Saturday, 31 May 2008

Continuing adventures with the boyfriend socks

Originally uploaded by jenamberautumn
Now, I've only made one other pair of socks before I did these. I had always been told that socks were hard to do, but with the top down socks I worked on first, I found them quite easy. However, for my boyfriend's socks I wanted to try something different so I did some research on different sock patterns and came up with something I think I like. (This might change when I get to turning the heel).

For figuring out what needle size to use and generic information was helpful. However, for turning the heel I think will be helpful. The toe start might be an official pattern, but I "invented" it by casting on ten stitches, knitting the row, purling the next row, then knitting again, and then taking a crochet hook and creating ten stitches on the side I cast on, putting five stitches on four needles. #I knit in the round, for one circle. *The next circle I knit one, made a stitch, and knit the next four (so there were six stitches on the needle). The Next needle I knit four, made a stitch and knit the last. I repeated from the * for the next two needles. Then I repeated from the # so I ended up having ten stitches on my four needles. I then switched to my longer dipoint needles and knit in the round.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my boyfriend's measurements yet (for his foot) so I transfered my first sock onto my connected needles and started the second sock. Now that I have my boyfriend's measurements (as of midnight this morning) I can proceed. We'll see how it works out. It might come out terribly, in which case I'll try again. But so far, so good.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Lavish and Boyfriend Socks

Originally uploaded by jenamberautumn
I got this in the mail the other day and oh god, I didn't expect it to be so soft. I have to admit I dropped what I was doing just to work on this. I looked up a real basic pattern for toe-up socks and I'm making a pair for my boyfriend. They're coming along quickly and the yarn is just amazing to work with- SO soft. I was susposed to be unpacking yesterday but instead I was working on these socks.

Knitting continental style has made such a difference to both my outlook on knitting and my speed. I'm so much more pleased with what I'm doing.

In other news, I've been playing around with Ravelry more often, with wonderful results. Also, I signed up for a yarn swap type thing (see my last post) and it's got me really excited about doing crafty stuff. I have a lot of different projects on my plate right now in different states of progress. I've got my own pair of socks and a stuffed kitten I'm experimenting with. I have a bathmat I almost finished, decided I didn't like it, and am now unraveling in order to do over again. The first time it just wasn't squishy enough for my tastes- too loose. But that's another story I"ll get to another day.

What projects are you working on? Is there one that you dropped because you just had to play with the yarn? Or is there a piece you made, decided you didn't like, and are now reworking?

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Secret Pal 12!

Secret Pal 12!

I saw this before and decided I desperately wanted to join.

Here's the questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
My favorite yarns to knit with tend to be different types of wool: plain sheep wool which I love to felt. I recently got some alpaca by Lavish ( which I'm making into socks for my boyfriend. I love just running it through my hands. I also like cotton such as Lily's Sugar 'n Cream line or Ty-Dy by... I can't think of the name right now.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
As of right now? An old case for glasses for my crochet hooks, and a plastic bag for my di-point knitting needles. I always intend to make something where I can carry and organize them all in, but I hesitate to buy something at the store because it often has only one place for a size hook, and often I have doubles of my favorite hooks because I want the hook to match the project. Sometimes I want aluminum for a project that I'm churning out, but if I'm doing it more for the pleasure, I might get out one of my beautiful wooden shaped hooks so I can more enjoy the process.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been crocheting since I was six or seven (I'm 21 now) and while I prefer to do more simple, clean lined projects, I would consider myself advanced in crochet.

Knitting is another matter. I learned to knit when I was ten, but never enjoyed it as much as I did crochet, probably because by that time I was rather quick at crochet, and awkward with my knitting needles. Recently, in the last six months, I've slowly picked up knitting again. I started with a pair of socks, which turned out well but large, because I do continental style knitting (feeding from my left hand almost like crochet) instead of the throwover method, and I've found that my gauge is a bit looser so I have to choose a smaller needle than the pattern dictates (sometimes I'll even go two sizes down).

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes! I love to read, but oftentimes don't have the money to buy the books I want, so I go on Amazon and pretend to shop by adding things to my wish list. It's like drinking water when you're hungry... eventually I'll eat but I can hold it off until I have some time.

It's located at:

5. What's your favorite scent?
I don't wear perfumes, but I do put vanilla bean sachets into my drawers (especially my sock ones). I like vanilla because it's subtle. I also like the Bath and Bodyworks lemon handsoap. A lot.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I do have a sweet tooth, but I've been on Weight Watchers for the last two years and have lost 55 lbs, so I humbly request that candy be sent in very small quantities because I have very little willpower. Given that, I love sugar free york peppermint patties, Weight Watchers bars and frutties, dried fruit (dried strawberries and kiwi are my favorites)

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I do spin, if badly, but I still enjoy it. I've never had formal instruction on how to spin, which I think might be part of it. I have a single drop spindle which is rather worn and well loved, and occasionally I'll treat myself to some fiber.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like country, oldies, musical soundtracks, folk music, irish music and am open to almost anything.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I tend to like blues and greens when choosing yarn, though I look better in brighter colors. I wear a lot of pink, light yellow, jewel tones, and bright blues. I'm not fond of muted colors, tans, dark greens, etc.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm the oldest of four children. I don't have any pets, except for my youngest brother. *wink* I'm a senior at Davidson College (our basketball team rocks!).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I occasionally wear scarves if they're soft and warm. I love mittens, socks and hats (thought I don't always look good wearing hats). I've actually haven't owned a poncho since the winter of ninth grade (it was black and I was trying to be a goth which lasted until the spring) so I think I would wear one if I had one.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Well, I haven't been seriously knitting for all that long, so I've been doing simple things- socks for the most part. But I don't normally do socks in sock yarn unless it is on the thicker side of sock yarn (or worsted) because I'm still slower at knitting than crochet and I do like to feel like I'm making progress. Thing sock yarn feels much too SLOW.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks for my boyfriend. Thick yarn not made for socks, but they're turning out good.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
I do, mostly because none of my friends are as crafty as I am, so I don't get them.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? If it's crochet I like aluminum (Boye- I'm picky), though I already have a large collection. I also love wood for crochet needles, as long as they're well polished.

Knitting needles I have full sets in in 6" and 10" di-point needles (from 0-10.5) I also have lots of plastic circular, but I don't like the feel of them so I don't use them that much. For knitting I prefer bamboo, because I need a little bit more friction. Aluminum tends to just slip too much for me.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No to both, and god how I'd love them.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Four years. It's my christmas/summer ripple crochet blanket, because those are the only times I work on it.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween and St. Patrick's day. It's a tie, and each of them happens in a different semester so it counts. Why? because for both of them I dress up and go all-out. My father is a Shriners clown by the name of Shamrock, so it's rather necessary that I dress up on St. Patrick's day.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
My Little Ponies... but not in a serious way. More like I'll be in the store and see one I like and buy it. It goes back to when I was a kid.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have a subscription to any magazines, much to my disappointment. As for patterns, I tend to like to play, or wing-it. Patterns are guidelines. I'm very visual, so I like to look at crochet things at the store so I can copy them. Recently I got a book of different advanced crochet stitches that I love (blanking on the name and it's still in my boxes that I have yet to unpack from college) to just play and experiment with.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Hairpin lace.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, I've knit socks. I also crochet them though it doesn't work as well.

Foot Measurements?: Heel to toe: just short of nine inches. Base of little toe to bottom of my arch, where the heel begins: just shy of four and three quarters inches. Widest part of my foot: four inches.

23. When is your birthday? April 24th

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Yes. jecrowley

I admit I've become a little addicted to my google blogreader, but when I saw this it make me want to chuckle.

Dinosaur Tail

Originally uploaded by jenamberautumn
So my girlfriend doesn't know it yet, but for graduation I made her a tail. We have an inside joke where we call her (hername)-saur, and make videos and write articles on lj about this mysterious being's living habits which mysteriously mirror a college students'.

Random note: the color of my girlfriend's hair is the same color as the dark pink.

So she graduated a couple of weeks ago, and since then I've been working on her graduation gift. Having looked on the internet and not finding ANY patterns for crocheting a dinosaur tail (there were a few knit ones I came across, but I did not find them remarkable) I decided to make my own.

I started from the tip, and worked in a spiral, increasing by two every third stitch and alternating with a row of no increase, repeat. About a fourth of the way up, this changed to increase every fifth single crochet for a round and then two rounds of single crochet, repeat. Finally, around where the third spike ends (from the tip up) increased every tenth single crochet in a round, and then had with three rounds of no increase, repeat.

As you can see, this was a very approximate pattern, which resulted in a little too much increase at the beginning of the fourth spike up from the tip. Still, I was rather pleased. However, when held up to the butt, the tail looked more like a random pink cone sticking out of the butt. I felt it needed to be angled down.

So then, I employed the same method I use when turning my crochet socks on the heel, except this was much bigger and less drastic. I crochet halfway across, turned, and went back. The next time I went across, I picked up one stitch from the opposite side, and then Crochet two.

It was very... feel along as you go type pattern, which is what I like best. There was also lots of unraveling involved. So finally, I angled the tail down enough that I was happy.

The second step was a giant coaster that was worked in a spiral and then sewed to close up the tail and enable me to stuff it.

Finally, I made the spikes. These were done in a single crochet square which was then folded into a triangle and single crochet together. The first spike is one round, the second three rounds, the fourth five rounds, and the last two seven rounds. They were then sewn onto the body. Looking back, I probably should have sewn those on, then attached the giant coaster and stuffed it.

But still, it turned out well.

What do you think?

PS: Model is my sister.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Attack of the Daleks!

Originally uploaded by jenamberautumn
Finals almost killed me, but I promise I'll be posting some more. Here we have the two Daleks from Dr. Who that my two girlfriends asked me to make for them. The first, short one I did off a pattern that my girlfriend found. While a decent pattern, a combination of slightly different yarn, and unclear directions made it a struggle. So after studying pictures of Daleks, I made the second one, which I feel came out better.

In the second one I doubled up the yarn, and switched colors for the black parts. I feel it has a more solid, Dalek-y feel. I also enjoyed it much more.

Let me know what you think, and which one you like more!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Just trying it out!
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