stitch I just crochet all the seams together. To make sure the seams do not get too tight or too loose, I first pin the seams together with safety pins or knitting markers. Then check I the work every two inches by laying it flat on a table. You will be able to see right away if you should add a crochet stitch every inch (when the seam too tight and the work does not lay flat) or if you should use a smaller hook and decrease the stitches (when the seam is wavy and wrinkled and the work does not lay flat).
You might think but that means: 'I have to open the seam again'. And luckily you can using the crochet method. If you have used the finishing method of sewing your seam together with a tapestry needle you will be trying to undo stitches that are barely noticeable and that is truly hard and really time consuming.
I think the Crochet method is the easiest and have been using it for many years. Try it!

After all seams are joined it is time to decide what the collar should be like and if it is a sweater with buttons or zipper closure, the front has to be knitted.
With my Baby dress project I decided not to follow the pattern of knitting a ribbed right and left band and then sew that on.
Since the dress had this waistband design I decided to mirror that waistband as the button band.
I gathered up 'enough stitches and then added the right amount of stitches when knitting the first row to have the perfect size band'. How to do that is not hard at all.
From the trial 4" x 4" (or 10cm x 10cm) piece, I know that it takes 22 stitches to over 4" (or 10cm). The overall length of the Baby dress is 24cm.
So the final stitch number has to be 22 x 2.4 = 53
In the case of the Baby dress, the knitting had 43 rows. I was able to gather up 44 stitches from the garment and added 9 stitches evenly during the first row knitting. (every 5 stitches I added one)
Next I had to consider the button holes on the right band. I needed 5 evenly spread out. I started by simply laying the buttons on the dress where I thought they should be. I measured the distance from the middle of one button to the middle of the next button and found that it all works out this way during row 4 of the pattern:
knitting from the bottom up six stitches, cast off three (for the first button hole) knit 8, cast off three (button hole 2) knit 8, cast off three (button hole 3), knit 8, cast off three (button hole 4), knit 8, cast off three (button hole 5) ending with three stitches.
Sometimes the calculator is not the right tool. So don't worry and just lay it out on a table until it looks the way you want it to look then just count out the stitches and GO FOR IT.
As you can see, it turned out great.

If you are not successful, e-mail me.
I can guide you through it.