Friday, November 25, 2011

Coasting Along: The Dreaded Cable Knit

Hello again! I hope you all survived the holiday rush where'er you are. I hosted my sin-laws this year- you know, sin-laws. The family of the person with whom one lives in sin, term blatantly stolen from Sarah over at Sunday Dinners.
Baking and prepping furiously for a week, I used recipes from the inestimable Pioneer Woman to brine and roast a turkey, as well as making her well received Soul Sweet 'Taters, of which I did not partake as I find sweet potatoes to be the inferior potatoes. I made dressing from a secret family recipe, gravy from the tasty turkey drippings, mashed potatoes with half a pound of butter, sweet corn, and green beans with bacon. I made pumpkin pasties with homemade pie dough to sate my inner Harry Potter fangirl, and fudge to sate everything else. I made bread pudding with lime-tequila sauce that is mostly sugar and tequila. I caved, and bought bread rolls ready made.
And you know what? It was all ready at the same time. I won Thanksgiving.
Anyway, I promised you all another mug cozy pattern, and since I defeated the holiday beast, I figure tackling this pattern will be a cinch.

Cable Knit Cozy and Coaster Set

Sorry about the pictures. I was in the middle of wrapping these up as presents when I realized that I would probably want them on the blog!

When preparing for cable knit, the most important thing to keep in mind is the phrase printed in bold letters on the front of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic. You will be okay, I promise! This cable is small enough, you won't even need an extra fancy cable needle. Your two regular straight needles will do.
That in mind, I made a bit of a mistake with these and ended up using a different size for the cozies (size 8) than for the coasters (size 5). I kind of saw that the yarn (reclaimed cotton yarn of indeterminate origin hiding in my stash) was a little smaller than the worsted weight used for my other patterns. I wanted a nice, tight knit, so I sized the needles down. I forgot to add stitches to account for the change in guage, though, so I ended up remaking all of the cozies on a larger needle anyway. Aren't you glad you have me here to make these mistakes for you?

Mug Cozy Pattern:

CO 44 stitches on your size 8 needles. I prefer a continental or "long-tail" cast on for cozies so they have a bit more stretch.

Row 1: P2, K4 across. P last 2.
Row 2: K2, P4 across. K last 2.
Row 3: (button holes and cables!) P2tog, yarn over. Skip 2, leaving them on the left hand needle. K2, pulling yarn through the previous stitches as normal, but without removing them from the left needle. Now K the 2 you previously skipped. P2. Repeat from "Skip 2" to end.
(So, to get a cable you're simply knitting things out of order! You can do this! If you think of the loops as numbered 1-4 from closest to furthest from the needle's tip, you're knitting 3, 4, 1, 2.)
Row 4: K2, P4 across. K last 2.

Repeat Rows 1-4, 3 times.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2.
Bind off.
Sew Buttons corresponding with button holes. Feel accomplished at knitting a fancy cable!

Coaster Pattern:

Cast on 24 stitches with size 5 needles.

Row 1: P2, K4, P12, K4, P2
Row 2: K2, P4, K12, P4, K2
Row 3: P2, skip 2, K2, Kskipped2, P12, skip 2, K2, Kskipped2, P2
Row 4: K2, P4, K12, P4, K2

Repeat Rows 1-4, five times.
Repeat Rows 1-2.
Cast off.
Put that drank on that coaster!

Next week, in the final installment of coaster+cozy sets, we'll swap out and be hookers. I mean, we'll crochet! Won't that be fun?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Checker Knitted Mug Cozies and Coaster Set

Christmas Spoiler Alert: If you are a member of my extended family who still believes in Santa, you may want to skip this post!

Okay, that said, I am very proud of myself with Christmas dealings this year. I started making gifts in October and am still trucking away. In my extended family holiday gathering the kids all get individual presents and adults take part in gender-divided gift exchanges. Usually my mom and sister and I plot together for children's gifts and gift exchange gifts both, but that's a little harder when I am five states away. So, when my mom and sister started telling me their plans for the kids' gifts I pouted. I figured I would chip in for those and then we would all be on our own for the gift exchange. Then I pouted some more. Then I stopped pouting and offered to make gifts for both of them to bring to the gift exchange as my contribution to the Christmas spirit.
I recently made a mug cozy set based on a pattern from "Winter Knits Kit", a set published by Chronicle Books, and gifted to me from Connor for our first Christmas together. It inspired a cozy-fervor and I immediately made up patterns for three different sets.
Here's set #1:

Easy Checkered Knit Cozies and Coasters
Cotton yarn is best for kitchen-y crafts that, if you're anywhere near as clumsy as I, will soon be soaked in the hot beverage of your choice. These are made from Lily Sugar 'n' Cream yarn in Tangerine, but any similar worsted weight cotton should be fine. I used two skeins to get four coaster/cozy sets and had quite a bit left over from the second skein. I used size 8 needles, with a gauge of 16 stitches across equaling 3.75 inches.

For the Cozy:
Cast on 44 Stitches.
Row 1: K4, P4 across, K last 4
Row 2: P4, K4 across, P last 4
Row 3 (a button hole row!): K2tog, yarn over, K2. Then, P4, K4 across.
Row 4: P4, K4 across, P last 4
Row 5: P4, K4 across, P last 4
Row 6: K4, P4 across, K last 4
Row 7 (another button hole!): P2tog, yarn over, P2. Then, K4 P4 across.
Row 8: P4, K4 across, P last 4
Rows 9-16: Repeat Rows 1-8
Bind off.
Weave in your ends and sew cute buttons. Now make yourself a nice coffee/tea/mug of vodka and enjoy how classy you are!
Wait, if you're going to be enjoying your drink in your fancy new mug cozy, you probably want something to set it on. On which to set it. Whatever.

For the Coaster:
Cast on 16 Stitches.
Rows 1-4: K4, P4 across
Rows 4-8: P4, K4 across
Rows 9-12: Repeat Rows 1-4
Rows 13-16: Repeat Rows 5-6
Rows 17-20: Repeat Rows 1-4
Bind off.
Weave in ends and block that sucker (iron it all flat and square and pretty.)

Come back next post for the excitement of that dreaded foe, cables! I promise they're easy, pretty, and with my pattern there are no extra "cable needles" required!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Decision and a Conundrum

Earlier this week I was searching about for a tutorial to help me with a project in which I was mired. I was two trips to the store in already and needing help deciding what I ought to purchase on trip three, and the inevitable, unplanned trip four. Of course, as any crafter can tell you, when you have your shoes on and keys in hand ready to run out and stock up, there is absolutely no chance that you will find any helpful information. Tangential information, yes. What you actually need to know? Hell no. So, I crossed my eyes and stuck out my tongue as I am wont to do when participating in the dreadful task of problem solving, and came up with a solution.
But then I thought, if I could solve one crafting problem, how many others might be waiting for my twisty little brain? And was it possible that anyone would actually find this information helpful? Obviously, the only way to test this was to actually start my own crafting blog.
Here I am.
The conundrum, now, is that most of the projects laying about me, waiting, begging, to be blogged about, are Christmas presents. I have a wonderful, tech savvy family, so it is inevitable that someone may stumble on this and discover the dreadful truth about Santa if I were to post those projects. That said, maybe it's time that my parents learn the sad truth about Christmas. We'll see.