Saturday, December 31, 2005

Anti Sheep?

I remember reading a long time ago at the Yarn Harlot, that Anti Sheep is an anagram of Stephanie. Well it would be hard pressed to say that this or that Stephanie is Anti Sheep. I'm a big Wool Fan - as my Ridiculous Stash can attest.

So can these guys:

Who could possibly resist those guys?! I have to confess to not following my stash reduction plans - I was at JoAnns looking for something - I don't even remember what (I think it might have been 6mm eyes, but I'm not certain) - in any case, the yarn used for those guys was on sale. And I was between projects. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Of course, they are more Crochet Amigurumi - from Amigurumi Collection Vol 1 (no, I've not moved off of Volume 1 yet, but I do have plans to). ISBN 4309265723.

Yarn: JoAnn Exclusive - Sensations - Icee and Dolcetto in Off White and Cream, respectively. Incidentally, I've still got plenty of Dolcetto (the non fuzzy part) but I've used almost 2 skeins of Icee to make that small herd of Sheepies.

Hooks: That's right - hooks! Plural! The Dolcetto (for the bottom, ears/horns and face) was crochet using a 3.5mm (US E4) hook (for the small sheepies) and a 3.75mm (USF5) hook (for the big sheepie) - I prefer how it came out using the 3.5mm hook - that and the holes were small enough for me to put some polyfil beads in the bottom (for stabilization) without them leaking out. The Icee was hooked using a 6mm (US J10) hook.

Comments: They come together mighty fast and they are wonderfully adorable - I have to say crocheting the Icee (a feathery chenille-like yarn) was a royal pain (because I couldn't see what I was doing). I recommend putting polyfil or other weighted beads in the bottom of these guys, or sheep tipping may prove to be in your future. The horns were a little challenging on the big guy - I didn't have any white pipe cleaners, so I had to wrap polyfil around the black one I did have, and I had to use 2 since the pipe cleaner (craft variety) was not very rigid and wasn't cooperating in helping me shape the horns. Assembly was fairly easy, with the face being the most difficult - who would think getting three stitches centered and even (for the nose & mouth) would be so difficult?? The collar also took a little bit of time, as I could not find cord similar to that used in the book, and none of the yarns I had on hand looked good as a collar - I opted to go a little fancy and each is sporting a flower trimmed red velvet ribbon...and don't forget the bell :)

In case you're wondering - the big one took almost an entire skein of Icee. The pair of lambkins can be had from a single skein of Icee.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Stashbusting Socks for Sandals or Clogs!

Remember Cozy? Well here's what's become of that last skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease!

I am happy to present Mizar! A fantastically quick knitting pair of socks, even with all those fancy cables (the trick is the worsted weight yarn!). Mizar is from the 2nd edition of Socks for Sandals and Clogs by Anna Zilboorg (and incidentally, they are my first cuff to toe pattern).

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Loden

Needles: US5 (and no, as it turns out, I forewent the swatching and guess right on needle size. I probably could have knit them on US6s with no problems)

Comments: Well, I must admit I think I prefer knitting my socks toe up - mostly because I don't get that nervous feeling that I might run out of yarn before the sock is "done" - with toe up socks, I can just keep going and then knit the ribbed cuff when it looks like I'm about ready to run out of yarn. In this case, I had to guess how many pattern repeats to do before setting in on the heel flap (I guessed right here too) and though I could probably do with a little bit more length in the sock, they fit quite well as they are - and a good thing too, because I don't think I had enough yarn to do an additional 1/2 pattern repeat before starting on my toe decreases - as it was, I estimated approximately 20-25 feet of yarn remaining out of the skein once both socks were done. These socks were fun to knit, and they look gorgeous. The side pattern actually marches right on down and around the front of the toes - so I got to practice my non-standard Kitchner stitch again (I'm getting better). I admit to still having some small laddering issues, especially at the gusset - and I have problems keeping the ladders away if I switch needles and the next stitches don't match those preceding (for example, if I had a bunch of Purl stitches and then switched needles and went to the side pattern (a modified Rib) there was usually some laddering observed - I also have a little bit of laddering at the toe, where the decreases are right along side the side pattern). The good news is the ladders along the gusset were easy to fix, and the ones near the toes are not terribly noticeable. Ladders and all, I have to admit to a tremendous sense of accomplishment in finishing these socks - they're just gorgeous to look at and plenty comfy to wear!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I have a thing for cats

Can you tell?

This little girl comes from Amigurumi Collection Vol 1, one of my Japanese Craft Books.

ISBN: 4309265723
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun in Buttercup, Lily and Purple.
Hook: USD (3.25mm)

I've found Crochet to be a welcome diversion from knitting, and the projects I've been tackling are small and seem to go fairly quickly. I'm getting better at assembly, so this little girl was finished faster than Citrine.

Unlike Citrine who likes to scamper about au naturale, this kitty sports a white frock, trimmed with purple, and has a matching slip stitched knit scarf.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Gustaf Glovedog

introducing Gustaf

He lives with Schmeebot. He's a very debonair fellow, made of white gloves and sporting a microfibre knit scarf - apparently these garter stitch long-ways scarves are all the rage these days.

Gustaf is inspired by this book on the left (that is all about stuffed animals made from socks and gloves) - and is decidedly less Snoopy shaped (as the cover model is) and is more Spuds McKenzie-esque. I suppose that's my handling of stuffing for you - and short of tacking his ears down, they were never going to behave as the floppy ears on the book's cover model. Since I don't believe in unnecessary procedures, I opted to leave his ears as they were - perky and excitable looking.

ISBN: 4579110617

Gustaf is made from a pair of nylon gloves, and is handsewn (tho if I was ambitious to make a lot of Gustafs, I suppose I'd break down and do a bunch of seaming using a machine, leaving the finishing to be done by hand). Challenges included getting stuffing into his extremities without making them terribly lumpy (and he is a little lumpy - I suspect Mr. Cover Model is too - in any case this is why Gustaf is photographed from the waist up), getting his head stuffed and seamed (I think I'd baste the cut ends of the knit fabric the next time, as the fabric developed several runs that made seaming a little interesting) and getting his eyes set right. I opted to use stud eyes on Gustaf along with a spare button for his nose - because his eyes were such a challenge to set (and not re-doable once the backings were on), I think I'd go with buttons the next time. Definitely a fun little creation, and not terribly time consuming either!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Silky Wool Socks

Mmmmm! I do love me some warm feet.

With Winter here and plenty of cold tile all over the house and me and the husband trying desperately not to be the first to cave and turn on the heat, warm socks are just the ticket. Hand knit socks are even better - mostly so I get that extra kick of "how cool is this, I made these" feelings when I put them on. On one rather cold occasion, my feet were festooned in hand knits - stuffed into my lovely socks which were then stuffed into my Fuzzy Feet slippers. Hooray for Wooly Goodness.

Anyhow, these here are my first socks ever. Not counting the Fuzzy Feet. Which were really just ginormous socks that were then felted down. Because I have a thing for being able to try the socks on as I go, I followed the toe up Pom Squad anklet pattern from Magknits.

Obviously, these are not anklet socks. I had some special yarn I was evaluating and I wanted to make the most of it - that and I figured why end at the ankle when I can have cuffs? (That and for some reason, Anklet socks never seem to stay up for me - maybe all the ones I've ever tried are just ill sized - they've all been commercially made, so who knows.)

Anyhow, I tried matching the colors as best as I could, and things started out very promising - until I came to a knot in one of the balls. Rather than try to find a matching spot of color in that same ball, I just spliced and carried on knitting.

Overall, the socks came out quite well considering they are my first proper sized socks. Throwing caution to the wind, I did not gauge swatch, and as a result they are slightly loose, but that should be remedied quite nicely by throwing them in for a quick wash (hooray for feltable yarn) . Everything went quite well until the shortrow heel where I think I may have missed picking up a wrap or two, (some small holes present) and then I had a rather large hole appear when I rejoined the heel stitches to the instep. No matter how much tugging or attempts to pick up the slack by way of adding twisted stitches, I was simply unable to close the gaping hole noted by the "oops" in the photo above. I've heard a remedy is to use DPNs and to just keep moving over a stitch as you knit your rounds - unfortunately DPNs and I don't get along so well - they are always insisting on slithering out of my knitting, leaving me gaping in horror at the now free hanging loops. I've since switched to knitting either on 2 circulars or on one long circular. These socks were both knit at the same time on one long circular - they were started on 2 circs, but I kept picking up the wrong points and having to tink back to remedy the situation - finally in frustration, I switched to one circular just to see if it was workable and voilĂ  - apparently I had just taught myself the magic loop method.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Scarves for the Holidays

I did very little knitting for this holiday season and was finished fairly early on - but it's because these scarves have to ship overseas along with a rather hefty care package.

Pattern: My own, same as the Trellised Scarf - I signed the pattern over to Southwest Trading Co, but I have not seen it posted on their site :(

Yarn: Berroco Uxbridge Tweed - unfortunately, I can't determine the colors since the yarn was discontinued and the color codes aren't on the color cards I have been able to locate.

Needles: US10

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


tis done...well, 99.9% done anyway!

And it fits - sorry about the dreadfully dark photograph - I was having issues (to say the least) and was incredibly eager to post all about it as a Finished Object.

Anyhow, the details:

Pattern: Kepler by Emily over at Fathom Harvill

Yarn: Berroco Uxbridge Tweed in Southbury Green (discontinued - hooray, a stash buster!) - incidentally, it took about 10.5 balls of yarn (more than I had anticipated)

Size: Large

Needles: US9 with finishing touches using US7

Useful Skills/Techniques: Cabling without a cable needle (highly recommended), Set in Sleeves (proceed with caution), kitchner stitch (extra tricksy on cable bands) and applied i-cord (still needs work, for me anyway!)

The pattern was well written, and easy to follow. Instead of knitting all the pieces separately and having a small mess of seams to finish at the end, I knit a good portion of the pieces in the round....I began with the cable bands, all at the same time, Kitchnered em together (and while it was a mite tricky, they came out fantastic and nearly invisible). I proceeded to pick up the stitches for both sleeves and knit em together in the round using one long circular needle (until the sleeve cap, of course). I Started with the sleeves and knit em together to reduce the probability of getting hung on sleeve island. I did the body in the round as well, splitting at the bottom of the armscye, and the knitting flew by.

Seaming the arms to the body (using lots and lots of pins, joining the pieces with a slip stitch crochet seam) and finishing with the applied i-cord (see below for closeup, was very slow going on my part) in one evening, the sweater is complete and wearable, though it might benefit from a gentle blocking - mostly because I don't think the shaping at the waist is very defined as it is - then again, that might be my own fault for knitting it in the round and not having side seams to help give the sweater some form on the sides.

While I am fairly pleased, I would prefer to have had more defined shaping on the finished object (and it looked like it did while I was knitting it - but again, the sweater, as is, is currently unblocked) and I think I might prefer full length sleeves over the mid forearm capri-length ones - then again, that cable band is quite bulky and may well have driven me nuts if it was at my wrist. The Uxbridge Tweed appears to wear alright, though the cables aren't as clearly defined as I had hoped - I suspect this is due to the tweediness of the yarn.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Warm n Cozy!

That's right! After being on needles for over a year, I'm finally done! There she is, draped over a bush - looks like rolling green hills, no?

Pattern: Cozy from Knitty
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease, in Loden, 4 skeins
Finished Dimensions: 60 inches x 25 inches (yes, the dimensions are different from the pattern)
Needle Size: US 9

Comments: yeah, I tweaked the pattern, wanting something wider than 19 inches, I cast on a bunch of extra stitches, unfortunately, I can't remember just how many extra I cast on and I don't have Cozy with me, so I can't count the bound off stitches...I also did 5 rows of garter stitch at the beginning and end rather than the 3 called for in the pattern....otherwise I followed the pattern faithfully ;)

From the beginning, Cozy and I seemed to be doomed to a love-hate relationship. She was my first lace pattern, and caused me no end of frustration, especially since that was before I learned about lifelines and placing strategic stitch markers to mark groupings of pattern repeats. I believe she was frogged something on the order of four or five times - thank goodness the Wool Ease stood up to the abuse. After languishing on the side as I moved onto other knitting, I decided I probably ought to put her out of her misery and either frog her and reclaim the yarn or finish her. As you can see, I decided to finish, though with the compromise of using only 4 skeins of yarn rather than the originally planned 5 skeins. I'm pleased with the result - she's long enough to wrap around me, and the lace pattern really wasn't as troublesome as I had remembered it being...I guess that's what happens when you work on other lace projects in the interim :)

For those of you who might be wondering, blocking a yarn such as Wool Ease is indeed possible - I went for a full wet block, drowning Cozy in the sink overnight, then staking her out with the use of my welding rods-turned blocking wires (1/16" aluminum tig rods). The use of wires helped keep the edges straight with a minimum number of pins. The rods I have, unfortunately, are prone to bending, and may be a little soft for this use, but they seemed to work fine and the price couldn't be beat. For good measure, I did do a quick pass over her with an iron on low heat while she was still damp - it didn't crush the knitting too badly, and it seemed to ensure that the blocked dimensions didn't spring back once unpinned.

While I am pleased at the result, I can't say I'll be knitting another cozy any time soon - I haven't the attention span for large rectangles....which doesn't bode well for the aran throw I was dreaming of :)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Most Luscious Yarn.

4 oz/139 yards
113 g/127 meters

Certainly an experience trying my patience, I first unspun, then respun some yarn recently. The finished goods were slow in the making, but I think there was never a more luscious sock yarn ever made.

This granite tweedy yarn is 50/50 merino/angora, hand blended without any tools into this two ply fingering-sport weight yarn.

definitely high on the labor side - first unspinning piles of singles (I unspun a total of about 12 ounces of yarn) onto my hand spindles, then respinning and plying them on my wheel, I'm not certain if my fingers will forgive me anytime soon - it seems there was a fair amount of stress on my index finger and thumb while drafting because I was unable to completely remove the twist from the singles the first time round. In any case, the result is pure softness and luxury! If no one buys this yarn, I'll be happy to turn it into socks for myself!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Like Pixie Stix, but Better!

Better, because it's Yarn! Previewed here, but to be offered for sale on Etsy if they don't move before then...three skeins of luscious Blue Faced Leicester Wool hand spun into approximately worsted weight 2-ply yarn in hues of pinks, blues and purples.

3.3 oz/116 yards
95 g/106 meters

I should probably tell you that if you click on any of the photos, you can see a much larger image of the photo in question.

Each skein is continuous, and has no breaks at all, so rest assured, there are no lurking hidden knots inside.

The image to the left is a closeup of a section of the above skein...isn't it lovely? Don't you just want to reach out and pet it?

This skein is the largest of the three, and also seems to have the most pinks throughout.

3.2 oz/97 yards
90 g/88 meters

This second skein seemed to have a touch less pink in it, and a bit more blue and purple - or it could just seem that way with the plying!

All of these skeins came from the same hand dyed roving - so the colors in each of the skeins matches those in the other skeins. Each skein varies from the next a little because of the way I split the fiber for spinning.

I should mention that the yarn is incredibly soft and has a very subtle halo to it, probably best visible (but still not terribly obvious) in the pre-plying photos seen here.

3.2 oz/103 yards
90 g/94 meters

It seemed to me that this skein is a touch more blue than the previous one - but it could just be an aspect of looking at yarn for too long :)

You're probably wondering why I'm calling these the Pixie Stick lot - it's because that's all I could think of as I spun the yarn up and plied it together - for some reason, the colors remind me of pixie sticks and sweet tarts.

In any case, if you're interested in any or all of these, drop me a note by email or leave me a comment. Once they've been here for preview for a while, I'll send em over to my Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Little Tacky

wee little decorated thumbtacks

While we were busy cleaning up the house, we stumbled across a box full of office supplies from when we were both in school. Inside, I found a box of thumbtacks. Since my marble magnets aren't selling, and glue and a hole punch languishing by, I thought I'd see if I could make the thumbtacks look more unique and colorful.

Leafing through some magazines and catalogues yielded some cute images. I also gave a try to using some handmade papers I have sitting in my paper stash. You can see some of the tacks up close and personal over yonder to the left.

I think I've succeeded, don't you? They do take a bit of work, and some fussing - I never realized how poor the quality control is in thumbtacks. Some had pins that weren't perpendicular to the back, others had chunks missing off the flat bit, as if some crazy tack eating monster had to have a nibble. The variation in the diameter of the thumbtacks was also surprising. I fear I'm showing my engineering nerdiness so I'll hush up now.

Colorful thumbtacks in hand, I'm ready to post all my crazy ideas on a board for easy perusal... my problem now is that I don't have a bulletin board. *sigh*

Friday, September 09, 2005

Introducing Citrine!

(and reintroducing Pasha!)

You all already know Pasha.

I'd like to introduce to y'all Ms. Citrine - named after the orangy colored gemstone.

Pattern: From the Japanese book with ISBN 4391130122
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun in Mango
Hook: USF5 (3.75mm)

That's right! Hook, not needle! I'm a Hooker now! ;) Continuing to branch out in my fiberly arts, I've now picked up crocheting in addition to knitting and spinning.

Comments: After learning the basics from a friend, I was cranking out kitty bits in a reasonably quick pace. A little bit of creativity was used in changing colors (being self taught and all, and not finding any direction in either of the two crochet books I have). Assembly of the kitty from the neck on down was wonderfully easy. I can't say the same for the head. I think I spent as much or more time working on Citrine's head as I did assembling the rest of her!

The first delay was in creating her muzzle - attaching her nose was no problem, but getting her mouth done took a few tries. Once complete, attaching her muzzle posed no difficulty. The next trial in frustration were her ears - I think I attached each ear at least twice. And the final bit of frustration was sewing on her eyes. I first tried french knots, so it would look like her eyes were open, after attempting several tries and not being happy with any of the results, I fell back to the line-shaped eyes as illustrated in the book. I never knew sewing two lines would be so difficult! Ah well, she's done now, and looking quite good, if I do say so myself :)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Waves of Mojave Red

Lookie lookie! My first attempts at plying!

You're viewing 70g (about 2.5 ounces) of hand spun yarn - sadly it's not 70g continuous....I had a small issue after plying 50g and the yarn broke


Fiber Content: 100% fine merino from Ashland Bay (purchased through Fantasy Fibers at the Black Sheep Gathering)
Colorway: Mojave
Spindle: Mielke Emily Spindle

As you might be able to tell, I tend to spin rather finely - I probably should have put in a coin or something for reference...

Gratuitous close up....aren't the colors lovely? The hanks are currently having a soak to set the twist...I'll hang em to dry, then coil em for a proper photo.

In any case, the total yardage is just over 116 yards (106 meters) - with the larger 50g hank having 79 yards (72.5 meters) and the smaller 20g hank having the rest (almost 37 yards/34 meters)

Monday, August 08, 2005

X'd Out!

Behold! A slightly different Ribbon X-Back!

Pattern from Knitty

Yarn used: Oasis in Chocolate from SouthWest Trading Company with Berroco Glace in Tumeric (I think)

Needles: US6

Comments: As with many of the other knitters on the X-Back Knit Along, my original X-Back was a bit large. I'm sure my problems were compounded by the fact that the yarn I've selected is totally different in size compared to that which is called out for in the pattern. This was my first foray into completely overhauling a pattern by using mathematics, and I'm quite pleased with the result. Other than the major mathematics involved in tweaking the pattern, the other additions I made were to add a picot cast on at the bottom hem and some waist shaping.

Because the pattern is done in seed/moss stitch, the fabric does have quite a bit of stretch to it - when I redid my math, I re-figured for a "small" size (rather than a size L) - definitely plan on a negative ease on this pattern if you plan on knitting it - or check your gauge swatch appropriately :)

I will say the Oasis was pleasant to work, and it certainly makes for a luxurious tank - it is soysilk, after all. In total, I used just under three full balls of yarn - my only niggling issue is the lack of dyelot on the label - which resulted in some minor striping from ball to ball which may or may not be obvious to the casual observer.

Friday, July 29, 2005

"Marble" Magnets

I seem to be late to join the craze - I've been seeing those glass "marble" or dome magnets all over, thinking to myself..."how lovely - I bet I could make those." And sure enough, they aren't hard to make at all.

These are made with 1" and 3/4" acrylic cabochons and custom images - they all happen to be desert flora from hikes I've taken! Sorry for the blurry shot - the darn things don't photograph well - seems my camera likes to focus on the reflections on the tops of the domes instead of the bottom image...I'm sure it also has to do with the index of refraction of the domes themselves...but I'll keep my mouth shut and not get too nerdy.

If you're interested, I'm more than happy to trade or sell them...Though if you have a specific flower in mind, I'll have to see if I have it available. Given enough time, I might be able to upload all the images I have available.

And if you are interested in making your own, I highly recommend Not Martha's site for details.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Branched Out

Pattern: Branching Out from Knitty

Yarn: Lace or Cobweb weight lambswool angora blend - reclaimed from a sweatervest that had been sitting and languishing in my closet for ages...

Needle Size: US4

Finished size: Approximately 6 1/2 x 60 inches

Comments: This was my first lace knit with an actual lace weight yarn - and I have to say I was quite pleased with the results. Sadly I did have the yarn break once or twice in the process - but I was able to fix that problem (along with joining new balls) by simply felting a small bit of the ends together (about an inch and a half or so). Because the yarn I used was so much lighter in weight than the yarn that was called for in the pattern, I decided to double the pattern repeat to get a wider scarf. I have a feeling I'm going to have to invest in blocking wires soon if I carry on with my lace knitting obsession, as keeping the edges of the scarf straight while blocking proved to be quite a pain - not to mention all that crawling around on the floor repinning!

As for the pattern, I found it clear and easy to follow - I knit straight from the chart and it took me approximately 40 pattern repeats to complete (that would be a total of 410 rows - 10 for each pattern repeat and 10 for the 5 garter rows on either end!). It did take a while for me to memorize the pattern, but a quick glance at the chart usually took care of any memory lapses.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Trellised Scarf

Pattern: based on the pattern repeat of the Lucinda Pullover from SouthWest Trading Co. (available with yarn purchase at your local yarn store)

Yarn: SWTC's Karaoke in Forest

Needles: US8

Comments: This is an excellent and easy knit - it looks a lot more complex than it actually is and I actually used it as my "mindless" knitting project while watching TV or talking on the phone. Because it's an adaptation from another designer's work, I will not be posting instructions here. The little pointy bits on the end are remnant artifacts from blocking (I did block this scarf to ensure that the garter edge would lay flat) - and are due to the fact that I do not own blocking wires. I personally think that the open/lacework is unobtrusive enough to work on a scarf for a man or woman - but some may disagree.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Better than a Pink Pinafore!

Pattern: Anouk, from Knitty

Yarn Used: Lion Brand Microspun in Lime and Mango with Purple pockets and Buttercup and Mango flowers.

Knit on: US6 needles

Comments: A fast an easy knit, especially when you knit both the front and back at the same time! Instead of seaming on the side tabs, I opted to pick up stitches to attach them and I went with the two-button hole option. The pockets were my first foray into intarsia knitting, and I have to say I liked it fairly well, though even though I can knit with both hands (hooray!) I didn't apply that skill here - I was too paranoid about making sure I twisted my yarns on each color change - something that I cannot figure out how to do while knitting double fisted. If I had it to do again, I'd make sure to leave my floats a bit longer - as they don't allow for much stretch the way they are now - and I'd think about a different method for seaming the pockets - in this case I opted for blanket stitch in contrasting colors, which worked alright, but after playing with the fabric a bit, the stitches are no longer as neat and tidy as they were when first completed. Overall I'm very pleased with how this turned out and I sure hope the parents to be are too.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blast from the Past

From the Prehistoric Past that is :D And while the real Triceratops do indeed have three horns, I took some creative liberties and decided that one horn was enough for this guy.

Pattern: from Xtreme Jen's Blog - Jen has also designed other things and has been published in Magknits. Go check out her blog for her other designs.

Yarn: Definitely Acrylic - for easy care - from Carron. Unfortunately I no longer have the label - it was reclaimed from this bag.

Comments: The pattern is simple and straightforward - but if you're making copies to tote around with you, be sure to bring the whole pattern - as the body & tail and legs of this guy are the same as for the Brontosaurus. I nearly ran out of knitting because I had not noted that fact when I put my project in my bag for carrying around! As noted above, I did not add the top two horns - and the nose horn also does not follow the pattern - it was my first adventure into crochet and it seems to have come out alright. Also feeding my Crochet Learning Curve was the attachment of the legs - done in slip stitch after being stuffed. I got the spacing a bit off - since I wasn't referencing the photo - my dino's legs are a bit close together (front to back), but I kinda like how they turned out. I should also note that I forewent the added mouth - as I didn't think it went well with the dino. I think my least favorite part were the legs - they are knit flat and then seamed up - because I dislike seaming, I probably should have just knit the foot, then picked up the stitches for the leg. Ah well. Live and learn, right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Can you pull a Rabbit out of a Swatch?

I can :) and isn't he adorable? And he even sits like a real bunny! Unfortunately the little cotton tail I spotted in the grass across from my house wasn't cooperating - otherwise I would have proof to post in the way of a photo!

Pattern: From HeartStrings Fiber Arts

Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Edwardian with SWTC Karaoke for the Eyes and Lion Brand Microspun for the tail.

PomPom Maker: Hand cut thin cardboard die - perhaps an inch and a half in diameter in width, with the center hole half the diameter - be sure to totally fill the hole while wrapping yarn so a nice fluffy pom-pom is had :)

Comments: The cute little guy kinda reminds me of Stitch (from Lilo and Stitch) due mostly do his crazy long ears - In case you are wondering, I knit the "alternate" ears noted at the bottom of the pattern. Anyway, back to comments on the pattern! Very easy to follow, and an excellent use of random gauge swatches (if you don't happen to reclaim your gauge swatches that is). The Bunny is made of a stockinette square, and a pair of ears...all the fancy bunny form is in the seaming. Because of the bulkiness of the homespun (knit tight on US9 needles) my seams weren't as tidy as I would like - and might have benefited from being seamed with a thinner yarn (I seamed with homespun as well - just in case the yarn showed). This little guy came together in no time at all - perhaps an hour or two while watching TV - I probably spent the same amount of time seaming as I did knitting the stockinette square - but then I'm not a real fast knitter or seamer...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Felted Rose Karaoke Bag

Behold! The bag as it blocks!

Following the felted flower bag craze, this bag is a fun creation knit out of Karaoke, a new yarn releasing to the public this July from Southwest Trading Company.

I had the distinct pleasure of being able to play with multiple colors of Karaoke - a different one for each of the twelve flowers that adorn the bag. I must say, they did come out quite lovely - after I did some minor repairs after the first wash.

Pattern: Designed by Sue Morgan - Sue has quite a number of designs floating around - a quick google turned up a bunch of cute patterns available on Get Knitted - look in the Bags & accessories - Kits and Patterns section! She even has a bag that features knitted daisies!

Yarn: SWTC Karaoke, multiple shades.

Comments: Worked in the round, this bag was quick and easy to knit. I cranked this baby out in about a week. If you dislike seaming like I do, I knit the tabs right onto the bag body as I bound off - a much better option for me than knitting them separately and attaching them later - especially since there are fourteen of them! While it has been through my washer twice, it could probably felt down more if I was determined - I have a front loader, so it typically takes a few extra runs through.

Apparently my CRC is still good for something :)

As you can see, the bag was fairly large to begin with - prefelt measurements were approximately as follows:

Straps: 25 inches (63.5 cm), 145 rows of i-cord! I knit them a little longer than called for and still think they might do better a mite longer - only time will tell as the bag sees some use.

Bag Base: 11 x 5 1/4 inches (28 x 13.3 cm)

Bag Height: 13 inches (33 cm)

After going through two washes in my machine with some other things thrown in to add friction, the bag had shrunk - mostly to compress the rows. I noticed no change in the Bag width, but the base had shrunk to 4 1/2 inches (11.4 cm) deep and 10 inches (25.4 cm) in height. Why the metric conversions? Its just in case the designer visits and is curious on measurements - she's from the UK! As I mention, it could probably felt down more, but I'm a smidge time constrained as this is a test knit that needs to get back.

The only problem I encountered was when I took the bag out of the machine after the first wash - seems simply affixing the flowers via the loose tail that was pulled thru the remaining stitches at the end (to make them curl on themselves) wasn't quite enough - some of the flowers were looking rather droopy and not happy - I quickly reinforced them, threading yarn through the various layers of the flower in order to more securely attach them. They would be even more adorable with little leaves, a la the Vogue Rose Basket Bag. Clustering the flowers more closely together in a couple spots, rather than evenly distributing them along the top edge might also make a nice variation. And to make it more purse sized, I'd probably not knit it not quite so deep - the bonus of that is less yarn required and faster finishing time!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Swift Gifts

After completely spacing the fact that a friend is having a baby girl due for arrival next week, I figured I better get on the sticks and get a gift knit! *what* to knit was the question - especially since it needed to fly off the needles fast! Bored of booties and washcloths, I opted for a baby set...and since I abhor pink and the local yarn shop had limited colors available, I opted for yet another lavender project.

Patterns: Miss Dashwood, from Knitty and the Five Hour Baby Sweater

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease - which I hear is being discontinued! For ease of care and because summer is here - if not coming soon!

Comments: on Miss Dashwood: Even knit on smaller needles, the fabric of the hat is rather floppy and lacks structure. I did modify the pattern by leaving out the ear flaps - the hat is destined for a baby that resides in the south, so I don't think ear flaps will be necessary. For the ties, I single chained some yarn instead of going with an i-cord since I can't i-cord neatly to save my life - they always look wonky, so I have decided to reserve i-cords for projects where it doesn't matter - like felting :)

On the Five Hour Baby Sweater: well, I modified that one too, deciding to go with a single button closure at the neck instead of ribbon or i-cord or full button down front. I'm not certain I got the pattern completely right since I had a hard time understanding just what was called for when it read: "insert needle under next horizontal loop of row below" - first I thought, "M1 increase", but what came off my needles didn't seem to match the photos - then I thought "lifted increase", which looked a little closer to the photograph, but still not quite right. Oh well, I think the sweater still looks adorable, and who can resist when all it has for seaming is the length of the arms?! My only qualms are that the neck is too small - the good news is the neck is very stretchy; and the other is that I bound off too tightly on the wrists - I thought I bound off loosely, but there isn't as much stretch in the finished product as I would like. Ah well. And for those of you who are wondering, it really is a five hour baby sweater - I think I finished with all seaming and finishing in under five hours.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Open Airy Scarf

Lovely, isn't it?

What is it, you ask? Why it's about 100 grams of Karaoke knit into a scarf...twas another test knit for SWTC - but this one flew off the needles much faster than Mariposa. There's something to be said for near-instant gratification.

The scarf doesn't look so open or airy in these photos because they were taken before I dropped all the stitches to open up the fabric...and since I find dropping stitches rather traumatizing, and I figured you could see the color shift better before I dropped all the stitches, all you have to ogle are these photos. So there. :D

In addition, the final version of the scarf has some lovely crochet embellishments, but I can't crochet to save my those touch-ups will be done by the skilled hands of someone other than myself.

Pattern: Test Knit from Southwest Trading Company, name still to be determined, I think.

Yarn: Karaoke, due to be released to the public sometime in June. It's a Wool/Soysilk blend. Same heft as Noro Kureyon, and softer than Noro's Silk Garden. A real pleasure to work with. I personally can't wait to see the other colorways.

Comments - I think I've finally mastered continental knitting! Though for some circumstances, I still prefer to knit English Style, I did this entire scarf knitting continental :D

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Scrubbin with a Flower

Pattern from: Weekend Knitting

Yarn: Bernat CottonTots in Grape Berry

Comments: Quick and fun to knit, though the number of ends that need to be woven in at the end can be quite a nuisance...there are total of eleven strands to weave in!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Flutter Away!

I present to you, at long last, Mariposa, from SouthWest Trading Co - this was a test knit and my first extensive lace (after my initial beginnings with Cozy that is...and who, I might add is still an unfinished object)

Mariposa is knit from SWTC's Bamboo yarn, and is basically a lace shawl that has a handy little slot in it so that one end can be tucked thru the other so there are no unsightly knots to mar the lovely lace, a la the bowtie scarf.

Comments on the pattern: Fast knitting once the original pattern is memorized, and fairly straight forward. Some calculation is needed in order to determine how to space the decreases, and there was no recommendation for blocking the shawl once finished. I personally think all lace looks like garbage without blocking, so I went for a full wet block on this one. The pattern is availible where Bamboo is sold, but a recent Google turned it up online at YarnMarket.

Comments on Bamboo: The yarn is not spun, but seems to be woven, and it seems every ball has a joining knot deep inside - a shame really, it seems that if every ball has a joining knot, then perhaps some adjustment could be made so that no balls would have a joining knot! Bamboo itself was easy to handle and knit. It didn't seem prone to splitting or pilling with handling, though every now and again I would split the fiber while decreasing. While it seemed a bit rough while knitting, once wet down and drie, the fabric loosens up considerably and becomes much softer to the touch.

Start to finish, it took me about a month and a half to knit - not too bad, considering I had to frog the poor thing once (reknit the yarn with no ill effects). Not to mention the fact that I'm not a real fast knitter, and I typically don't knit for more than an hour or so a day (often less, and on a rare occasion more), since I typically knit at night before I go to bed.

One last gratuitous parting shot before I pack her up to give her back - a Lace Close Up: