New Pattern! A-Tisket, A-Tasket...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

...A green and yellow basket
    I wrote a letter to my love
    And on the way I dropped it...





Remember those sweet breadbaskets that tied with string and stored flat? I used to buy them whenever I spotted them in a shop because they make such great presents. They're versatile as can be (I've seen them used for storing anything from fresh cross buns to folded hand towels) and when not in use they can be stored flat on a shelf with the linens. I haven't come across any in a while now so I figured I'd try my hand and making my own reversible baskets using double knitting.

Vous connaissez ces petits paniers à pains qui se rangent à plat? Je les adore. (D’accord, alors j’adore presque tous les jolis petits contenants au monde mais pour aujourd’hui je vais limiter mes louanges à ces petits paniers à cordons). Je les achète lorsque je les vois en boutique puisqu’ils font de beaux petits cadeaux utiles, mais ça se fait assez rare alors voici ma version révesible en tricot double face. Je les utiliser pour organiser mes bijoux, de beaux savons, des linges à vaisselle pliés… en fait, c’est rare que je les utiliser pour servir des petits pains! 



These samples were knit from worsted cotton yarn so that they might be used with food and knit up relatively quickly despite double knitting's slight... tediousness. They are also knit using smaller needles than this weight of yarn calls for in order to create a thick, puffy fabric. This means the first few rows call for some really tight and squeaky knitting - best to use nickel plated needles, I think.
That said, I'm just itching to make a few in thinner, hand dyed sportweight wool yarn. I imagine they would be even more comfortable to knit than the unforgiving cotton and even squishier still. Oh, and speaking of squish factor: my lovely co-worker MJ was looking at them and commented that a larger basket would make a neat cat bed. Something tells me that my mom's huge Main Coon would probably try to have a lie down in the smaller  basket, Maru-style. Aside from holding food and delighting adorable cats with questionable spatial awareness, I think these little baskets are great for storing bits and bobs on my sewing table and keeping my dresser top organized.

Ces deux échantillons sont tricotés à partir de laine de coton afin qu’ils puissent être utilisés pour contenir de la nourriture et être lavés fréquemment. J’ai choisi un fil assez épais pour que les paniers se tricotent assez rapidement et des aiguilles plutôt fines pour créer une étoffe épaisse, sinon un peu difficile à tricoter, du moins les premiers rangs. J'ai bien hâte de tricoter d’autres paniers, de laine à 100% cette fois, pour un tricot un peu plus confortable pour les doigts et une étoffe encore plus douce et moelleuse.  Et puisqu’on parle de moelleux, ma collègue MJ a constatée qu’une version un peu plus grande pourrait servir comme petit lit pour chat, grâce au tissu cousiné du tricot double. En fait, j’ai l’impression que le chat de ma mère (un immense Main Coon) s’essayerait quand même, inspiré de MaruJe suis désolée d’offrir les directives uniquement en anglais - j’ai apris à tricoter en français avant même d'apprendre l'anglais à l'école, par contre toutes mes resources artisanales sont en anglais. J’espère un jour apprendre le lexique comme il le faut et être à la mesure d'écrire un patron qui ne sera pas cousu d'anglicismes.

If you've haven't tried double knitting before this is a simple and easy way to give it a go. I recommend you start with the smaller basket until the "yarn-front, yarn-back" motion begins to feel more natural and speedy. There are many terrific Youtube introductions to double knitting, watching one or two might be useful before starting.

Usual warning about my hodgepodge instruction-writing style: it's super wordy, disorganized and all-around clumsy, so I'm sorry in advance. Also, there are many different methods of double knitting as well as various ways to cast on an off, some offering a neater edge that I ended up with, I'm sure. 


A-Tisket, A-Tasket 

Yarn used: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton: 1 skein each colour (I had more than enough yarn for the large cream and green basket using one skein of each colour).

Needles: US4 circular or straight for main knitting and US 6-8 for casting one and casting off.

Gauge (not that this is terribly important) : 7 stitches over 4 inches square.

Finished basked sizes:
Small : flat 7.5 inches square / folded: 4 inches square
Large : flat: 11.5 inches square / folded: 8 inches square

MC = main colour (cream)
CC = contrast colour (blue or green)

Double knitted square :

Using larger needles and holding both yarns together, cast on 29 (47) sts. Because both yarns are held together, you're really casting on 58 (94) sts in half the time :) Try to keep the stitch colours alternating as you cast on (in my case green, cream, green, cream OR blue, cream, blue, cream... you get the idea.) as you cast on, it will make knitting the first row much easier.

Switch to smaller needles and work the four set up rows as follows:

Row 1 (RS): Knit the first st (MC) with MC yarn only. Bring both strands  to the front of work, purl the  CC st with the CC yarn only. Bring both strands to the back of work and once again knit the MC st with MC yarn only, and once again bring both yarns to the front of work and purl CC st with CC yarn only. Continue as established until the last two sts. K2tog, being careful keep the st colours alternating.

Row 2 (WS): Knit the first st (CC) with CC yarn only. Bring both strands of yarn  to the front of work, purl the  MC st with the MC yarn only. Bring both strands to the back of work and once again knit the CC st with CC yarn only, and once again bring both yarns to the front of work a and purl the MC st with MC yarn only. Continue as established until the last two sts. K2tog, being careful keep the st colours alternating.

Repeat these two rows once more.

Row 5: Begin working from chart. Important note about chart: because this is double knitting, each box represents TWO sts. One MC and one CC. So row 1 of chart should be worked as follows:

Knit the first st (MC) with MC yarn only. Bring both strands of yarn forward, purl the  CC st with the CC yarn only. Bring both strands to the back of work and once again knit the MC st with MC yarn only, and once again bring both yarns forward and purl the CC st with CC yarn only. Now it's time to create a contrast pair of  stitches: bring both strands to the back of work and knit the MC st with CC yarn only, then bring both strands to the front of work a knit the CC st in MC yarn only. This creates a single contrast stitch on each side of work. Then go back to knitting the MC sts with the MC yarn and purling the CC sts with CC yarn for 10 stitches (represented by 5 boxes in the chart) before working another contrast pair of sts. Continue following chart until last two stitches, K2tog.

Continue working from chart until your work is as large as you like, stopping when your work resembles the square or rectangle you see fit.

Oh, right. The Chart.





To cast off:

K1, * SSK (you now have two stitches on right hand needle), pass first knit stitch over to cast off one stitch. Repeat form * to end.
Finishing:
Optional border: I debated adding a border to hide the mix of colours around the edges of the square. With the smaller blue/cream basket, I held two strands of the cream yarn (to ensure a thickness that would conceal the colours underneath) and crocheted a simple half double crochet border. I can't remember the hook size... G or H I think? I inserted the hook in every second stitch. A useful video on crocheting a half double crochet border can be found here.  Honestly, I’m still undecided if I prefer the plain edge of the green basket or the crocheted border of the blue.
Ties:
Measure 2 1/4 inches in from each corner and mark with a safety pin. Using a crochet hook or darning needle, Slip one or two strands of yarn (each about the length of a forearm) through the stitches marker by safety pin:



For the two-colour four-stranded round braids, I followed these illustrated instructions, friendship-bracelet style. Although I got faster at making these with each braid, they were more time-consuming than I'd anticipated.
For the much faster two-strand twisted rope/fringe: Begin by twisting one strand to the right until it kinks. Still holding it so that it doesn`t untwist, twist the second strand also to the right until it kinks. Now take both strands and hold them together. Twist both strands to the left, so that they twist together, wrapping around each other. Secure both strands together with a knot at the end of the fringe.

Sew in all ends, block gently (I steamed mine), and you're almost done...



All's left to do is to sit back and enjoy Ella for a little bit.



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