Thursday, December 27, 2012

Nac Mac Feegle's Figurative Fire Stopper

It's finished, and no longer a secret, so I can post about it now. I made this for a friend who said she's always "putting out fires" at work. I am quite pleased with myself; this is the first arumigumi/toy type thing I've ever made, let alone designed. I'm glad I used wool, because blocking was pretty important to make all the bits look the way they are supposed to look. If using acrylic, I recommend dipping the parts other than the canister in a very thin solution of either Elmer's glue and water or laundry starch, so they can be shaped.

Gauge = 12 stitches/inch in stockinette
I used Brown Sheep Sport on U.S. 0 (2mm) needles

Yarn: Sport/Fingering weight
Red: about  25 yards 
Light Grey: About 1 yard
Black or Dark Grey: About 1 yard

(I used Brown Sheep Naturespun Sport for the canister, Regia 4 ply Solids for the other bits, because that's what I happened to have on hand.) Embroidery floss would work well for the bits, too.)

Size: 3" high and 1" in diameter (Edit: I don't know how I originally managed to say this thing was 4" high. Sorry about that.)

With main color (red), using the magic circle cast on, cast on 6 stitches
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: kfb 6 times (12 stitches total)
Round 3: kfb, k1, repeat around (18 stitches total)
Round 4: kfb, k2, repeat around (24 stitches total)
Round 5: kfb, k3, repeat around (28 stitches total)*
Round 6: purl
Round 7: k5, s1, psso, four times (24 stitches total)**
Rounds 8- 30: knit

Stop knitting and stuff; evenly and fairly tightly, because poking stuffing down a very small hole after the following decreases is pure drudgery

Beginning with round 31:
Decrease 4 stitches every other round, until four stitches are left on the needle
Fasten off  by cutting the yarn, pulling it (loosely!) through the remaining stitches, and knotting
Tuck the yarn end down into the body of the work. Cram in some more stuffing to fill the newly created space

Handle: cast on 4 stitches. Work 8 rounds of i-cord
Rounds 9 & 11: Knit
Rounds 10 & 12: Purl
Work 8 more rounds of i-cord
Fasten off: cut yarn, pull end through the stitches

Part 1: (Crochet)  With lighter grey, chain 20 stitches, or desired length
Part 2: (Knit) Insert needle into 3rd chain from the end. Cast on 3 stitches
Work seven rounds of i-cord around the end of the crocheted chain
Increase by one stitch on rounds 3, 5, and 7 (final row of i-cord will have 6 stitches)
Fasten off: cut yarn, pull loosely through all stitches, leaving a tail of about  6" yarn for assembling

Mount: (Crochet)
Chain 20 (or as many stitches needed to fit loosely around the canister) join to form ring
Round 1: Chain 2 (forms first stitch) hdc in each stitch around, slip stitch to close ring
Round 2: Chain 3, slip stitch in first chain from hook to form a small picot
Fasten off: Cut yarn, pull through final stitch

Assembling and Finishing:
1: Attach small end of hose to handle by pulling "tail" of yarn between the stitches at the center of the handle, knot
2: Fold the handle in half (centering on the flat area between the two i-cord portions. Attach to canister by placing on one side of the "neck. Pull the "tail of yarn from the "hose" to the outside of the center, weave it through the stitches at the base of the neck. Lash it around the handle (like sewing on a button with a post; I don't know how else to describe it) three times, between three of the four stitches at the top of the canister
3. Slide the mount over the cylinder and the hose, to desired position. (It should sit about 1/3 of the way down the canister.) Position the picot over the hose. Tack in place if desired
4. Weave in and trim ends
5. Block and shape, stiffen with glue or starch if desired
6. Give to friend
7. Enjoy the squee

*originally read "kfb, k2," which is incorrect
**the decreases are a refinement I thought of after I created this thing, to keep the cylinder more--cylindrical

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shh! It's a Secret!

I'm working on creating a little bit of amigurumi for a new--but already--close friend. Don't tell. It's geeky and kind of punnish, and I think it's hilarious.

Hints: It will be tiny, and mostly red. The main part will be knitted in the round, gauge is 12 stitches to the inch. Ravelry doesn't have any (though they have everything else) so I have to design my own.

I should have updated a while back, but life DOES get in the way. The project is made, gifted and a big hit. The person I made it for was grumbling that she keeps having to put out fires that other people make. We joked about her needing a teeny tiny fire extinguisher to keep on her desk. Since I had no idea where to find such a thing, no money to buy one if I did, AND I knit--

I present to you the nac mac Feegle Figurative Fire Stopper. (Not to be used in the event of an actual, non-figurative fire.)

Techniques used: Knitting: slip-ring cast on, knit, purl, increasing, knitting in the round, decreasing, i-cord. Crochet: chain, hdc.

Recipe for making your own in a future post.

Method To My Madness

Mostly Unrelated Picture. Just for Fun.

I knit weird. When I first learned to knit, back in the dark ages when we had to hunt and skin our own acrylics and polyesters---using flint tipped needles--chasing them down the dark and fetid aisles of the local general store, I was taught by my great Aunt Fern. She was an amazing teacher, and I was a pretty good student back then. I didn't realize that the "method" she taught me was "all wrong," at least according to some people, for whom rules are more important than either product or process. I've taught a lot of other people to knit weird, too.

Many years later--after Ravelry, and a proliferation of LYS brought civilization to us savages--I discovered that I could get my hands on other fibers to knit, and that patterns for complex designs involving textures and shaping require some changes in method. The end results look just like something made with the more"standard" versions, so any one who doesn't like my methods can go chew on a big ol' hank of wormy chenille, and stay the heck out of my way. I'll be over here, knitting for people who appreciate it, and having a lovely time.

I still think "my way" is easier all around than any other, and as much as I enjoy wrapping yarn around sticks and pulling it off again, I like to actually make stuff that can be used in some way or another. (You! In the back. Stop sniggering, unless you're thinking about cheezombie's slugs, which are very cool.) Put most simply, I knit in the backs of my stitches. I purl in the front of them; so the motions to make a purl stitch are the exact mirror of the ones for the knit. (That's WHY I knit in the back; if the next row needs to be purled, it sets the stitch up correctly.) That's all. Sometimes I knit from right to left instead of left to right too, but (I think) that's not all that odd.

The first cast-on I learned was the backward loop (wait! There's more than one?) Then I discovered knit, followed by cable (what? they're not the same thing?) cast ons, and used those for a very long time. Even more years later, I learned long tail and Judi's Magic, and crochet, and provisional, all of which cover pretty much everything I've wanted to knit so far, though I'm sure there are others out there.

Years later, I taught myself a whole bunch of other techniques for laces and insertions, short row shaping and steeking, edgings and colorwork and all that complicated stuff, plus how to read patterns and "convert" stitches to "my" style as necessary. From there, it was logical leap to begin writing my own patterns, and I'll probably start charting them soon. I can read charts, but I'm not very good at it. It's still a "foreign" language that I haven't learned to think in, yet.

I like making stuff up, even when the math is hard.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Socks of Doom

Pattern: Jane's Hedgerow Socks
Yarn: Regia 4 Ply Fadig, colorway: Bark

Gauge: 28 stitches/40 rows = 4" in stockinette
Needles: U.S. 0 (you'll probably want to use 1s unless your knitting is loose and sloppy like mine) circular(s) or dpns
Techniques: Magic Loop, Toe Up Gusseted Heel, Jeni's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off

My, What Lovely...Feet You Have!

I have made socks for three of my four sisters. I've been putting off making a pair for the remaining sister for several years. I want to make her socks. I tried to make her socks. I failed. When I originally asked her what she would like, she told me she wanted:

Long Wearing.


I love my sister. I want to make her happy. I want her to have socks that she really likes. I tried. Hard. I managed--in spite of the fact that I am half blind-- so black yarn is virtually impossible for me to knit with, and have ADHD--so endless swathes of tiny stockinette stitches make me really stabbity--to complete one sock. I did have to put a hot pink toe on it to keep from losing my mind completely, but I got it done.

It languished in the craft pile for several years. I had cataract surgery, and got new glasses. I discovered cuboid needles, which help me make my usually straggly stitches a lot more evenly sized. I got medication for the ADHD, so can now focus on repetitious stuff for long periods of time. But I can't make myself knit that second sock, I still don't hate myself enough to endure the drudgery that it entails. I threw out the one I'd made so it would stop taunting me; I didn't even try to salvage the yarn.

The other knitted gifts I've been making keep giving me a vague sense of nagging guilt. I finally decided that I do very much want to make this sister a pair of socks, but I have to honor myself as a crafter, first. I hunted Ravelry for a pattern that would be reasonably plain, and my stash for a dark neutral nylon reinforced wool fingering weight yarn.

I switched the pattern from top down to toe up, and my gauge is 7 (rather than 8) stitches to the inch on U.S. 0 needles. I wanted a rounder toe than the standard one that increases by four stitches every other row, and that took some research and a lot of experimentation before I got a result I like. Bonus (which may have subconsciously led me to picking this pattern) the sister's name is Jane.

It really is a foot. It's not a strange pink tree root. I promise.

Patterm Adaptations:
Rounded Toe: 
Judy's Magic Cast On: 10 stitches each needle. (20 stitches)
Round 1: knit
Rounds 2-5: k1, inc1, knit, inc1 in second stitch from end of needle, repeat on second needle (36 stitches in round 5)
Round 6, 8, and 10: knit
Rounds 7, 9, and 11: k1, inc1, knit, inc1 in second stitch from end of needle, repeat on second needle (48 stitches)
Rounds 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19, and 20: knit
Rounds 14, and 17: k1, inc1, knit, inc1 in second stitch from end of needle, repeat on second needle (56 stitches)

The trick to making a rounded toe with paired increases on top and bottom is to divide the rounds into 3 or 4 segments (depending on how many stitches are desired for the foot) and knitting first none, then 1, then two, then 3 (for more 60 stitches) even rounds in between the increase rounds. Once the desired total of stitches is reached, end with one or more even rounds before starting the pattern repeats.

Work top of sock in pattern, and bottom of sock in stockinette until it measures 65% of desired finished length. (I want my finished sock to be about 10.25" long, so fudging the math just a bit:

10.25 inches = 102.5 rounds x 65% - the 20 for the toe = 48

The pattern stitch for this sock is very simple:

Round 1: k1, p1, k2, p2, repeat to end of round
Round 2: k2, p1, k2, P2, repeat to end of round

So I've got four more rows to knit before I start the heel, which is going to be the Toe Up Gusseted Heel from Maia Spins.

I'll edit this post and add more pictures when I get to that part.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Second Verse

Update 7/09/12: And now they are done. I like the way the turned out more better this time. And they fit. Perfectly.

Not quite the same as the first, but "Do Over" is such a depressing name for a project.  Halfway through the second sock, I (a) didn't really like the pattern and (b) realized they were going to be too bloody big. 

Cascade Fixation stretches. A LOT. So I frogged and started over. (Yes, that IS why I am called Rana Catesbeiana, at least in part. I generally frog everything at least once.)

The pattern I'm using instead is Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder. More or less.

Gauge is 24 stitches/36 rows = 4” on U.S. 2 needles.

Cast on = 48 stitches
Cuff = 18 rows; k3, p1 rib
Leg = 40 rows;  in pattern
Heel = 18 rows; eye of partridge, with slip stitch, p1 edges
Gusset = pick up 10 stitches on each side
Foot = 36 rows (plus gusset decreases, so 58 in all)
Toe = 24 rows (decreasing to 16 stitches)

The four stitch, four row pattern breaks up the pooling of the clown barf quite nicely. I’m using a k3, p1 rib for the cuff, a heel flap, paired decreases for the toe, grafting to bind off.

If you want help figuring out the number of stitches/rows for various parts in a different yarn/size/gauge, leave a comment and let me know.

I'll keep the notes and pics from the first verse for the record, but the sock and a half are no more. They are expired. They are ex-socks.

*  *  *  *  *

Version One, nicknamed 5 x 5, circa 4/20/12

When the character Faith from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is asked how she is, she answers, "five by five." It comes from old radio slang, and pretty much means, "all is well." I don't know if that actually describes these socks (well, it didn't actually describe Faith either) but the pattern repeat is five stitches by five rows, and I like it.

And it's clown barf! which is always well.

I had a couple of criteria in mind when designing these socks. Two yarns, one plain and one not so plain had to play nice together. Cascade fixation is a bit of a challenge for a sock, because it's fairly substantial, and rather textured at the same time. I ganked the cuff pattern from Columbia by Catherine Gamroth. I didn't think the abrupt change from the pattern to stockinette would work with my two sibling yarns, so I kept a repeat of it winding down the heel, while smoothing a variation into the foot.

I had planned to make the toe in lime green also, but that yarn was in another room and the Atlanta Braves were winning. I didn't want to stop knitting or watching, either one. I may put a green toe on the second sock, we shall see.

All is well, and all is well, and all manner of things will be well.

I'm using roughly 90 grams of Cascade Fixation or  similar DK/8 ply yarn, and U.S. size 4 (3.5 mm) needles. One at a time, magic loop.

Gauge = 5.5 stitches/8 rows to the inch, more or less.

Pattern and more pics to follow.

(Edit to update: or not. If I try again with different yarn, I'll write a new post.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This is a prototype, made by request for a friend. She actually needed a whiter yarn,and a bigger, taller bag. The version pictured here is 6" wide by 9" tall. It's a good size to hold a Kindle or a paperback book, a small knitting project, and/or sundry other accouterments.

Hers is 8" wide by 12" tall; you could stuff a whole bunch of thingies in there. I'll leave the what to your imagination. I didn't get pictures of the one I made for her, but it's this one's big brother, pretty much. And white.
Gauge:  18 stitches/20 rows = 4 inches

Needles: U.S. 6 or size needed for gauge

Yarn: kitchen cotton, linen, blend, or other worsted weight yarn that doesn't stretch. (I used Peaches and Creme Ecru, I'm guessing about 40 yards or summat, probably a little less.

Stitch Pattern One  (probably has a name but I don't know it.)
Row 1: p1, k3, repeat
Row 2: purl all stitches
Row 3: k1, p1, k2, repeat
Row 4: purl all stitches

Stitch Pattern Two  (Half Linen Stitch)
Row 2:  k1, slip 1, repeat
Row 2: purl all stitches

The stitch patterns above are for knitting flat. When knitting in the round, reverse all even numbered rows.

Cast on 56 stitches

I like Judy's Magic Cast On. If you'd rather seam the bottom, be my guest. Use your favorite cast on, and join to work in the round. If you'd rather work flat and don't know how to change the pattern to do so, leave me a comment; I'll 'splain. If you want to make a different size, and don't know how to do the math, tell me where you're lost, and I will happily show you, but I'll leave you to figure it out. Deal? Deal.

Round 1: p1, k3, repeat around.
Round 2: knit
Round 3: k1, p1, k2, repeat around.
Round 4: knit
Repeat these four rounds 12 times (48 rounds total) or until bag measures 7.5" deep
Knit next four rounds
Rounds 53, 55, and 57: k1, slip 1, repeat around
Round 54, 56, and 58: knit
Round 59: purl
Round 60: purl

Bind off.

Straps (make 2):
Cast on 4 stitches. Knit as i-cord until desired length is reached. (I did 60 repeats.)

The person in the demo I've linked says "you must use a double pointed needle." Actually, you don't must. I usually use a circular needle because--like an idiot--I gave away all my dps when I moved, but you can make it with single points if necessary. Just slide the stitches to a second needle without knitting them, and start knitting on the one that is now in front. When you've knitted all of them, lather, rinse, repeat until your i-cord is the desired length, or until you will have to rip out your hair or poke out your own eyes with your needle(s) if you try to make One.More.Stitch. If you can cajole or bribe someone to make it for you, so much the better.

Attach the straps securely two rows down and four stitches in from the top and sides. Weave in the ends and call it done. Let me know if you have any problems with the pattern. Other problems? Get a shrink.

This pattern is for personal use only. Feel free to share it with others, but it may not be sold.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

+2 to Charisma

I made this to use as a dice bag, but it would be excellent for gifts, a cell phone cozy, a belt pouch, or something like that. Because it's technically lace (meaning; it has holes) stuffing it with things small enough to fall out (about 1/4" in diameter) is probably not a good idea, unless you want a believable reason for "losing" said things.

It's worked from the bottom up, in the round. I use a “toe up” cast on because I don't like seaming; otherwise cast on as you would normally do (long tail, knit, or cable cast on would all work just fine) and then seam the bottom as part of your finishing. This one is done with a figure eight, because I hadn't yet discovered Judi's Magic Cast On. The results are very similar, I think Judi's is easier.

The lace design is the same as the Hourglass Eyelet from the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year calendar, but the bag itself is my own original design. Many thanks to Cyndi for test knitting and pointing out needed corrections. Feel free to use personally or share, but this pattern may not be sold or published for commercial use.

The finished piece is about 5” wide and 6” tall. I used about 30 grams of Peruvian sport weight merino wool from Elann, and U.S. 6 needles. Gauge is approximately 7 stitches to the inch in garter stitch. I've written the one set of decreases as “ssk” rather than “s1, k1, psso,” simply because it's easier to write, but I actually use the s1, k1, psso technique. Either one will work just fine.

Cast on 40 stitches and join, being careful not to twist. Mark beginning of round.
Round 1, 3, 5, and 7: knit
Round 2, 4, 6, and 8, purl
Round 9: p1, k6, p1, k5, p1, k6, p1, k6, p1, k5, p1, k6
Round 10: p2, k5, p1, k5, p1, k5, p3, k5, p1, k5, p1, k5, p1
Round 11: *p1, k1, yo, ssk, p, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, p1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, p, k2tog, yo, k1, repeat from * to end
Round 12: p2, k2, p1, k5, p1, k5, p1, k2, p3, k2, p1, k5, p1, k5, p1, k2, p1 
Round 13: *p1, k3, p1, k5, p1, k5, p1, k3, repeat from * to end
Round 14: Repeat round 12

Round 15: *p1, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, p1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, p1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k1, repeat from * to end. 
Round 16: Repeat round 10
Rounds 17 through 25: repeat pattern from rounds 9 through 16.
Round 26: knit
Round 27: (eyelet row) *k2, yo, ssk, repeat from * to end
Round 28, 30, 32, and 34: knit
Round 29, 31, and 33, purl
Bind off

Seam bottom if you didn't use a "closed" cast on, weave in ends, and block. Thread an 18” i-cord, ribbon, or material of your choice through the row of eyelets for a drawstring. (I crocheted a 54” chain, then used that chain to crochet an 18” chain because making i-cord on circulars is a pain, and I'm lazy.)

Fill with dice, treasures, dreams, promises, silliness or whatever you like. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

TreMENDedous Socks

I made these for my friend Jeff. He has humongous feet, and they took forever.

I actually finished them in December of 2010. He somehow managed to tear a hole in one of them. He asked if I could mend them. The pattern is Kim Goddard's Beginner socks, which is the first one I ever used, and still a favorite.

(How does one tear the sole of a sock? I have no idea.)

I’ve never mended socks before, and had recently used up the leftover green/gray yarn. Of course. I had some scraps of the maroon/burgundy, so used that.

I pretty much just frogged out the torn bits of yarn, and tied them at the sides with a tiny square knot. (I don’t usually like to put knots in socks, but I couldn’t think of any other way to secure them.) Then I picked up the loops (8 of them) at the bottom of the hole as if they were a provisional cast on. Knitted two rows, weaving the yarn through the stitch at each side, then grafted to the loops on the top. For a first try at mending, I’m fairly pleased.

Aside from the hole, they’ve worn like iron, and have gotten even softer with wear, and he loves them, so I learned something worthwhile and he’s a happy man. Yeah, these last two pictures kind of remind me of lady parts, too.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brick Road Socks

The socks are done.  I wore them to bed last night, and had warm happy feet. They're actually a little too big, so I'm going to reblock them, and see if I can shrink them a small amount without too much felting. The Regia yarn is superwash. The Knitpicks--isn't. I know, I know. But I made these from scraps from other projects. One works with what one has.

I was looking for a toe up sock pattern on Ravelry, and Hermione's Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder came up. It's NOT toe-up. However, I've never met a pattern I didn't feel the need to rewrite at least a little, and I really liked the look of this one, so ever so blithely decided to convert it. (Pattern notes are below.)  The pattern and yarn remind me of the brick paved street in the small town where I grew up. It’s warm and soft, just a little rugged looking, and quite comforting. Since I've been quite homesick lately, this is a good thing.

I knit rather loosely. I used a combination of Knit Picks Palette and Regia 4-ply on size 1 needles, for a gauge of 7 stitches to the inch. They took about 200 yards of yarn; roughly 80 grams, total. They would have been better at 8 or 9 stitches per inch, but my size 0 needles broke. Increase or decrease by multiples of four for tighter or looser gauge, or to make your socks smaller or larger. The size I made is about a women's U.S. 9.

This pattern is fairly adaptable. I've written it for  Magic Loop, feel free to change to suit dpns, 2AAT, or whatever tickles your fancy. Because knitting should. Tickle one's fancy, I mean.

(If you use this pattern as I've written it, and find errors, PLEASE let me know? Thank you.) 

Cast on 24 stitches (I used Judy’s Magic Cast On.) Mark beginning of round.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: K2, M1 (I used Techknitter’s Nearly Invisible Increase), knit to two stitches from end of first needle, M1, K2 (14 stitches on first needle.) Repeat on second needle. (26 stitches total.)
Repeat these two rounds eight times. (17 rounds total, 28 stitches on each needle, 56 stitches in all.)
Knit 4 rounds even. If changing yarn, switch to main color, knit one round. (22 rounds in all.)

Round 1: k1, p1, k2, repeat five times, k1, p1, k2 (28 stitches on first needle, this will be the to top of the foot,) knit 28 stitches (second needle, this will be the bottom of the foot,) to complete the round.
Round 2: knit
Round 3: k3, p1, repeat five times, k3 (end of first needle), k28 to complete the round.
Round 4: knit
Repeat until sock measures 5” (or about 55% of total desired foot length.) End with round 2 or round 4.
Increase for gussets:
Round 1: Knit the stitches on the first needle in pattern, on the second needle, k2, M1, k24, M1, k2. (30 stitches on needle)
Round 2: Knit
Repeat these two rounds ten more times (50 stitches on needle 2)

Regarding the heel: Short row heels--while pretty--don’t fit my funky shaped feet very well, and I prefer a slightly rounded (French) to a square (German) heel. I also prefer using paired decreases for making short rows to the “wrap and turn” technique. (I only despise w&t with the fire of 97 suns, but if I can avoid it, I will.) For these socks; I wanted the Regia yarn on the bottom as well as the back of the heel, because it is reinforced with nylon, and will be longer wearing.

I originally planned to make Maia Spins Toe Up Gusseted Heel) but couldn’t wrap--no, the pun wasn’t intended--my brain around doing that while also changing the yarn, purling the edge stitches, and using an  slipped half linen stitch pattern going up the back of the sock. I’m sure it can be done, but my technical skills just aren’t quite up to it. Maybe next time.

This is what I did instead. It’s a little funky, but it fits well and I think it looks pretty good.

Heel Shaping Part I:
A “half moon” will be made with short rows worked on the 26 stitches in the center of needle two, leaving 12 unworked “gusset” stitches on each side. These unworked stitches will be picked up and worked into the sides of the heel cup and flap, later on. If it’s easier to slip these stitches to the other needle or to cable needles to keep them out of the way until it’s their turn to be worked, feel free.

Row 1: If using a contrast yarn; skip the first 12 stitches on the needle, join at stitch 13. k26, turn. (If not changing yarn, knit across 38 stitches. Turn.)
Row 2: (wrong side) Slip 1st stitch, purl across to three stitches from end, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: Slip 1st stitch, knit across to to three stitches from end (or gap--or 15 stitches--if the gusset stitches on the working needle), ssk, k1, turn.
Repeat these two rows, decreasing one stitch per row, for a total of 19 rows. (There should be seven "live" stitches left in the center of the row.)

Heel Shaping Part II:
Round 1: (WS) pick up 7 stitches along the decreased edge as if to purl. Pick up the next 3 stitches along that edge as if to knit. Slip the first stitch of the "live" gusset stitches onto the right hand needle, slip the final picked up stitch over and off. Turn. (17 stitches on needle)
Round 2: (RS) s1, p2, k14, pick up 7 stitches along the decreased edge as if to knit, pick up the next 3 stitches along that edge as if to purl. Knit the next stitch together with the first live gusset stitch. Turn. (27 stitches on needle.)
Round 3: s1, k2, p21, k2, p1, p next stitch together with the live gusset stitch next to it. Turn
Round 4: s1, p2, (k1, s1 wyif) 10 times, k1, p2, knit next stitch together with the adjacent live gusset stitch, turn.
Repeat rounds 3 and 4 until all gusset stitches have been picked up and decreased into heel. (19 more times)

Switch to main color if changing colors. (I like Techknitter's jogless stripes method for color changes.
Round 1 Work instep in pattern previously established, continue across heel stitches in same pattern, M1 (either kfb or lift from the stitch below). (56 stitches total) 
Round 2: Work in pattern around.
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until desired length is reached, approximately 38 more times.  (Mine is 3.5 inches from the top of the heel flap.)
Change color for ribbing, if desired.

Round 1: k1, p1, around
Repeat Round 1 until desired length is reached, approximately 15 more times. (Mine is 1.5 inches).

Bind Off with Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off. 

Weave in ends, yada yada yada, wash, block, yada, yada, yada,


I Despise Computer Programs When--

I accidentally do a thing that isn't what I want it to do, and a program won't let me UNDO it. Particularly when it causes me to lose the half finished post I was trying to put up. I just want to put my freaking pictures where I want them to go, please and thank you. I don't want them left, right, or bloody centered, I want them in various places all over the page, and I don't appreciate having to freaking learn how to bloody code to make happen, or have the whole thing turn into just the image with no way to get back to where I was. 


On that note, I'm going to go away from this for a while. And think about whether I want to create a WordPress blog instead.

Edit: I downloaded WordPress to look at it. It doesn't pretend to be easy, at least, and has very explicit instructions for setting it up, which--unfortunately--assumes knowledge I either don't have or am pretty fuzzy about,  What I do know doesn't map over as well as I'd like. So maybe not, at least not right now. When I'm ready to learn me a bunch of new computer stuff, maybe. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Helen's Bag of Holding

I finished Helen's Bag of Holding a month ago, (after a year and a complete redo!) and really like the way it turned out. The pattern is Linda Skinlo's Let's Go Shopping Market Bag.

I used Jil Eaton Cottontail yarn; around two 50 gram skeins. It's supposedly a "sport" weight, I'd call it a DK. I'm too lazy to fish some out and figure wpi (wraps per inch) but I may do that one of these days. I knit very loosely, so used U.S. size 5 needles (3.75 mm). (Fibergypsy has a great needle sizing chart here.) If your knitting is on the tight side, go up a needle size, or even two. Gauge isn't that important on something like this, unless you've got a limited amount of yarn, but it's handy to know what yours is likely to be.

No, I didn't swatch. *rolls eyes* If I had, I might not have decided to frog the whole thing and start over when it came out too bloody big the first time, but it probably wouldn't have made a difference if I had. For an accounting type person who loves math, I can be seriously clueless. Give me algebra and spreadsheets, I'm in hog heaven. Geometry, not so much. Why CAN'T two solid physical objects occupy the same space at the same time?

 Gathering all the links and tricks and tips and patterns and stuff I've collected is on the project list too.

Why can't American women figure sizes? It's because their men have told them it's eight inches when it's really six. *heh* The clothing makers lie to us too. A LOT. But that's a rant for a different post, possibly a different blog. 

I didn't like the garter stitch straps on the original pattern. Besides, it doesn't indicate where they should be attached. So--96 stitches, divided by 4, no by 8, no, subtract 40 then divide by--oh bloody hell. Screw that. I redid them as i-cord. I wanted to place them evenly around, and attach each end to four stitches on the border. Which is two rows of single crochet, by the way. I'll try an attached i-cord on the next bag I make, which WON'T be this pattern. (I like it, but I've made it three times, and I'm ready for something different.) The i-cord handles are placed 20 stitches apart, btw. (96 -16 = 80. 80/4 = 20. In case you were wondering.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Half A Sheep

"Pity about the scarf-- Madame Nostradamus made it for me-- a witty little knitter. Never get another one like it--" The Doctor, Ark in Space

By now, you may have figured out that I'm a bit of a Geek. If not, this will probably convince you. Who else would knit a fourteen foot scarf in sport weight wool, all in garter stitch?

Natalie went to visit her Uncle last Christmas. Her cousin was knitting a scarf. A Dr. Who scarf. Several days later, watching me sitting in the living room with yarn and needles in my lap, she mentioned how cool it was and wistfully wondered if it it was something I could make. I like to knit socks and hats because they are small and not boring, and they still take me forever. Had anyone else wished I could knit this thing for them, I would have laughed and possibly said something like "Die in a Fire." (Okay, I wouldn't have said it. But I would have thought it rather loudly.)

But this was Natalie. The person I love more than anyone else in this world. The person for whom I've made pretty things  for four years, that she appreciates and adores (so she says) but that she never uses or wears. I found a website devoted to Dr. Who scarves. (Yes, there's more than one. Scarf I mean, but there's more than one website too.)

I found another website with a pattern. I found a Dr. Who scarf discussion group on Ravelry. I found yarn. I found needles. I found time and patience and a place to block the thing once it was done.

I found a nifty little graphic that can be programmed to show one's progress:


I took notes. And pictures.

I'm inordinately proud of finishing this thing. I have a bizarre desire to make another. Season 18 this time. Which is six feet longer, and made with chenille. Chenille is just fashion molecules holding hands, and I can't find the right colors. This is probably a good thing, as I can't afford it and don't know anyone willing to hunt and skin a herd of wild polyesters for me anyway.

01/09/11 Got my yarn today! I’m VERY impressed with Kaleidoscope Yarns I originally mistyped my address, they contacted me immediately, and we got it straightened out. Shipping for this entire lot was $4.50. I’m excited.

1/12/12 The notes for this thing will probably be almost as long as the scarf by the time I’m finished. It takes me about two minutes per row. And 20 minutes to ladder down and fix the inevitable mistakes I keep making that I don’t notice until 20 rows later.

I don’t like the grey yarn as much as the other colors. It’s a little thinner, not as evenly textured, and a little “fuzzier.”

Going to have to set the scarf aside for a while to finish a couple of other things. I’m also thinking more and more about knitting myself a pair of socks, I’m tired of having freezing cold feet.

Finished two hats and started a pair of socks, now back to the scarf. Over the 50% mark!

Had to redo the 16 rows of yellow, I accidentally cut one of the loops trimming of an end, and didn’t like the way it looked when I darned it. Then I came across a knot in the yarn, which kind of annoyed me; as I’ve been putting in extra effort to avoid knots. Ah well. On to the 56 rows of green.

The pattern calls for one skein of brown yarn. This is cutting it pretty fine in terms of yardage for me. I ordered a second skein, just in case.

I actually did have enough in the single skein of brown yarn, but I won’t complain about having more. I’m working on the last strip of purple, and then done knitting. The finished scarf is going to be about 11 feet long sans fringe, so I’m going to stretch it a bit when I block it.

The knitting is DONE! All the ends are woven in and trimmed. YAY! I still have to wash and block (where the bloody heck am I going to be able to lay this thing flat where the four foots won’t walk on it?) and add the fringe.

Blocked and drying. How do you block a knitted object that is 14 feet long? Very carefully. I folded it in half lengthwise, and laid it on towels in the spare bedroom. It’s sloppy, but it will do. I REALLY want some blocking wires, now. It took about two days to dry.

The second ball of brown came today; I would have had enough to make half the tassels without it. Tassels are done. Scarf is DONE! I’ll try to get some pics in the natural sunlight tomorrow.

Adding a couple of miscellaneous notes just for the halibut:

I made 13 tassels per side, spaced five stitches apart: one 12” strand of each color pulled through the second row up in a bunch with a crochet hook, the ends looped back through in a “larks head” knot. Tara Wheeler says she usually does 14, the BBC pattern calls for seven, YMMV.

I did my edges by slipping the first stitch of every row, purlwise, which gave me pretty “chained” selvages. This is supposedly not authentic. I also worked in my new yarn with Russian joins, and carried the tail of the old yarn about 10 stitches intarsia style and then cut it, so no weaving in of ends, and no knots. Also, supposedly not “authentic,” but I like the way it looks and I hate knots in my knitting. My finished scarf was about 11 feet prior to blocking, and blocked to 14 feet. So--just right.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


This is--eventually--going to be a place for stuff about knitting, crochet, perhaps some sewing and paper crafts, a place for me to collect and muse, publish original patterns, and stuff like that. For now, it's just a little reflective surface covering some chaos.

Rana Catesbiana