I’ve got blog posts, oh have I got blog posts, all stored away in my head, photos hanging out in my email in-box. And here is one for you now!
Dissected wool frogs!
Long ago, way back in June 2010, my husband showed me a fun post on Web Urbanist with items they deemed to be “Knitty Gritty,” items outside of the traditional purview of knitting. I absolutely loved Crafty Hedgehog’s Knitting in Biology 101. As you might be able to tell from my little knitted animals, I love any pattern that shoots for realistic knitting. My mom, who has friends in every walk of life imaginable, has two lovely lady scientist friends who were both well deserving of knitted dissected frogs. I actually finished both frogs around Thanksgiving, and used that trip home to deliver them. We ordered real dissection trays from a science supply company. I’m very pleased with the results!
Now is the time to reveal what I’ve been working on for the past few months:
Little penguin ornaments. Unfortunately, like a few of my projects, I didn’t get a better photo than this one, but he does look cute here on his way to the post office! I made 8 of these little guys, taking breaks from larger projects. They were made using sock yarn and size 2 needles. They came out nicely, but it wasn’t the most elegant pattern, and I certainly was glad to make the last one. The pattern came from Knitpicks, and in the same pattern book is a pattern for knitted popcorn to string up for Christmas tree decoration. But I’m trying to forget that one. The phrase “make 90” at the beginning of the directions sounds like a warning to stay away and protect my sanity to me.
This little guy is the Zozo alien from Knitty. I made him for a little cousin of mine who is still small enough to not get button eyes on her toys. Similar to the penguins, I like how he came out, but there was so much I-chord involved. I had planned to make another one, but went with a different project instead. Call it craft attention deficit, but once I’ve done a project, especially a fiddly one like this, doing a second, third, etc, becomes pretty onerous. Making two socks or two sleeves can be quite enough of a challenge, I didn't need to spend another week making short little I-chords.
Intarsia knitting before and after weaving in the ends.
Thus, enter the gorilla baby beanie from the mad monkey knitter on Etsy. I made a few alterations in the pattern, so that I had a happy monkey instead. I also started this project on an airplane, a miscalculation, as you can perhaps see. With my lap full of little bobbins of yarn I felt like I needed to explain to the little old lady next to me that I actually did know what I was doing. I was so proud of how clean the back ended up coming out that I immediately took pictures, and then I forgot to take pictures of the finished hat. But I think you can get an idea of how it looks from looking at this pristine back. :)
Here is the mobius shawl that I made for my mother-in-law. I'm modeling it in the photo above, because I never got a chance to get a photo of her in it. I had never knit a mobius before, and it was certainly cool. A mobius strip is a loop of paper, or knitting, or what have you, that has been twisted once so that it has a continuous outer edge. It is knit working from the center out, knitting both edges at the same time. As you can see, when it is on the needles it is a big mess, but during the cast off, it is super rewarding to see it become an un-wadded up piece of fabric. I think it is a great shawl alternative because there is no way it can fall off your shoulders. It is knit with bulky yarn, so it is very warm and cozy.
That tiny sock from the last post was intended as an IOU for my dad. I thought for sure that I wasn't going to have time to complete a full pair of socks for him, so I made that little one. When we came home from Thanksgiving, it seems that one of the cats made off with the tiny sock, and they still aren't saying where they put it. By the time I had finished all my projects, it turned out I still had a week, so I was able to whip these up, thank goodness! I had bought the yarn on a whim during a trip to Switzerland, when I discovered they sold yarn in the department store. I just couldn't resist. Yarn in a department store, how novel. It was even on sale and came with a matching spool of thinner yarn for reinforcing the toe and heel. In order to not completely hide the pattern, I knit the socks in stockinette, which I always worry will be too loose, so I did do some ribbing under the arch as an experiment that I hope made them fit a little more snuggly. Because they were for my dad though, I won't ever know if the ribbing is a good idea or not because he just tells me they are great. :)
I think it was at the beginning of the year, I'm not sure, but at some point my brother-in-law started running barefooted and wearing Vibram Five Fingers "toe shoes". I saw him at the end of May and decided that what this kid needed were some toe socks, or toe slippers. I measured his feet and got started on the first sock, got down to the toe area, and then froze. I had measured his toes already, but I just wasn't confident about my measurements. As luck would have it, my husband and I got a chance to visit with his family again on Labor Day, and I was able to finish the toes on one sock. I started the next one, but I knew I couldn't just hold it up to the first sock, and I was going blind trying to count and compare the rows. Then, hurrah, we saw each other again at the beginning of December, and I was able to finish the toes for the second foot. I used this really cool Riga latex product to make the no skid bottom, because they are slippers after all. That worked great and I would totally recommend the product to anybody, much better than puff paint.
Finally, a felted purse for my mom. This purse was really quite quick and easy. It was lots and lots of stockinette, and then, a row where you picked up the backs of the first row of a color and knit them with the current row, creating the pleat. I ordered the pattern from knitpicks. My only complaint is that they didn't quite calculate the yardage correctly, so that I ran out of the colors in the bottom sections, the grey and the cranberry, before it was time to switch to the next color. It was pretty nerve wracking to have the suspense of not knowing if you were going to be able to finish with the right color or not. Hidden under the pleats are some rogue lines of black and mismatched purple. But all's well that ends well. I made the lining out of some purple batik fabric and put a magnetic closure into it. This was my first foray into felting, but it went well and I'm thinking of working on a felted vest for my father-in-law for next Christmas.
Well, that's all. Christmas was lovely. I got a special gift from my mother-in-law, who secretly has been learning to knit and made me a ruffly scarf! I got to see my little cousin wearing the owl sweater that I made for him. I got a pair of Addi Click interchangeable needles, which have already proven to be quite useful as I sit swatching away on new projects and needing to change up and down needle sizes. Also my husband has promised to buy a kit for me to make the Dale of Norway Polar Bear sweater! 2011 is shaping up pretty well so far!