or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk


Reference Question of the Week – 11/11/12

   November 17th, 2012 Brian Herzog

Knitted diceI've said before that one of my favorite types of reference questions are those I can answer from personal experience. This time, unfortunately, I fell short of living up to my reputation.

A women I had worked with at another library emailed me this question:

...Have you got a pattern for a whistle cozy? ...I need one. And saw your dice pattern on ravelry...so... Got one?

She's referring to a pattern I created to knit a set of Yahtzee die for my brother. That actually wasn't far off from a whistle, but without getting myself a whistle and figuring it out, I had no idea how to modify the pattern to accommodate it.

So, I hoped I could find one online. But when I searched for "knit whistle cozy" (and variations), I kept getting patterns for cozys for penny whistles:

Super Simple whistle case pattern

That pattern is basically a thin sock (with no foot), so it shouldn't be too hard to make. However, when she said "whistle," I was thinking more of a referee whistle - and now I wasn't sure what she wanted.

So, before I emailed her back, I kept looking to see if I could find a referee whistle cozy. I searched through Ravelry, a lot of other websites, and checked the index of all the library's knitting books, but I couldn't find one.

Inhaler Sock to the Rescue!However, I did find something close (if you sort of squint your eyes and hold your tongue just right) - a pattern for an asthma inhaler sock.

That seemed shaped more or less like a whistle (and as the creator also noted, more or less like a small foot), so again the pattern is more or less a very small sock pattern. And the best part is that she came up with the pattern herself.

I wasn't sure if either of these patterns would help my friend though, so I put them both into an email, said I wasn't sure about the penny whistle/referee whistle thing, and sent it off.

Shortly thereafter, she wrote back to say it was indeed a referee whistle she was talking about. It turns out a friend of hers is a security guard, who could use something to keep the duty whistle warm and clean. Awesome.

The success of this answer really depends on my friends knitting skills, but hopefully one of these will work. If I were to try it, I think I might just go with the dice pattern and put a little spout on one end - but thankfully, I don't have to. Good luck, E.



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Knitted Cleveland Browns Stocking Hat

   January 22nd, 2008 Brian Herzog

Browns HatMy younger brother pointed out that I've never made anything for him, so for Christmas, I decided to knit him a Cleveland Browns stocking hat. This is how it turned out.

I had made hats before, but never with vertical stripes, so I had to make that part up on my own (and it took a few attempts to get it right). To knit each color/stripe I worked a different yarn end (2 white, 4 brown, and 2 orange) and then joined them at the top. It was a lot of yarn balls to work with, but it's manageable.

I just made this hat up as I went along, but here's pretty much what I did (A printer-friendly version of this pattern is also available [pdf, 80kb], and so are more photos):

Materials
Needles: 5 double-pointed #7 needles

Yarn: To find the right color orange, I used Caron Perfect Match 100% acrylic medium (4) yarn. Their 355-yard skein was plenty, and I got one in orange, one brown and one white. Before starting, I rolled the orange skein into two orange yarn balls, and did the same with the white. For the brown, I rolled four yarn balls. I kept them all in a bag, and the hat works easiest if you keep them from getting too tangled. Also, I brought up all yarn ends through the hat, so that as I worked, all the working yarn strands were inside the hat (instead of being between you and the work).

Pattern:
Brim:
I did the brim in a solid color to give myself a foundation to work from. I think it would be neater to have the colored stripes as part of the brim, too, but that felt a bit beyond me (nor did I attempt to knit a facemask).

  • Cast on 90 orange stitches (20 sts on needle 1, 25 sts on needle 2, 20 sts on needle 3, and 25 sts on needle 4)
  • Knit 1, purl 1 in the round for about 1-1/2" to 2", depending on desired height
  • Knit three rounds in orange (this is so when the brim flips up, the joined-in colors of the stripes won't show)

Hat Body:
Now it's time to start the colored stripes. From now on, the hat is no longer knitted in the round. Instead, one row is knitted all the way around, then the next row is purled back.

  • Knitted Row (odd rows):
  • Start with needle 1 (which should have 20 sts on it). Knit 3 orange sts, then switch to brown. To do this, drop the orange yarn and pick up the first brown yarn end through the inside of the hat. To twist the brown to the orange, carry the brown around the right side and then over the top of the orange yarn before starting to knit. Knit 4 brown sts.
  • Switch to white (drop the brown yarn and pick up the first white yarn end [again, through the inside of the hat] and twist the white to the brown [carry the white around the right side and then over the top of the brown yarn before starting to knit]). Knit 6 white sts.
  • Switch to the second brown yarn. For every switch, be sure to twist the yarns (and for the first row, make sure you bring the new yarn though the inside of the hat). Knit 4 brown sts.
  • Switch to orange and knit 31 sts (3 to the end of needle 1, 25 on needle 2, and 3 on needle 3)
  • Switch to brown, k4
  • Switch to white, k6
  • Switch to brown, k4
  • Switch to orange, k 31 sts (3 to the end of needle 3, 25 on needle 4, and 3 on needle 1)
  • At this point, there should be sts on all five needles (3 orange on needle 5). Now it's time to purl back.
  • Purled Row (even rows):
  • The first row was knitted, or worked on the "right side" (in this case, the outside of the hat). The next row will be purled, or worked on the "wrong side" (the inside of the hat). Hold the work so needle 5 is in your left hand, and purl the 3 orange sts from needle 5 onto needle 1. Then purl normally the 25 orange sts on needle 4, then the 3 orange sts on needle 3
  • Switch to brown, p4 (again, be sure to twist the brown yarn with the orange)
  • Switch to white, p6
  • Switch to brown, p4
  • Switch to orange, p31 sts (3 to the end of needle 3, 25 on needle 4, and 3 on needle 1)
  • Switch to brown, p4
  • Switch to white, p6
  • Switch to brown, p4
  • Flip the work over and continue with the Knitted Row directions above
  • Continue knitting and purling consecutive rows until the hat body is about 7" tall, or to desired height
  • End having just worked a purl row

Decreasing the Hat Crown:
Normally, the hat pattern I use calls for decreasing 1 st PER multiple of 10 sts PER row. So, for a hat with 90 sts casted on, there are 9 multiples of 10 on each row, so we'd evenly decrease 9 sts per row (to decrease, just knit [or purl] 2 sts together). But in this case, since the stripes cannot be part of the decreasing (they have to stay the same width), all of the decreasing will be done on the orange sts.

To start with, I did all of the decreasing on needles 2 and 4, leaving the 3 orange sts on the ends of needles 1 and 3 alone until needles 2 and 4 were down to 3 sts each.

Another note on decreasing: I chose to randomly space my decreases on needles 2 and 4, instead of spacing them evenly. I tried doing it evenly on my test hat, but it was a pain. So for this part of the pattern, I'm not giving explicit instructions. I'll tell you the number of sts to decrease in each row, and you space them out along that row however you like (just don't put them all together).

  • Starting on needle 1 (having just ended a purl row), k3 orange sts
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3 (needle 1), decrease 5 (all on needle 2), k3 (needle 3)
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3 (needle 2), decrease 4 (all on needle 4), k3 (needle 1)
  • Flip work over to purl back
  • Purl 3 orange sts (from needle 5 onto needle 1), decrease 4 (all on needle 4), p3 (needle 3)
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Switch to orange, p3 (needle 3), decrease 4 (needle 2), p3 (needle 1)
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Flip work over to knit
  • k3 orange sts (needle 1)
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3, decrease 3 (on needle 2), k3
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3, decrease 4 (on needle 4), k3
  • Flip work over to purl back
  • Switch to orange, p3, decrease 3 (on needle 4), p3
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Switch to orange, p3, decrease 3 (on needle 2), p3
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Flip work over to knit
  • k3 orange sts (needle 1)
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3, decrease 3 (on needle 2), k3
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3, decrease 2 (on needle 4), k3
  • Flip work over to purl back
  • Switch to orange, p3, decrease 2 (on needle 4), p3
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Switch to orange, p3, decrease 2 (on needle 2), p3
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Flip work over to knit
  • k3 orange sts (needle 1)
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3, decrease 1 (on needle 2), k3
  • k4brown, k6white, k4brown
  • Switch to orange, k3, decrease 2 (on needle 4), k3
  • Flip work over to purl back
  • Switch to orange, p3, decrease 1 (on needle 4), p3
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Switch to orange, p3, decrease 1 (on needle 2), p3
  • p4brown, p6white, p4brown
  • Flip work over to knit
  • At this point, there should only be 3 sts on needles 2 and 4. Continue decreasing each row by 2 orange sts, but now include the 3 sts on the ends of needles 1 and 3. After 8 more rows, there should be only 1 orange sts on each side

Finishing
Now all that's left is to close off the top and weave in the loose ends.

  • Break off all yarns, leaving about a 6" tail. Pull them all out to the outside of the hat, through the top
  • Slip one orange st to needle 1 and one to needle 3, and hold the needles parallel
  • Pull the orange yarn through the orange loop, and slide the orange st off the needle. Leave orange end loose for now
  • Using the Kitchener Stitch (below), bind together an off the 8 brown sts. Before starting, be sure to twist the brown yarn around the orange yarn
  • Switch to white (twist white and brown) and continue with Kitchener Stitch
  • Switch to brown (twist brown and white) and continue with Kitchener Stitch
  • Twist orange and brown and pull orange yarn through orange loop and off needle
  • Pull all loose ends (top and bottom of hat) to the inside of hat to tie off and weave in

This seems a lot more complicated written out than when I was knitting. If you have any trouble, or see any errors in my pattern, please let me know. Good luck. A printer-friendly version of this pattern is also available [pdf, 80kb].

Kitchener Stitch:
Tread yarn through tapestry needle. Hold needles parallel. Pull tapestry needle through first st on FRONT needle as if to purl & leave on needle, pull yarn through first st on BACK needle as if to knit & leave on needle. *pull tapestry needle through first st on FRONT needle as if to knit & slip st off needle, pull yarn through second st on FRONT needle as if to purl & leave on needle. Pull yarn through first st on BACK needle as if to purl & slip off needle, pull yarn through second st on BACK needle as if to knit & leave on needle*. Repeat from * to * until all sts have been used. Illustrated instructions available at http://www.knitty.com/issuesummer04/FEATtheresasum04.html and http://www.stitchdiva.com/custom.aspx?id=50.

browns,

See more patterns and projects on my Knitting page.



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I am male, hear me knit

   December 13th, 2006 Brian Herzog

Click to see more of Maci in her sweater on flickrI posted on flickr a sweater I knitted for my brother's dog Maci, and have since been asked a couple times for the pattern. I've never written a pattern before, but here's what I came up with. Feel free to use or modify it, and let me know if you have any trouble or suggestions.

Maci's Dog Sweater
Materials & Notes:
Worsted/medium yarn, size 4 double-pointed needles (I use five, but you can probably get away with four)

Maci is a miniature Chihuahua, about three pounds, and this pattern fit her almost perfectly. If you need it slightly bigger, one idea is to use the same pattern, but use size 7 or 8 needles.

Before you start, cut off about a foot of yarn and set it aside for later

The Patern
(works tail to head [or waist to neck]) Cast on 60 sts evenly onto three needles (these are numbered 1, 2 and 3, with 2 being the middle needle)

Waist cuff: work in the round as knit 1 purl 1 for about 2" (or whatever looks good)

Body: knit in the round for 4-1/2" (or size according to dog)

Shoulder Area: when you're ready to make the arm holes, it gets kind of tricky (this is the part I made up myself):

  • knit across needle 1
  • on needle 2, bind off the first 8 sts, slip the next four sts, then bind off the last 8 sts (with the last one binding off with the first st of needle 3). Knit across needles 3 and 1. The working end of the yarn should be at the end of needle 1 (between 1 and 2), and there should be just four sts on needle 2 - hold these on the needle or with a piece of yarn so they don't get dropped, as we will be coming back to them later
  • purl back across needles 1 and 3, then knit back across needles 3 and 1, and repeat this (I call this stockinette) for about ten rows total - basically, this needs to be as tall as the eight bound off stitches are wide. You should finish the stockinette stitch at the end of needle 1 (just before needle 2).
  • when the stockinette is finished, use the foot length of yarn you cut off and set aside at the beginning and work the 4 sts on needle 2 as stockinette for the same number of rows as you did the needles 1 and 3 stockinette. This forms the "chest" section - the section between the arm holes (which for Maci are sized between a quarter and a half-dollar, but it depends on how big your dog's legs are)
  • when the chest section is as tall as the needles 1 and 3 section, you're ready to continue working in the round. With the working end of the yarn at the end of needle 1, cast on 8 sts onto a fourth needle, the knit across the 4 sts from the top of the chest section, then cast on 8 more sts. You should now again have 20 sts on each of the three needles. Finish knitting this row across to the end of needle 3

Neck area: knit one row all the way around. Next, decrease every other row, until you end up with 50 sts total (15 on needle 1, 20 on needle 2, 15 on needle 3). To do this, knit across needle 1, and knit the last two together (sts 19 and 20). Knit across needle 2. On needle 3, knit the first 2 sts together through back loop, then knit out the remaining sts on needle 3. For the next row, knit all sts. For the next row, k17, k2together, k20, k2together through back loop, k17. Alternate this knit together/knit normal row pattern 5 times total, until you are left with 50 sts. Continue knitting these 50 sts in the round until the entire neck measures about 3" from the top of the arms holes

Neck Cuff: work to match the waist cuff (same pattern, same size). When worked to proper length, bind off.

Arms: you will work these one at a time, but they will both be worked the same way

  • with four needles, pick up 8 sts on each of the four sides of an arm hole
  • With a fifth needle, work these with the same pattern as the cuffs, for about an inch (or to the length of the dog's foreleg up to elbow)
  • Do not work a cuff onto the arm - just rib the arm and then bind off after an inch
  • finally, work the second arm the same as the first

Good luck.

See more patterns and projects on my Knitting page.



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