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My First Love

14 Jul

More twist can be better! I learned this when finishing my second handspun. I’d watched in horror as the skein of yarn I just plied wound in on itself. My first yarn didn’t have enough twist. At first I thought my second yarn had too much. I feared in vain: a quick soak and drying straightened that skein right out. And I was in love.

100 g of BFL aka heaven

It was incredibly soft, like you wouldn’t believe. I was not expecting to get “soft” in my first attempts at this spinning stuff. And it shines and is all pretty, and is kind of even. Yeah baby!

So I made a thing with it. I was starting to feel the first signs of an impending knitting funk, so I decided on crochet. It’s so fast and everything. (I’m sorry about the nearly un-intelligible gushing, by the way. I think the yarn fumes are getting to my head.)

The thing I made was the Catesby Three Hour Cowl (available for free on Ravelry). Took me a lot longer than thee hours by the way, my crochet is not yet as fast as lightning. This reminds me: I was validated the other day when, perusing the newest issue of Interweave Crochet, I learned there are at least two real, valid crochet hook holds (as Men Crochet 2 there explains). There’s the pen hold everyone keeps telling me is correct, and then there’s the knife hold, which is what’s always been natural to me. So there, the crochet police can get off my case 😉

Excuse me while I feel awkward in this photo

I can’t wait for it to get cold again so I can wear this thing 🙂 I used the leftovers to free crochet a pair of mitts that I’m not too thrilled with, but ripping back seems like too much of a hassle, so guess what, I have a new pair of mitts anyway!

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Crochet Safety Reflector

28 Jan

Sometimes what comes off my needles or hook just doesn’t quite live up to expectations. I have a clear picture of what I want to achieve in my mind, but the yarn won’t behave and absolutely nothing goes right, like now.

I’ve seen a lot of cute crocheted safety reflectors and have always wanted to make one. First I tried this snowflake pattern that I’ve seen used in several blogs (I especially like these reflecting snowflakes here, so pretty.) But my flake wasn’t… quite right.

A snowflake this is not.

The thread is a kind of sturdy ribbon and pretty hard to work with. I ripped back a couple of times until I finally arrived at this stage. That was my best shot. At first I thought I could live with it… but no. It’s usually best to just rip back or otherwise fix things if it doesn’t work out. I gave up on the whole snowflake idea and tried a couple of flower type designs but I simply could not make the thread sit in neat rows.

Finally I accepted that anything other than a crocheted circle is just too much for me to handle right now. I then discovered that doing every other row in another yarn made the whole thing so much easier to handle. It’s still not perfect but it’s not as bad a mess anymore.

What’s more important, it does work, making me that much safer out there in the dark.

Never to be Incinerated

29 Dec

Lookit! I made my brother a Portal Companion Cube for Christmas!

I used Novita 7 veljestä for the sides and the bumpers, and Novita Isoveli for the hearts.

I’ll share the story of it, as constructed from my notes (it took me months to finish this thing).

This was “only” one of those projects that you plan for so long, and you dream about it, and you can’t wait and you’re nervous and giddy and more nervous, and finally the day comes and you start doing it, and it’s tedious and amg it’ll never end, and what the heck possessed me to do this and won’t someone put me out of my misery? And then it’s done! However, the thought of possibly delighting my brother with this was more than enough to keep me going ^^ I know I gripe about this stuff, but honestly, I kind of like it when I have to struggle and work hard to get something crafty done.

It started out as a million little pieces.

A billion million pieces. This part was actually easy, because I didn’t get the whole yet, I didn’t comprehend the sheer stupendous amount of weaving in ends I’d have to tackle to get this done. How, I’ll never know, because just look at the amount of yarn ends in this picture. Every one of those had to be weaved in. Also, I was naive and ignorant of just how difficult it is to make something square with your own little hands.

The pattern warns you that it’ll take forever and a day to crochet all the little pieces, but no, that part was quick and painless.

The pain began as I started assembling all the side and corner bumpers from the little pieces. I realized my fallible crochet skills were going to yield me shapes that weren’t going to be angular or pristine, at least not easily. So I blocked each and every one of those itty bitty pieces.

There were more pieces, and some pretty ferocious blocking when I realized all my side pieces were 18 cm x 15 cm, and weren’t going to be assembled into a cube without some serious intervention.

And I arrived, half beaten into submission, somewhat convinced of my impending doom, at this point, where the project halted for like a month:

See, by now I knew that the advice in the pattern to fill the thing at least partly with something sturdy yet soft was some real sound advice.

So after a break during which I almost finished a shawl for SO’s mom, I finally found something that might just work – it was seriously difficult to get my hands on the foam pads used in the pattern.  This stuff I found was too thin to work as pieces lining the sides of the cube, so I went instead to fill up the whole thing. It’d be more sturdy and have some weight to it – heck, the whole thing is called the Weighted Companion Cube. I used some of the white filling stuff, the name of which I forget or possibly never even knew, because it seemed like a good idea.

And then I sewed it all up, and did a little dance, because I was so close to being done.

AND THEN

I turned the thing on its side only to notice that it’s significantly wider than it’s high.

That’s a problem if you’re trying to achieve a cubic shape.

See, you reach a state of complete zen-like calmness at some point in a project. So very very calmly, I ripped out one seam, stuffed in some more of the blue stuff and sewed it back up again.

Then I weaved in juuusst a few more ends and ta-dah!

It was cubic! It was perfect! A perfectly square Companion Cube!

This was a triumph! I’m making a note here: huge success.

Unfortunately it was squeezed by some hands before I could gift it, so it wasn’t *as* cubic anymore when my brother got it. I suppose that if it gets all flattened out, I could fix it by adding more filling. After all that trouble, I’m more than willing to repair any damage. I’m happy to report that my brother was indeed happy with it 🙂

Brain Slugs Are Our Friends

10 Feb

Hermes: [monotonous] I suggest we all go to the Brain Slug planet.
Zoidberg: What do we do there?
Hermes: [monotonous] Just walk around, not wearing a helmet.

Yep, it’s time to switch to a garlic shampoo – the invasion has begun.

After my happy experience crocheting Nibbler, it was only natural I continue to this other great Futurama pattern from the same designer:

Pattern: Brain Slugs

Published in: Hook and Needles

Yarn: Flip Flop from Novita (bulky, 100 g = 125 m)

Hook: 4,5 mm

*****

It was an easy and quick project, and a great way to really hammer home the difference between single, half-double, double and triple crochet (those were used to create the ruffles slime).

I’m not happy with the big brain slug’s eye because I couldn’t get the white to lay totally flat and it bulges in the middle. Originally I was going to use white wool and needle felt the eye, but had to crochet it when it turned out I hadn’t bought any white wool despite really making an effort to do so.

I can rip out the eye (there’s a nice image) and do it over anytime, but I probably wont. It looks fine from a couple of meters away. And you wouldn’t want to get any closer than that to a brain slug anyway, right?

This small brain slug has chosen its spot well. It clings onto our fridge, preying on anyone who is foolish enough to approach without a helmet on. It took two magnets to get it to stay up because the yarn I used was so thick. Sewing the magnets while they were trying to stick to the needle was interesting. They kept slipping out, but I beat them into submission in the end.

I love Ravelry (I don’t think I’ve mentioned that lately) – now because of the many great crochet patterns I’ve found there since I made these guys. I went through my stash a couple of days ago, and found I have the yarn to crochet this Portal Companion Cube… and enough light fingering yarn to knit a Thermal.

I like it when I actually have to choose what I’m going to do next out of many contenders, as it’s usually a sign I’m feeling inspired and haven’t had a lot of failures recently. I’ve wanted to knit the Thermal for two years now, so it won, and I’ve been knitting it for a couple of evenings. I don’t think I will forget about crochet again, though.

 

“I can do more than talk; I can pontificate!”

6 Feb

Crochet patterns often scare me. I don’t yet know how to “read” a crocheted fabric and sometimes don’t know where in the fabric my hook should go. Especially patterns which have me turn the fabric are scary because I always end up with one too many or one too few stitches at the end of each row.

Crocheting in a spiral is much easier, and I was pleased to learn that lots of amigurumi patterns use this technique a lot. My recent success with knitting another toy, Alot, finally gave me the push to sit down, take hook in hand and work out how to crochet the pattern I’ve dreamed of making for the longest: Nibbler.

That was a couple of days ago. Today I’m really really proud to present:

Lord Nibbler.

Pattern: Nibbler

Published in: Hook and Needles

Yarn: Fleur from Anttila (50 g = 130 m, worsted weight, 100 % acrylic)

Amounts: 2 balls black, 1 ball white, beige, yellow, red

Hook: 4 mm (Nibbler), 4,5 mm (clothes)

Brown fiber for needle felted eyes

*****

Nibbler: *sigh* Sometimes I fear we are cute.

Apart from getting to enjoy Nibbler’s unfortunate but undeniable cuteness, I’m also happy about making this project because it gave me so much security in my skills with crochet. I also learned about the possibilities of crochet: the fact that it can be very fast to do, the great possibilities of shaping with the different stitches, the simple joy of ripping back without worrying about picking up stitches again.

I’m no longer intimidated by the sheer number of stitches to learn… I guess I have to remember how to do just as many different things in knitting – what with all the different phases in a knitting project which are absent from a crochet project (casting on, binding off etc). And I really don’t have to remember how to do the different stitches by heart. That’s what the internet is for.

All hesitation is gone, now I can crochet all the cute things!

 

Alot of Love

2 Feb

Oh gosh, I’m a huuge huge fan of Hyperbole and a Half, the only blog that makes me seriously laugh out loud with every new post.

One post in particular made me scream-laugh and squeal with delight: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.

Imagine my happiness when I stumbled upon a pattern for Alot. It was published in Maiya knits. Mayhem ensues.  (I shouldn’t have been surprised. Every critter from a movie or a game or a show (or a blog) I’ve ever wanted to make is available as a pattern.) The design is great and really captures Alot.

After finding the pattern it was but the work of a few months to randomly come across some brown fun fur, and I could get knitting…

Feast your eyes upon Alot. His face is so furry you can’t really see his mouth, but it’s there, and it’s disapproving.

Pattern: Alot of Fun

Yarns: 7 Veljestä and Tango Fani from Novita for the body and claws;

Nalle from Novita for horns and tooth;

Fleur from Anttila for eyes.

*****

I care about this Alot

I learned knitting toys is brilliant. No, you can’t wear them and they’re pretty useless (my main reasons for not knitting a lot of them despite kind of wanting to), but you can hug them! And squeeze them and giggle at them et cetera.  Oh, and it can be really quick, too: it took me two afternoons to finish this guy. He isn’t Alot of work, just Alot of steps.

I was baffled for a minute because suddenly, in the middle of the pattern, I was instructed to crochet the eyes. I now have a few extra practice eyes, that didn’t come out quite right, rolling around on my desk. I should really crochet more. It’s always fun – I’m just intimidated by crochet patterns. They look like they’re written in a foreign language. (And not just because many of the cool ones are in English.) A silly reason, that, but there you go.

See his teensy little mighty claws. I’mma take pictures and post them because I went to the trouble of knitting those little suckers and weaving in all those ends, even though you can’t really see the end result in real life. Alot is fierce, and must have claws.

Bags Bags Bags!

11 Feb
Granny's sushi squares

Granny's sushi squares

Pattern: Granny’s No Square

From: Stitch ‘n Bitch: the Happy Hooker

Yarn: Mystery leftover yarns

I couldn’t find round rivets, but these buttons seem to be working just as well. I lerv the metallic rings. That’s not weird, is it? 😀

On the go

On the go

The bag has already accompanied me to a jazz concert. I lined it with corduroy and even made a little pocket. You can tell I like this one, because I had the energy to do the lining as well as I could. 😀

Handles

Handles

Pattern: Fat Bottom Bag

From: Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Happy Hooker

Yarn: Tennessee by Novita

Other: Handles from Sinooperi

Well, all I can say is I don’t like this bag as much. It’s a wee bit too small. The lining (which I made from old jeans) didn’t turn out too great. I should’ve thought about it before I sewed the bag together and attached the handles. Anyway, here it is: my first Fat Bottom Bag.

I think my camera might be giving up on me 😦 Orrr the batteries may be dying. Here’s hoping it’s the latter, but something is definitely the matter with my lil camera, because I keep having weird problems with getting good shots (problems I haven’t had before) and the poor thingy spends an awful lot of time processing. It’s getting to the point where I dread having to take pictures of my knits, it’s so difficult to get a decent shot and at some point I just give up. Ah well. Note to self: buy batteries.

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