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