Thursday, August 27, 2009

He's a Hermit.

Hey Robin,
Little Guy was constantly insisting this was a lobster, but now understands. He's a HERMIT CRAB! Woohoo!And detail of shell (very cool construction by the way)
This was another all-cotton construction. I am wondering if I should go to wool for the next ones (I have requests for an octopus, a jellyfish and another hermit crab). Anyone have any tips on that?

All that's left of this layette is to sew some fabric to the back of the baby blanket and send it on it's merry way! I hope the new parents like these things and USE them! I wish I could go meet the little fellow when he's born... but at the very least I hope I get to see some in-action pictures with the 'stuff' :)

Hope all is well with you!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet Small...

Hey Robin,
As you know I have been dying to try out my new Amigurumi Knits book. An opportunity presented itself and now I have finished one and started another! I present to you:


Small is the name bestowed upon my son's pet earthworm who lives in our backyard. We are never quite sure when we will see Small, but we know he is out there, working hard, aerating our soil. And we love him for it.

Knitted-Small was chosen from the book (by guess who?) as a good starter-project from the book. He came out rather well I think! It's a cotton/acrylic yarn from Knit Picks (Comfy) which is nice and soft and works perfectly for a toy such as this. It's got the usual polyester fiberfil type stuff and a chenille bendy-wirey thingy for some poseableness... it works mostly....

Since Small was such a rousing success we have moved along to the Hermit Crab (unnamed because the recipient who shall be naming is not yet born). I have many parts completed!
This picture only has the shell and one-claw in it (sorry for the crappy pic, I prmise a better one when the whole thing is complete). I am learning a LOT from this book. I have gotten very good at the kitchener stitch (which for you non-knitters out there, it is a stitch which can be a bane to your existance until you understand/memorize the steps... and now I have). I am getting better at short-rows... though I still need work on it. However I have to say, the patterns are sheer genius and must have taken a good long time to work out. Love it so far! We're looking forward to adding a jellyfish and an Octopus to the team! :D

Small sez: Later!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just pictures for now

Hey Kate!

I'm in a frenzy over BlizzCon! So here is my purse and I'll talk about how I made it like next week or something.



Monday, August 10, 2009

Giving it a Spin

Hey Kate,

Last night, I watched crime shows and drafted the roving I've had for over a year and never did anything with. It's not the softest in the world, which made it not as pleasant as it could have been. In fact, by the time I was done with most of the drafting, I had pretty much decided that spinning may not be for me. Too fiddly. But I reserved judgment until doing the actual spinning.

This morning, I turned on The Art of Megan's spinning video. (Megan has been a huge help.) While I was following along, The Spawn came over and "helped". She was fascinated by the entire process and giggled and cheered and made the whole thing a great time.

So, I've decided to make it a Mother/Daughter activity and continue with the yarn making. Sure, The Spawn is a hindrance during the drafting part, currently, but that's a good activity for TV. And she'll get better at "helping" as she matures.

I've also decided that the whole process doesn't have to be that fiddly. If I have fun making it and if the end product is only for our consumption, then who cares that it's not even in the same universe as perfect?

In the knitting front, I'm almost done with my summer driving mitts. Will post when done.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Free Pattern!

Hey Robin!
After much work and sweat (literally... it's been in the 100's here for a few days) I am ready to bring the Shrug-formula to the general public! Here are the chatty-instructions. Anyone interesting in having a .pdf pithy-version please go here in Ravelry!

This is my Shrug Formula. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

The Wee Shrug

An easy-to-make shrug formula designed to satisfy your urge to knit something quick and fun. I used a simple lacey pattern found in any stitch dictionary. But feel free to substitute your own, keeping in mind the number of stitches you will start with on the cuff. By all means, experiment and enjoy! Page 3 has same instructions with less chatter....

Use any weight of wool-based yarn as long as you swatch first to get accurate numbers in the math section below. Also pick the appropriate needles (you’ll need at least some dpns, but circulars in the same size will also be necessary) to give you a soft, flexible material… no one wants to put a suit of iron over their shoulders! (Project shown used 1 skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Purple Lime colorway and U.S. size 8 needles)

The Math:
First I measured around my arm where I wanted the cuff to be (a), I decided on just-below the deltoid muscle (my result: 11.5”). Then I measured from cuff to cuff, across my shoulders (d), with my arms down at my sides as well as I could manage (approx 26”). I also knit a swatch in stockinette to get my gauge (b).

Arm measurement: (a) ____ Stockinette gauge (per inch) (b) ____
cuff to cuff measurement: (d) ____

Next step is to figure out how this translated to number of stitches to cast-on (c). Taking my gauge in stockinette (4.5 spi) and multiplying by arm measurement: 11.5” x 4.5spi = 51.75 stitches.

(a) ____ x (b) ____ = ____ (place this result in the first 'slot' below)

Then subtract 10% of the stitch count for some snugness (a.k.a. negative ease) so that’s: 51.75 x .10 = 5.175 stitches… that’s 46.575. However, first we would like a whole number and then we also want a multiple of 4 sts for the 2x2 ribbing which is the cuff, so we’ll “round up” to 48. Follow me so far?

____ -10% = (c) ____ (rounding up or down to get a multiple of 4)
Casting on:
Using a set of dpns that are the same size as what you used for your swatch, loosely cast-on (c) ____ sts. Join your sts being careful not to twist, and knit 2x2 rib in the round until you have 2 inches of cuff.

Now you are ready for the body… this portion will be knit back and forth:

Lacy Openwork Pattern:
Row 1 (RS): k1 *yfrn, p3tog, yon, k1* (repeat between asterisks)
Row 2 (WS): p2tog, yon, k1, yfrn, * p3tog, yon, k1, yfrn* repeat between asterisks to last two sts, p2.

k1 = knit 1 RS = right side
Yfrn = yarn to front and over needle WS = wrong side
p3tog/p2tog = purl 3 together/purl 2 together
yon = yarn over needle

So we need an extra stitch to accommodate this stitch pattern (a multiple of 4 plus 1), I did an extra row of 2x2 rib (remember we are knitting back and forth now, so I did this as a wrong-side row) and increased a stitch in the middle of the row.

Begin Lacy Openwork pattern and continue knitting back and forth until your lacy-section is the length you measured across your shoulders (d). At some point you will be far enough away from your cuff to change from dpns to a circular or a straight needle, whichever one makes you happy.

When this section is long enough, do a single row of 2x2 rib and decrease one stitch in the middle of the row (or wherever it makes sense to you), then switch back to your dpns, and join to knit in the round again, knitting until you have 2” of 2x2 rib. Cast off loosely, you don’t want this cuff to be a tourniquet!

Next we are going to create the rib that goes around the whole body section. You will definitely need a nice long circular needle, probably at least a 32”, if you have it. If you have longer ones you might be able to do a magic-loop. If you have two circulars that are shorter, you can put half your stitches on each and treat them like two extra-long dpns. Pick up and knit stitches up one side of the lace section, across the section of cuff that will be in your arm pit and then down the other side of the lace section to the other arm pit. It would be very helpful at this point to count your stitches and see if you have a multiple of 4 sts. If not, consider adding a stitch or two in the armpit area because that will probably be where you are looking for some wiggle room. If yes, then join to knit in the round, making 2x2 rib until you think you are going to cry. Bind off loosely, weave in your ends and wear with pride and joy!

I am a small-time designer who does her very-best to write out the instructions with accuracy, but this pattern has not been tested! Please let me know if you are confronted with any issues that prevent your from completing this delectable little morsel.... (contact on Ravelry: k2togkate, or visit the blog at

© Kate Vanover 2009. Please do not use this pattern for makin’ money ‘cause I’m giving it away for free and that’s just no-fairsies…. Feel free to share this pattern with friends as long as you include my copyright stuff and links. Thanks!