Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 336 and Ravenclaw

If you're a hardcore fan of anything at all, you know that other fans can be rabid, insane, frightening, but above all of those other thing, they are opinionated!

Watchers of the Harry Potter movies might make a fuss that I've chosen the wrong colors for this so called Ravenclaw scarf, but readers of the books will nod in appreciation. Storytelling (and in this case scarf making) is constantly evolving even when the story is something as concrete as a book or a movie. Despite the art already having been made, there will always be someone out there interpreting it as he or she sees fit. How many years will go by before there is a remake of the series or a tv show that does a little retcon? It could happen.

As it stands, I went with book canon blue and bronze. I'm not saying it's better, just that it's my choice and just like my opinion, I'm grateful to have it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 335 and Hufflepuff

I am nothing if not a completionist. I've made 2 Gryffindors and a Slytherin. I'll be darned if I don't complete the set!!

I used a nice fat yarn and it's outrageously soft. I'm totally a fan of Micheal's house brand "Loops and Threads" If you have a Micheals craft center near you, give the brand a try. It's much softer, much less pilling, and just as machine washable as you'd imagine.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 334 and Test Strip

I've done plenty of scarves using scraps, but most of them are just a jumble so no one yarn sticks out. I've also made scarves using a single stripe of a yarn which is certainly interesting, but you can't tell what the yarn is like by itself when done this way.

This time around, I thought I'd really give each yarn a chance. It's still a scrap scarf, but by separating each texture with something smooth and nondescript, you get a better feel for each type so that you might be interested in using it for something more substantial.

If you're really lucky, you might live near a yarn shop that lets you sample yarns! If that's the case, this is an ideal scarf to make. Use a size P hook and either buy the contrast yarn or bring it along. Something like this takes only an hour or so (and I for one can easily spend much more time than that in a yarn shop!).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 333 and The Winding Road

I'm really trying to get more cabling into my life. It's interesting, it's slightly challenging, and it always always always yields impressive results.

Here I did nothing more than a plain cowl. Garter stitch is used 3 stitches wide on both edges and in the center, a 2 stitch cable. All I did was move the cable over one stitch for every right side row. When I got too close to one border, I started moving it in the other direction. With an even wider center section, some interesting asymmetrical direction changes could be very exciting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 332 and Pringles

Why pringles? Pringles are probably my third favorite brand of fried crispy chip thing after Doritos and Clancy's Sweet potato chips. I love the way they stack up perfectly and I love the way they curve over the tongue. I know they aren't very healthy, but darn it, when you open a bag of chips or a can of pringles you know darn well what you're getting into.

The crocheted ribbing here stacks up perfectly just like the crispy crisps and just like a crisp, I bet you can't stop at just one. Single crochet ribbing is so easy, a beginner can do it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 331 and Cro-knit

Okkay here's one that's completely new to me! I can't believe I had one of these needles in my stash! I know I never bought it... maybe my mom passed it on to me.

Anyway, the technique is called cro-knitting, cro-hooking, double-end crocheting, crocheniting, and double tunisian, but as far as I can tell, they all stand for the same thing. The technique uses a long needle with a crochet style hook at both ends and two strands of yarn. The basic stitch (seen here) is exactly the tunisian or afghan stitch. The big difference is that after picking up all the stitches onto the need, you *turn* the needle and work the return row and another pick up row in the opposite color. Check out this video by Mary Middleton to see the basic stitch in action.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 330 and Pilgrim

I'm not sure what the problem with American History is, but we Americans can never seem to get it quite right. Case in point: Today is American Thanksgiving. The rules are as follows.
1. Indians wear little headbands with three feathers sticking out the back.
2. Cornucopias all have the same veggies.
3. TURKEY... chicken is blasphemous on this day!
4. Pilgrims wear buckles.

I have put rule number 4 into play today. Pilgrims wore buckles. If you wear buckles then you are a pilgrim. This scarf makes you a pilgrim.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 329 and Flagged

Have you ever seen those little post it brand arrow stickers? Apparently they are useful for college kids, politicians, and business executives to mark important pages in their documents.

As I was knitting with my jiffy needles (that's size 50 folks!) I had neglected to make a thick fabric as my yarn was not quite as heavy as it should have been. To give some more body to the finished fabric, I took some extra yarn in a different color and wove it through the large airy stitches. I let the tassels hang and those little flag markers are what came to mind.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 328 and Cheer

This would be another terrific pep rally school spirit favorite team scarf! I increased one stitch at the beginning of each row until I had 10 stitches. I used a size M hook, but if you prefer a smaller hook, increase to as many stitches as you'd like so that the scarf is comfortably wide for you. After working straight for a while, decrease one stitch at the end of each row until you've come to a point. Leave your ends long enough to attach the pom poms.

Of all things, I used a DVD case to make the size pom poms I wanted. I wound yarn around the case about 50 times to get the thickness I wanted. Tie yarn around the center point on each side of the case and cut along both edges. Your pom poms will turn out exactly the same size and you have yarn ends at each point of the scarf ready to tie the pompoms on.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 327 and Antique

When one is working on a project, there is hardly a despair so intense as the realization that you haven't purchased enough of the same dye lot. The rage might set in in you're working with either black or white where the color difference is more obvious than in some other colors.

I went to an extreme here and deliberately choose whites that didn't match. The result is a faux antique. I'm strongly reminded of the gradually changing and very splotching colors of a very old lace table cloth such as would be passed down from earlier generations.

This is a fairly new pattern on ravelry called "Cloudburst shawl." The designer is quite new, but I found the pattern easy enough to understand.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 326 and Lofty

I love a nice fat lace that still keeps one warm. This is an easy stitch I felt like practicing. It has a strong diagonal warp though, so if you want to keep your lace lines straight, you'll have to do some heavy duty blocking.

Worked over a multiple of 3 plus 1 stitch.
Row 1: K1, *YO, K2tog* repeat **to end.
Row 2: Purl across

Couldn't be simpler, right? If you want to do this as a whole scarf, I recommend an extra 2-4 stitches on each end in 1x1 ribbing to give it structure.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 325 and Slippage

While I've made a scarf before by stitching the length of the scarf, cutting and starting over with a new thread at the original end, this marks the first time I've made a scarf using nothing but crocheted slip stitches.

When working with most weights of yarn, creating a fabric from slip stitches becomes very thick and very tedious very quickly. I used a jiffy hook and thicker yarns (though of many different weights) that were still not quite thick enough to fill the jiffy hook. As a result the fabric is curiously resembling woven fabric rather than crochet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 324 and Pride

It's not the first rainbow I've done, nor is it the first situation in which colors are used together as well as alone to create an effect. It is however the first scarf directly representational of my political and ethical stance on a certain subject.

I don't think it needs spelling out, but Kevin and I support love.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 323 and Bumblebee

This is not a big revelation, but I don't think I've covered it so, let us shall!

What you see is NOT a wide short scarf with many many stripes. Instead, it's a slender scarf that's long enough to make you think it's a short wide scarf. I love stripes very much, but I hate all the ends that you have to weave in (assuming you're not going to take advantage of the ready made fringe). Fewer stripes naturally means fewer ends to weave. This appeals to me a lot! So in order to make 4 stripes look like 12 or 16, just make the scarf long enough to wrap around your neck 4 or more times. Problem solved.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 322 and Abacus

I can make a small i cord ring, so why not use a whole bunch of them? Strung on more i cords enclosed in solid stitching, the rings can be moved around at will. It makes for an interesting way to remember a date or phone number.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 321 and Bowties

From the book Crochet Edgings and Trims, this is the very first pattern available in the book and in my opinion the most suited to be made bulky and turned into a scarf. The bowtie relief stitching is made as you go and is really a very clever construction. Let us never forget that a trim can be blown up and made to stand all on its own.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 320 and Sunflower

Ahhh, variations on a theme are what keep me going every day. Whenever I feel like I've hit a dead end, I can always look back at something I liked and think to myself, "how can I make this different?"

Instead of a closure, I went with a snug cowl. This could work with just about any applique though. The basic formula is as follows:

Size 17 needles
worsted weight yarn (3 strands held together)

I worked over 16 stitches a simple moss stitch and grafted the beginning to the end when it was just long enough to stretch over my head. Knowing that I was going to make a large sunflower, I decided to place the flower right over the seam as it was large enough to cover it completely thus making the remaining cowl appear completely seamless. I opted for color on color here, but you might prefer a nice green background for a flowery scene, or even something a little sparkly to remind you of a pretty crystal vase for the single bloom.

The sunflower design was partially lifted from 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield though I must admit, I did modify it heavily. I just can't seem to leave well enough alone!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 319 and Reversal

There are plenty of ways to make reversible fabric. It's hard to tell in the photo, but on one side, there is multi colored stripes where both yarns are held together as well as dark blue stripes where the dark blue is worked alone through the front loop. On the other side you can still see the multi stripes but the solid color is instead the teal worked through the back loop.

I love the idea that a single garment can masquerade as two.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 318 and Caught

There's so much that can be done with these loops!!! I'm going to play with this toy until it breaks!

So this time around, I crocheted the loops a little shorter and just like a certain other stitch from the knitters repertoire, they fit right inside each other! I did the return row out of order. I can see this being made into a sort of cabling method somehow. Then I thought it might be a little too thick to be comfortable if I did this for the whole scarf, so I made some more loops and did 2 return rows of single crochet. The second return row was around the same loops as the first to hold them open a little better and I was able to use them as a keyhole to make this a keyhole style scarf.

I know there's more that can be done with this method... Yeah, I'm so totally going to play with this toy until it breaks. I'll try not to do it so consecutively next time though. I can see how I might get the concerned friend's gradually decaying look of tolerance if I over do it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 317 and Quickbraid

Until now, excepting sewn and fleece scarves, the shortest amount of time I've spent on a daily piece is about 2 hours (even for cowls and gigantic needlework!) This one was done in under an hour and it was such a unique construction.

Like yesterday I was playing with making long loops with chains. Today I made 3 big loops, kept the yarn attached and braided them together. A few rows of single crochet locked each braid into place. Usually when you braid there are separate pieces, but having these loops kept it all together and very tame. Now I wish I had gone even wider with 2 loops per braid strand... of course, there's still plenty of time!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 316 and Cagey

At first my idea was to make a very fast chain scarf but do so in a normal widthwise manner rather than the usual method of chaining the entire length of the scarf and making a couple of single crochets here and there. This time I did three rows of normal single crochet and a forth row consisting of loops 20 chains long. I used a single crochet to secure each loop just as if it were a normal SC row and had to chain 11 to get the height I needed to continue.

Interestingly, this creates a scarf that is (though open and loopy) doubly thick at all the chain locations. You could pull some of the loops forward and trap something in the cage of chain stitches if you so chose.

I mentioned that this was the intention at first. While I accomplished the intention, I think what I got from this scarf instead was a realization... even an epiphany!... that tonal color combinations have the potential to work more pleasingly as block colors than do solids! I was anticipating something a GREAT deal less nice than this turned out and I think it's completely due to my misconception that gradients would look awful with other gradients! I stand humbled and corrected!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 315 and Branches

Continuing my literal-mindedness, I have made for you the floppiest coziest tree branch around. The leaves were knitted and the branch itself was crocheted because that's the easiest way I could possibly connect them all together without making myself insane with all of the hand sewing (I really am not a fan of slow fiddly handsewing... weird considering I knit and crochet, isn't it?)

I'm not sure I"m bold enough to wear something like this, but it's sure cute as a photo prop.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 314 and Dandelion

I've been having a lot of fun lately with concrete interpretations of an idea. For instance, I wanted to make a tree, so I literally designed the image of a tree onto a scarf. Today I was looking at some of my lonelier stash bits and wondering what they resembled.

Fluffy white and off whites reminded me of a late summer dandelion head, the sort which a small child likes to pick and blow and make a wish. How shall I make this into a scarf? Nestle the head of the wearer into the fluff and make a pair of ties in a green stemmy color! GENIUS!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 313 and Foresty

I thought I'd do a little more tweeding today. A nice woodsy green and brown combo absolutely requires a leaf and toggle closure.

This was done on size 15 needles with 2 strands of worsted held together. I knit in moss stitch until it fit about an inch more than around my neck. For most people this would be between 14 and 18 inches.

Then I used a leaf pattern from 75 Birds Butterflies and little beasts to knit and crochet. Nearly any of these would look nice but I picked out the whitebeam leaf. I again used 2 strands of worsted, this time with the green only but switched to size 11 needles to give a very firm strong leaf. The stem was sewn to itself to create the toggle and I happened to have some lovely natural wood log buttons that matched perfectly. Another leaf with a knot instead of a loop would have looked very nice as well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 312 and Newspaper

What's black and white and red all over? HA! We've all heard that one. I love the look of putting more than one color yarn together, and I love the look of putting more than one texture together as long as it's not overwhelming. This seemed a natural progression and I'm surprised I didn't get here earlier.

In general I think that tweeding a couple of yarns together that are opposite colors tends to be a bit harsh, but I added a third yarn in gray to soften the change and I'm very happy with it. Happily adding the fur yarn in for just a few rows barely changed the gauge at all since I was using such a large needle to begin with (size 17). I anticipate making more of these someday in the future as cute gifts in lots of colors when my stash once again gets out of hand.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 311 and Don't Cross the Streams!

Tah dah! Yet another iconic Hollywood blockbuster effect! I remember the first time I saw Ghostbusters as a very young child and I was genuinely frightened. I guess I wasn't the target age. Now that I'm older I can appreciate it on a much more enjoyable level and it's one of my all time favorite movies (although that list is pretty darn long).

In order not to make the exact same scarf as yesterday, I made the crazy electrical light effects by using a crochet hook to make a chain stitch right on top of the main fabric. When I got to an edge, I made extra chains and let them fly out by themselves beyond the edge before turning around again. The extra dimension really makes the same old fur fabric feel like something a little different.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 310 and The Dark Side

What can I say? I'm a nerd. So I was thinking about my STILL HUGE stash of fun fur. I really would like to know how I got it all because I can't remember having bought more than about 4 balls of it in my entire life. Anyway I was watching some sci fi movies and got to considering the special effects. Suddenly it occurred to me as I'm sure it has occurred to many other more clever knitters that fur isn't a fabric as much as it is an effect!

Thus, lightsabers. I didn't have a pattern of course so the hilts are a little bit crude, but I think it's pretty clear whose lightsabers this scarf represents. They are connected at the back of the neck so that when you the scarf it's as if someone is crossing swords right in front of you. Fur made them really look like they are lit up.

(Be ready for a variation on a theme tomorrow!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 309 and My Backyard

The last two KnitPicks catalogs have made me all excited for Christmastime stuffies and scenes. So as a nod to the the precious little landscapes, I've put my own simplified little landscape on this cowl. I made it up as I went along. This is very much like the scenes I used to draw in crayon as a child. My trees were just rectangles with curliques on top.

This might be a fun way to collect a particular piece of child's artwork and make it wearable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 308 and Busted

From the beginning, one of my goals on this year long endeavor was using up so much of my stash which would otherwise surely never be used in my lifetime if I didn't do something drastic. This scarf marks a momentous occasion when a yarn that I've had for years and years (and of which I had many skeins) finally had been used completely up. This yarn was called "Aquarius" and I had something like 7 or 8 skeins. It would have been great if it was the type of yarn that I had wanted to make a sweater out of, but it was a brush acrylic and had I made a sweater, I would have ruined it with sweat after the first wearing. This stuff is just that warm. Happily that makes it a prime candidate for a scarf and I think I managed to get 4 or 5 scarves out of it including one of my very first scarves, the garter stitch which I believe was way back on January 1st.

This time around I had only one skein left and I had to make it last. There is a particular market bag which I am fond of which is made with a chain mesh and increased by making longer chains between each mesh point. As fluffy as the yarn was, I figured it would look less like a market bag and more like a ruffle.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 307 and Vogue Collar

As many off the cuff scarves as I've made, I still really enjoy following a pattern. I thought this was a quick easy to follow pattern as vogue patterns tend to be. Just a quicky, fairly nondescript, but it made me happy and I felt accomplished afterwards as I tend to do on completion.