Three blue knits…including a TARDIS pillow!

I’ve been working on two big knitting projects and one small one in the last few months. It just so happens that all of them were gifts, and all of them were blue. Now that they are all completed, I can share them with you!

A different kind of blue box: the TARDIS pillow!

Time And Relative Dimension In Space

I started watching Doctor Who at the beginning of November and I got totally into it (yes I realize I’m a little late to the party). My brother is also a fan and when I was home for Thanksgiving, he suggested I could knit him something Whovian for Christmas. I showed him the myriad of free patterns on ravelry and he chose this one by Rebecca Norton, a tiny tardis print. Interestingly, the only project on ravelry was the original, so I was going into uncharted (ha!) territory. But as the pattern says…Allons-y!

just a little blue box

This was one of the funnest swatches to knit. If you aren’t familiar with colorwork, this is not a bad pattern to learn on. The pattern was pretty easy to remember after a while, and even when I messed up the window placement on one row and didn’t notice it till the end, it was easily fixed with duplicate stitches to get the proper colors. The pillow uses the intarsia technique for each TARDIS, so I had a short bobbin of blue yarn for each. However, after knitting one side of the pillow, I realized I was going to run out of white yarn. It was stash yarn and I had no idea what it was or where it came from. So I improvised…

bigger on the OTHER side!

And came up with this pattern for the reverse side. I didn’t get too detailed here—no public notice, no “police box” lettering—but I think it came out really well for a TARDIS pattern I wrote on the fly! I used  garter stitch to create the illusion of doors, and each grouping of six windows only used a small bobbin of white yarn. I would write up the pattern but I didn’t save all my notes on it, but I did write down what I could remember on my ravelry project page. If you try to do it and it doesn’t work out,  trust me, there are like six million patterns on ravelry for some version of the TARDIS if you want it.

(EDIT: If you want another blue Doctor Who knit, check out my Tenth-Doctor’s-Sonic-Screwdriver-as-Chapstick-Holder knitting project!)

Baby blues: Newborn booties!

tiny feats for tiny feets

My cousin and his wife had a baby in December, and so over Christmas break I decided to whip up some of my favorite baby booties in the newborn size. Baby items are great because they knit up so quick. I also like making them in colors other than the traditional pastels. Previously, I have made them in a bright purple tweed:

Lelly's booties!

The booties are constructed with short row shaping, so they are knit on straight needles. In the past I sewed them up so that only garter stitch was showing, but this time I decided that having the stockinette part on the outside actually gave it a better shape.

no pastel colors allowed

I highly recommend this pattern, but I should point out that I have always modified the increases to be “knit front and back” because I’m more used to that. I don’t think it changes the pattern, just putting that out there.

Socktober blues: Magic loop toe-up socks!2013-11-24 13.58.18

Way back in October, I started making socks for my friend’s November birthday. I had this really cool sock yarn, the self striping kind, and I was eager to use it. And I also wanted to knit these socks at the same time. So I decided to learn the magic loop method for small diameter circular knitting.

Ever year I try to do a new knitting technique—it’s a slow learning process but it works. I could probably devote a whole post to what I learned and didn’t learn doing magic loop. First of all, you should NOT do what I did, which was 1) switch patterns more than once when I was part way through, so I was constantly readjusting. I initially started out using the free Knit Picks pattern  Two at once, toe up socks but I quickly discovered that it was going to be tough to follow for someone who was new to magic loop. Another thing you should NOT do is 2) connect several interchangeable needles to get the long circular needle needed for this technique, because the metal connecting piece will be a constant pain when you have to slide it through a bunch of stitches. Bite the bullet and buy the exact size circular needles you need.

harder than it looks

What I DO recommend you do if you are learning this technique is watch videos on how to do magic loop. My favorites were from KnitFreedom— Liat Gat’s 2-at-a-time toe-up socks video series. I’m sure it would be best if you were using her pattern, but I found them helpful regardless, especially the videos for casting on and the first increase round. I also suggest practicing magic loop with larger needles and yarn than you’d use for socks, because starting the toe is a bit challenging at first. Ok, a lot challenging.

socks in the sink

I wish I took photos at the start, because it would show you what looked like some pretty bad laddering at the sides that ended up being ok in the end. The Knit Picks pattern has an afterthought heel, and KnitFreedom’s pattern has a fleegle heel, but I wanted I heel I was familiar with, so I did short row heels using the technique described by HeidBears in part 1 and part 2 on her blog. Not a video, but I have done short row heels before and the illustrations were all I needed to translate it to magic loop socks.

2013-11-24 12.38.16

After blocking, you could still see the ladders on the sides of the socks (especially at the heel) and the loose part of the toe where I almost made the socks too big when I switched patterns (thankfully my friend has the same size feet as me and I tried them on and discovered the problem early). BUT despite all the problems and irregularities, I am really proud of these socks. The blue stripes are so cool! And most importantly, their recipient was happy with them.2013-11-24 13.58.02

Yarn Without Knitting: Wrapped Yarn Objects for the Holidays

With rain and freezing temperatures, it’s finally starting to feel like winter is coming—perfect weather for knitting. I’ve been working on some knitting projects, but I’ve also done a few things with yarn that require no needles or hooks at all. Yarn wrapping items is a great way to use up small amounts of special yarn, large amounts of lower quality yarn, and everything in between. Here’s what I’ve made:

Yarn Words

2013-11-25 12.18.47

materials: bendable wire that will hold its shape, yarn, binder clips, hot glue gun.

I got the idea to do some yarn wrapped words from this blog post. I made this as a a Thanksgivikah gift of sorts for (you guessed it) “the farmhouse,” a house of friends who were hosting a big dinner on that particular holiday. I was excited to finally have a use for the tiny amount of brown handspun yarn I’d made in my craft center spinning class back in Fall 2011!

I didn’t have the wire reinforced clothesline that the blog suggested using, so at first I tried using an old coat hanger. Not bendable enough, it turns out. Then I tried florist wire, which I do have on hand from making wreaths and evergreen boughs out of shrubbery in previous years. It worked! But since it was a little thin and just a bit too bendy, which made me worry that it would lose its shape, I doubled it.

2013-11-24 13.21.53

I strongly suggest writing out the word you want to do in cursive on a piece of paper beforehand—it’s a lot easier to copy from a template than to do it on the fly. And definitely use binder clips to hold letters with a lot of wire overlapped in place. Hot glue the yarn to one end of the word and wrap tightly as you go. Hot glue any spots that seem like they’ll want to come loose. Considering the fact that I got Ds in cursive in grade school (it’s hard to get the slanting right as a lefty!), I’m pretty happy with the results of this project.

Yarn Wreath

2013-12-03 12.37.55

 

materials: wreath form, yarn, bobble ornaments, florist wire, wreath hanger.

There are tons of tutorials out there for how to make a yarn wreath, most of them using a puffy, styrofoam wreath form. I didn’t look at any of them before I made this, however. Because this is pretty much the simplest project ever: wrap yarn around wreath form. When you are done, tuck the yarn end in the back. That’s it.

2013-12-01 17.02.22

I used this red boucle yarn of unknown origin that was in my stash, which gave the wreath a nice texture. Since my wreath form is flat (it’s the same one I used in previous years to make evergreen wreaths), I added  depth by attaching some bobble ornaments in the same color.

2013-12-01 19.07.39  2013-12-01 18.57.08

 

I described how to attach the florist wire to the top of the ornaments using duct tape in this post last year, and these are the exact same ones so they were already prepared. Here’s a photo of what they look like.

IMG_1908

 

I added some red plastic holly berries mostly to cover up the duct tape that was still visible. The result was a very quick wreath that is really red. Here’s what it looks like on my door when all of my Christmas lights are working ( a rarity!):

2013-12-04 17.17.40

Yarn Trees

2013-12-04 21.06.07

materials: cereal or other thin cardboard boxes, scissors, tape, yarn, hot glue gun. (optional: llamas or other animals to roam the forest of trees)

Once I did the first two projects, I was really wanting to do at least one more wrapped yarn thing, and I figured it might as well be Christmas themed. So when I saw this blog post, I figured why not? I even decided to do the same colors as the original blogger, though I did make some changes.

2013-12-04 17.58.39

First step is to open your boxes, trim off excess edge flaps and roll them into cones.  To get the come shape, try to pinch it more at one end. I only had one cereal box on hand, but I had two other boxes that were of similar quality and they worked fine. I duct taped mine in place and then trimmed the bottoms until they sat more or less flat on the ground.

2013-12-04 20.28.14

 

Starting at the bottom, I taped the end of the yarn, wrapped it around to the top, hot glued it there, and then wrapped it all the way to the bottom again, and hot glued it around the very base of the tree. The yarn here is some old acrylic in what seemed like good tree colors.

2013-12-04 20.57.16

Finally, I decided that my trees should have toppers, so I wound tiny balls of this sparkly silver yarn from my stash and hot glued them onto the tops. And, of course, added the Christmas llamas to the forest.

2013-12-04 20.56.59