Seems I’m on a bit of a kick. It’s just so easy to avoid other things when you’ve got little tchotchkeys to crochet.
Pattern: Birds of a Feather by Hannah Kaminsky.
Hook: 4 mm/G
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, color #5367, blue turquoise.
This little guy was a gift for friend Tuko, who’s birthday was yesterday. At her house a few weeks ago I noticed this book (maybe, one very much like it anyway) on the coffee table.
Me: You know, I always think of you when I see these things, but then I second guess myself and think maybe it’s a little too cute? Maybe we’ve outgrown cute?
T: I loooove CUTE!!!
Now that I’ve tried it I gotta say amigurumi is freakin’ fun you guys, there’s no doubt I’ll be making more. It’s like instant plump and squishy gratification. The only real problem is finding enough people to palm these off on, though judging by other people’s reactions last night, especially my Dad’s, it wont be too hard.
Next, another birthday present, this time for friend Bonnie, who has a mass of red curls and will, I think, look fab in this color.
Pattern: Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf by Khebhin Gibbons.
Hook: 3.75 mm/F
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted, color #506, mint.
Sorry about the craptacular photo, I finished it rather late in the day and only had time to steam the thing, stuff it in a gift bag, and head off to the party. I wish I had something that showed the whole scarf, instead you get the pics I snapped when I first started it, harsh noon light and all. I want to make one for myself, so maybe I’ll have some better photos to show you then. It’s just such a cool end product, so organic, so Rococo, so easy to make. Right now I’m deciding between another solid colored one or an imitation of Yarnbee’s gorgeous version.
Finally, there’s something I didn’t make, but I wanted to show you guys anyway ’cause I’m smitten with it.
Back in November Tuko gave me this bracelet, which she commissioned her friend Christa to design and make. They picked out the colors together, especially for me, and I gotta say they’re dead on. Between the juicy hues and the abundance of those many petaled flowers (so many teeny stitches!) I feel like I’m wearing summertime.
Turns out my bracelet was the prototype for one Christa sells in her Etsy store, so if you want one, you can have one too. Or maybe one of the other charming pieces she makes? Personally I’m pretty enamored with the sequin rings.
Meet my grandmother, the person who taught me how to crochet and knit, how to dance, which fork to use, how to play cards, and, by example, that you can figure out how to do almost anything, and do it well. She’s insanely capable, I’ve seen her fix everything from a clawed up leather jacket to a washing machine. When she makes something it is perfect, and if not she’ll figure out some clever way to make it so.
Recently I was at her house and she really liked some fingerless mitts I was finishing up, so of course I had to make her these:
Pattern: As if I even have to say it, Fetching by
Needles: US 6/4.0 mm
Yarn: Ugh, I wish I could tell you, ‘cuz I like it. I’ve looked all over the place, but no ball band, no receipt, no luck. It’s an aran weight merino, alpaca and cashmere blend, about 105 yds to 50 grams. If any of that is sounding familiar, especially if you work at Hill Country Weavers, drop me a line. It came from the back room, somewhere near the needles. ETA: I spent a little time sleuthing on Ravelry and found it! It’s Bristol Yarn Gallery King George by Plymouth, color #1042.
As much as I like the yarn, I wasn’t too excited about the mitts themselves. The loose picot bind off the pattern calls for has its own rustic, “why yes, I did make these” sort of charm that I think plays very well with the cables, normally. Not for Grandma though, instead I went with a standard bind off.
Which came out too loose, nicely matching my goofy cast on. If I would have thought about it for two seconds I’d have cast on with a smaller needle, I think I was just too excited to get started though. Whatever the reason, I messed up, but I did think a row of single crochet around all the edges would fix things up nicely. One problem:
That’s all the yarn I had left. Just enough to do the bottom of one mitt as it turns out. At least I could see that yeah, crochet would make things better.
So instead of all the edges, I pulled out the top two rows, re-bound off with smaller needles, and used the salvaged yarn to crochet just around the bottom of the other mitt. Worked out well I think.
I hope she likes them.
In other news… Thanks for all the opinions about the color scheme of my Icelandic sweater. I think I just threw the acidy citron yarn in there because I love that color so very, very much right now. You guys are right though, the mustard harmonizes better, the overall effect is cozier.
Also, I bit the bullet and frogged the problematic bits of my Oblique. One day this thing will be finished. And one day I’ll knit a sweater in exactly the time I think it should take, not half a year later. Right?
I’m thinking of Iceland and good ol’ E.Z.
Yes? Or should the yellow be a little more citron than mustard?
…and kinda sad too.
Moths. That’s my best guess at least. Ugh.
I started Oblique back in September, hoping to have it done in nine days, just in time to accompany me to San Francisco. The 90 degree autumn we enjoy in Austin makes it easy to get excited about visiting a city with more sweater appropriate weather. In fact the prospect of a crisp and chilly breeze can really do funny things to your head, like make you think you can finish a highly textured sweater in nine days. I didn’t, but managed to have a good time in the city anyway.
When I got back I let Oblique sit, sadly ignored while I was distracted with hats, mitts and other bitsy projects. No more though! I’m determined to finish her before our tiny little winter is over, and have been nothing but faithful this past week, building up a nice pile of sweater pieces.
I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I decided to lay everything out - sorta have a look at it all together/stare admiringly at what I’ve accomplished so far (you know how you do) and saw that hole, and another smaller hole near it, and the way I had really mucked up the armscyes.
That’s the right front over the left front, and there’s about a 2″ difference in length between the two. I thought my gauge had changed but nope, I counted the rows, I definitely did something strange while decreasing through the lacy bit. So what fun and fabulous things will I be doing this afternoon? I’ll be charting out my decreases, clearing some space in the freezer, and of course, frogging. Wish me luck.
Hello! Sorry for the long delay, but thanks very much for saying nice things about my hat. I’m actually reaching near total happiness with it. And look!
I haz a pom!
It’s scraggidy and a wee bit more oblong than round, but it’s as cheerful and charming as a pom can be and I love it.
I hope all your holidays were wonderful, that you are fully recovered from them, and are now happily crafting only for you (if you want to I mean, no pressure.) Right now Bri and I are very into staying cozy and doing domestic things like decorting, cooking and playing video games. We comb Craig’s List furniture listings together, send each other links from Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge, we’ve learned to appreciate the humble staple lifter. We’ve even cleaned and reorganized the closet, which is how I came across this.
This is the last little bit of the very first yarn I knit with in what I think of as “my knitting: modern era.” As opposed to “my knitting: crap era,” which was 20 years ago and eventually resulted in a renewed devotion to my first fiber craft love, crochet. No, this comes from years later when Brian got so bored of me mentioning that it might be cool to try knitting again, he hauled me down to Michael’s, convinced me to get a Susan Bates starter kit, complete with instructional booklet (heavy on 80’s sweaters and garter stitch pillow covers,) two skiens of what I believe was Red Heart, and exasperatedly told me to just try it already.
An important archeological find if ever there was one, but what to do with it?
This jack bugs me, it’s right next to the sink and it ruins my view while I’m doing dishes, chopping vegetables, or squeezing a lime wedge into a can of Modelo. Usually I try to cover up ugly things on the wall with framed pictures, but I couldn’t decide what belonged here. I’ve got the two Nikki McClure prints right over the switch and some photos on a wall close by, so I didn’t want anything too similar, and it had to be red, and graphic, and not too representational.
I tried cutting out a blowup of a section of a suzani from a catalog, which I should have known wouldn’t work. That paper’s wooh(!) shiny, even if you throw a mat and frame around it, it still looks like you cut a picture out of a magazine and framed it because you are lame and couldn’t make the effort to find some real art, or a real piece of fabric for that matter. Still not wanting to leave the house, or wait for shipping, I tried getting out some pens and making myself a little masterpiece, something that’s hard to do when you lack direction, inspiration, or even skillz.
It was a while before I remembered that hey, I’m skilled at making things with yarn! I should make something red, graphic, and not too representational out of yarn. This thing will be flat so I can put it in a frame that will cover up the jack. This thing will be a doily!
Now my taste doesn’t really run to the lacy, flouncy or frilly, but I do have a couple flowery things lurking around the house:
Maybe I could find a not very victorian doily pattern that had something in common with the shapes I already had goin’ on? And maybe I could use up the very last of The First Yarn, because for all its acrylicness, it’s actually a very pretty shade of red. Plus it’d be ironic (satisfyingly cyclical?) to use it for a crochet project.
Ok, so not much of a doily, more of a coaster I guess, or a potholder, a yarny trivet, whatever.
It still makes the kitchen prettier right? Even though it’s a bit small for the frame, and would probably have turned out more graphic if I had used a larger hook, I still dig it.
Pattern: Some sort of variation on Kimberly’s Flower Coaster by Kimberly Andrew.
Yarn: I’m thinking Red Heart Classic Solid
Hook: 3.75 mm/US F, maybe.
I think I’m pleased. I’m certainly not ashamed to wear it in public, and at least it doesn’t remind me of, uh, used pizza, but I’m not totally in love either.
It is very useful for keeping my ears warm and disguising bed head though.
And I’m thinking that the addition of a big, fuzzy pom might improve matters a bit.
In the mean time I, like I’m sure a lot of you, have quite a bit of cooking to do. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Button choices, patterns for problematic yarn, sometimes it’s nice to have friendly people around who will point out when you’re being a bit of an idiot and overlooking something completely obvious. So thank you Winnie and Lin. Of course My So-Called Scarf! The long established, and rightly popular, savior of ker-azy yarns everywhere. And as good a reason as any to haul Magallanes back out of the yarn closet of shame.
Except right now I’m more into cloth scarves than knit ones, and I still want a hat. After pondering a bit I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out the best way to decrease in pattern and make a so-called beret.
Actually it was ridiculously easy, mainly because someone’s already gone and done it. Looking at the completed hat though, I didn’t think the horizontal nature of the so-called stitch (what is it anyway? Herringbone?) would play that nicely with the slouchy hat form I was after. Out came the stitch dictionaries, the pencil, the calculator - maybe I could come up with something similar. Jo had mentioned a loop stitch, maybe that would work?
I took my time, put on some music, and made a big, ugly swatch. I also came up with an idea I’m pretty hopeful about.
Still, if worse comes to worse there’s always Chloe’s genius suggestion of overdying with indigo, or more likely around here, grape and blue raspberry kool-aid.
A few years ago I bought one skein of wildly variegated, thick and thin, Araucania Magallanes. If I’d been shopping for myself I never would have bought something where texture and color were having such a wild party together. But I wasn’t, I was actually looking to make a scarf for a friend of mine to whom texture is the salt of the visual universe. Plus it was really pretty in the skein. Got it home and the prettiness continued into ball form.
But all knit up it just looks barfy, like it very strongly reminds me of the time Chris Stephenson created a sensation by throwing up on the handball courts after the 6th grade pizza party. Too many color nuggets. And it isn’t soft enough. Soft enough for me certainly, but not to give as a gift.
So Magallanes has sat in the closet for years, occasionally let out to be knit up, frogged, wound, knit and frogged again as I pondered what exactly to do with her. I wouldn’t use a felted purse, and knitting her together with a strand of black or navy in imitation of this sweater would just mean having to find more of this problematic yarn. Finally Urchin came along and I thought I’d found the perfect pattern. Short rows might make the variegated color flashing more interesting, and garter stitch would work well with the thick and thinness. Plus I love hats - making them, wearing them, whatever.
I cast on and knit for 2 nights, with diminishing optimism. It’s a good pattern, but sadly not as perfect for this yarn as I had hoped. I soldiered on, thinking maybe blocking would achieve something magical, but by the end of the eighth wedge I was pretty discouraged.
Besides, I had left my glasses in San Francisco the week before and had sorta felt my way along, occasionally getting my bearings by holding the hat at arm’s length and making Marty Feldman-like faces at it, a system that wasn’t gonna work for the big picking-up stitches and kitchenering finale. Putting the hat aside and waiting for my glasses to arrive from the hotel was hard and in the end I couldn’t do it. I got antsy, mucked up the pick-up, sorta went into denial about that, and decided that a three-needle bind off was the way to go. I told myself that the seam would be barely noticeable amongst the garter and that this kind of half-assery was perfectly acceptable on a quickie project.
It was not acceptable, the bind-off was noticeable, it looked crappy, and I was still reminded of barf.
I gave up.
Meanwhile this is making me giggle, you might enjoy it too (though I recommend skipping ahead to 1:03.)
Like a year ago. In fact here it is making its debut at last year’s Thanksgiving.
Since then it’s seen a lot of wear. My intent was to make a sweater that was warm and blankety enough for lounging and pretty enough to class up the pyjama pants and soup stained t-shirt that is my standard around-the-house ensemble. After all, as lovely as it is to actually be a sloppy, sedentary lump on the couch, it sucks to look like one. I think I succeeded, so well that it’s become my standard grocery store/movie theater/airplane/restaurant (and anyplace else that’s inexplicably OMG freezing!) sweater.
That right there is the look of love. Comfy, cozy, yet totally OK to wear in public, sweater love.
Anyway, around January I took some pictures, threw them up on Rav, and proceeded to ignore my blog, kinda ignore Ravelry, and not knit all that often either. Then my mood changed, I came back, and found that a few people had said some really kind and flattering things about the Big Bad. They were also asking for a pattern, and that is a problem, because try as I might I can’t seem to write one.
Writing a pattern for a sweater is way harder (to me) than designing one. I have no idea about sizing, or other people’s proportions. I don’t know if the way I write out instructions would be clear enough, or maybe patronizingly too clear. Every time I sit down with my notes, my calculator, Ysolda’s sizing charts, graph paper, a lap top opened to this article, every pattern book I own to use for wording reference, and a strong cup of coffee - my brain shuts down. The whole thing just makes me wanna go “AAAAAGGH!” like a Muppet monster.
Eventually I gave up and made this announcement: “It’s a pretty simple design though, and I’m sure many of you are capable of improvising your own sweater that would look pretty much like this one, so please feel free. I’ll be flattered.” Some people took me up on it (yay!) and emailed a few questions. A lot of the questions are understandably repeats, so in order to save me, and maybe you, some time I thought I’d just put up some general notes here. If your specific question doesn’t get answered feel free to email me, leave a comment, or contact me on Rav.
- The general idea was to keep the color repeats a consistent size by making each piece of the sweater about the same width. In my case this meant that each front side is 6″, the collar is 6″, each side of the back is 9″, and the sleeves start off at 9″ around the wrist and end up being 13″ around the top of the arm.
- The main body is worked in reverse stockinette.
- The collar is 1×1 rib, with a slip st selvage on the outer edge, and the lower edges of the body are 3 rows of 1×1 rib as well.
- The collar is worked separately then attachedafter the rest of the sweater is all sewn together.
- The cuffs are also worked separately in 1×1 rib (with slip st selvage,) grafted to form a ring, then attached to the sleeves.
- The seams down the center of the back, attaching the collar to the sweater, and attaching the cuffs to the sleeves are all worked so that they are visible on the public side of the sweater. Although I think if I had it to do over again I’d just work the cuff to sleeve seams normally.
- All other seams are worked traditionally.
If you do make your own Big Bad Noro good luck, and be sure to send me a picture:)
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Its a new day, and I’m feeling good.
“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. … It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
Today it feels like this old world really is a new world, a bold world. A world where hope can triumph over fear and divisiveness, and where I can feel real pride in, not to mention be inspired by, my fellow Americans.
Tomorrow: actuall knitting content. Yay. In the mean time how about saying goodbye?
**illustration courtesy of january20th2009