Friday, July 27, 2007

Finished Object: Bunny Blanket Buddy

What do you do when you are sick of working cables on both right-side and wrong-side rows using 3.25 mm (US 3) needles? Well, you make something out of fluffy novelty yarn on ginormous needles, of course!


Pattern: Bunny Blanket Buddy or Blanket Bunny Buddy or some combination of those three words. Available for “free” from the Lion Brand website. (Actual retail cost: the personal information that you don’t want Lion Brand to have)
Yarn: Plymouth Heaven, 100% nylon (and 100% fluffy!), color 12 (yellow), 2 balls. Plus scraps of Rowan 4-Ply Cotton for embroidery
Needles: 6.5 mm (US 10.5) and 5.0 mm (US 8)
Notions: A little polyester fiberfill
Recipient: someone’s baby

BunnyFace1.jpgComments: I chose this pattern because it looked easy and kinda cute. But, much to my delight, I discovered that the pattern is very, very clever. The bottom part (from the neck down) is pretty straightforward. The most exciting bits are when you cast on and bind off for the arms. (More on that later.) But once you get to the neck—hold onto your hats!—all cleverness breaks out.

The head is double-knit! You knit the front and back of the head at the same time, creating a “pouch” to stuff later. The ears are shaped and attached to the top of the head using short rows! After stuffing, the top of the head is gathered like the top of a hat! So there is NO seaming at all. How nifty-keen is that?

I’m so pleased as Punch about this toy. I thought it would be boring and mindless, but it turned out to be an interesting knit and super cute. I knit up the toy in a couple of hours and then spent almost as much time embroidering the face. Artistic I am not.

BunnyEars2.jpgHelpful Hints:
• The pattern doesn’t say to WRAP AND turn when working the short rows. So I didn’t. Bad idea. Wrap those stitches to prevent holes. You don't even have to bother picking up the wraps because they will just disappear in the fluffiness.

• This kind of fluffy yarn is quite bulky and does not have much stretch. Therefore, when you cast on and bind off for the arms and ears you must choose your methods wisely. Traditional cast ons (like knitting on or the cable cast on) and bind offs can yield very stiff edges. I used a backward-loop cast on and a lace bind off and my edges are soft and flexible.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Cosmic Twinness

Over the last couple of years, Rachel and I have gotten to know each through our blogs, email, and gmail chat. In that time, we have been surprised at the many things we have in common. Rachel says its cosmic twinness.

Because we know each other so well, it seemed perfectly natural to me when Rachel told me that she was going to come to Texas and wanted to visit me. She would be visiting friends in Austin and San Antonio and then would swing by Houston for a brief stay. “Sure I’ll pick you up at the bus station, let you sleep in my yarn room, and then take you to the airport!” I told her.

Now let’s step back a minute. Pretend that you aren’t a knitblog reader or a knitter. Pretend that you are normal a safety-conscious person. What would you think if a good friend of yours told you that someone who she met over the Internet was traveling halfway across the country to visit her and that she would be picking up said Internet friend at a bus station in a highly dodgy neighborhood and then letting this “friend” stay overnight at her house? Well when you put it that way . . . .

Luckily for me (and Rachel), we discovered that we had even more things in common. For example, neither of us are axe murderers, sex offenders, or sleezy men who created innocent knitblogger personas with the sole purpose of luring an unsuspecting knitter into a friendship so that they kidnap her and steal all her money. Whew! Are you as relieved as I am?

Sadly Rachel could not fit her Starsky into her luggage so we couldn’t do true Sweater Twins photos, but she did manage to click a few other photos.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

I'm such a geek

Seen on Roxy's blog:

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz

I scored 100% with no cheating--I even got the questions in life science (my weakest science subject) right.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In which I appear to be copying Rachel again, but I really didn’t

One of the many things that Rachel and I have in common is a complete lack of interest in pursuing other fiber arts and/or crafts. We don’t want to spin or sew or dye or what-have-you. However, Rachel recently delved into the dyeing world. And believe it or not, so did I. I swear we didn’t talk to each other before we did this.

Predye.JPGLast fall during the International Quilt Festival, I picked up a shiny hank of silk laceweight from the Habu Textiles booth. I wasn’t so happy with the white color, but the person in the booth assured me that it would dye easily. I particularly wanted this yarn because it is reeled silk rather than spun silk so I bought it figuring that I would worry about dyeing it at a later time.

Then, last month I was shopping at KPixie and happened upon some natural colored cobweb-weight “pashmina.” Twelve dollars! One thousand yards! Click the “add to basket” button! (I don’t know if they carry this anymore. I can’t find it on their website now.) In the photo, the silk is on the left and the pashmina is on the right.

InJars.JPGNow that I had a second hank of blah colored yarn, I had to do something about both. Hey Kool-Aid! (That’s from a commercial, in case you young ‘uns don’t know.) I went to the store with the intention of buying pink and red Kool-Aid. I’m so predictable. Well, there are a lot of varieties of Kool-Aid including a handful of pinks and billions of reds. So I grabbed several hoping to find colors that I liked. I settled on Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi for the pashmina and Cherry for the silk.

1stDye.JPGAt first I tried the microwave method—you know, shove yarn in a Mason jar and nuke. That resulted in splotchy yarn. I was not happy. I decided that the pink pashmina was done well enough and I was worried that if I tried to dye it again, it would felt. (It threatened to felt after the first dyeing process and I really didn’t want to chance it.) However, the Cherry silk needed serious help. So back to the store for more Kool-Aid.

FYI—When you use those self-check out things at the grocery store, after scanning something you have to put the item on the scale thing on the end so that it can make sure that you’re not stealing. The self-check out freaks out if it doesn’t detect an item being placed on the scale thing. The scale thing CANNOT detect individual Kool-Aid packets. If I ever hear, “please put the item in the bag” again, I’m going to scream.

The partly red silk and additional Cherry Kool-Aid were cooked in a pot on the stove—not crammed Mason jar this time. I wanted the yarn to swim. The results are perfect. Now I have to figure out what to do with my new pink and red yarns.


Foreshadowing things to come

The title of Rachel’s latest post implies that she will be showing more things that she doesn’t normally do. *cue Twilight Zone music* I am also planning to show something else that I don’t normally do. It’s entirely possible that Rachel has been working on the same “art” that I am. I worry that she’s going to beat me to the punch again. So here’s a sneak preview of my extra-extra-curricular activity:


Friday, July 06, 2007

Finished Object: Katherine (Sal Crochet Cap)


Pattern: Sal from Rowan 31, one size
Yarn: Rowan 4 ply Cotton, color 120 Orchid, less than 1 ball
KatScout.JPGHook: 3.75 mm (US size F)
Peter’s Comment: I don’t think that’s going to keep your head warm.

My Comments: I think it’s a cute cap, but I’m not sure it’s cute on me. Sort of hippie chick. But as Drew says, it will be good for bad hair days.

I tried very hard to get a good close-up photo of the cap on my head, but it was not working. All photos were either poorly framed or out of focus. So I had to find a better model. First, Scout was recruited. But despite her best efforts, she couldn’t pull it off. The hat was simply too big for her. Plus, she put it on inside out. Silly cat can’t dress herself properly.

So I had to construct “fake Laura head” out of a tripod, an inverted bowl, and one of Peter’s black running shirts (don’t worry, it was clean).


I actually finished this cap more than a week ago, but didn’t get around to blogging about it because of an insane work schedule. Though, it turned out to be a good thing that I didn’t blog earlier. I think the hippie-chick hat may have prevented me from earning a . . .

Rockin’ Girl Blogger Award

Whoo Hoo! Rockin’ Valley Girl Agnes nominated me because I’m a scientist knitter. Who knew that geekiness could turn into Rockin’-ness?


Now it’s my turn to nominate five more bloggers for a Rockin’ Girl Bloggers award!

How could I not nominate Rockin’ Rachel? She’s my sweater twin, my Best Blog Friend (according to her), and the co-founder of the Apathetic Sock Knitters Club.

Then Superhero Sarah gets the tap. Sarah is a mild-mannered archeologist by day and Microfarmer Sarah by night (and weekends). She has 5 cats, 2 dogs, 1 llama, 4 goats, 12 chickens, and 6 SHEEP! She’s going to adopt me so that I can live on her farm.

Next up is Über-creative Elizabeth. I love Elizabeth’s blog because she allows us to peek into the mind of a knitwear designer. And she’s a great nature photographer—but watch out for the bug photos if you’re easily creeped out like I am.

Of course Biker Debby is rockin’. After all, she has a PINK bike. Debby is also co-hosting this year’s Tour de France KAL in the most fun way. Compete for jerseys! Learn about the Tour!

Last but not least is Mad Scientist Jeanne. Jeanne has been conducting experiments in her kitchen as she dyes with natural dyestuff. And she does math during these experiments! What could be more rockin’?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Red Alert! Error in Morrigan!

Okay, so it's probably not a major red alert seeing as I'm probably one of about 10 knitters worldwide who are knitting Morrigan. (I found 3 others started on the web, I'm not the only crazy one.) BUT it is a major error.

I emailed Jenna and her entire response is below. The error is in the number of times that rows 69–76 of the Side Chart are worked.

Crap! you're right! That should have been 4 times. I checked back
through all my drafts, and I had written it as 6, (6, 8, 8, 8, 8)
throughout, but obviously the math doesn't work that way!

Because I used AppleWorks (since uninstalled and I don't know what we
did with the install disks), I can't check the spreadsheet notes to
figure out where the mistake originated... all my text notes show
that I miscounted, and evidently thought that rows 77-84 of the side
chart were only 6 rows, not 8. The tech editor must have done the
same thing, too!

So, the Side chart should indicate that the repeats of rows 69-76 are
4 (4, 5, 5, 6, 6). Here's the logic:

Total rows before bind-offs according to Chart A count: 140 (140,
156, 156, 164, 164)

4 rows of foundation pattern (chart rows 1-2)
8 rows of patt (chart rows 3-10 x 1)
32 (32, 40, 40, 40, 40) rows of rep (chart rows 11-18)
50 rows of patt (chart rows 19-68 x 1)
--at this point, we've worked 94 (94, 102, 102, 102, 102) rows; 46
(46, 54, 54, 62, 62) to go before bind-off--
32 (32, 40, 40, 48, 48) rows of rep (chart rows 69-76 x 4 (4, 5, 5,
6, 6))
8 rows of patt (chart rows 77-84 x 1)
--this adds 40 (40, 48, 48, 56, 56) rows; another 6 rows to work
following rows 85-92 as necessary--

Thinking about it, I'm positive I kept counting rows 77 to 84 as 6
rows, because I recall I thought that it would end neatly with row 84
for the smallest size, and then I must have incorporated that set of
rows into the repeat count by accident. You could, if you wished,
treat this as a 5x repeat, which means that instead of working rows
77-84 before the bind-off, you'd only work rows 77-82; on the bind-
off row, you'd integrate three double decreases. This would make the
cable pattern fill the underarm all the way up to the bind-off,
rather than leaving a 6-row gap of reverse stockinette across those 9
rows. [edit: she means "those 9 stitches"]

Well. Considering the complexity of the pattern, I'm grateful that
you found only this and that symbol in row 1 in Chart B...

Thanks for forging on ahead!