Thursday, May 19, 2011

raglanagain and utilitarian knitting

After a sort of short hiatus from knitting, I'm back with two raglan sweaters in progress and a finished project which is, frankly, probably the most useful thing I've ever knit. No, well, my camera case was probably the MOST useful thing, but this new object is a close second. More in a bit. Meanwhile, my sweaters:

I started this one almost a month ago now.

It's a sweet little Knitty pattern-- Amiga--  that is very reminiscent of the popular Featherweight cardigan, except it's free, and knit in a heavier weight. But I wanted a light, easy summer sweater, so I cast on using fingering weight baby yarn. I had two skeins of "antique white" (shown above), and another two skeins of bright white. I figured I'd just use both. At first i had the idea of using leftover Palette for the collar/front bands section, because the two yarns looked good together-- the deep turquoise and the white-- but the white is acrylic and the Palette is wool, and it would be a nightmare to wash. So forget that. However, I know how tacky the two white shades would look together, so I've kind of lost my momentum on the project all together, though I know it would be a really cute sweater to have for the warm weather.

The second raglan sweater I just started last night:

How cute is it already? It's called the $5 in Paris sweater and it's meant to cost very little, knit in cheap acrylic. Hey, I'm all in favor of acrylic-- EASY TO WASH!!! I'm not a huge fan of doing laundry, and if an item requires hand-washing, you can pretty much bet it's going to get washed never. Anyway, the sweater is so cute, and it's very much my style, plus, I figured it is the perfect project to bring on my LONG flight on Monday. Unless I get a lot done by then... hm... we'll see. At any rate, it's looking very neat.

And my finished project:

What is it? Can you guess?

Here's a hint...

It's a jewelry stand! Genius! I wish I could say I thought of this, but I got the idea from a friend's Ravelry project page. She made one and my curiosity was piqued. What is this thing? It was SO incredibly quick and easy to make. I had an old frame; I knit a short swath of some Claudia's Hand Paints Fingering in the seafoam pattern, which took NO time at all; covered the cardboard insert with pretty paper; stapled the knitting to the insert; shoved it all into the frame-- and voila! Getting my earrings tangled up is a frequent problem for me, because I like to throw them all into a little box together, and then rattle the box around until the hooks get stuck in the pretty stringy pieces-- like that pink pair right in the middle of the frame-- and then I have to pull them apart and they get ruined and so forth. Right now my solution is keeping the more fragile ones in separate Ziplock bags. But this is a perfect arrangement for me. It's portable, I can set it up wherever I am, my earrings have a pretty home, and no more tangles! Plus, it's just such a cool idea. I'm very happy with it. The one thing I would change is the size. It's a small frame, and I have a lot of earrings, so if I stumble upon a larger cheap frame in the future I might make a bigger one.

And, before I go, a quick non-sequitor: today my dad sent me a very cool article about the rising trend of yarn bombing/knitting graffiti, which is basically exactly what it sounds like: renegade knitters sneaking out in the dark of night to cover things in knitting!!!! I want to get involved in this movement.

I believe that's all the knitting news I have for you today, folks!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I've got the kippot blues

....from my head down to my shoes.

I crocheted my dad a kippa last year, but he recently lost it, very sadly, so I decided to make him a new one. I also recently inherited a bunch of crochet hooks from my Nana, so I decided to make another one, for my friend Ben, in a heavier weight yarn.

With the leftover cotton thread from my kippot-related activities last year, I began a kippa for my dad in cream with variegated blue accents, the same blue I had used to make the original kippa. I started experimenting with color patterns-- I don't really know anything about crochet other than the simple stitch I learned last year, so I was trying to teach myself new tricks. I made a few simple stripes and then a kind of dotted line, with ten stitches in cream, ten in blue, etc., all the way around. I only had a very little bit of blue remaining but I thought I could finish the row. Wrong-- I was just ONE ten-stitch repeat away from having enough. So I used my brain and colored in the string with a blue sharpie. It looked fine-- a little bit smudged but it was okay. I went on and crocheted around and around and round until I was almost finished. Then I cleverly thought to myself, "I'll just clean up the smudge around the Sharpie section with a Tide Pen." However, the results were dismal. It got totally ruined:

I really liked the broken line row of blue.

All smudgy! Ugh. I knew it wasn't THAT bad, but it really irritated me. So I started a new one, with different, thicker thread, and attempted a spiral pattern:

It didn't look too bad but I was getting tired of it and didn't want to continue all the way around, and the fabric was a little stiffer and not as neat-looking as the original kippa. So I abandoned that and went back to the cream one. I ripped back to the beginning of the smudge, which, unfortunately, involved that cool broken-dotted line, and went back to going around and around in the cream. But I worked on the other one for two days to get to where I was, and it's going to take a good few hours to finish up.

Here's the one I'm making for Ben:

I am SO bad at it, really. I can't seem to make it all nice and flat like Shira's. I guess it just takes practice. I have only made three complete kippot in my life. But I just cannot seem to manage to make them flat, even with the three new ones.

Anyway, in other news, Daddy made me new, longer arms for my Swift, and yesterday I sewed a case out of canvas for it:

My first time using my sewing machine in I don't know how long! I forgot how to thread it, and had to look it up online. Ha. But I got it all figured out anyway. The zipper ended up a little bulky at the very end, but otherwise it came out okay. It achieves its function at least-- and now my Swift has a little home.