Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Professor Barbie Ralph Kraken

This is Professor Barbie Ralph Kraken, in her new home out West.
I knit this from Hansigurimi's Nudibranch pattern. It was a very fast knit that I was able to complete pretty easily in about two days of watching football. The colors used were grass green and oddments of blues and purples from my stash.

 While this certainly isn't the only project I have knit in the past
couple of months, it is definitely the most interesting. Most of my time has been spent making rather mundane things to warm the hands. My husband and kids let me knit these things in any color I choose as long as it is black or gray. Boring.

That being said, I have amused myself by keeping notes and taking photos with the hope of writing and posting a pattern for fingerless gloves. I have learned just how much I hate doing this. Publishing knit patterns is not in my future.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

For a Ravens Fan

Wow, I knit this some time ago, at the end of the school year. Then I think the weather got hot and knitting wool hats was just not the thing. Now, football season is upon us, the weather is cold, and I am feeling guilty about not mailing this to the recipient. For the record, the pattern is called Scrap Metal Hat, and it is and absolute joy to knit. A fast, easy knit.

Morrison Tartan Stockings

These are the (essentially) finished Holiday stockings shown next to examples of the Morrison tartans. On the left is the Morrison Hunting/Ancient Tartan, which is the prettiest sett. The blue stocking I knit actually resembles the darker, Morrison Society/Modern tartan. The darker blues and greens were used because those yarns were available. If I were to knit kilt hose to be worn, I would dye the yarns to match the fabric. That will not be happening any time soon. My husband refuses to wear a kilt. I am not about to hand knit tartan hose to be hidden under a pants leg. On the other hand, our eldest son does wear a kilt. He may get a pair of textured kilt hose....when he graduates.
The right hand sash and stocking are the Morrison Red sett. Technically, the tartan has dominant red and green colors, but it does not read that way visually. I knit the stocking to look like a better match for the sash.  Both stockings were knit flat and then seamed. That method is necessitated by the intarsia diamonds and commonsense. These patterns may also predate circular needles. 
Snarky note- My mother-in-law, from Edinburgh, never learned to knit anything in the round. I suspect, also that she considered circular knitting an unseemly American practice.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Learning Tartan Hose

This is my second attempt at a tartan stocking. The first try was essentially a swatch, using stash yarn. That swatch taught me that colors need to be chosen carefully. There was nothing wrong with the knitting. I just hated the colors.
On to the swatch in the picture..... My husband, Ian is Scottish, born in Edinburgh. His grandfather came from the Isle of Lewis,which is the hereditary home of a branch of the Morrison clan. According to the Scottish Tartan Authority, there are two main Morrison Tartans, a Green Hunting Tartan, and a Red Morrison Tartan.  In addition, each major tartan has modern and ancient versions that vary in color.
     The photo shows the leg portion of a tartan/argyle stocking being knit according to a traditional, two-needle, flat pattern. Tartan hose are knit flat because the colored diamonds are knit using the intarsia  (block) method.  I'm knitting this piece using two strands of fingering yarn throughout. The doubled strand of yarn is an important design feature in tartan stockings. Argyle patterns feature diamonds. Tartan patterns may be distinguished from argyle, by the addition of "marls" which are combination of two colors to give a heathered effect. I knit this project with two strands of yarn in order to create a custom marl yarn as needed.
    The blocks of a tartan pattern are knit in solid and marled patterns, which are taken from the main colors of the woven tartan. Additional colors used in the woven tartan have been added as diagonal "rakers".  I chose to add the rakers using duplicate stitch. Rakers can be knit directly into the diamonds. I chose not to do this, partly for simplicity. A secondary reason to stitch the rakers in later is that I can change my mind. I like seeing how the main colors work together before I add additional colors.

Monday, June 25, 2012

(Re)Learning to Tat

 Those miserable scraps at left are the result of my learning to tat.....again. Actually, I'm almost pleased by this.

I have been curious about tatting since I was in high school. During my freshman year, we had a German exchange student, Karen Volker who was the buxom, sexy, blonde of the high school boy's dreams that year. She was a sophisticated 16 years old to my lowly 14 years. She had a German accent. She could act!  Woecakes and jealousy. She was the student aid in my first year German class. Poor girl must have been bored to TEARS! I don't think I ever had a real conversation with her all year. What I DO remember is that she started tatting during class. That got me fascinated. In German, the word for tatting is Schiffenarbeit. It means "boat work" and refers to the shuttle used.

I did learn how to make the basic tatting double stitch many years ago, probably as a college student. I never did much with tatting, though. I did buy some books, which are collecting dust in the basement. The problem is that classic, Victorian tatting patterns are just horrific. They are poorly written and the designs simply say "outdated, fussy". I simply could not find anything I wanted to make enough to bother.

Admittedly, I did not see the potential in tatting.  Next post will have more info.

Leaf Concept for a Baby

The photo at left shows a project I made up on the fly. It is a small baby blanket/receiving blanket.

I made it simply from a pattern for a decorative small leaf. Now that I think about it, the shaping is very similar to that for a shawl. In this case, I just kept increasing far, far beyond the size of a normal leaf. This became truly mindless knitting. I made the project the size of a receiving blanket because that was the smallest size that fit within a reasonable standard.  Final dimensions are about 28" across the center of the leaf. I think it is perhaps 40" long. Those numbers are guesses. I knit the leaf to get a gauge of at least 28" 

I used Red Heart Recycled yarn for this project. Originally, I bought the yarn for a leaf-themed baby sweater that I am just starting. The blanket part was a sudden inspiration. Baby things get made in acrylic yarn so that they are machine washable and hypoallergenic.

For once, I have no recipient for this gift. I may just keep this one myself for a while. I am hoping that the next couple of baby projects are pretty special.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Baby Update

This is a pleasant update. Someone I knit for was kind enough to send me a photograph of my project in action! I am thrilled. This sweater clearly has room for some growth.
Knitting for an appreciative recipient makes it worth while.

Lazy Enough to Be Efficient

 I've been quite busy, knitting rather than posting. The last post, three months ago was about a baby sweater I knit in four days. Immediately after I completed that sweater, I learned of another baby, this one born prematurely. I set about knitting a second sweater which is shown at the right.  I have also started working on a baby blanket and sweater set with a leaf theme. I have now remembered exactly why I HATE baby blankets. This one is half done. I can sensibly photograph it soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Four Days Baby Sweater

Now it can be told. The men in my household are all taciturn. It's hard to get vital information out of them.
James came home from school in early February and mentioned that one of his favorite teachers, a mentor, had departed for paternity leave.
That was all the information I got. No gender, no name, nothing. I went to my "gift" stash and found a pair of baby legwarmers. Not right. I searched through my yarn stash for gender neutral yarns and settled on a navy blue acrylic. I four days, I completed a sweater/jacket in the 6 mos-1 year size. I actually looks good.
Present delivered and I think the recipient was both surprised an pleased. I'm determined to knit a small stock of these to have ready. My only problem is choosing colors. I get totally indecisive about color choices for babies. I want to choose something other than the traditional pink/blue/green/yellow. What works?

Metro Bauhaus

I'm STILL not sure what to make of this project. I love the colors. They are exactly what I like to wear. I love the look, which evokes the Bauhaus School of Design. The pattern I used was called Metro Cowl, which specified laceweight yarn on a size 8 needle. That does not work for me. I substituted a worsted weight yarn and got something different than the pattern. The main difference is the width of the stripe. Obviously, the laceweight yarn would produce finer stripes. Even so, on size 8 needless? For me, the laceweight yarn that I have purchased is quite fine, like a crochet cord. Putting that on size 8 needles produces a loose mess. Worsted weight yarn knits up nicely but changes the look and texture. The original cowl had a red zipper sewn in. Instead of a zipper, I added a red strip. I did this because my neck is short and a zipper, especially an open zipper, would be abrasive and uncomfortable near my skin.
I ended up knitting a full lining for the cowl, to make it warm and to prevent the fabric from rolling. It may work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Knitting Under Any Circumstance

January was not a good month. On January 5th, I was in an auto accident. Luckily, no one was injured. Luckily, the accident happened in the parking lot at work and the weather was mild. Also, the accident was clearly not my fault. I am grateful for all of that. Really.

Still, it WAS an auto accident. My car is still not fixed, some five weeks later.....

How does this relate to knitting you ask? Well....
After the immediate flurry of accident-related duties involving insurance and phone calls and the other guy driving away, I was left waiting for the tow truck to collect the remains of my car. While I was waiting, I sat an knit on these fingerless gloves. I'm sure I was a sight to see, sitting in a crashed car, knitting away. Frankly, the knitting kept me sane. It also kept me from visibly freaking out while my body figured out just how stiff, sore and grumbly I was going to be the next day.

My car is old, but not quite worth totalling. I'm on my second rental contract. Ouch. At least my hands are warm.
The pattern used is Jacoby, which I have knit before and will knit again. Easy and looks good in sock yarn.

Raven Needed a New Bag

I knit a bag to hold my knitting.....

In 2008 I knit a tote bag from Paton's SWS and have been using it ever since. My cat LOVES it. She sat on that bag at every opportunity. I have given up and given her that bag.

The photo at left shows my new, Windmill Bag, knit from my last stash of Slate SWS. It used exactly 3 skeins. This was a fabulous project on an advanced beginner level. The project was knit entirely in garter stitch. The bag is really just four short garter stitch strips. The strips could be sewn together, but I knit the bag in one piece, picking up stitches to start each new strip. The name, "Windmill" describes the layout of the finished knit, before seaming the sides.

I blocked this bag, but did not felt it. SWS felts very well, so I still have the option. Most likely, the bag will felt in use. This was a great, easy project.