Monday, March 25, 2013

More Fluff and Stuff

Everyone is having babies lately (everyone but me), and that includes my fellow grad students. One of my buds, bless her heart, will be 9 months pregnant when she defends her prospectus. 9 months. No thank you.
Her baby shower was this week, and it was a rather gender neutral one, as the wee one has refused to uncross its legs for the last 3 ultrasounds.

So I asked her what kind of animal she wanted and she said they were decorating with a sort of "cow theme." Cool. New stuffed animal.

I flipped through the cow patterns on Ravelry and finally settled on Milkshake the cow. It seemed cute enough. The one I really wanted to make was this one, but it's in some book that I cannot access... The udder is freaking hilarious. Oh well. Milkshake was a quick knit--the pieces are made flat and sewn up when it's stuffed. This was the first error free stuffed animal pattern I've encountered in a while, so kudos to the designer.

It's not without quirks though :)

 For starters, in the original pattern, the head is attached to the body using the base of the nose... I... I can't do that... I just can't. Heads connect to bodies with necks... noses, well, they're independent of the head-neck system. You can't just go around connect noses to torsos like it happens every day (yes, yes I know it's a stuffed animal and you totally can. By you I meant me.)
 Thing #2 is that body--those are stripes. Cows have spots. It totally works out okay in the end but when I first held the head an body together, all I could think was "Oh no... It's a Zebra."
 On the plus side, I now have a pattern for a zebra. (Ear up higher, no horns, nostrils a bit lower. All very small changes, really).
Overall, I recommend this guy pretty highly. It's a cute little pattern.

We celebrated my belated birthday this weekend with my folks. Everyone had requests for knitted goods, and I got enough yarn for a sweater for the husband (win), so I'll be cranking out gifts here for the next couple of weeks if I'm being efficient. I've got requests for a teal Les Miserables for my mother, I cranked out a hat for my little brother (no pictures, unfortunately--it only took a few hours, so he left with while it was still drying.), and a Caroline for my seester. I also am pining away for a kit that knitpicks has had for a while, but I think I've got enough knitting on my plate to last me for the next couple of eons, so I'll hold off on that for a while. Knitting for others is more fun anyhow. I don't have to figure out how to store finished objects.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Christmas, or things I now have pictures for

For Christmas this past year, I knit my sister the Scallop by the Sea pouch, a pattern that she had tagged me in on Pintrest. I like it when people tell me exactly what they want, and then act surprised when they get it. It makes me smile. The pattern is essentially a pillowcase. You sew up the bottom, make a lining, get some stiff(ish) interfacing, and stick a zipper on the thing.

And by you, I mean my mother, because I sew like an idiot. My mother, on the other hand, has divinely inspired sewing machine capabilities, so when it came time to decide how to put the thing together I called her. She did it begrudgingly (thank you), and the end product is much nicer for it.

Photo credits go to my sister, the recipient, who takes lovely pictures of landscapes and knitted goods which make it into her hands before I have a chance to photograph them.

Aren't those lovely? (The answer is yes. Yes, they are very lovely.)

The interfacing I used was, perhaps, a touch to stiff, and the pocket was a royal pain in the rear end to install, but on the whole I am pleased with the finished product. It was fun to knit, too (Bonus!). More things ought to be lined in pussy willow fabrics. I'm not sure how I'm going to make that happen, but it needs to.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Back again for more

Somewhere between my junior year in my undergrad and actually graduating from college, I tried to make a hat. It was a cute hat, to be sure. The basic form was a cloche, but it had this charming little ruffle on one side and a carefully sewn ribbon. It was one of those "love at first sight" patterns. I even had the yarn it called for sitting in my stash, left over from a sweater that exaggerated its yarn requirements by a full skein and a half (the designer must have meant to include this cloche pattern along with the sweater; that's really the only acceptable explanation for overestimating by that much). It was certainly meant to be. The pattern was Caroline, which has since been purged from the active internet. Fortunately, the Way Back Machine can get me most anything from the internet archives.

I made most of the hat on an airplane related adventure, and as a result I had not carefully read through others notes on construction, size, and, well, general issues.

When the entire internet agrees that the big hat is "way too big," no amount of claiming you have a large skull will help you (which I do, but it didn't help). The large size was gigantic. It fell down over my eyes, didn't hug my skull, and was pretty much the saddest excuse for a charming hat with a dainty ruffle you've ever seen in your life. This hat needed structure, and structure it did not have. I loved it though, and it took me a few months to get up the gumption to rip it out.

That turned out to be a complete and utter disaster. Somehow something had gone all wonky when I picked up the turned hem, and I had an odd moebius of yarn without an actual moebius strip of knitting. Suffice to say it was weird and knots were involved. The yarn was eventually salvaged, but 2 bad experiences was enough to make me shelve the idea. Still, I never used the yarn for another project. It sat in the front of my yarn drawer, but I couldn't bear to use it, after all, it already had a telos of sorts.

Well, about two weeks ago, I sat down and made the small version of the hat. I went out and purchased ribbon. I sewed my pretty little bow together and slowly and carefully tacked it to the hat.

I really couldn't be more pleased.
Can I say that?
I love this hat.
Too bad winter is over...