Archive for the 'free lunch' Category


Free lunch: DIY knitting gear

When I haven’t had a “real” stitch marker handy, I usually just use a tied-off loop of different-colored yarn. (Most knitters have done something like that at one time or another, I thnk.) Here’s a variation on that theme, using twine and little wooden beads.

For on-the-go knitting, make a “knit kit” (a modified plastic water bottle), complete with handmade needles that are just the right length.

Cardboard boxes used for filing magazines are also great for organizing yarn.

Scientists have identified all sorts of benefits to drinking wine. Obviously none of those scientists are knitters, otherwise surely one of them would’ve figured out that wine corks made great point protectors for knitting needles.

Don’t have a ball winder? Use a cardboard tube instead!

And finally, here’s a great tip for keeping your straight needles easily identifiable/sortable without having to stow them in separate pockets in a needle roll or something similar: color-code the tips.


Free lunch: Holiday knitting

Halloween is around the corner, so start knitting up some pumpkins with a pattern than works with any yarn, gauge, and needles you like.

After that, it’s time for Thanksgiving. And really, what is Thanksgiving without turkey finger puppets?

If you’re trimming a tree, don’t forget your own handknit-and-felted Flying Spaghetti Monster ornament. And if you’re not a tree decorator, well, I’m sure this little fellow can fit in just about anywhere.

Here’s another tree-trimming idea: knit mini-mittens. I bet they would look cute hanging from an I-cord across the top of a window, too.

The Jingles Bells hat comes in sizes to fit infants through adults, so you can torture delight everyone you know with the gift of festive headgear.

If you’re feeling particularly sadistic, whip up a knitted baby Santa suit and stuff a defenseless infant in it before he or she is told enough to resist.


Free lunch: Scarves, shrugs, shawls

Looking for something to ward off the evening chill? Or to keep you warm in ridiculously over-air-conditioned offices, restaurants, and stores?

If you’re feeling ambitious, try your hand at knitting this stunning Moebius wrap. The pattern is in German, but the author has very kindly provided an English translation.

The evening shrug at the Purl Bee takes simple stockinette and jazzes it up with some lacey trim at the wrists. The bamboo yarn originally used has a lovely sheen that definitely dresses up this piece.

The typical scarf shape (long, skinny rectangle) gets some texture in this gathered scarf. I’m not sure if my mother-in-law would be keen on it, but I think the bumpiness has definite appeal for lots of other people.

If you prefer a scarf that’s more wispy than substantial, look at the Nymphadora Scarf.

I’ve knit the Irish Hiking Scarf three times. The cabling isn’t challenging—just three easy ones that run the length of the scarf—so doing it without a cable needle sounds like something I could handle. Grumperina has lovely photo tutorials on it, for both the right-twisting and left-twisting varieties.


Free lunch: Hats

It’s never a bad time of year to knit hats. If it’s summer now where you live, you can start planning for ways to keep your head warm when the mercury drops in a few months. And if you’re in a cold spot right now, well, take comfort in the knowledge that hats knit up pretty fast and you can be sporting new headgear in no time at all.

Like a retro look? Not afraid to toss your wool knitting into a washing machine full of hot water? This felted cloche may be just the ticket for you.

If you eschew head-hugging hats and yearn for something long enough to trip over, then give this stocking cap a try. The pattern is available for both kids and adults. They’re both based on the hat worn by Schwartz in one of my favorite holiday movies, A Christmas Story.

And here’s a whole page of free hat patterns, if you’re looking for more options. One thing I love about this page is the use of thumbnails and not just design names. So when looking at the list it’s easy to tell at a glance if something appeals to you rather than have to navigate to another page to see the images.


Free lunch: Knitted toys

Easter is just around the corner, and those of you who celebrate it with decorated eggs and the Easter Bunny may be interested in these patterns: Honey Bunny (a knit-and-stuffed bunny reminiscent in shape of a bowling pin—albeit a very cute one), a tiny stuffed bunny made from a four-inch square (at last—a use for all those gauge swatches!), bunny-shaped egg cozies, and little knitted Easter eggs.

If bunnies—or Easter—aren’t your thing, try one of these other knitted animals: Kate the cat, a lobster, and a felted squid.


Free lunch: Scarf-o-rama

Via Craft, I recently rediscovered a pattern I’d first encountered last winter via my SP8 downstream pal’s blog. It’s for a double-sided star scarf that looks awfully fun to knit. I’m thinking about giving this a try with a different motif or maybe even a set of motifs.

And here’s another scarf pattern—this one a foulard—from Topstitchgirl. She writes her blog entries in both English and French, so here’s a fun chance to try knitting from a pattern in another language (with as-needed peeks at the other), if you’re interested.

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw this O RLY scarf. If you want to know what’s so funny, check this out. Yes, I wear my geek badge proudly!

Here’s a lovely pattern for a scarflet that fastens with buttons. Me, I’m more of a long-scarf person—something that be wrapped around your neck a couple of times—but I do think this is a nice design and could work very nicely (perhaps in a luxury yarn?) for something a bit more formal.


Free lunch: Winter is coming

Winter is coming. (Of course I am rooting for the Starks. Aren’t we all?) What better way to prepare than by knitting some cold-weather gear?

Keep toes warm with these knitted slippers.

Keep babies warm with this knitted vest (inspired by Jared Flood’s Cobblestone Pullover).

Keep babies warm also with the adorable Peace Baby Sweater. The pattern is a free PDF download that the author asks you to pay for by making a contribution to Medecins sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders. I love this pattern, and I love DWB, so I’m including this on the list even though it’s not technically a freebie.

Keep baby legs warm with handknit baby legwarmers.

Keep bird-loving necks warm with the Bird Seed Scarf, knit in seed stitch, lightly felted, them embroidered with a whimsical bird outline (or other animal or object). Simple design, but very crisp and beautifully executed.

Keep scholarly necks warm with this knit pencil scarf. (Pair it with a school bus scarf–which is not, alas, free–and you’ll have a school-worthy set.)

Keep hands warm with the Lady Moss Mittens (which are thrummmed–toasty!).

Keep geeky heads warm with a Space Invaders hat–with earflaps! (And if Space Invaders isn’t your thing, use one of these Star Wars motifs instead!)

Keep your tea warm with the Three French Hens teapot cozy or a robin teapot cozy.


Free lunch, Halloween style

Shortly after I started knitting, I saw some knitted “fruit hats”–you know, the ones that make babies’ heads look like strawberries or blueberries or whatever. I bought the pattern and realized that I didn’t know any babies. So I knit adult-sized hats as several gifts. (This was my first experiment with modifying patterns.) I knit one orange hat with green leaves and a green stem–I called it the Pumpkin Hat, and I wear it proudly every Halloween.

Apparently, some other knitters out there agree with me that pumpkin hats aren’t just for kids. Crazy Aunt Purl just created her own pattern for a knitted pumpkin hat–and a reversible one, at that. There’s another knitted pumpkin hat pattern at Crafty Crafty.

If you’re not keen on wearing pumpkins but still want them around, try knitting up some seasonal decor: felted pumpkins. The best part is that they’ll never rot.

If pumpkins really aren’t your thing but you want to keep warm while trick-or-treating, a knitted skull illusion scarf may be more up your alley.

Of course you need a bag to haul all that candy loot, right? This candy corn-shaped felted bag should do nicely!

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