Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Turning a Failure into a Success!

I bought the book, French Girl Knits, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. I love the designs, but the pattern writing leaves something to be desired. I started the Wrenna Cardigan. I used two balls of Wool Ease Thick and Quick blue, and two balls of Wool Ease Thick and Quick black. This was a stashbuster project!

I loved the horseshoe lace and the fact that it's in super bulky yarn, so I knew it'd be quick. I followed the directions for my size, using two sizes smaller needles (I couldn't find any that large). It was still absolutely HUMONGOUS! I frogged it and started over, this time using a size small (I usually wear an XL or a 1X). It was still TOO BIG! I mean, HUGE! I figured that I must have misunderstood the yarn size, maybe it was bulky. Nope, it really called for super bulky. I frogged it...again. This time I cast on about half the stitches that it called for, followed the pattern for the shoulder increases, then just winged the rest. I couldn't do the horseshoe lace pattern because there just wasn't enough stitches to even try, so I did a simple cable instead. I wish I had done more increases at the hips, but it fits.

Overall, I'm happy with my sweater; I am not happy with the pattern. It's also really, really, really difficult to capture a cable pattern on black, but it's there and looks great! (You'll just have to trust me!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Eeeyyyyzzzz!

Summer's end is quickly approaching, which means it's almost time for my favorite season. I am making Kathleen Roger's Vitreous Humor Scarf, and was inspired to make these great little Halloween decorations. These little eyeballs are a perfect project for kids who are just learning needle arts. The majority of this project is extremely child-friendly.

What you need:
Fisherman's wool in a natural white/ivory (or any other suitable for felting) OR roving (I used the leftovers from my first spinning class)
Cherry and orange kool-aid (or red food coloring)
crochet hook
Undyed wool roving

For the optic nerve:
The yarn version- chain until your chain is approximately 15 inches long (or longer!). Feel free to make "mistakes" as you go! In fact, the more mistakes the better. You can always add a few extra chains inside previous chains. Felt. (Washing machine cycle, or in the sink with soap and water.) Or not. I ended up not felting because I liked them as is.
Roving version- using a drop spindle, lightly spin into a really rough yarn. Make sure to have a lot of thin and thick spots. You can make these as long or as short as you want, but this is the final length of your piece. (What a great first spinning project!)

When you're optic nerve is chained or spun, it's ready to dye!
You'll need:
A wooden spoon
 a non-reactive pot
Hot water (if small children are helping, hot tap water will do)
Cherry and orange kool aid packets

Stir the liquids well. Put your wool in the orange dye bath, leaving little bits sticking out of the water, just a smidge. You can stir, or not. If you boil the mixture, the dye will set faster. You can always pull it out and keep checking until it's a shade or two darker than the desired color (which will lighten a bit after rinsing and drying). Do the same thing with cherry, but leaving even more out of the dye. Wait till it cools. Rinse carefully (unless you want a bit of felting) in tepid water.

For the eyeballs:
Take a small amount of roving, place in the palm of a wet, soapy hand (Dawn dish soap is best, any will do), and rub and roll until you have a nicely felted ball, you can add bits of roving as you go. Rinse and dry. Now you can decorate your eyeballs with some fabric pens (even sharpies).

Final step: attach the eyes to the optic nerves. I did this with sewing, but needle felting is another good choice (every one of my felting needles broke at once, so it wasn't an option for me). This part is obviously not child-friendly.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Through the Woods hoodie

I just whipped up this hoodie for my 9 year old with some leftover yarn. It took me a few hours from start to finish. The pattern is free, extremely well-written, and easy as can be. It had a few, maybe five, cables worked in, which gives it a really nice touch. This would be perfect for a first cable project. I would rate the pattern beginner- if you use a regular cast-on and bind-off. I used some cheap Caron yarn that is called worsted, but is really a bit heavier than Aran. I used size 10 needles. It's black, so it's pretty hard to capture the cable detail in a pic. The only mod I made is for the face edge, I picked up 88 stitches instead of 96. It's still slightly ruffley, so I'm glad I didn't do more. If I make another, I will cast on 80 instead.

Here's the pattern: Through the Woods Free Hoodie

Cybele Vest

The pattern was quite fiddly and I deviated a bit, but I'm in love with the final product! Pattern is from the book, French Girl Knits, by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, and is titled Cybele. I used the super cheap Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn in Oxford. Had I known how well this would turn out, I would have used a higher quality yarn. This is a deep grey, but my phone is now taking pictures on the blue side; I think it's lost its ability to white balance. (Time for a new phone!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hat/scarf/writers sets for my boys!

I've been working on holiday gifts and trying to use my stash yarn. I made a cowl, hat, and wristers for each of my boys.

Cowl- I didn't use a pattern. I cast on 22 stitches using worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles. Knit two rows of alternating colors in garter stitch. When it measured 21 inches long, I switched to stockinette, put in button holes by casting off a stitch, three times, then cast back on the stitches on the next row. Very simple and quick!

Hat- I used the child size (pattern offers every size imaginable) of Luuk, by Annis Jones. I can't say enough how much I love this pattern. It's soooooo cute! Also, super fast to knit and hardly used any yarn. The only modification I made was to use a contrasting color (blue) for the last knit row and all purl rows in pattern. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/luuk

I also made some matching fingerless mitts. I cast on 25 stitches, knit in garter for 40 rows, cast off, seam up sides leaving five stitches open, five stitches from the edge. I ran out of Blue yarn, so they don't quite match. I rather like it that way because it doesn't seem all matchy-matchy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Post Holiday MEEEE TIME!

I decided that after my holiday knitting frenzy and in anticipation of my annual winter depression, January is going to be the month for, well, ME! I have a few things on my needles, but first up are my fingerless gloves. I just need to finish the thumb and make another. Quick knit and great pattern. I did make them a bit longer than the pattern called for. I used Vickie Howell's Sheep (ish) yarn in gun metal. It's a wool/acrylic mix in a roving. I thought the roving might make the gloves crisper or something, but it didn't really. Also, it seems to already be pilling and it splits super easy so it's difficult to knit with. In other words, I wish I hadn't bought four more skeins of it! Anyway, I love the pattern http://voknits.com/2009/03/06/cold-turkey/

Gingerbread Man and Woman

I made this cute little Gingerbread couple for my daughter and her fiancé (oh, that's weird to say). They're perfect stocking stuffers! They only took about twenty minutes each to make, then you felt them. The pattern was so easy. I would say that it would even be an almost beginner project. There are increases and decreases, but since you're felting, no one will really be able to tell if there's a mistake. Also, I'm all about the quick satisfaction!

Pattern: http://torirotsstitches.blogspot.com/2011/11/ginger-bread-couple-and-hat-competition.html

Here they are before felting. Honestly, if you had some unfeltable brown yarn, these things don't actually need felting. I might make another pair to felt, just out of curiosity.