Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Toy Box

I'm so glad to finally be posting this. For the past few weeks I've been working on lots and lots of knit toys. I had all of the parts finished, and finally got sick of looking at the unstuffed pieces and put them together. Here's a group photo:

The first, and easiest, was the Bella Luna Toys inspired Juniper berry rattle:

My best friend's new baby girl is named Juniper, so I thought this would be appropriate. All I did was knit one ball in stockinette with dark-ish blue yarn, then another in loose garter stitch with lighter blue yarn and sew them together. To make the rattle, I placed a 35mm film canister about half filled with rice inside. Wrapped up in the stuffing it's still nice and soft and has a good rattle sound.
Also for little baby Juni I made a few June bugs. For these my only patterns were pictures of the actual insects and my own creativity. They don't rattle, but I do wish they made a buzzy bug sound...

The next few I made at the request of my boyfriend. Lately there has been a mallard duck couple hanging around our apartment building. I'm not really sure why, but he gets an unusual amount of amusement out of them. This is another pattern I just made up - both ducks are nothing more than two sets of rectangles sewn together. These in particular were a pain in the ass, and as you can tell from the picture, mama duck doesn't sit up very well on her own.

And lastly, also commissioned by my boyfriend, is the mighty Stegosaurus. I was extremely surprised to find how many stegosaurus patterns there are online, and after searching through all of them I decided I liked Jacob Haller's the best. I followed the pattern exactly and, for the first time ever, didn't mess anything up.

Since this one's a boy I had to give him blue plates, but he'll have a lady friend with pink plates soon enough. Oh, and even though it's a great idea, I didn't add the guitar picks to the plates 1. because I didn't want to buy any and 2. because I wanted him to be cuddly.

That's all for now. I'm in the process of working on a pair of fingerless gloves for my sister's birthday and also a shawl for my mom's birthday. Whew! I'm going to be knitting like a crazy person all summer. That's a good thing, though.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Oxfam Week

Sucked. I decided to devote one whole week to knitting 9x9 squares for Oxfam, because it's a good thing to do and they would be easy. My goal was to make at least 3, but hope to make 4 or maybe even 5. Well let me tell you, simple 9x9 squares are not as easy and enjoyable as they sound. At least for me they weren't. Each and every one that I am sending I hate. Either something went wrong with them and/or they're just plain fugly. I'm keeping one because I have to-it's far too big and won't be usable in the charity blanket. Good thinking on the boyfriend's part, though; we ordered an old Scrabble game on Ebay and it doesn't have the nice handy bag for all the letter tiles to live in-enter effed up Oxfam square...

I am glad to see the end of Oxfam week because, in addition to the fact that my squares sucked, it wasn't enjoyable. I think that was because I didn't have a finished product to visualise. All I kept thinking as I was knitting these craptacular squares was, 'I hope they even use this - it's so ugly/misshapen/ugly.' If I never knit another annoying 9x9 square as long as I live I will be a happy girl. Does it make me a bad person that I hated knitting for charity so much? You know what, even if it does, I'm ok with that. I'm sending them out as soon as possible, the sooner the better. Good riddance to them!

Here's a little peek at them. The green one was supposed to have a pattern on it, but since I'm a genius I just forgot to do it; the purple one was supposed to have a red cross-ish type pattern on it, but it was getting too big so now it looks much more like a Christian cross which is cool if that's your thing, but it just really isn't mine; the red one is way too small, good thing it's stretchy; and the blue one is lopsided. Hunks of crap!

Anyway, on to better things. I plan to knit a myriad of toys in the next few weeks; some for my friend's baby (I have so many ideas for that lucky little girl I had to write them down to remember them all), and some just for my own amusement. I started tonight and am already half done with the first one. Much more fun than knitting stupid squares. (Can you tell I'm still bitter about the squares?)

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Summer Nights Shrug

'But, oh, those summer niii-hiiights! (Tell me more, tell me mooore...)'

This shrug has nothing to do with Sandy or Danny, but this shrug is perfect for when your arms get a little chilly on summer nights, and whenever I hear the words 'summer' and 'nights' next to each other in a sentence I think of that song from Grease.

It's taken me a while, and the sleeves are a bit too long, but I love it. I have never been able to find one like it in a store (hence the need to make one) and I couldn't find a pattern for one that I liked so I just made one up. I basically took all the components of making a sweater out of several separate rectangles and added trim, a hood, and shortened the body. It was a little tough making the front and the back match up as I had to knit the front longer in order to accommodate the ta-ta's, but it all worked out. I can't wait to sit around outside at night so I can wear it. It will be perfect in Autumn, too. And oh, is it warm. When I was stitching it all together last night I was getting a little toasty just having it across my lap.

I love it, I love it, I love it.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Do Good-er

Whilst perusing what fellow knitters are up to on Craftster online community/forum I stumbled across an article about Oxfam recruiting knitters and crocheters for a charity blanket representing the dire situation for mothers in Africa and South East Asia. Not only is this for a good cause, but it makes for an easy, quick project. Right now my main project is a sweater, and making these squares is a welcome break when I get sick of looking at it. Here's the Oxfam article :

I don't have money to donate to charity, but I do have lots and lots of yarn. If you enjoy being able to go to the doctor whenever you need to you should contribute, because not everyone has that luxury. OK, political message over.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008



So the thing about a knitting blog is that posts can't be all that frequent because projects take time (unless you're a super knitter, in which case I'm jealous). But I'm currently working hard on a project, and I have some sweet ideas for future ones which I'm pretty excited about. What I'm working on now is pretty much my dream shrug. It's long sleeved with a hood. I'll go into details about what pattern I used, and how I modified it, when it's all done and I can show pictures to illustrate (visual aid is always helpful). When that's done, I want to make some dolls. Oh, but not just any dolls. Nightmare Before Christmas Jack and Sally dolls. I plan to give them to my friend's new baby (the same one I made the badass rocker cardi for). I've already thought about how to make Jack's pinstripe suit and Sally's patchwork dress and skin... It will be a tough new challenge, but I'm up for it. When I'm done hopefully they'll look as sweet as they do in my mind's eye and not like crappy lumps of misshapen yarn. We'll see. But if I'm ever going to finish my shrug I need to go buy more yarn so that's it for now. Happy knitting!

Kid Rock

(Originally posted Thursday 3 April)

So, for my first project that is neither a scarf or a dog sweater for practice, I wanted to make a cardigan for my best friend's new baby. But she's not the kind to gush over pink sweaters with little yellow ducks on them, and I'm not the kind to knit stuff like that. Since she met her husband when she auditioned for his rock band, their baby girl needed a suitably hardcore sweater.

I combined an easy baby sweater pattern, the Five Rectangle Sweater, with a few of my own ideas and came up with this, the Rockin' Baby Cardi:

I'm pretty happy with it. There are a few mistakes, but not too shabby for a first attempt at anything even remotely difficult. I hate when I see something sweet that I'd like to knit online and there's no pattern, so if anyone would like to see the pattern I used for the writing and the stars let me know and I'll email it to you. I'd put it up here, but it's on a grid and in a program that doesn't upload as a picture.

In keeping with the theme, my recommended sountrack for knitting this sweater is the likes of Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, etc. It just gets you in the right mood. As I was finishing this up last night, Metalocalypse was on Adult Swim. I took that as a sign that this was one brutal little cardi for one hardcore little girl. ROCK!

Cast On

(Originally posted Saturday 29 March)

I love to knit. However, until recently I had been too scared to try anything more than scarves. Lame. Since I am largely a self-taught knitter, I have no one to show me how to progress.

The other obstacle I've found is the relative lack of knitters who are not so much into ugly old lady stuff. That's not ageist, because I've seen plenty of patterns featuring pictures of otherwise perfectly normal people, young and old, in some of the most hideous cardigans, sweaters, dresses, etc. By no means am I opposed to quirky, creative and offbeat knits. That's part of the problem. The vast majority of patterns I've found online look like they belong to my grandma. While that can sometimes be a good thing (I'm all about vintage), let me tell you, the fashions of Doris Ryan leave something to be desired.

But eventually I decided eff this, I'm just going to jump in head first and figure things out as I go. The beauty of knitting is that if what you're working on sucks, you can just take it apart and start over. So here's to a new beginning.