Frost Princess

I finished it! And wrote up a free pattern so you can make one too! Continue reading

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Creepers Gonna Creep

Ah, Minecraft. The amazing computer program that blends creativity and video games so seamlessly that even Mom approves. And she shows her approval by knitting creepers for her kids. Because she sucks at building anything on the actual game. Virtual blocks and pretend pickaxes only confuse her, but she is a whiz at creating stuff with wool (and I don’t mean wool blocks on a screen), so she plays along with her needles instead of her keyboard.

Introducing my little knitted creeper. As seen on Ravelry here

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There are several patterns to chose from on Ravelry (look here) but I decided to wing it when I didn’t see one that fit in the palm of the hand.

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And it was a simple thing to figure out, anyway.

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It’s basically a bunch of blocks put together just right. Here’s how I did it, in case you want to make one like it.

Knit Creeper Pattern

yarn – I used Mosaic Moon Licorice Twist DK in the colorway “Lime SS Trim For Sweet Cream Scoops”, but any sturdy, DK yarn will work.
needles – size 3 DPN’s (or a size that will produce a nice, tight gauge)
gauge – not critical, but you want it tight and small-ish

HEAD

CO 10, knit 12 rows stockinette stitch

Pickup stitches along each side of square (8 stitches along sides and 10 along end) and begin working in round.

Purl first round
Knit 8, purl 1 four times (repeat row 12 times)

Bind off 27 purl wise

Knit across flap (back and forth in stockinette) 12 rows
Stuff and sew shut

BODY

CO 20, join in round
Knit 4, purl 1 four times (repeat that round 11 times)

Bind off 15 purl wise
Knit flap back and forth 7 rows
Bind off, sew shut
Stuff and attach to head at center bottom

LEG repeat four times
Pick up four stitches from center out of bottom of body, CO 1

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Work flap 7 rows st at
Work as for head, adjusting for smaller stitch count

Repeat leg three more times –

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Use tail of one leg to tie inner corner of each leg together to firm up base

Duplicate stitch face on (I used Mal sock black held double)

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Give to resident Minecraft enthusiast and enjoy the happy.

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The Steek

My heart was pounding in my chest. My palms were sweating. I could barely breathe.

Carefully, I double checked the blue lines of thread that ran up the front of my colorful knitting.

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Taking the scissors in my hand and inhaling a deep, steadying breath, I put the steel to the wool.

And then I cut it.

I think I might have started to black out a little, so I paused and waited for my sight to return.

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Seeing the shiny silver scissors eating up my knitting made me a little nauseous, but I carried on and cut up the entire length of my sweater.

My hand was shaking as I set the scissors down next to my carefully constructed knitting. I stepped back and leaned against the china cabinet for a moment.

Then I looked at my work and I was happy.

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My first steek was a success!

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Two Down, Ten to Go

Before I reveal how well I did (or didn’t) do in keeping my New Year’s Resolutions in the month of February, I’d like to point out that February is a very short month. Consequently, a few of my goals weren’t realized until a couple of days into March. Nevertheless, I didn’t do too bad.

1. knit something from my handspun – Remember this gradient that I spun in January?

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Well, it became this.

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This shawl was a knit-on-the-fly kind of project, in which I didn’t really have a plan at the beginning. I did know that I wanted it to have a sort of “blossoming from the ground” kind of feel with the blue at the top being the flowers, the green being leaves, and the brown edging being roots. Accordingly, I agonized over every stitch pattern, count, and twist until it drove me crazy with the wondering if it was going to turn out okay in the end.

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The magic of blocking put all my fears to rest and I am extraordinarily pleased with the finished shawl. I am considering writing a pattern for it with a few tweaks to make it even better, but that takes a lot of time, so it might not happen (this year, anyway).

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Then I promptly gave it to my dearest friend for her birthday.

So, knit with my handspun? Check.

2. Knit a christmas gift or christmas decoration – This was the project that fell into March knitting time. To be fair, I had two of them done in February, but I have seven kids, so seven ornaments was, obviously, the goal.

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Elvish Mini Christmas Ornaments in all sorts of scraps

This photo is awful. Even now, they aren’t quite finished. I ordered little bells for them and will use the ends that you see for sewing them on.

So, knit something for Christmas? check.

3. Spin one braid (at least) I am halfway done spinning this –

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Mosaic Moon “Fallen” on Superwash Merino

See?

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I would have more spun, in fact I acquired several amazing braids that I cannot wait to get to, except that I had a mental hiccup. You see, I ordered my dream wheel – a Schacht Reeves!– and I want to spin on that! Alas, it isn’t coming until the first of April, so I have to content myself with my (still wonderful) old wheel.

So, spin at least one braid of fiber? check (halfway)

4. Keep my yarn/fiber purchases to the bare minimum (an unofficial stash down of sorts) Ahem. Ah. Hmmmm. Welllll. It’s like this….

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Actually I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just say I had to expand my stash storage. I am now officially declaring a moratorium on stash growth. At least for March…

So, unofficial stash down? BIG FAT FAIL (oh! you have no idea)

5. Keep my WIPs to a maximum of four. Yes! I did it! And I love it. I am finding that in my growingly chaotic life, having fewer projects on the go is very comforting. That is not to say that I didn’t get hit with a case of startitis here and there.  Because I totally did. But I resisted. And I am happy.

So, focus on fewer projects at a time? check

Two months down, ten to go. And I’ll do better in March. It is longer, after-all.

Neon Fireworks

When I firsts saw this colorway on the Mosaic Moon Facebook page, I knew I needed it.

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Mosaic Moon Neon Fireworks on Aran Tweed with Dark Purple trim (I got two skeins of colorway and one trim. It was all that was available)

Okay, so “need” is a strong word. But that didn’t stop me from snatching up the first two skeins I stumbled upon on Ravelry, regardless of base. Fortunately, the base turned out to be Aran Tweed (very like Licorice Twist), which is perfect for a baby thing.

Ever since my early knitting days I have wanted to knit a sleeper for a baby. I always knit soakers, longies, shorties, and bloomers, never quite getting around to covering the entire baby with the knitted love. Well, that all changed this week. I didn’t have a pattern, but I do have a pattern for a onesie and I figured I could just add legs to, right? Well, this is what became of my logic.

IMGP8800Now, keep in mind that it isn’t exactly finished. The legs will have snaps to make for easier diaper changes and I am still shopping for the perfect buttons for the top.

IMGP8801I am probably going to get some really girlie buttons and some really boy-ie buttons and put them on when baby tells us who he/she is.

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Rear view showing the short row bum.

This ended up very different from the pattern that I bought (why do I keep paying money for patterns if I am not going to follow them?). I started with the pattern (All-In-Onesie), but it morphed into something else as I went, and I even went back to pull out the collar and do that differently, as well. So, the only part that follows the pattern is the stitch count for the raglan increases and the sleeves. Well, I didn’t knit the sleeves as long as it said, so…

Modifications:

I wanted the button placket at the neck to be knit in the trim color, so instead of casting on the placket, I ignored that direction and just knit around it. Then, I went back and picked up the stitches, knitting the placket in seed stitch to match the cuffs and collar. I put in three button holes.

When I reached the short row section, I stopped following the pattern and knit my own longie pattern from that point on, including my own short rows.

The gusset is of my own making, as I would normally knit for a soaker.

The legs were knit back and forth and the stitches picked up along them for the snap plackets.

After I finished the legs I returned to the top and pulled out the collar to reknit it to match the seed stitch cuffs.

I knit the sleeves an inch shorter than recommended.

When I picked up the sleeves, I realized that I had missed the directions to cast on more stitches when the sleeves were separated from the body, so the body turns out to be several stitches narrower than supposed to be. This is not a modification, it is a mistake. 🙂

I had anticipated my gauge to be off because my yarn is thicker and my needles larger than the pattern calls for. This was fine with me, as baby isn’t even here, yet. As it worked out, I got perfect gauge (mysteriously!). So my 3-6 month size should be close.

And, since I bought two skeins of this fabulous colorway, I have enough for shorties, too! See? (and there will still be some left. Baby will be bedecked in Neon Fireworks!)

IMGP8804There has been some argument here about the gender specificity of this colorway. Some of the kids think it is too girlie to put on a boy. Some think it is to boyish to put on a girl. The Bookworm thinks it is too girlie for a boy and too boyish for a girl (can’t win with that girl!). The Man says it doesn’t matter. I like it for either. What do you think?

 

A Handspun Sweater and Three Years of Wool and Chocolate

When this fiber came in the mail, I knew that I wanted to wear it.

I wanted to wear it all the time. Day and night. Night and day. The colors were so “me” that I wanted to frame it and roll in it and write sonnets about it. And, as I have mentioned before, the Romney wool is new and exciting for this still beginning spinner.

So after I spun it up, I made this.

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A sweater of my own design, (Ravelry project page here) in Spunky Eclectic March 2013 club, Lightening Strike on Romney (Ravelry stash page here).

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A sweater made from a bit of fluff.

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I only had 12 oz to work with, so it has narrow fronts and 3/4 sleeves, both of which suit me just fine. I added a bit of shaping at the waist (which is totally lost on my currently more rounded form) and used up nearly all of the fabulous, 2 ply, worsted weight yarn.

IMGP8785 I love it, love it, love it! And it is just in time. As you can see, today is looking mighty dreary, wet and cold. Just the right weather to try out a new wool sweater!

But that’s not all! That’s right, folks! Three years ago today, I acted on a whim and started blogging. It took me awhile to get some momentum, to develop my style, and to figure out what it is that I want to say. I have met many interesting folks, both knitters and not, and learned a whole heap of new stuff. Thank you for reading my (sometimes) drivel. Thank you for commenting on my rants. And thank you for coming back for more.

Spinning Rainbows

Draped over my shoulders right now is the most awesome thing that I have made yet. It is a rainbow of lace, spun, designed, and knit by me. I am so excited about this shawl!

It started out like this –

This is Renee’s 12 Color Rainbow on Mystic MCN Roving from Family Pendragon. Beautiful, yes? Yes.

And a very pleasurable spin it was! I separated out the colors and spun all of one color before moving to the next, being careful to blend the transitions evenly, for a gradient rainbow. The yarn is exquisite light fingering singles in a gorgeous riot of color. (Ravelry page here with notes on the spinning)

I agonized over what to knit with it. I really wanted a half-circle shawl that would accentuate the rainbow, but I couldn’t find just the right one. Then I remembered my handy Elizabeth Zimmerman book collection and inspiration just started coming in waves! I looked up the formula for her Pi Shawl and adjusted it to make a half-circle. It was laughably simple once I got going (seriously – so very simple!).

Once I got the shaping figured out, it was just a matter of choosing lace patterns to knit in the arches between the increase rows. Out came all of my lace stitch dictionaries (and quite a bit of Amazon dreaming, I admit! Oh, what I wouldn’t give for some Barbara Walker treasuries!) and I started knitting. The end result? Fabulous! (if I do say so myself) (Ravelry Project Page here)

I didn’t plan too much at once, just letting myself create over the course of the project. Each time I came to an increase row, I sought out the next lace insert, poring over my lace volumes anew.

The only thing that I really knew was that I wanted scalloped edges, so “Feather and Fan” was the obvious choice for the border.

The other goal was to knit a different stitch for each color. This worked out until the rows exceeded 300 stitches and the color repeats shortened to one inch, but by that time I was ready to start the scalloped edge anyway, so it worked out.

Among the many pleasing bits in this project is the lovely fact that the colors cooperated so well, leaving the dark purple for the bind off. I love the dark edge. Perfect.

Another thing that I love is the way that the various lace patterns work together in a pleasing way, even though I didn’t plan them. I was a little concerned that my haphazard method was going to produce something that looked, well, haphazard. On the contrary, I think it looks pretty good, and there are very few things that I would change (one of them being that I wish the orange section was less geometrical and looked more like leaves, as I imagined that it would). The yellow section is inspired by the Kai Mei socks, altered to make an all-over pattern, and the orange section I totally made up myself. For the other patterns I used Vogue Knitting Stitchionary vol 5 for guidance, but tweaking it to my liking along the way.

It is quite a thrill to start with a wad of wool and turn it into something so lovely, and even more thrilling to start with a plan and actually accomplish the goal almost perfectly.

And, though all the girls are vying for ownership, I think this one is for me.

Yellow Monstrosity

Have you ever made an ugly sweater on purpose? Well, that is what I just did, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Accomplishment. That is what this sweater represents. Another challenge overcome with sticks and strings.

Without going into details (for it is not really my tale to tell), I was commissioned to knit a reproduction of a sweater from an old photo. In the photo (which I can’t show you because it isn’t mine), a boy is wearing a yellow raglan sweater with blue stripes in the neck band. Armed with this photo and the customers measurements, I came up with this- Ravelry project page here

Okay, okay, I’ll model it for you.

This crazy yellow sweater is actually something to be proud of. I had to employ some tricky knitting, some super sleuthing, and some problem solving -problems like the impossible to identify raglan increases. I ended up making a false seam with a crochet hook. I am quite pleased with it.

 

I suspect that the original sweater was being worn inside out… So I knitted it inside out (also handy to avoid purling and entire sweater).The Man happens to be a little smaller than the intended wearer, so I used him as a living dress form (he hated it, but out of his great love for me, he let me drape this thing over him multiple times). That was really handy, as it is really huge on me!

 

I used Cascade Pacific Chunky, a 60%/40% acrylic/wool blend. Not a yarn that I could ever love, but not as bad as it sounds. That said, The Man remarked that it felt plastic-y and like he was wearing a yellow garbage bag (I have managed to turn my entire family into yarn snobs!).

Overall it was a fun fast knit, just challenging enough to make it interesting, just bulky enough to finish it quickly, and just profitable enough to make it worth it.

Besides, sometimes I just need a little comic relief!

 

 

 

Looking for A Guinea Pig

I am working on a new endeavor. I am writing a magazine of sorts. Or maybe a book that is released one chapter at a time. I don’t know the details just yet.

It will focus on knitting, of course. There will be tutorials and patterns in each issue, as well as essays on knitting and some humor sprinkled in.

The master plan includes a knitted quilt pattern, which will be released one block at a time over 27 issues (every two weeks over a one year subscription).

What I am looking for today is a guinea pig or two, who will proof read and test knit the entire ten pages of the first issue. I need some feedback and a critical eye.

The first issue is ready to be tested, minus one photo which I hope to get taken this week. I need a tester who can knit an intarsia square in four colors (fingering weight) and a lace head band in bulky weight (by chart or written, preferably both). I will have a questionaire to fill out after it has been read and the patterns have been knitted.

I don’t mean to be snobby, but I would like to use someone who has been following my blog for some time and with whom I am a little familiar.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing, please contact me on Ravelry here or message me on Facebook here.

Thanks!

Update: I have all the testers I need. Thank you!