Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 244 and Nets and Ropes

I was just wondering how big one can go before a cable just disappears. Turns out pretty darn big. The only thing making the cable camouflaged is my decision to use two differing colors and marling them together. Oops. You live you learn, right? :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 243 and Candy Stripe

My goal was to make a crochet version of yesterday's scarf. I don't think I pulled it off, but the results are still pretty so I'm not disappointed. I figured if I just made some gaps in the crochet and threaded them with something else, it would look like a cable. Unfortunately, it just looks like I made gaps in the crochet and threaded them through with something. Who knew? Anyway, here's what you see:

Size K hook
Bulky weight yarn
Many other scraps of yarn for the braid
tapestry needle

Foundation: Chain 21. DC into the forth and every chain across.
Row 1: Chain 3, turn. DC into the back loop of the next 3 stitches. DC into the next 3 stitches. Chain 2, DC into the next 2 stitches, skip 2 stitches, DC into the next 3 stitches, DC into the back loop of the next 3 stitches and into the back loop of the turning chain of the previous row.
Row 2: Chain 3, turn. DC into the back loop of the next 3 stitches, DC into the next 5 stitches, DC twice into the chain space. Dc into the next 3 stitches. DC into the next 3 stitches, DC into the back loop of the next 3 stitches and into the back loop of the turning chain of the previous row.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 242 and Slytherin

When I made the scarf Wiggly I was making a cable that never crossed behind itself and so looked like a wave instead of a rope. As with all cables, there is a small gap in the fabric where the stitches cross. By taking a strip of ribbon, fabric, or in this case I-cord and weaving it through there creates the illusion of a two colored cable without having to use any color work at all. It's a great stepping stone to the real thing or a terrific way to make a more complicated looking item with smaller parts that are easy to carry along in your traveling knitting bag.

Caron Simply Soft in two colors (held double throughout)
Size 15 needles
Size K crochet hook (nearly any size will do however)
Scrap yarn for provisional cast on
tapestry needle

Using the provisional cast on, use the crochet hook to place 22 stitches onto the needle.
CBL-L: Hold 3 knit stitches to the front, Purl 3 stitches, Replace held stitches onto needle and knit them.
CBL-R: Hold 3 Purl stitches to the back, Knit 3 stithces, Replace held stitches onto needle and purl them.

Using the main color:
Rows 1, 3, 7: K4, P7, K3, P4, K4
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8: K8, P3, K11
Row 5: K4, P4, CBL-R, P4, K4

Rows 9, 11, 15: K4, P4, K3, P7, K4
Rows 10, 12, 14, 16: K11, P3, K8
Row 12: K4, P4, CBL-L, P4, K4

Repeat rows 1-16 until the length is sufficient to comfortably pass over the head.

In the contrast color:
CO 3.
Every row: Knit 3, slip all stitches back onto the left needle.
Continue this icord until there is enough to thread through every cable gap around the cowl. After threading, sew ends together.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 241 and Rounds

Sometimes I have an idea and I don't really know that it will look good, be comfortable, or even come together properly. In such cases, I do a test run with a smaller version. I grab a thick yarn so I can work it up quickly and I just go for it. What's there to lose but a couple hours and a little yarn? If I like the results, I step forward with the original idea.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 240 and Tying up Loose Ends

Here's a fun little focal point for an otherwise plain scarf. Divide your stitches into three and knit each third separately for a while. Braid them. On the following row, Knit across all the stitches again to once again form a solid piece of fabric.

It was amazingly easy. If you use a grippy yarn like mohair or wool, you don't even need to place your stitches on holders. Just go for it! They'll stay put all on their own!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 239 and Ghost

I've always found mohair to be a give and take fabric. It gives you a rockin' cool halo, but it takes a lot of getting used to the prickly feeling. Whether you find it itchy or comfy, because it has such a strong halo, it's one of the great yarns to use when you need a little to go a long way. The halo doesn't have to be considered when thinking about weight of the yarn, but it can if you want it to be. I used a double thickness on size 35 needles (19 mm) over 8 inches. I did 5 rows of stockinette and 5 rows of reverse stockinette. The key thing to notice is how much coverage such a thin yarn gives when it has so much loft.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 238 and the Magic Carpet

This collar style cowl was all about the fringe. I'm sure you've seen specialty carpets at stores such as World Market or Pier 1 Imports. They always have dark but lush designs and very nearly always have decoratively knotted fringe. The fringe is actually really easy. Knot two neighboring strands. Split the knot and knot again with the split neighboring knot. It makes a rather grand collar and even though there is very little fabric, it covers up quite a lot making it a good choice for attention grabbing modesty (are you shocked that such a thing can exist?).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 237 and Carried

This scarf would be an excellent introduction to color knitting even though you never make a single stitch using the second color! That's right, even though both colors are visible relatively equally, only the yellow mohair is knitted. The feather yarn is carried along with it the entire time getting caught between the stitches with a traditional stranding technique.

I think the continental knitting method with both colors in one hand is the most comfortable way to work this scarf, but experiment with your own ways as well. Work the first stitch normally. Work the following stitch by reaching your needle under the carry along yarn before picking up the main yarn. This causes the carried yarn to be secured by the legs of the just made stitch. The same technique can be used when using fair isle and a large gap causes unruly long strands at the back of the work to sit nicely woven into the fabric.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 236 and Fanboy

Fanaticism is rampant! I can't say I'm not okkay with it because I have my own movies, tv shows, books, and entertainments that sometimes overrun my life. If I'm going to be obvious about it, I might as well wear it on my sleeve, or in this case around my neck.

It's true. I'm a pokemon fan. I stopped right about when the Sapphire and Ruby installments came out, but that doesn't lessen my enthusiasm. This could easily have been either knit or crocheted. I decided to crochet today for the sake of speed. Truly the only thing this scarf required was a color scheme and an applique. The ball might be round, but the iconic image in any shape is easy to spot. There are plenty of other icons that could be done just about as simply.

One circle is the pokeball button, but what of three black circles? Mickey? What about a white scarf with a red or pink bow? Would you instantly recognize the muted colors of the amazingly long scarf of Dr. Who?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 235 and Ticker Tape

This is a very similar scarf to one of my favorites that I did WAY back in February. It's so long ago that I don't even remember what it was called. I think I called it Dreads. In that scarf I used a thick and thin yarn as the main design element and used chains crocheted around the thin parts to hold the body together. This time, I've chosen lots of different colors and made long chains to start with. Then I used other chains to hold them in a mesh pattern. I left all the strands hanging for this photo because I keep flip flopping on whether or not I would like them to be short or long. I can't decide. So since you can only once, I better leave them long for a while.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 234 and Big Waves

I'm doing some short row shaping today! I love short row shaping in clothing for fitting purposes, but when done in garter stitch, I just love how clearly the wedges are visually designed. I started each wedge in the middle of the row so that there is a little bit more fabric at the edges than in the center. It makes it a little bit undulating and a little bit fluffier than it would be ordinarily and it's a great way to use up bits of yarn because wouldn't this have also looked great with one wedge in one color and the next wedge a different color and so on? I think so.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 233 and Extra

It's one thing to put fringe on the ends or even on the vertical edges of a scarf, but what about on the surface somewhere in the middle? Even better is not having to cut all those loose ends to loop on!

Loop crochet or pile crochet or fur stitch is a useful for making fringe or shag at any point on the surface of a fabric. It can only be done with single crochet stitches, but as seen in this scarf, only the row in question needs to be single crochet. Very simply, whenever a loop is wanted, place the hook into the desired stitch, pull up a loop, but wrap it first around the hand or a strip of cardboard cut to the length you want the loops. I always just eyeball mine. Yarn over and pull through both loops on the hook. The resulting loop will look suspiciously insecure, but the following row locks it into position. I made a row of fringe at the beginning, at the end, and on a random row not quite as close to an end.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 232 and Making it Last

A scarf doesn't usually take a lot of yarn, but once in a while you still find yourself a little short. In times of need, turn to technique. Even with a yarn eating technique like crochet a little bit of lace goes a long way in making your yardage last. It doesn't even have to be feminine. A row of mesh serves to lengthen your yarn and remain a unisex design. A bunch of rows of mesh and you don't have to settle for a cowl or a keyhole and have the full length scarf you were hoping for.

Size K hook
Aran or worsted weight brushed yarn 100 yards or less

- Chain 19
- DC into the 4th and every chain across.
Row 1: Chain 3, turn, DC into the second stitch, *Chain 1, Skip one stitch, DC into the next 2 stitches* repeat across the row.
Row 2: Chain 3, Dc into second and every stitch across.

Repeat rows one and two until you run out of yarn or you're happy with the length.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 231 and Panels

This was an easy color work scarf. All I did was add some nice little squares into the center in the tapestry style. It was a lot of ends to cut off, but at least I didn't have to weave in ends since they were picked up so easily as I went along.

I left the very final area that would have been color empty through the use of slip stitches and a chain to make a gap. It made a perfect sized keyhole!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 230 and Wiggly

This is an exceptionally bad photo which I will try to remember to retake tomorrow :P

This is a pretty basic one, but I'll give a quick concept anyway. A funny thing happens when you make a cable and you don't twist them all the same direction. You get wiggles! If you alternate a front cable and a back cable, one side of the cable stays in the foreground the entire time and slides side to side like a snake or a vine!

I've got another idea regarding this particular happy architecture and I can't wait to show you later on!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 229 and Working

It takes a lot of work (a lot of guesswork!) to get a new pattern to work properly. In this case, I just messed around until I felt good about what I was doing. I wish a had a pattern to share, but since I improvised, I have even more work ahead of me to back track, retro design and carefully count out what I did to make it happen in the first place.

The most important thing is that I ended up with a pretty fluffy cowl that feels nice and looks great. :)

The Master of Last Minute Gifts

Beware! Long rambliness ahead! You have been warned!

Maybe I'll make that my new title. If I've learned nothing else from this year of scarves (and believe me, I've learned a lot about knitting and crocheting and myself and my habits) It's how to meet a deadline and how to prioritize.

Very rarely does yarncraft ever have a deadline in the first place, but the most important one I can think of is giving a handmade gift. Sure there are plenty of times when you want to give a gift to someone you love for no reason at all except that you think they deserve one, but mostly I'm thinking about Christmas, Chanukah, birthdays, other holidays, and showers.

I used to be a champion at giving an "IOU" gift instead of the actual gift. I'd plan to make a baby blanket for a baby shower, get started and have a LOT of it done. Then when the deadline loomed, I'd lose steam and make a quick little amigurumi crocheted toy that only takes a single evening and gift it with a card saying "Something bigger is on the way but I didn't finish." Frankly, it's embarrassing. After this year, I don't foresee it happening again. Not only do I recognize how long a project will take, but I suspect that I'm faster than I was this time last year.

Yet, I also have learned to prioritize better. As much as I would like to sit and craft for an entire day when I have a day off from work and get a day or two ahead on my 365 Scarf Project, I do recognize that there are other things that need to be done. Interestingly, even though I have less time in which to do it, I seem to get more done since I've started this project. It's particularly noticeable in the last couple of months. It's like I've found a stride in which I can craft and get things done and have free time AND work and still be on top of things and not feel stressed.

What does this mean? I'm going to have the gifts that I plan done in time with no IOU necessary and I won't overlook all the more important things that have to be done to keep a household running smoothly. Basically it means I'm proud of myself. I'm generally pretty humble, but I'm right now feeling proud of myself and happy to admit it.

Good job Amanda. Go Me! Way to be a total grown up! ;D It's pretty awesome how having a goal that's seemingly unrelated to one's faults have a way of lining things up.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 228 and Diagon Alley

There's something about the structure of a bias material that makes it drape so perfectly when worn. I don't understand physics, but I do understand good drape.

By just increasing at the beginning of a row and decreasing at the end of a row with a plain row in between, the architecture of knitting gives a very handsome 45 degree angle. It's a useful measurement for making sweaters and hat crowns, but when it's not for shaping, it's just a very nice looking angle! I used a four row stripe pattern here to highlight the angle of the stitches.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 227 and Autumn

Remember that ugly blanket from two days ago?

Well it turn out that the blanket maker did have a good eye for color. They might not have looked very good to me while they were all separate, but they certainly look nice when put together in very close quarters. Perhaps there was simply too much green.

In any case, what you see is called the Linen stitch. It's a very smooth stitch, a completely flat stitch, and certainly easy to master.

wyif = With yarn in front
wyib = With yarn in back

CO any odd number of stitches.
Row 1: K1, *Slip1 wyif, K1* across the row.
Row 2: K1, *P1, Slip1 wyib* across the row until 2 stitches remain. P1, K1

The first and last stitches are just a selvage edge and you could just as easily use your choice of selvadge stitch keeping in mind that the stitch pattern is very short and dense because of the many slipped stitches. I also find that switching to a needle that is about 2 sizes smaller for the cast on and bind off will prevent the curling that is usually associated with this stitch. I changed colors every single row and they now all blend beautifully and the stitch patter is so very secure that there was no need to secure any of the ends at all. The harvested yarn was acrylic so the curls of the former stitches stay and bounce and I think look rather cute.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 226 and Simplicity

I've made 225 neck and cold weather accessories this year alone. I'm no expert, but I think I have some measure of experience that can stand behind me. If nothing else, this much I've learned:

Simple is usually better.
Also, cowls always look better with a twist!

Which of the scarves I've made are the most attractive to me? Plain ribbing. Plain mesh. Simple shells. A nice flat canvas with a nice color or color palette will always make anyone look their best! Sure you have unique things that look great and outlandish things that look great, but those may or may not appeal to everyone. Simple stitches are the common denominator for many of the best designs.

For this cowl or scarf (just make it longer and don't sew it up!)

Any yarn you choose.
Any needle that feels right with the yarn.
Tapestry needle for ends.

Chain any odd number.
The only row: Single crochet into the second stitch from hook. *DC into the next stitch, SC into the next stitch* until only one stitch remains from the previous row, DC into the last stitch.

For a cowl, sew the beginning to the end. For a faux moebius, sew the beginning to the end but make a half twist before you begin. For a scarf, keep working until you're happy with the length!

Sew in any free ends.

This is a very long lived stitch that will be found in absolutely every stitch dictionary everywhere! Some call it seed stitch, some sand stitch, some call it something totally random. Any way you look at it, it's simple, but not boring and very classy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 225 and the Harvest

There's a story behind this one! It started out a blanket from a garage sale. I thought it was hideous! I truly couldn't have made something on my own that was as ugly as I thought this was. It was all kinds of 70s avocado green and orange and bleagh.

Anyway, I thought perhaps the yarns separately might yet be salvaged, so I began ripping the yarn back. Happily, the green was all connected and I ended up with two big skeins of it. At the very end, I noticed that the final strip wasn't really all that bad! A quick crab stitch around the outside edge to tidy it up a little, and I had a fun little scarf with almost no effort at all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 224 and Graduation

Unlike knitting, crochet stitches can grow without changing the size of the tool you're using.

More chains, and taller stitches gradually create a wider and wider mesh design. It symmetrically decreases again on the opposite side.

I used stitches in this order and then reversed them for symmetry:
Single crochet across.
Half double Crochet across.
Double Crochet and one chain filet pattern.
Treble Crochet and two chain filet pattern.
Double Treble and three chain filet pattern.

You have to fudge the ends a little bit since the filet patterns don't all have the same number of stitches per repeat, but the large chain areas at each end make it very easy to do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 223 and Loopy

Okkay are you ready for this? GO!!!

Pick any yarn and any hook you want, but one or two sizes bigger than usual works best.
Chain a MILLION! No. Just chain until you have the length of scarf you want.
Single crochet in the second chain from the hook. Chain 15, single crochet in the very next stitch. Repeat that last sentence until you're done! This is so easy and so fast that the most basic of beginner crocheters can do it. It would be the perfect thing to teach your very very young craft friendly kids. They wouldn't even have to be particularly patient. A decent sized scarf can be finished in half an hour if the yarn is particularly chunky and only an hour if it's aran weight.

Oh you finished reading the paragraph and you've finished the scarf already too? Well there you go then!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 222 and Michu

Miniature + Fichu = Michu? Works for me!

I started with a little point using a very simple v stitch and increased to form a point at the back. When it was wide enough all I had to do was work each half separately without increasing or decreasing and I had two legs. A shawl pin or broach in the center keeping in in place makes a pretty little scarf that dresses up in shawl clothes!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 221 and Wide

A scarf needn't be narrow. In fact, the wider the better really because extra fabric makes for greater versatility! If your scarf is particularly wide, it doubles as a shawl or a wrap. Certain widths make it usable as clothing instead of just accessories.

I also happen to appreciate asymmetry. This particular fabric was a slippery polyester probably designed as a second layer for a skirt. The filigree you see is only on that side of the fabric. The other end doesn't have a defined edge motif. I'm okkay with that. I know that both ends don't look the same and I don't think they have to. If I want to show off the filigree side and not the overall pattern side, that's my prerogative. Vice Versa too while we're at it. In fact, I think that the one edged fabric makes for greater versatility as well! Just as the width can allow you to wear a scar fin different ways, the fabric pattern will allow those different ways to appear differently based on which pattern is visible. All the more fashion options for you. :)

Also does anyone else feel like prerogative is about the weirdest spelled word you've ever seen? It looks so clashy against itself, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 220 and Glamourpuss

AHH! So fluffy and big! And yet the actual creation is so ridiculously easy!

This was a nice easy double crochet and one chain mesh (filet). I think everyone needs one of these to feel like the fun one at the party.

You'll need:
Deborah Norville collection Premier yarns Serenity Chunky Sequins.... what a mouthful, geez.
Size m or n hook, which ever you feel most comfy with.
Tapestry needle
about 20 yards of 6 inch tulle ribbon (comes on a spool) for every 4 tulle rows.

What we're going to do here is make a nice basic mesh, but at each end, there will be a couple rows of single crochet which will catch loops of the tulle for a big fluffy fringe.

Abbrev: SCTul: Bring the tulle from front to back over the work, pull up a loop in the first stitch, bring the tulle forward again, yarn over and pull through both loops. If done properly, the tulle will be caught inside the single crochet with both ends at the front of the work.

(American Terms)
Beginning row: Chain 12. Double crochet into the 5th chain from the hook. *Chain 1, skip 1 chain, DC in the next chain*3 times. 4 mesh squares made.

Tulle row
: Chain 1, SCTul *SC in next stitch, SCTul in next stitch* repeat three more times. Cut the tulle at the end of the row.
Filet row following filet row: Chain 4, skip the first DC, DC into the next DC *Chain 1, DC into the next DC* 3 more times.
Filet row following tulle row: Chain 4, skip the first 2 SC *Chain 1, DC into the second SC* 3 more times.

Repeat the Tulle row and the Filet row in any combination that you wish. For the pictured scarf, I did one row filet, one row tulle, one row filet, one row tulle. Then I did filet for the bulk of the scarf and did the same sequence at the other end of the scarf. Since every row is basically compatible with every other row, you can add tulle anywhere you like. Add a few in the center of the scarf. If you have a ridiculous amount of tulle ribbon, you could do the entire length of the scarf if you wanted.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 219 and Endings

There are quite a lot of patterns out there that are very lovely in the middle of a project, but little do you realize when trying to make a scarf or an afghan that the beginning and the end are unattractive, a strange unmatching gauge, or just plain unwieldy!

Easy fix! Anytime you love the pattern but hate the ends, put something there. For knitting, a nice garter stitch, ribbing or seed stitch usually does the trick. With crochet, a granny square, any other worked in the round motif, or some nice clean looking double crochet is usually all that is needed.

This scarf was a mesh stitch with a half shell on each end for a tidy vertical line, but it had a peculiar convex curve at both the beginning and the end. I figured that something round would fill in the gap nicely and made an easy picot flower and attached it as I stitched. It also made a very cute little sunburst focal point for the scarf as a whole proving once again that trouble shooting can and will help you! No need to scrap a project when a little fixit does the trick!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 218 and Bedazzled

In the early 90s or possibly the late 80s I remember being given a bright pink box for a holiday or my birthday or something. Inside it was a pink thing that looked like a giant stapler and a swarm of tiny prickly pointy rhinestones. It was a Bedazzler. I was an extremely crafty girl, but for some reason, it never took and it's been sitting in my mother's crafting closet ever since.

Fastforward to today. I'm at a yard sale and see a small box filled with prickly rhinestones. At the same yard sale, there is purple tulle ribbon and a man who will sell them to me for a quarter each. Yes. Yes I will buy these things from you, sir. Your work room was purple and orange but it was time to redecorate? Thanks for sharing. Strange colors for a dude to have chosen.

ANYWAY! I didn't have the machine, but getting the little prongs to close wasn't really all that hard. A pair of pliers to start it and my thumb nail did the rest. If you're dazzling something sheer like I was, make sure to at least double the fabric. Those prongs are sharper than they seem and they'll tear the fabric if it's too delicate unless you give it some girth with extra layers. I just took a long piece of the tulle and folded it in half. By dazzling only one side and through both layers I had a scarf that was already folded in half for the jeweled end to slide through.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 217 and Cheese

It was supposed to look like honeycomb. It looks like cheese. Just another example of how a very subtle change in color can make you think one thing instead of another.

Anyway, this was from a pattern dictionary in crochet. In can be made in just about any size and I associate it most with a granny square. There are lots of chain gaps which are then filled up on the next row with double crochets. Grab a dictionary and search out a similar pattern. They make for good practice in crochet basics.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 216 and Harry

Harry Potter's Gryffindor scarf once more presented here. The difference this time is that this is a knitted version.

Watch your favorite movies over again whenever you have the chance. Odds are good that a small part of why you enjoy the movie so much is the fashion. Surely the story has more to do with it, but you can't deny that design has a role to play in every story. Keep a keen eye out for the styles that your favorite characters wear. There are so many styles that can be easily homaged in your own crafting. This one for example is a simple stripe.

Other movies that include divine fashion sense and are among my favorites:

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2
Austin Powers (for that vintage flair)
Miracle on 34th Street

Know of a fabulous fashion movie? Share! I'm always up for a movie night and appreciate the recommendations. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 214 and Pineapples

It was only a matter of time really. I'm not sure there's a crocheter around that hasn't heard the term pineapple and wept with either joy or dismay at the thought of them. I think they're pretty sweet, but must be shown proper respect. As with any large motif, they can get out of hand very quickly and a little bit goes a long way.

There are hundreds of versions of these simple little motifs but the gist of it is as such: Chain a large gap in your crochet. Finish the row and on the way back when you get to the gap, make a whole bunch of either double or treble crochet stitches always an odd number. On the next row you'll work shorter chain gaps, single crocheting into every other stitch. Continue in this manner until only one short crochet loop remains and continue with your original pattern.

Check any crochet stitch dictionary and you're sure to find at least one of these motifs.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day 213 and Hooks and Needles

Crocheting and knitting really go hand in hand. There is a whole huge world of projects out there that require the knowledge of both skills. Also if you know one skill, it can help you learn the other as well as expand your understanding of the architecture within each craft.

Among the things I learned during this quick project: Gauge is a whole different experience. Even though I used Very differently sized tools, the smaller tool (crochet) made a wider fabric over the same number of stitches! As a result, this cowl undulates slightly as it changes from knit to crochet and back again.

I didn't use any special pattern here. I cast on a few stitches, knit a few rows, then switched to crocheting using the knitted loops as my first crocheted row. It was easy and it was fast and it was a very educational experience.