Tidbits Linen Stitch Bag

Remember Tidbits Linen Stitch? That was only my second post, from what seems like a million years ago (but was only 6 months). Well, that delightful diversion remained hanging from the knitting needle at the very bottom of my WIP basket since I posted that little tutorial. I’ve been cleaning up old hangers-on and scribbling their names out of my project notebook. In the case of this little swath of linen stitching, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it… it was just a matter of getting it done.

TidbitsBag2

A simple envelope style bag. The ultra-bright colors and the woven look-alike stitch reminded me of the beautiful textiles of South America. The use of various yarn weights and russian joining (which produces some frayed ends poking out here and there) adds to the folksy, rural feel of this piece (aka – messy looking), which I accentuated by adding little tassels made from my handspun, Andean-plied Targhee sample and finishing with an I-cord strap, from the same handspun.

Andean plied Targhee

Andean plied Targhee

The awesome thing about this bag is that it is made exclusively from yarn bits that were under 20 yards in length. I love projects that challenge me to use things that are otherwise doomed to non-usefulness.

TidbitsBag

Watching different colors blend together using linen stitch is fun, with the added advantage of a simplistic stitch pattern to zone out on. Linen stitch creates a right side (the woven looking side) and a wrong side (the bumpy garter stitch looking side), so a fold-over bag like this is a great way to use the fabric so that the right side is featured and the wrong side stays hidden.

-MF

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Pattern Gallery: Scarves for Spring

Spring Scarves Gallery

Maybe you live in a place where the changing climate has already settled into a warm, sunny paradise of April breezes and bright flowers and days stretched out in the sun. Congratulations. I live in Indiana where ‘spring’ is normally a three month long epic battle between Cold and Hot that always dumps you on the other side of May, sweltering and wishing you could crawl inside your air conditioning unit. We still need scarves ’round here.

Although I’ve picked this collection for their springtime look, many are also great for autumn if you live in the southern hemisphere!

atlantic-lace-shawl-034

Atlantic Lace Shawl from Make My Day Creative – I happen to be working on this one right now, and it’s a fantastic pattern – looks super fancy but with a relaxing repetitive stitch pattern. And it’s FREE!

mountainscowl5

Mountains Cowl from Gleeful Things – Fringe is so in style right now that we might have already outpaced the 70’s. Also FREE!

bloomingvine

Blooming Vine by Yumiko Alexander on Ravelry – Gorgeous concept for a scarf that makes a statement rather than just sits on around your neck in boring rectangle form. 6.50 USD.

Lesmiserables

Les Miserables by Cynthia Parker on Ravelry – One for the ambi-crafters. This FREE knitting pattern is a fantastic, gritty urban detour from the usual flowery lacy spring shawl fare.

sundayshawl

Sunday Shawl by The Little Bee ~ Alia Bland on Ravelry – I love the bright colors on the version of the shawl pictured, but it would look just as nice in sleek neutral tones. Awesome spring wrap, especially if you make it in a cotton blend. 6.50 NZD.

crystalchandelier

Crystal Chandelier Shawl by Maria Magnusson on Ravelry – Sweet lace knitting pattern so airy it goes right on into summer. Only 4.00 USD!

cascadefree

Alpine Shawl from Cascade Yarns – FREE crochet pattern, nestled amid a bunch of other free patterns on the Cascade page. Get in on the forest-y, elf-y style with this sweet leafy green shawl.

-MF

Pattern Gallery: The Scoodie Collection

Some of my favorite things to make are patterns featuring creatures of all sorts… mythical, fantastical, or real life. Monsters of the deep, ancient lizard lords, beasts spotted or striped or maned. And hey, spring is a good time for small but still-warm accessories… soooooo here’s some animal scoodies for my first pattern collection.

Scoodie Pattern Collection

Cat Scoodie:

From the Grand Master Funk of crochet blogs herself! Free pattern from Tamara Kelly on Moogly.

Dino Scoodie:

ULTRA adorable Dino scoodie from Shelley Moore on Ravelry for $4.95 USD.

Bear Scoodie:

Free pattern from Niftynnifer – I’ve never seen this yarn before but I would love to get my hands on some.

Panda Scoodie:

Cute panda hood complete with pawprints from Ira Rott on Ravelry,  C$6.50

Kraken Scoofie:

Whatever a scoofie is, this one is FABULOUS. Check out Rhea Richardson’s badass kraken scoofie pattern on Ravelry for $6.00 USD!

Lamb Scoodie:

Because I’m an ambi-crafter, this one’s a knit from TwoofWandsShop on Etsy, available for $5.50 USD.

Patterns take a lot of time, planning, and focus, so please leave feedback to the artist if you enjoy their work!

-MF

Tidbits Linen Stitch

Tidbitscover

I hate throwing craft supplies away. Take, for example, the two dollar bag of scratchy vintage tapestry wool in the absolute nastiest colors in the universe that I purchased from a garage sale three years ago. Oh, and tapestry wool apparently means “chopped into little pieces for you already.”  Useless. Still, have I yet unburdened myself of this fibrous disaster? Of course not. I have an illness.

Ew.

Ew.

And eventually every crocheter or knitter ends up with a basket or bag or drawer or whatever filled with little yarny leftovers – and there are multitudes of patterns online for 100 yards or less. Honestly, though, most of them aren’t to my taste. That, and most of my scraps are MUCH less than 100 yards, further limiting my options for them.

ENTER THE RUSSIAN JOIN! (Tutorial here)

As soon as I learned about the Russian join the gears started turning with plans for my little leftover yarn-ball buddies. Scary plans involving Human Centipede style freak surgery, ending in this Frankenball.

Frankenball

Technically speaking, Russian join isn’t really any more time-saving than weaving in the ends on a finished piece, and it certainly isn’t prettier – you end up with small tufts and lumps during the color changes, but I had a specific plan for this Frankenball where that wouldn’t matter much. I needed a stitch that would create a soft transition from color to color, a gentle gradation that would camouflage the disparity in weight between the different yarns. I needed the Linen Stitch.

Linen stitch is a knit stitch with a right side and wrong side (it can be done in the round as well) that alternates between working a new stitch and slipping a stitch purlwise while simultaneously weaving your yarn from back to front. Slipping every other stitch carries color UP from your previous row, “mixing” it in with the current color and creating color blends as well as a firm woven-looking texture (without all that pain-in-the-ass loom warping).

It’s a lot easier than I just made it sound. Click here for a great tutorial on this stitch!

For those of you who just need a quick reminder, the linen stitch goes like this:

(Over an even number of stitches)

Row 1: Knit 1, yarn forward, slip one, yarn back. Repeat.

Row 2: Purl 1, yarn back, slip one, yarn forward. Repeat.

The slip ones in linen stitch are all done purlwise. And so you just repeat that, ad nauseam.

Color strategy is fairly important if you want the palette to come out looking streamlined. I recommend lining up your variegated yarn bits first, and then finding solids that match those tones to fit in between, using the variegated yarns as sort of a bridge between colors. Once you’ve got your tidbits lined up, start splicing! Lightning storm not required.

Linen Stitch

-MF