Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Plum Bag

I'm actually using this project. I knit it for the Ravelympics in one week. The bag is made of Paton's Soy Wool Stripes and Solids using one skein each of Plum stripe and solid colorways. The yarn was an impulse buy because I liked the color and wanted to try a soy blend yarn. I made a bag because the yarn is far too scratchy to go agains bare skin. It feels like Lincoln wool. The bag is lightly felted by hand. I'm am using this as a knitting bag. It needs a lining to keep knitting needles from protruding. Otherwise, I love it. The dimentions are 12"tall, 7"wide.

Ugh Update

These are the hat prototypes I've been working on for visor beanies. I am critical and just not satisfied with any of them. Surprisingly, the brim is OK. I'm picky about the crown decreases and the hems. The blue rolled brim hat has a sloppy crown decrease. The brown hat has a gathered crown which explains why people top hats with pom poms. The gray hat is an improvement. The crown decrease is neater, brim better, the hem is OK but has a tendency to flair out. The brown and gray models were made with an acrylic yarn which I do not like. The gray model is made with a wool/acrylic blend yarn which is better. Next versions will feature the best combination of features and better fiber content.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ughs Everlasting

I am in such trouble. This week I got a request to knit a visor beanie just like the one that a member of the band Bellflur wears. In sheer vanity I quickly started a prototype and sent a message that the hat was ready BEFORE it was finished. It looks hideous. Version 2 is medium horrible. I am now working on version 3 with 24hrs left to go. I should know better. There will be pictures when the series is complete. BTW, the Ravelympics deadline is today. At least I had the foresight to join Team Slacker.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Let There Be Light

There are some real drawbacks to knitting with black yarn or other dark colors. It's best to knit in north daylight but not possible for evening knitters or most people probably. The lighting in my living room is either too bright or insufficient. Here's my solution. I found a headlamp-style book light. I can wear it on my forehead and aim the light right at the sweet spot. Of course I look utterly ridiculous. My family is so accustomed to me that no one said a word. That's scary. I think I need a baseball cap for camouflage.

In closing, these are my projects for Ravelympics- Team Slacker. Right on schedule so far, kinda sorta.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Irritable Pause

I am massively irritated by my life. Yes, yes, I'm taking steps to make changes. I am impatient, hence the irritation. Even doing my part, some of this is out of my control. Some of it I'm gonna mess up. Add some PMS into the mix...

Scarf Knitting- Got several projects going. The Cactaur/ Final Fantasy Scarf is progressing in length. I am also making design changes as I go. I am trying various details on the Cactaur until it looks right. I am also trying to add another character to balance the other side of the scarf. My son and I decided that Chocobo is too detailed for this project. The Black Mage is a better choice. I have a pixellated image that will be graphed.

Ravelympics- I'm knitting for the Slacker Team in Ravelympics. I've started a bag pattern that is low stress stockinette stitch. The only hitch is that I'm adjusting the color pattern to accomodate the amount of yarn on hand. I'm using Paton's Soy Wool Stripes (and Solids) in Plum and Geranium colorways. I've got just enough yarn to make a small bag in each color.

Other projects are in my head (development stages) or littering the landscape.

Stressors: I'm trying to lose weight (eternally), my bathroom is being renovated (since May) and each day has it's own momentum (prices go up), job hunting (rejection sucks, silence ain't so great either),

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cactaur Scarf

I've been asked to knit a character from Final Fantasy. My son chose Cactaur as the motif for his scarf. Cactaur was chosen for it's simplicity. I was able to graph it easily. The scarf itself is progressing quickly. When complete, I'll post the pattern and chart. Right now, I'm still changing details. In future, I'm hoping to add at least one more Final Fantasy character, possibly Chocobo to another scarf. Recently, our family went to Otakon, the big anime convention in Baltimore. My favorite activity is watching the cosplayers promenade through the convention center. I took the scarf and made some progress. Here's my work in progress.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Knit Your Green Veggies

This is the purl side of the leaf.

This is the knit side of the leaf.

This project was inspired by a desire to knit kale and other green leafy vegetables. Kale was not a good first choice (in retrospect) because the edges are so complex. The ruffle edging has 400 stitches condensed down to 135. The finished leaf now looks more like spinach or chard. I like it, but it's NOT kale.

The following pattern was inspired by a Classic Elite Yarns pattern for a leaf sachet and two ruffled edgings from Nicky Epstein's book Knitting on the Edge.

Knit Leafy Greens Pattern

Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids and Heathers, worsted weight yarn in Forest Green
Circular needle, size 9

For leaf center:

Cast on 5 stitches. Knit in stockinette for 3 inches ending with a purl (wrong side) row. Mark center stitch
Row 1- K1,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K1, end with 7 stitches.
Row 2 and all wrong side rows- P.
Row 3- K2,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K2, end with 9 stitches.
Row 5- K3,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K3, end with 11 stitches.
Row 7- K4,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K4, end with 13 stitches.
Row 9- K5,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K5, end with 15 stitches.
Row 11- K6,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K6, end with 17 stitches.
Row 13- K7,K1 inc.1 (knit one from the row below), knit center stitch,k1, inc 1, K7, end with 19 stitches.

Rows 14-24- Knit even in stockinette on 19 stitches.

Row 25- K7,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k7, end with 17 stitches.
Row 27- K6,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k6, end with 15 stitches.
Row 29- K5,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k5, end with 13 stitches.
Row 31- K4,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k4, end with 11 stitches.
Row 33- K3,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k3, end with 9 stitches.
Row 35- K2,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k2, end with 7 stitches.
Row 37- K1,K2 tog, knit center stitch, k2 tog, k1, end with 5 stitches.

Bind off remaining 5 stitches. This gives a blunt tip on which to sew the ruffled edging.

Ruffled Edging:

Cast on 400 stitches.
Knit 4 rows in stockinette.
Knit 3tog across row, ending with about 133 stitches (approximately)
Knit 3 rows in stockinette.
Bind off.


Fold ruffle in half to form a double ruffle of half the original length. I chose to fold the ruffle stockinette side inside. Whipstitch the cast on edges together to form one double layered ruffle. Sew the ruffle to the edge of the leaf shape, stretching or easing the fabric as needed. Weave in any loose ends.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bitter greens

I've always had a problem with kale. My family, good Southern cooks that they are has always served a whole lotta greens, collards, turnip, mustard, kale, cabbage, beet, whatever. I don't like kale too much. I will admit that it is decorative. Anyway, I'm trying to reproduce kale in knitting and it ain't working so far. I've been able to form basic a basic leaf shape. I'm not happy with the curly edges of the leaves. So far, the ruffle patterns don't look right. I'm using worsted weight wool and ize 8 needles. I'm guessing that in order to get the right look, I neeed to use a much finer yarn. This was supposed to be quick and easy. I've seen the lovely Norah Gaughan Beet Pattern. I want to make kale by myself, with other species to follow. Photos will come later.

On a final note, I have a fondness for the Brassicans which include broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, kale, mustard, collards, and more. They're all related. Powerful plants.