Sunday, October 9, 2016

ZAK Knits: Dishcloths Come Full Circle

Hey everyone! What's going on? Today's Monday, which means a new blog post! You'll get another blogpost on Wednesday and Friday so let's get right into this.

So last week I was out on a family trip and we stopped by a store and got some new yarn skeins.

These are four 2 oz (56.7 g) Medium Peaches & Creme skeins that have about 95 yards (86 m) of yarn in them. The colors are (in order of the photos top left to top right, then down left to down right) Candy Sprinkles (Twists), Yuletide, Candy Sprinkles, and Shades of Rust. Now I know what you're saying, "Why did you get two candy sprinkles?", well.. when I was picking out the skeins I didn't actually realize they were the same color. They are different in the sense that one is a twists variation and one is a normal variation but yeah I need to remember to read the label before I buy in future. 

My mum and I decided to uses these skeins to make some round dishcloths. More specifically Crazy Eights Dishcloths using a pattern by Julie Tarsha from the blog Simply Notable. You can check out the pattern on Ravelry here or on her blog post. The dishcloth I made used the Shades of Rust skein. So join me now as I take you through the progress of making this dishcloth! You can read at your own pace, and even knit along if you want. I didn't take photos of every row I did but I took enough to show my progress.

Now I am a beginner knitter, I've been knitting for about three weeks now, my mum has been teaching me everything. I really shouldn't even be attempting this pattern yet but it looked cool so I'm making a leap and jumping right into it. I hope this blog will encourage any new knitters who read this to have a go as well, and to not give up after making mistakes.

Before I tell you the process I want to mention that I'm using US 8 (5.00mm) UK 6 circular needles. The needles are actually Options Rainbow Wood Cable Knitting Needles. You can find them on Knit Picks, the size I'm using cost $7.49 (USD) for a packet of two needle tips. I don't believe these come with a cable so you'd have to buy that separately.

To begin with I casted on 16 stitches, which my mum showed me how to do, then I finished off the rest of the stitches, this is actually my first project where I'm casting on myself. The blanket I'm knitting well my mum already had it casted on for me. I also learned how to cast on using just one needle and my finger but for this project I used both needles.
So it began! I had some real difficulties in the beginning, actually. This was my first time using a pattern and I've only knitted backwards and forwards without any other kind of stitches thrown in. See in this pattern after casting off you knit normally, leave the last stitch on the needle, then turn and knit back to the end you started on, then repeat. This is form of a short row, and you probably already know all that stuff because I really am a novice at this. The cotton yarn also proved to be a bit difficult sometimes because I would accidentally put my needle through the actual yarn strand or it would slip of the needle completely. I'm really glad I used wooden needles and not metal needles because those would of proven to be even more difficult I think. Despite the difficulties though this has really been a great learning curve and I enjoyed knitting this up.

At this point I had 4 rows done so you can't see the round shape forming just yet but it's slowly forming. Now I have to mention something, apparently I knit pretty tightly. I don't mean to have such a tight gauge, I guess it's because I'm a beginner but my mum's dishcloth actually looks larger then mine because her gauge is slightly less tight then mine. We actually used one size needle larger then what the pattern says because my mum knew I was such a tight knitter. I hope I loosen up as I do more projects.

Here we go, you can just now start to see the curve forming in the dishcloth. At this point things started to get a bit easier, I was starting to memorize the pattern a bit more. This is still on the first section though, there are 8 sections in all which means once you do the 18th row you have to repeat and start from row 1 again.
One section is now done! It's curving nicely and starting to look like a round dishcloth. My gauge is still too tight and it's caused me some issues with knitting. I've accidentally dropped stitches a lot so far but I've managed to pick them pack up with no signs that I ever dropped them. This has been pretty relaxing I did two sections in one night actually and I continued on throughout the weekend. Now I have to admit something, not everything went according to plan. You'll see in the next photo..

Do you see it? (You can click or tap on the image to enlarge it) Yeah I goofed up big time. At some point I forgot to turn and the knitting ended up going the other direction! Not good at all. I was actually 6 sections in before I realized I had made this error so my mum had to take me all the way back to the end of the 3rd section by unpicking the whole lot. This is what happens when you get too eager and not carefully follow your pattern. See I did two sections the first night but decided to do four the next night, and it's safe to say this pattern definitely requires you concentrate and not rush ahead. I feel kind of embarrassed that I made a such a mistake and even more embarrassed the fact I made it AGAIN the next night when I was doing sections six through eight to the point I had to go back to section five and re do the lot again.

Here's the progress so far with all the mistakes fixed. It's looking like a proper half circle this time so four sections are completed. There's something I think could really help on this pattern and I should've used it from the beginning and that's a stitch marker. Any kind of clip on, or hoop stitch mark will work. I started using a marker after I made the mistakes on section 6-8 and it made life a whole lot easier. I placed it on the stitch I was to leave on the needle indicating where I needed to turn my work. 

Now I'm going to put this out there and say that I got pretty upset (Well upset in my mind I didn't throw a fit or anything.) when I had to unpick all my hard work because of the mistake I made. I felt like giving up completely, shoving my work in a bag and forgetting about it. I want to make this very clear, do NOT ever give up. You're going to make these kinds of mistakes when you're starting out and feel pretty bad when you have to unpick and redo. Just keep at it, you'll get there and you'll learn a lot from your mistakes. Knitting can be an awesome hobby (or even career for a lot of successful people I know out there.) if you relax and just keep at it! I bet a lot of experienced knitters still make mistakes here and there but you just work through it and you'll get there!

I actually forgot to take photos of the 5-8th sections, oops. All you do is repeat what you did in the first section seven times though. Anyway I managed to make it to the 18th row of the 8th section, this is where you gotta cast off. My mum taught me how to cast off and I carried on until all the stitches were casted off. Now the fun part begins (AKA the tedious part)..

This is where you stitch all of it together to make the finished round dishcloth. There's a few ways you can do this but I did it using a sewing needle. I already have quite some experience doing sewing so it was the easiest method for me. I sewed the two ends together (Using the yarn you were knitting with of course, it's best to use a darning needle so you can easily get the yarn through the needle loop) then did a gather stitch around the middle to seal it all together.

Voila! I finished the dishcloth! This is my very first knitting project i've completed so I'm pretty proud of myself. I had a few hair pulling moments but I kept trucking on and I love how it turned out in the end. Here's the funny part, I will NOT be using it as a dishcloth. I've decided to use this as a doily and I'm going to be making a second one out of this yarn to make a matching pair. The colors remind me of Autumn and Thanksgiving so I thought they would make great doilies to put Thanksgiving candles on. Now this entire dishcloth used about half of the yarn skein. As I mentioned in the beginning the skeins were 2 oz large. I measured out what I had left and it surprisingly came out to 1.11 oz left. So I will be making a second one out of what's left!

So that wraps up the project, it was fun actually so don't let my mistakes discourage you! You'll have way more fun then you will frustration. I want to try making some different shaped dishcloths, washcloths, and doilies so I will totally blog about any new projects I do. It feels great knowing I made something physical like this and I really want to continue knitting, learning, and making bigger and better items.

Oh yeah! I haven't given up on the blanket I'm making yet either I have gotten a bit farther on it. I've decided to just keep going until Christmas then cast off, so it may end up being a pretty big blanket.

Anyway I'm going to sign off now, thanks for reading and I hope this encouraged you to give knitting and this pattern a try! Special thanks to Julie for making this cool pattern.

See you on the next blog!

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