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Knitty Gritty: Sushi for the Bathroom

Posted on by MK Carroll

UPDATE: DIY Network no longer has the pattern available on their website; a very basic no frills version is available as a

free PDF download

through Ravelry.

Sushi for the Bathroom

Knitty Gritty Episode DKNG-411

Host:

Vickie Howell

Sushikg

Behind the scenes: (

California, part I

, posted October 2005, and

things to look for

posted August 2006.

COLOR CHOICES

TV cameras have a hard time with certain colors, like solid black, white, and red.  To compensate for that, I chose yarn colors that would not wreak havoc on camera.  If you prefer,

Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton

in Tulip White and Ink Black can be used instead of the Bone and Fern Green.  In addition to camera-friendly, I chose colors from the available palette of

Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton

to keep it simple on the planning end.

One of my Knitsters asked me what the “flavors” were - I didn’t have any in mind, honestly, I just went for colors that looked good on camera and together.  Personally, I love the bold graphic look of a solid red center against bright white, framed with black, which can be done with

Blue Sky Alpacas Cotton

in Tomato Red, Tulip White, and Ink Black.  The Bamboo Tank Runner colors were chosen with the same restrictions in mind; the original colors that I had selected didn’t work for television. 

Feel free to change up the colors to suit your taste and decor!

TECHNIQUES

The Knitty Gritty producers like showing viewers new techniques and sharing tips and tricks, so rather than show the original

Sushi TP Cozy

as published in the premiere issue of

Crochet me

, I worked up a pattern using short rows for shaping, intarsia for the filling, and garter stitch to give it more texture.  The provisional cast-on and three-needle bind off provide the chance to show a couple more techniques that may be of interest to beginner knitters.

This does make sizing trickier than the original pattern, though.  If the sushi TP cozy in the show looks a little odd to you, it's because I didn't think to bring a roll of TP for it - it's being held up by a paint can which was not the same size as the TP roll.

WHAT'S UP WITH THOSE STEP-OUTS?

You'll notice that the step-outs (the step-by-step pieces) for the top were done with yellow and green yarn instead of the yarns used for the finished project.  Fewer stitches were cast on and a chunkier yarn was used so that the progress in the pattern could be shown more quickly.  This is something the producers have chosen to stop doing because viewers report that it's confusing!  It was too late by the time we shot my episode to change that for the top - guess who sat up late knitting full-size step-outs of the tank runner in the right yarns?

AAH!  SLOW DOWN!  or DO THAT AGAIN?

The demos in the show move really quickly - ideally, you would have a chance to download the pattern first and then watch the show.  You can check out the patterns and some still photos from each episode on the DIY Network website; the

list of episodes

is organized by season.

VARIATIONS

You can get a perfect custom fit

with a gauge swatch, measuring tape, fitting model, and a little math.  First, measure the diameter of the fitting model (across the top).  Divide that by 2 to get the radius.  Ex.: the diameter measures 4 inches.  4 divided by 2 = 2.  The gauge for the pattern is 20 stitches = 4 inches, or 5 stitches = 1 inch.  Multiply the stitches per inch by the radius (5 x 2 =10).  Add 1 for the edge (10 + 1 = 11).  The "filling" takes a little less than half of the space, so cast on 7 stitches with the white yarn and 4 stitches with the first filling color.  Work as the pattern instructs, adjusting the number of stitches to reflect what you have cast on (for the cast on of 11 stitches, work to the last stitch = k10, on the next row, k9, on the following row, k8, etc.).

Don’t want to do a provisional cast-on?

You don’t have to - just do a long-tail or cable cast on, bind off the last row, and sew up the seam.  There are also other ways to do a provisional cast-on that you may prefer; I chose this method because the live stitches stay on the waste yarn when you undo the crochet chain, which may be helpful for knitters who get nervous when the live stitches are easily exposed.  You may have noted that I didn’t quite answer Vickie’s question about the scrap yarn used for the provisional cast-on.  She asked about matching the yarn weights and I stressed using a smooth yarn like mercerized cotton.  Ideally, you should use a scrap yarn in the same weight as the yarn being used in the pattern - in this case, worsted weight - but if you don’t have appropriate scrap yarn, you’ll be okay as long as the difference is not extreme (e.g. dk/sportweight will still work, fingering/baby weight will not).  Personally, I really like using satin ribbon, which won’t snag.

If you don’t want to take on short rows

, the original pattern can be done in the round or worked flat.

Like doing short rows, don’t like the look of garter stitch?

You can work it as stockinette if you prefer - knit the knits, purl the purls.

Don’t enjoy intarsia?

Work the top entirely in the rice color and then add the fillings in later.  Some alternate methods include duplicate stitch, embroidery, beads, and pieces of felt.

The three-needle bind-off

was another technique chosen with TV in mind.  You can get an invisible seam by grafting the first and last rows together.  The thought of demonstrating grafting on television gave me hives, so I chose the three-needle bind-off instead.  If you don’t like grafting either, you can do a long-tail or cable cast-on instead of the provisional cast-on, bind off the last row, and sew the seam together.

For the Bamboo Tank Runner, the producers loved that the slip-stitch pattern created vertical stripes with just two balls of yarn - not a single bobbin in sight. 

If the thought of working a slip-stitch pattern is just too much for you

, a tank runner can be worked from end to end in garter stitch, alternating two colors every two rows.

I used bamboo needles

during the taping because they don't reflect light the way that metal needles do.  With cotton, I prefer using metal needles, but metal needles may be too slick for some beginners, so use whatever you are most comfortable with.

SOME NOTES ABOUT THE YARN

Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton

and

Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton

are both 100% cotton worsted weight yarns.  The first thing most people say about this yarn is "oh, it's so soft!".  The Dyed Cotton is organically grown (that is, without agrichemicals) and then dyed.  Currently, there are 25 colors ranging from soft pastels to brights to earthtones.  The Organic Cotton is undyed (the colors are the natural colors of the plant), and are not bleached, making this a wonderful choice for babies and people with sensitive skin.  The colors will brighten and deepen with the first washing and have a beautiful depth and clarity.  You can find it online at

Kpixie

and

Jimmy Beans Wool

or you can use the

Blue Sky Alpacas Store Locator

.  If you'd like to substitute a yarn, any smooth worsted weight yarn in colors that you like will do.  If you are making the washcloth and bathmat and live in a humid climate, you may want to use a fast-drying acrylic or acrylic blend (see below).

THE WASHCLOTH AND BATHMAT

Cotton - especially a double layer of cotton - will take a long time to dry in some climates.  The washcloth and bathmat should be hung up to dry between uses.  If you live in a humid climate, you may want to consider substituting an acrylic or acrylic/cotton blend yarn.

WANT MORE SUSHI?

Nigiri sushi baby wipe cozy pattern

, available for download via

Lulu

- crochet version in progress.

My

crocheted sushi pillow

pattern is in

Get Hooked

, Watson-Guptill Publications, ed.

Kim Werker

The

original crochet and crochet/knit patterns

, published in the premiere issue of

Crochet me

magazine

The

entirely knit version

of the original

Sushi jewelry and stitch markers

from

Amyville

LOVE IT?  HATE IT?  TELL THE NETWORK!

The show producers really want to get feedback from viewers, good bad and otherwise - during the episode I was in, things were getting changed during the shoot specifically because of feedback they'd been getting.  You can comment on

the DIY Network message boards

, the

DIY Network Questions and Comments form

, or email

Screen Door Entertainment

, the production company that does Knitty Gritty.

The target audience is beginner level knitters - I know a lot of the viewers are more advanced and would like to see more complex, advanced techniques on the show.  Tell 'em!

WANT TO BE ON KNITTY GRITTY?

If you'd like to be a Knitster or featured designer, contact

Screen Door Entertainment

.  FYI: because I do freelance work and have not published a book, I didn't have a publishing company to foot the bill for me - I paid my own expenses (airfare, hotel, food, etc.).  Because DIY is a small network and Knitty Gritty is a small show, this is likely to be the case for you as well.

GOT QUESTIONS?

Ask away!

Lady Linoleum

:

"Do the knitsters ask canned questions or do they ask their own questions?"

Lady, how does half-canned sound?  If I'm remembering right, they were asked if they had any questions, some of the questions were chosen, I worked out an answer with the segment producer ("honey, do whatever puts the frosting on your cupcake" is not acceptable, btw), and the knitsters were cued to ask the question during taping. 

psst - If you like crocheted eyeballs, be sure to catch

Lady Linoleum's guest spots

on upcoming episodes of

Uncommon Threads

!

Loretta:

"

I wish you had demonstrated the "Wrap & turn" and Life Wrap and

Knit" I assume this is the decrease stitch but am having trouble making

it work."

Loretta, I know we filmed a segment demonstrating the short rows - still haven't seen the episode, so I don't know that it was included.  There are some good demos on the web:

* Knitty Summer 2003 "

Wrap Your Mind Around This

"

* Stitch Diva Studios Short Row Tutorial

* Knitwerk has a

list of short row tutorials

, in case those two above aren't enough.  The pattern uses wrapped stitch short rows, but you can use any short row technique that works for you!

If short rows are just too much, you can use the

original knit version of the tp cozy pattern

, which I worked up to accompany the

Crochet Me

pattern.