Bee Chart

It is interesting to me what I love now versus when I was a kid.  Case in point: bees.  To start with, I am pretty allergic to bees.  The first time I was stung by one was when I was very, very young.  I might not have even been in kindergarten yet, so around 4 or 5 years old.  My neighbors had two children around our age, a boy and a girl.  That day the young boy was out playing with two of his cousins slightly younger than us also boys.  They decided it would be fun to start banging on the tie wall underneath their porch, which a hive of bees used as a nest.

Somehow a bee flew angrily from about 20 feet away down the hill to our backyard where I was sitting on our swing set.  I think I had just decided to go inside for the afternoon when WHAM.  Something hit me in the face.  I don’t actually remember getting stung.  I’m sure my mom will always remember the way I screamed (basically the only way a small child can scream when in some serious pain).  It turns out that while I am not deathly allergic to bees, I do have a pretty severe reaction to their venom.  Wherever I am stung will swell up painfully and remain swollen for several days.  I once got stung on my hand and couldn’t move any part of it for almost a week.  Needless to say the first time will always stick with me though.  I got stung right next to my eye, and had it been any closer I may have had some serious damage done to my vision.  I think I had to wear an eye patch for awhile.  Needless to say I spent a large portion of my child hood petrified of bees.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I definitely appreciate nature and ecosystems more than I did before.  I believe in protecting systems that work together in harmony.  Yes bees may sting you, but without them, we’d have to do a lot more work to grow our food.  I even have a dream someday of having a hive.  Though I would probably never actually be brave enough to get honey out them.  Someone else can do that.  So once again I put on my creative cap and decided I wanted a chart for my My Favorite Things scarf of a bee motif.

Bee Chart

I think this is another one that I modified off another image.  I also use different colors just to better see how parts of a motif go together.  One thing I am trying to figure out how to do create pattern repeats, or make it so that I can do more than just a single row of a motif.  I don’t want them stacked on top of each other, I want them offset, so you sort of see how I did that here.  And yes, I am still having a ton of fun making charts.  I am even going to get a little quad ruled Moelskine notebook so that I can draw some of these by hand someday.

 

Happy Knitting!

Fried Egg Chart

I was scrolling through tumblr the other day and I saw this epic sweater go whizzing by, and I had to stop and take a second look at it.

 

Fried Egg Sweater

According to someone else’s internet legwork it is apparently a sweater that is sold in Japan, and the rest of the store seems to mimic this kind of quirky type of clothing.  I honestly have to say though I love it.  I don’t know why.  Sometimes this type of stuff just appeals to my inner rebellious child I think, because I can just hear some people in my family being all “BUT WHY would you want to wear a sweater with fried eggs on it.”   I personalyl question why you wouldn’t wear such a thing.  Actually, I don’t really care much about what people wear.  If you are happy wearing it that is all that matters.

But again, since I am cultivating my charts for my My Favorite Things scarf, and I had so much fun making my sushi charts that I once again told myself, “You love eggs.  They are almost like your ultimate favorite food.”  So of course, off to make a chart.  XD  (I am going to have a scarf that is nothing but nature motifs, animals, and food.  Pretty accurate now that I think about it.) I have a feeling this is machine knit, and that those types of patterns can handle curvature better than I have been able to figure out how to do it.  It’s possible it makes use of duplicate stitch which can help round edges on knitting.  I haven’t personally used duplicate stitch yet, but I’ve seen the results when others do.

Anyway, here is my fried egg chart:

Fried Egg Chart

I haven’t decided if I am 100% happy with this yet, but it’s a start. I may fiddle with it a bit more, to try to even out the shape, but overall I am pleased with the general way it looks, I just wish I could get some of more of the rounded edges like in the photo.  The problem is most of the photos of the sweater are too small, so you can’t necessarily see how many stitches are in a column or a row, but I don’t need an exact replica.  Also as a note, the black outline is mostly a placeholder if you will.  If I put this in my scarf I will probably have a darker background and the black marks where the first white stitch needs to go.

This is why I love the My Favorite Things project so much, because it leads to doing things like this, truly making up ways to incorporate your favorite things even when charts for them don’t already exist.

 

Happy Knitting!

My Favorite Things: April

fair_isle_tube_scarf-592_medium2

So I haven’t been working on this as much as I should, but since I knew from the start this would be a long haul type project I’m not too worried.  Anyway, I missed last month, but I have remembered to post this month with some progress.

This month’s motif is from a cowl pattern called Toast Wrap and it is a very fun and easy chart to remember.  Sometimes there is something to be said for simple geometric motifs.  I also had similar colors to the original pattern, but really any color combination would be easy to do.

toast mft

And there is my latest panel added to my scarf.  I only did about 3 repeats of the chart.  For some reason I seem to be making all of the sections about the same length, but that will change as I get into some of my bigger pictures that I want to include.  Since the pattern isn’t mine, you’ll have to click through the link to grab the motif for yourself.

 

Happy Knitting!

Sushi Charts

I am pretty proud of myself I must admit.

Since I have to take it easy on the knitting for awhile for the sake of my wrists and arms, I have been cultivating my fair isle chart collection for my My Favorite Things scarf.  In the process of looking for a chart on Tricksy Knitter I stumbled onto this chart:  Sushi Chart.

And I thought to myself, “There is nothing you love more than sushi.”  And since this is supposed to be a scarf all about your favorite things I absolutely have to have a sushi section in my scarf now.

The only problem with the chart is that the motifs are stacked on top of each other, and since I am working in the round I need them more in a row.  So I adapted the chart to my needs.  Then I made up two of my own using the other chart as a base which I thought I would share here.

sushi chart 1This first one is like the sushi they make with roe on top.  I was pretty proud of my ability to convey tiny little round fish eggs in blocky box form.  Granted I have not actually knit this so it may look terrible when it’s done.  I also plan on knitting the base in black but if I fill in black on the chart in Excel you can’t really tell where your stitches are anymore.

sushi chart 2This one is a tamagoyaki sushi which is egg on top of a mound of rice with some sushi wrapper going around the middle.  Again proud of my ability to add some three dimensionality and perspective to a flat graphic chart.  I am a nerd.  Also as a note, the big middle line that wraps around the rice and the egg i tried to make a darker gray; that will probably also be knit using black.

I sort of wanted one more but it would have to be a round one since I am too lazy to rearrange them.  Okay, if I really want a fifth motif I would probably have to do another nigiri sushi like the tamagoyaki, but that would leave me doing like shrimp….and I am allergic to shrimp so not exactly something you want on a my favorite things type item.  Also these will essentially be my first attempts at instarsia because I do want to try to incorporate colors so that will most likely be a pain in the ass.

I am not going to lie, I was ridiculously happy working on these.  I wish I had a more effective way to do it beyond Excel, but we use the tools we have at our disposal.

I hope you find these as cute as I do.

 

Happy Knitting!

 

Running Socks

Not too long ago after graduating from college I was unemployed for a very long stretch of time (almost 2 years really) and it was sort of a bleak black hole of a time in my life.  It wasn’t really my fault, the economy was still reeling and I was generally competing against people with masters for a job I didn’t even really want, but was kind of desperate for in order to cover my finances.  I really don’t like thinking about it, because let’s just say I did not handle it very gracefully.  I was frustrated and angry all of the time, and I hit a point where I just didn’t really care a whole lot about anything anymore–including whether or not I got out of bed for the day.

Then I took a long hard look at myself and got angry at me.  I was basically destroying my body for not very good reasons and I decided that everything needed to change.  So I picked myself up of the ground and made myself go outside again.  Eventually I moved on to running and I have been trying to get better at it every since.  Last year my Christmas gift to myself was a treadmill and now that the weather is FINALLY nice out I am going to be hitting the park a lot more.  Which means I need me some fancy new socks.  Fancy knit running socks that is:

run socks

This pattern was featured on the front page of Ravelry and when I realized it would only cost me about $3 I went ahead and bought it.  You can find the pattern here:  Runner’s Socks.

This is the first color combination I did.  I also have some started that will be green and pink, and then I purchased a red and a yellow, but the red is more like burnt orange and the yellow is pretty much high-lighter colored, so they don’t necessarily go well together.  That is why I was so excited when KnitPicks had their new line of Stroll Sock Yarn come out.  I have been knitting these up with the Stroll which is a superwash Merino wool and nylon blend.  That means they are both washable and should retain most of their shape thanks to the nylon.

Chevron detail

Chevron detail

I took these bad boys for a spin on the treadmill the other day and they worked beautifully.  I wish I could knit faster so that I could have a dozen pair of these.  They will be even more flashy with my highlighter colors.

The only downside to these is that they are knit on size 1 needles, so you may as well be knitting with toothpicks.  It takes me about 4 or 5 days of non stop knitting to finish one sock.  So they aren’t exactly a fast little project.

My feet are so dumb looking.  Feet are weird.

My feet are so dumb looking. Feet are weird.

 

Since it was my first time knitting them one of them turned out slightly bigger than the other (I must have had a tighter tension on the second one), but they still both fit really well.  Though it would be nice if my feet were less flat so that the pattern looked a little nicer when they were actually on my feet, although honestly, the only people that will ever see it is me.

Anyway, wool is far superior to cotton for wicking moisture away from your body, and since I now know how many repeats of the pattern are needed to fit my foot I can knit subsequent pairs much more quickly than the first time.  I only ever wear ankle socks anyway, so I’m excited to finally have a pair that really fit my foot that I made myself.

 

Happy Knitting!

L.A. League Sweater Wrap Up

This is one of those projects that shows me why I like knitting so much, because there is always room to learn.  This was a project that required more patience than I was prepared for but I’m glad I was able to take the extra time necessary to make the sweater as I wanted it.

rs1

Unfortunately being a curvier gal, this sweater is not quite as over-sized as I would have liked it to be, but the open ladders are fun and the yarn is soft, comfortable, and warm.  It will be a perfect transition garment as we move from spring to summer.

Here’s a closeup of the stitch pattern:

rs2

The best thing about having made this sweater once is that I think I have the pattern figured out enough to recreate it in a slightly larger size if I am ever inclined to.  The pattern seems to work in multiples of fours.  The dropped stitches are easy to do and in my opinion a simple way to add a cool detail to what would otherwise be a pretty plain sweater.  The only downside is that all of the panels are knit in rib, which is one of my least favorite things to knit and unfortunately so necessary on most projects that require it.

If you saw my last post you know that I was having some issues with the sweater.  One panel I had to rip out twice near the end (after I had dropped stitches) so that both panels would be the same size.  After I started over I realized I hadn’t ripped out far enough eliminating the bind off set up, so I had an awkward row of purl stitches in the middle of my neckline.  If it had been on the wrong side I could have lived with it, but since it wasn’t I ripped out again to make it look nice all the while cursing my perfectionist soul.

Anyway, the only other issue I ran into was with the arms.  I sort of had a sinking suspicion as I was knitting the arm pieces that they weren’t going to fit me, only I thought it would be the cuffs that were too small.  Nope turns out it was the shoulder area that gave me problems.  I have pretty broad shoulders and this seems to be a common problem with set in sleeves.  So after some searching I stumbled onto gussets.  Usually if you knit a gusset it’s designed to give you more room in the chest (ladies pay attention) and negates having to rip out to add short rows, or incorporating short rows to begin with (ps, I also hate short rows).  You would usually knit a diamond and insert it vertically, but in my case I needed one that worked width wise (horizontally) on the sleeve to give me a little extra circumference around my arm.

rsgusswt

Of course given that I was running out of yarn this was pretty nerve wracking.  I needed to be able to knit a gusset and then still have enough yarn to sew it in and sew up the rest of the sleeve.  For the sleeve I had already sewn up I had to unravel some of my seaming, weave in the leftover ends, and then still have enough yarn to sew a gusset into it.  It was a process and it took longer than I was expecting it too.  It was in the end very worth it though.

Since this is an alpaca/wool blend and is designed to be loose and open I have yet to decide if I want to block it.  For alpaca it’s usually best to steam, but I’m kind of lazy for that.  I may just hang it up when I take a shower a couple of times and let it loosen up that way.  :D

Anyway, I am taking a short break for a couple of reasons: 1) I have a job interview next week that I need to prepare for 2) I am going to South Korea in basically a week and 3) If I don’t stop knitting for such long periods of time I am going to seriously injure my wrists and shoulder.  I need to just regulate my knitting to one or two days a week for awhile even if it is annoying to me.

*Sigh*

I don’t really know how it happened (okay I do, I remeasured my front and back panels and they are about an inch more than they should be lengthwise), but I have run out of yarn for my L.A. League Sweater, which means that I have a couple options:

1) Sit and cry (really this is a given since I’m already doing it as I try to finish up the last sleeve).

2) Buy more yarn (more on that later)

3) Unravel some of the front and back pieces and hope I have enough yarn to sew everything together.

or

4) Use another type of yarn to sew it together.

 

Since I now know that my front and back are too tall or whatever, I obviously have to go with option 3 to fix this.  This is incredibly annoying however because I already screwed up one of the front/back panels, and even RIPPED OUT TWICE after DROPPING STITCHES (on purpose for the pattern) to make sure that both pieces matched each other.  The prospect of ripping out again makes me want to curl up in a ball and weep.

If the yarn wasn’t nearly $10 a skein and shipped from the UK (which then costs me $10 to ship + surprise customs fees) I would seriously just order another skein of yarn.  However, it’s not really worth $20.  I mean, I’m lazy but not that lazy.

I may have fervently wished that I lost a skein of yarn somewhere.  Alas, the yarn gods are not with me on that one today.

Anyway, moving forward!  I want to try to fix the front and back panels and have this sewn up tonight, unless I decide to block the pieces first in which case I will then definitely finish it by tomorrow.

 

Happy Knitting!