Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Tis (almost) the season

This photo might lead you to believe that my Christmas decorations are up already, but you would be mistaken...


pattern: Christmas Rudolph Reindeer by Loly Fuertes
yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Taupe (plus miscellaneous worsteds in white & red)
needles: 2.75 mm
misc: button eyes and a ribbon around his neck

Well, what can I say? It's RUDOLPH, and y'all know I have a fawn collection right? (well, I tend to bust those fawns out over the holidays more for some reason...) but still. I simply could.not.resist this knit and he turned out super adorable.

I know I always say "I'm not a toy knitter" but a couple of them manage to find their way into the queue every year for one reason or another it seems. And when I started this little guy a couple weeks back it was one of those gray November Sundays where I refused to change out of my P.Js for the entire day (and subsequently managed to finish him in one day as well).

It always seems to be the little knits that languish in my queue for like 2 or 3 years and then when I finally get around to it and bust it out in one day I wonder why I put it off for so long.

You can check out my project page on Ravelry for more notes on this little dude, but suffice to say the pattern is at times a bit vague. I think something is possibly lost in the translation, it's another of those patterns that uses the word "knit" in a very general way..."knit this"-- apparently interchangeable with "make this"...not unlike an Amy Sedaris sweater pattern wherein the "pattern" simply states: "Instructions: knit a sweater" (heh).

Still I fear the process of focusing on this one fiddly little thing for such a concentrated period of time has put me down for the count for the forseeable future as I have not knit a stitch since. In fact I think something about those small needles rubbing up against the sides of my fingers has given me some fresh new hell of repetitive strain (no doubt exacerbated by the fact that I am on a computer all day long...) so I am having to force myself to take a bit of a break and let my fingers re-coup. (Yes this seems unbelieveable with Xmas less than a month away, but for the most part all of that knitting is done at least).

But if nothing else this unexpected knitting sabbatical has allowed me time to turn my attention toward my latest obsession: Papercraft!

And to that I can only say "where the hell have I been???" There are SO many cute FREE downloadable/printable PDFs out there that allow you to make the most awesome stuff!

Case in point:

This Calendar of the month club from Curiosity Group.

People, there's a record player! A RECORD PLAYER!

Now granted, these are all from a 2011 calendar, but one can assume there will be some more good ones coming for 2012 as well. right? right.

Perhaps something more festive?

fawn from Strumpets Crumpets

Santa from Ataque Mutante

And lots more of these on the Canon website.

Or if wasting tons of coloured ink in your printer is not really your bag, you can use some colour copy paper instead...

I made a handful of these last night...they look great hanging on your tree, you can do up the giant one and turn it into a ceiling lamp, or just pile them all in a bowl like I did, super cute and super fun.

Who knew?! (Not me, obviously) The world of paper craft is massive it seems and you can find that ball pattern at How About Orange. In fact that's a great blog to get you started because she links to all sorts of fun paper crafts elsewhere in addition to her own.

I could post a million pictures of all the super cute papercraft patterns I've been looking at lately, but that might be overkill. Just go sharpen your scissors and fire up the printer!

But make sure you don't abandon you knitting altogether...

Friday, November 11, 2011

giant knit alert

At last...

kiki mariko rug (after)

pattern: Kiki Mariko rug from Mason Dixon Knitting: Outside the lines
yarn: Cascade 220 and Patons Classic Wool (many, many different colours...)
needles: 10mm

Done, and totally a fun knit!

I made this bigger than the pattern called for, casting on 154 stitches, and knit with both those yarns double-stranded.

This started out as a stash-busting project (yes, I know I am ALL ABOUT those lately) --I promise to stop saying the words "stash-busting" quite as much from here on in. (You should just assume that is pretty much always happening). I will alert the media if I ever use it all up. I started out with all those random colours I had leftover from the Missoni-inspired blanket but that plan quickly fell through when I pretty much ran out of all of them and had to go out and buy more anyway.

Honestly, why did I think I would have enough? I was doing a giant felted rug that I was making bigger than the pattern called for in the first place! Hmmm, I believe we call that knitting on a wing and a prayer or something.

Soooo, had I been smart enough to actually realize this I probably would have started with some completely different colours from the get-go, but I wasn't and I didn't. I plunged ahead without a care for colour placement. If one purple ran out I'd just start a different one, or maybe a pink. Things actually start to look a little more cohesive by the second half of the rug because that is when I actually bought new yarn and managed to keep things more consistent. Even still, I wasn't about to tear back. If things turned out kind of crazy-looking, I was okay with that.

In the end I had an enormous, crazy-coloured, knit tube:


and when you flipped it over --- this crazy checkerboard strip that was to become my first steeks:

and then into a hot bath it went:

I felted it once, then cut my steek (I realized later that I didn’t cut in a very straight line…so when all was said and done I wound up trimming off more of the steeks on either side again to make it more even) then pulled it out to see how it looked.

I was happy with the size, but attempted to just felt the ends a bit more to try and get that “ruffly” edge shrunk up a bit more. I did this as suggested by someone else--I folded it in half and then dangled the edges into the washing machine (I had to cram my pinky into the door mechanism in order to get the machine to agitate with the lid up) but then finally I just got tired of standing there the entire time and threw the whole thing in for the final rinse cycle again. So really it got felted twice when all was said and done.

I pinned it out and let it dry for about 48 hours, then blanket-stitched the edge (double-stranded) instead of whip-stitching cuz I thought it looked a little tidier. I combed it with a sweater comb to get the fuzz off and it’s nice and soft under-foot now.

And there you have it. Final measurements gave me a rug that was about 4X3 feet.

And then after all my recently H-U-G-E knits the idea of doing some sweaters is starting to seem small and jiffy-quick, so a couple of those may be on the sticks very soon.

But nothing was a jiffy quick as these:

hand knit dishcloths

I am feeling very on top of gift-knitting this year (for once)...

There are about 6 different dishcloth patterns in that pile, so have a look on Ravelry if you'd like to know which patterns I used.

xo Cara