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FREE PATTERN: Perfect Lay-Flat Knitted Diagonal Garter Washcloth

With my upcoming surgery looming in the near future, I decided to make the most of my time and get a head start on this year’s holiday teacher gifts.  I still make the Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for my kids’ teachers, lunch ladies and daycare workers, and, not knowing how much I’d be up for a long bout of down-to-the-wire crafting post-op (since I somehow always end up working til 4am the night before the last day of school), I was smart and started early.

I decided to make dish/washcloths again.  It’s been a few years since the junior campus staff got regular square washcloths, and I haven’t made them for anyone on senior side yet, so I wasn’t worried about being too repetitive.  I dug some favorite Bernat Handicrafter Cotton from my stash and pulled up the most basic, well known, standard dishcloth pattern Ravelry had to offer – a plain old, diagonal-knit garter washcloth.

Plenty of yarn, plenty of time, and a well-worn pattern.  This, I thought, would be a breeze.  I was even optimistic enough to think I’d have the Xmas gifts ready before November!

Heh.

My troubles started early on.  After completing the first washcloth, actually.  I had finished it and set it down flat on the table and noticed the lower edge immediately curl upwards.  I smoothed it flat but it quickly rolled inwards again.  It wasn’t terribly noticeable, and – let’s face it – this is a dishcloth.  If used properly it would end up scrunched and rolled and pulled and would sag and ease out of shape quickly.  But I was annoyed at how it looked and poked around at it a bit trying to figure out why the top half was fine but the lower half curled in.  The top half, by contrast, lay beautifully flat. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done wrong.

Finally I realized it wasn’t my fault – there was an inherent flaw with the pattern. It was the kind where you increase into the second stitch of every row.  That type of increase pulls imperceptibly on the outer stitch, eating up the slack between the first two stitches.  When this is done at intervals one would hardly notice, but when it is done at the beginning of every row the result was edges that curled inwards.  This didn’t occur on the top half of the diamond because that was the decrease half and I wasn’t using any of the previous row’s slack at all.

I could smooth it flat and I could have blocked it but come on… blocking washcloths?  No thanks.  I’d rather figure out how to knit it without the flaw.

The main thing was to figure out what increase to use.  Any increase which went into the prior row, including a standard ‘make 1’, would cause the same inward tugging.  Yarn-over increase patterns didn’t have that problem, but I didn’t want eyelets dotting the sides of my washcloth.  I wanted these cloths to look less dainty, more ‘rugged’, if that makes sense.  I decided to work YO increases but to close them on the subsequent rows by knitting them through the back loop.

Once I was tinkering with the pattern I also added a plain row at the max width point before transitioning into the decreases. Diagonal patterns always seem to have you go from wide to narrow without any plain row in between and I find that the extra row tugs less on those points of the diamond.  The result is a lovely garter washcloth which has wonderful drape and lays flat beautifully, and is now my go-to knit washcloth or dishcloth.

photo2016-10-28113107amedit

I’ve knit 9 of them so far… sadly not anywhere near how many I need, but enough to know I’m really happy with how it works out, and I added it to Ravelry tonight.

The yardage listed is for a dishcloth knit to 41 sts, which results (at my tension) in a 9” x 9” square. You can easily make them larger or smaller. If desired before binding off you can create a strip to fold over and sew down for a hanging loop by either knitting about 4” of garter on those 3 sts or knitting them into a 4” long 3-st i-cord.

This pattern would work equally well for baby blankets or throws, continuing to increase until whatever max diagonal is desired before working the plain row and then beginning the decreases.

photo-2016-10-28-11-32-05-am

Directions

  • CO 3 sts 
  • row 1- k across 
  • row 2- k1, yo, k to end 
  • inc row– k1, yo, k to previous row’s yo and knit it tbl (to close the hole), k1 
  • Repeat inc row until diagonal of cloth is at desired widest point (I stopped at 41 sts)
  • Next row- k to previous row’s yo and knit it tbl (to close the hole), k1 
  • dec row– k1, k2tog, k to end of row 
  • Repeat dec row until cloth is back down to its original number of sts 
  • BO remaining sts & weave in the loose ends

Update!

This pattern is on Ravelry here.

This pattern is provided for free above, but if you’d prefer an easy-to-print version, I have made it available here for a very small fee. The PDF includes the full instructions, an easy to read layout and full color images.

*Updated January 2020


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Moss Block Baby Cardigan

Moss Block Baby Cardigan
Moss Block Baby Cardigan

I have added all of my patterns to Ravelry’s pattern store.  In celebration I am going to repost the patterns here over the next few weeks.  Some are free, some aren’t, but I hope you enjoy them all!

Moss Block Baby Cardigan – click HERE

Moss Block Baby Cardigan Details
Moss Block Baby Cardigan Details


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Simple Mug Cozies

Finally! As promised!

The cozies were first shown on the blog here and here.

I designed this pattern last week as part of my cousin’s fiancé’s bridal shower gift basket.  I wanted a mug cozy that was removable, machine washable and dryable, and didn’t need ties, snaps or hooks.  This is what I came up with. 

The cozies have some stretch to them, but were designed to fit standard mugs.  If you want to make this cozy for a taller mug, you will need to keep knitting the plain section until you have enough clearance for the top of the mug handle.  Likewise, if you want to make it for a wider mug, you will need to add extra stitches.

Unfortunately, I forgot to write down my gauge and the gifts have already been given to the bride (who lives 2 hours away) so I can’t measure them.  However, I don’t feel that this will be a big issue with this pattern.  The nature of the cozy will forgive a slightly too tight or too loose fit.

Directions

CO 30 sts with 5mm needle and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist

K 1 round

P 1 round

K 1 round

P 1 round

Next round: BO 2 sts, k to end of row – 28 sts

You will now be working flat, turning the work at the end of each row.

Row 1: sl 1 st purlwise, p to end of row

Row 2: sl 1 st purlwise, k to end of row

Repeat the last 2 rows until 14 rows have been knit flat.  At the end of the 14th row do not turn.

CO 3 sts then k across the rest of the sts, rejoining the work into the round – 31 sts

P 1 round

K 1 round

P 1 round

BO all sts knitwise

Cut yarn and weave in ends

Update!

This pattern is on Ravelry here.

This pattern is provided for free above, but if you’d prefer an easy-to-print PDF version, I have made it available here for a very small fee. The PDF includes the full instructions, abbreviation definitions, an easy-to-read layout and full color images.

*Updated January 2020


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Elphie Custom Camera/Phone Case

Hey guys! Even with my hands usually full of baby lol I managed to finish and write up a pattern!

After my son Jakob was born I told my husband we had no choice but to buy a new camera.  Our existing camera was huge- larger than an 80’s cell phone!  It was the kind of camera I couldn’t even bring to social events like a wedding or shower as it would have required its own carrying bag and I would have looked like overdressed paparazzi.  Now that we had a child, I insisted, we needed a camera small enough to keep in the diaper bag or in my pocket.  There was no way I would miss those special first moments!

Buying the camera didn’t solve all of my problems, however.  The camera didn’t come with a case- only a thin tufted slip of paper that it fell out of easily.  Friends and family of mine have knitted themselves camera cozies, but all had the same basic design; a tube with one closed end and one ribbed end.  While you could knit it as tightly as you’d like, there was nothing to officially stop the camera from falling out.

I was determined to remedy that.  Buttons and Velcro were out.  I knew the camera would end up in my pocket and with my luck the flap wouldn’t be properly closed and the rough Velcro side would scratch the screen, or the button would cause worse damage.  There had to be a better way…

And there is!

Elphie!

Presenting Elphie– a camera case that will fit any flat camera.  Don’t worry about knitting to a particular gauge- this worksheet will accommodate any yarn and any size needles.  The case has built-in, double-layer protection over your camera’s exposed screen area and a cover that stays on and CAN’T come off, all without any snaps, ties or Velcro.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s seamless?  Mine were designed to fit my Canon Digital Elph camera- hence the name.

Want to make one for yourself? Here’s how!

The first thing you’ll need to do is measure your camera, so get a measuring tape and paper and pencil/pen. And the camera of course! On the paper write “A”, “B”, “C”, “S” and “R” with a dash after each. We’ll be filling in those values as we go.

Step 1

Measure your camera and fill in the values for A, B and C on your paper, in inches.

Knit a 4″ x 4″ gauge swatch with your desired yarn and needles. Measure the swatch and figure out the number of stitches (S) and number of rows (R) for 1 (one) inch. Fill in the values on your paper.

Step 2

Multiply your stitch gauge by the width (C) of your case.

S_____ x C_____ = CO_____ sts. (If this results in an even number, add 1 to get an odd number of sts.

Begin knitting:

The case starts at the flap, knitted flat in Moss Stitch, then stitches are cast on for the body of the case which is knit in the round in ribbing.

Cast on the resulting CO value you obtained above.

Multiply your row gauge by the depth (A) of your case.

R_____ x A_____ = D_____ rows.

Work in Moss stitch for half this number of rows (D_____/2).

Next row: work in Moss Stitch until halfway across the row, BO 2 sts, then continue in Moss Stitch (paying attention to the pattern as established) to the end of the row.

Next row: Work in Moss Stitch until the gap created by the bound-off stitches, CO 2 sts, then continue in Moss Stitch (paying attention to the pattern as established) to the end of the row.

Continue working in Moss Stitch until your knitting reaches the length of A+B+A.

A_____ + B_____ + A_____ = _____inches.

Multiply your stitch gauge by the full measurement of your case.

S_____ x (C_____ + A_____ + C_____ + A_____) = M_____

Adjust this new number to the closest lower number that is a multiple of 4. AM=____

(For example, if your M = 28, the closest lower number below that which is divisible by 4 is 24, so your AM would = 24).

Subtract the number of sts you cast on from the adjusted measurement.

AM_____ – CO_____ = _____

Place a marker at the beginning of the next row, work in Moss Stitch across the row, then CO the resulting number of sts you just got after the last equation. Your total stitch count should now equal AM_____

NOTE: if you prefer a snugger case, subtract 4, 8 or 12 from the number of sts to cast on in the previous instruction.

Join in the round, being careful not to twist. Your stitch marker will serve as the beginning of each round.

Work in 2×2 rib until the tube portion of the case measures the length of B and half of A.

B_____ + (A_____/2) = _____ inches.

Make sure your stitches are evenly arranged on 4 needles, with 1/4 of the sts on each needle. (For example, if your AM = 24 sts, then you would have 6 sts on each of the 4 needles).

Decrease round: Ndl 1: ssk, k to 1 st before the end of needle, BO 1 st. Ndl 2: BO 1 st, k to 2 sts before end of needle, k2tog. Ndl 3: ssk, k to end of needle. Ndl 4: k to 2 sts before end of needle, k2tog.

Next round: Ndl 1: k to the end of the needle, CO 2 sts, Ndls 2-4: knit across

Continue in stockinette stitch until, counting from the decrease round, you have knit 2 rows less than D_____/2.

Finishing

Turn your work inside out and work a 3-Needle Bind-Off on the remaining stitches. Weave in all ends.

How To Use

To place the camera in the case, pull your camera’s strap through the hole at the bottom. Insert camera fully into case positioned so that the long flap folds over the screen area of your camera, providing it with a double layer of protection. Pull the camera strap through the hole in the flap to secure the flap shut.

And there you have it!

Feel free to knit as many of these as you like, and you can even sell items made from this pattern as long as you credit me as the designer of the pattern.

Update!

This pattern is on Ravelry here.

This pattern is provided free above, but if you’d prefer an easy-to-print PDF version, I have made it available here for a very small fee. The PDF includes the full instructions in an easy-to-follow worksheet, the definition of all abbreviations used in the pattern, yardage requirements, as well as instructions on the Moss Stitch, Ribbing and 3-Needle Bind-Off used in the pattern.

*Updated January 2020


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Le Cochon Est Finis!

(translation: the pig is done!)

I redid the eyes ‘cus both Yannick and Annette (the CLSC nurse who comes by once a week to check how I’m changing Y’s bandages) thought the original had psychotic eyes. Apparently an “evil” stuffed toy is not thought of to be the best choice of gift for a 14 year old. Apparently this will cause severe traumas including sleeplessness, delusions and a paranoia of all things porcine. Who knew?

As a last minute addition I was asked to incorporate the recipient’s name. I made up a knitted scarf and spent this evening trying to duplicate stitch her name. Apparently I don’t do duplicate stitch. I do, however, cross stitch. Voila:

I had to make the scarf tube-like so I could hide the back of the lettering, so this is what I did:
CO 80 sts
Row 1- k
Row 2- k
Row 3- k3, p to last 3 sts, k3
Row 4- k
Repeat rows 3 & 4 twice more
Row 9- k3, p to last 3 sts, k3
Row 10- k3, p to last 3 sts, k3
Row 11- k
Row 12- k
Rows 13-18- repeat rows 3 & 4 three times more
Row 19- k

Rows 9 through 12 gave me a garter border that matched the border of the first 2 rows, then a purl row to fold over, then repeated for the back. Once I finished the lettering I just stitched up the live sts to the CO row and added a fringe.

I hope Trish gives him a good home. Now I can knit! :]