Still here!

29 09 2011

Here we are again. I’ve been absent, and as to what I’ve been up to…it’s the usual–knitting. I do love knitting, so even when I’m not blogging, it carries on. Now as to why I haven’t been blogging, well, that’s a longer story. I spent most of July and a little bit of August focus on knitting for the etsy shop and selling locally at The Alley Cat Collective and the Farmers’ Market, and then when I decided to focus less on the shop, I spent time catching up on birthday presents and knits for other people. Then came September, and for the first time in a while, I just knit for me, doing whatever I felt like doing, so I have some finished projects and about 6 WIPS. Good times.  The month and a half shop focus means that I haven’t done all that much that I can share, but I do have a few FOs to share, and I plan to do at least one post about the Texas State Fair.

Let’s dig in. I made a Kindle sleeve at the beginning of June for Bettye’s birthday because she got a Kindle. It also came with a gift card and an offer of unlimited technical support, although she didn’t need that for so long as she picked it up pretty quickly. This one was knit in Mal Worsted in Apricot.

kindle sleeve apricot 3

I then crocheted a birthday present for her son, Robert. I wanted to make him something cool, and it ended up being a little late because it took me a while to find an idea I liked, but I finally settled on amigurumis of his family based on the patterns of Lucy Ravenscar with hair from a tutorial by Geek Central Station. They were knit in Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton and used embroidery floss for hair. I think they went over pretty well, until the dog ate off Robert’s eye. I’m not that upset because, well, who can be angry at a corgi?

rob fam 3

I finished up my knitting in June with Cookie A ‘s BFF socks.  My version was called Pen Pals because it was knit out of my local Tally yarn from vacation, TurtleDove Yarns Pigeon Sock. This was my last successful attempt to participate in the Cookie A Knit. Sock. Love KAL. Oh well.

bff socks 3

I know three FOs in a month is a pretty low count for me. The rest of the time was spent on the shop, so I guess I’ll blog a little about what I learned from that. Let’s see it was fun to see other people enjoy my knits and to see my work going as far as Australia. I enjoyed the actual knitting, and I had fun just following my bliss as far as what to knit next. The best part? Building up my stock of “shop” yarn, by which I mean a fat stack of Malabrigo Worsted. Dreamy. The worst part? The utter lack of personal knitting time. I’ve finished two projects using yarn out of my personal stash in the last four months. Ouch, and I’ve decided to do Stashdown this next quarter. The Farmers’ Market was a delightful way to meet people, but I’m done with it for the year, so I’m now dealing with the much less hectic business through Alley Cat and the etsy shop, and a few Christmas orders. I hope this will allow me to find a better balance between my different types of knitting.

For this section, I’m including a picture of Sammie the Sailor, which I knit for no better reason than I was feeling nautical. He was knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Natural and Marine, from Rebecca Danger‘s Sammie the Sock Monster pattern.

sammie sailor 1

I did knit one non-shop item in July, but I think it will fit better in a later post, so I’m moving on to August, in which I started by doing a pattern sample for Rose. You  know I had to fit one in there, right? This time it was her Strands of Pearls Shawlette in Twisted Fiber Art Playful in Weimaraner and Squoosh Fiberarts Sock in Mocha Kiss. The shawl was a fun knit, but I was really disappointed by the ultimate fate of this shawl, which is to say that it was cruelly lost forever in the US mail system. Thanks, post office. I’m so paranoid now that I’m still adding delivery confirmation to every shipment I send.

sps 3

I think I will wind this post up with one other knit for Rose, and when I say Rose, I mean rather more directly for her, because her birthday is in August. Fellow Rose test-knitter Catrina came up with a brilliant idea. She would spin some yarn and I would knit it into cozy socks for Rose, and even better another tester Jennifer would dye the fiber, so we each did a little bit, and came up with this pair of socks for her.

rose sock 2

The upside/downside (trust me, it’s both) is that Catrina is now spinning for me too. I was already having issues NOT buying fiber, which is hilarious since I don’t spin, and now that I have a spinner on tap, well let’s say I’m in trouble. Here’s what I’ve already stashed from her hands. The first is PRS Superwash Merino in Malarkey and the second is limegreenjelly MCN in Jungle Boogie, both in fingering weight. Gorgeous!

prs merino malarkey 2lgj mcn jungle boogie 1

See you soon; I pinkie swear.

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Selfish, selfish knitting

31 01 2011

January is my favorite selfish knitting time because I’m basically decompressing after six months of knitting for other people nearly exclusively. I knit whatever I feel like for as long as I feel like. It’s the only time of the year I cast on five or six projects (1-2 is normal) and swap between them as the mood strikes me. I love January, but I’ll admit by mid-February I begin to again crave my normal knitting discipline since that’s how I actually get things done. So how have I spent this January? I’ve knit two shawls and four pairs of socks. I’m mad for socks right now. Cookie A released a new book Knit. Sock. Love. and I have wholeheartedly signed onto the KAL group on Ravelry.

My first finished project for 2011 is for that knit-along, a pair of Pointelle, knit on US 1/2.25mm and US 1.5/2.5mm. The yarn was a lovely skein of Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in Sandworm. Being a Dune nerd, I named my project Shai-Hulud. I love, love these socks.

Shai-Hulud 4

Shai-Hulud 5

After that I cast on some socks with a skein of my birthday yarn that has been sitting around since May. I purchased a couple of skeins of MCN light fingering yarn in a base called Kashmir from The Woolen Rabbit. This colorway is called Blue Moon, and I’m knitting Anne Hanson‘s French Quarter Sock in it on US 0/2.0mm and US 1/2.25mm, so I named the project Blue Moon over the French Quarter.

bmofq wip 2

I’ll admit to only knitting the first sock in the third pair, because I wanted to make sure that I would have enough yarn for the fourth pair. Having determined that, I knit the whole fourth pair first, and then came back to finish this pair of Blackrose Socks by Suzi Anvin. I knit Blackrose on US 1/2.25mm  in my very first skein of Tri’Coterie, some BFL SW in True Blood.

blackrose 2

blackrose 1

So what pair of socks had me so excited that I knit a whole sock to be able to get to them? That would be OMGWTFBBQ. I managed to get a single skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in Zombie BBQ in destash, and then used the red True Blood for heels, toe, and cuff. They’re simple toe-up with an afterthought heel, and I like them. A  lot.

omgwtfbbq 2

omgwtfbbq 1

Before I got back to the Blackrose socks, I decided to tackle another project that I had been working on intermittently. I’d started a Clockwork by Stephen West, using a combination of handspun given to me by my friend Laura and a skein of The Plucky Knitter Silk/Merino 50/50 435 in Funny Affair with Tiffany’s that I had detangled after a death strike by someone’s 15-month-old chocolate lab. Given the yarn’s near-death experience, I decided to call the project Minutes to Midnight. It was knit on US 5 -/3.75mm. I don’t know how well the two yarns work together, but I had to do something to cover the post-frogging fuzziness of the silk yarn.

minutes to midnight 2

I have had a few other things in the work, but I’m not able to share all of them now, so that’s it for now!





Cabled iPad Sleeve (Pattern)

3 11 2010

As promised, I tinkered with the Kindle sleeve pattern, and now have an iPad version available. I should have anticipated that there would be a demand for the pattern in the first place, as right after I finished my Kindle sleeve, my friend Abbie, also known as The Green Wife, asked if I could make her one for her iPad.

If I’d listened to her at the time, I would have had both patterns ready at the same time! Instead, I spent the last couple of days knitting one up for her, this time out of some lovely The Plucky Knitter Superwash Merino Worsted in Love Letters, and I dropped it off at her house yesterday. She sent me some lovely photos of it today, so I can now share the pattern with her photography.

I plan to knit a second iPad sleeve out of Malabrigo Worsted for a future giveaway, so please check back!

cabled ipad sleeve 1

Cabled iPad Sleeve

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted, 150-170 yards (140-155 m).
  • Needles: US 8 – 5.0 mm, 36″ or longer  for magic loop, or use your preferred circular knitting method.
  • Size: 10″ x 8″ (25 cm x 20 cm), 10.75″ x 5.5″ unstretched (27 cm x 14 cm)
  • Gauge: 20 stitches and 32 rows = 4″ (10cm) in stockinette.
  • Notions: cable needle (if preferred), stitch markers, one 3/4″ (19 mm) button, tapestry needle, sewing needle, thread to sew on button, crochet hook in H – 5.0 mm (optional).

2 x 2 Left Cross:

With a cable needle: Slip two stitches purlwise onto cable needle, hold in front, knit next two stitches, knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Without a cable needle: Slip two stitches, purlwise to the right-hand needle, knit next two stitches and transfer to RH needle. Slip LH needle into first two stitches from the front, slip RH needle out of stitches 3 and 4, and then back into these two stitches behind stitches 1 and 2, knit stitches 1 and 2. (I learned this technique here.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________

CO 64 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which establishes knitting in the round.

Rows 1-3: *K3, P1, (K4, P1) 5 times, K3* twice.

Row 4: *K3, P1, Cross 2 L , P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K3* twice.

Row 5-7: *K3, P1, (K4, P1) 5 times, K3* twice. .

Row 8: *K3, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, K3* twice.

Repeat Rows 1-8 until piece measures 10.75″ (27 cm) from cast-on edge, ending on an odd row.

Bind off 32 stitches and then continue in pattern across the back, now working flat with WS (odd rows) knit as: P3, K1, (P4, K1) 5 times, P3.

Continue for approximately 2.75″ (7 cm), and then work RS button-hole row as K3, P1, (K4, P1) 2 times, K2, YO, K2tog, P1, (K4, P1) 2 times, K3.

Knit in pattern for another .75″ (2 cm), and then bind off. I chose to single-crochet around the flap to reinforce it, but that is optional. If did it without breaking the yarn by binding off on the RS, single crocheting down the left side, slip stitching back up, slip stitching across the top, single crocheting down the right side, slip stitching back to the top, and then finishing off on the top right side of the flap. You could so this in knitting by picking up and knitting the stitches, and then knitting across them for a couple of rows of garter.

I’ve decided to add a new note on how to block this pattern. Since the body is intended to stretch to fit, it does not need to be blocked, but the flap really does look better if it’s been blocked, so what I do is slip the iPad (or iPad-sized insert) into the completed sleeve then place it flat on my blocking board and pin the flap so that it matches the dimensions of the case now that it’s stretched; the pins should be placed around the edges and will look like half of a rectangle. I then carefully slip the iPad out of the sleeve and use a spray bottle of water to saturate the flap and let it dry.

cabled ipad sleeve 2





Kindle Sleeve (Pattern)

1 11 2010

Right, so I didn’t update again for the whole of October, even after I said I would, and I haven’t shared any projects that were knitted after August. What have I been up to then? Knitting! I’ve made a huge dent in my Christmas knitting, and I’m beginning to think, maybe too optimistically, that I could even be done before December rolls around. We’ll see.

I also purchased a Kindle, which I love, love, love. I ordered a pretty handmade case for it from etsy from an unfortunately backlogged seller, which left me with the question of how to cover it until my other case arrived. I was seriously looking around, trying to remember if I had a case on hand or a project bag that would work as a substitute, when I remembered that I am a knitter. Right. I made up a snug offset cable case knit out of some leftover Mal Worsted in Geranio.

The pattern is pretty straightforward, but I thought I’d share it if anyone else would like to make one!

kindle sleeve 1 kindle sleeve 3

Cabled Kindle Sleeve

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted, 70-90 yards (60-85 m). I used a little more than a third of a skein, I would recommend having at least a half skein available. The color shown is Geranio 044.
  • Needles: US 8 – 5.0 mm, 36″ or longer  for magic loop, or use your preferred circular knitting method.
  • Size: 8″ x 5″ (20 cm x 13 cm), 8.5″ x 3.5″ unstretched (21 cm x 9 cm)
  • Gauge: 20 stitches and 32 rows = 4″ (10cm) in stockinette.
  • Notions: cable needle (if preferred), stitch markers, one 3/4″ (19 mm) button, tapestry needle, sewing needle, thread to sew on button, crochet hook in H – 5.0 mm (optional).

I wanted a snug fit, so I calculated that in would be about for a unstretched fit it the case would need 44-48 sts, and cast on 40. If you wanted a less snug fit, you could add an 8 extra purl stitches, one more in each purl section, or an extra two knit stitch on each of the side panels. These instructions can also be used to adapt the pattern to the Nook which is .2″ wider and .2″ longer than the Kindle 3, and by also adding an additional .5″ of height on the sleeve.

Adaptations for the new Kindles: For the smaller no-keypad Kindle, subtract 1″ (2 cm) from the original total height of 8.5″ (21 cm) to 7.5″ (19 cm) and for the Kindle Touch, subtract .5″ (1 cm) to 8″ (20 cm) for the total length. The Kindle Fire is almost the exact same dimensions as the Kindle 3, and should fit in this pattern as written.

2 x 2 Left Cross:

With a cable needle: Slip two stitches purlwise onto cable needle, hold in front, knit next two stitches, knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Without a cable needle: Slip two stitches, purlwise to the right-hand needle, knit next two stitches and transfer to RH needle. Slip LH needle into first two stitches from the front, slip RH needle out of stitches 3 and 4, and then back into these two stitches behind stitches 1 and 2, knit stitches 1 and 2. (I learned this technique here.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________

CO 40 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast-On, which establishes knitting in the round.

Rows 1-3: *K2, P1, K4, P1, K4, P1, K4, P1, K2* twice.
Row 4: *K2, P1, Cross 2 L , P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K2* twice.
Row 5-7: *K2, P1, K4, P1, K4, P1, K4, P1, K2* twice.
Row 8: *K2, P1, K4, P1, Cross 2 L, P1, K4, P1, K2* twice.

Repeat Rows 1-8 until piece measures 8.5″ (21 cm) from cast-on edge, ending on an odd row.

Bind off 20 stitches and then continue in pattern across the back, now working flat with WS (odd rows) knit as: P2, K1, P4, K1, P4, K1, P4, K1, P2.

Continue for approximately 2.25″ (6 cm), and then work RS button-hole row as K2, P1, K4, P1, K2, YO, K2tog, P1, K4, P1, K2.   Mine happened to be on a row 6, which put the middle twist two rows above it, and it looks great, so you may want to aim for that.

Knit in pattern for another .5″ (1.5 cm), and then bind off. I chose to single-crochet around the flap to reinforce it, but that is optional. I did it without breaking the yarn by binding off on the RS, single crocheting down the left side, slip stitching back up, slip stitching across the top, single crocheting down the right side, slip stitching back to the top, and then finishing off on the top right side of the flap. You could so this in knitting by picking up and knitting the stitches, and then knitting across them for a couple of rows of garter.

I’ve decided to add a new note on how to block this pattern. Since the body is intended to stretch to fit, it does not need to be blocked, but the top really does look better if it’s been blocked, so what I do is slip the Kindle into the completed sleeve then place it flat on my blocking board and pin the flap so that it matches the dimensions of the case now that it’s stretched; the pins should be placed around the edges and will look like half of a square. I then carefully slip the Kindle out of the sleeve and use a spray bottle of water to saturate the flap and let it dry.

Happy knitting!

P.S. I basically knit this on the fly for my own entertainment, and hashed out the pattern after the fact, so if you find any errors please let me know!

The iPad version is available here.

kindle sleeve 2 kindle sleeve 4