The Braided Trivet Solution

Standard

After three years of knitting, I’ve amassed a ridiculous amount of scrap yarn. This is the yarn where there’s too much to throw away yet not enough to complete even a small project. It’s a conundrum every knitter faces – What the heck do you do with all that extra yarn?

K1506_small2The solution came to me in the Summer 2015 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. In it, there was article on nifty ways to use an i-cord for household items, like coasters, seat cushions, and trivets. My interested was lukewarm at first – I loved the idea of knitting things for my home, but I hated the prospect having to knit i-cords. After knitting several i-cords for a tank top I made a couple of years ago, I swore I’d never do it again.

Then, I read a little further and found out there’s a much easier way to create the dreaded i-cord. Remember those tube knitting tools for kids? Well, take that idea and mechanize it with a crank and rotating hooks. The Embellish Knit essentially “motorizes”  the i-cord process. Sign me up!

7350374

I tracked down an Embellish Knit at my local craft store and got to work! Creating an i-cord has never been easier – In under twenty minutes the Embellish Knit can crank out a 75 inch i-cord. After learning how to knit an i-cord on needles and hating every minute of it, I believe this is the best invention ever created for knitters!

My first trivet was created with leftover sock yarn from socks I made earlier this year. I simply turned the crank and made three 70″ i-cords. Then, I tied the top sections together by the tail yarn. I secured those ends to the back of a chair and braided the cords together. The last step is stitching the braid into a coil, using a horizontal zig-zag stitch, (the entire process is outlined visually in Interweave’s article).

I ended up with a 6″  trivet that didn’t buckle thanks to the horizontal zig-zag stitch.

100_5959

6″ sock yarn braided trivet – wool, alpaca, acrylic blend.

The success of the first trivet led me to experiment with other scrap yarns in different colors and weights. Through the process of trial and error I learned the Embellish Knit can handle a variety of different yarns, but anything above #3 weight yarn gets tangled in the hooks. Wool, cotton, acrylic, and blended fibers all seemed to work well as long they are on the lightweight end of gauge.

My scrap yarn basket has thankfully been reduced significantly thanks to a number of successful trivet projects.

100_5956

6.5″ braided trivet – spun and worsted 3-ply wool.

100_5960

7″ braided trivet – 100% cotton, sport weight

100_5955

8″ braided trivet – worsted weight wool, 10 ply

This one is definitely a birthday present for my mother-in-law. Turquoise is her favorite color and the yarn came from a pair of socks I made for her two years ago.

100_6021

7.5″ braided trivet – wool/acrylic blend, #3 weight

The most recent trivet I made is for me. It matches my kitchen perfectly and I love the heft of a lightweight worsted wool.

100_6025

8″ braided trivet – worsted weight wool, 10 ply

Some of these lovely trivets will be wrapped up as Christmas gifts and some will make their way into my kitchen. Either way, I’m thrilled to have a practical, yet fun way to use up yarn that would otherwise just sit there tempting my cat to make a mess.

– – –

c.b.w. 2015

From Epic Fail to Grand Success

Standard

My journey into the knitting world started with a sock loom and gradually evolved towards using traditional needles. I made more than 20 pairs of socks, 4 hats, 1 scarf, 1 cowl, and 1 blanket before I took on a challenge that was waaaay beyond my skill level. I blame Interweave Knits magazine for presenting a pattern for a super cute camisole. Despite having limited experience with knitting needles, I decided I needed to make the Hashtag Camisole. How hard could it be? Famous last words.

I hunted online for a good deal on the yarn, albeit a different color than the pattern stipulated, (Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, #28 Blue Pine Green). Once it showed up on my doorstep, I should have taken it as a sign that I was in over my head. Even though it was beautiful, I didn’t know yarn could be that thin and split so easily at the same time. Still, my love for that camisole overtook any sense of rational thought.

Before digging into my pricey stash of yarn, I played it smart by using crappy yarn to learn all the new stitches I needed to master as well practice the chevron lace pattern that dominates the piece from top to bottom. After completing a nice sample, I felt confident in moving forward with the project.

All went well with casting on, creating the hem, and knitting the lace pattern itself . . . until row 28. Disaster! After a routine stitch count, I realized I had dropped a stitch. Worse still, it was near a yarn over, so the hole was huge. I had no idea how to reconstruct the stitch and those that fell apart around it. After more than two hours of trying everything, I thought I had it fixed. I was so wrong. Within seconds, another stitch dropped. Soon after, an extra stitch magically appeared in another section. Don’t ask me how this happened because I still don’t know.

I ended up ripping out every row in a mad fury of frustration. Then, I grumbled as I wound the yarn mess back into a little ball. Grrrrrrrrr!

After two days, I decided the pattern and the yarn were not going to win. I picked up my needles and started over again. This time, I was more careful about placing markers and counting stitches. I think my initial mistake was over-excitment with a dash of biting off more than I could chew. Not one to go down easily, I made the choice to learn from my mistakes. I took my time and went about my work one stitch at a time.

In two months, I had a beautiful Hashtag Camisole without a single dropped stitch. It fits like a glove and actually looks identical to the picture in the magazine (just in a different color).

100_3070

My Hashtag Camisole!

Completing this project was an odyssey to say the least, but I’m glad I stuck with it and didn’t give in to frustration. I even got a little bonus when the designer of the pattern favorited my finished project on ravelry.com. If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is!

Knit on!

– – –

c.b.w. 2013