Nerdy Knits & Crafts

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

Quick Knits & Crafts

11/11/11, make a wish!

My No. 1 post

Flanders Poppy
Crochet Poppy
crochet poppy

I’ve been debating about whether to start a blog for a while. I figured I’d probably get around to it at the end of this week, maybe Friday. Then I realized: Not only is Friday Veterans Day. Friday is Nov. 11, 2011.


Sounds like as good a date as any to start something. 🙂

. This article tells me people are planing to do quirky things to celebrate the weird date. Of course, this other article says other people are freaking out that the world is going to end (but then again, isn’t someone always freaking out about Armageddon?).

So. A blog. Yes.

Questions you might be asking yourself if you are here:

Ok you probably aren’t asking any questions. But I will ask some for you.

Q: Why is this blog called knitbyahenshop?

A: Great question. Several answers:

First and foremost it is an anagram, and I love anagrams. (if you don’t know what it is an anagram of, think about who is typing this:)

Second, its a completely made up phrase that sounds like it should actual exist. Like, oh, yes, knit by a hen shop. Isn’t that a yarn store? Er, a craft studio? It’s run by a lady?

Yes. Sort of. (google these words and you’ll see what I mean)

Third, and perhaps most important, no one else out there seems to be using this phrase or handle or what have you besides me. Yay! I’m a unique snowflake on teh internets! I will adopt this nonsensical moniker and people will know me!

Q: What do you blog about?

A: I don’t know yet, but I hope that it will include creative adventures like knitting and other craft-ish stuff, vegetable gardening haps and mishaps,  historical tidbits that I swear will be interesting even if you’re not into history, and anything else I feel like putting here.

Q: Do you have some sort of adorable animal that you can post cute pics of?

A: Of course I do! This is the internet!

A bit of light, furry reading.

This is Josephine, but mostly I call her Jo. Her hobbies include drinking from the shower, stealing socks from the drawer, and rubbing her face on men’s beards. She likes you even though she has not met you, because for some reason that is how she rolls. She’s a people cat.

Q: So, do you have something knitted to share or what?

A: Finished objects are harder to come by these days, and I don’t want to post any gifts that haven’t been delivered yet. But I do have a few.

[Edit: the Crochet Poppy above is my own pattern, but I never wrote it down!]

Aviator baby hat and booties

aviator hat

I made this aviator hat the night before my cousin Marie’s baby shower, while listening to Tina Fey’s Bossypants on audiobook. I had never done any baby knitting before, but it turns out to be exactly what you expect: knitting things in tiny sizes. I really liked the short row shaping for this hat. I’m also really impressed that the ravelry pattern comes with directions for three different yarn weights and six different sizes! I think the biggest would actually fit my head, so I might have to make myself one someday. Only tricky part was picking up stitches for the straps, but I think that’s because I knit left handed and it made semi-confusing directions completely backwards until I figured out to flip them.

baby booties

These baby booties are pretty basic, which is what I wanted. I picked this multicolored yarn to match Kaleb’s nursery theme (night sky with sun moon and stars), so I wanted a simple pattern. I actually made them first. Sewing them up was a bit of a pain, but I’m just impatient when I finish knitting and have to sew a seam. This also involved some short row shaping, which I’m starting to really like. I only wish I’d gone down one size—my loose gauge is always causing me problems with size. But overall I like them.

On a final note

This post has gone on far longer than I intended, but I have to say one thing about the poppy. I posted the poppy photo because I’ve meet a lot of people who don’t know why poppies and Veterans Day go together.

What we in the United States call Veterans Day is known to Europe, Canada and most of the world as Remembrance Day. Nov. 11 1918 was Armistice day, the day that World War I ended. While the United States lost maybe about 100,000 or so soldiers in the Great War, European countries lost millions. Its estimated that France and the United Kingdom lost 30-40% of their young male population—in a few short  years, a whole generation was cut in half.

One of the ironies of the war is that in the midst of the disturbed earth from trench warfare and the graves of so many casualties, poppies bloomed more beautiful than ever. There’s a famous WWI poem “In Flanders Fields” that came to symbolize the experience of that war for many, and the red poppy remains the icon of Rememberence Day.

It never seemed to have caught on in the States—but I kind of wish it would.