Whenever anyone tells me "Hey, I like your blog," I feel compelled to say: "I don't post enough! But I just like crafting more than I like writing about it." As a result, a lot of projects never make it onto the blog because they were finished so long ago that by the time I get it together to write a post, I'm onto something totally new. But I've done a lot of projects recently that I like, so I'm just going to overwhelm you with a big smorgasbord of finished projects. Dig in!
Completed Under the Sea Blanket
Here is the finished Under the Sea blanket. Though I am pleased, and my friend who received it is pleased, it somehow never lived up to my elaborate conception, (which was much more sculpture than blanket). All of the items button on with toggle buttons, and so they can be re-arranged and moved around.
More socks for my mom. They are both from patterns that you've seen here before and that just work particularly well. I liked the Sidewinders
pattern so much, that I knew I wanted to make a pair for my mom. I used some Felici self striping yarn and it ended up coming out so perfectly! The last pair of Skew
socks got rave reviews for fit, so I thought I would make another pair. This time around I used an acrylic blend so that they won't be quite so warm as wool. A summer sock.
More socks! This time socks for my husband, who, you may have noticed, doesn't get a lot of stuff. The items in the cue for him are long and varied and he is very patient about it, so I got the lead out and actually finished something for him. These were designed by the witty little knitter, and the pattern is here
. I was worried about tightness in the ankles, so I did the all of the white accents on the leg in duplicate stitch. I hadn't really ever given a lot of though to the technique of duplicate stitch, but thankfully and serendipitously, smartygirl at the filmcraft
blog posted a link to a Watermelish tutorial
on duplicate stitch which was awesome! And everything came out much neater than my original attempt.
The completion of tiny seahorse!
Tiny seahorse is finished! I put it off for so long because I was worried I wouldn't be able to pick up the stitches for the belly. I hadn't even considered how absurdly small the back fin would be. So tiny! This is, once again, a Hansi Singh pattern. I didn't have to change the pattern at all, just used smaller needles and yarn. People's main reaction has been, "how do you make it so tiny," and my only answer is "tiny needles." The stick supporting the seahorse in this photo is actually one of the needles used to knit it. They are size 0/6 and I got them from BagLady
, where I also got 0/4 and 0/5. They don't sell 0/8, thank goodness, or I would probably be blind.
And I know I'm kind of burying the lead here, but ta-da! Tiny chameleon. He was inspired by a little guy
you may have seen in the news a little while ago:One new chameleon was found on Nosy Hara, an islet off the coast of Madagascar. Named Brookesia micra, it is the smallest of the four species. Juveniles are small enough to stand on the head of a match.
Well, I didn't quite get it that small, but pretty close! Also, chameleons are incredibly fun to look at! When ever I'm doing a project where I'm trying to match something in nature, I do a lot of image searches first, and that was how I learned the super fun fact that baby chameleons ride around on their mom's faces. So, then, of course, I knew what I had to do.
Both mom and baby are Hansi Singh patterns. The mom was knit with sock weight yarn and using 0/4 needles. The hardest part by far was the tail, but it wasn't impossible. The legs are knit separately, but the head and eyes are knit with picked up stitches. There are wires inside the legs so that they are positionable.
Last time I wrote about stash busting. And then I went to Madrona
, and then I went to Stitches
. But I'm telling myself I did my shopping for the year, and at this point I intend on sticking with that. In other words, my goal for the rest of the year is that every project here will be stash busting.
I would love to write a whole Madrona post, but I didn't take any photos, so I will just say, it was lovely! It was so cool to be in classes with a bunch of really passionate skilled knitters, and it was thrilling to be a little star struck taking classes from Jared Flood
, Franklin Habit
, Lucy Neatby
, and Amy Detjen
(Amy doesn't have much of a web identity, but she is the assistant for Elizabeth Zimmerman's daughter. Pretty good pedigree!). It is one of those things about knitting that you can get as broad or as precises as you want to about your technique. I learned great color work and finishing tips that would mostly only be noticeable to a knitter, but are fun to think about. And I would feel more confident about tackling an antique pattern, if I had a wild hair to do so. I would totally recommend the conference and hope to go back. The other major highlight of the trip was that I got to stay with friends in Seattle, one of whom was the recipient of the dutch sweater I've been working on, off and no, for almost a year. So, ta-da:
From the front, confident
From the back, not too short!
Technical notes: I'm very pleased with the way it came out. The fit ended up being pretty perfect and using the shoulder shapping from the Global Warming sweater worked so well.
Because I had so many more stitches to each round than the Global Warming, I ended up with a boat neck, which was what I wanted anyway.
Now, about that neck: I knew I wanted to do a rolled cast-off which requires a 1 x 1 ribbing, but I had done a 2 x 1 ribbing. The way I've done it before, I had increased between the 2 knit stitches, to create the 1 x 1 ribbing that allows for the rolled bind off (which is essentially putting all the knit stitches on one double pointed needle, all the purl stitches on another double pointed needle, and doing a kitchner bind off). Well, I did my increases, did my kitchner bind off, and ended up with a big floppy neck line. I though, "blocking will fix this," but it didn't. The night before I left, while the knitting was still slightly damp, I fear, I undid the bind off, and re-did it by knitting the two knit stitches in the ribbing together, so that I still ended up with a 1 x 1 ribbing at the end, but with 1/3 fewer stitches, instead of 1/3 more stitches. I did the same rolled bind off and the results were perfect!
Detail of the neck cast-off
Of course I learned some stranded color techniques at Madrona that would have improved this garment, but probably only to my eyes. On the whole a very satisfying crafting experience.
Patterned dress competition in Tacoma
Ah the knitter’s stash and stash-busting. For the uninitiated, the stash is what knitters call their hoard of yarn. Stash busting is using yarn from the stash, thereby making the stash a tiny bit smaller.
The title of this post is really only figurative, because while my stash occupies a large portion of my closet, it has also spread to sections of my book shelf, and, horror of horrors, the terribly yarn-un-friendly location of the garage.
Lori, Lori, quite aquisitory, how does your stash grow?
Well, I am guilty of what I will call “whole project buying”. I see a pattern, I love it, I buy all the yarn needed for it, and then I squirrel it away because I certainly don’t have time to start a new project, I have several projects going already! Sometimes, three years later, I start these projects, sometimes, I don’t.
Sometimes you need a tiny bit of black acrylic for the ends of the eye stalks of some hermit crab, and so you buy a giant ball of red heart, which never, ever, ends, all the while taking up a lot of cubic inches of stash real estate.
A lot of the time, you know that it takes 100g of sock yarn to make a pair of socks, so you buy 1000g of sock yarn, 100g at a time, with the expectation that some day you will make ten pairs of socks. Not an unlikely expectation at all.
The only problem is that then, the new knitting magazines show up on your door step, or you spend a night browsing on Ravelry, or someone you can’t refuse says, I found this pattern, please make it for me, and then you find yourself buying more yarn. And at the end of these projects, there is always a little yarn left over, and so the stash grows a little, even though yarn is leaving the house.
But then, none of this is really complaining, because gazing at your stash is a satisfying sort of activity in it’s own right.
But so is stash busting.
I’m working on two stash busting projects right now. One is a sweet sweater I started about one year ago. I’m re-starting it really. The little dutch sweater dress that will some day be a reality.
A pretty cute little sweater confection.
I’ve got miles to knit before I sleep on this one, but the pattern keeps it entertaining, imagining what little dutch people would say while they were waiting for their heads to be knit. Instead of just making the original vintage pattern larger, I’m using the general pattern suggestions for the Global Warming sweater
, I’m looking forward to doing the sleeves! I had a brief conniption last night because, while I’ve known I will need to order more of the white yarn for a while, I’ve been putting it off. The white is a nice thick sport weight from Knitpicks called Telemark. Well, "they" have discontinued Telemark, and it seems, replaced it with Wool of the Andes, which I don't have a particular gripe with, except that WotA has about 30 yds more per 50g ball, which means it is not as thick and sturdy. I was imagining all kinds of tragic looking outcomes to this situation, but this morning I found 6 balls of the yarn hanging out in the UK, and that should be enough to finish the project. Hurrah!
But even while I have this project that is so sweet and tons of fun, and even has some technical planning aspects to keep me engaged, I’ve been just pining to crochet. So much so that I made this a few nights ago:
Don’t worry, it's only 6 ½ inches square
I was pouring over my doily books, almost drooling, wondering where I could get size 30 cotton thread. However, I am well aware that clearly I don’t need more thread, and really, more doilies. So, the part of my mind that wasn’t overtaken with feverish doily planning remembered a box of yarn from 2009 that was in the garage that was waiting to become a ripple afghan. Ta-da:
Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!
Not that we need blankets either, but I dream of a day when I’ve got a lovely purple ruffle afghan on the back of one chair, and a beautiful mustard Girasole
over the back of the couch. I haven’t bought the yarn for the Girasole...yet.
Thanksgiving is coming up and that means the photos of the Under the Sea blanket will be posted in a matter of days! Until then, a few tiny silver things to tide you over.
BAM! Tiny Tiny Laptop
I wanted to make a tiny laptop that was tiny enough for a tiny Santa to use. I'll tell you why later. Sometimes you just want a tiny tiny laptop.
I used 0/5 sized needles, and one ply of embroidery floss. Sadly, I couldn't work my tiny laptop pattern in the round, but I was able to work the pattern as written, working the rows flat back and forth. I then graft the top closed and seam up the side and bottom. The seam ended up being pretty invisible. The keys don't stand out as much as I would like, but we can't have everything, I guess.
BAM! Tiny Mailbox
This pattern is from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec, same as the gnomes in an earlier post. It was made for the same friend that got the magical mailbox
way back last year. It was made using size 1 needles and fit perfectly into a jewelry box for mailing.
The tiny letter is separate and has it's own little face on the back. Embroidering on knitted material is challenging under the best conditions, but I think that the initials on the front came out not-too-serial-killer-handwriting-ish.
Tiny Mailbox says "Your your mouth!"
I haven’t done a blog post recently because I’ve been concentrating all my energies on this:
This is a close up shot of the making of my under the sea blanket. I just found the color combination too pleasing now to document it. I’ve posted a few finished items for this project on the blog, here
, or here
. I started this project in 2008, but I’ve actually made the bulk of it over the last month. In the past few days though, I’ve realized how glad I am that I waited. It is nice to be able to see improvement in your own skills. I think what I see most in my own work is an increased willingness to improvise, and I’m glad to see it. The blanket will get its own post after Thanksgiving after I’ve had a chance to give it.
But wait! I have photos of other projects that have just been hanging around. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for, except that I’ve just been knitting sea critters all night, and so I haven’t been in a writing mood. I thought I would do a little winter cleaning and get these photos posted.
Here is a miniaturization of the Hansi Singh Jackalope pattern. I made a larger version for my parents a few years ago. Being Mid-Westerners always in their hearts if not their address, it was much appreciated. I love Hansi’s patterns, and I love making them tiny. This guy ended up being bigger than a chipmunk, but smaller than a squirrel.
I worked this pattern almost exactly as written. I attached the legs after the body was grafted together, making them set a little wider apart at the top, and I had to redo the bottoms of the feet, which didn’t miniaturize as well. I suspect this is because my rainbow yarn is a little thicker than fingerling weight. I just picked up the recommended number of stitches, K2tog around, and then threaded the needed through the remaining stitches and pulled tight. I used 000 needles, some brown sock yarn I had kicking around in my stash and some rainbow yarn left over from this
project. I used some of my trusty garden wire in the legs to make them a little stronger.
My favorite part of this pattern! Isn't this a ridiculously life-like rump?
I also just want to give a shout out to my Tiny Laptop Pattern. Over 100 have added the project to their favorites on Ravelry
, my favorite social network site for knitters and crocheters. One industrious crafter has already made several for her little monsters to play with! I agree with her that it is pretty irresistible to put toys to work when you’ve got a tiny laptop bumping around your house. On the internet, nobody knows your a Jackalope.
Boy it has been hot here.
Especially to someone from Norway.
Good thing he grew his beard to a modest length.
Gnothing on Earth could compell me to knit a gnome gpenis.
Yay! I wrote a pattern for the little laptop that the octopus is holding in the last post. You can download it on Ravelry
, or here
, or, there is a link on the sidebar. Make one! Tell your friends to make one! Fill the world with tiny laptops. It is a 2-3 hour project and good fun for everyone, octopuses and lovers of cute things alike.
I'm pretty much a sucker for an awesome pattern. I mean, I'm sure that is the case for most knitters. I horde yarn for a polar bear sweater I will make some day, I buy and then later get rid of scads of pattern books. (No, I don't really get rid of them, keeping them for inspiration is a totally valid rationalization.) Upon seeing a truly amazing pattern, I will probably buy the yarn that day and start it that night. I also love a new way to do something that I've done before.
Don't you love the eyes! You knit his head with slits and then push the eyes in afterwards, so for a while you have a blind zombie octopus in your house! Also, as you can see, the eyes make a really great hand puppet. This may be my low key Halloween costume, two of these babies sewn onto some kind of finger sleeve, I haven't decided.
It turns out that I was the first person to finish this pattern on Ravelry and the designer Max Alexander has asked if he can post one of my photos on his blog
. Max has got it down with the eyes. To me, his pieces have a great cartoon quality, almost like they are drawn. I really like this bee
Because I am, and love to be, a machine for cranking out yarn versions of friend's inside jokes, this guy has a few accessories, including a baked potato from Anna Hrachovec's Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi.
and a laptop. I'm very proud of the laptop.
I designed it myself, and this weekend I'm going to write out the pattern, because there are no tiny laptop patterns floating around the internet that I could find and now, knowing that, well, this situation cannot persist.
Happily, another family I know had a baby, and so he is now the recipient of my new favorite baby item:
Knowing this little baby was a boy, I decided to add some little blue stripes. I like how they look like soccer socks a little. I did the Interlock bindoff
this time, so the tops don't roll when not filled with a fat little leg, but they are just as stretchy as the correctly named Stretchy bindoff
that I used on the last pair.
I would love to say that I've been knitting up a storm instead of posting here, but that isn't quite the case. I've also been baking pies and cleaning the living room and watching TV. In the midst of a few un-ending UFOs, my passion has been flagging a little.
Which isn't to say of course that I haven't finished anything since July when I last posted. August was actually a productive month, knitting wise. It just didn't definitely feel that way. Though I could question the health of it, what I love is to have a project going that I think about all the time. Something I plan out aspects of during down time at work and can't wait to get home to. How I felt about the sideways socks
and my tiny hermit crab
But I also think I will find that project somewhere in my massive horde of projects waiting to be started. Last weekend I made it though the left and right front of a sweater and part of the way up the back before I lost oomph over concerns about the tightness of the arm holes and running out of yarn. Is it better to know you don't have enough yarn to finish a project, or to always think you might not have enough yarn to finish a project? If you know the answer to this puzzle, please let me know in the comments.
Alright, enough musing and down to brass tacks. What exactly have I been up to since July? Well...
Atomic Fireball Socks for my Father-in-law
Lots of cables for large men's feet. They took me quite a while, but they have a lot of small touches that I like. The heel is the extra long, good for men's socks, Fleegle's short-row heel. It used up more yarn than I think a heel flap heel would have, but I also think a well fitting heel is half the battle in good sock fit. I used the Interlock Bindoff
, which I really like a lot. It is possibly the most ridiculous and complicated sewn bindoff, but the results are fantastic, very stretchy, but also attractive.
Java Socks for my Dad
These were my first two-at-a-time socks. Though of course each row takes twice as long, it is wonderful to cast off and be totally finished with a project. The second sock is always the bane of my existence. Very much like sleeves, my brain just doesn't want to do the same thing it just did, AGAIN. I like the Java pattern because it is so stretchy. The sad truth is that the more ornate a handmade sock is, the more it is like a tiny wool foot blanket, no give, no stretch, very thick. So, though I love them, I think I am finished with Fair Isle socks because they just don't work for 80% of feet.
These photos really don't do it the color or the dimensions justice. I blocked in haste and didn't think to snap a photo then, and these are pre-blocking. The blanket ended up double bed sized, but that may only be because a double bed is the largest surface in my home that I have to block on. The color is more of a natural cream. It took FOREVER, but the result is beautiful and well worth it for a wedding gift.
Baby Wonton Wrapper
I made this for the arrival of my brand new little 1st cousin once removed. She is beautiful and lovely. I knew she was coming, but I didn't know her gender. I figured yellow and teal would be good bright gender neutral colors. The blanket is 100% cotton. The main yellow part is Lion Brand, and then I had to delve into fancy yarn store territory for the teal because it would seem that there are no good true mass-market teals commercially available. This baby's birth was conveniently timed during a trip East, and so I had a chance, the night before going to see her, to whip up some little coral colored star embellishments. I didn't invent this star pattern. Actually I scoured the internet for a free star pattern, only to discover that the best one, and I mean, really, the best crocheted stars in all history and time, would cost me $4.95. I hemmed and hawed for a day, and finally my husband agreed to split the cost with me so that I could stop agonizing. They are totally worth it. The blanket has a little triangle sewn onto the front of one of the corners to act as a baby hood. I love the texture of seed stitch, so I alternated squares of that with squares of straight knitting. The boarder is a broken rib, so it doesn't shrink up but still has the texture of a rib. Also, a baby blanket takes a lot less time than a wedding blanket with cables!
Pre-stars and pre-weaving in the ends. Also, the colors that an overcast sky affords the photographer. Trust me, the teal is awesome.
Baby Duck Booties
Tucked inside the blanket are some booties that I finished within a month of finding out about the pregnancy, but that I haven't posted, just to cover my gifts are supposed to be surprises bases. The pattern
is a field trip into the mind of a master knitter and I loved making them, and actually plan to make another pair very soon for a friend's baby.
Well, thanks for making it through the poorly lit photos and the rambling prose. Though it gets hot here before it gets cool, I think Fall always brings good knitting.