Sunday, January 30, 2011

Big Feet?

Finally got back to those slippers I started way back in the fall (I know I mentioned it here back in Oct/Nov).  They're for dear hubby.  The pattern calls for approximately 32 purl ridges for a man's slipper (slipper is worked in garter stitch).  I thought I was almost done.  Then I checked against the slippers he currently wears.  Those ones have approximately 42 purl ridges.  Guess dear hubby has big honking feet--well perhaps not honking, but bigger than expected?  Maybe I'm not quite done :(
Current Slipper Next to In-Progress Slipper
I only work on the slippers at lunchtime--and not every lunch--so progress has been very, very slow.  Hopefully I'll have one slipper done soon.  Thankfully these slippers are meant for next fall, so I have lots of time.

I'm still not 100% sure I'm doing them correctly.  Rightfully, these slippers should be worked like intarsia where one colour is wrapped over another to avoid holes; however, they are worked more like fair isle.  The floats in the back act as an extra layer of cushion-like warmth.  My problem then becomes this: how to avoid the holes?  My solution is to alternate colours every 2 rows.
Wrong Side of Fabric: Lots of Floats
I had the same problem way back when I first attempted these slippers for my son back in 2009.  Back then I wasn't quite sure I was working the fabric correctly, but I tarried on and completed the slippers.  I'm still not sure **sigh**

Guess I should just keep knitting . . .

Sunday, January 23, 2011

DS Case Details

So after posting yesterday's blog update, I set about finishing the DS case. 
I seamed the sides and also part of the pocket opening so that the DS and plastic game holder would fit more snugly in its pocket.  And since the openings were a tad shallow, I added some single crochet trim 'round the opening.  Don't want the game holder or DS to accidentally slip out--that would be very, very bad.

Like the red?  My son thought it looked cool with the grey.  Used the same contrasting red colour for the wrap-around cords.  The instructions called for straight knitting of 3 picked-up stitches, but it was easier to just work I-cord on double-pointed needles--and of course I got carried away and made them a wee bit too long **sigh**  I guess I'll know better for the second case :S

Case with DS and Game Holder Inside

Be honest: doesn't this case deserve googly eyes?  I can almost hear it muttering, "Feed me!"

The recipient of the case chose his own buttons from my lovely collection.  Over the year I've amassed a bag full of lovely and interesting buttons (someday I must photograph it).  Even though I preferred black ones, my older boy went for metallic ones.  I think it looks right pretty--and vaguely creature-like, n'est pas?

Finished DS Case

I'm not sure if I ever posted a link to the free pattern?  You can find details here at the Ravelry pattern page (lots of other knitters have made the project).  Or just head over to the free pattern at the designer's blog Crayon Disaster

Now to get back to my own knitting . . .  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

He Did It!

My boy persevered and finally finished the DS case for his brother--well, he finished the knitting part.  I'll have to seam it for him.  It's a wee bit too wide--not sure how we're gonna fix that . . . .
Semi-finished DS Case
Nevertheless, he was proud of himself--and rightly so!  Even his brother was excited (the older fella really wanted a DS case).  Flush with accomplishment, my little guy promptly cast-on for his own DS case (with momma's  help).  This time he's using stripes.
DS Case Number Two
The idea of playing with colours blew his mind away, especially when he realized how easy it was.  Since I've got loads of leftovers (mostly Bernat Softee Chunky), there's lots of colour choices.  Right now he's gonna follow his heart and just ad-lib the striping.  It certainly looks interesting and he's already got 7" completed.  This second DS case might be a quick knit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fastest One Ever

And I mean it!  One week for an adult sized sock is just short of miracle speed for me.  Regular sock yarn takes me anywhere from a month or more--and that's with me working at it all the time.

Finished Sock
And I must say that I am sooo lovin' the orange toes--totally unplanned!  Hmmmm, wonder if I can get the second one to match?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: this is only one sock.  It's mate?  Well I've yet to cast on for the second one. Let's see how long it takes to finish sock number two.  At the very least, worsted weight is lookin' like a mighty fine option for when I'm feelin' the sock love ;)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Colour to Cure Winter Blahs?

Well, I can't really complain about the winter blahs--at least not yet.  Get back to me in a month and I may be singing a different tune.  Nevertheless, winter is upon us with all its blustery, snowy goodness.

1x1 Ribbed Cuff

How to escape?  With colour?  Maybe colourful socks (told ya I was itchin' for a sock)?  I had planned to use worsted weight, but this yarn has been patiently waiting to become socks for almost a year (posted about it way back in March 2010).  It's DK weight, but I think it'll work just the same.  I'm a loose knitter, so following along in Paton's Next Steps Series: Socks should still work out fine in terms of size.

The yarn is Bernat Junior Jacquards in Orange Juice.  Sadly this yarn is discontinued.  The Bernat Baby Jacquards and Floral Jacquards are very similar, but the colours are not as bright and cheery (not a big fan of pastels).  Besides the cheery colours, there's the added bonus of 10% nylon in the yarn.  It should prove to be sturdy and durable enough for socks (guess only time will tell).
Colourful Striping
To my surprise, I quickly finished the cuff and worked through the leg (used 4" instead of 6" as prescribed in the pattern).  In about an hour or so, I had quite a bit completed.

Gusset Decreases
Before too long,  I had completed the heel flap, turned the heel and was working the gusset decreases.  Who knew socks could be so quick?! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Woolly Goodness

Not much to share this week.  Back to the usual grind (i.e. day job for me and school for the kids).  So I'm back to my once-a-week posting.  Still toiling away on my afghan for Bernat's CAL.  Sadly I did not finish in time for year's end, so this project gets carried over into 2011.  **sigh** Afghans are more time consuming than I thought--at least the full-sized ones. 

In other news, I'm contemplating my next project and I think it needs to be something small and portable.  A pair of socks perhaps?  Maybe some worsted socks?  Oh, yes please!  That would be very nice.  :)

And while we're on the topic of worsted, did I share with you some of the woolly goodness bestowed upon me over the holidays?
That's Briggs and Little Tuffy and Heritage (and the Tuffy has already been made into a pair of Faux-Thrum Mittens).  I think there's another skein wanting to be mittens (but only one pair--for my youngest who appreciates all things woolen; unfortunately, dear hubby and my eldest have declared woolen things to be too itchy).
I also received another batch of skeins--a whole sweater's worth!  These I am reserving for a sweater--perhaps for me or maybe for my wee one who appreciates wool (incidentally he's the same child who enjoys knitting). 
Have you ever used Briggs and Little?  I've heard good things about them online at Ravelry, namely that the yarn is quite durable.  Apparently the company has been around for over 150 years.  As an added bonus, the company uses Canadian produced wool and environmentally safe dyes.

For me personally, I like that the product is available locally (and real wool is hard to come by in my little neck of the woods).  Be warned, though: there's "stuff" in the yarn.  It doesn't bother me.  There's something very satisfying about pulling out bits of straw and debris from one's yarn--a bit of the pastoral life, perhaps?  Have I mentioned how much I long for life on a farm? 

I can dream. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goals and Plans: What? Me? A Designer?

Over the past few months, I've had a few ideas percolating in my brain.  I never thought about design (after all, I'm not looking to re-invent the wheel).  But a few things have intrigued me and spurred on a design possibility.

First, wool intrigues me.  Not so much wool itself; rather wool's insulating properties, particularly in the application of mittens.  Imagine getting your mitts wet and still being able to stay warm?  How cool is that!  As a teacher,  I know only too well the consequences of wet mitts and frigid temperatures.

Another interest has been the thrum mitten.  The idea of fluffy warmth surrounding one's hands on a blustery February morn is quite appealing.  However, thrum mitts do look rather bulky and I wasn't sure if I was up to the challenge of constructing such an article (although a few of the gals at knit night have made them).

Stash to the rescue!  In my bin, I found 100% wool in my Briggs and Little along with extra skeins of bulky, soft Bernat Roving.  What if I combined the two to create a cushion-like fabric without all the bulk of a thrum?  With needles in hand I cast-on, taking copious notes, ripping out as needed and re-knitting.  Where did it all lead?

Introducing my lovely Faux-Thrum Mittens (link to free pattern page on this blog). 
It doesn't look like a thrum mitten; however, the diagonal pattern creates a layer of roving floats inside to cushion and thicken the fabric.  Now Bernat Roving is only 20% wool, but Briggs and Little makes 100% wool roving and Patons Roving is 100% wool (both of which are available locally so I may have to experiment).
Inside the Mitten
Writing a pattern is a little intimidating--and even a little daunting--but its done.  Please check it out.  Hopefully I can churn out another pair of mittens and maybe coax a friend to test knit it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Retrospective: A Crafter's Year in Review

Before moving forward, I thought it would be nice to look back at 2010.  Sometimes its hard to recall all the projects--it doesn't seem like much--but I've accomplished quite a lot the past year.  

2010 Knitting and Crochet Projects

Some of the items might not look familiar: half of the above projects I blogged about here at Stitchery and Such, while others were projects I made for Blog Bernat.  If you check out my project page over at Ravelry, you can find all the details, including links to the relevant blog posts found here and at Bernat (where I blog under the moniker DinaPurls).

I created some lovely items (both large and small), learned new techniques (fair isle and intarsia anyone?) and rekindled an interest in crochet.  Not bad for a gal who still feels like a beginner--well, maybe an intermediate beginner (can a person be an advanced beginner?). 

There is so much more to learn and make: projects to finish (yeah, I'm talking to you, crochet afghan from Bernat's CAL), new techniques to master (dear cables, I hear your call) and new challenges (perhaps some designing?).  I'm ready to welcome 2011 with sticks, hooks and lots o' string. ;)
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