Friday, April 17, 2015

So Many Socks

As time marches on, here at Chez Crafty, I am completing projects at a much faster pace than I have been blogging them.  I have had it pointed out to me that I am being remiss in keeping everyone up to date with my goings on, so here is a finished-sock round-up for you, to get things started.

First a simple two-colour striped sock, as is one of my favourites.  I did the usual 3:1 ratio of rounds, this time as 6 rounds grey to 2 rounds pink.  I love how these turned out - they are a really cozy colour combination and so comfy.

The second pair is one that I took my time completing - one of my knitting groups had decided to do a stranded colour work knitalong, and I chose this design.  I pretty much only worked on them when I was with the group, so they took a long time.  The pattern is a super fun one, that you build as you go - components of the design are printed off onto paper and made into dice that you roll to decide what the overall sock will look like, 10 lines of knitting at a time.  The randomness of it and the anticipation of what the next section would add to the design kept me going on this one.  Of course, stranded knitting makes some thick warm socks, so I probably will wear these around home on chilly mornings, and not so much in shoes.

When Knit Picks reintroduced some new colours of Felici self-striping yarn, I couldn't resist picking up at least one colourway - this one is called Rustic Cabin and I fell in love with it.  Didn't take long to make a lovely pair of stockingette toe-up socks.  I will have to keep my eyes peeled for more Felici in the future.  There is nothing I enjoy more than peacefully knitting mindless stockingette and having it come out in pretty stripes without any effort on my part.

Finally, Hazel Knits did a knitalong for March/April - this cool pair of socks were the recommended design.  I thought they were super pretty and just happened to have some beautiful silvery Hazel Knits yarn in my stash, so I knitted some up.  The original pattern had beads, as well, but I left them out.  I think they're still really beautiful!

Of course I have two more pairs on the needles right now.  I will never run out of socks!  Many other things are going on, as well, including completed weaving projects and new weaving projects, so stay tuned.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weaving Green

There are a lot of fun weaving structures in the world, but having tried Summer & Winter once, I have had a strong urge to keep playing with it.

I used another name draft to come up with this pattern, but then one of my weaving reference books reminded me that I can use different tie-ups with the same threading to make lots of variations on the same design.  Since I am on a table loom, I don't actually use tie-ups at all, but rather make the variations line by line, as I am doing the actual weaving.  This really opens up a myriad of possibilities for me, and as such, I decided to make a bit of a longer warp and do five different towels.

I am about halfway through the first one, and really can't wait to see how the rest turn out!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wibbly Wobbly Doctor Donna Socks

When someone has many passions, it is always fun to find little ways to overlap them.  A while ago, I found a great little yarn dyer called Nerd Girl Yarns, who dyes skeins of yarn in lovely nerdy themes, like Firefly and Sherlock and one of my newfound passions, Doctor Who.  Even the hard heart of a girl trying not to buy more variegated sock yarn has to be softened by such delightful fare.

One of the Doctor Who themed skeins was called Doctor Donna, the name of which will bring a tear to the eye of many a Whovian.  After putting it in my shopping cart and mulling it over for a week or two, I finally gave in to my baser urges and decided it was best just to buy it (along with another skein which we'll talk about another day.)

Doctor Donna has lovely portions of both a nice brown from Tenth's suit, as well as a beautiful deep Tardis blue and a deep auburn reminiscent of Donna's hair.  I was hoping for the best as I began at the cuff, where the blue and brown seemed destined to make a nice path around and around the sock.

By the time I was done the leg, I knew I was in trouble.  The blue pooled at the back of the leg, and didn't make much of an appearance at the front.  I shrugged it off because I knew things would change up at the heel flap and gusset.

The blue appeared, making several stripey rounds of different sizes as the sock circumference changed.  Then I got to the foot and realized that it was no good, the blue would somehow stay on the sole for the entire foot of the sock.  As you can see in the photo (with a cat paw included not so much for a size comparison but because my cat is determined to become one of those viral internet cats) the blue only reappeared again at the toe.

There is a second sock, though, I thought.  Well, you can see what came of that.  Somehow it turned out almost exactly the same.

At some point I remembered a moment from one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes, The Doctor's Wife, and although it was the Eleventh Doctor in that episode, and not Donna's Doctor, it certainly applies here:
The Doctor: You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.

The Tardis: No, but I always took you where you needed to go.
I guess the yarn took me where I needed to go.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fire & Water

I started just playing around with different colour combinations, since I have a lot of colours to work with, this year, so I made a scarf with a combination of red/orange/yellow in the warp.  I was going to do the whole weft in a lighter yellow (as you see in the bottom right of the photo) but decided that the light colour was washing out all of the vibrancy of the warp.  I plopped some orange stripes in there, and that helped, so then I switched to some darker paprika stripes and liked that too.  For the darkest colour, I also shrunk the width of the stripe, just to keep things interesting.  I think the way it changes looks pretty cool.

Then I decided to try something with a greenier tone, so I put a couple of pale greens and a yellow in the next warp and wove it with a light blue and a darker blue/green, in an unequal ratio.  The combination of colours makes me think of Aquaman, though I'm sure no kids today would even know who that is.

Friday, December 12, 2014

It's Time to Light the Lights

Two more scarves for the kids:

I was looking at an example of the clasped weft technique in one of my old weaving magazines, a while ago, and had an epiphany, that I could use it to make a cool zig-zag scarf.  It didn't take long to get from there to the idea of a Kermit the Frog scarf, emulating the little green pointy collar he has around his neck.  The technique worked perfectly and was so easy!  Maybe I'll use it again sometime to do something more harlequin-y.

Having done a Kermie scarf, I thought the pink and purple one I followed up with might suit Miss Piggy, since it made me think of her purple opera gloves.  I chose a bunch of colours for evenly spaced stripes in the warp and then did a two-colour stripe for the weft.  It's nicer than this, in person, I just couldn't get the colours right in the photo.

More to come!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Season for Scarves

So it's that time of year again, where I occupy my weaving loom (Miss Bennet) with a whole series of quick and fun and colourful scarves for donation.  This year I inadvertently started out with a bit of a Disney theme, since my first inspiration was to weave a scarf for all the little girls who want to be Elsa, from Frozen.  I just picked a handful of representative colours and did the warp randomly, and the weft in little stripes of two colours.

Then my next thought was of a recent favourite Disney lady of mine, Merida, from Brave.  I did a tartan-ish design (she's Scottish, so duh) and used the colours of her dress and hair to weave it.  I really love how it turned out, particularly since I was lazy about it and just used two of the colours for weft, when there were so many more in the warp.

My third inspiration was Maleficent, from the recent movie version with Angelina Jolie.  I used a bunch of darker colours in the warp (and again two in stripes in the weft) but this time did an inlay technique with a couple of shades of green (like green misty magic.)  Well, the two shades of green turned out to be a bit too close, since they look pretty much like the same yarn, and the mist might look more like PacMan, but I still think it's really cool how it turned out.

I have another scarf on the loom right now, but am always looking for inspiration, if you have any ideas...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ariel Socks

Even though I put a great deal of effort into knitting up my whole variegated sock yarn stash, last year, there are still times when seeing a particularly beautiful skein makes me weak in the knees.  When I saw this yarn at the Loopy Ewe, a fuzzy warm BFL called Willow, from Huckleberry Knits, I noticed not only the amazing colours but that the colourway was named Little Mermaid.  How could I resist that?

I started out using a 2.25 mm birch circular, on the first sock, but somewhere around the heel of that sock, the needle tip broke off (ugh) so I transferred everything to a 2.25 mm steel circular.  Being as the needles were the same measurement, I never imagined that the two socks would turn out so different!  You can clearly see the different ways the colours stack on each foot, and somehow it even looks like there's a limey green in the right foot (there isn't.)  It turns out that my stitches are a wee bit snugger and tidier on a steel circular.  This may change everything.

I have another variegated sock yarn on the needles right now, and it's doing something even crazier, but that will be a topic for another day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jollyoly Hat

A couple of weeks ago, my HLM realized it's autumn.  Soon after, he realized that his Opie Hat has gone missing, and requested another one.  I told him that I'd get around to knitting him one, soon, and then, as I was motoring through the mall on the way to an appointment, I came upon a little craft store that had some yarn in the window.  I popped in and grabbed a ball of some nice-ish acrylic to make his Opie Hat.  Then I spotted a ball of lovely soft silvery nylon/acrylic sportweight and fell in love with it.

I decided it needed to be a hat, and once I got home I started scrolling through the patterns on Ravelry to find something great.  I found the Jollyoly hat and thought that it would marry up well with this particular yarn, so I started it as soon as I was done the Opie Hat.

I got gauge right away and began to knit, only to discover after a few inches that it seemed a bit tight.  Now, if you look at the original pattern photos, they show a loose, slouchy, chic hat.  I scrolled through some of the finished projects and found a lot of snug toques.  Not exactly what I wanted.  So I improvised.  I ripped it all back to naught and cast on again, this time for one size bigger, using a size bigger needles, as well.  This time, the hat seemed loose enough for the fit I wanted.  I added an extra repeat of the design, as well, to add some length, and was mostly happy with how it fit.  Then I added the pom pom (made from a bunch of leftover madtosh tosh merino light, a pretty posh pom pom for an acrylic hat) and the weight of it helps the hat to hang just right.

Ready for autumn.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Porthos Socks

There's this great designer on Ravelry that goes by the name "Caoua Coffee" - this person cranks out beautiful patterns, mostly for socks and little accessories, and gives them all away for free!  As someone always on the hunt for fabulous and fun things to make, I certainly won't even try to resist a whole flock of well-designed patterns that are free for me to enjoy.

This time I chose a simple knit/purl design, no cables or lace or anything fancy at all.  I matched it up with a lovely shade of Knit Picks Stroll sock.  The photos really don't do this colour justice - it's called Jackrabbit Heather, and it's the prettiest grey brown heather.

The socks were a lot of fun to knit, and looked really cool on the needles, the way the knit columns sway back and forth, based on the tension of the ribbing/garter stitch surrounding them.  Once they're on the foot, the swaying is less pronounced, but they do make a nice manly lattice.  Yep, they're for gifting, to one lucky dude.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Snowflakes in Red

Every serious crafter knows you'd better have your holiday ducks in a row by the time the leaves start changing, or you'll be caught in a mad panic, come December.

I'm pretty well on top of things this year (it helps that I don't really participate much in exchanging gifts at the holidays) and am just enjoying this cute set of striped towels before I get serious about working on my charity weaving.

Don't you just love 'em?