Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Namaste Yoga Mat Bag

Okay, here’s the truth. I’m somewhat conflicted about Noro Kureon yarn. I know a lot of yarnies and knitters believe it’s just totally wonderful. I agree the colors are really nice. It’s one of the few variegated yarns that I enjoy the way the colors work themselves out, and no two skeins, while still in the right color families, are just exactly alike. However, Noro Kureon is not a very consistent yarn with regard to thickness. If you’re working with US 8 needles, it’s very likely you’ll get to a stretch of yarn that’s very thick and difficult to work. I don’t mind that, per se, but I don’t want all my yarn to do that. Also, the yarn is full of trash, like sticks, stems, leaves, etc. I have to stop and clean it out before knitting it. So, I’m a bit conflicted. There are projects where I do agree the results can be stunning.

Anyway, I had a few skeins, some time and a need. I got to work. I created a yoga mat bag, because I needed one. I had 3 skeins of fairly similar colors (2 of one dye lot, 1 of another), so I had to be clever and economical in how I designed it, and I was frustrated with one of my sock projects where I used the wrong needles and made yoga socks for a Yeti.

I decided not to use cotton yarn on this. I have read through some finished projects on Ravelry, and overwhelmingly, those that used cotton complained about the stretching and ‘growing’ that accompanies cotton. Not an uncommon issue and is a tradeoff for being able to throw the thing in the washer/dryer. Making mine out of Kureon insures a requirement of hand washing and lying flat to dry. I also knew I had to deal with the idea of the yarn giving, so I decided to make it work for me, as opposed to against me. I used a vertical lace trellis from Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns (pg. 191) and actually made the bag SMALLER than necessary. Yes, you read that correctly. The bag is NOT made to the size of the mat. It’s made smaller, and the lattice allows for the stretch both horizontally and vertically. This also allows me to use almost half the amount of yarn for my bag as other bags require.

You’ll see.

Namaste Yoga Mat Bag

250 yards of worsted weight yarn (I used 2.5 skeins of Noro Kureon)

Size US 10.5 dpns or circular needles
Size US 7 dpns or circular needles
Tapestry needle.

Lace trellis pattern:
Row 1 – knit all
Row 2 – K3, *YO, K2tog*, repeat from * to end
Row 3 – Knit all
Row 4 – K2, *SSK, YO*, repeat from * to 1 remaining stitch, K last stitch.

To Begin

With size US 10.5, cast on 61 stitches (If you’re altering the pattern, the lace trellis requires an odd number of stitches)

Bag Body

Rows 1 – 5 – Knit all.

Row 6 – Begin 1st row of lace trellis pattern (which is also a knit row)
Row 7 and on – complete lace trellis pattern

You will continue with the 4 row lace trellis pattern until the work stretches easily (with little effort) the required width of your mat. My mat is 25” wide. For me, I needed 27 repeats of the pattern at an unstretched length of 20” (stockinette and lattice).

Knit 3 rows (in stockinette stitch) until last stitch of the 3rd round. K2tog (with 1st stitch of the round), and move to the right needle.

Next row, begin with a YO, *K7, K2 tog, YO* repeat from * until last 6 stitches. K6 to end

Knit 3 rows.

Complete Row 2 from Lattice Pattern – (K3, *YO, K2tog* repeat from * to end).

Knit 1 round.

Bind off purl wise loosely.

Bottom of bag

This will be a series of decreases, much like those used on the top of a skull cap knit in the round. The smaller needles give you a more dense fabric to withstand more weight and pressure.

Change to US #7 needles.

On the opposite side of the cast on edge, pick up 61 stitches. [Note: I actually had to make a personal adjustment here, and pick up 63, and K2tog at 30 and 60 stitches on the first round]

Round 1 – Knit all

Round 2 – Knit all

Round 3 – K 6, K2tog until 5 stitches remain. K5 to end.

Round 4 – Knit all

Round 5 – K 5, K2tog until 5 stitches remain, K5 to end

Round 6 – Knit all

Round 7 – K4, K2tog until 5 stitches remain, K5 to end

Round 8 – Knit all

Round 9 – K2tog around

Round 10 – Knit all

Cut yarn and pull tail through loops. Pull secure and weave loose ends.

I cord

I cord specifically isn’t necessary, but it’s what I used. If you need a good tutorial, here's one with pictures. However, you can use a braided cord, finger knitting or purchased ribbon. Whatever you use, you need about 25” of it. Thread it thorough the YO holes in the stockinette band at the top of the bag.

Carry Strap

This is probably the most complicated part of the bag, due to the method of attachment. Just go with it, and it does work.

Use US #10.5 needles.

Pick up 4 stitches at the CO edge at the bottom also along the stockinette rib that runs up the side. This will be in garter stitch to give some texture. Knit 4. Turn. Knit 4. Turn. Pick up 1 stitch from the stockinette and place on left needle. K2tog with 1st live stitch. (You are securing the strap while knitting the 3rd row). Do this with the 3 remaining live stitches on the left needle, picking up stitches from the stockinette, and K2tog.

Turn work, and knit across.

Turn work and do another row of PU stockinette stitch, K2tog to end.

That makes 3 rows that were attached to the stockinette rib. From this point, knit in straight garter (knit all rows) until strap, unstretched, just reaches the rows of stockinette at the top of the bag. Given the size of the needles and the garter stitch, there is a lot of give in the strap, and requires no extra knitting. Here’s another area where I had gauge and yarn work for me.

Carefully turn strap under, taking care not to twist strap. Pick up 1 stockinette stitch, slide onto left needle and K2tog. Repeat this process with the 3 remaining live stitches on the left needle. Turn work and knit across. Repeat the PU 1, K2tog row. Turn and knit across. Last row is a PU1, K2tog row. After this, break yarn and thread tail through the loops, carefully pulling taunt. Weave loose ends.

This pattern is the property of Jenni P McD and all rights are reserved. It is provided free for your personal, not commercial use. If you wish to post or use this pattern, please contact me for permission. Thank you. This pattern is also listed on Ravelry for your convenience.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Letting the Baby Pups Breathe

While working on my various incarnations of yoga/Pilates socks, I realized I really wanted to see if I could pull one off that offered some coverage for at least a portion of the toes while having the ball of the foot open for mat work. In the process of creating that sock (still very much a WIP at the moment), I realized one of the skills may somewhat daunting to some knitters. To me? Not so much. I’m a ‘tackle in and wrestle it into submission’ kind of gal, so I would come up with a way that works for me. You may find a better tutorial or one more suited to your learning style at another site. This pattern at Knitty has some instructions and were actually the initial starting point for my Tabi Socks. You may also have another way you prefer having completed fingerless gloves. Not having made any of those (yet), I’m not sure about how the grafting of the thumb or fingers would compare in this instance. However it works out, this is for those who just like to have extra information. That’s totally cool. I’m very much with Annie Modesitt that there’s NO WRONG WAY TO KNIT.

Here’s my madcap, somewhat Frankenstein manner of creating and joining toecaps. The needle sizes, stitch numbers, etc are what I am currently using in my prototype. However, the numbers and instructions are adaptable for any sock. The extreme flexibility of my method means you can create these toecaps without having to worry about left/right or front/back. They are totally interchangeable at the point we will be stopping. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m going to refer to the big toe as the ‘thumb’ and the other toes as the ‘fingers’.

Creating the Open Toe Caps

For something this small, double points are probably best, as opposed to circulars. I am using US #2 (3.00 mm) with some Lorna’s Laces sock yarn. After casting on 20 stitches and dividing between 3 needles (8 st, 6 st, 6 st), I knitted a K1P1 rib for 10 rounds.

I transferred the completed thumb toe cap to a spare circular for safekeeping, dividing the number of stitches in half, 10 on one side, and 10 on the other. Leaving a somewhat long tail, cut the toe cap from the ball of yarn.

Begin the finger toes cap in the same manner, casting on 40 stitches. Using US #2 (3.00mm) DPNs, knit in a K1P1 rib for 10 rounds.

Upon completion, start threading the finger toe cap onto a US #2 circular. Make sure that you’re feeding the stitches in the same order as if you were knitting them, so they will align properly and the yarn will be in the correct place when we’re ready to resume knitting.

When you are finished, you should have 20 stitches on the circular needle.

Thread half of the thumb toecap stitches (10) beside the finger toecap stitches. Which side of the toecap really doesn’t matter. I like to try and ensure one of the long yarn tails is on this side, so if have any holes, I can close them when I weave in my loose ends.

Pull the needle through (but not enough to lose the stitches you just placed on the needle), and loop the wire around if you plan to use one circular needle. If you are using 2 circular needles, this is the place to start using the second. Taking care not to close the slack between the two sides of the sock, begin to thread the last 10 thumb toecap stitches on the needle.

You are now ready to pick up the last 20 finger toecap stitches, the last one being the one with the yarn attached to the ball.

Turn work, and continue knitting for 19 stitches in the current knitting pattern, in this instance, K1P1. At the 20th stitch, pass to the right needle for holding. On the thumb toecap, between the front and back wire, use your needle to pick up the yarn there.

Give the loop a twist and add the newly created stitch to the left needle.

Replace the passed #20 stitch back on the left needle. Given the pattern used, slip the yarn and need to purl stitch #20 and the new created twisted stitch together.

Continue K1P1 to end of row. Turn work, continuing pattern for 9 stitches (thumb toecap minus 1 stitch). Slip that #10 stitch to the right needle. Repeat the process for creating the new twisted stitch. Place the #10 stitch back on the left needle, and purl the #10 and new twisted stitch together.

Continue K1P1 pattern to end of row. You are now ready to work the sock in the round, and I continued to do so for 2 more rounds.

That’s it! If after further work on the sock, you notice some holes at the join site, use the leader yarn left to weave the holes closed while weaving the yarn ends secure.

Hopefully, this little tutorial was able to help or inspire you. If you have any questions, give me a shout out here, or on Ravelry, and I’ll be glad to give you whatever help I can.

By the way, I totally apologize for the quality of photos here. I usually try to do better than this, but the light was lousy, and I was stuck inside a cave today.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Easy Peasy Yoga - Pilates Socks

These are a quick easy knit. Designed to keep the heels and toes open for gripping the mat, these socks are totally functional and fun. It's basically a K2P1 rib with some garter stitching at the opening points. Easy. Feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions. This pattern can also be found on Ravelry.
Easy Peasy Yoga - Pilates Socks

Approximately 80 to 100 yrds of fingering weight sock yarn. The samples are made of Claudia's Hand Painted Yarn in Ingrid's Blues colorway purchased from The Loopy Ewe. Any thicker type sock yarn should work fine.

US size 3 (3.25 mm) dpns or circular needles

Cast on 42 stitches.

Join in round, taking care not to twist stitches.

R1 - Knit all stitches

R2 - Purl all stitches

R3 - Knit all stitches

R4 -Purl all stitches

R5 - Knit all stitches

R6 - Begin K2 P1 rib

R7 through R41 - Continue K2 P1 rib (this was approximately 3.5 inches for me. You may want more or less rows depending on your desired sock size.)

R42 - K2P1 for 21 stitches (this is the top of your sock), K 21 (this is the bottom of your sock)

R43 - K2P1 for 21 stitches (top), P 21 (bottom)

R44 - K2P1 for 21 stitches (top), Cast Off 21 (bottom - I add an extra knitted stitch every 5th stitch for a bit of extra give)

R45 - R46 will be worked back and forth

R45 - Slip 1st stitch. K1P1, K2P1 to end. Turn work.

R46 - Slip 1st stitch. P1K1, P2K1 to end. Turn work.

R47 - Slip 1st stitch. K1P1, K2P1 to end. Cast on 21 stitches. Join in round, taking care not to twist stitches.

R48 - K2P1 for 21 stitches (top of sock); K21 stitches (bottom of sock)

R49 - K2P1 for 21 stitches (top of sock); P21 stitches (bottom of sock)

R50 - K2P1 for 21 stitches (top of sock); K21 stitches (bottom of sock)

R51 - K2P1 all stitches.

R52- R86 - Continue in K2P1 pattern. This is the point to add more rows of the K2P1 pattern if you wish a longer top to your sock.

R87 - K all stitches

R88 - P all stitches

R89 - K all stitches

R90 - Bind off loosely. For a bit more give, I place an extra knit stitch every 6th bind off stitch.

Complete the 2nd sock, and you're ready to try your Downward Facing Dog or Warrior Poses.


This pattern is the property of Jenni P McD and all rights are reserved. It is provided free for your personal, not commercial use. If you wish to post or use this pattern, please contact me for permission. Thank you.

We've Only Just Begun

I plan on using this place as the start for all my "things" that I want for others, but don't really have a place on my personal blog. Hopefully, this will be the repository for those thoughts, patterns, items, etc.

Six Degrees Arts? Well, it's sort of its own version of Six Degrees how I came up with that name. The original idea came from a bunch of really smart people with a lot of time on their hands that say we're never more than a step or two from someone else. It's the ever shrinking world phenomonon. The movie came out in the 90's, and was quickly followed by 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Even he has taken it one step further and created the 6 Degrees Org, a non profit charity. I even have a badge on my Jenni P McD blog.

And, that's part of the story.

The other part involves the 6 girls from Georgia Southern who fiercely bonded together, despite their very diverse talents and temprements. Sometimes, those girls save me from myself, and I'd give anything for them. I've already done that a time or two.

Lastly, I have rather eclectic artistic taste. I dabble a bit in everything.

So, keep your eyes peeled and let's see what develops.