Category Archives: Patterns

Almost 25 Ways to Get Rid of my Sock Yarn

What do I do with all of this?

Two years ago, I didn’t buy loads of sock yarn at the Sock Summit, because I already had a serious butt load of sock yarn… including a bunch of Drops Fabel and Regia Sock Yarns which have become my fast favorites because of their durability and dependability (I sound like a commercial from the 50’s). I do sometimes struggle with making socks.  You can see the sweater most of the time… socks you’re the only one who knows you’re wearing a work of gorgeous Aran artistry and cablework. So I decided to use Ravelry and my websearching skills to compile a list of things I could possibly create with the multliple boxes of sock yarn I have stashed away. I’ll try to post more as I find them.

Crochet:

  • Fingerless Mitts: Look quite warm and snuggly for your hands.
  • Chihuahua Sweater (double stranded):(though I’d have to make a lot of these just to get rid of my KP Imagination.
  • Vera (gorgeous shawl pattern that eats up to 2000 yards of sockyarn) –  I’m linking to a photo fo the pattern here to entice you. Vera Shawl by Katie Grady
  • Snowflake Christmas Ornaments: forgot about fabric stiffener. These look like great fun.
  • Reusable Tampon (Oy, not for the faint of heart) – I probably will abstain from making these… unless, of course civilization comes barrelling down around me and I can’t buy what I need from a store.
  • Eyeball with Nerve Endings: Make a bunch of these for your Halloween party. Then through them at your guests… then they can say they had the unique experience of being pelted with eyeballs.
  • Monkey (OMG this monkey is so cute)
  • Naalepuder (flower-shaped pincushions): Really cute especially with variegated or rainbow yarn. Original pattern in Danish. Floral Pincushions

Knitting:

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

This ferret looks smashing in what appears to be Noro Kureyon Sock

Pirate Mittens (Available on Ravelry as a free download):

Pirate Mittens

Pirate Mittens

The Beanis (warning may offend… what is it? It rhymes with ‘beanis’… you figure it out. No I’m not posting photo here.)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pirate Eye-Patch for your cat. I couldn’t post because the pattern/website no longer exists. But one could easily use their imagination to create one of their own.

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Filed under Aran, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Fun Stuff, Gifts, Knit, Knitting, Pattern Links, Patterns, Project, Sock Summit, Socks, Stashbuster, Yarn

Owls

Owls Sweater in Cascade 128

Owls Sweater in Cascade 128

I forgot to post the link to this pattern. You can find it here: http://needled.wordpress.com/designs/

I can’t wait to teach a class on how to make this sweater this October. This is a great sweater for beginners to sweater knitting.  Not only is the body and the yoke knit in one piece, it’s done in bulky weight so you could potentially finish your sweater in less than two weeks.  I’ve read of people doing it in a week, but I can’t imagine the strain on your hands after constant use of bulky gauge needles.

Again, I did both sleeves at once using the magic loop method.  I found it’s easier to keep my sleeves more uniform this way. One thing I adore about this sweater is how the waist shaping is done by a series of increases and decreases done on the back side of the sweater (see image below).

Waist Shaping of my Second Owls Sweater in Universal Classic Chunky

Waist Shaping of my Second Owls Sweater in Universal Classic Chunky

If you’re interested in taking the class (and live in the pdx area), it should fun. This is a great sweater for people who are starting to consider knitting  their first sweater. I’m excited to be able to share the experience for knitting this pattern with others. Here are the class details (you can also view an abbreviated version on the Naked Sheep’s website):

Owls Sweater Class:

Saturdays (October 3, 17 and 24)
10:30am-12:30pm

Have you always wanted to make that perfect sweater as a gift for a special friend or relative this holiday season, but you don’t have loads of time? Knit in bulky weight yarn this stylish sweater makes the perfect quick knit gift.  Also, this sweater requires very little sewing or seaming. Natalie will help students customize size dimensions for the pattern if needed. She can also convert the pullover pattern into a cardigan version if desired.  Students will learn how to make two sleeves at a time using the magic loop method.

Notions & Supplies Needed:

  • Large tapestry needle
  • Cable needles (if you are new to making cables)
  • 24” circular needle in appropriate size for yarn used
  • 32” or greater circular needle in appropriate size for yarn used. If you are using the Magic Loop 40″ circulars are highly recommended.
  • Optional: 40-50 buttons or large beads for owl eyes

Recommended Yarns:

Any bulky weight soft yarn.

  • Universal Yarns Chunky Classic
  • Cascade 128
  • Cascade Soft Spun
  • Eco Wool or Eco +

Not recommended: any boucle or fur yarns.

Prerequisite Skills:

Advanced beginner. Students must be able to Knit in the round as well as increase and decrease.

Once you get the sleeves done its smooth sailing all the way

Once you get the sleeves done it's smooth sailing all the way

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Filed under Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Patterns, Portland, Portland Knitters, Stockinette, Sweater, Teaching, Techniques, Wool, Yarn

Recuperation and waiting projects

I’ve been pretty sick for the past two weeks. Actually the last three or four days or so I’ve been on the mend.  Earlier this week I came down with a bad bout of bronchitis. Which had me laid up in bed resting, taking antibiotics and drinking lots of “Breathe Easy” tea. I honestly think I can’t stomach the stuff anymore, and the smell of it makes me gag.

Yoke Sweater in Araucania Nature Wool

Yoke Sweater in Araucania Nature Wool

The Tweedy Aran cardigan was abandoned… and the project I remained anonymous to was a top down yoke cardigan out of Araucania Nature Wool (languishing in my stash) from Wendy Bernard’s wonderful book Custom Knits.  I really adore this book. Aside from the sweater I just finished I’ve already cued three patterns from it.  The instructions are very easy to follow and I like the fact that she give you permission and even instructions on how to adapt the patterns to your desires and needs. This is the kind of Knitting Designer I adore.

I was probably monogamous to this pattern during my illness because it was easy to knit, requiring very little mental strain. Eric joked that a week of sickbed time and I end up with a sweater.

I meant to post my latest raglan earlier but never got around to it. Here it is:

I made the yarn at Yarnia. It’s actually a blend of bamboo and wool.  I really did enjoy knitting this sweater. The think about stranded yarns is that you have to be very carful with your tension while your knitting. Adding a strand of sticky wool boucle to this yarn blend actually gave it more of a grip. Also, I have enough of the stuff left over to make a nice scarf or cowl for someone.

Yarnia Raglan Sweater - Wool & Bamboo

Yarnia Raglan Sweater - Wool & Bamboo

Close up of stockinette

Close up of stockinette

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Crochet isn’t just for Granny anymore

Not your average crochet (Amazing aran cardigan by JRoKnits

Not your average crochet (Amazing aran cardigan by JRoKnits

Edit 1/25/09 – Please note I linked to the wrong pattern book for the Dusty Miller sweater pictured above.  The correct book is Crochet Aran Sweaters by the same author. Sadly it looks like Amazon doesn’t have this book.  It may be out of print.

Let me confess here. I once had a very low opinion of crochet. Crochet was for Christmas themed toilet roll cozies and Grandma crafts that included walnut critters with googly eyes. Don’t get me wrong I wax nostalgic for anything with googly eyes, but about 10 years ago when I re-discovered knitting, I was determined to pick up knitting again because I didn’t want to crochet. Crochet reminded me of orthopedic shoes and support hose.*

Gorgeous Crochet Gown by OutsaPop Trashion

Gorgeous Crochet Gown by OutsaPop Trashion

Crochet wasn’t sexy.

Now let me apologize to all the crochetiers and crochet afficionados out there by saying “I WAS WRONG.”  More than a year ago I was introduced to the idea of Crochet being for all sorts of gorgeous garments in one of Brenda Dayne’s Cast On podcasts. This podcast along with the work in Interweave Crochet magazine gradually transformed my opinion of crochet.

I discovered that crochet can be used to make aesthetically pleasing garments of not just lace but well structured and sturdy articles of clothing.  It can be used to make stylish and fashionable accessories and household objects. I ran a quick search on Flickr and I found many wonderful examples.

But crochet also sparks the imagination and fancy in a way that knitting does not. In the Flickr search I found wonderful objects and creatures that are not easy to find among knitted toys.  I’ve made knitted objects before. I’ve knit and shaped the muzzle of  a bear and the steps you take (increases, decreases and short rows) felt more like following a mystery puzzle than a pattern. A while back I took a class on how to make Amigurumi, and a sparks shot off in my head.  Crochet made more sense to me ‘geometrically’ than knitting. There are different possibilities with crochet because you can structure and shape three dimensional objects easily with strategic increases and decreases. You can build spheres, cylinders, tubes, even cubical objects easily and these structures are pretty sturdy and can stand up on their own when crocheted with certain fibers.

This year I’m teaching a few crochet classes at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop.  My first class “Learn to Crochet” starts next week.   I’m incredibly excited to share my  new found love of this fiber art with others.  Through swatching, and experimentation with stitches and textures, I’m hoping to guide my students through the basics and help each of them pick a beginner project . I think there are three people currently in the course and there is more space left.

If you’re interested (and live in the Portland Metro Area) I”m also teaching a course on Amigurumi toys. All the information is listed in the link below.

Resources:

Crochet Cactus by Nadia308

*Please note… I didn’t hate crochet back then… I just had some erroneous preconceptions based me associating it with senior ladies.  Like most youth… I didn’t want to be associated with ‘older people’ and their sense of style. Though this doesn’t explain my love of Big Band as an adolescent. To be truthful, I do also have some very fond memories of crochet. The woman who was our babysitter and caregiver was an avid crocheter… she taught me how to make my first object… a hat that looked more like a sausage.

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Filed under Amigurumi, Craft, Crochet, Pattern Links, Patterns, Portland, Portland Crocheters

Vintage Sweater from the “Great War Era”

A Serviceable Sweater

A Serviceable Sweater

I love vintage patterns. I was looking through the few books that are up on Project Gutenberg and I found this gem: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26113/26113-h/images/illus-hr010-1.jpg

The book is called Handbook of Wool Knitting and Crochet and it was published in 1918.  The main stitch pattern looks like a slipstitch ribbing.  I think I could figure this out, but it seems a little cryptic.  I wonder if “Knit 2, narrow” means Knit 2 together (k2tog). I really do like the collar on this sweater. I think I’d like to do it in a stone or pebble grey in a wool with a little alpaca for a bit of a halo.

The sweater pattern and the stitching seem very simple, but I’ve been taking comfort in knitting more simple things lately. I’ve retreated into knitting as my comfort zone, and now that the weather has become a little more chilly, I can spend nights knitting cozily with a blanket on my lap.  I’ve also noticed that I’ve been finding working with mathematical adjustments to patterns a bit soothing as well. It feels nice to work through the math of adjusting the pattern size by figuring out changes proportionally.  I’ve even found the process of swatching to get the right size soothing. Indeed, I think I’ve just come to enjoy the whole process from start to finish. Have I truly learned patience? I remember a time when I refused to swatch yarn at all. I wanted to dive into the pattern right away because damn it I wanted that scarf, hat, or sweater now! Knitting has taught me the virtue of patience and then some. Now I hope I remember this when I’m working on my next aran cable project.

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Crafting an amigurumi menagerie

Happy little guys on the couch

Happy little guys on the couch

I’ve been making Amigurumi (Japanese Crochet Dolls) animals lately.  I was able to crank out two over the week-end. Actually, I’m scheduled to teach a course on the subject at the Naked Sheep Knit Shop, so I’ve been busily crocheting away.  In the process, I’ve discovered that I really like the fact that you can sculpt so many shapes with single crochet. All of the dolls, I’m sharing here are based on a common design from a Japanese pamphlet book.  However, I adjusted the body parts and to create different animals.

Alfie the Amigurumi Chihuahua

Alfie the Amigurumi Chihuahua

Amigurumi Rabbit - unnamed as of 8/12/08

Amigurumi Rabbit - Mortimer (named by Jeremy)

I’m currently finishing up a third doll, an elephant. The ears were an interesting little sub project. I realize now that I should take better notes while I’m designing these things. I’ve discovered that with crochet, I need to actually work the design out by hand before I can start writing things down.  For the ears on this elephant, I experimented with adding two flaps to a short chain of single crochet… the first attempt looked too much like butterfly wing that I ended up frogging it.

I’ve also discovered that I like working with mercerized cotton yarn better than 100% wool to make these toys. I suspect that a good sturdy acrylic yarn would also make a good choice for these types of project.

Amigurumi Elephant without the eyes

Amigurumi Elephant without the eyes

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Special Sweater

Saranac Body

Saranac Body

Two sleeves on a long circular needle using the Magic Loop method.

Two sleeves on a long circular needle using the "Magic Loop" method.

——————–

So my husband… has been so wonderful working on our kitchen. I’ve discovered that he’s been quite a whiz at the DIY. The other day, my anxiety went up when he was working on the electrical, not because I don’t have faith in him, but because even when you take precautions… WORKING ON THAT STUFF CAN BE DEADLY. I stood by watching and wary with the cell phone handy just in case.

So I’m making him a special sweater just because he’s been so terrific. It’s the least I could do. He’s not big into cable or aran sweaters, so I had to pick a fairly simple and comfortable pattern.

I’m doing an altered version of the Saranac from Knitty.com in Knit PIcks Comfy yarn. No open collar because he’s just not that kind of guy. I’ll probaby join the sleeves at the yoke using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions in Knitting Around.

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Executive decision – streamline the project list for Christmas

I’ve decided that I’m going to put a stop to any Christmas and birthday knitting that hasn’t been started or planned in detail yet. I took one good look at the Excel spreadsheet I set up and realized that I was really putting myself in for a hectic few months ahead.  Did I really want to make knitting into a huge chore? Did I wan’t to put myself through endless guilt trips for not starting, or starting late, or procrastinating on getting things finished?

No.

So I’ve scrapped the list, and I’m only going to work on two gift sweaters and a pair of socks for this year.  If I just happen to make socks that might fit someone else… then that doesn’t count. Ooops I made a pair of socks for you. See how that works?  The two sweaters i’d like to knit as gifts this year are: Bristow and the Central Park Hoodie (with a hemlock stitch variation). I’ve purchased the yarn for both of these sweaters. I just need to get them started. I’m planning on starting the CPH Hemlock in Cascade 220 yarn (Lake Chelan Blue) as soon as I finish one of the projects currently on my cue.

Also, I’ve decided to frog the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I’m just not happy with the way things are working out with this sweater. I’m sure it would look lovely on me, but I’m not into working on it, and I’d much rather focus on finishing my “Side Impact Sweater” with the lovely Artfibers Rush that I purchased this summer. I have to say, this yarn is a true “Winner” and I suggest it to anyone who wants to make a nice fall cotton sweater. You do have to be a little careful about splitting the yarn as you knit, but I’ve discovered that if you build this ‘careful knitting’ into your rhythm of knitting stockinette then you’ll encounter few problems with this yarn. People complain all the time about splitty yarn (I think those people are whiners… come on buck up and take it), but I believe that if a yarn is ‘reasonable’ then you can avoid the splitting with just a little care. Despite this the color variation and dye work has resulted in such a rich pattern of colors in plum, grey, and purple (Color # 5 in Artfibers Rush). If it’s possible to fall in love with a yarn… I think I’ve gone off the deep end for this one.

There’s also the Lochinver Gansey that I’ve been making quite a deal of progress on.  I guess I want to really focus on learning new techniques in sweater construction rather than put myself through the rigamarole of getting a bunch of tiny projects done.

Side Impact Sweater Progress 8/5

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I have Sock ADD

STR Gypsum in Spiraling Socks

STR Gypsum in Spiraling Socks

I don’t need to start another pair of socks… I think I have three on the needles right now and I’m planning another set of Socks that Rock (in Coriolis for the Naked Sheep Class I’m taking this weekend). I’m trying to finish up the Gypsum socks above. I’m to the bottom of the calves now and I really don’t like the pooling that’s going on with this colorway of yarn. The Instep and sole looks great though. I guess these will be boot socks.

Fabel Socks

Fabel Socks

To be fair… most of the socks I’m knitting for now on are for Christmas Gifts. I’ll try to chart the simple lace pattern for the anklets. I originally was making them for me… because I love wearing white lace socks with my Mary Janes.

Anklets on

Anklets on

Cascade Heritage Lace Anklets

Cascade Heritage Lace Anklets

And I just got more new sock yarn! Yikes! Most of which will again be converted to X-mas gifts. I do have time to cast on for these before the end of the year. It is indeed the Year of the Sock. I have decided not to participate in the Knitting Olympics because I set my own steep hurdles to jump over. Though I might be able to count my Coriolis sock ala Cat Bordhi as my challenging item.

Imagination Gingerbread House

Imagination Seven Dwarves

Imagination Seven Dwarves

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Dr. Who Pattern Debacle

Addendum 5/17 – Looks like the BBC and the author of the “Adipose” pattern have made peace.  It’s a happy ending as the BBC is negotiating a deal that includes a licensing for the pattern (which hopefully will be provided for fans on the BBC website). Plus Mazzmatazz may get to make Adipose babies for the BBC team and meet the Dr. Who crew.

See hostility just doesn’t pay. Now just about everyone is happy… the fans, the pattern maker, and the BBC.

Article posted here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_7400000/newsid_7406200/7406217.stm

If you haven’t heard anything about this, there’s been argument over some knitting patterns developed by a Dr. Who fan. In a nutshell, the fan created doll patterns of certain creatures from the popular BBC Series and made them available for free. In a rush to preserve the Dr. Who brand, the BBC has forced her to take the patterns now. Here’s a full version of the story.

I believe that many knitters are naturally creative people, and knitting is a powerful skill to have, because you can create all sorts of objects. When we like things or find them appealing, sometimes we want to recreate them for ourselves. It’s human to want to own things or have them in our possession. I collected Star Wars bubble gum cards and action figures when I was a kid because I loved re-living the scenes from the first three movies. I wanted to re-live the story because I liked it so much. Mazmataz recreated the Ood, the Adipose Babies, and the Tardis perhaps because of similar sentiments towards the Dr. Who series and its characters. I get it.

But the BBC doesn’t get it and from their point of view as a business that owns the intellectual property rights of Dr. Who they probably won’t.

I came of age (in the business world) in a large corporation who was ever so paranoid about loosing it’s brand. I suppose this is a law of nature that once on top, you become paranoid of others taking you down. It’s probably a king of the hill type syndrome. The company I worked for was so afraid of brand violation, they had numerous face to face course about how to protect their brand.

Now, I’m torn about this issue, because from a completely business point of view, I can understand why companies want to and need to protect their brand. However, from a historical view, I think that over-zealous protection of copyright or brand can only harm the rest of us or the general public who can benefit from the proliferation of new ideas and products.

New things… objects, ideas, concepts… do not just generate themselves out of nothingness. New things often come from older things. The gasoline combustion engine that drives cars was born from the ideas and objects developed by other tinkerers. The Model T Ford was developed from prototypes developed by others. If Henry Ford wasn’t able to pull the work created by others he wouldn’t have developed the automobile that made his company what it is today (probably someone else would do it). There are very few ideas or concepts that come from ‘thin air.’ They are usually based on another idea or concept or at least inspired by something else.

On the other hand, because we all live within a grid of monetary value where products from ideas can be exchanged for money. There will always be those people who take what’s offered for free and make money off it. Such was the case for mazmataz’s Dr. Who Patterns. Apparently people were knitting the patterns and selling the toys on e-Bay. That’s just pure opportunism. On one hand I think those people have violated a request not to use the patterns for profit. On the other hand, they were simply responding to the demand/value created by our system of demand/perceived need or desire for the said item.

In my mind this whole debate again raises the question whether intellectual properties should or are changing/evolving because of the advent of the Internet. It much easier to share information, instructions, ideas, objects and products on the web. They don’t have to be isolated or hidden from other people who may build upon them, improve them or even create something new.

I believe that some of the greatest creative and productive eras from history occurred when information was shared between cultures, peoples, or individuals. On a smaller scale, I have to say, the sharing of patterns both free and paid on social networking sites like Ravelry seems to encourage creativity amongst the population of knitters and participants. It also, encourages commerce. For example, a knitter might see a pattern knit in a different yarn and actually seek out and purchase that yarn. Or another knitter may have a stash of a particular yarn and need inspiration for how to use it. She/he might actually review the projects made by other knitters in this yarn and purchase a pattern made by a designer who advertises or posts information on their available patterns on Ravelry.

I know it will take some time and probably some ugly wrangling to get the intellectual property and copyright laws ironed out, but hopefully we will still be able to reap the benefits of the sharing and collaboration that takes place via the Net. In my head I’m still trying to think up a scenario that explains how all this sharing can be bad for us, because it’s good to think of things from more than one perspective.

knitted toys

Images from audreyem’s occasional blog. The original Adipose doll knitted pattern toy is on the right. A crochet version of the doll is on the left.

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