Sunday, January 25, 2009

The birth of a pattern

Today after my plans to see a movie were canceled, I decided to trek over to A Tangled Skein to pick up some yarn. I hadn't been there for a while and was so excited! Also, I got to use my GPS to get there.

After bee-lining to pick out yarn, I sat a while and finished my Oc-TOE-ber socks while talking to Rivka, one of the workers there. I always see her on Ravelry when looking at my "friend activity". Things that she faves, queues, and knits always catch my eye as something I want to make NOW.

I finished my socks:Since starting this project I have abandoned the step in project-adding on Ravelry when you list the exact date you started it. I just got too OCD about it and decided that to keep my sanity I'd just skip it. But I had noted for this project the date I had started it, and it was June 4, 2008!! I can't believe they have been on my needles for so long. I don't even want to think about how long that dang Jeanie shawl has been on the needles....

So anyways...A Tangled Skein is having a 20% off sale starting this Tuesday, but my tendency for instant gratification won and I walked away with some schtuff. I got only the yarn I came in for (what a concept). I also got some cable needles and wool wash.

Red, white, and blue Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted for a fair isle Obama Hope hat, and some Berroco Peruvia in a hunter green for a Valentine's gift.

The recipient asked for a rustic-looking hat, in his exact words, "like you spun the yarn yourself." I failed to mention (on purpose) that I can spin, because he probably would have asked me to do that part too. And then it would have been next year's Valentine's gift because I really suck at spinning.

On the way home whilst listening to Stash and Burn on my iPod (thank you Honda) I dreamt up how I would construct this. I also decided that it is just complicated enough that I could publish it as an easy pattern. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening playing knit designer.

Swatch and measure.
Calculate and cast-on.And several hours later (note the lighting change) Tada!
ETA: This pattern was strongly influenced by the It Ain't Jane Scarf. I wanted a drapey, squishy fabric. And I love the texture of these little cables all together. (hint: you can make this hat to match the scarf!)

And here is the pattern:

Just a Little Something Hat

(...because last time I was the victim of the infamous curse
but now I have an excuse because it's Valentine's Day
and I need to give a present anyway
but I don't want it to be too much)

Yarn: Berroco Peruvia (100% highland wool, aran weight)
Needles: 16" circulars in US 8 and US 10.5, double pointeds in US 10.5
Other: darning needle, cable needle if you'd like but you can also try it without
Gauge: 5 pattern repeats = 3.5" on larger needles when slightly stretched
Size: to fit 22" head
Ribbing=*knit 2, purl 1* repeat around
Twisted 1x1 cable=
row 1: *hold 1st k stitch in front, k 2nd stitch, k 1st stitch, p third stitch* repeat around
rows 2, 3, & 4: work in ribbing
Cast on 96
On smaller needles, work in ribbing for 1"
Switch to larger needles and work one more row in ribbing
Work in twisted 1x1 cable pattern for 6 repeats (24 rows total)
Decrease rounds (switching to dpn's when necessary):
1: *ssk, p1, k2, p1, twisted 1x1 cable, p1, twisted 1x1 cable, p1* repeat around (88)
2: *k1, p1, ssk, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1* repeat around (80)
3: *k1, p1, k1, p1, ssk, p1, k2, p1* repeat around (72)
4: **k1, p1* 3 times, ssk, p1* repeat around (64)
5: *ssk, *k1, p1* 3 times* repeat around (56)
6: *k1, ssk, k1, p1, k1, p1* repeat around (48)
7: *k2, ssk, k1, p1* repeat around (40)
8: *k3, ssk* repeat around (32)
9: *ssk, k2* repeat around (24)
10: *ssk, k1* repeat around (16)
11: ssk 8 times (8)
Cut yarn and draw through remaining loops. Pull tight and knot. Then weave in ends.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My knitty valentine

I like quick projects. I haven't quite pinpointed why, but there are a few reasons well-known in the knitting community that I'm sure you can come up with.

I was bored with my projects on a Thursday night and was skimming through the newest added patterns on Ravelry. I came across a tiny heart pattern. Then I remembered that I had already queued 4 tiny heart patterns, one of which was the English version of the pattern I was looking at.

I pulled out some dpn's and spare Red Patons Classic Wool Merino and got knitting. I also have been looking for a low-key present to knit for Valentine's Day for a new friend in my life. No more mistakes like last time (see my October 2008 post entitled "Progress...and the curse")

About 10 minutes later I had a wee heart:
thanks to Theresa Fox (first link in "free patterns" in the right-hand column).

This was knit completely in the round using the figure 8 cast on. Knitty has a good explanation on how to do this cast-on but I found Cat Bordhi's video very helpful. It's the main cast-on used for toe-up socks.

Then I got curious about those other wee heart patterns I had queued. I tried Norah Gaughan's Heartfelt.
This one is made flat and seamed up the side.Then I tried the hearts by Anna Hrachovec.
Also knit flat. Just knit an identical front and back and then seam it up.Lastly, I pulled out the crochet hook and tried Pepika's 3D Heart. I'm loving amigurumi stuff right now.First you crochet two little circles, and then attach them so they form the two humps. Then you just crochet around and begin decreasing.My verdict? Well just a disclaimer: pick whichever is most comfortable for you. If you hate knitting in the round or can't crochet worth your life, choose one of the flat ones. (although, you should really learn how to do those. they are helpful skills to have. don't give up! you can do it!)

MY personal favorite is the first one I chose to do, the one by Theresa Fox. (The second from the top in the above picture) Knitting in round is really the simplest way to do this. No seaming and you end up with a great shape. I feel bad, though, because I LOVE YOU NORAH GAUGHAN! You have a real aptitude for designing knitting patterns. I love the shapes and interesting construction you envelop in your pieces. I have made 2 tilted dusters. :)

Anyone else have a good mini heart pattern? Share! Share!

And happy valentine's day!