Monthly Archives: July 2007

Dragon Scales

Sorry about the dim quality of the first photo.  I’m still messing with this digital camera to figure out how to get the best photos.

I actually finished this a few weeks ago, but I really had a hard time looking at it after it was finished. I was cleaning off my craft table the other day and I found it neatly folded underneath a pile of merino and cotton skeins.

Yarn and Materials: Elann Sonata and Elann Esprit/color: Grand Canyon, dark green e beads

Details: I wanted to try designing a simple pattern using lace with some beaded embellishments. I decided to use the extra balls of Sonata I had lying around to practice. The ribbing was done in Esprit, and I used the ‘falling leaves’ pattern from Mary Webb’s Knitting Stitches for the body. I prestrung the beads before knitting for both the upper part of the body and then seperately for the rolled collar. The armholes were too deep, so I had to make some adjustments with crochet to the armholes. As you can see I’m still shy about showing off the armholes here, and honestly I’ll probably never wear this thing, but it was great to be able to practice.
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I like Sonata as a yarn for doing bulky cotton cable (fat cables) sweaters, and although the fabric from this yarn in lace blocked fairly well. I will probably never use the yarn again for this type of design. It’s pretty to look at and the color of the yarn looks great, but I’m not sure it will hang well. I did like knitting with it because the pattern of the lace seemed fairly well defined even before blocking, it might be good to use to just knit sample or test lace panels when you are planning or designing your own lace, so you can see it defined first. It’s sort of like making a wax model before casting an object.

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Filed under Colors, Crochet, Embellishment, Garment Design, Knit, Knitting, Lace, Stuff I made, Yarn

I’ve been dreaming of sock knitting machines

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Not literally… though I have been fascinated with the motion and mechanics behind machines that craft. The irony is we can teach or design machines to do the things that we do but they can never master our ability to change how something is produced. Machines may be able to produce things far more quickly, but we lowly humans are still required to invent new machines, figure out how to use the machines in new and different ways, or figure out what to do when the machines break.

I really don’t think I’m going to spend $300+ on a sock knitting machine, I’d put that money toward a spinning wheel or beginner’s loom (or even more yarn). Besides after looking at the complexity of the machinery and reading about how many needles are needed for your average automatic sock knitting machine, my instinct tells me that the sock machine might be a little too high maintenance a gadget for me. Still, it’s nice to read and learn about the machines and how they work and appreciate the quaintness of the form and packaging the sock machines come in. From the photos the mechanism of the machines reminds me of those old fashioned hand crank beaters. When I was a child we had an electric one, but every time we stayed at some vacation condo or summer cabin, I’d rummage through the kitchen drawers looking for the hand beater. Even as a child I enjoyed machines. My parents actually bought me an erector set at one point and one of my favorite activities was finding out how many ways I could use the tiny motor to move or do things. I suppose even as a child I wanted to build robots.*

I think after next week, I’m going to buy this book, Knitting Technology. Yes it looks very geeky and far too technical. In fact, the table of contents holds a few topics that would drive most readers away. Who else but me would get really into a chapter titled “The manufacture of hosiery on small-diameter circular machines.”

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*Lego Factory Software: All this talk of toys and machinery reminds me of this great sitelegobunny.jpg I found the other day on Lego that allows you to create (and then order) your own customized Lego sets. Check it out: Lego Factory. I also quickly put together my own Lego bunny. What I love about this tool is how well designed it is and how I can zoom in/out and flip the views of the object that I’m building.  Also, I can select from all the fancy new Lego pieces that didn’t exist when I was a kid (hubs, gears, intersections, more complex sockets). Remember being pissed that your mother clipped your fingernails so short your stubby little hands couldn’t pry the bricks apart? (Yes, I am aware that I am perpetuating Lego’s viral marketing campaign).


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Filed under Fashion, Fibers, Gadgets, Robots, Science, Techie, Toys, Uncategorized

Knitting Bunny

Untalkative Bunny goes to a knitting circle:

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SP_tgL2fWo]

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Filed under Knit, kniting humor, Knitters, Knitting

This is why I knit…

When I first started mastering knitting and actually making objects that were aesthetically appealing… I had a hard time giving away what I made.  Lately, I’ve been finding more joy in making things for others. I gifted a little vest I knit for a friend of mine who is expecting. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of it, but you can get a good look at it here.  She seemed genuinely charmed with the tiny little garment to the point that she too wanted to learn to knit. I agreed to help her out and get her started by teaching her.  I enjoy helping people get started and learn how knit, especially kids.  Perhaps it’s because we live in a digital age, where I believe that it’s even more important to make things with our hands. I myself found that as my career went more and more virtual and I was creating items and experiences for the web, I found myself more deeply wound in balls of string and my yarn stash grew from a basket to a shelf.  I had always been a knitter but it was more of an every-other weekend hobby.

I did a search on the “importance of craft” and found a wonderful article.  It’s sort of an anatomical treatise on our physical abilities to make things. We have thumbs… therefore we must Craft! But I think the author puts it well as he rationalizes our need to craft:

Why bother to make anything by hand today? Because for those who practice it and for those who need an antidote to the alienation of modern society, handwork can be meaningful. Individuals with a certain kind of bodily intelligence will find handwork to be a rewarding form of labor and expression.

Well at least I can reassure myself if it comes down to “the crunch” (I almost typed ‘crunchy’) because I am a knitter, I know how to clothe myself and keep myself warm.

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Filed under Craft, Knit, Science, Teaching

I signed up for the Amigurumi class at Twisted

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The photo is from a Japanese book I found at Uwajimaya.

I was at Twisted yesterday for another PDX knitters gathering (see Fiberqat posting for photos). Naturally, I decided to check out their class offerings.  If you haven’t noticed, I have a weakness for cute little toys.

Yes, it’s a class for crochet not knitting, but I’m in sore need of building my skills in this area. Plus I would like to pursue my interest in toy design. My husband has noted that he has an interest in designing monsters and having me crochet or knit them. When he saw what we would be making in the class he actually was tempted to join.

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(Larger Image: esmonster.jpg  from PDX Blender.org)

Maybe I won’t pick and octopus for my first project. It’s probably better to start with something that doesn’t have any arms or legs, like a tadpole or… worm. Well, maybe not.

Here’s the description of the workshop. It’s on September 12. For more information check out the class listing at Twisted.

Crocheted Amigurumi Workshop
Amigurumi is a Japanese craft of crocheting stuffed toys. From wikipedia, “The pervading aesthetic of Amigurumi is cuteness, or ‘kawaii.’ To this end, typical amigurumi animals have an over-sized spherical head on a cylindrical body with undersized extremities.”

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Filed under Amigurumi, Community, Craft, Crochet, Curiousity, Fun Stuff, Toys

Pac-man head

I know it’s crazy but I think I want to knit (or posssibly crochet) one of these for Halloween.  I have a whole bunch of bright yellow acryllic yarn that might do the trick.

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Pac Man Head

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Filed under Challenge, Fun Stuff, Knit, Knitting, Toys

Sew(knit) little silkworm, sew(knit)…

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Remember that old cartoon where a familiar cartoon pig has the little silkworm that makes all sorts of silk dainties when he says the word “Sew (So).”  This was probably one of my favorite cartoons from my childhood. Though admittedly the little oriental caricature of the silkworm is a little irritating. But what can you say… like people knew any better back then.

I want to be the silkworm without the Asiatic Caricature.

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Link to the Cartoon

I apologize for the ads in advance. Well, the clip is on ‘that’ company’s website… so what do you want?

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Filed under Fun Stuff, Knit, kniting humor, Knitters, Knitting, Pop culture, Sewing