Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Like Peanuts for Elephants...

So, I was on my Spring Break last week... trying to focus on finishing Sam's Cotton Tomten (more on that Zimmermann fun later)...

However, these adorable Elephants so many ladies at the Knit Nook have been making needed something upon which to snack.

My LYS has several bowls of end o' skein "sketching" yarn & the orange-yellow was just the right shade for a circus peanut.
I could not resist improvising with the crochet hook which just "appeared" in my hand.
A DISCLAIMER: I am a self-taught crocheter, so my instructions may be a little unorthodox. This is so simple, I'm sure an experienced hooker would not even need to read any to reproduce the shape.

Amigurumi Circus Peanut!
Hook: Size 0 or A
Yarn: Dale Baby Ull (sport weight cotton blend)
Notions: Stuffing, yarn needle, a split-ring marker
(a piece of scrap black yarn for eyes & mouth embroidery is cute, but optional)

This could be sized up or down easily... just alter hook & yarn size.
(If using worsted weight, I'd go for a size G)
Just keep in mind it must have a tight “weave” to hold in the stuffing.
** Stuff lightly as you stitch!

INC = SC2 in each st
DEC = Skip over 1 st & SC

Row 1: SC7 on “Magic Ring” & Pull Closed
Row 2: SC7, place marker at beg. of round
Row 3: INC 7X =14 sts
Row 4: (SC1, INC) 7X =21sts
Row 5: (SC1, SC1,) 7X =28sts
Rows 6-8: SC28
Row 9: (DEC, SC2)7X =21 sts
Row 10 & 11: SC21
Row 12: (DEC, SC1)7X =14sts
Row 13-15: SC14
Row 16: INC 14X =28sts
Row 17-20: SC28
Row 21: (DEC, SC1) 7X =14 sts
Row22: DEC 7X = 7sts
Break Yarn & Sew through outer chain loops. Pull tight to close & bury yarn end.

Embroider on eyes & mouth with scrap black thread, if you wish...
Embellish at will!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Viva La Zimmermann!

I have been inspired to get to know the work of the great Elizabeth Zimmermann.

I started my adventure by making the original "Baby Sweater on Two Needles" (which is just a small fraction of the knits La Zimmermann had on her slate for that short month...)

I do not know who will get this. Perhaps the new daughter of my friends Kelly & Marco...
I made this little sweater in dishcloth cotton. It IS worsted... Plus, I wanted to see if it would work. I already had my sights on the adult sized project & I knew I could not afford a decent quality wool or other worsted for that.

So... Two cones of varigated Onward to the February LADY sweater!
I really appreciate this adaptation of a Zimmermann Classic.

I really enjoyed watching how the space-dyed color repeats & patterns played out through the sweater. I was forced to use two different dye lots on this project, but it worked out that I was able to do the body of the sweater with one ~800 yd. cone (It took EXACTLY one) & the sleeves with the other. It was luck which made it work, I know. But, I'm quite grateful for it just the same.

The Gull Lace pattern is just simple enough for meditative knitting, but just complicated enough to keep you motivated to finish each step of the 4 row repeat. It is super fast to complete when knitting in the round for the sleeves on the adult sweater.
Any errors are quickly spotted & fairly easy to repair if you catch it in the return row. This is NOT usually the case for lace patterns, simple or otherwise.

It is the subtle elegance of such things that is the root of my deep regard for Elizabeth Zimmermann. She was clearly not into wasted motion, yarn, or even thought. At first sight, her work might look dated, or even clunky... If that's what you think, then I invite you to look more closely. Yep. Knit your way through her "non-patterns" & you'll be astonished by the unassuming brilliance.

Even if the Baby Surprise Jacket is not to your taste (& there's no accounting for taste, nowadays) the elegance of the concept is enough to make an architect applaud.

Check out this designer's blog to see her Zimmermann research & subsequent inspirations & designs! Very snazzy stuff, no?

The February Lady Sweater pattern by Pamela Wynne (from Flint Knits) is available as a free ravelry download. It is a justifiably celebrated rite of passage for anyone who wants to really know what the "big deal" is about knitting your way through the Almanac.

Originally, I thought I was going to knit this for myself. I really did!
Well... as I got underway, I knew it was not for me, really.
This ended up a perfect Christmas present for my own sweet Mother!
She has spent years making sweater upon sweater for everyone else. It is more than her turn!
I think I'm going to start a tradition where each Christmas I make a new sweater just for her...
Last year was the Nantucket Jacket by Norah Gaughan from the fabulous Interweave Knits Winter 2006 (If you are observant, you can see it folded on the back of the chair)... I wonder what next year will be?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who Ya Gonna Call? Stash Busters!

Here's the best little stash buster I've seen in the longest!
I'm so happy to share it...

Here is the original cozie pattern:

I had a bunch of 30-40 yd. remainders from all my Koolhaas Hats, etc.… & Christmas was COMING!!! I needed to make some seriously QUICK gifts... which could be taken seriously.

I love the classic Cable Owl Motif & I really enjoy this knitter's take on it.

There's even a wonderful free pattern which adapts it for a hat :

There's even more to find using this simple, yet fabulous, cable on Ravelry...

Does anyone know where it began? I remember seeing it in my Mother's old pattern books, but I just can't remember which one... It was a pattern for a little girl's sweater. Hmm...

I worked up another version which tweaks the ribbing sequence to match up perfectly with the Owl Motifs. The subsequent decreases also allow for a k2tog on the right “ear” & a SSK on the left to finish it off well before the ribbing resumes.

Awwww… GEEK OUT! I suppose I can't help it. Hope my compulsive tics help y'all:

To make the Owl Cable Motifs & the ribbing sync up, I changed the count to 50 on the cast-on with a (P2, K2, P2, K4) repeat.

Using smaller DPNs (size 5), I increased thus: (P2, M1, K2, M1, P2, K4) =60 sts

I switched to the larger DPNs (size 7) & did the Owl Cables as written.

Using smaller DPNs, I decreased thus: (K2tog, K4, SSK, K4) = 50sts

I finished with 5 rows of (P2, K2, P2, K4) & BO in patt.

I still don’t know where I’ll find those funky googly eyes the designer used...

I really wanted to use buttons for the eyes.

In the end, I decided to embroider eyes. It’s a little fussy & labor intensive… But, I prefer the look to what eye-options were available to me.

Look out Stash!

These make great gifts & the wool really DOES work better than the little disposable sleeves you get & then toss away.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sorry, I've been stitching... just not posting!

Between Sam & teaching, I've just not had any time to post anything about what little stitching I've been able to accomplish!

So here's a little update:
Amigurumi MADNESS!!!!

Yep... It is still no secret I'm not fond of the crochet process.
However, the product is so irresistibly cute, I cannot help it!

I've been making & adapting pattern basics from this imaginative but basic book:

Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts Amigugmi by Tomoko Takamori

Non-crochet & visual learners will love the icons which are used instead of initial abbreviations in her design instructions.

The first was the Duck:
I did not care for the legs in the pattern, so I designed some "flipper feet" (an easy pattern will follow, but I've mislaid the post-it I used for notes).

I showed it to my Art Class at school to gauge interest for an after school crochet workshop (Short answer: YES!). One of my sweetest students requested a Puppy. I would have made one myself just for her. The real heart-warming thing was that she said she'd never ask for one for herself... She wanted it to give to her mother for her birthday & she knew she couldn't learn how to do it in time! SQUISH!

I've moved on to the most complex design of the book to make butterflies for my Niece 's Christmas present.
(I also used a little stash cotton to cover one of Sam's favorite, but somewhat chewed-upon rubber balls.)

Again, I made a few little stylistic changes to the pattern (ex. Butterflies are insects, ergo six legs & I wanted a girl-y butterfly… hence the bikini top.)

Yes. I know, there are no mammary glands on insects...

There is a Pink & Blue version in the works, too!

Over the past months, I've also made the February Baby Sweater (shown here in progress) & am almost done with the adult version!
Not being a wealthy knitter, I've substituted dishcloth cotton for the worsted wool for which the pattern calls. I'm pretty happy with it so far... but cotton can stretch in unattractive ways. So, only time will tell.

I've also made some little quick dishcloth cotton finger puppets:
if anyone wants me to post a pattern, it's very simple & fast if you are proficient with DPNs....

I also have figured a seamless version of a cute sleeveless shell pattern (W by Kristi Porter) from Spring 2005.
I LOVED working with my stash of Katia Jamaica cotton!

It even looks good when I wear it. Too cold to model it now... Sigh.

As is this lovely camisole made from a yummy sock yarn (Razor Cami by Katie Marcus... it's a free pattern on her blog!) made as part of the Knit Girls KAL August 2009:
Detail of the stitch pattern:
So... I've been working... Just not documenting.

When Christmas Break comes, perhaps I can post a pattern & pictures of my Dangly Tiger made for Sam's birthday. That was some adorable fun.

One of these days... Sigh.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Knit Nook "Beer Summit" 2009

Every knitter loves their LYS (Local Yarn Store). I am no exception.
The Knit Nook is quite the yarn haven! You should definitely make a visit if & when you find yourself in Louisville, KY.


Please note fabulous tshirt design by SteigerBeat

I am rarely able to get to the Thursday S & B (Stitch & Bitch) during the school year. Yesterday was the last I'll be able to attend for a while... especially when I resume teaching after school art classes. The owners & patrons are a wonderful group of people who kindly indulge my geeky quirks & foibles... knitterly & otherwise.

I got a wild hair yesterday to celebrate the occurrence of the most wonderfully sensible-yet-ridiculous "Beer Summit" by having our own at the S & B.


(Apparently, Professor Gates' choice was changed from Red Stripe to Sam Adams Light... we were working with the best info we had at the time. Both of the professor's choices were considered the best options by all us knitterly types.)
More pictures of actual knitters, knitted items, adorable babies & toddlers are posted on the Knit Nook Forum on ravelry...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The BuckyBag!... A Fulled Tribute to Fuller!

This Summer has been far more hectic than I had hoped.

I told myself I just needed a simple, mindless knit-until-you’re-done stressbuster... I swear!

This is mindless once you understand the concept... (If you have two sets of dpns so you don't have to count at all, really.)

I actually wrote down the pattern notes as I went.
I was just playing with the Celestine idea of seamlessly connected geometric shapes with a Fuller inspired set of pentagons & hexagons.

At first, I was not sure if it would felt as a sphere or a star...

Buckminster Fuller, I LUUURVE you!

The BuckyBag!... A Fulled Tribute to Fuller!

~2 skeins Black Cascade 22o
~3 skeins Lion Wool prints

~2 sets size 9 dpns
(You can do it on one set, but it gets overly fiddly & a pain to count without at least 7 dpns)
~1 size 9 circular (24" or 32" is fine)

~yarn needle
~a knowledge of basic felting (fulling, really)

Pattern for a Pentagon:

CO 17 sts each on 5 dpns (pick up 17 sts from a CO edge when needed)

Knit 5 rounds (3 black, 2 in print wool)

Begin decreases:

Each dpn, k2tog, k to last 2 sts, ssk.

Knit 2 rounds

When you have 3 sts on each dpn:

Knit 2 rounds, then sl1, k2tog, Psso.

Break yarn, use yarn needle to run yarn through loops, pull tight & tie off.

(Just like finishing a beanie hat!)

Pattern for a Hexagon:

CO 17 sts each on 6 dpns (pick up 17 sts from a CO edge when needed)

Knit 5 rounds (3 black, 2 in print wool)

Begin decreases:

Each dpn, k2tog, k to last 2 sts, ssk.

Knit 2 rounds

When you have 3 sts on each dpn:

Knit 2 rounds, then sl1, k2tog, Psso.

Break yarn, use yarn needle to run yarn through loops, pull tight & tie off.

Pattern for a Half-Hexagon:

Pick up 18 sts on pentagon edge, 17 sts on hexagon edge, 18 sts on adjoining pentagon edge

(This will be knit in flat stockinette!... Don't forget to purl back.)

K 5 rows, sl 1st st of every row, knit or purl (3 rows black, 2 rows in print wool)

Begin Decreases: (Some will be done on the purl side!)

Knit side decreases:

Sl1, K2tog, K to last 2 sts, ssk./K2tog, K to last 2 sts, ssk./K2tog, K to last 3 sts, ssk, K1.

Purl side decreases:

Sl1, P2tog, P to last 2 sts, ssp./P2tog, P to last 2 sts, ssp./P2tog, P to last 3 sts, ssp, P1

*Always have 2 rows between decrease rows*

When there are 3 sts on each dpn, work 2 more rows flat.

The RS, or Knit side should be facing you.

(Sl1, K2 tog, psso)* each dpn, 3sts total remain

Turn to WS, Sl1, K2 tog, psso to BO.

Method of Assembly:
1. Begin with a black pentagon...
2. Cast on five sides of a hexagon & pick up the last side on the cast on edge of one side of the original pentagon.
3. For the next three Hexagons, cast on four sides, pick up one side from the last hexagon & pick up one side from the abutting side of the original pentagon.
4. For the fifth hexagon, cast on three sides, pick up one side from the last hexagon, pick up one side from the abutting side of the original pentagon & pick up one side (the only available edge) of your first hexagon.
It will look a bit like this:

5. Make five pentagons, one between each set of touching hexagons by casting on three sides and picking up the last two to connect the shapes.

6. Add five half-hexagons, one between each set of touching pentagons & hexagons to make a "finished" half sphere.

7. Pick up 240 sts in black, place marker at beginning of round & knit for 6 rounds.

8. Switch to the print & knit for 8-10 rounds, or until your yarn is gone.

9. Switch back to black & knit 3 rounds

10. (K10, K2tog)* = 220 sts.

11. Knit 2 rounds

12. (K9, K2tog)* = 200 sts.

13. Knit 2 rounds

14. (K8, K2tog)* = 180 sts.

15. Knit 2 rounds

16. (K7, K2tog)* = 160 sts.

17. Knit 6 rounds

18. Knit 20 sts on one dpn, BO 20 sts. Repeat 3X for 4 handle bases.

19. Each handle:

Knit 20 rows in stockinette using dpns, slipping the 1st stitch of each row.

Sl 1, K2tog, K to last 3 sts, ssk, k1 = 18 sts.

Purl all sts

Repeat until 14 sts remain.

Knit 10 rows in stockinette.

Repeat this on all 4 handle bases.

Graft handles together using Kirchner stitch (instructions abound online).

Full your bag using your favorite method. I used my washing machine for 14 min on permanent press cycle.

It’s Felt-tastic!

I then went ape and made Sammy a soccer ball using the same ideas:

I had a brain pop to turn it into a hat... I'll actually write that up as a real pattern & post it, too.

Summer Weight Cotton Worsted Chullos!

(this is the photo from the online pattern)
Well. I saw this pattern online & fell totally in love!

What a gorgeous & super quick knit! Who knew?

However, the wool chullo was VERY warm.

I’ve now used up some worsted cotton stash & scrap to make a summer weight chullo for my bad Spring & Summer hair!

Well. Yes. That hat was lovely.
However, I soon found out it was not the hat for me. Now it graces the lovely noggin’ of my friend Mary... before it got STOLEN!!!

I’ll make another for myself... and another for her.
They go quickly…

I have long since left the original pattern behind.

I'll post a version of the Fleur de Lys when I have it written up.

I also need to work up a pattern or video tutorial for 2-color i-cord. I want to share my “discovery” with the world.
I am in LOVE with the look of it!

Has anyone seen it done elsewhere?

Can anyone help me make a tutorial video & post it?