How To’s Day: Bored? Nothing to do, Make a knitting loom with stuff in your house!

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Our Internet has been down today, and no pleading or harassing of our Internet provider would get it back in operation! At least they said not until tomorrow morning. (aka Wednesday) But it seems it worked out and we are back online! (but if you emailed me today, please send it again because those did not seem to make it through the outage!)

While the Internet was out, we were a bit.. er.. without something to do. So we made some knitting looms with things around the house!

I’ll tell you about two styles that we made.

First up is the simple easy peasy loom.

Here is what you need:

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  • a cardboard tube i.e. a toilet paper or paper towel roll
  • 4-6 popsicle  or craft sticks (guess what we had for snack today!)
  • a ponytail holder, or rubber band
  • tape of some sort the best would be masking tape or duct tape
  1. Using the ponytail holder or rubber band, band the  sticks to the outside of the tube like this:

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2. Make sure the sticks are distributed evenly around the tube,with the sticks extending about 3/4 to 1 inch above the top of the tube.

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3. Tape them in place with your tape.

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4. KNIT!

 

The second style is a little more complex, but a great way to recycle those plastic juice, and drink mix containers!

Here is what you will need:

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  • a plastic juice or plastic drink mix container
  • ruler and/or tape measure
  • scissors
  • permanent marker
  • paper

So here is what you do with all of that!

1. Measure your container at the point you expect to cut, you want a container with an even measurement, like 20 inches no fractions like 17 1/2!

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2. CAREFULLY cut around your container. (usually there are lines on these you can use as a guide!)

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3. Make a template on your paper for how you want to cut the pegs into the edge of your container. I used a half inch wide and a half inch deep, I think 3/4 inch deep might be better. line your template up with the top edge of the container, and trace the peg cut lines with your permanent marker.

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4. CAREFULLY cut your pegs out, cut the sides first then the bottom line. You might want to cut a slit in the bottom to hold your yarn while you are working (see photo below)

5. KNIT!

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By far the Kool Aid drink mix container was the best.

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I think the paper tube ones would make a great make and take for a fiber show or craft show, or even for a scouting or church group. It’s so easy!

*** and if you don’t know what to do with the loom once you make it.. check out my loom knitting basics tutorial on my tutorial page!! And any of the loom knitting sites in my links will have some great resources as well!*****

I am hoping to submit a tutorial to Whip Up for a foldable portable knitting loom, so look for that there some time in September!! (crossing my fingers!)

Well Brian is cooking dinner tonight so I am off to finish another peice of the project for Shepherd.. really they are not naming him that.. it was a little joke.. that stuck! Hang on Jesse I am almost done!

How To’s Day: How to Pick a Good Substitution Yarn

howtosday-icon-thumb A few weeks ago when I asked for How To’s Day ideas I got some great suggestions. Thank you to all of you who made suggestions!! Keep them coming!

Today’s subject was recommended by  Karen.  This is actually a question I get alot!

“I want to make this certain pattern, but I need to use a different yarn because __________! ”  Fill in the blank ….

  • I’m allergic to the yarn called for..
  • I can’t find the yarn called for..
  • It’s just tooo expensive.

So what do you do when you want to switch out a yarn? How do you find a suitable substitute?

Allow me to let you in on one of my (until now) best kept secrets: YARNDEX.COM

Some other great resources I turn to  are the following books:

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn By Clara Parkes

The Knitter’s Guide to Combining Yarns: 300 Foolproof Pairings * 8 Cool Projects by Kathleen Grecco

The Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements by Ann Budd (I carry this one in my bag when I go to buy yarn)

No Sheep for You: Knit Happy with Cotton, Silk, Linen, Hemp, Bamboo & Other Delights by Amy Singer

How To’s Day: How to make me laugh…

Yesterday poor little Caleb had his kindergarten check up and had to get 4 shots! (no that is not what made me laugh) While we were there the nurse practitioner checked him all over and then came to the part of the exam where she needed to check out his ‘boy parts’.

So she asked him: will it be ok if I check your boy parts?

Him: silence

Her: Do you know what I mean when I say ‘boy parts’?

Him: (thoughtful pause) Well I have two brothers…..

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     The real How to’s Day will return next week! When I have time to do something!! If you have any more ideas for how to’s that you want to see let me know! Just leave me a comment, and I will see what I can do!

How To’s Day: How to Measure Your Mystery Yarn!

I have acquired lots of little odd balls of yarn lately. howtosday-icon-thumb This leaves me with a little dilemma. Just how much yardage is it that I have here! As a designer it is important to let potential users of my patterns  know just how much yarn they will need to knit up a pattern! As a knitter it is important to know how much yarn you have so that you are confidant that you will not run out before your project is done!

You might not have a whack of odd balls like I do; but let’s face it, we all have yarn in our stash that has been separated from it’s label or even some ‘vintage’ mystery yarn that we picked up here and there. So just how do you determine how much yarn you have there?

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It can be easy and low tech or you can get fancy..

In your LYS or online yarn shops there are often advertised little yarn measuring devices like this:

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These are nice and vary in price from about $40.00   to $70.00. You grab it, clamp it to your work table and run the yarn through it  typically between your skein winder and ball winder and go go go. It’s quick, easy and pretty darn accurate.

You really need to use a ball winder at least with this gadget for it to work really properly.

Of course if you are concerned about the price of the ‘commercial’ models you can always opt for your own low cost version. The ‘yarn meters’ are typically fishing line meters that are available at your local sporting goods store, that are mounted on a wooden yarn guide and clamp set up. I asked my husband to see if they were available one day at our local sporting goods store and rather than just scouting, he came home with one! So for about $15 I had my yarn meter! (and it even lights up!) I just clamp it on an unsuspecting chair placed between my swift or skein of yarn, and my ball winder and measure away!

Now, if you don’t like all that fancy winding, and spinning and all there are some other options for you.

The wrap method..

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This has been the method I have  typically used to measure any mystery yarn in my stash. I usually grab one of my kitchen chairs and turn it upside down. I measure around the legs, make a note of the measurement and start winding!  Or I just wind it around the back of the chair.. works just as well..

I count how many times that I wind the yarn around and then do a little math magic to figure out how much yardage I have. In my case, the measurement around my chair top is 31″, so at 75 wraps around it, I have 2,325″ of yarn. If I divide that by 36 (you know 36 inches in a yard..) I get approximately 64.5 yards!

You can also do this with a piece of cardboard. Easy Peasey and better yet! FREE!

 

The Niddy Noddy:

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I will admit to having bought one of these.. this is typically a tool spinners use, and while I have temporarily given up spinning till I get a wheel that is more suited to me, I will keep the niddy noddy. I have however yet to use it!

Knitter’s Review did a little piece on using niddy noddies to measure yarn.

And here is a nice piece on the general use of a niddy noddy.

So if you have one and haven’t used it hey, there you go!

There are some interesting mathematical methods for figuring your yarn by weight and all but hey I like to do as little math as possible!! So pfft!

I hope that you have found a method here to use for measuring your mystery yarn!

Till next How To’s Day, keep on playing with that fiber!! And if you have any questions you want me to cover, let me know! Just leave me a comment!