Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My brilliant idea

We have a Kindle in our household. Not because we're Kindle-buyin' folks. But rather, my husband's work provided them for the faculty on permanent loan, so folks could explore ways to incorporate it into the curriculum in the future. Or something.

When it arrived, we all bought a book on the Kindle, and tried it out. Since then, the Kindle has been possibly a little neglected. Not too long ago, I had the brilliant idea of putting knitting patterns on the Kindle, and thus making it so I don't have to print them out.

The Kindle now has a pdf reader, but I decided to convert the pdfs to Kindle files, so that I could adjust the text size. I tested it out with 6 pattern pdfs. Well. When it works, it works fairly well. But large charts are shrunk, and a little difficult to read. Some charts disappeared. The worst results were the patterns that are printed in columns. The pdf-to-kindle converter doesn't read columns, nor does it distinguish captions from text. So some of my patterns are a little confusing. One is absolutely messed up. I might transfer the actual pdfs to the kindle as well, as a way of interpreting and clarifying the better of the patterns.

a ball of yarn beside a kindle showing a mitten-knitting chart
picture is from Heather Desserud's Ruba'iyat Mittens (rav link)
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Fun with unspun

Knitting with the Silk Garden and the Malabrigo thick-n-thin picqued my interest in underspun yarn. Naturally I dug out the lovely skein of Icelandic Unspun from Priscilla. I wasn't sure what to do with it. I've been wanting more scarves, since I sit at work and freeze day in and day out. But I tried two different patterns, and the yarn told me quite firmly that it was not going to be a scarf. I had often pondered pairing this yarn with my black and grey Araucania, so I swatched with that. I've been looking at twined mittens, so I started plotting a pair of twined mittens with these two yarns, but then I noticed that the Icelandic is Z-spun and the Araucania is S-spun. That's when I decided that this would be the perfect yarn for exploring twined mittens, using both ends of the ball.


Turns out it's maybe not the best yarn for twined mittens. Being 'unspun', it's so underspun that the twining process unspins it too much. Every four rows or so, the yarn has lost so much twist that it breaks. Then I straighten out the yarns, give it a little more twist, and spit-splice the strand back together. It's a slow process, but the mittens are turning out very lovely.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

hand knits in action

teen ooking at hands in fingerless gloves
teen walking, wearing homemade scarf with his winter coat

Finished at last

In November 2008, I blogged about several projects in progress. Most of those projects were finished, but the red fetchings in progress remained in progress.

I started them November after finishing an identical pair, and my daughter told me those were the exact fingerless gloves she wanted. I finished one, and then she went to a birthday party, and got a pair of cranberry red fingerless gloves as a party favour, and I never bothered to finish the pair.

My daughter lost the party favours, and I wanted to finish the pair, so they are finished up and successfully gifted. She finds them warm and fuzzy and loves them. Which means she'll wear them yesterday and today and probably never again.

two hands with blue nailpolish and red fingerless gloves on a white wall

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Clothes!

This young lady, NanC, was a Christmas gift 2 years ago. At the time, she was started so late (because she was requested so late) that there was only time for one piece of clothing, and that was finished after midnight on Christmas Eve. Two years later, it's time for new clothes!

doll sitting on bookshelf in pink and lavender dress
A winter dress with a fuzzy skirt!

doll in yellow shirt and green pants
athletic pants and a too-tight t-shirt.

doll in orange sports bra and yellow skirt
a sports bra and a lettuce-edged skirt.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Destashing and freeskeining

Late last night, I had to turn my attention away from the boy doll, so I pulled out a lovely skein of Malabrigo that had been patiently waiting to become a hat. This was my first ever skein of Malabrigo, bought this summer, a really lovely shade of green in their thick-n-thin Aquarelle. The skein told me it wanted to be an Unoriginal Hat, but from looking at Ravelry, I could see that one skein wasn't enough for this particular hat. I decided to remove two rows from each repeat, and give it a try.

an unfinished knit cable hat, still on the needles

As the hat was taking shape, I was able to look at how much yarn was left, see how much was used up by each row, and realise that I did not have enough yarn to finish. I stopped there, and started over from the other end, knitting the rest of the skein and then right off the unfinished hat.

cable hat on head

This time I started half way through the chart, and did the second repeat with the same two rows missing. I managed to make it with a yard of yarn to spare.

cable hat on head

So very toasty warm!
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New boy gots a new pair of khakis! My son butchered a pair of khakis for his own nefarious purposes, and I got what was left for mine.

boy doll wearing vest scarf and khaki pants 
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A finished scarf

striped scarf hanging in front of a doorway 

The Noro scarf is done, now to wrap it!

striped scarf hanging in a tree 

close up on striped scarf 
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

face up

When making a babe, I always add the face before stuffing it. This is a bit of a gamble, because it's impossible to tell if the face really works until you've stuffed and finished it up.

knitted doll, with face, unstuffed
I managed to both add the face today, and stuff and finish it. I think I did okay! I figured out that the secret to making a boy--for me at least--was to make the mouth neutral enough that he doesn't look like an obvious girl.

knitted doll wearing scarf and vest

Still knitting

I'm having a little bit of project meandering right now. First of all, the scarf is finished, but I have no photos of it yet. It's lovely. I'm excited to share pictures.

I have been working hard on my spaghetti socks. I soon realised I'd lost the love of the project, but I kept slogging onwards. I want them done.

Then I tried them on. Turns out I hate them. I'm going to rip them out. Bye-bye, spaghetti socks!

I started another Knitted Babe this week. I'm attempting to make a boy. I'm not sure what to change to make it male. I will probably have to fall back on hair length stereotypes. And the mouth won't be a heart. I'm not enough of an artist to understand how to make the gender thing clear. The face will be going on next. I had some knitting time last night, but not time to work on the face, so I've added the limbs already. Once the face is on, I'll stuff him and finish up his head.

Oh, I came up with a good strategy for putting limbs on these dolls. Do the limbs one needle size bigger. It goes a little faster, and you don't need the limbs to be tight enough to keep stuffing contained.

I ordered 2 skeins of worsted yesterday for 2 specific projects. It might be in violation of my no-stashing goals, but I have good intentions with this stuff. I'm so jacked to knit this yarn that I knit it all last night in my dreams.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Microloan for wool

Today's microloan: Jose Antonio is a 74 year old Peruvian gentleman who has a family business making handmade sweaters and scarves. His microloan will help him buy wool. WOOOOL!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Knitting infidelity

Well, it seems I am not a project monogamist. As soon as I finished my dad's socks, and all I had on the needles was the scarf, I needed to have another project on the go. I pulled out a pair of socks that was featured in not one but two stuck-UFO posts, and got them back on track. Here's a recycled picture, because the socks, though I've been knitting on them for days, don't look any different. I ripped out the heels, added nearly an inch in length, and then redid the same heel. Fit problem fixed.

red/orange sock in progress, with yarn ball

Friday, December 11, 2009


I knit 10 rows of lace in the dark. Milanese lace.

That is all.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Finished Socks!

close up of the heel area of a sock
When the calendar told me it's December, I diverted myself back from the scarf to my dad's socks. I only had 20 rows left to knit, after all.

a sock hanging in front of foliage
Yarn: Dream in Color Cocoa's Kiss Smooshy
Pattern: Gentleman's Fancy Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks
Needle: Size 2 Knit Picks circular
Modifications: Toe up, used a Bordhi-style heel, increases every other row, positioned to mimic a gusset-style heel.

I've woven in the ends, but I am still weaving in extra yarn into the heel and ball-of-foot area, to add extra thickness and hopefully extend their life. The Smooshy socks I made myself started falling apart after less than a year of wear. So I'm trying to make sure these don't dissolve too quickly.

But Smooshy remains my favourite yarn for its colours. Such a divine dye-job!

2 socks lying on cement