Monday, January 31, 2011

Following The Everyday Beret

The Everyday Beret pattern has been very popular. As a result, I have received much more feedback from loomers than on other patterns, and I would like to pass on some of the questions and the answers that have come up.
1. Yarn weight: while a variety of yarns and looms can be used, if the yellow knifty knitter is used, a dk weight single strand will make a lace hat that is very open, and while decorative, not a warm winter hat. Worsted or bulky weight yarns are best for the yellow knifty knitter.
2. When you reach the end of a row, you will have 1 extra peg. The new row starts on the "extra" peg, not where the previous row started. This will continue throughout the pattern, and create the spiral design. If your hat is missing the spiral, you may have loomed the "extra" peg.
3. Do not forget to turn your hat inside out at the end, so that your knit stitches are inside the hat. The shaping of the hat is intended for this reverse, as well as the stitch pattern you see in the samples.
I'm so glad you are enjoying this little hat!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coral Reef Cap

This is a very sweet little cap that is made with super bulky yarn on the purple Knifty Knitter hat loom, or on a 1/2 inch gauge hat loom. The bulky wool and close gauge give the fabric a wonderful texture and style.
You can play with the cap by adding a little button, or turning up the brim in the back.
It is a fun little cap that is easy to make and a treat to wear. Please let me know how you like the pattern. Enjoy!  Coral Reef Cap 
Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tea on Tuesday

A little follow up to "Which loom to loom" post. No, I have yet to find a small gauge loom that I can use with my vision and neurological problems, but I have not given up! I have the AKB sock loom and the Markman adjustable loom in small gauge, and I'm hoping that one or both of these will work for me. In the meantime, I'm working on a few patterns. One is for a little cap, and the other for a diagonal scarf for using up your "scrap" yarn (a loom version of a popular needle knit pattern.) I've also tried to improve the links on the pattern pages for those of you who do not belong to Ravelry. Hopefully you can download the patterns easily now.

Continuing with the Lavender Tea theme, one of my favorite cookies for your tea table:

Lavender Lemon Ice Box Cookies

Lavender and lemon pair well to make this delicious cookie. These cookies will keep for up to a week - I think. They’ve never been around long enough in our house to know for sure. I have used organic dried English lavender flower buds (unopened flowers) in this recipe. If you use a different variety or if you use fresh lavender, you may get a stronger or weaker lavender flavor.

1 and 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 TBSP. light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated (about 3 tsp.)
1 and 1/2 tsp. dried lavender flower buds
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp. salt

Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicon baking mats. In a mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. (Don’t skimp on this step.) Beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest. Combine the flour, lavender and salt. Add to the creamed mixture on low speed, until just blended. Divide the dough into two, and roll into logs 1 1/2 inches thick in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the logs into 1/4 inch rounds, rolling the logs as you go to keep them round. Bake one sheet at a time for 8 - 10 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on racks. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Copyright 2000-2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Which loom to loom?

Melissa left me a great comment, and a great question about which loom I would recommend. I have had the same question a number of times at Ravelry, so I thought I'd post about it.

"Is it question and answer time? I like those! Also, if it is, which particular CinDWood loom(s) do you recommend? I like hearing recommendations from other loomers before I make an investment, so if you are ever looking for a post idea, I may have just given you one. ;) "

This is a wide open question, and to make a specific loom recommendation, I would want to know what kind of patterns you like to make. Instead I will tell you about the looms that I have and how I use them.

All my CinDwood looms are in the 1/2 inch gauge. I like this gauge best of all. It makes the nicest fabric in a large peg format. The looms sit well in the hand (they have a rounded base with no hard edges) and the pegs are sturdy, yet have a slight give and a nice flat top that keeps the yarn from slipping. The pegs have not shown any wear, and I have used them quite a lot.

The photo above shows the 51 peg youth hat loom with the Dandelion Shawlette on it. This loom is about the same diameter as a green Knifty Knitter loom, but has many more pegs, which creates a much nicer fabric and allows you to use much thinner yarn than a large gauge loom. It was part of a set of 4 round looms, which have 66 pegs (adult large), 51 pegs (youth), 35 pegs (newborn) and a baby bootie loom.
This next photo shows the Daisy Chain Sweater on the 35 peg CinDwood newborn hat loom. It is used to make the sleeve for this sweater.
Here the photo is showing the body of the sweater being made on the 66 peg adult large hat loom. This is a great example of how having more pegs (smaller gauge) can create a nicer fabric. The 66 peg CinDwood is about the same diameter as a yellow Knifty Knitter or purple Knifty Knitter, which have 41 and 48 pegs, respectively.
This last photo shows one of the two large round CinDwood looms that I have. It is the large afghan loom in 1/2 inch gauge, with 124 pegs. The project is a new one I am working on right now. This loom made the Flower Garden Afghan, using the loom version of the feather and fan stitch. The narrow peg distance lets the feather and fan stitches slide between the pegs; the larger gauges do not. This large loom has loads of potential with all of the pegs, but if you are not going to make afghans, then the baby afghan loom in 1/2 gauge is a great loom. It has 90 pegs, and fits nicely in your lap. For knitting in the round, it made the Cotton Cowls. I'm hoping to make a felted knitting tote on it, too.
Some of you have asked me how I liked the 36 inch Universal Loom from CinDwood. Well, I have not used it enough t0 give you a full opinion. I'm still playing with it and I will let you know as I go along.
There are a number of companies making the 1/2 inch gauge, so you can find variations in the number of pegs and the construction of the loom. Decor Accents has the "regular gauge" and Markman Looms has the "half gauge". Both also offer adjustable looms. The closest Knifty Knitter is the purple hat loom in 5/8 inch gauge with 48 pegs.
Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Questions from the Comments

I've had a question about changing looms for the Lightly Laced Cowl pattern. Since the pattern is from a post that is a year old, I thought I would answer it here. The question is how to do the crochet cast-off. For this kind of tutorial, I like Loom Knitting Help
The site has detailed instructions and written explanations that do not rely on photos or videos.

But, it was the rest of the question/comment that I have been thinking about. The loom knitter loved the pattern, but wanted to use a long Knifty Knitter instead of the round yellow Knifty Knitter. The pattern was designed for neither loom. It used a 1/2 inch gauge Decor Accents hat loom with 60 pegs. Similar looms are made by CinDwood. Changing to the KK looms will change the entire fabric of the cowl, and will not create the same pattern. It would involve an entire recalculation of the lace as well. I'm asked very often to change my patterns to work on large gauge Knifty Knitters. I do have several patterns written for these looms, and many more written for the 5/8 inch gauge purple hat loom, but I write very often for the 1/2 inch gauge looms because the smaller gauge lets me manipulate the loom stitches in ways not possible on a KK loom. Far greater yarn options are available for the 1/2 inch gauge as well. So, back to the cowl. If any of you have made it on a KK, I would love to hear about it and share your experience with this loomer.

Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tea on Tuesday - on Thursday

I forgot what day of the week it is! Here is a tea treat, by special request from Karen, some Lavender for your tea table.

Lavender Honey Biscotti

Lavender, honey and pine nuts combine to make an elegant biscotti that will please everyone. And it’s simple to make. I have used organic dried English lavender flower buds (unopened flowers). If you use another type of lavender or fresh lavender, you may get a stronger or weaker lavender flavor.

2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. dried lavender buds
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lavender. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir the liquids into the flour mixture with a fork. Stir in the toasted pine nuts. Stir gently to form a soft dough. Knead lightly a few times by hand to form a ball. Divide the dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a log on the baking sheet, about 8 inches long, 2 and 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Leave the oven on, and remove the biscotti. Cool a few minutes and remove to a cutting board. Trim off the ends, and slice each log into 10 pieces, about 3/4 inch wide. Lay the biscotti on their sides, and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. Cool. This makes a softer biscotti. If you like a very dry biscotti, extend the time for the second bake.
Copyright 2000-2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All rights reserved. Personal use only.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On and off the loom

Here is my work in progress, in one of what will be several versions before a pattern is settled on. The working title is "Sea Glass Wrap". The fabric is loomed from a DK weight mohair (what a joy this is to work with!) and the contrast is a homespun hand dyed yarn, in a thick/thin weight. The two are so opposite, they really created a challenge to combine.
In the second photo, you can see the fabric a little better. There is a randomness to the appearance of the knit, but it is actually quite structured. I've made the second version in a bulky mohair, which I did not like as well - the open stitches were lost, although the scarf is soft and wonderful to wear. On the loom right now is a fingerling weight, with a narrow lace ribbon.

The weather is chilly enough now in California for an afghan project, so I'm starting to think about what it should look like. We have enjoyed the two afghans I made for us last winter very much. What is on your loom?

Copyright 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft. All Rights Reserved. Personal Use Only.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tea on Tuesday

Orange Poppyseed Oatmeal Mini-Muffins

These muffins are quick ( and a little healthy,) and always a hit with kids. You can make 3 dozen mini-muffins, or 1 dozen full size muffins.

1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 Tsbp. fresh orange juice
zest of 1 orange, finely grated

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder and baking soda. Mix together the milk, oil, egg, juice and zest. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Fill muffin cups just over 1/2. Bake 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

Copyright 2000, 2011 by Invisible Loom and Craft, Renee Van Hoy. All rights reserved. Personal use only.