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Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

I finally finished the Celestine Crochet (a knit version is also available).  The pattern was a bit interesting to follow.  Each point is made from the bottom up.  With the first cone made, the second base is made by chaining a portion and then slip stitiching the rest on the adjacent points.  After the first few points, the general idea is easy to pick up. 

The yarn is a beautiful mixture of a brilliant blue and golden browns, hand dyed by Kayla of The Yarn Bearer.  The 100% wool content and fingering weight made it difficult for me to keep yarn tight.  The fibers felt more ‘sticky’ to me and even with a size C hook, I have little holes where the stuffing shows through. 

The hardest part of the Crochet Celestine was the stuffing.  This was my first project with stuffing since I was a kid.  I found out very quickly that just taking big clumps of polyfil and shoving them in the points made a really bumpy texture. 

The second time around I fluffed the stuffing by pulling and stretching it.  Much better!  Also, I found that the whole shape looked more symmetrical when the center part was stuffed well.  If I ever make this pattern again I would stuff it with a wiffle ball in the center to save on stuffing and make the whole thing lighter.  

Question is, what do I do with it?

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I made a Seamless Nintendo DS Lite Sock as a belated Mother’s Day gift for my mom.  She started out playing Tetris on the original Nintendo Gameboy my brother and I bought as kids and now owns a few versions of the newer Gameboys.     

I modeled the cozy after Spock’s uniform since my mom is also a Star Trek fan.  The yarn is Red Heart Super Saver in Country Blue and the felt Starfleet insignia was copied from an illustration of the Starfleet insignias from Danhausertrek.com.   The site is dedicated to the the Animated Series, so I’m not sure if it is completely accurate to Star Trek: The Original Series. 

I couldn’t find gold felt at the craft store, but they did have this bright yellow.  I’m not sure how well the craft felt will hold up to heavy use; it felt a little flimsy.  There’s another layer of felt under the insignia to plump it up and hopefully reinforce the applique. 

  

The DS Lite Sock pattern is double knit, which means you cast on a certain number of stitches on straight needles and knit the front and back at the same time.  I was confused with the directions to start since it doesn’t actually spell this fact out to you.  Once I understood the idea of double knitting, the whole project turned out to be very easy.  You only need to know knit, purl and the slip stitch to work this cozy. 

The gauge is pretty tight with worsted weight yarn and small needles.  The pattern estimates needing size 6 needles but I ended up using size 2s.  Possibly I’m a loose knitter?  Also, I had to restart a couple times because the smaller needles were harder for me to use.  With the right gauge, the sock fits really nicely and there are no seams to sew. 

*That’s cool* a random fact

The Vulcan Nerve Pinch was invented by Leonard Nimoy as a way for Spock to overpower opponents without having to resort to violence.

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Sue of Perpetualplum’s Weblog passed the Atre y Pico Award on to me! 

The rules read:

1) Pick 5 blogs who deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material and who also contribute to the blogging community no matter what language.

2) Each award must have the name of the author and also a link to their blog.

3) Each award winner must show the award and put the name and the link to the blog that has given her or him the award.

4) The award winner and the one who has given the prize must show the link of the “Arte y pico” blog so everyone will know the origin of this award. 

I’m going to cheat and recognize six, not five, bloggers who I have previously never awarded/tagged.  The “Atre y pico”  award goes to these six bloggers who knit and/or crochet for their excellence in the following categories…

                             writing:  Bezzie of Random Meanderings

                      drawing:  Carina of Carina’s craftblog

amigurumi:  Mia of Owlishly

          sewing:  Lara of thornberry

        jewelry:  Jordana of Guaya

    photography:  Oiyi of Oiyi’s Crafts

 *That’s cool* a random fact

The first ever patent of a sewing machine was in 1790 by Thomas Saint. The machine used the chain stitch, made with a hook-ended needle and a single thread.

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I took a walk around Mountain Lake with my brother today.  We wanted to scout out the best campsite since registration is opening up at Moran State Park for the summer season. Quite possibly the best car camping in San Juan Island, WA is located in campsites #126 though #136.  They all are on an elevated loop looking out onto Mountain Lake.  There’s a boat launch, tiny stretch of rocky beach and a hiking entrance within 500 feet of the loop.  Also, the area is far from the main road so you don’t get the car traffic like you do in the Southend sites

Can you believe this is the view from campsite #130?

 

Read more about why my trees look black on naturephotographers.net.  I’m still learning how to get a blue sky with a point and shoot and not end up with silhouetted trees.  Suggestions are appreciated!

I took more pictures of the campsite loop but, for some reason, they didn’t register on the memory card.  I think it was because I changed the batteries and the memory card was jarred in the process. 

I did get the memory card to save pictures of my Quick Winter Headband.  This free pattern gets an ‘A’ for adaptability.  Not only does any yarn weight work, you can insert any crochet stitch you like for the body of the headband as long as it starts with a base of thirteen stitches.

The headband pattern isn’t beginner friendly though, as the stitch directions for the body are not written with the pattern.  Instead, the reader is directed to the Vanilla Grit Stitch Washcloth.   

I had to frog the first row a couple times before I realized that the stitch pattern should start with row 2.  Since row 2 refers to stitches from the foundation row, it took a little extra work to figure out exactly how many single crochet stitches to skip to account for the unworked foundation.  For this reason I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to crocheters just learning to read a pattern.    

Once I had the first row figured out, the grit stitch went quick.  It’s an easy stitch, but interesting.  Also, the headband is worked entirely in one piece so there’s only two ends to weave.

The pattern calls for worsted, but I used Babysoft in Cream. The headband still came out pretty wide, about three inches. With worsted weight yarn in gauge, I think the final product would end up similar to Christina‘s St. Maurus Headwarmer.

I finally photographed my St Maurus Headwarmers from January with the buttons sewed on. I was really dreading the needle and thread until Christina suggested using buttons with large holes and a tapestry needle.  Worked like a charm!

This striped one looks a little fuzzy since I’ve been wearing it a lot in the past month. It’s great in windy weather since my ears can be easily covered with my hair pulled back.  

I like the style of this headwarmer.  I’d like to try knitting the Calorimetry for the fall.

Also, remember the Jacob’s ladder stitch baby blanket I talked about? I found out the Rainbow Bright pattern is available for free on the Coats and Clark website.

*That’s cool* a random fact

Mosquitos are twice as attracted to blue than any other color.

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Katrina got her Swap Swap Gals package the other day so now I get to blog about all the super-secret projects I have been working on.  It was actually pretty tough to stay mum on so many projects. 

 And I know there are at least a few of you are thinking, “Finally, she made something besides dishcloths!”   

 

The Brea Bag is the item I’m most proud of for the “All About Hearts” themed swap.  I had been weary of intermediate knitting projects until Kara and Katie gave me some knitting encouragement via my Ravelry message box and I decided to just go with it. 

This was my first major knitting project with cables, but the pattern was actually easy to understand, especially with the videos on Knittinghelp.com.  Also, I relied on the Terms and Techniques list from Knitting-crochet.com.  Their abbreviation list is really comprehensive and I learned a bunch of knitting terms like ssk, psso and St st.

This was also my first project with a lining.  I had to hand sew everything and it took me a while to finish.  The lining turned out a little baggy but I was afraid it would end up on the small side. 

The handle was thrifted from an old handbag.  Instead of  sewing the flaps in place I sewed buttons to the inside so the handle can be removed and Katrina can wash the bag easily.  She could even replace the handle if she wanted.

The picture of the Brea Bag along with the free pattern had a heart-like shape.  Mine doesn’t look quite like that so just for good measure I used a button with a heart motif.   

My crochet skills really helped for the last steps of the pattern.  I slip stitched the bag together for strength.  Also, the pattern called for a crab stitch edging and chain button loop. 

Since the purse didn’t have a zipper closure, I made her a matching Half-Hearted Purse with Red Heart in Cafe and Cashmere.  I used a crab stitch for the edging to match the purse and kept the same color scheme on the front and back.  In the original pattern, the designer used hemp and reversed the colors for the opposite side of the coin purse. 

I lined the coin purse, too.  I think the zipper was sewn a tad uneven so it’s a little tough to open and close.  Also, next time I sew a zipper I’ll make it a little longer.  The opening is smaller than it should be.

This drawstring bag is titled That Pouch Thing.  The pattern makes a nice little drawstring bag designed for holding dice.  I would make this again in a DK or light weight yarn.  The crochet fabric is a little stiff to gather with Red Heart (in Cafe and Country Rose).

The bottom view shows the individual pieces of the bag.  I whip-stitched the pieces together instead of single crocheting like the pattern called for. 

Changing colors every row for each of the four pieces would make a nice v-shaped stripe design. 

Katrina is due this summer so I made her baby-to-be a Pixie Hat.  The size is meant for a 3-6 month old, but could stretch to fit an older baby.  Katrina wrote in her Wish List that she liked earth tones and orange.  I originally wanted to make this in Bernat Pink Camouflage, but I didn’t know the sex of the baby until after I sent the package (it’s a girl!).  To be safe I used this gender-neutral TLC yarn in Jungle.   

There was so much sewing for this swap!  When I was done with the purses, I still had to this button to attach.

Instead of a tassel, I added a little orange heart motif.  Looks a little like a carrot now that I see it up close!

For her other three kids (4, 2 and 1) I sent Alice in Wonderland.  Remember the Queen of Hearts? 

There are four items that don’t fit the ‘All About Hearts’ swap theme.  Katrina mentioned in her wish list that she liked to read about organizing and collects recipes, so I had to include the Woman’s Day Magazine.  

As for the pink bag, I was originally going to find a heart bead to thread on the drawstring, but I couldn’t find anything non-plastic.  The little heart beads were perfect for a bracelet kit for her four year old daughter though. 

I also threw in a toy elephant and a spool of ribbon.  These were last minute additions to put in the purses.  I don’t know where I got the idea, but I don’t like giving a bag/purse/wallet as a gift with nothing inside.  It’s probably one of those superstitions you hold over from childhood.  Remember avoiding cracks on the sidewalk?

For the Lewis Carroll book I made a little granny square heart bookmark.  The pattern, Heart Coaster or Embilshment, is from Crochetville.  I just added a slip stitch tail.  The little sun motif at the end is just a ring of single crochet and a row of single crochet and picots. 

Lastly, I made this dishcloth with Lily’s Sugar and Cream in Hot Orange and Over the Rainbow.  The My Heart Dishcloth pattern is pretty and quick, just like a dishcloth should be.

At least this post wasn’t all dishcloths, right?

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I finally got to make this Starburst Hotpad. Ever since I saw Angela’s orange and pink version on Ravelry I have wanted to crochet my own. The only thing stopping me was the lengthy assembly directions. They seemed complicated, but the hotpad isn’t as daunting as I predicted. The hotpad makes sense once you have the pieces made and it all pulls together for the final step.

I tacked down the petal edges when I wove in the ends. Next time I would do this with a little more ease since there are visible creases. I used Lily’s Sugar and Cream in Bright Navy and Over the Rainbow. With the granny square holes, I’m not sure if I would use this as a hot pad, but it makes a sturdy trivet.

The Circular Cloth pattern is very simple and easy to follow. Perfect for the beginner wanting to practice increases in the round before tackling a hat. I used half a skein of Lily in Summer Splash.

In hindsight this dishcloth would have looked better with a contrasting border. The picture for the free pattern even has an orange border around a white center, but by the time I realized this I had already tucked and cut the ends. The back-loops-only do make nice ridges for scrubbing though.

The Crochet Hexagon Dishcloth is adapted from a Japanese pattern and the origin shows in the writing style. It took a few tries before I understood the notation.

My real problem was the recommended size G hook made this dishcloth bend in a cup shape. I had to use a size I crochet hook to get it relatively flat, and then I blocked it to keep the shells down. The blocking wasn’t really necessary though, and it made the shells look more pointed than they were originally crocheted because I’m still learning to block well.

The dishcloth is crocheted in Lily’s in Soft Teal. The simple, solid look of this pattern is really pleasing and a few of these in coordinating colors would make a nice gift.

Finally, in lieu of a random fact, I give you a YouTube video. Compliments of Geckogrrl, here’s a music video from the Canadian group Tricot Machine.  All the frames are knit!

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The front post dc and shell stitch combination in this Divine hat really caught my eye.  The pattern uses asymmetrical shells to force the front post stitches in one direction, making the spiral effect.  To me it looks complicated, but the pattern stitch is surprisingly straight forward and very easy to create. 

If you’re a knitter, the Odessa from MagKnits is a similar design.  I like how the beads are knitted into the spiral.  If only I was that advanced!  For my hat, I used Caron SS Heather in Denim.  The color is closer to a bluish silver than a denim, though. 

 

I made the Cable hat, below, for myself.  My double crochet hat is starting to show signs of wear after several loyal years.  Plus, with all this snow and freezing wind I needed a sturdy hat.

Compared to my old RHSS hat, this thing makes my head look huge!  There’s front and back post stitches, so it has the thickness of three layers of crochet.  My brother thinks it looks like those Russian Ushanka hats, especially if I added ear flaps.  I tend to agree, but it’s very warm.  And the hat is made with Caron Simply Soft Heather (in Charcoal), so it’s soft too. 

I learned a new technique for a nearly-seamless front post stitch join with these hats.  The pattern calls for a ch-2 before making the first front post stitch in the round.  When you come to the end of a round, you ignore this ch-2 and join directly to the front post stitch. 

This means that instead of chaining for a stitch that should be a front post, you hide this chain behind and there’s barely any difference between the join and the rest of the hat.  You can see the seam of the hat in the picture below, on the left of the cable.   

 

These patterns are both from the same designer, which are written with minimum detail.  They’re easy enough to understand if you’ve ever followed a hat pattern and there’s a stitch count at the end of every row.  Don’t be scared off by the cables in the second hat either.  The directions for cables are really clear. 

I ran into some problems with gauge and my yarn selection.  I originally used Red Heart Super Saver, but the connected front post stitches looked jilted.  Not that you can’t use Red Heart, but the cables really shine when you have a smooth yarn like Caron SS. 

The other problem was gauge.  I had the gauge with the suggested hook size, but it was mammoth in size.  The gauge is based solely on the width of the front post cable.  What I found was this gauge could be true with about three different hooks.  

Also, the cable hat especially, really stretches because of the front post stitches.  So if the hat does feel a little snug, just remember that it will ease up a bit with use.  If you want to use the official gauge, I would go with the smallest hook size possible.  I ended up using a size H crochet hook with a gauge of  13 dc and 7 rows = 10″.   Even with the size H hook, it’s still the teeniest bit loose, but I’m glad I have it for this snowy Northwest winter. 

*That’s cool* a random fact

Russia has twice the number of chess Grandmasters as Germany, its nearest competitor.

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I finished the knit boucle scarf for my mom.  Even though the pattern was very simple it took a lot longer to make than I’m used to.  There are more stitches to the inch compared to crochet and being a slow knitter doesn’t exactly speed things along. 

When I did finally finish the knitting I still wanted to embroider something simple in the corner.  After deciding on a treble clef, I put an image through knitPro to get one of those nifty graphs.  Originally, I intended to try out the duplicate stitch technique but the Caron SS yarn was fatally hidden by the boucle.  Those little tufts of yarn buried my best attempts. 

Since the duplicate stitch didn’t look right, I tried the back stitch.  Even with two strands together all that fuzzy boucle still got in the way, so I finally came to the conclusion that the crochet slip stitch was my only option.   

The slip stitches turned out to be just what I was looking for.  The only downfall is you have to free hand a bit more than the embroidery (exactly the reason I put it off).  The extra effort was worth it, though.  The slip stitch made the curves look much nicer than the embroidery and the raised effect makes the insignia really pop. 

My favorite part of the slip stitch technique is the opposite side.  Since I wove the ends in back through the treble clef, the backside doesn’t look that much different from the front.  See the gray yarn outline through the back?   

This scarf was made just in time, too.  We got four inches of snow yesterday and then a few more today.  What’s weird is that it snows during the night and early morning and then it’s really warm and sunny during the day.

During the day, on account of the warm weather, the snow trapped on tree branches melt off randomly in clumps.  It sounds like it’s raining all around in short, heavy bursts – defintely an auditory experience.  Plus, every once in a while when I was under a tree (hard not to do around here) I got smacked in the head with an ‘organic’ snowball courtesy of Mother Nature.  

*That’s cool* a random fact

The treble clef is also known as the G clef because one end circles around the ‘G line’.

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The word of the day is blustery.  It’s very windy here in the tip top corner of the Northwest.  I was holding the door ajar for the dog this morning and I actually had to use force to keep it from swinging.  It felt like this massive vacuum was pulling the door closed. 

You would think with all this stormy weather it would be miserable outside, but apart from the hurricane force winds it’s actually a beautiful winter day.  There’s sun coming in through the windows and the sky is mostly blue.  I’m happy if I see a patch of blue in between the clouds this time of year. 

Craftwise, I’m knitting a scarf from Bernat Soft Boucle in natural.  I wanted badly to crochet this stuff, but I was going nuts.  Unless I used a large hook the yarn caught every bulge and and was a nightmare to frog.  I just didn’t feel like fighting with the yarn.  Knitting with ‘fun’ yarn is easier than crocheting, in my opinion, and that also goes for this border-line difficult boucle. 

 

The pattern is Melissa’s All About The Yarn scarf, using a k5 vertical border.  Mine’s not alpaca, but I think it’s turning out well.  There are problems with the border curling inward so I guess I’ll try blocking it.   Acrylic doesn’t have a superb reputation for yielding to pins and water though.  Still, the boucle is hiding my uneven stitches and it feels light but warm.  I am considering putting an edging or embroidery to spruce it up. 

Here’s my first knit swatch from way back in 2001, when I was a seinor in high school.   I spent a saturday afternoon watching an Omen marathon and trying out different purl/knit combinations from my stitch dictionary.  If you look closely you can spot attempts at ribbing and cables.  

You may remember this yarn from a series of scrap yarn squares I made earlier this month.  This swatch would be perfect for the kind of knit graffiti Knitta started.  You know, where they fasten knit UFOs to random stop signs and car antennas.  Maybe next time I’m in Seattle… 

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I was originally going to knit four dishcloths this summer for the kitchen of an episcopalian church in Newberg. I like knitting, but I’m always expecting the project to end much sooner than it actually does. I guess I have a low tolerance for what I call knitting’s “failure to progress”. So, the church will have to make due with three knit and one crocheted.

All four were made with Lily’s Sugar and Cream in the following colors: Hot Green, Hot Orange, Salt and Pepper, and Bright Navy. These patterns are great for beginning knitters since they only use knit and purl. I didn’t run into any problems with the Love or Three Crosses dishcloths, but the tail of the Dragonfly puckered a little bit. This cleared up with a session of light blocking, though. I don’t normally block dishcloths but they are gifts so I went the extra mile. The white star is my Chromium Star Blanket pattern shortened appropriately for a dishcloth. Watch for the free pattern, which will be posted later this week in the pattern section.

*That’s Cool* a random fact

If you were to map the distance traveled by the blood in your body in a single day it would make two round trips across the United States from coast to coast. That’s 12,000 miles!

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