March 20, 2009

More stuff for my Mommy

I've made a few things for my Mom since I last updated...

First, I worked up the Heart Tattoo pattern. Left off the wings, and did mine slightly different, but it's really really cute. This was a "just because" project.

For her birthday, I finally knit up the neckwarmer I promised her... uh... a while back. (The moral of this story is: don't ask me for knitted projects if you want them in a timely fashion.)

This neckwarmer was very cute in the project photos I checked out, but once I was done, it didn't really look that cute. I found a pattern for a quick knitted flower and whipped one up to put on it to spice it up a little. I'm kinda happy with it, but I think I'll find another pattern and maybe knit her a different neckwarmer in the future.

January 1, 2009

Christmas Knitting

Have been busy trying to get some Christmas knitting out of the way, as well as busy designing a few things and NOT actually knitting... so here's my Christmas knitting.

First, I made this for my Secret Santa in a swap on a dog message board. First dishcloth I ever knit!

Unfortunately, the multi-coloured yarn made it REALLY hard to see the paw print "pop out," no matter what angle you looked at. Mistake noted. Will never do that again.

Oh, and just for fun! This is the handmade tag I did to go on it:

I got to use my nifty new Christmas stamps. I also used these to make tags for everybody's Christmas gifts, but I didn't take pics of any of those. You'll have to take my word they were really pretty!

Other side of the tag, with care instructions.

So, while I was knitting dishcloths, I also knit up a set for Auggie's lovely breeder...

This one is my original design, using the chart I worked up for the Boy + Girl scarf... the LARGER chart, that is. I don't like how much empty space ended up above and below the sheltie... it's like two rows of stockinette too many, IMO.

Doghouse! This one was a nice pattern, actually. Maybe also suffers the "two rows of stockinette too many" symptom, but it matched the sheltie cloth nicely as far as size and overall design goes! The ribbing for the border was also different than most patterns I've seen. It was kind of a fun change.

Tried again with the paw... hey, you can actually see it this time! The second time I knit this, and in comparison to the other two dishcloths, this one is HUGE. I'll have to definitely make it on smaller needles if I ever do it again.

And finally, I decided to knit something for my mom. I bought her something but I didn't feel like it was enough. But what to knit? I KNOW... a monkey.

Mr. Monkey was knit from the Mr. Dangly pattern, using some modification to knit him in the round. I also worked his ears in double-knit to speed along a little faster.

More pics:

I had to knit him almost entirely at work to keep it a secret. I normally attract some attention while knitting at work because people want to know what I'm knitting (or to tell me they can only knit scarves) but just about everybody was fascinated by Mr. Monkey. He was really fun to knit, I've never really knit anything like that where watching it take shape is exciting and fun. I put his ears on his head, then his head to his body, and his arms and legs on, then ran off to show my co-workers how cute he was turning out. I like this one a lot.
(Also, Mr. Monkey is an excellent headbanger. We tested the theory to some rock music.)

And there you have what I've been up to! I also CO my skully armwarmers again after deciding what I wanted to do as far as the pattern went, so the first of those should be finished shortly. I'm busy working on a few fun designs for things, mostly dog related... and by that I don't just mean dog sweaters or anything. What can I say - my passions often overlap.

November 18, 2008

Branching Out

No, not the pattern... I mean when it comes to my skills and the stuff I want to do.

First, I've been meaning to do my I Like Switchfoot scarf for ages. I just keep changing my mind about how to do it. I know some people line the back of their scarves with felt to hide their colourwork uglies, and I've been thinking about that, but I'm not sure how exactly you line something that's knit. Do you sew it on the sewing machine and hope it catches your knitting enough to hold firmly? Do you stab the felt with a yarn needle and do it all big and chunky like?
Hmm. Still needs more thinking and figuring out before I can do this one.

There's another scarf I really want to do (surprise, surprise!) but again, I'm still thinking about how to do it. The easiest way would be to double-knit it, but I'm not sure that's really what I want to do. If I do, I'll probably go get myself some yarn in a smaller weight.
I might also do it in something that felts, but I'm not totally sold on this idea at all. I'm also thinking about working it in the round, but wonder if I'm experienced enough to make that work.

Speaking of colourwork and working in the round - and this is where we really get to the branching out part of the post!
I started working on this very cute pattern on Sunday. I wanted them to be armwarmers instead of just wristbands, so I'm improvising here. I had to add a new row to the chart See, I'm going to Chicago on Thursday until Sunday and want to take something with me, because I'm going up by train and will have about two hours to hang out on the train knitting. So I thought, "Hey, this might be a cool project to take!" I figured I'd work one glove and write out the improvised pattern, then take the second with me to work on this weekend.
It's going really well, actually. I'm very proud of myself, because I've never done any kind of fair isle or stranding before and have pretty much no direction on how to do it outside of the video on KnittingHelp. I finished the first round of the chart and was super proud of myself. YAY ME!!!
Check it out:

Also, I did a darn fine job of managing to avoid a ladder until a few rows before the pattern, and then only in one spot. (I should note that when I did Auggie's Halloween costume, the sleeves were worked on my DPNs and came out BEAUTIFULLY. No ladders anywhere. Gorgeous. On a shirt for my dog. Whatever.)

Regardless of how much I love them and can't wait until they're done, I'm not certain these are good travel knitting. I got my yarns all tangled up while working the chart - and that was after I cut long strands of the white instead of using it from the skein, so I even took 1 skein out of the equation. I may take them to work on in the hotel during my downtime, but I don't think this will be my train project.
Therefore, I need to figure something else out to take on the train.

There's a lovely cabled scarf in my queue - Besotted - which would probably make for good mindless travel knitting, but it's not really catching my interest the way it did when I was all excited about cables and added it to the queue in the first place.
There are a few knit toys that I have my eye on, however, that I might be willing to go for. As a matter of fact, there is a Draft Dodger Dog pattern that I would like to knit. Furthermore, I am planning on converting the pattern from being knit flat to being knit in the round. GO FIGURE. This is me, choosing to knit something in the round. Who knew?!

It's true. At last, I have made peace with my DPNs. Perhaps it was the success of knitting Auggie's little sleeves. Perhaps it was just because knitting stockinette stitch is really obnoxious and if you knit in the round you don't have to keep remembering to knit one row, purl one row, knit one row, so on and so forth. Perhaps it's every time I try on a pair of armwarmers that are still on the DPNs and it's about like sticking my hand inside of a porcupine, which makes me snicker. I don't know. All I know is that I finally can tolerate it in a way that doesn't fill me with rage. (That's a good thing.)
Also, I found a thread on a website about transforming sock patterns into armwarmers/wristbands. How genius is that?! Then I can still go barefoot, yet still knit some of those lovely patterns!!

November 3, 2008

At Last - Finished Space Invaders

It's done! At long last, it's done!! I told myself no more new projects until this was finished, and there's something I REALLY REALLY want to start working on, so I forced myself to finish this stupid scarf this weekend.

And so, at long long long long LONG last... I give you... the Space Invaders scarf.

I have uploaded and linked the chart I created for this here in my blog for you guys to use as you like. If you want to duplicate my scarf PRECISELY, this is what I did:

I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn, in black and in bright green. It takes probably half a skein of each. I knit on size 7s.
Really, you can use whatever you'd like, but I think worsted probably works best. Bulky might do all right, too.
Being that it's a scarf, gauge doesn't matter. Just knit it. Have fun. Seriously.

With BOTH YARNS held in one hand and using long-tail cast on, CO 19 stitches. This actually gives you 38 stitches - 19 green and 19 black.
For the next row, you'll start working in double-knit. (I won't go into too much detail on double-knitting because there are great tutorials out there and people who can explain it MUCH better than I can.) Knit the first stitch in green, move BOTH yarns to the front, and purl the second stitch in black. Move both yarns to the back again and keep going until you now have a row of 38 stitchs, alternating in green and black.
Work four rows of solid colour like this.
Begin working the chart, bottom-up.
When you finish the chart, again knit four solid rows of colour. Then, you need to change your colours completely to start the stripes. That is... if you're about to do a knit stitch with green and a purl with black, you'll knit with black and purl with green. Do two rows, then switch colours again.
There are a total of 63 stripes. After you've finished the last stripe, switch colours ONE last time and knit four solid rows. Then start again with the chart, going top down this time.
Finish the chart and knit four solid rows of colour again.
To bind off, again take both yarns in one hand. You will BO by doing a K2TOG instead of just straight knit stitches - put your needle through a green stitch AND a black stitch, and knit them both (holding both yarns in your hand, remember!) If you don't do it this way and just knit all 38 stitches separately, you'll end up with the BO end of your scarf bigger than the CO end!

There are other ways to CO and BO with double knitting... this is just what I did. I chose to BO holding both strands of yarn because it replicated the look of my CO. Yes, it's kind of messy... and that is why I gave my scarf fringe. (Plus I like fringe.) I took two strands of black and two strands of green for each tassel of fringe and looped them through every other stitch or so until it looked fringe-y enough.

And that's it! I'm DONE with it!
My next project is double-knit also. What can I say... I love double-knit scarves. (Or I'm just a glutton for punishment.)

Space Invaders Chart

This is the chart for my Space Invaders scarf. You can do whatever you'd like with it - put it on armwarmers, socks, a sweater... take just a few aliens, add some aliens in, whatever.
This chart is really easy for someone who's a beginner to charts because it's symmetrical... that is, you don't need to remember if you're reading the blue rows right-to-left and the white rows left-to-right or vice versa, because it all reads the same backwards and forwards anyway. So if you screw up and forget which way you're going, you won't screw up the pattern.

Space Invaders Chart

My chart is slightly different from existing charts because I wanted to make it look as if you were really playing the old game... so I sought out old reference pictures. You WILL notice that my chart is technically missing an alien graphic - that's because I included the little explosion graphic. There are five rows of aliens in the old game, and for my chart, the bottom row of aliens is being EXPLODED.
Oh - it's also missing another alien graphic... the one of the guy at the top with his legs in. All the reference pics I found for the original game just had five rows, so I didn't include that last graphic either.

That's just how I chose to do mine and why I made my own chart instead of using one of the several other options that are out there! For specifics on exactly how I did MY scarf, see this post. But you don't have to follow what I did... you can work the chart bottom-up three times, then go top-down three times on the other side. Make bigger stripes in the middle; make vertical stripes in the middle. Do boxes, hearts, the word "SPACE INVADERS" - whatever. Part of the fun of knitting is making a pattern yours... that's why this is really less "pattern" and more "just a chart."
Enjoy it.