With a very small baby in the house, my blogging time is limited so I thought let’s go for quality over quantity! Rather than alert you to new patterns, for the rest of the year I will be talking about becoming your own designer.
I’m going to start with some thoughts on designing for small amounts of yarn.
The photo on the right shows a slip stitch scarf I made out of yarn remnants and slip stitch patterns are a great way of combining lots of small amounts of yarn, or of breaking up variegation. Follow the link to purchase the pattern for yourself – I heartily recommend it.
I always think that a fun first project is a bookmark. Very quick to make and if you like the result you can stash it away to use as part of a gift. Taking the idea of the slip stitch scarf to another level, why not design your own slip stitch bookmark in one or more colours.
Here’s a basic recipe to get you started. It works with any gauge of yarn.
1) Choose a slip stitch pattern you like from a stitch dictionary or look through the free patterns on Ravelry for a pattern you can use. I’ve also included a couple at the bottom to help you out…
2) Gather your materials: variegated yarn can be lovely on its own. Or you may have different scraps in the same weight. A mixture of colours can look terrific. You will need needles very slightly larger than the recommended size for your weight of yarn (slip stitch patterns benefit from being knit on larger needles). So for fingering weight yarn use at least 3.5mm needles.
3) Swatch. If I’m honest, a bookmark is so small it could be its own swatch, so you may choose to skip this step. If you do, be prepared to rip out! Cast on 20 – 30 stitches and swatch your chosen pattern for a couple of inches. You can also use your swatch to try out stripe patterns if you’re using different patterns. Or you can try different slip stitch patterns if you’re not sure which one you like best. Make a note of how many stitches you need to work 2 inches in the pattern. This will help you to decide how many to cast on.
4) Once you know how many stitches you get over 2 inches, use this figure to work out how many stitches to cast on. A bookmark will normally be 6 inches, perhaps a little more or less. Figure out your ‘cast on number’. You see, you’re already writing your own pattern!
5) Cast on the number of stitches you’ve decided on and work back and forth in your slip stitch pattern until you’re pleased with the width of your bookmark. Then bind off loosely – use a needle several sizes larger if necessary. Wash and gently block your bookmark.
6) Enjoy or gift!
Optional fringe: If you want your bookmark to have a fringe at the bottom you will need to leave a yarn tail of at least two inches at one end of each of your rows. If you’re using one colour you’ll need to leave a 4 – 6 inch loop of yarn at the beginning of every right side row. When you’re finished these can be cut in half and knotted at the knitted edge to form a fringe. If you’re using yarn scraps, you’ll have yarn tails anyway. So make sure they’re long enough and roughly even and just knot them together when you’re finished.
Slip Stitch Patterns
PATTERN ONE (stitch count should be multiple of 2)
Row 1 (RS): *k1, bring yarn forward, sl1*; repeat.
Row 2 (WS): *p1, bring yarn to back, sl1*; repeat.
PATTERN TWO (stitch count should be multiple of 2)
Row 1 (RS): knit.
Row 2 (WS): knit.
Row 3: *knit 1, slip 1 with yarn to ws*; repeat.
Row 4: *slip 1 with yarn to ws, knit 1*; repeat.
Row 5: knit.
Row 6: knit.
Row 7: *slip 1 with yarn to ws, knit 1*; repeat.
Row 8: *knit 1, slip 1 with yarn to ws, *; repeat.
When you are happy with the width of the book mark, finish this with 2 rows of knit stitches.