Thursday, January 31, 2008

A stitch in time?

I have acquired yet another needlework obsession:
Embroidery.

I blame it all on Kat who planted the seed with her most adorable little tomte

I was recently reminded of those little elves (gnomes?) while browsing through Making mathematics with needlework. And began scouring the web for information.

Two library books, and several web sites later, I downloaded some clip art, got out my needles and floss and got to work:

His was my first piece, and boy can you ever tell. My stitching was awful and uneven.
my first embroydery attempt


my second attempt:
Getting better, much more even stitching, but I think I was pulling the stitches too tight, because I got a lot of holes. Also I didn't quite have curves and corners down yet.
my seccond embroidery attempt

third:
made yesterday.
Still need a lot of work, but I'm incredibly happy with how it turned out. my French knots started out horrible, but I finally got them down in the end.
third peice


Today were going into Watertown for supplies and I'll be stopping by jo-anns for more thread and a better hoop. Weeee

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

sock graduation

last night was the last night of sock class!
everything went so well, I'm so happy and proud of all my students! :D

last time I had given them homework to knit a small sock, and while some people had a few problems, everybody ended up understanding what was going on.
we did the math of gauge, negative ease, and the perfect fit last night, I was most nervous about this part, but everybody got it, quick as lightening and there were no problems! I'm so happy!

And at the end everybody got their certificates of achievement.

here are my socktacular students

the good girls:
January 2008

the trouble makers:
January 2008

I'm so happy the class went well, and that everybody learned stuff, and came away knowing how to make socks work, I'm just floating on air today!
I can't wait until next week when everybody comes to knit night, almost everybody was ready to cast on for their socks, and I can't wait to see what they have going next week!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cracking right along

The butterfly top is almost there; I finished the main body today, and seamed the shoulder. Now all I have to do is crochet the sleeves and the edging. I'm very exited, it even fits!

Pre-seaming:
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Unfortunately, my wrist is starting to crack and hurt badly whenever I crochet. I made bred on Thursday, and them made pizza dough yesterday, and I think all the kneading pushed it over the edge. I'm going to have to take a crochet break for a couple of days so I don't permanently hurt myself.

Luckily, it doesn't hurt to knit! So I'm going to go back to Okie Dokie and get more of that done, but first... an intermission:

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Knit lace sun catcher. The picture is from last night, the daytime picture is pretty but you cant see any detail.

I got the pattern from an old Anna magazine, but I bought the wrong sized ring, so I had to knit it with finer thread and needles, and take out a couple of repeats to get it to fit my ring. I'm really happy with the way it came out, but it was a bit of a PITA. I think it would be way easier to make a sun catcher like this in crochet, and I have a whole book full of snowflake patterns that would be perfect, but I need bigger rings for them to fit. (I also need my wrist to stop cracking, ah well.)

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(see? No detail)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

flutterbyes

no wonder I'm not making much progress on the okie dokie.

every once in a while I go though a crochet jag. my skills get a little better and I get happier, but they don't often last long, I have a problem with my wrist and if I go too long, it begins cracking and getting very painful to hook the yarn.

I'm in the middle of a crochet jag right now, and have decided to milk it for all it's worth. not only did I make P.Z. but now I'm working on a filet crochet top.

The pattern is
Not So Tiny Tops: Green Butterflies by Proper Trappings (this is another Ravelry exclusive pattern, sorry)

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it's my first crochet garment and I’m making some pretty big modifications right off the bat.

the original size wouldn’t fit me, so I upped my gauge so that I wouldn’t have to fiddle too much with the schematic. I'm using Peaches & cream cotton yarn in "peppercorn obre" (soo pretty!) and an "H" hook

I still needed to fiddle though, the increase in gauge made it wider enough to fit around me, but also made it waaaayyy too long, so I had to chop a good 10 rows from the chart, which interrupted the patterning, so I fiddled that around too, not too much, since I really liked the butterflies where they were.

also had to make some minor adjustments to arm holes and neck shaping, but I’m hoping it won’t be too obvious with the finished product.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'd like to be under the sea, in an octopus' garden in the shade

Meet P.Z.*

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P.Z. is an adorable Amigurumi style Octopus from Octopode Pandemonium

Cat included for scale:

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He was a lot of fun to make, it's been a while since I've made any Amigurumi, and well, Cephalopods are just irresistible!

Stats:
Time: about three days on and off, it would have been much quicker, but crocheting at a tight gauge really kills my wrist and I need frequent breaks.
Hook: G
Yarn: random blue/variegated acrylic from my stash.
I thought the variegated yet still blue of the yarn mimicked a real octopus's colour changing ability. (And it was cute!)

Before assembly:

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I thought the legs looked like little blue sausages. Bill says the looked more like fuzzy blue tampons.

The body was mad in one piece, because I hate seaming. legs were 15 rounds of plain crochet.


After Assembly, aka the obligatory 'stuff on my cat' shot:

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* My Husband named him after one of the bloggers he reads: P.Z. Myers from Pharyngula

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

By Jove I think they've got it!

Sock class is looking up.
Last week there were some timing problems and I think I tried to show them a few things that were just over their heads.

But his week went swimmingly! We started on time, and I was able to show them almost everything I had planned for that class. I decided not to show them everything on the hand outs I had prepared, instead focusing on the ones that were absolutely necessary to move forward, and then leaving the option open for them to request demonstrations of the other techniques later. They seemed to pick up the concepts quickly, and while there were a few doubtful comments of "I don't see how this is supposed to work." it all came out in the end!

I'm really looking forward to next week's class, we'll be covering toes and heels, and I'll be asking them to knit a tiny practice sock. Everybody seemed up beat and confident, and that makes me so happy!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Geek du chĂȘne

While I was working on the Okie Dokie doily yesterday I began to wonder how far along I was.
I mean I could look at the pattern and see how many rows were left.
But those rows were getting bigger and bigger, and I wanted to know exactly what percentage I had left.

So I turned to the resident geek (aka my husband) and asked him how I would go about figuring it out. In no time he had a simple little formula for me. This formula works if you are knitting a center out circular or rectangular shawl/blanket, it works if you are knitting a tip up triangular shawl, and it works if you are knitting a center neck out triangular shawl, essentially, if you start with a tiny number of stitches, and end with a huge number of stitches, this formula will work. (This does not count Faroese style shawls, there's funky shaping involved that the formula doesn't account for.)

(Rows already knit)²
(Total Rows in project)²

all that x 100 = the percentage finished.


So how far along am I with Okie dokie?

55² ÷ 123²=.199

.119 x 100 = 19.9%

yeah... I need to get knitting.


{ETA}
If you want to be extra geeky with this, try typing it into Google.

((55^2) / (123^2)) x 100

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Doily head

I recently met a very nice woman online who goes by the handle "doilyhead" we both share an interest in lace, and she has done a lot of work inquiring about copyright and public use of old patterns. Hopefully you will be seeing some of her projects appearing here as I test knit for her. You can see some of what she has done at her flicker page here

One of the fun things she has done in her spare time has been to convert old doily patterns into berets, this inspired me.

So I decided to try my hand at it:

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I call her the Star of the County Down after a song by one of my favorite bands, Emerald Rose.

The lace pattern is not directly from any one doily, but more my take on a common theme that I have seen in many doily patterns. The results aren't nearly as spectacular as what Doilyhead had come up with, but I'm pretty happy.

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I am offering up the pattern for free, but, you won't find it here.
I have become so smitten with Ravelry, and I think it has a lot to offer even to the casual knitter. There is still a waiting list to join, but it is moving very quickly now, and they plan to go public very soon. They have recently offered PDF hosting and downloading of free patterns available to all users, and this is where you'll find my pattern. The pattern page is here. enjoy

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

socks, babies and lace

Wow, I really suck at posting, don't I?
Ah, well. I've been busy prepping for my sock class.

The first class was last night, and boy was it interesting!

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Before I even left the house my glasses broke, and we couldn't get them fixed so I had to run around and put my contacts in (I badly need new ones, and my vision isn't as clear as I would like with my contacts) so I got there late, but I was still able to get everything set up, but it meant we got off to a later start than I would have liked.

It was fun watching everybody pick out their yarn, everyone trying to match yarn to folder. I hand dyed all the yarn for the class myself.

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I did a short lecture on types of sock yarn, and types of socks, and then we got into the thick of things. Tonight was casting on and casting off. There was a little trouble and it took longer than I had anticipated, so I couldn't show them everything I had planned, but everybody learned something new, and they all especially liked the Sew bind off.

It's going to take a little magic on my end to figure out how to teach them everything they missed last night, plus everything for next class as well, but I think we'll manage, I'm just going to have to overhaul my materials.


I haven't just been prepping for class though, I have been knitting!

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We recently found out that Bill's cousin is expecting, so I knit up a little Bunny blanket buddy the picture sucks but he's amazingly soft and cuddly. I used TLC Amore, which was a bit of a pain to work with, but soo cuddly.

And I've also started this:

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It's the frosted ferns pattern. It was republished by the Spool Cotton Company, but it's a common consensus that it's a reprint of a Herbert Niebling pattern.
I'm using the chart from the Niebling yahoo group, (the written instructions have you break the yarn at one point, which is just silly, the chart fixes that) but the charts were so unreadable that I re-charted them (keeping my fingers crossed that I did it right).

So far so good, there are few spots where I'm not quite happy with my tension, at one point I dropped a couple of stitches, and ended up loosing almost a whole leaf. I had to go back and re knit up the entire section, and that played havoc with my tension on the edges, and there are two sections between leaves where things are a bit loose from where there were gaps from using magic loop (I'm almost afraid to see how bad it would have been if I were using DPN's!) You can be pretty vicious when blocking cotton, so I'm hoping most of the issues will be worked out then.

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