Nerdy Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts

Animal knits!

I haven’t had a lot of time for new knitting —different large craft projects are taking over, but I can’t share them yet! So today will be a Throwback Thursday post of previously unblogged knit projects from the 2000s. All are either for animals or feature animals! (Sadly, nothing knit BY animals. Yet.)

Stashbusting Kitty Bed

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This is my version of the Princess Snowball Cat Bed. Next week is National Pet Week, and it also happens to be my cat Josephine’s birthday. I adopted Jojo nearly six years ago, and I quickly discovered that she loves to snuggle …and steal yarn.

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When I first got her, I often found her curled up on the sweater I was knitting, which gave me the idea to knit the cat bed. It’s worth picking up the Stitch N’ Bitch book from your local library for the pattern, though if you know how to make a large garter stitch circle, you could probably come up with your own pattern.

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I used this pattern as an opportunity to get use up a bunch of left over stash yarn. I held it double to get the extra thickness. I went with colored stripes alternated with white to use up the most possible stash yarn. Each section on the long rectangle is 9 rows. The sections on the circular base are either 6 or 7 rows each, corresponding to the increase/decrease sections of the pattern.

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I think the finished object has a rather nautical look to it, which was unintentional but I like it. I did not stuff or sew down the outer ring, I just tucked it under and it worked fine.

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The best part, of course, is that Jojo loves it. She loves it so much that I cannot show you a current photo of it, because it is absolutely covered in fur. It’s under a different chair in my living room now (she prefers it to be under something), and she hides there whenever an errant garbage truck or lawnmower comes too close to my home for her liking.

Cat Mat

I had a little less success making something for my mom’s cat Digory to sleep on, but I still think it’s a cool idea!

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This is my own design, and I don’t have it with me so I can’t check the stitch count or dimensions, but it’s basically a placement-sized mat in stockinette with a garter stitch border. I searched for an alphabet chart online for a pattern for the letters (see how many free ones are on ravelry!?) and centered them in the middle. This was a quick stocking stuffer Christmas gift, so I didn’t have time to make a full cat bed.

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Digory’s a bit of a stubborn cat, so he wouldn’t sleep on it right away, but I have since seen him on it. Sometimes.

Small Personalized Dog “Sweater”

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Can you tell I was on a “personalized pet knits” kick for a while? This was a dog sweater of sorts for my friend’s pup, named Barbara Streisand. This and the cat mat were both Christmas 2007 knits. Back then, Ravelry was brand new and in only in beta (and I had not even heard of it), so knitters had way less online resources for patterns! Anyway, this was another one of my own pattern creations. I basically measured/eyeballed the size, then did a stockinette rectangle with ribbing at all sides and charted “Babs” at the top.

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Instead of making armholes and dealing with that whole business, I just connected the rectangle with garter stitch straps—one fit under her stomach, one went under her neck. It was loose enough so that it wouldn’t choke her, but I would still keep an eye on any dog wearing something like this just in case it got caught on something, or else connect the neck strap with velcro. This faux sweater looked rather sweet on Babs! Sadly she is no longer living, but I am glad she had a cozy sweater while she was with us.

LOLCat Blanket Buddy!

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Moving on to knits featuring animals, I’m rather proud of my LOLCat version of the Bunny Blanket Buddy! The original pattern, which is suppose to be a child’s toy, has long rabbit ears and is pretty cute by itself—I made a half sized version for my friend’s baby shower, in fact:

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You can easily shape the ears differently to make a dog if you wanted to. Make sure to grab some stuffing for the head part if you make this!  For the LOLCat version, I shortened the ears and put “O HAI” onto it using a crochet hook and single crochet chains. This was part of a craft swap I did way back in the day, so I made other fun LOLCat themed things like a t-shirt and I-Can-Haz-Cheezburger? style word magnets:

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Oh the mid 2000s and their memes…

Fishy Potholders! (bonus crochet!)

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Who doesn’t love a good pescetarian potholder? Once again, this was for a craft swap back in the day, so I don’t have many photos. For the crocheted clown fish oven mitt, I used this Fish pot holder pattern, with the exception of the top fin, which I eschewed in favor of a full knitted thumb. For the bottom potholder, I just did a really long stockinette rectangle with a charted goldfish pattern that I found somewhere on the internets (I can’t seem to find it now, but you could substitute this one.) I sewed it up on all sides and then added I-cord loops to both so they could be hung up.

IMPORTANT NOTE! To make both of these items safe to use when handling hot dishes out of the oven, you need to line it with insulated material that is heat resistant. I used Insul-Brite, which has a thin metallic-looking layer in the middle that helps keep your hands from getting hot. I cut a slightly smaller version of the fish oven mitt, sewed it together, and slipped it inside. For the other potholder, I cut out a piece and slipped it in before sewing up the final seam of the square.

And that’s all for this Throwback Thursday!

Holiday Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts

Quick Winter Knits, Round Two (Valentine’s Day edition)

I’ve been wanting to do a follow up to my 2012 on quick winter knits and my 2013 procrastiknits post for a while now, and here it is! Between getting a cold last week and the 2014 Winter Olympics starting this week(ish), I’ve had a lot of time to whip up some projects. I think any of these would make great Ravellenic Games knits. (As a side note, if you have  qualms about anything having to do with the Sochi Olympics, check out what Leethal is doing on her knitting blog. Pretty genius move.)

One of these projects really is Valentine’s Day themed, but I’m going to say that there’s something for everyone to love here, including a few things for those who don’t care for the holiday whatsoever. So without further ado, here are my finished objects: a racerback tank, neck collar, ear warmer, cowl and chapstick holder. All are free patterns available on ravelry!

Pink Free Fall Tank Top

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This Valentine’s Day, some good friends are throwing a dance party, and they encouraged us to dress for the occasion. Unfortunately, I don’t own any truly pink clothing. But instead of turing to the obvious solution (thrift stores, borrow something), I was like, “I bet I can knit something pink!” So that’s what I did.

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This is my version of Annina Päivärinta’s Free Fall Tank. The amazing thing about this tank pattern is that it only take one skein! This is thanks to the drop stitch in the pattern, which I’d never tried before but loved.

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This photos is probably the closest to the true color of this tank. To get this color, I held together one strand of sport weight red wool I recycled from a thrifted sweater with two strands of a hot pink, lace weight mohair yarn that I have literally had in my stash since my roommate in college gave it to me. I have no idea why I kept it, but I’m glad I did.

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There aren’t a lot of photos of people wearing this tank on ravelry, and I can tell you why—when you knit it in one skein of cotton yarn as directed, the drop stitches make it really revealing. In my version, using three strands of fuzzy yarn, this is not as much the case unless you are looking rather closely.

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There were a number of comments about the chart for this pattern by ravelry knitters, and I’ll admit, it is a tad confusing. I’d say its an intermediate skill pattern. I made a size small with a few mods based on their comments and my own measurements:  stitch makers to mark all of the yarn overs, several extra inches of length, two stitches cast on at the bottoms of the drops instead of three, and an irregular rib at the bottom for three rounds. I’m really pleased with the results!

Pink Kink Collar

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I made this quite a whole ago, but since it uses the same yarn combo as the free fall tank, it seems a good time to share it. The pattern is Kink by Jodie Gordon Lucas, featured in Knitty 2010.

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This in-progress shot gives you a view of what the strands of yarn look like by themselves! It’s a pretty straightforward pattern that works with a variety of yarns and is not too difficult to memorize. You can also wear it in a number of ways, depending on how you attach your pin or button. I’m thinking about attaching another button so I can wear it differently. If you’re not ready to commit to a hot pink top, this is a good way to use a brightly colored yarn. I  mainly wear this with neutral colors, especially black.

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speaking of black…

Black Ear Warmer

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If you’re more the type to wear black on February 14, I’ve got two super easy projects for you. The first is this Ear Band pattern, appropriately titled Beginning Ear Warmer. I wanted the most straightforward pattern possible, and this garter stitch band was exactly that.Photo on 2-7-14 at 4.52 PM #2

With my hair I can wear this two ways. My main reason for wanting a basic black ear warmer is for riding my bike—my ears get cold faster than anything else, and I wanted it to match anything I could possibly be wearing so that would never deter me from using it.

Black Drop Stitch Cowl

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The quality of these photos doesn’t even capture how cool this cowl is (black objects + rushing to take photos = not the best idea). The pattern is Abi Gregorio’s Drop Stitch Cowl, which I became determined to knit after enjoying the drop stitch look on the free fall tank.

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Most of the ravelery reviews insisted that this was a lightning fast knit, and they were right. I didn’t quite have enough yarn for the pattern, so in my version I used size 13 instead of size 15 needles, omitted one of the repeats ,and shortened two garter stitch sections. I would have loved if my cowl was  taller and wider, but I’m really impressed that there was a pattern to use up my leftover, super bulky black yarn!

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I’m thinking I will make this cowl again in a color when I get the chance.

Chaptstick Holder

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This is the only quick knit that wasn’t for me. After showing my sonic screwdriver chapstick holder to friends, I got a request for a basic chaptstick holder that could attach to a harness during rock climbing. So I used Victoria Trauger’s Chapstick Holder pattern and made this. I could tell you about how in my version I made some mods to make it fit better (12 stitches around instead of 16, 6 stitches instead of 8 for the flap), or how I love the elephant button I used at the top. But mostly I want to tell you why this is related to Valentine’s Day knitting. I supposed it could be the connection between chapstick, lips, and kissing. But personally, all I could think when I was making this pattern in this color was, geez, this looks really…phallic.

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Nevertheless, this chapstick holder does its job! I attached a key ring to the side and handed it off to its recipient at the rock climbing gym last night. Here’s a blurry action shot of the chaptsick holder on his harness.

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And that concludes this edition of quick winter knits! ❤

Nerdy Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts, Tweaks & Alterations

Sonic Screwdriver Chapstick Holder!

My blog reached 10,000 views today! To celebrate, I’m sharing details about my most recent finished object—the 10th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, which I have conveniently modified to serve as a chapstick holder!

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(Yeah, that’s right, because making a TARRIS pillow was not enough whovian knitting for me…)

This project is a modification of a modification of an original pattern for a Doctor Who sonic screwdriver. That pattern was for the sonic used by the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith), which is different in shape and size. I found this modification from user Cordetta on ravelry that changed the colors and some of the shape to be more like that of the 10th Doctor (David Tennant), which is what I wanted. I have to give a lot of props to her mod for helping me out! But I had to modify it even further to make it shorter and tighter to fit two chapsticks with just a little room on the ends.

To be honest, when I finished this project it was late and I did not record every single detail of my knitting. But I wrote down enough to tell you approximately how I did it.

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10th Doctor’s Sonic Chapstick Holder

materials:
-size 3 double pointed needles (set of 4), yarn needle.
-worsted weight yarn in black, dark gray, light gray, and blue
Cast on 9 sts in black, divide over three needles, and join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.
Rnds 1-2: k all sts
Rnds 3-5: p all sts
Rnds 6-10: p all sts
Rnds 11-12: k 1 grey, p 2 black*
Change to dark gray
Rnd 13: k all sts
Rnd 14: k1, m1, k to end of rnd (10sts)
Rnd 15: k all sts
Rnd 16: k5, m1, k to end of rnd (11sts)
Rnd 17: k all sts
Rnd 18: k9, m1, k to end of rnd (12sts)
Rnd 19: k all sts
Rnd 20: k2, m1, k to end of rnd (13sts)
Rnd 21: k all sts
Rnd 22: k7, m1, k to end of rnd (14sts)
Change to light gray
Rnd 23-35: k all sts
Rnd 36: k1, k2tog, k 2, k2tog repeat to end of rnd (11sts)
Rnd 37: k2, k2tog, k5, k2tog, k to end of rnd (10sts) 
Change to dark gray
Rnd 38: k all sts
Rnds 39-44: k1, p1, repeat to end of round
Rnd 45: p all sts*
Change to blue
Rnd 46: k all sts
Rnds 47-49: p all sts
Rnd 50: k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog (8 sts)
Cast off loosely.
With blue yarn and yarn needle, stitch a straight line lengthwise up the light gray section.
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*if you haven’t done colorwork before, consider skipping these two rounds and going straight to the gray section, it’s kind of annoying to do. If you chose to do it (I promise, it looks cool!), be careful to move the black yarn to the inside of the work at the end of the last round.

**at this point, if you want to weave any of the ends into the inside of the tube, do it now! It will be too tight to turn it inside out after the final section.

As always, remember that my gauge is looser than most—use your own tube of lip balm as a guide. The way I made mine, both ends are open but they are tighter than the middle section, so the chapstick naturally remains inside until I push it out. I’m sure there are ways you could make a closure at the top or bottom, but I found I didn’t need it.

The sonic screwdriver chapstick holder—it doesn’t work on wood or deadbolts, but it does work on dry lips!

Quick Knits & Crafts

November Knits: Stash Edition

November in the Northern Hemisphere seems to be when knitting season kicks into high gear. If you’re a super productive knitter, you’ve probably finished your Socktober socks and moved on to your sweater for National Knit a Sweater Month (aka NaKniSweMo) and your holiday gift projects. Unless you are like me, in which case you are simply looking at your stash and thinking “I am sort of cold. Can I make something from this yarn to make me less cold?” The answer, of course, is yes. Here are three (free!) patterns for the things I think I’ll be wearing a lot this month to keep warm.

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(p.s. I realize the title of this post is a little misleading— one of these projects is actually crochet, and I did not make any of them in November—I am simply planning to wear them this month. But I wanted the alleteration!)

1. Half a Cardi

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I actually made this little cropped short-sleeve cardigan three years ago but I seem to get use out of it every fall. The pattern here is Half a-Cardi by Patti Gonsalves. It’s a great chance to try out a top down raglan style if you haven’t already. It knits up pretty quickly too.  I usually wear it over a black tank top or long sleeve shirt with the leaf pin to keep it connected at the top. It adds an extra layer without adding too much bulk.

You’ll notice that my half a-cardi is shorter than some of the others on ravelry, and that it has a contrasting black band at the hem and sleeves. That’s because I knit this with a completely unknown yarn that someone had given me. I’m not even sure what kind it is—it’s kind of chenille like, kind of boucle like. I love the color. When I ran out of yarn a bit shy of my target length, I added the garter stitch bands in black.

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This is the eternal problem with stash knitting—if you don’t have the label and you didn’t get to measure how much might be missing from a skein, it can be a little tricky to predict if you have enough. I thought I had the 260 yards required to make the smallest size, but it didn’t quite make it.

However, I am still a firm believer in knitting from the yarn the you already have, whether it’s left over from another project or gifted to you from a friend. I try to focus on stash knitting as much as possible not only because I am a proponent of not wasting what I have, but also because it makes me more creative in choosing and executing projects.

2. Onda su Onda Fingerless Mitts

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I call these my Purple Wave fingerless mitts, though maybe I should have called them Purple Pain because that’s what they were to knit. I think it was a combination of many factors, including knitting on an airplane, using some rather old yarn, and difficulty reading the chart (it’s a left handed knitting problem for me). However, in then end I definitely will be using these!

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The pattern is Onda su Onda by Annalisa Dinoe. So far these have been great for riding my bike when it’s a bit too chilly for my hands but not so cold that I actually need gloves. I think I may need to make another pair of fingerless mittens or gloves just so I don’t wear these ones out too quickly.

3. Slouchy Crochet Hat

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I made a version of this hat five years ago and I absolutely loved it. I loved it so much that even though I never crochet and only had cheap acrylic yarn and the wrong size hook handy, I made this gray version for myself the other week.

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The pattern is a little tricky to find—it has no name so far as I can tell, but it was posted in this craftster forum by BendyBones. As you can see it’s a slouchy hat with some open work mixed in. The pattern doesn’t include instructions for the picot border, but you can learn how to do it by watching a video like this one.

My original hat, pictured below, was a bit more slouchy and had larger picot edging—as I said, at the time I actually used the right size crochet hook. On the gray hat, I had to repeat several rounds to get the correct size for my head.

This is a pretty good crochet pattern for a knitter—it’s fairly straightforward. I don’t do much crocheting, but I learned a little bit when I was a kid and there are some times when it’s really useful. I think crochet’s thickness makes it especially suited to hats. I like both versions of this hat because they keep my head warm but I don’t get too hot thanks to the natural vents. Also, the hats are loose enough so that I can wear them over damp hair without getting hat head. Win-win.

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Botanical Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts

Leafy washcloths

Greetings. You’ll have to forgive the lack of posts over the summer, but teaching my first college class did not give me a lot of extra time for blogging. I did, however, finish some crafts! I’ll need to find someone to help my photograph some of the more wearable ones, but in the meantime, I give you three leaf washcloths:

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It came to my attention earlier this summer that I only own three washcloths, and one of those was slowly disintegrating. As you can imagine, they were always dirty. The easy solution would be to buy  a new pack of washcloths at the store. The knitter’s solution, however, was to make some in a cool pattern.

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If you’ve read other posts on this blog, you may have noticed I have a penchant for leaves. Last year I made a gray leaves shawlette scarf, a pair of peacock colored fern lace socks, and I even painted leaves on the square bowls I made in ceramics class. So of course, when I found a leaf shaped pattern for washcloths, it was my first choice.

This were a pretty easy knit—it required some attention, but I was able to watch a movie while making them once I got the hang of the pattern.  They curl a bit even after blocking—and I’m not sure why the orange leaf turned out larger than the rest! I used the same Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Solids & Denim yarn that I used for the washcloths, dish towels and pot holders that I made for Christmas gifts last year. I ordered a few balls since then because I was running low on some of the colors I liked, but I didn’t end up using them all.

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As you’ll notice, the leaf washcloths look right at home in my bathroom, where I already have a leaf print shower curtain and leaves on the bathmat. Yay for serendipitous consistency!

The leftover cotton yarn from this and my earlier projects will probably going into the making of this yoga bag pattern, since I think it would be a great use of a bunch of odds and ends to make some colorful stripes. Hopefully that will be yet another quick knit.

 

Quick Knits & Crafts

Feathers and stripes! A knitted skirt—also, earrings.

I have returned from a long blogging hiatus! It’s hard to say what exactly kept me away. Life, I suppose. I’m pretty sure I  missed any opportunity to capitalize on my spike in blog traffic when a Make magazine blogger linked to my post about the nerdiest crafts I have made. At least I can now say that I was famous on internet for 15 minutes for sewing a Star Trek pun onto an oven mitt!

Anywhizzle, on to the crafts. Which I made a while ago, but never blogged. So new to you!

Stripes.

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Q: How hard is it take a photo of yourself in a skirt if you don’t have a friend around or a tripod?

A: Pretty freaking hard!

This is my version of the Lanesplitter skirt from Knitty (here’s my ravelry project page for it). I started this way back in late November, it was a great easy project for knitting while watching movies.

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I used the rather silly named “Amazing” yarn from Lion Brand in the Ruby colorway because it’s got beautiful color changes and it was a slightly more affordable alternative. It’s a wool blend but in the few months I’ve worn it, the yarn has held up well.

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It’s a little bit tricky to bike in—this has become the standard by which I judge clothing these days—but it does work! Best with leggings underneath though. If you’ll notice, I alternate which side I wear in front, because the color changes are different.

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I used some leftover Bernat cotton yarn in denim for the top band. I ended up ignoring the directions to tuck this band under and sew it to the skirt because I wanted a bit more length. I ended up kind of combining the directions for the XS and the S so that I could get the circumference of the extra small but the length of the small—yay for customizing patterns! But in the end I wanted just a few more inches of length anyway.

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I loved this pattern, especially the way that it was knit on the diagonal! I wish more knitting patterns were like this—clever construction, easy repeats, great for showing off color changes.

Also, I like stripes. I should knit more things with stripes.

Feathers. (oh and some balls…)

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Q: What can you make with a bunch of craft feathers, some broken necklaces, and a hot glue gun?

A: Earrings that look like you got them at Forever 21—except possibly of higher quality.

Eons ago, I got bored and remembered I have a bunch of metal earrings hooks and rings and some needle nose pliers. I decided to experiment. I made earrings that are just long enough to slightly tickle my collarbone.

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These were the first and most outrageous ones. I have since given them away. I had the idea of sticking a long metal piece through a large pink bead from a broken necklace, then gluing a bunch of pink and purple and red feathers to the pink bead. It worked, though it was a little bulky.

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I did pretty much the same thing here, except I used a small gold bead in the back. I like the feather colors here! But both of these earrings were kind of stiff. So I changed it up a bit.

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For the yellow and gray feather earrings, I just glued the feathers to a few small links of a chain from a broke necklace. These earrings tend to float more, if that makes sense. They are my favorite.

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As it turns out, the best thing to do with the pink beads from the broken necklace was to just make them into their own earrings, no feathers involved. If I actually knew any beading terms, I would explain to you how attached them. But I don’t! So as you can see, I, um, connected them and stuff. And I like them. That’s what counts.

 

Holiday Knits & Crafts, Nerdy Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts

Procrastiknits! Quick knitting projects to keep or gift

After my last post, you may have the impression that I am a big-intense-project kind of knitter. It’s actually the opposite! In the great debate of process knitter vs. product knitter, I often fall into the latter category. I like to have a regular supply of finished objects. And when I am slogging through a long-term-commitment pattern (like a sweater), I have to have a small project (or two) on the side just so I can finish something.

I’ve collected eight knitting projects that I have completed in the last three months, all of which take a minimum amount of yarn and less-than-average amount of time to complete. Some of them follow a specific pattern, some of them are my modifications of other patterns, and a few of them are my own original work.  I wasn’t the best at getting quality photos of everything, but you can at least get the gist of how they look. Enjoy.

Washcloths, dishtowels, pot holders

In a category that could alternately be called “small square things knit with cotton,” I made the following Christmas gifts.

Adventure Time washcloth

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For my brother, I made an Adventure Time washcloth of Finn (I was going to do Jake too, but I used up all my yellow yarn on the potholder…) I used this fingerless mitts pattern as a starting point, but obviously I changed many things. I used size 3 needles and both ribbing and garter stitch for the edging. I knit from both ends of the white yarn so that there would be no stranding on the reverse side. I honestly didn’t write down the number of stitches I cast on, it was probably 32 or 36. I had to improvise with Finn’s face, not having a skin color, but I think it still worked ok! I knit the entire thing while my mom and grandma were wrapping presents, so it went pretty quick.

Cylon dishcloth

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Clean your toaster with a toaster! For my friend Sarah, who introduced me to Battlestar Galactica, I made this Cylon dishcloth.  I love it, even though it came out a little squished because I went too small on the needles (size 2—I knit so loose usually). I followed this cylon potholder pattern but when it became clear that my gauge was too small, I added a new detail to the top. It’s hard to see, but if you look you can just make out the word FRACK. And then of course, I couldn’t resist cutting off the top corners (wish I’d thought of this at the bottom corners!) and adding some duplicate stitch in a reddish yarn to get that eerie Centurion look. These details meant that this took a bit longer than the washcloth, but because of the small size it was still a pretty quick knit.

bright yellow potholder

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This was a gift for my grandma, and while in appearance it is the most simple, it actually took about the same amount of time as the others. I noticed that my grandmother preferred hand knitted and crocheted potholders above all other kinds, but that they were getting worn out and too thin. I used this pattern for mitered hot pads because it was double the thickness. It basically requires knitting a tube on circular needles, stitching up the top in one direction and stitching up the bottom in a perpendicular direction. Worked great for me!

Kitty toys

Pinky and the Brain

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Ok, I’ve already posted about the first pirate mouse I made for my own kitty, which is pictured above on the right. But I’ve made three more as gifts, so I’m going to show you what variations on the orignal pattern I have come up with. The first is the “improved” pirate mouse on the left, which has fully pink ears, a pink tail, and is stuffed with a sock as opposed to batting. The weight of the sock is better and doesn’t bounce too much. I think it looks like the “pinky” to my original “brain” version above. Sewing the little bits on is by far the most time consuming part of the whole thing. Here are the other variants:

blue fuzzy

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I wanted to see what the pattern would look like with a super fuzzy yarn for the body and a contrasting yarn for everything else. The answer is this little guy, who reminds me of nothing so much as a muppet mouse. This mouse went to Leah, who is notoriously picky with her kitty toys, but she seems to have taken to it quite well:

Gryffindor lion mouse

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I made this one as a gift for a couchsurfing host during a research trip. She had two adorable cats, brothers, named Harry and Neville. I decided that as a thank you gift I would make her a Harry Potter pirate mouse in the gryffindor colors of scarlet and gold. (Don’t ask why I had this yarn with me on a trip, I just did!) I also added a mane and a shaggy tail end by adding some crochet loops, using more or less this technique. I forgot to add a nose or whiskers but it didn’t bother Mr. Potter one bit:

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Wrist things

[both of the following are my original patterns, so please respect this and do not use them for profit or republish them without my written permission!]

knitted bangle bracelet

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I’m sure there are many tutorials for making this kind of bracelet out there, but as since this bracelet was just for me, I decided to wing it. I love the results. I used a plastic ring that originally held a scarf on a rack at a store, if that makes sense…I just swatched until I figured out how many stitches it would take to cover the bracelet without being too tight or too lose, knitted for the appropriate length, and stitched it onto the ring. I used kitchener stitch to connect the two ends together, but since I chose a color changing yarn, the seam is still obvious (see smaller photo). I love how this shows off a tiny leftover remnant of an amazing yarn so well.

Madonna Mountain wristcuff

wrist band

This is more of a true pattern that I came up with over Christmas. It’s a small version of the Madonna Mountain located in San Luis Obispo, complete with the big white “M” on the face. I made this for my friend Phil specifically, because he has a clothing company in that town and makes t-shirts with unique line drawings of the local scenery. 

I wish I had written down the details for this pattern! I came up with it while playing board games with my family, and it just kind of flowed. I believe I cast on 32 stitches in green, and then after the ribbing I started decreasing the green on one stitch per side, and adding the dark blue at the same rate, knitting from both sides of the dark blue yarn so as not to have stranding in the back. Then I did the mountain in duplicate stitch using white yarn. I originally intended this to be a drink cozy, but he immediately wanted it to be a wrist cuff and I was not about to argue with a guy who sells apparel for a living.

Hat and collar

the ugly urchin

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I named this hat poorly because I ended up liking it way more than I thought I would. I used the urchin hat pattern from Knitty with size 9 needles. I wanted a new hat for myself that was quick and easy and could use up some crappy thickish acrylic yarn I had lying around. Much to my surprise, this short row hat looked lovely even in this kind of yarn. I recommend plenty of stitch markers for the short rows, because not losing track of where you are is key for these kinds of patterns. The shape of this hat is a bit hard to capture in photos, but it is beret like without being too much of a beret if that makes sense. I wear it a lot when my hair isn’t quite dry, as in the picture below.

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not quite blue collar

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The aquamarine yarn from my custom sweater is back again! Since I had leftovers, I went looking for a way to use them up and found this lovely peter pan collar pattern. This was probably the fastest project of the whole bunch!

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My only real modification was more of an accident, which you can kind of see above: my button for the back is off center. I made the collar the same length of the pattern one at first, but I decided that I needed it to be a bit longer. Laziness won out and I only extended one side. It doesn’t show from the front, however. I have another collar in a different color as well, but since that is one gift I haven’t given yet, I’m not going to post it yet so it can remain a surprise for the recipient.

 

 

 

Costumes, Holiday Knits & Crafts, Nerdy Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts

More craft, less witch: Halloween costumes and creations!

It’s almost Halloween—aka the I-get-to-make-a-new-costume holiday! Dressing up has been fun for pretty much as long as I can remember…

Yes, that’s me as Rainbow Brite, a homemade costume! More about those below.

Anyway, in the last week I have been stumbling across some creepily good Halloween crafts on the internets and

drawing inspiration from my previous Halloween creations as I come up with a costume for this year. Have a look!

 

Bats! Spider webs! Ghosts!

I don’t usually do Halloween crafts, but when I found this bat pattern I had decided I wanted to make it. It’s quick, it uses up cheap yarn, and it makes me giggle when I look at my window.

I think they look best from a distance, but here they are next to another bit of seasonal decor (i.e. my door stop).

If I had even more time I would probably be making a few other items. The first is this spiderweb scarf. I don’t do much crochet, but with this video tutorial  I think I could remind myself how to wield a hook. But what I’d really love to try is just about any pattern out of a ghost-inspired knitting book I heard about on this blog post (really like that blog btw).  It’s called Ghosts: historiographies, cultural manifestations, and the knits they’ve inspired. First of all, how could I not love a knitting book with “historiographies” in the title? Also, the patterns look really lovely, especially Calavera Catrina. The weather has just turned chilly here and a spooky bonnet would be really nice right about now.

Costume Creations!

But of course, what I’m most excited about are costumes!

I realized that when I posted about the top ten nerdiest craft I’d made, three of them were actually Halloween costumes: Ash Ketchum gloves, Bjork’s swan dress, and Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon Drogon:

Guess what? Those are not the only homemade Halloween costume photos I have. And since I love looking at the costumes other people make, I’m going to share a few of mine with you, along with their pros and cons about things like how comfortable it was to wear and whether or not others recognized what I was. For your convenience I’ve also divided them up between costumes I planned and costumes I put together at the last minute. Hope you get some ideas!

Costumes I made in advance 

If you have at least a week or two and you are willing to put in some effort, you too can make bizarre homemade costumes!

1. A Carrot

Pros: Orange top and skirt were easy to sew—Just two tubes with elastic at the top. Repurposed a hula skirt from an older costume, so I didn’t have to buy anything for the carrot top part.

Cons: No one knew what I was! Ok, granted, the green top didn’t stand up all carrot top like, but still. One guy thought I was asparagus. Also, I was with Edward Scissors hands at the time, which is admittedly an even more awesome costume to look at (I didn’t make that one, but I did do his makeup). Weight of the green “hair” became uncomfortable after a while.

Unrelated downside—I was sick that year, and so the only thing in my cup was saltwater to gargle. I don’t like missing an opportunity to dress up.

2. Holly Golightly 

Pros:  People recognized my costume right away (well, at least “Breakfast at Tiffany’s!”). Worked great with my hair when it was long enough to put up. Already owned the black dress (thanks concert band!) and the costume jewelry (thanks grandma!). Very comfortable to wear.

Cons: Not many! I suppose you may want to nix the cigarette holder if you’re dressing up around kids. Since I don’t smoke I had to borrow a cigarette to get the above photo.

3. Patti Mayonnaise 

Pros:  No sewing required! I found the blue shirt and some pink sweats at the thrift store, cut the pink sweats into circles, and used a steam iron and double sided fusible webbing to stick them to the shirt. Nice and warm to walk around in. Also works as a couples or group costume if you have a Doug Funnie, Skeeter Valentine, etc! (Not included—woodland fairy friend or dude who photobombs you pictures)

Cons: Only a few—wigs are not usually cheap (this was a man’s wig which was somewhat less expensive) and I could not truly mimic her orange skin tone. The dots were a bit stiff. And I suppose you need to watched Nickelodeon in the 90s to know the show Doug. Still one of my favorites!

4. Gadget Hackwrench

Pros: I got to wear a purple jumpsuit, a wig, mouse ears AND goggles! From my face you can tell it was a fun get up to wear. I got a purple sheet and the sewing patterns from the thrift store, and the goggles from the clearance aisle at the end of summer (yes sometimes I start planning my costume early).

Cons: Fewer people recognized my Gadget costume as being from  Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers  (I didn’t think about the fact that the show was not on TV for that long). And many things to wear=more things to buy. I wanted to make more of the things like my ears but I ran out of time because of the sewing (see work in progress shot). Sewing was tricky because I combined two patterns (sleeveless jumpsuit + collared blouse) and then I altered that further to make the legs slim, etc. Final result: I could not lift my arms above my head without giving myself an extreme wedgie. So not exactly the most comfortable costume!

Costumes that I put together at the last minute

If you have a day (or maybe just a few hours) to figure out a good costume, you can still come up with something interesting-ish.

1. Cheshire Cat

Pros: Yet again all I had to sew was a shirt and tube top—you can sew fabric into tubes very quickly! In this case I was going to an Alice in Wonderland themed party and remembered that I had some fabric that looked like the Cheshire Cat’s stripes. Too bad you can’t see the tail here! Ears are made from origami paper. Pictured with the Queen of Hearts.

Cons: Besides the fact that I only have terrible photos of me with my eyes half closed, the only real downside was that I was cold. But I am usually cold.

2. A sad hipster

Pros: Our friends got such a kick out of this! At the time I owned the black wig and had a roommate whose accessories were perfect in that oh-so-emo kind of way, so nothing was bought or altered, just repurposed. Of course, sad hipster boy is wearing girls clothes too…the tighter the better.

Cons: No one else besides our friends knew we were dressed up for Halloween…everyone else just thought we were a real hipster couple. Now that should really make you cry.

3. Gender Bender

Pros: Don’t normally dress as a man? If so, you may be surprised to find you probably have everything you need minus an accessory or two (the tie was mine but the pipe was not). Can be super comfy.

Cons: Don’t normally dress as a woman? Good luck finding a dress than fits, putting on nylons without ripping them, applying  makeup, and/or walking in heels. If you can do all this and be comfortable, you must let me know how!

4. Princess Peach

Pros: You know how brides say you can totally wear that bridesmaid dress again, but you totally can’t because it always looks like a bridesmaid dress? This is one instance where I did figure out how to wear it again—at a Ninetendo costume party. Crown and necklace are made out of construction paper.

Cons: No cons! It was the perfect last minute costume for the party.

Botanical Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts, Tweaks & Alterations

Socks, Bows and Cuffs

Socks!

I finally finished my fern lace socks! Just in time for Autumn too. Of course, it’s still in the 90s here, so it’s not quite sock weather. I’m hoping that will change soon.

It is really difficult to photograph one’s own feet wearing socks…let’s just say you need some flexibility. Anyway, I’m quite happy with how they turned out. It’s difficult to do justice to this color, which a fellow knitter described as “peacock.” It is quite vibrant, and looks either more green or more blue depending on the light.

Overall I’m happy with the way the pattern turned out. I already wrote about the sock pattern(s) I used in an earlier post, so I don’t have a lot to add. It did take a while for me to get the hang of lace knitting, but even with the few errors I know are in there, I think it looks great.

For me, the key to lace knitting was a) lots of stitch markers and b) patience. I broke two of my double pointed bamboo needles while making these socks before I figured out that second point.

As you may have noticed, I changed the top banner of my blog to knitted pumpkins in honor of Fall (free ravelry pattern here; I also wrote about making them last November). Since it is my favorite season, I  figured I would include two other smaller knitting projects that I’ve made in appropriately autumnal colors.

Bows!

Around this time last year, I saw the pattern for this moss stitch bow headband on A Common Thread and decided it was the perfect quick project. I also liked that it would give me a chance to use the very small amount of burnt orange yarn I had in my stash.

I think if I made it again I’d make it a little smaller—I have short hair and this is a big bow. But I do like that I can shape the bow to have it either lay flat against my head or stand up a bit.

The band does not show up as well with wavy hair, but there are actually three individual strands made with a crochet hook. You can either scrunch them together or separate them out depending on your preference.

Cuffs!

I really thought I posted this project before, but it looks like I didn’t —which is fine, because the colors are the most fall like of all.

This is the Pretty Twisted pattern  from Knitty’s first fall 2011 issue (free, of course). I made the “framed” version (the light teal one in their photo) and finished it with a two-toned wooden button.

This was a great way to use up a small bit of sock yarn in colors I liked. The linen stitch does a great job of lying flat and looking bracelet-like. However, I think next time I would use a yarn that is not so marled, because that kind of detail seems to get lost in the stitch.

I think the idea of a twisted loop pulled through a hole and then over the button is quite clever. It’s a nice detail without a lot of added work.

Sometime soon, I will post photos of other fall knitting projects—my leaves scarf (75% done), my custom fit raglan sweater (100% done, it’s just too hot to wear!) and my blue ombre cowl made from the black bean dyed yarn (95% done—it was finished but blocking it messed up the shape so I need to make a few adjustments)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botanical Knits & Crafts, Nerdy Knits & Crafts, Quick Knits & Crafts, Tweaks & Alterations

Olympics knitting: ferns, leaves, and a pirate mouse

I have been watching the 2012 London Summer Olympics most nights these past two weeks, and despite the annoyances of the NBC selective and delayed broadcasts, it’s been pretty riveting. It’s also been a good time to get a crap ton knitting done.

Some people do this officially—on Ravelry  there’s the “Ravellenic Games” group, knitters who start and finish complete projects during the Olympics. It has over 12,000 members. I do my knitting a lot more haphazardly and unofficially, but I do get some stitches done. Let me to show you.

Fern Lace Socks (50% done)

 

These were flying off my (admittedly tiny) needles in June and July. I’m using the Custom Toe Up Sock Generator from knitty because if there’s one thing I have learned about knitting, it’s this—when fit counts, use maths. Lots of maths. If you don’t want to do the calculations, there’s even a toe up sock pattern generator that will do it for you. All you have to do is input your foot measurements, needle size, and stitches per inch. The result of a customized pattern is a really well fit sock:

And yes, I know, I have ridiculously high arches—I have dancer feet. Anyway, the trouble with this pattern actually came when I tried to add a fern lace stitch to the top part. After about five attempts I realized two things—the pattern was really confusing, and it almost certainly contained errors. It was from a 1970s booklet after all. So I looked around and found this alternative fern lace pattern that happened to be for a sock of the exact same number of stitches as my custom pattern. It’s not as cool looking as the original one but it is straightforward and error free:

 

Leafy Scarf (30% done)

This tapered scarf is called Saroyan. It’s a really excellent pattern so far—quite adaptable, simple but pretty, and an unusual shape for a scarf. I did not intend to start yet another knitting project, but I found that the lace socks were too difficult to knit while talking to anyone. Since I do work on my projects at knitting groups, I need to have something I can knit while I interact with humans. The only part where I really have to pay attention is the edge of leaves. I have a thing for leaves.

Pirate Mouse Cat Toy (100% done)

As if these two patterns weren’t enough, yesterday I had the urge to knit a cat toy. And so I did. An awesome one:

This is Captain Cat Battler, a pirate mouse cat toy. I do not know what possessed me, but when I saw it, I had to make it. It’s a quick project to knit, though sewing it up takes a little bit more time. The pattern writers have exactly the sense of humor you’d expect from people who like pirates and cats. The pattern is free, but it was designed for the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, an animal rescue charity in London, and you can donate your knitted mouse (or your pounds sterling) to help their cats. The only change I made was to add an I-Cord tail (the original tail was just a strand of yarn…which I figured would be destroyed instantly).

I loved this pattern. But what did the resident cat, Josephine, think of it? Let’s see…

I’d say they’re pretty much best friends now. Yarrr.