Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby blanket

I've some friends who are expecting so I've found some squishy, washable yarn and a baby blanket pattern that I like. I cast on last night and realized that this is the first square baby blanket I'm making by myself. I've made a round one, and the square one I helped with was using big needles and thick yarn.

This one is DK weight and size 6 needles. I'm really glad that I have seven months to finish it. The pinwheel isn't discouraging at the beginning because it grows so quickly; it's only at the end when you want to pull your hair out.

It is rather disheartening to have knitted for about four hours and have only a one inch strip to show for it. Also, since I'm trying to completely switch to knitting continental it is taking even longer. (I'm not left handed either.)

I should be done by the time the baby is here.

I hope.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Noir and Western

This past weekend was a mix of lounging around watching Darker than Black, productive bursts, and going on Erin’s birthday party adventure.

Darker than Black is a noir anime. It drops you in the middle of a world where there are "Contractors" and a "Hell's Gate" with only bits of explanation. We are almost done and I'm still not sure who the good guys are. It is slightly reminiscent of Cowboy Beebop: the noir softened with silly, the search for a missing loved one, and the “Syndicate.” It might be these are themes that run through noir anime and I’ve only just picked up on the connection between these two. Still, Darker than Black is its own show with mesmerizing characters, a twisting plot but not one that loses you. DH and I have the last four episodes to watch and I can’t wait to see how it ends.

I spun a bit while we were watching. I’ve been out of practice so I worked on some easy wool, and then plied some singles I’d made before we went to Paris.

That's the blue that wouldn't do anything right plied with a multicolored single spun from scrap left over from Spinning 101 and Spinning 201.

I also tried Navajo plying a single I’d made a while ago.

The rest of the scraps from Spinning 101 and 201.

It’s ok, but the yarn starts thick and ends thin. When you Navajo ply (the link is to youtube, skip to 47 seconds in) you ply the yarn on itself in short sections. This maintains color changes, but tends to multiply any inconsistencies rather than smoothing them out as when you ply using two singles. Still, I think the yarn will be pretty if I use it as an accent in a bigger piece. I want to continue to focus on getting an ever more consistent single so I can Navajo ply more often. Unfortunately, my shoulder has been hurting a bit since I last spun. So I’m going to take a bit of a break, and focus on knitting for a while.

Erin’s birthday was great. And I could go into detail, but she's already got a great post with pictures and everything. Check it out here.

Sunday DH and I got up, did a bit of laundry, cleaned a bit of the house and then headed down to my parents' place to look at a table that had been in storage. We decided to take the table off their hands, and Dad and my sister helped us move it into our house. That evening we went to Alamo Drafthouse and saw Cowboys and Aliens with Dad. (Mom is out of town and my sister was packing to go back to school.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I’d heard an interview where someone discussed using the western tropes to keep the spirit true while adding in the alien element. I think it worked quite well. A stranger comes into town, causes a ruckus, and then has to save the day. I won’t say any more because you should go see it. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Finished stuff, part deux!

Last night my sister and I finished up the Gamma Delta Iota tee.

This is what it looked like while drying.
We made (read: she made and I worried and critiqued) our own stencils using painter’s tape. The trick, I’ve now learned, is to lay the tape out with multiple layers on cardboard, draw out the design, and then use an x-acto knife to cut it out. Don’t lift the tape too many times when you are cutting it out; if you do the tape won’t stick to the shirt enough to keep the spray paint from seeping. Crisp edges are your friends. Also, when spraying be sure to cover the rest of the shirt with painter’s tape, the glitter will get everywhere otherwise.

Once the tape was removed.

And here's what it looks like on.
I am silly proud of this. I know that my sister did most of the work, but it’s just so darn cool. And I helped.

The other thing I made in the last few days was this:

The, apply named, Yarn Basket.

I’ve been wondering where to keep the yarn I’d spun. I guess I could keep it with the “store bought” yarn but that just doesn’t seem special enough. So when I noticed this pattern I thought, “Hey, I’ve got a giant skein of yarn I bought because it was huge and purple. I could use it for this!”

It could also double as a hat for Hagrid.
I cast on using the provisional cast on and size 17 needles. It took two evenings, and I was knitting it continental style since it is supposed to be easier on the hands. The basket is basically a giant knit cylinder, and then you thread a piece of yarn around one edge and pull tight like a drawstring bag.

I may be making a bunch more. It’s quick and easy and I need to practice my continental knitting skills. I’ve thought about making a Doctor Who scarf. It would be great for working out tension, plus it is so wonderfully geeky... I just can’t make myself do it left handed. I’ve decided I need instant gratification projects because knitting continental makes me I feel so clumsy and slow.

I have a major project coming up. It’s called Organizing the Craft Room (cue: screams). I hope that making baskets of some sort or other is going to help, not hurt this endeavor. I’ll post pictures of what it looked like once I can take pictures of the progress. To post just “the before” pictures would be too depressing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Finished stuff!

This week I finished the Echo flower shawl, made a basket, made a tee-shirt with my sister, and crocheted a birthday gift.
First the shawl:
So close, yet so far.
 I got to the end and did the double stranded bind off using the size 7 needles I'd been working on. I got 44 stitches (out of 247) from the end and ran out of yarn. So I went up two needle sizes, and bound off tightly and ended up with extra yarn. I did the double stranded bind off, a bind off I'd never done before. Basically you find the other end of the yarn, hold it with the working yarn and, leaving a little tail to weave in later, just bind off the way you normally would.  I used one ball of Malabrigo sock yarn, size 7 needles, did 8 pattern repeats and had just enough. For those who don't have a death grip on their needles, I'd recommend size 5s and 7 pattern repeats, or 8 repeats and use beads instead of nupps.  If I were to do it again I'd do the 7 stitch nupps rather than the 9 stitch nupps. I think it would be faster, and eat less yarn.

Here's what it looked like before I blocked it.

Before I blocked it out it was just big enough that I could wrap it around my neck. But I trusted in the magic of blocking and was rewarded.

Pinned out to within an inch of it's life.

All done, isn't it pretty?

I am really proud of this shawl. It is proper lace with Estonian flowers and nupps. Nupps are the bumpy bits, you knit a bunch of stitches into one stitch, and on the next row down you purl them all together. They are a pain, but pretty.

A-tisket, a-tasket a purple and white basket:

Ain't it cute?
I made this in a class at Hill Country Weavers. I got to pick the contrast color. I've been in a bit of a purple mood for the past year.
And here's what it looks like from the side.
 It looks pretty good. I'm proud of it, for a first basket. It is a bit wonky, but I love it anyway. I also love finishing a project in a little over three hours rather than three months.

The tee-shirt we made was a spoof on the sorority tee-shirts. GDI is the answer one gives to pushy sorority/fraternity folks. It is short for 'god damn independent'. So we made a Gamma Delta Iota tee-shirt for a friend who was going to a camp where she is the only "independent." Of course we didn't get a picture before we gave it away. But I did get a picture of the back of mine:

A name I was once called. I've felt rather proud of this name for a while.
We didn't get to do the front for mine. It got late and dark, and it was hard to see to spray-paint.

Finally, I made a crocheted gift for a friend, but I'm not going to post a picture until after I give it to her. So pictures later this month.