Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tadpole Tuesday: more Nessie

That's right - I've actually finished something in 2012!

Pattern: Loch Ness Monster by Hansi Singh (ravelry link)
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in Azul Profundo (less than half a skein, I'd guess) for the back, tail, and flippers. Tosh Merino Light in Moorland (held double) for the belly. Assorted pink leftovers for the innards, er, stuffing.
Needles: size 4 47" addi lace circular - magic loop for all of the fiddly bits
Mods: I worked french knots for the eyes (this tutorial was great)

I suppose this tummy shot is like the inside-out view of a stranded color work piece - it's what keeps the knitter honest. Nessie is worked in a single piece from tail tip to nose. Then you pick up and knit stitches along one side of the body, work a bunch of short rows, and graft those stitches to the other side of the body. That pick up and knit step is where your technique needs to be spot on, otherwise things start to look a bit wonky.

I didn't pay close attention to the directions for the edge stitches when I started knitting this project and ended up working a basic slipped stitch selvedge rather than the garter stitch selvedge in the pattern. When I knit this again (yes, I said "when" not "if"), I'll be sure to work the garter selvedge.

I will definitely be knitting more toys. The next one will likely be a seal, since my favorite almost-five-year-old has requested one for her upcoming birthday.

Since I'm browsing ravelry for pattern ideas, I thought I'd share a list of fun toys I'll want to come back to later:

Big Snowy Owl
Deadliest Crab
Garden Snail
Peabey the Polar Bear
Praying Mantis
Tree Frog

I ran a quick search for seal patterns on ravelry and wasn't thrilled with the options there. But I think I can use them as guides for morphing Nessie into a seal. That will be exciting And I'd better take good notes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tadpole Tuesday: I think I'm hooked

On toys, that is. 

This has been a pretty quick knit so far (aka, I've had a fair amount of knitting time between the Patriots' game and all of the training videos I watched over the long weekend) and really clever! I just don't think in three dimensions like that and I'm really impressed with the designer. Excellent use of short rows!

A couple of quick thoughts about knitted toys:

  • You need really good finishing skills - this is not a beginner project
  • It's great for using up scraps - this one didn't even use up half a skein
  • You can stuff it with leftovers - that's what the pink yarn is for
And yes, it amuses me to no end that my loch ness monster has realistic looking innards.

I'll need to make a second one for Tadpole!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tadpole Thursday: Gifts for Babies

Rachel and I have been debating the best sort of project to knit as a baby gift. I lean towards garments - they're quick, I already own plenty of patterns and books with cute designs, and (big one here) they're often straightforward reading knits. Those of you who've been reading here for a while know that I love to knit while I read.

Rachel leans towards toys because the patterns are often clever, toys can be used for a much longer time than most baby garments (it takes longer to outgrow them), and you don't have to figure out what size will fit the recipient by the time he or she receives the gift.

She's been slowly but surely convincing me to try knitting a toy.

The adorable Elijah that she made for Tadpole certainly helps!

I think I'm ready to bite the bullet. I've signed up for a swap in one of my ravelry groups and I'm super excited to try a loch ness monster for my swap partner.

I have a gift knit to finish up first and then off I go!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not ambitious at all

I have a bad habit of setting unrealistic goals for myself. I honestly can't remember the last time I actually managed to do everything on my weekend to-do list but I'm pretty sure I was still in school. When Tadpole came along I found that two items over two days was pretty much the limit of what I could accomplish during the first few months. That was an adjustment, to say the least!

But I like lists and dreaming up things that I want to do, so here are my (crafting) goals for 2012:

1. Be more centered.

Actually, this is my big goal on all fronts this year. Between having a baby and starting a huge new job (in addition to "parent"), I've often felt like I could never quite get my feet under me. So you can see why I'm going back to making lists.

2. Organize the stash.

I have a lot of really nice yarn in my stash that I'm looking forward to using. I also have some that I probably will never use. I doubt I have time to work with everything I want to so that means the other stuff really needs to go. And I can't easily work through the stash if I don't know what's there in the first place.

3. Knit with stash/don't buy new yarn.

I know I said this last year but I really mean it this time (here's hoping you don't read this sentence again in 2013). This is how bad my guilt over the stash has gotten - I was happy when I went to buy a Sundara holiday bag and the last green one was sold out by the time I got to the checkout.

I don't think I could make it a whole year without buying yarn so I'd better set out some (limited!) exceptions to the stash diet.

(a) purchases at sheep & wool festivals or similar events are ok.

(b) gifts of yarn may be excepted. Whether Mr. Thinks and Frogs can give the gift is TBD.

(c) special souvenir purchases while on vacation may be allowed.

4. Spin more.

I loved the Tour de Fleece but haven't spun much since then. Right now I'm working on spinning for a swap with Jacey do I'm at least off to a good start.

5. Quilt more: finish the quilt and make at least one other quilted item.

What quilt? I know, I've been working on it for so long I sometimes forger about it. But I'd really like to finish it. And try some other patterns!

The set-up for quilting (or sewing) always seems to take a really long time. Knitting is much better suited to fill a ten minute chunk of time - I can knit for all ten! With working on the quilt, I feel like I spend right minutes setting up and then only have two left to make any actual progress. And that doesn't count when I have to iron the fabric first!

But I also like how (relatively) little time it takes to make a big quilting FO. Plus, I'd like to be more proficient at using my sewing machine.

Would you believe I worked on the quilt last weekend? I'm two strips away from finishing the third block of four. Progress!

I think that's it. No links or pics this time since I'm on my phone (just handed off the baby to see if my better half can have more success with a crib transfer) and I've really got to go get some sleep.

Replies to comments on the previous post are coming, I promise.

Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to what 2012 has in store.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tadpole Tuesday: napping knits

I really should have titled this post "nighttime when Tadpole doesn't want to go back in her crib and will only sleep on my shoulder knits" but "napping knits" has a nicer ring to it. We're back in a phase where sleep is a bit rough, to say the least, and she'll happily snooze on one of us but protests when we try to get her back into the crib.

Tonight is one of several nights recently where I've had grand knitting ambitions and instead ended up snuggling with a baby instead. Not that I mind, the snuggles are lovely, but I really wanted to knit!

Remember these days?

Those were lovely - baby snuggles AND knitting. I think it's time to bring that back.

I've even thought of the perfect project - plain socks. I wore holes in four different pairs over the last month or so and I realized that while fancy socks are more fun to knit, I tend to always pull the plain ones out of the drawer. Since I need to replenish my sock supply, plain socks will be perfect for knitting in the dark.

The trick is going to be figuring out how to store the project so that it's easy to access while I'm sitting in the rocking chair but not so easy that Tadpole can get to it during the day. Suggestions?

When I was thinking about what to post today, I immediately jumped to my one true "napping knit" of late - the new project I started last week while sitting in a parked car waiting for Tadpole to wake up from her nap. But I still haven't taken the pictures of Girasole off my camera and I think you'll understand when I say that it'll have to wait for later. If I can manage a successful crib transfer in a minute, I just want to go knit!