Sunday, September 6, 2009

Top ten places to get FREE knitting patterns

Here are my favorite places to get knitting patterns online. If you have any favorite places, please share them in the comments.

1. : Knitty is an online knitting magazine. Knitty offers free knitting patterns and informative articles. There are a variety of patterns from lots of knitters. You can even design a pattern and submit it. You never know, it might be featured in a future knitty.

2. Lion Brand Yarn : This is a yarn company, their yarns are affordable and can be found in stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, etc. They have a huge library of patterns available for free from their website. They also have some patterns available at a cost.

3. Interweave Knits/ Knitting Daily: Interweave Knits is a magazine, they also have a newsletter called knitting daily. Sometimes knitting daily has good information and patterns, other times, they send emails that are just advertisements for books they are publishing, or a special magazine. A good feature is that they usually take garments from their newly released magazine and try it on different body types to see how they fit people who aren't models.

4. Various Yarn Companies offer free patterns. This is a great way for them to show you all of the great things you can do with they yarn. Some of the yarn companies who offer (in my opinion) good patterns are: Berroco, Crystal Palace Yarns.

5. Local Yarn Shops: Many yarn shops offer free patterns. They also have patterns for sale and sometimes a pattern will be free with the purchase of a certain yarn. Ask the people working in the shop. They should be happy to help.

6. Your public library might be a good place to get knitting pattern books. The public library in my area offers many nice and new knitting books.

7. Stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, etc. often have pamphlets with free patterns available in the yarn area.

8. Blogs: Many bloggers write patterns and offer them for free or for sale on their sites. Look around and maybe your favorite blogger offers some. I don't have any yet, but am working on some to offer in the future.

9. This is an online knitting community. You have to be a member to access the site, but this is free and it is a good way to connect with fellow knitters and crafters.

10. Charity Knit alongs: The Knitting for Charity website seems like a good way to find charities to knit for. Other places might include calling your local hospital and asking if they accept hats, toys or blankets for new born babies, or sick children.

I hope this helps and If you have any other suggestions of where to find free knitting patterns, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review of Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines

I recently read the book: Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too by Kay Gardiner & Ann Shayne, the authors of the popular knitting blog: Mason-Dixon Knitting.
This book is a fun read. Lots of interesting patterns. Some of the patterns seem a little strange, but others are very tempting. (But beware, I've heard there are some errors in some of the patterns in this book, so before you start knitting a project, check the publisher's site to see if there are any errors listed. This may save you lots of time and annoyance.) The patterns I found tempting were Belinda (Raverly link, you may not be able to see it unless logged into Ravelry), which is a shawl in two layers that mimics Plaid. Belinda (Ravelry link) is very light and airy, just the right amount of warmth on a cool winter's day. The Errant Socks are pretty, it seems like it would be fun to play around with different cable patterns on a sock. I also really like the Liberty (Ravelry link) throw. It's a Fair Isle blanket that is knitted in the round, then steeked so that it lays flat. Ann and Kay go into detail of how to do Fair Isle knitting, and steeking. Also, they have plenty of knitting humor and fashion humor. Their color wheels are funny, so is their Personal Style: A Look Back, where cartoons portray their looks through the years. Another part that I enjoyed was their Mason-Dixon Knitting Hall of Shame at the back of the book where they show some of the design ideas that didn't quite work out. I think this is a good book, it incorporates Kay and Ann's sense of humor and some very nice patterns. I think there is something for everyone with the different sections of patterns. The description of this book on the can be seen by clicking on the following link:
Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Duck two ways...

Lately I have been knitting a lot of toys. And these toys have all been from the book World of Knitted Toys. For the ducks, I made one duck the way the pattern called for, and then I made another using DPNs . I decided that knitting it in the round would be a good way for me to avoid sewing up the seams. It was and I preferred knitting it this way. Using the magic loop method would probably work too, but I actually prefer using DPNs . Here's how I transferred the pattern from knitting flat to in the round: first, I casted on the required number of stitches using the Eastern Cast On (you may want to mute the video, I need to fix the video but havn't had the time). Then I started working the round (I didn't actually mark where the round started, but this would have been a good thing to do at this point) Then I continued the pattern using the same number of stitches that it specified. I followed the pattern to the end and the only things I had to sew were the wings onto the body and the beak onto the head. I knit the beak in the round also, but I think it would've looked better if I would've knit it flat and then sewed it up. What do you think? Which duck do you prefer? Some other toys I have been making from World of Knitted Toys are: Cleo the Clownfish, Zooey the Zebra, and the parrot.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cleo the Clownfish

This clownfish pattern is from the book World of Knitted Toys
by Kath Dalmeny. This is knit from some of the yarn my Grandma gave me from her stash and a ball of orange yarn leftover from the time I made a hunting hat a few years ago. All of the yarn is acrylic. It is usually very relaxing watching fish swim around in an aquarium. Clownfish have a way of taking cares away and cheer me up with their bright orange stripes. I’m sure Clownfish became more popular as a result of the movie Finding Nemo. It was a good movie, sad at points, but it had its happy times too. I don’t completely agree with the “Fish are friends not food” mantra that the sharks kept saying. Some fish taste too good not to eat. Like Trout and Redfish and Halibut. Yum! You can tell I come from a place where locals love to fish almost as much as we love to eat. What is on your needles? What kinds of projects are you currently working on? Please leave some comments with your current projects, they don’t have to be knitting projects, can be anything. I’m just curious about what my readers are up to. To see other projects I've made from World of Knitted Toys, see Zooey the Zebra, and the Ducks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Presenting Zooey the Zebra

Zooey is from the book World of Knitted Toys by Kath Dalmeny. I decided to name her Zooey after the actress Zooey Deschanel, who was in movies such as Elf, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galley, Failure to Launch and the TV miniseries Tin Man.
Zooey the Zebra was knit with some yarn that my grandma gave me, she asked me to go through her stash and take whatever I wanted. I figured a lot of the yarn she gave me would be good to make toys with. All of it is acrylic, so if the toys get dirty, they can be washed easily. The first white yarn I used was some sort of old Phentex yarn. I couldn’t knit with it; it literally sent chills down my spine. I have the same problem with the cotton that used to come in medicine bottles. Yuck! Anyway, I switched to another acrylic yarn and was fine.

Knitting Zooey made me remember my least favorite part of knitting, having to sew everything together. I am really not a huge fan of sewing, either with a machine or by hand. I am always a little apprehensive when using a sewing machine. I just never wanted to catch my fingers with the machine’s needle; I’ve heard this happens when you sew with a machine a lot. Hand sewing is tedious, which I don’t mind too much, the other thing about it is that I am really not good at it. My mom is good at all sewing, but somehow whenever I try to sew seams, I end up with something that looks pretty bad. The stitches are uneven and the pieces never lay flat. Maybe sewing will come with practice, but it seems like no matter how much I sew, I still end up with something that just doesn’t look right. I know a lot of people who are really good at sewing, maybe I should ask them to help me out. Or maybe it’s just not one of those talents I possess.