January 20, 2008

Dear Space Invaders Scarf

Frustration sets in (again) with the Space Invaders scarf. I knit a bit on it, and then put it away some time last year - I was working rows on it while watching Boy Meets World on Disney at 1am, and when they quit airing BMW at 1am I quit knitting on it. So it sat for a while, a little unloved. I took it on vacation with me in July, and one night in the hotel room I took it out and worked a row of the chart. I looked at it, and thought "I have no clue if I did that right. I don't think I did. Man, I'm tired - far too tired to use my brain power to do this double-knitting thing." So I put it away and left it there. I should have pulled it out again the next day, as I had a fellow knitter with me on that vacation and I'm sure she could have saw what I screwed up, fixed it, and then taught me how to double-knit again... but alas, I did not.

So some time after I got home, I pulled it out to "fix." Well, I for sure had knit it incorrectly while on vacation, so I unknit two rows to get back to where I was... and started to forge ahead.
"Wait," I thought, and looked at my needles. "wait... this is NOT right."
I tried again. And again. And again. I couldn't get it to look right, but I couldn't figure out what I was doing. Frustrated, I put the SI scarf down, cast on thirty stitches of red, and knit three rows in garter stitch just to make sure I hadn't actually forgotten how to knit... no, no, I still remembered how to do it. God, it hadn't been THAT long... a few months, admittedly, but not THAT long! I tried again with the SI scarf... and failed.
"Forget it," I thought, "I don't have time to screw around with this right now." I put it away again... and left it.

A few months later I got it back out. I tried again. And again, and again, and again, and I STILL could not get it. "ARRRGH! I'm going to just LEAVE the damn thing until July, and then I'll get my knitting friends to help me with it when I see them on vacation again!" I resolved, and put it away.

Now, I have pulled it out again. I checked my Stitch & Bitch, watched a few videos from Knitting Help... and tried again.
No, it still looked wrong, but at least this time I'm pretty sure I knitted and purled correctly. I looked at Stitch & Bitch again. What was wrong? I looked at the section on twisted stitches. "Ah-HA," I thought. In unknitting the darn thing, I bet I twisted some stitches. Sure enough, I plowed through the scarf and found several twisted stitches, and untwisted them.
Now the stitches are sitting properly on the needles. I checked the last successfully knitted row of my chart to make sure I still accurately had purls and knits in the right places... everything looks good.
Okay... time to try this again.

...and I did it wrong again.

Dear Space Invaders scarf:
I hope you appreciate all the aggravation and difficulty I am going through to finish you.
Love, Beanie.
PS: I hate you.

January 19, 2008

Chain Chomp Scarf Pattern

I knit up the Chain Chomp Scarf last year before the Super Bowl, and I've only now gotten around to typing up the pattern I used, since my friend knit this guy. Now you can have a Chain Chomp on your head AND your neck!

This is a little ghetto and I'm sure somebody out there who's far more talented than I am can create a different pattern with more civilized knitting techniques, but because I started knitting because I love scarves and therefore only knit scarves, and thusly only knit on straight needles (my DPKs and circs are sitting in my needle jar, unloved) this is what I did. If you're a beginner or just don't like to use DPKs, you can use this pattern.

Because Chompy was knit on straight, I had to come up with a way to create the whole thing - a circle (or several) - on straights. Think of it like a pizza, or a pie. You're knitting a triangle shaped slice of the pie, and they're all joined up. You need 7 slices of the pie to form the full circle.

You'll need:
US Size 10 Needles
A crochet hook or an embroidery needle for weaving in ends - my favourite all-purpose crochet hook happens to be pink and reads only 5.5mm on it, and that is what I used.
Two colours of yarn - for a proper Chompy, use black (MC) and white. (CC)
Note:I use Red Heart Super Saver, because not only am I cheap and allergic to a lot of wools so I'm afraid to buy the more expensive stuff, acrylic holds a nice, stiff shape fairly well, so your chains will stay pretty stiff and loopy, and your chomp head won't curl up or fold in on himself. HOWEVER, you can use whatever colours of yarn and kind of yarn you prefer... it really is up to you.
I apologize for not knowing exactly how much yarn you need, but it's not a heck of a lot. If you're using something that you don't have a lot of or are worried you won't have enough of, make SURE you knit your Chompy's head first... then if you need to skimp on extra chain links, it's not such a big deal.

Chomp Head:
In MC, CO 10.
*K1, turn. K1, turn.
K2, turn. K2, turn.
Repeat, adding 1 each time until...
K10, turn.
Last row - slip 1, K9.
Repeat from * until circle is formed (6 more times.)
Weave in ends.

Eyes: (Knit two)
In CC, CO4.
K1, turn. K1, turn.
Repeat in pattern as above; repeat into circle (3 times.)

Pupils: (Knit two)
In MC, CO3.
K2, turn. K2.
K3, turn.

Chain: I knit 25 links for my scarf, but you can make as many or as few as you'd like!
CO 21 in MC (long tail)
Work 2 rows in knit stitch.
Alt- I like to stretch mine out widthwise to make them flatter; you could also work 4 rows for wider chains.

Knit individual links, and then seam (weave in) the ends of the links through each other to get them linked up.

Big Teeth: (x4)
CO6 in CC.
K1, D1, K4.
K1, D1, K3.
K1, D1, K2.
K1, D1, K1.
K1, D1, BO.

Small Teeth: (x8)
CO4 in CC.
K1, D1, K2.
K1, D1, K1.
K1, D1, BO.

Place all your little parts (white eye, pupil, and six teeth per side - two of the big teeth on the outer edges, four small teeth making up the inner teeth) together on the Chompy head. Put them where you think they look right, and use duplicate stitch to "sew" them to the head. Try to be symmetrical, but it's not really that important - just make sure your duplicate stitching doesn't show through incorrectly on the other side! The teeth look a little funny at times, so try to use your duplicate stitches to stretch them into a real triangle shape.

Alternatively, you could just duplicate stitch teeth and eyes to the head, or make them out of felt instead!