Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jack-o-Lantern Cup Cozy

I'm always stunned by the passage of time. It's the Fourth of July, then suddenly we're a third of the way through October. Fortunately, that leaves two-thirds of the month to knit and enjoy this little treat!

I've used Plymouth Yarn's Encore in worsted weight on US Size 5 (3.75 mm) needles. Gauge is 24 stitches and 48 rows = 4" (10 cm). The yarn has 25% wool content, but is still machine wash and dry. (This is a very important consideration for a cup cozy!) A crochet hook, stitch markers, and a cable needle are necessary equipment.

The cozy is worked in "Slip-stitch Knitting." Only one color of yarn is handled in each pair of rows. When the other color is required in a location, the stitch of that color from the previous row is slipped without it being worked. All stitches are slipped as if to purl, keeping the yarn to the wrong side of the project.

In order to round the "corners" of the jack-o-lantern, the base of its stem, and its smile, I threw in some one-over-one cable twists. Like all twists, these keep one stitch in front and one stitch in back. A stitch might be slipped from the cable needle without being worked or it might be knitted in the opposite color.

If you've never knit from a chart, it can seem a little daunting. (Okay, very, very daunting.) But, really, all it does is express knitting instructions in symbols with the advantage of showing a rough version of what the project is supposed to look like. I've tried to make my symbols intuitive so a slipped stitch is shown as an upright line and a stitch that is knit on both front and back is shown by a squiggle resembling garter stitch. Most importantly, I've used the colors of the yarn in all the symbols.

I've resisted using many abbreviations, but these are the few that I did:
RS: Right Side
WS: Wrong Side
RN: Right Needle
LN: Left Needle
CN: Cable Needle


List of Symbols

By convention, charts are read from bottom to top. The row number is on one side of the chart; right side rows are listed on the right-hand side and wrong side rows are listed on the left. Since the wrong side rows in this project mimic the color sequence of the right side rows, I've used one line of symbols for both. 

Since this is a small pictorial project, I've represented the whole thing in the chart. It shows that each row is 46 stitches. The blue lines represent where you might want to put in stitch markers. From the beginning (right-hand side) of the row, there are two edge stitches followed by 14 background stitches (2 stitches repeated 7 times). The picture occurs between stitches 17 through 31 inclusive. Then there are another 14 background stitches and one more edge stitch.

For the cast-on, I prefer to use one that will match the bind-off. This goes by a number of different names; this video calls it "crochet cast-on" and demonstrates a very easy way of doing it starting at about 1:30 in. I do it very firmly. This makes the bottom of the cozy a bit narrower than the top without having to use increases.

The bind-off is worked loosely in knit on the wrong side. Leave a long tail of the black yarn to sew up the seam. Secure all the ends. Wet it, if desired, and allow it to dry on a glass.

This is what it looks like before the finishing work is done. I will write about the very tidy seaming technique next time.

Until then.

No comments:

Post a Comment