Finished Objects Friday – Ethan’s Monster

Hurray! Finished Ethan’s monster a month early and before we leave for holiday.  Really wanted it done for last Friday but lost my motivation toward the end of last week.  I sewed in the eyes a couple of times and really struggled to get them pointing the same way so in the end just left them a bit weird.  Hopefully this adds to his charm.

Meanwhile I was excited that the next birthday isn’t until May so I could give the monsters a rest for a while.  However I heard from my sister-in-law that Zoe’s monster went down such a treat that her sister cannot wait until her birthday!  So in the interests of peace in that family I’ll start up the next one after I get back from leave.

Anyway here he is.

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WIP Wednesday – Progress on Manly Scarf

I finally finished Ethan’s Monster! I’ll post photos for that for Finished Objects Friday.  And I’m so pleased because that lets me progress with my husband’s birthday scarf.  Definitely won’t be finished this before his birthday (tomorrow); but we’re going away on a 3 week relaxing holiday and this is going to be the project I take with me so fingers crossed I make good progress on it while away.

Apologies for the bad lighting in these shots, the camera on my phone is playing up!

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Remembering I’m using double-knitting for this to create the reversible fabric.  It’s very slow going!

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WIP Wednesday – Ethan’s Monster

I thought after finishing Zoe’s Monster I could take a break for a while on the amigurumi thing and work on my knitting.  But when I checked the calendar I realised that there’s another birthday coming up end of February and we’re going on holiday for three weeks right in the middle!

I do plan to take a project with me when we’re away, but don’t think the amigurumi is the right one so thought I’d get a head start on Ethan’s monster.

Had a few ideas for some shaping that I hadn’t done before so jotted these down (apologies for the fuzziness this week has been one big rush!).  My husband then chose the one on the bottom right. IMG-20130106-00162

Using some of the same yarn as the previous monster I got started. Loving the cone shaped head.  It’s good to mix it up from the spherical shapes I’d been doing previously.

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Fingers crossed I manage to get it done for Finished Objects Friday! Otherwise I’ll have nothing to show.

Finished Objects Friday – Zoe’s Monster

Last year year was all about learning how to design and make amigurumi.  During the course of the year I made monsters for all my nieces and nephews and my step-kids.

This year I decided to make monsters for all my husband’s nieces and nephews and first up is Zoe at the end of January.  Over Xmas Zoe and I had a little chat and we sat down to draw up a few drafts.  We didn’t settle on one though and in the end she decided she wanted something that looked a bit like an octopus, leaving me to come up with the final design.

I drew up a few ideas one night on the couch and sent them on to see if she liked any.  Turns out the one at 3 o’clock was a goer!IMG-20121228-00152I used some yarn that I had in my stash and got started just before new years.  This monster is probably the quickest one I have done to date.  It crocheted up so quickly that without the speed bumps of NYE, recovery from NYE, and full time work I think I may have knocked it over in two days. That is if my fingers would behave and stop cramping up after an hour or so!

Meanwhile I am happy with a week turn around on these things because I love making them and giving them away and I am also not the most organised person in the world.  This year, I suspect, will contain a lot of “oh crap it’s their birthday next week” moments.  So long as I have enough supplies on hand that should still mean that the little people in my life can still get their monsters!

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PS It’s not your eyes. It is not completely symmetrical! Something happened when I was shaping the neckline. I was counting and checking and recounting and that still happened.  But oh well, everyone’s body is a little bit different; that just makes them more perfect!

WIP Wednesday – Manly Sea Eagles Scarf

About a year ago I decided I should knit something for my husband.  The only problem was he already had a lot of lovely (although machine knitted!) woolen jumpers. I didn’t want to make him another one that would just take up room in the cupboard and only get worn a few days a year.  It doesn’t get cold enough in Sydney to warrant having a vast range of woolen sweaters.

Instead I thought I’d tackle something a bit smaller and a bit more useful.  The logical item was therefore a scarf in his team colours; white and maroon for the Manly Sea Eagles.  Although as it turned out, I’d just finished knitting a scarf for my step-son, yellow and black for the Wests Tigers, and to be honest I was a bit over garter stitch.

After a few rows I started experimenting with the continental knitting technique just to mix it up a bit. But of course jumping back and forth between English knitting and continental knitting just meant that the tension was all over the shop and the result was not straight.  The scarf ended up going into one of my drawers and didn’t see the light of day for a good while.

Then I went on a colour knitting course at Morris and Sons and learned about double-knitting.  This was a technique where you knit with two strands and end up with reversible fabric.  This would be absolutely perfect for the manly scarf and also let me put some writing on it so it wasn’t just boring stripes!

(NB I didn’t actually learn to double-knit at that colour knitting course, they taught stranding.  But they did show us what double knitting looked like and then I went to look it up on You Tube.)

Husband’s birthday is coming up a the end of January and so I decided to pick up the project and start again.  I like to think that I was waiting for the right time to finish this project; it had nothing to do with me getting bored first time around.

First step was to unravel some of the work I’d already done so that I could re-use the yarn.  I did this for a bit and then (can you see a pattern here?) started to get bored.  So I cast on without unraveling the whole first attempt.

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I used an iPad app called Design Knit to come up with the pattern for the word “Manly” and then set about to do a test run to see how it would look.  And this is the result!

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I’m so happy that it turned out OK because double-knitting is very time consuming and I didn’t really want to spend too much time working out the pattern.  I’ll keep this as the first stripe in the scarf! Hurray!

PS There’s no way I’ll get this done in time for the actual birthday, but I figure as long as it’s done before the footy season starts I should be OK.  It’s way too hot for scarves at the moment anyway.

PPS Yes I know I should have washed the wool after unraveling the previous scarf, but I don’t have a lot of patience or time and that just seemed too hard.

PPPS I know that by not washing the yarn it’s going to take me that much longer as it gets all tangled etc.  So not washing it was probably more about me being impatient than not having enough time.

My Biggest Crocheted Item (to date)

After learning to crochet last year (actually it’s the year before last now isn’t it?) and having some success with monsters, I told my Mum that if she found a pattern she’d liked then I’d love to make it for her.  I don’t like buying gifts so much, but I love making gifts.

So Mum found Round Yoke Poncho, I bought some beautiful, soft yarn from Lincraft and away I went.  This was the biggest thing I’d ever crocheted before but the technique looked pretty straight forward and the pattern said easy so I was excited to give it a go.

For something this big I thought I really should do a gauge square, but after two I still didn’t have it right.  I decided to jump on in and live with the consequences.

Within a few nights I was here:

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And then after a week or so I was here.  This thing was getting so big, it was really exciting to do something that was shaped this way with just a single hook and a bit of yarn.  My cat Sebastian also thought it was looking pretty cool. He takes a keen interest in my work.

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I travel a bit for work and this was a great project to take with me interstate.  After a few weeks of work in hotel rooms and a bit on weekends I’d managed to get the shape and the arms done.

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It was now ready to try on and I was a bit nervous. I knew that the gauge at the start wasn’t quite right so there was a large chance that it wasn’t going to fit properly. I also could see that it wasn’t as long as the picture in the pattern; but a knitted or crocheted garment rarely ever turns out exactly like the pattern (at least not for someone with my level of ability).

From the front I was pretty happy. As I suspected it wasn’t quite long enough, but unfortunately I didn’t feel confident to keep extending the pattern repeats at the bottom without making a huge mistake.  And although it looked different I didn’t think it looked bad either.

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Wasn’t as happy from the side.  The back puffed out a bit for my liking, but I didn’t think that making it longer would fix that. I think it’s more an attribute of the type of yarn I was using; it didn’t have a huge amount of “drape”.

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With that, all it needed now is for the ends to be sewn in and some buttons put on the front.  I took care of sewing in the ends, but decided to let Mum choose her own buttons and sew them on.

In the end it turned out quite well.  It wasn’t perfect but I did learn a number of things from this exercise.

1. When using variegated yarn, it is important to make sure you’re on the same bit of colour when you join balls.  Someone had told me this before but I didn’t listen to them.  I thought that sounded like wasting a lot of yarn for something that wasn’t going to be that noticeable.  But with this project, each change of ball is so obvious to me that I’m annoyed I didn’t make the effort.  Guess that’s me being stubborn and having to learn the hard way.

2. When sewing in the ends, be very careful when pulling the yarn to sew in on the wrong side.  I did this by pulling it through on the next stitch leaving a sort of loop on the right side.  This was easily fixed by pulling out the sewn in end and re-doing, but would have been much easier to do it right the first time.

Overall I was pretty happy with the result and know how to make it much better in future!DSC_0209

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