Friday, April 10, 2015

Loom Knit Stitch: Croque

I found this stitch on Pinterest and after doing some research I can not really find anything written in English with any information.  I typed ‘Croque’ into Google translate, which gave me ‘crunches’.  I did find a few references to Ponto Croque, which Google translate to:  Point Croque in Portuguese.  If you happen to know the English name of this stitch please leave me a comment.

This is a double knitting stitch for a knitting loom.  Both sides look the same.

Multiples of 4 +1 pegs per board

This is the original wrapping diagram picture that I worked from, found on Pinterest.  I wrapped starting on the left side, wrapping to the right.  All pegs are wrapped in one pass.  Your working yarn is then on the right side of the board (if you don't turn the board).  To make learning this stitch easier, I did turn my board, then wrapped from left to right again, following the diagram.

I worked my swatch using:  Loops & Threads Snuggly Wuggly in Fresh Green on the Tadpole Knitting Board 6 inch made by Authentic Knitting Board.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Spring Cleaning: Kitchen Organization

I took a whole day to work on the deep cleaning of the kitchen, pulling the stove and refrigerator out to clean under and behind them, but while I was at it I decided there were a few areas that needed just a little more organizing.

Here are the before and afters of the few areas I re-did.  Hopefully this will give you some ideas for your kitchen too.

Time:  Less than 5 minutes  I used a Double Duty Caddy by Thirty-One because of the 2 different sides and 4 outer pockets.

Time:  Less than 5 minutes  I used 4 of the Oh-Snap Bins from Thirty-One because they snap together and will stay put.

My extra plastic shopping bags were all piled in the floor and all over the pantry, so there is no before picture.
Time:  About 5 minutes  I used reusable shopping bags to stuff all the plastic ones into and then hung them from the shelf with a Hang-It Up Key Fob from Thirty-One

I hope this has given you some ideas.  If you have any kitchen organization tips you would like to share, please leave a comment.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Ask Mary: Do I Have To Do a Gauge Swatch?

Q:  Do I have to make a gauge swatch for all of my projects?  If I do need to make a gauge swatch, how do I do it?

A:  First off, no… you don’t have to make a swatch.  For some items where it doesn’t matter what size something is you can get by without making a swatch.  Scarves, shawls, wraps and afghans are the main things that I rarely do gauge swatches for, since as long as these items are close then they will be good enough.

However, even when making an item where the exact size isn’t important, you may still want to make a gauge swatch to make sure you are in the ballpark at least.  It would be horrible to spend hours on what is supposed to be a king size afghan and it comes out twice the size and too heavy to use or it comes out queen sized and adding a border to make it bigger will ruin the design.

Do a gauge swatch is the same regardless of whether you crochet, knit with needles or loom knit.

Designing a Pattern Yourself
When you want to design an item to be an exact size you need to figure out your gauge to ensure your finished item is the size you want.  I usually try to make my swatch about 4 to 5 inches wide and 4 to 5 inches long so that I have enough to measure to get an accurate count.

A good starting place is looking at the yarn label to see what it says should be the length and width of a swatch done with the size hook or needles suggested.  When you are making your own pattern, it doesn’t matter if your gauge matches what the yarn label states, you can just use those numbers as a starting place.
I almost always cast on or chain at least 20 stitches and then work back and forth in rows until I have a little over 4 inches in length.  When you are finished with the little square you are ready to measure and do a small amount of math to determine how many stitches and rows you need to make for your item.

Measure how many stitches and rows you get in 4 inches, then divide each number by 4 to see how many stiches or rows you get per inch.  You may be thinking:  “Well why don’t I just measure an inch and see how many stitches?”  You can do it that way, but you will get a more accurate gauge by using at least 4 inches or more.

When figuring how many stitches or rows per inch make sure to include half stitches and half rows.  If you come up with 18 stitches in 4 inches, that means you have 4 1/2 stitches per inch, those 1/2 stitches will add up over a few inches and will throw off the overall size.  This is another reason to make a swatch of at least 4 inches, if you only make a swatch of about an inch you may end up not noticing the partial or fraction of a stitch and will end up with something much larger than you intended.

Ok, so now you know exactly how many stitches and rows you get per inch, you can multiply that by the total number of inches needed.  So, if you need something 35 inches wide by 50 inches long and you figure out that you have 3.25 stitches and 3.5 rows per inch, multiply how many stitches and rows by the total number of inches needed.

     35 X 3.25 = 122.5  (cast on or chain 123 stitches)
     50 X 3.5 = 175 (work this many rows)

NOTE:  Make sure you don’t get your numbers mixed up!  Make sure you are multiplying by how many stitches you get in ONE inch rather than the starting number that you have in four inches.  Also, determine which way you want to work (side to side, bottom up, or top down) and don’t get the length and width mixed up. 

Using a Pattern with Gauge Info Included
If you are using a pattern that has the gauge included, then just do a small square in the stitch indicated in the gauge area of the pattern.  If the gauge says something like:  20 sts X 28 rows = 4 inches   I will usually do exactly what it says and then measure.

If you have more stitches per inch than the pattern states try a larger hook or needle.  If you have less stitches per inch than the pattern states try a smaller hook or needle.  If you just can’t get the gauge right, you can follow the general pattern and using the method above (for designing your own pattern) to determine your own overall number of stitches and rows needed.

Now that you know how to do gauge swatches, what do you do with all those little squares?  I used to keep my gauge swatches and attach a note to them with the yarn, hook size (and brand), and stitch information.   I ended up with way too many swatches to sort through all the time, so I took all of those and made them into an afghan to donate.  Now, I make my swatch, take a picture of it and keep it electronically with all the information for reference.  Once I have taken the picture and recorded everything I need to know about it, I rip the swatch out and re-use that yarn for the actual project.  This is just what I do with mine, what do you do with your gauge swatches?

 If you have a question you would like for me to answer in my weekly Ask Mary series, please send your question to:  Put ASK MARY in the subject line to make sure that I don't over look your question.