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Math4Knitters, Crafty Living: Show 50

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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Sometimes I get too excited about small and easy projects. Does it show?

Math4Knitters, Crafty Living: Show 50

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Joyce found me this great ribbon to use for the photos.

This week's show is about small Christmas stockings and a chat with Brandi Simons, the photographer who worked on Anna Hrachovec's first book, Knitting Mochimochi.

My little Christmas stockings are the perfect stashbusting project. I used just about all of the red, white, and green yarn I could come up with in my stash. After I ran out of that, I used Patons Classic Wool, a worsted-weight wool yarn, doubled.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Just a big pile of little stockings.

About That Stashbusting

Like most knitters, I have yarn lying around at a lot of different weights. For this project, I used chunky and bulky yarns on their own, doubled worsted-weight yarns, and worked sport-weight and dk yarns four strands at a time. I should have worked the dk yarns at three strands at a time, because it was very hard on my hands to work then with four strands - it was just a tiny bit too thick for comfort.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I mixed white and off-white pretty freely in this. The bright reds and greens help keep the less-super-white yarns from looking too yellow.

Even yarns of the same weight can knit up at slightly different gauges, so if you're a perfectionist, you should still swatch for this project. I am not a perfectionist, at least not about something so small, so I just made sure that if I chose two yarns for a stocking that might work up a little bit differently, that the thicker yarn was on the heels and toes, and the thinner yarn was for the body of the stocking.

The heels and toes of the stocking are already extra-short, to enhance their cute factor. If the yarn for the heels and toes works up at a smaller size than the stocking's body, the heel doesn't stick out at all and the stocking could cross the line from adorably stumpy to just plain strange.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I didn't make it into a "j' intentionally, but it is pretty festive that way.

Quick Guide to Yarn Math for This Project

- If the ball band suggests a needle size larger than 8, use one strand of the yarn.

- If the ball band suggests a needle size 7 - 8, use two strands of the yarn.

- If the ball band suggests a needle size 5 - 6, use three strands of the yarn.

- If the ball band suggests a needle size 3 - 5, use four strands of the yarn.

No ball band? Guess. That particular stocking might just be a bit larger or a bit smaller than the others.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Never underestimate the power of the cute side.

You will need some waste yarn. I also like to use a very slender circular needle (#1 size) for picking up stitches, but that's a personal preference.

The pattern with this show contains specific instructions for making a stocking that is all one color, with a different color for the toe and the heel. Of course, stripe, change, and adjust to your heart's content.

If you are going to add stripes, I recommend you go take a look at TECHknitting's Jogless Stripes. Pure genius.

I often find I have to close small holes on either side of the heel. When making a "real" sock, I carefully pick up extra stitches there and decrease them away on the next round.

With these little guys, I let the holes form and then hide them. This keeps the decrease lines on the heels and toes more sharply defined.

On one side, I use the tail from where I added in the new yarn to fix the hole. On the other side, I simply take a 12" length of yarn and use that.

There are many ways to do this, but I like to turn the stocking inside-out, loop my length of yarn through the edges of the stitches I see around the hole, pull tightly, and then darn in any loose ends. Then, I turn the stocking right-side-out and look closely at what I have done. Sometimes it looks great. Sometimes I Swiss darn over two or three stitches to make things look a little more neat.

A little row of eyelets near the top of the stocking leaves a place to put a drawstring. A drawstring on your stocking allows you to keep the contents secret - or even to use the stocking as a small bag or purse.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Always look on the cute side of life.

You could use ribbon or crocheted cord, but this time I made i-cord.

It's very easy. Using double-pointed needles, temporarily cast on 4 stitches. Knit them, and slide your stitches to the right end of the needle you just used to knit. Bring the working yarn around behind the work and knit the four stitches again. Repeat this over and over, and you will have made a cord.

I experimented with color work in i-cord with these little stockings. On some, I striped my colors. On others, I worked a kind of spiral color work. You should try whatever strikes your fancy. After your cord is about 14 inches long, thread it through your eyelet row, and connect the beginning of your i-cord to the end of it. I simply grafted the two ends together. A three-needle bind-off might look nice, too, though.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Two-color i-cord is easy and fun. Simply work i-cord as usual, changing the colors around. For this one, I knit 1 red, 1 white on one row and then 1 white, 1 red on the next row. Over and over and over and over.

I made a short video, attached to this show about grafting i-cord in two colors. Or, really, about trying to make it look like you grafted in two colors. It's kind of a cheat.

For full, detailed instructions for making this pattern, check out the link to the pdf below the black box on the upper-right-hand side of this page.

And, I'm not going to lie. I took a LOT of photos of my little string of stockings.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I wasn't sure if i-cord in stripes would work, but it came together very nicely.

Conversation

This week, I talk with Brandi Simons about taking pictures, little things, and taking pictures so that the texture and color of your knitting look their very best.

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Eventually, even I will run out of things to say under photos.

Links

TECHknitting's Jogless Stripes

Knitting MochiMochi - you can get a signed copy here

Small Christmas Stocking Pattern

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